Search engine Google is rumoured to be signing up for Samsung’s 3D NAND in its data centres in a move which is similar to its rival’s Amazon.
Samsung’s 3D NAND is currently used in Kaminario K2 all-flash arrays and is being tipped for MacBooks.
Neither Google nor Samsung have commented but if it pans out then it means that stacking 32 layers of planar 2D NAND built using 39-30nm-class cell geometry in a die, is the way forward. It also means that Samsung must have a better price and performance advantage over other flash fabricators.
Samsung’s 3D NAND is generally available while its rivals are still at the sampling stage with GA late this year or in 2016. SanDisk is sampling a 48-layer chip, but Samsung is expected to match that soon.
Since it has signed big supply deals with Amazon, Apple and Google, Samsung clearly has its foot in the door. It also means that these big data centre operators will be buying less planar NAND than otherwise from the other flash suppliers.
Intel released its fourth quarter 2014 results yesterday afternoon with income jumping 39 percent on improved demand for personal computer and server system chips. The company allowed that it is expecting a somewhat flat first quarter for 2015 which led shares 1.9% lower in after-hours trading. The PC Client Group’s earnings improved by three percent while the Data Centre Group’s earnings improved by 25 percent. Overall revenue increased by six percent year-on-year and gross profit margin exceeded 65 percent.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected per-share earnings of 66 cents and revenue of $14.71 billion.
For the current first quarter, Intel projected revenue between $13.2 billion and $14.2 billion and gross margin of 60 percent, plus or minus a couple percentage points. Analysts, on average, were expecting revenue of $13.76 billion and gross margin of 61.2 percent, according to Reuters.
For the year, Intel projected revenue to rise by a mid-single digits percentage rate and achieve a gross margin of 62% of revenue, plus or minus a couple percentage points. Analysts, on average, were expecting revenue to rise 4% and gross margin of 63.4%, according to Reuters.
PC Client Group Improves
Intel’s integral attachment to the PC market greatly affected earnings as the PC market growth slowed and consumer market demand was satisfied with less costly tablets and high capacity smartphones. The uptick in PC demand last spring has had a positive effect on earnings and aided in the company’s turnaround effort to become “the” dominant supplier in the mobile market. With Intel’s 14 nm manufacturing muscle Brian Krzanich is now “loaded for ARM” vowing to place 40 million Intel chips into tablets now dominated by ARM Holdings PLC.
3D 256 Gb NAND-Flash Bundling?
No mention was made by Intel of its recently announced 3D 256 Gb NAND-Flash devices. Intel has what can only be called an obsession with its ability to control the memory side of the sales equation without owning any of the fixed assets to produce it.
Analysts have been wondering why Micron was not more upbeat on the announcement; it is, after all the controlling partner in Intel-Micron Flash Technologies, Inc. (IMFT). Sources indicate that Intel will most likely begin bundling Processors and Memory kits with Intel claiming the lion’s share of margin leaving Micron to its own pursuits with its share of output.
Last but Not Least
The Data Centre Group is rumoured to be the earnings darling of the coming quarters with sources indicating market moving announcements over the first half of 2015. Those announcements concern Intel’s SDN for Cloud Computing efforts…
A group of scientists
at the Vienna University of Technology, claim their invention will lead to the next generation of outdoor displays.
Startup Trilite and TU Vienna said the new kind of display sends beams of light straight into viewers’ eyes and have made a prototype that they said will scale up to big displays.
The prototype contains so-called “trixels” made up of lasers and moveable mirrors.
Ulrich Schmid,, a professor at TU Vienna, said that the mirror moves the laser beams across the field of vision from left to right.
While 3D movies show only two different pictures for each eye, this display is claimed to be able to present hundreds of pictures.
The researchers are optimistic that new footage will be created for the displays with a larger number of cameras.
The researchers believe commercial units will be for sale by next year.
A team of optical engineers from the University of Connecticut has managed to securely display three dimension QR (Quick Response) images without accessing the internet. There’s those little boxes you can see in this illustration.
The researchers added an array of small lenses to an ordinary smartphone and believe that the data storage and display scheme could transform personal 3D entertainment and offer secure 3D storage and transmission.
Lead researcher Bahram Javidi said that the method lets encrypted 3D info to be securely displayed on mobile devices. He said: “The QR codes we developed store compressed and encrypted images which can be easily scanned, decrypted and decompressed by commercial smartphones.”
In developing the system, the researchers said that if links to websites are stored in the QR code, a smartphone auto links to the website but it may continue malware. Javidi said that the team store self contained slices of data in the QR codes themselves, so cutting out the need to access the internet.
But the system is not yet commercially available but it won’t be long before it is, Javidi said.
PC Partner partner Manli has launched two 3D printers which look the spit of something already on the market.
According to Fudzilla the move mimics one carried out by Inno3D. Both outfits are PC Partner brands and the printers are practically twins.
The Manli SimplyPrint 3D is a rebadged Inno3D Printer M1, while the Manli MXPrint 3D is the Inno3D Printer D1.
The specs are the same. All of them have a build volume of 140mm (L) x 140mm(W) x 150mm (H), layer resolution of 0.13-0.30mm, 0.4mm nozzle and all use standard 1.75mm filament. The MXPrint 3D features an open design with a metal frame, while the SimplyPrint 3D is enclosed in a plastic shroud.
Inno3D is pricing the printers at €1,150 in Europe and Manli’s printers should cost about the same. Manli is PC Partner’s brand for Asia, so its products are usually not available in western markets.
Still it is an odd step sideways for Manli which is better known as an Nvidia partner and maker of motherboards and cards.
The worldwide TV market is showing signs that it will return to growth this year after a 2012 shipment shortfall.
FutureSource consulting forecasts that the TV market will grow six percent this year, and continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate of four percent through to 2017 – when it is expected annual shipments will be above 270 million units, with emerging markets accounting for 67 percent of those.
Ultra high definition 4K TV sets are beginning to emerge, and it’s predicted that worldwide shipments for these will grow from 62,000 in 2012 to 780,000 in 2013. They should reach 22 million units in 2017, according to FutureSource, bolstered by an increase in native 4K content and broader consumer appeal around 2015.
Cheaper sets from big Chinese domestic brands are pushing China to the front of the 4K rollout. But most major brands worldwide are expected to begin launching their own 4K TVs this year. North America is tipped to be a big market because of strong demand for enormous screens.
While 3D was an attempt to tackle the glut in flat panels, it didn’t really manage it by itself. 4K sets, according to FutureSource, indicate a natural progression instead, but it will have its own set of challenges.
Producing 4K panels at high yield rates could prove difficult, as well as challenges in delivering content that requires serious bandwidth. Compression improvements from the HEVC codec should help with broadcast.