Tag: intel

Intel Braswell delays all about cost

979583-scroogeIntel has been doing its best to explain why its Braswell chip has been delayed.

For those who came in late, Braswell was supposed to be a 1Q 2015 launch, but it kept being delayed. The latest news is that it will not be seen in the shops until June and August 2015.

Kirk  Skaugen,  who heads up the company’s PC Client Group said the main reason was cost.

Intel has been having problems getting its 14 nanometer manufacturing technology to yield at economically acceptable levels. Although the company describes the current yield rate of its 14 nanometer technology as being in a “healthy range,” Intel indicated that the yields still are not where the prior generation technology was at this stage of its ramp.

Broadwell costs will actually remain higher than those for the 22 nanometer Haswell family of products until the third quarter of 2015.

This is all very tricky considering that Braswell is intended to be a very low-cost part for entry-level desktops and notebooks. While Intel can take a couple of quarters of elevated costs to get Broadwell right for the higher-value segments of the PC business, it has the luxury of waiting until Braswell’s manufacturing costs are lower than last year’s 22 nanometer Bay Trail’s costs for more cost-sensitive PCs.

Intel has been all about platform cost reduction with Bay Trail-M/D and has been working to reduce the platform bill of materials costs for its Bay Trail-M/D products. Since the low-end PC market is focused more on cost than on performance, these Bay Trail products may continue to hold their own against AMD’s newly announced Carrizo-L until Braswell arrives.

HP locks in corporate customers

superdomeAhead of the breakup of the company, HP is doing its best to make sure that its big corporate customers do not flee.

The maker of expensive printer ink has announced a cunning plan to help retain important customers by allowing them to leave behind their Integrity.

HP will offer versions of two computer server lines under H-P’s Integrity moniker—Superdome and NonStop—that will be powered by Intel’s Xeon chips. HP’s Integrity machines now use Intel’s Itanium chips.

HP’s new Superdome model has sockets to plug in 16 Xeon chips and offers nine times the performance of a conventional H-P system with eight Xeon chips, the company said. H-P has developed accessory chips and software to speed up communications between chips and improve reliability.

Revenue from these “business-critical” servers, declined 29 percent in the quarter ended in October over a year earlier. However, Superdome and NonStop servers are still used by banks, telecommunications carriers and other companies particularly concerned with reliability.

Integrity only made $929 million in revenue in the fiscal year ended October 31, which was nothing compared to the $12.5 billion generated from more popular x86 servers.

HP needs to keep these customers sweet because they buy software, services and other hardware from H-P that hinges on the applications running on the Superdome and NonStop machines.

Under the plan HP will keep developing Itanium-based systems but will help its clients move Intel’s mainstream Xeon technology.

Intel, which introduced its last Itanium model in late 2012, has disclosed plans for a successor, which is code-named Kittson. The chipmaker hasn’t said when that product will arrive nor described models it may develop after that.

For Superdome, HP is encouraging customers to move to the Linux operating system or other software. HP is porting NonStop software to run on Xeon chips. The company is offering services to help customers migrate to the new technology in both cases.

 

Google Glass saved by Intel

spexIt looks as though Google Glass will have a fresh leash of life after it has emerged Intel is to get involved in the project.

Reports recently suggested that Glass was on its last gasp, with several employees leaving Google to spend more time with their families.

But, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Intel is going to take an active role in future development of the spectacles.

Firstly, a Texas Instrument chip will disappear from the frame to be replaced with an Intel device based on its Quark X86 technology.

And Intel, which is now a firm believer in the concept of electronic “wearables”, will do some selling and promotion of Google Glass to manufacturers, the healthcare industry and other vertical sectors, said the Journal.

The report said the next version of Glass will have a better battery life and probably more memory.

Intel has had a chequered career in any products outside its core X86 PC business, and was very late to the game in the mobile and tablet markets.

Intel buys password company

Intel-logoChip giant Intel has bought a Canadian company that attempts to take the pain out of passwords.

Intel Security – which includes the McAfee unit – didn’t say how much it paid for PasswordBox, which only started business in June 2013.

It’s unclear how many of the company’s 44 employees will be employed by Intel.

Intel will give new and existing customers a premium subscription at no cost until it gets round to releasing products under its own branding.

PasswordBox has around 14 million users worldwide.  The software lets you coordinate different logins and passwords in a sort of digital wallet so you don’t have to remember – or write down – all those different passwords that are easy to forget.

Tablets face squeeze from notebooks, phones

ipad3Shipments of notebooks are only set to grow 0.6 percent in 2015, amounting to 174.6 million units, while sales of tablets will fall by 3.5 percent to 185.6 million units.

That’s according to Taiwanese market intelligence firm Trendforce, which said that this year notebook vendors struggled to gain market share this year by essentially engaging in a price war.

But Caroline Chen, a notebook analyst at the company, said that next year we’ll see an array of different products with tablets and low priced notebooks facing stiff competition from smartphones and so called phablets.

She thinks notebook vendors need to rethink their strategies.

Tablets didn’t do well this year and overall 366 million mobile PCs – a category that she defines as including notebook computers and tablets – shipped. That’s largely similar to sales last year.

Subsidies from major players like Microsoft, Google and Intel have skewed the market. Chromebooks, she thinks, will account for eight million units in 2015.

She said that because subsidies from Intel and Microsoft lower manufacturers’ costs, the subsidies benefit end users.  “It would be better if Microsoft and Intel can find more substantial ways to develop the market,” she said.

trendforce

Internet of things war hots up

Internet of ThingsA wave of consolidation in the internet of things (IoT) market is assured in the next few years.

That’s according to financial company Hampleton Partners, which said in a report that vendors have spent over $9 billion in the marketplace in the last few years in a bid to put their stake in the ground.

And early players in that market include Google, Samsung, Verizon and others.  Apple wants to make a play in the market too.

In the next year, Hammpleton thinks that other companies will make acquistions in the next year or so to get into a market estimated to be worth many billions by the end of the decade.

Those include Intel, TI, Texas Instruments and AT&T.

One of the problems is that when there are countless devices equipped with semiconductors and the ability to be connected to the internet, is that there are few standards and so far few attempts to create such standards.

Estimates vary about the number of devices connected by the end of the decade but it’s certain the number will be in tens of billions.  Each device, however, will cost very little – money to be made will be in the way such things are interconnected and structured.

ARM fails to dent X86 server market

intel_log_reversedBeancounters at mighty chip behemoth Intel can stop playing with their worry beads as it looks as though servers based on ARM technology are failing to dent X86 server business.

A report in Taiwanese wire Digitimes said that ARM has made serious attempts to invade the server business but hasn’t succeeding in storming the Intel fortress.

And with Intel having an 80 percent share in the PC market, shareholders in the chip giant believe that despite its appalling performance in the mobile space, it will continue to make high margins from its server chip offerings.

AMD is waiting in the wings but doesn’t have a great deal of traction in the server business,  the report claims.

Both ARM and Intel hope to make vast profits by being in the vanguard in offering products that will leverage the expected boom in the “internet of things”.

Intel and ARM are relying on cloud based apps to make everything work together.  These things are only a tiny fraction of the internet of things, however, and it’s hard to see either company having much of a share in the expected bonanza.

Intel shares could rise by 30 percent

hopeWhile some have decided that Intel will go the way of the Dodo, it appears that the analysts Barrons disagree.

The outfit’s augury division has walked a compliant white bull into the temple of Juno, read its steaming entrails, and concluded that Intel will do rather well.

It thinks that shares in Chipzilla will rise more than 30 percent to $48 over the next two years.

The logic is that with shares its recently at over $35, Intel stock is halfway to the five-year doubling Barron’s said it predicted in June of 2013.

Barron’s said that in two years’ time, the 30 percent rise would put shares trading at around 16 times future earnings estimates, the same price to 2014 earnings ratio that it now trades at.

Intel has few fans among the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street, suggesting plenty of popularity to be gained. Intel is strategically running a deep loss in its mobile-chip division in order to make up for its late start.

However, Barron insists that might be a good thing. Shrinking those losses to break-even in future years will uncover earnings power in the rest of the company that is currently hidden.

However there is a lot of scepticism about Intel—just 40 percent of analysts who cover the shares say to buy them.

Earnings per share are expected to climb 19 percent this year to $2.25, which looks like excellent growth, except that earnings first topped $2 a share back in 2010, said a Barron.

However Barrons did not see everything as lilly white in the ox’s liver.  It thinks that while Intel is on track to ship a promised 40 million tablet chips this year, versus just a million or so two years ago, its mobile division will likely lose about $4 billion in the process. That is partly due to “contra revenues,” which are effectively rebates to spur demand while Intel closes the cost gap to rivals on low-end multifunction chips.

Next year Intel expects the division’s loss to shrink by only $800 million. However, by then, it expects to sell a full range of tablet chips, ranging from cheap models called SoFIA, which have integrated wireless function, to pricier Cherry Trail chips for zippy performance at low power. Analysts see the mobile unit achieving positive gross profit margins by 2016.

So if you are thinking about making a quick buck from Intel you might want to wait until this period is over before investing your nest-egg.

 

 

Intel to carry on subsidising tablets

Internet of ThingsThe attempt by Intel to penetrate the tablet market has cost it dear in subsidies over the last two years.

But it appears that the chip giant hasn’t given up the ghost on such a plan and, according to Taiwanese wire Digitimes, is likely to pour more cash into the venture.

Intel’s problem is that it has faced overwhelming competition on price from companies that use microprocessors from Mediatek and Qualcomm, based on designs from British chip designer ARM.

Even though Intel has several ARM licences, it declines to use those to compete and wants the market to realise the important part it plays in the mobile arena.  Or, to put it differently, Intel is a proud company and doesn’t want to lose face.

The subsidies to vendors have been aimed at tablets with screen dimensions of 10 inches and below, but Digitimes now says it may well extend those subsidies to tablets 12 inches and below.

Intel cannot afford not to be in the tablet business because it wants to be a key player in the so called Internet of Things.  Last week the chip giant said it was going to merge its mobile and comms businesses with its PC business, which will effectively disguise the hole in its profit and loss statements in the future.

Intel has a perky bottom line

Intel-logoIntel’s bottom line is looking a little cheery thanks to the fact that the death of the PC was overstated and people are buying them again.

Intel said that its revenue outlook for 2015 was above what the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street expected and it was even going to raise its dividend.

Intel claimed that its revenue will grow by a mid-single digit percentage next year which is not what we usually associate with a middle digit.

Analysts on average have been forecasting 3.4 percent revenue growth for 2015.

Chairman Andy Bryant said he saw progress in Intel’s strategy of staking out a big chunk of market share in tablets this year by offering manufacturers subsidies to use its chips.

“I’m not going to tell you I’m proud of losing the kind of money we’re losing but I’m also going to tell you I’m not embarrassed by it like I was a year ago about where we were,” Bryant said. “This is the price you pay for sitting on the sidelines for a number of years and then fighting your way back into the market.”

Intel expects gross margins in 2015 to be 62 percent, plus or minus two percentage points. Analysts on average expected 63 percent gross margins for 2015 and 2014.

Capital spending next year will be about $10.5 billion, the company said, compared to about $11 billion expected in 2014.

Intel also said it would increase its dividend by six cents to 96 cents on an annual basis.

Intel’s results point to the death of the industry myth, put about by the Tame Apple Press that the iPad had killed the PC and everything was going mobile. We said that mobile was a parallel development and that PC sales slumped due to a downturn in the economy coupled with the fact that PCs were lasting longer and there was no need to upgrade.

CEO Brian Krzanich said Intel was on track to exceed its goal of seeing its chips used in 40 million tablets this year. That strategy made Intel the No 2 tablet chip supplier in the June quarter, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics, but it cost the company billions of dollars in subsidies.

 

Intel to release thumb-sized PCs

thumbs downChipzilla has said that it is shrinking PCs to thumb-sized “compute sticks” that will be out next year.

The stick will plug into the back of a smart TV or monitor “and bring it intelligence to that,” claimed senior vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group Kirk Skaugen.

A device the size of a USB stick was shown on stage, but its capabilities were not demonstrated, so we will have to take Intel’s word that it was not a thumb drive Skaugen picked up and waved around before the press conference.

Although, to be fair, the technology is already in the marketplace. Skaugen likened the compute stick to similar thumb PCs offered by PC makers with the Android OS and ARM processor.

Dell’s $129.99 Wyse Cloud Connect, plugs into an HDMI port, can turn a screen or display into a PC, gaming machine or streaming media player.

Skaugen claimed the devices will be an extension to laptops and mini-desktops, which have Core desktop processors in small PCs that can be handheld.

Normally these thumb sized PCs do not have internal storage, but can be used to access files and services in the cloud. The Wyse Cloud Connect has wi-fi and Bluetooth.

Skaugen thinks that the market for such devices is in the tens of millions of units,. The compute stick will bring x86 computing to fanless designs.

Intel makes low-power Atom processors for mobile devices, which could fit into thumb-sized PCs.

 

Intel announces 3D NAND-Flash

IMFT Sign - Lehi

Rob Crooke, VP & GM of Intel’s Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) Solutions Group was last up in the company’s day long Investor Meeting today in Santa Clara.

Though last, he had the most newsworthy announcement about the company’s future memory intentions.

Intel announced it is back in the memory business – 3D NAND-Flash that is (mass production in-house is conditional though).

Crookes’ revelation ends any rumination on Intel-Micron Flash Technologies 3D Flash development – it also includes SK Hynix when the device goes into production 2Q 2015. Evidently those who have been nice have early sample devices according to sources.

The specifics:

  • 4G hole array 32 layers deep | (216 x 216)(Array) x 25(Layers) x 2(MLC) = 256 Gbits
  • 1TB in 2 mm package
  • SSDs: 10TB and up planned
  • Production 2H 2015 – IMFT (Lehi, Utah facility mentioned) & SK Hynix
  • Intel can also produce internally
  • Replacement of HDD with SSD in all PC and Mobile devices

Crooke allowed that the devices will not use Intel’s cutting edge 14nm technology but a slightly relaxed geometry  – Micron is on record at 16nm geometries for 3D NAND. The openly known fact that prevaricating about Flash Geometries may hold sway – a hefty dose of caveat emptor is recommended.

The announcement coincides with reports that Intel and Micron are involved in a project with EMC2-DSSD – an effort to produce the first NAND-Flash In-Memory Database appliance.  The proffered memory type may be a custom type expressly tailored for the application and may be produced in-house by Intel – more on this as roll-out time nears.

AMD introduces Carrizo SOCs

AMD's John ByrneIntel rival AMD said it has added two system on a chip (SoC) devices to its semiconductor roadmap.

The Carrizo and the Carrizo-L are being positioned as the firm’s answer to the mobile market.

The chips will support Microsoft DirectX 12, OpenCL 2.0, AMD’s Mantle and Freesync and support for Windows 10, when that emerges next year.

AMD senior VP John Byrne said his company is building on its existing intellectual property portfolio.

He said “our goal is to improve APU energy efficiency by a factor of 25 times by 2020”, and said the company would work with the latest industry standards.

The Carrizo microprocessor combines an X86 CPU core called Excavator with its next generation Radeon graphics in what AMD claims will be the world’s first heterogeneous system architecture compliant SoC.

The chips will ship in the first half of next year, Byrne said.

Intel’s Knight’s Hill cut down to 10nm

intel_log_reversedIntel is telling the world+dog that it talks to that its third-generation Xeon Phi, codenamed Knight’s Hill, will use 10nm technology and its second iteration of Omni-Path fabric. TechEye and ChannelEye are not in Intel’s good books again, so we have to sneak under the radar.

Intel is not talking to us any more. Sniff.

Knight’s Hill is a long way from being in the shops. We still have to see the 14nm Knight’s Landing which is not going to be in the shops until summer of 2015. This could mean that Knights Hill is likely for 2017.

Knight’s Landing will use the same Silvermont architecture that powers Intel’s Bay Trail but it will  support four threads per CPU — currently Silvermont doesn’t use hyper-threading marchitecture at all.

The reason we are interested in Knight’s Hill is that information on it is about as rare as a 1970s TV star who has not been investigated by operation YewTree, and we wonder why Intel is talking about it at all.

Perhaps it might because Intel is attempting to reassure customers that there’s a roadmap stretching out beyond the Knight’s Landing product and the 14nm node.

Intel’s Omni-Path scaling architecture debuts next year. Omni-Path is Intel’s next-generation networking interconnect that handles up to 100Gbps of bandwidth and uses silicon photonics technology for signalling. The new standard offers up to 48 ports per switch compared to 36 ports on other top-end standards, and is designed to lower the cost of huge build-outs by reducing the total number of switches. The long  term goal is to reduce latency and allow for effective scaling as the industry pushes forwards towards exascale. Bring back Pat Gelsinger!

Future versions of the core will likely expand both the onboard memory pool (16GB is expected for Knight’s Landing; Knight’s Hill could pack 32GB or more), add additional bandwidth, and likely increase the interconnect performance between the CPU and the associated MIC.

According to Extreme Tech  Intel might push its AVX standard up as high as 1024-bit registers, if the HPC crowd wants it. Adding wider registers is a simple way to boost performance The current AVX specification allows for extensions of up to 1024 bits in length, however, so Intel could do this. [Does anybody apart from Extreme Tech believe this Intel crap any more? Ed.]

 

Get ready to wear a smart shirt

fobwatchA survey from Gartner said that less wearable electronic devices for fitness will ship in 2015 because of confusion in the marketplace.

While 70 million wearables will ship in 2014, that figure will fall to 68 million next year.

That is because the entry of smartwatches into the marketplace will have overlap in functionality.

But the figure is set to rise again in 2016 because lower cost machines will be available along with a variety of different designs.

The push to get people to use fitness wearables is being funded by a number of industry giants including Qualcomm, Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Nike and Intel.

Gartner sys the five main form factors are smart wristbands, sports watches, other fitness monitors, heart rate monitor chest straps and so called smart clothes.

This last category has the biggest potential for growth, according to Gartner and so-called “smart shirts” are no becoming available.  The research firm didn’t say whether the next step will be “smart pants”.

While smartwatches will come in many different price range, those costing $150 or over are likely to include accelerometers and gyroscopes but unlike health wristbands will have to tell the time and have the capacity to send and receive texts.