Tag: intel

Mooly Eden quits Intel

Intel Q4_14_ResultsCharismatic Intel executive Mooly Eden said yesterday he had resigned from the company.

Eden, senior VP of Intel International, was renowned for his off the cuff and sometimes pungent remarks. He was one of a few executives who were press friendly, rather than regarding us as the enemy.

He was in charge of the Israeli team who created both the Centrino brand the Intel Pentium M microprocessors.

He said in a press release that he was leaving Intel with a sense of satisfaction, after working with creative people who later became good friends.

Three years ago he went back to Israel from California and became president of Intel Israel, according to the Jewish Business News.

Eden was a member of the so-called “Old School” at Intel. He started working for the semiconductor company in 1982.

It’s unclear what his plans are for the future.

PCs face an uphill struggle

A not so mobile X86 PCThe consensus is that the PC might not be dead but it is certainly struggling.

And in the third report of its kind we’ve published today, IDC said that until 2010 PCs had the lion’s share of the total smart connected devices market, accounting for around 52.5 percent of shipments with 44.7 percent for smartphones and only 2.8 percent for tablets.

But, said IDC, in 2014 smartphones represented 73.4 percent of total shipments, PCs slipped to 16. percent and tablets 12.5 percent.

That trend is continuing – by 2019 PCs will only represent 11.6 percent of that market, while tablets will have 10.7 percent.

This must all be deeply troubling for chip giant Intel, with revenues still depending on the good old X86 chip and seemingly unable to make inroads into the tablet and smartphone markets.

Here’s an IDC chart demonstrating the trend between 2014 and 2019.

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 15.02.21

 

Intel, Google, TAG to make smart watch

Swiss Watches the BrandEver eager to join the fashion bandwagon, chip giant Intel has joined up with TAG Heuer and Google to create a smart watch which they will launch before the end of the year.

TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver told a press conference at a Swiss watch trade show that the deal is a “marriage of technological innovation with watchmaking credibility”.

The watch will use the Android Wear platform and use Intel chips but it’s unclear quite how much it will cost when it’s released.

Intel suit Michael Bell, who is the general manager of Intel’s new devices group, said that making a luxury watch in collaboration with TAG Heuer and Google brings the vision of wearable technology that bit nearer.

The Google man, David Singleton, said that the Swiss watch has inspired generations of artists and engineers. And Google. He said that Google can now imagine a better, beautiful and smarter watch.

Apple releases its range of smart watches next month, and much will depend on whether that is a flop or a success. Intel has never been particularly brilliant at creating reference designs that have long battery lives and its other ventures into consumer technology have all, without exception, been damp squibs.

TAG Heuer doesn’t make cheap watches, so you probably have to have a chunk of disposable income to impress – or alternatively depress, your friends.

 

Freescale-NXP merger challenges the giants

renesas-chips (1)The proposed merger of Freescale and NXP will result in a semiconductor company that challenges the giants.

That’s according to chief analyst Dale Ford at IHS, who said the merged entity will be in the top 10 semiconductor companies in the world, outranking other giants such as Broadcom and ST Microelectronics.

He said the strength of uniting Freescale and NXP will be shown in automotive applications particularly.

NXP, formerly the semiconductor division of Dutch giant Philips, used to compete in the same market, said Ford.

But the new top 10 will look fundamentally different. By revenues, Intel will remain number one with 14.14 percent, followed by Samsung, Qualcomm, SK Hynix, US DRAM firm Micron, Texas Instruments and Toshiba.

The merged company will be second place in the micro controller market, and it will also have significant share in the digital signal processing (DSP) market, much used in consumer applications.

IHS noted in its report that Freescale is practically an exclusive source for power architecture processors – and although its share in this market is tiny compared to ARM and X86 semiconductors, it has big wins in the military aerospace market.

Intel promises “things” will get even smaller

tiny chipzillaChipzilla has promised that the gear which comes out under its “internet of things” plans will be getting a lot smaller soon.

So far, Intel’s SD card-sized Edison have been mainly adopted by enthusiasts which is normally the kiss of death for manufacturers who want mass sales. However with the next generation,, Intel said that it is considering a different approach to make Curie and its components accessible to a wider audience.

One idea is to sell a prebuilt “board” resembling a button with the Curie chip, wireless circuitry, sensors and expansion ports on it.

Mike Bell, corporate vice president and general manager at Intel’s New Devices Group, told PC World  that Intel’s larger wearable computers like the SD card-sized Edison were mainly adopted by enthusiasts.

“You hook up a battery, you hook up some wires, and you have something you can build a product out of,” Bell said.

Another idea is to have a smaller multi-chip package with just the Curie processor, radio and other basic circuitry. It’ll be small and come without the board, and will be ready to implement in wearable devices.

It will be quicker to implement, and should give device makers more flexibility in size when designing wearables.

What is strange however is that Intel has had more success putting its software, called IQs by Intel, in wearables more than its chips. It is seems that this sort of app-like approach is going down well with those who want to build wearables. That software only approach might give Intel a leg-up with Curie. Curie has a low-power Quark chip, Bluetooth wireless capabilities and a sensor hub to track activities like steps. It also has a pattern recognition engine, and software packages are key to analysing collected data.

The health software package will use the pattern recognition engine to analyse steps and other health data. Intel’s idea is turn the whole lot into a data analysis machine.

Fashion companies don’t have time to think about technology, and the software packages make implementing Curie into wearables easy, Bell said.

Intel’s main challenge is ARM and MIPS, whose processors are used in most wearables today.
Chipzilla has technology for smartwatches – it has been trying to peddle its Basis Peak idea mostly through partners. It is already in the market – in a fairly low key way. Intel’s technology is already in SMS Audio’s BioSport earphones and Opening Ceremony’s MICA smart bracelet. Intel has also partnered with eyewear companies Luxottica and Oakley and watch company Fossil Group.

 

More gloom ahead for the PC market

A not so mobile X86 PCThere’s still no light at the end of tunnel for PC sales, market research company IDC has predicted.

It estimates that world wide shipments of PCs will drop by 4.9 percent this year, but it suggests things may be slightly better in 2016 and 2017.

Total shipments of PCs this year are expected to total 293.1 million, but the underlying trend remains poor.

IDC said that some sectors of the market saw an uptick in demand during the second half of last year, but volumes were up because the supply chain was inflated by Microsoft’s plan to cut subsidies in its Windows 8.1 + Bing scheme early this year.

The strong US dollar makes PCs more expensive and there’s a continuing move to other form factors. Intel won’t release its Skylake processor and Microsoft won’t ship Windows 10 until later this year, so many will wait buying until they see which particular writing is on the wall.

Emerging markets don’t offer much either. IDC said that these markets ended 2014 with a decline of 9.5 percent in PC shipments.

Loren Louverde, VP of PCs at IDC, said opportunities for long term growth depend largely on growth in the emerging market. “That seems unlikely with the shift towards mobile devices. Vendors can focus on growth segments of the market such as All in One, slim and convertible PCs, or consolidate share, but pressure on pricing and from competing devices will continue to make it a challenging market.”

Intel suffers $1 billion hit

Intel-logoChip megagiant Intel has revised its forecast for the first quarter of this year by close to one billion dollars.

The company said that people haven’t been buying the expected number of business PCs, and distributors, dealers and other vendors haven’t been ordering what Intel expected.

Intel thought that small and medium sized companies would flock in their droves to upgrade the now defunct Windows XP operating system. But that hasn’t happened.

It also said that currency conditions in Europe had affected its business.

Now Intel thinks its first quarter revenues will amount to $12.8 billion – down from its original estimate of $13.7 billion.

But if you’re starting to feel sorry for the behemoth, you don’t need to be. It said it is still expecting its gross margin to be about 60 percent, a gross margin that many other enterprises would die for.

 

Intel’s Xeon SoC to ARM wrestle

arm-wrestlingIntel has lifted the veil on a new Xeon D family of processors which are the company’s first ever Xeon-based System-on-Chip (SoC).

The news is bad for ARM because it is wanted to dominate the microserver market and this package is exactly what it does not want out there.

The Xeon D line is built on Intel’s 14nm process technology and combines the performance of Xeon chips with the size and power savings of a SoC.

Intel says the Xeon D delivers up to 3.4x faster performance node and up to 1.7x better performance per watt compared to the company’s Atom C2750, which is part of Intel’s second-generation 64-bit SoC family.

Xeon D is the third generation and it’s actually based on Intel’s 14nm Broadwell architecture.

This puts Intel in the running for those customers who want low-power, high density infrastructure products. In fact Intel says that it can deliver  server class reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features in an ultra-dense, low-power device.

Cisco, HP, NEC, Quanta Cloud Technology, Sugon, and Supermicro have sworn their loyalty to the chip, before all their dark gods, and are committed to building microserves based on Intel’s new Xeon D options.

This means ARM has not got much time before actual products are out there.

Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of the Data Center Group at Intel said that the growth of connected devices and demand for more digital services has created new opportunities for information and communication technology,” said.

“By bringing Intel Xeon processor performance to a low-power SoC, we’re delivering the best of both worlds and enabling our customers to deliver exciting new services.”

Intel’s kicking things off with two Xeon D processors, the D-1540 with 8 cores, 16 threads, 2GHz, 45W TDP and D-1520 with its 4 cores, 8 threads, 2.2GHz, 45W TDP. These have memory controllers capable of up to 128GB of addressable memory.

They also feature an integrated platform controller hub (PCH), integrated I/Os, and two integrated 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

All of this is based on Intel’s Broadwell so should give a reasonable performance per watt.

Intel 730-series SSDs dogged by rumour

watchdogIntel’s 730-series SSDs, which received glowing reviews, has been dogged by a rumour that it lacks power loss data protection, a feature which was highlighted in Intel’s review guides.

The rumour was confirmed by Intel’s customer support department which made the mistake of implying that the SDD’s spec had changed.

The customer support person said that the SSD 730 was never built with the capacitor for the power loss data protection.

This means, the SSD does not have the capacitors at all, therefore the Intel’s website has the correct information of the drive.

Power data loss protection is a relatively important feature for anyone buying these drives and it puts reviewers such as Toms’ Hardware on the spot for not noticing it. The only problem is that when Toms’ reviewed the Intel 730 240GB SSD, it spotted it had two large capacitors on the PCB.

After all the fact that Intel included such technology on a mass-market drive was news.

Intel moved to kill the rumours this week. Jeff Fick, Product Marketing Engineer on the Intel SSD 730 Series insisted that the Intel SSD 730 Series incorporates power loss protection circuitry, capacitors and firmware support to help protect user data.

He said that Intel customer support got it wrong.  In fact it looks like contrary to Intel’s tech support’s statements, the capacitors do indeed exist and do provide a level of protection rarely seen on enthusiast-level SSDs.

Intel and Huawei snuggle up

cuddling-dog-catIntel and Huawei Technologies are getting closer even as their rival governments fall out over trade blocks.

According to Huawei, the pair are getting closer and will share technology and adopt Huawei branding behind the bamboo curtain to make Intel products more palatable to local buyers and the Chinese government.

The technology involved focuses on the cloud, with the pair working on a project to create new servers, a data centre, software and cyber security for a global cloud-computing network.

China’s government has been openly pushing for the use of more Chinese and less foreign-made technology, both to grow its own tech sector and as a response to Edward Snowden’s leaks about widespread US cyber surveillance.

Intel and Huawei have collaborated previously, including a server and cloud product team-up in 2012 and an agreement to cooperate on data storage last April.

Although the announcement is mostly Chinese focused it is likely that the Intel side of the deal will result in other products seen worldwide. Intel would take the lead in nations where Huawei is not trusted, and Huawei stepping forward in countries which are worried about US surveillance.

Intel loses the plot – analysts

Intel-logoA financial analyst said that an announcement made by Samsung at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona has thrown into sharp relief Intel’s inability to capture market share.

Mark Hibben, at Seeking Alpha, said that while the CEO of Intel, Brian Krzanich, delivered a keynote at MWC, Samsung’s announcement of the Galaxy S6 phone shows that the California company is way behind in its egregious goals.

Hibben said that Samsung is targeting Apple’s iPhone 6, “making it clear that Apple and Samsung completely dominate the mobile device world, leaving Intel with only aspirations”.

The Galaxy S6 smartphone uses a Samsung 64-bit processor, using the company’s 14 nanometre FinFET process.

He said this shows that ARM has leaped into the process lead over Intel, which only has its SoFIA on a 28 nanometre TSMC process, said Hibben. That, he thinks, makes Intel two generations behind process tech for smartphones.

He said companies like Apple and Samsung “can deploy staggering capital resources in the pursuit of non Intel Inside”.

Intel made a $4.2 billion loss in its mobile group in 2014.

 

Intel ready to release the Atom

Intel Q4_14_ResultsIntel has announced details of its new family of Atom processors, and, as we predicted it has changed its naming strategy to mirror the Core series of processors.

Intel is renaming its Atom family with x3, x5, and x7 designations.

At the low end, the 28nm Atom x3, is basically a smartphone chip with Intel Architecture (SoFIA). The Atom x3 will be available in three distinct variants; all of which will come with integrated modems. All three are 64-bit capable.

The Atom x3-C3130 tops out at 1GHz, incorporates a Mali 400 MP2 GPU, and includes an integrated 3G (HSPA+) modem. The Atom x3-C3230RK has a clock speed of 1.2GHz and has a Mali 450 MP4 GPU, and a 3G modem. The Atom x3-C3440 clocks in at 1.4GHz, features a Mali T720 MP2 graphics core, incorporates a Category 6 LTE modem, and can optionally support NFC.
After looking at its own benchmarks, Intel said that the Atom x3-C3230RK can offer up to 1.8x the media editing performance of competing SoCs from Qualcomm and MediaTek.

The Atom x5 and x7 are Cherry Trail-based and the first Atom SoCs to be built using a 14nm manufacturing process. Both processor families support 64-bit processing, incorporate eighth generation Intel graphics, and support Windows and Android. They also support RealSense, True Key, and Pro WiDi. They don’t feature integrated modems but support Intel’s next generation XMM 726x and 7360 LTE modems.

Intel insists that the x7 offers two times the graphics performance of the existing Atom Z3795 in the GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex HD benchmark and 50 percent greater performance on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark.
Intel has already announced that the Atom x3 and Bay Trail-based Atom x5 and x7 processors are shipping, and that products using the processors should be available during the first half of 2015.

China irritates tech firms

chinaflagA law set to be passed by Chinese authorities would make tech vendors provide the government with encryption keys and put backdoors in systems.

According to Reuters, the law relates to counter terrorism and the legislation is likely to be passed into law in the near future.

Other elements of the counter terrorism law include a reqirement for companies to locate their servers and user data in China, as well as forcing vendors to censor content that China believes is related to terrorism.

China already forces banks to buy from home grown vendors, rather than buying abroad.

Reuters said that the implications of this new piece of legislation would be to forbid secure VPNs, to send financial information securely, and to hide any detail of a commercial business.

Google might find itself thanking its lucky stars that it doesn’t do business in mainland China, but other vendors including Apple, Intel and Microsoft will certainly be hit by the legislation.

Apple copies Intel and drinks milk and honey

Apple's Tim CookFruity cargo cult Apple is set to copy Intel’s success by shifting an ever increasing amount of development work to Israel.

Chief Executive Tim Cook was in Israel on Thursday to visit the company’s new research and development offices in Herzlyia.

Jobs’ Mob also has an R&D center in Haifa, in the country’s north, which is Apple’s second largest research and development hub outside of the US.

Jobs’ Mob recently bought two Israel outfits – Anobit Technologies and PrimeSense which both make microprocessor chip designs.

Apple has also hired most of the Israeli employees of a chip-design division that Texas Instruments decided to shut down in 2013 in Ra’anana, some 10 miles north of Tel Aviv and has been hiring like crazy for its chip design center in Haifa.

On its current jobs posting site for Israel, Apple is advertising for a range of hardware and software positions, including silicon and semiconductor design and testing engineers who will be required to work in labs.

The Wall Street Journal quoted Shlomo Gradman, chairman of the Israeli Semiconductor Club as saying that Apple’s Israeli acquisitions and its expanding local workforce show that the company is becoming more and more independent on the chip level, where it once had to rely on external suppliers.

Cook said in the meeting with Israeli president Reuven Rivlin that Israel and Apple have got much closer together over the last three years than ever before

AMD does not think Chromebooks are worth it

AMD, SunnyvaleAMD chief technical officer Mark Papermaster has dismissed Chromebooks as “not worth it” and explained why his outfit is not behind the technology.

He said that it was important to look at Chromebook and what Google’s grand plan with it is.

“For us, it’s just a business decision, when you need our type of CPU and graphics technology that can make a difference.”

Chromebook sales are tiny. IDC estimated that 4.6 million Chromebooks were sold in 2014, compared to 304 million PCs for the year.

Intel has come to dominate Chromebook sales with Celeron and Atom chips, although some models also feature third-party ARM chips inside.

But Chromebooks are generally considered low-cost productivity machines and AMD is trying to place itself as a graphics and media chipmaker. Carrizo, dedicates four “Excavator” CPU cores against eight Radeon graphics cores and16 percent of the die is dedicated to CPU cores.
“For us, it’s when do you need our CPU and graphics capability that can make a difference,” Papermaster said. “Again, you’ll see that there’s these rock-bottom markets… so those don’t have our value proposition.”

“We play in the whole range of the market. We’ll play in the low-cost value” market, Papermaster added. “You have to at least get paid for that value when you’re working on graphics. You go below that, and you’re looking at $7 chips.”