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Misc

Saturday 09 January 2010
Google or Apple — who’s the smartphone money on?
MaTiCa , Saturday 09 January 2010 - 14:31:37 //

Apple and Google, once the friendliest of Silicon Valley neighbours, have set themselves on a collision course.

While Google was driving its tanks into Apple retail territory this week with its new smartphone, Steve Jobs quietly bought a mobile advertising company, potentially pitching the group that he founded into the online ad sales business.

Google’s Nexus One “superphone? is a direct competitor to Apple’s iPhone and, according to some, a worthy rival. In buying Quattro Wireless for a reported $275 million (£170 million), Apple is following Google’s acquisition of AdMob, a mobile advertising network that competed with Quattro, for $750 million.

The ground they are both trying to conquer is the mobile internet; both see it as essential to growth. Analysts suggest that new internet connections — and web page views and advertising clicks — are much more likely to come from the 4 billion mobile users worldwide than the 1 billion PC users.

The key to that growth is likely to be smartphones, which are set to dominate the way in which we access the web on the move. In the US, for example, smartphone adoption grew from 11 per cent of the mobile market at the end of 2008 to 17 per cent at the end of 2009, according to Forrester Research. Both technology powerhouses want as much control over this new gateway as possible as they move beyond their traditional markets. Rob Enderle, technology analyst of the Enderle Group, the consultancy, said: “I think Google might be more focused on Apple than Microsoft.?

Apple is likely to use Quattro to make the iPhone platform still more attractive to the thousands of software developers who have turned its App Store into such a success. If Apple can offer a way to sell ads in the applications, it can help those developers make more money. Apple is keenly aware that the iPhone’s App Store is a big selling point for consumers; just as Google was launching the Nexus One, Apple put out a press release declaring that more than 3 billion applications had been downloaded for the iPhone and the iPod Touch. Mr Jobs said: “We see no signs of the competition catching up any time soon.?

The iPhone is a goldmine, with more than 30 million handsets sold in the past two and a half years. And demand is still growing, thanks to international launches and carefully planned hardware updates. The device helped to boost Apple’s annual revenue from $24 billion in the 2007 financial year to $36.5 billion in its most recent financial year, which ended in September.

Google’s revenues have also soared, from $1.5 billion in 2003 to more than $22 billion last year, the vast bulk of the money coming from the internet search ad business. Google wants AdMob to help it to dominate mobile search advertising similarly.

But it also wants its Android operating system for mobiles to be used by as many devices as possible. So it has taken the logical step of selling its own phone.

Google is looking to become a big-volume retailer, too, through its phone webstore. At the launch of the Nexus One this week, it said the smartphone was simply the first of many Android handsets that it planned to sell directly online to the public. Even if the Nexus is not an “iPhone killer?, as some had expected before its launch, many see the Android operating system as the only true rival to the dominance of the iPhone.

The Google/Apple collision has been coming for more than a year. It was the potential clash over Google’s increasing mobile ambitions that led last August to the resignation of Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, from the Apple board.

The move came three days after the US Federal Communications Commission, the US industry regulator, said it was looking into why Apple rejected a Google software application for the iPhone. Mr Jobs cited Google’s expansion into “Apple’s core businesses? as the main reason for the departure.

In the past, the two companies have been close, with Apple board members Bill Campbell and Al Gore, the former US Vice-President, serving as advisers to Google in its early days.

Now Google’s acquisition of AdMob is mired in a regulatory review, though it is expected to be approved. This may explain why Google went out of its way to welcome Apple’s acquisition of Quattro. Paul Feng, Google’s group product manager, wrote that “investments and acquisitions? ... were “a sign that vigorous growth and competition will continue?. Analysts noted that Google’s warm response may have been motivated by a desire to persuade the authorities that the AdMob deal should go through.

Beyond the politics, both companies know there is much at stake. The business of placing ads on smartphone screens is small but growing fast. Advertisers spent just $416 million on mobile ads last year, compared with $22 billion on websites, according to eMarketer, the research firm. However, the mobile spend is expected to grow to $1.6 billion by 2013 as smartphones and other mobile computing devices become increasingly popular.

In hardware and in software, Google and Apple are set to slug it out.

SOURCE: Times Online

Wallpaper2  669491a

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Monday 04 January 2010
Google’s Nexus One is the future: a lot more stuff on fewer devices
MaTiCa , Monday 04 January 2010 - 16:28:25 //

Google’s Nexus One mobile phone may or may not prove to be that elusive “next iPhone?, but the timing of tomorrow’s expected announcement is certainly significant.

Just 24 hours later Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, will address the annual International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The best three years lie ahead, Mr Ballmer told The Times in a recent interview. The idea is that as fields such as television, computing, music, video, telephony, video gaming and photography mature their digital formats, fewer devices will be needed to store and play content.

Portable devices — the MP3 players, digital cameras and mobile phones of the mid-Noughties — have already merged to become today’s smartphones. At this year’s electronics show we can expect digital convergence to invade our living-rooms. Manufacturers are working on internet-capable television sets that can be switched from broadcast to internet catch-up services such as the BBC iPlayer as easily as changing channels. By the end of the decade, many experts predict, internet TV viewing will overtake broadcast viewing as the primary means of television consumption.

The jury is out on domestic 3D TV, which requires special glasses as well as special sets. It may be revolutionary — but having just replaced their old TV with a flat-screen, consumers may not be keen to fork out for a 3D set.

Great things are expected in eBooks. Electronic publishing and e-ink reached the mainstream last year. Now there is a race to produce a colour eBook device with go-anywhere wireless and maybe internet, video or games-playing ability.

The big story of last year, however, was the netbook, and we will see smaller, lighter, and more powerful models at the show. The netbook’s biggest competitor is the smartphone. This year, experts say, smartphone sales will overtake sales of traditional mobiles.

SOURCE: Times Online

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Sunday 27 December 2009
Hackers Steal South Korean War Plans
Christo [PCD] , Sunday 27 December 2009 - 15:54:10 //

Unknown attacker hacks into a laptop containing classified intelligence

While South Korea has faced many cyberwarfare attacks in the past, the most recent attack has been successful in extracting classified intelligence.

South Korea announced on December 18 that it was investigating a hacking attack that netted secret defense plans with the United States and may have been carried out by North Korea.

The suspected hacking occurred late last month when a South Korean officer failed to remove a USB device when he switched a military computer from a restricted-access intranet to the Internet.

The plans are said to include an out­line of Seoul’s and Washington’s strat­egy in the event of war on the Korean Peninsula housed in an 11-page document called OPLAN 5027 used to brief military officials.

This doc­u­ment included details of mil­i­tary oper­a­tions involv­ing South Korean and U.S. troops should North Korea con­duct a pre-emptive strike or attempt to invade South Korea. One source stated that the doc­u­ment included details about the 700,000 US troops that would be used in the event of a full-scale war. It is also thought to include a list of tar­gets in North Korea.

"Eleven pages of Powerpoint slides explaining the war plan for visiting military officers have been hacked, not the whole content of the contingency plan," a South Korean military official was quoted as saying.

Sources close to the event say that the sys­tems secu­rity soft­ware should have issued a warn­ing mes­sage if an exter­nal mem­ory device is inserted into a mil­i­tary com­puter, but hack­ers may have been able to steal the mil­i­tary secrets because a mil­i­tary offi­cer neglected these warn­ing mes­sages and broke regulations.


[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1261921966 Hacker

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OLPC Updates Netbook Roadmap, Shows Tablet Concept, Drops AMD for VIA
Christo [PCD] , Sunday 27 December 2009 - 15:53:37 //

Even poor kids need faster computing

Over the last five years, the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project has sought to develop and distribute a low-cost and rugged computer to children around the world in a bid to raise global standards of living. The non-profit organization successfully developed the XO-1, and has distributed over 1.4 million of the netbooks for less than $200 each.

“The first version of OLPC’s child-centric laptop, the XO, is a revolution in low-cost, low-power computing. The XO has been distributed to more than 1.4 million children in 35 countries and in 25 languages,? said Nicholas Negroponte, the founder and Chairman of One Laptop per Child.

Mass production of the XO-1 first started in November 2007. Computer technology has made significant advances over the last two years, and the XO-1 is getting long in the tooth. The XO-1 features an AMD Geode CPU running at 433MHz, 256MB of DDR DRAM, and 1GB of SLC NAND flash memory for storage. A 7.5-inch screen with a 1200x900 resolution is used. Wireless networking is enabled by a chip from Marvell, while a built-in camera, microphone, and speakers add functionality. A variety of battery choices are available. The XO-1 only uses 2W to run.

The OLPC project will introduce a new XO-1.5 in January 2010 using the same basic design. However, it will drop AMD in favor of a VIA C7-M Ultra Low Voltage CPU which will double operating speed. DRAM will be increased to 1GB, while 4GB of flash memory will be the standard, with an option for 8GB. It will be capable of running Windows and Linux, and is targeted for a $200 price.

Two other designs have been added to the OLPC roadmap. The XO-1.75 is currently targeted for the $150 mark and an early 2011 launch. The design will be updated, with rubber-bumpers on the outside for added shock protection. A new 8.9-inch touch-sensitive display will be used. The project is working with Marvell on integrating a new ARM processor that will double speeds while cutting power consumption by 75%. This ARM-based system will complement the x86-based XO-1.5, which will continue to remain in production to give deployments a choice of processor platform.

The XO-3.0 is being developed for 2012 at a target price of less than $100. It will feature a new tablet design using a single sheet of flexible plastic, and will supposedly be unbreakable. The XO 3.0 will leapfrog the XO-2.0, a concept approach that the OLPC project decide not to pursue.

“To fulfill our mission of reaching 500 million children in all remote corners of the planet, OLPC will continue to innovate in design and performance. Because we are a non-profit, we hope that industry will copy us,? Negroponte added.

The XO-1 helped to establish that low-cost netbooks could be functional and affordable, and helped push Intel into developing the Atom. Former OLPC CTO Mary Lou Jepsen left the project to form Pixel Qi, a fabless firm which designs and and markets energy-saving screens that are readable in daylight. There is no word yet on which OLPC netbooks will use the technology, but Pixel Qi just entered mass production of its first 10.1 screens for use with new Pine Trail netbooks, and its future screens are rumored to be used in Apple's tablet computer.

Walter Bender's Sugar interface has also been spun off. Originally designed for the OLPC project, it is now being developed by Sugar Labs and is available for free under a GNU General Public License.

The XO-3 tablet concept promises a different vision of computing (Source: OLPC)


[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1261921815 OLPC U

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Tuesday 24 November 2009
Update: OCZ Technology Announces 3.5" 1TB Colossus SSDs
Christo [PCD] , Tuesday 24 November 2009 - 19:15:17 //

OCZ unleashes SSDs tailored for desktop users

The market for Solid State Drives (SSDs) continues to expand. While SSDs first started off being outrageously expensive due to the use of SLC NAND memory, cheaper MLC NAND technology has brought SSDs to a more mainstream audience.

Traditionally, SSDs have been offered in a 2.5" or 1.8" form-factor which is most popular with notebooks, ultra-portable notebooks, and netbooks. 2.5" SSDs can be easily added to desktop systems using 3.5" mounting brackets, but OCZ Technology is looking to cut out the middleman altogether.

OCZ today formally announced its new Colossus Series SSDs which use the 3.5" form-factor that desktop users are familiar with. The additional room within the 3.5? casing also allows OCZ to offer Colossus SSDs in capacities of up to 1TB whereas most mainstream 2.5" SSDs top out at around 256GB.

The drives use an internal RAID-0 architecture (Indilinx SSD controllers plus a Silicon Image RAID controller) to boost performance -- reads, writes, and sustained writes are listed at 260MB/sec, 260MB/sec, and 220MB/sec respectively for the 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB Colossus drives. The 120GB Colossus shares its larger brothers read and write speeds, but its sustained writes are only listed at 140MB/sec.

“The new Colossus Series is designed to boost desktop and workstation performance and is for high power users that put a premium on speed, reliability and maximum storage capacity,? noted Eugene Chang, VP of Product Management at the OCZ Technology Group. “The Colossus core-architecture is also available to enterprise clients with locked BOMs (build of materials) and customized firmware to match their unique applications.?

OCZ provides all of its Colossus drives with a 3-year warranty. Amazon lists the prices of the 120GB, 250GB, and 500GB, and 1TB Colossus drives at $609, $1,123, $1,770, and $3,572 respectively. ZipZoomFly has slightly more sane pricing at $438, $827, and $1,531 respectively – the retailer doesn't have pricing for the massive 1TB model.

Updated 11/23/2009
PC Perspective has posted a review of OCZ's Colossus SSD


[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1259082404 Update

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