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Alibaba Goes Anti-x86: Open-Source RISC-V and 128-Core Arm Server Processors on the Horizon

With x86 architecture, large hyperscale cloud providers have been experiencing all sorts of troubles, from high power consumption to the high pricing structure of these processors. Companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS) build their processors based on 3rd party instruction set architecture designs. Today, Alibaba, the Chinese giant, has announced the launch of two processors made in-house to serve everything from edge to central server processing. First in line is the RISC-V-based Xuantie series of processors, which can run anything from AliOS, FreeRTOS, RT-Thread, Linux, Android, etc., to other operating systems as well. These processors are open-source, capable of modest processing capabilities, and designed as IPs that anyone can use. You can check them out on T-Head GitHub repositories here.

The other thing that Alibaba announced is the development of a 128-core custom processor based on the Arm architecture. Called Yitian 710 server SoC, TSMC manufactures it on the company on 5 nm semiconductor node. So far, Alibaba didn't reveal any details about the SoC and what Arm cores are used. However, this signifies that the company seeks technology independence from outside sources and wants to take it all in-house. With custom RISC-V processors for lower-power tasks and custom Arm server CPUs, the whole infrastructure is covered. It is just a matter of time before Alibaba starts to replace x86 makers in full. However, given the significant number of chips that the company needs, it may not happen at any sooner date.

HTC VIVE Breaks new Ground with Launch of Portable VIVE Flow Immersive Glasses

HTC VIVE today announced VIVE Flow, a compact, lightweight immersive glasses device that transports its wearers wherever they want or need to be - anytime, anywhere. "With VIVE Flow, HTC is taking technology in a new direction, focusing not on what we do, but on how we feel. Maintaining our wellness has come to the forefront in the last few years, with so many millions feeling stressed every day, so it has never been more important to take time out to calm our minds, and VIVE Flow provides the perfect opportunity to escape our four walls and immerse ourselves in our ideal ambience," said Cher Wang, Chairwoman and CEO of HTC. "Meditation, gentle stretches, brain training, streaming our favorite shows or even meeting friends or coworkers in VR with VIVE Sync can all be enhanced by a device light and compact enough to fit in our pocket. VIVE Flow represents the next evolution of technology, as we take a more holistic view of how we can make life better."

"Relaxation means different things to different people," said Nanea Reeves, CEO of leading XR wellness service TRIPP. "It's important to find your own version of zen, whether that means meditating, watching videos, or playing games. The fact that HTC gets it, that we can use VR in these ways that can benefit peoples' emotional and mental well-being is something that I personally am very excited about as is our entire team at TRIPP."

Tile Unveils New Products, Introduces New Features to Make Finding Easier for Everyone

Tile, the pioneer in finding technology, introduces a new lineup that builds on the superior features consumers around the world rely on to keep track of their things. Available today, the lineup includes sleek new designs for a wide range of uses, increased finding range, louder ring and a new way for lost items to be found and returned. The company will also be introducing highly accurate Point and Locate finding with the launch of the Ultra-Wideband enabled Tile Ultra as well as a new Scan and Secure safety feature early next year.

Tile is built for everyone and everything, with a platform agnostic app and multiple form factors that attach to just about anything right out of the box. At a time when consumers are faced with even more choice within the category, Tile continues to see significant growth, a testament to its wide appeal. In the first half of 2021, Tile has grown revenue over 50 percent, and shows no sign of slowing down.

Nokia Launches Affordable Android Tablet with 10.4-inch 2K Display

The return of Nokia to the phone market via HMD hasn't quite been what most Nokia fans were hoping for, although the company has carved out a strange mid-range to low-end niche for itself. Now the company has announced its first tablet, called the T20 which ends up in the same kind of market space as most of its phones, although the pricing is somewhat attractive though.

The T20 sports a 10.4-inch display with a 1,200x2,000 pixel resolution and a rather unusual 5:3 aspect ratio. The back is made from aluminium and the screen is covered with toughened glass, although without any kind of fancy marketing name involved. The choice of SoC is rather interesting, as Nokia went with a Unisoc T610, which is already a couple of years old by now. Even so, it sports two Arm Cortex-A75 cores and six Cortex-A55, all clocked at 1.8 GHz, so it's not a bottom shelf chip as such, although the Mali G52 MP2 GPU isn't going to be amazing for more demanding games, considering the resolution of the display.

Fairphone 4 Gets Faster Processor, Larger Screen and 5G, Loses 3.5 mm Jack

If you've been looking for a smartphone with a long term software update guarantee from the manufacturer, then the Fairphone 4 might be what you've been waiting for, as outside of being user upgradable in many ways, the company promises Android updates until at least 2025, but possibly as far as to 2027. This is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition and although the Fairphone 4 isn't what you'd call a cutting edge phone, it does have some unique competitive advantages.

Fairphone is a company that started out with a vision of delivering not only user repairable and upgradeable phones, to reduce electronics waste, but also to use more sustainable and more fairly sourced materials. In addition to this, the company claims to pay its factory workers better and to improve their working conditions.

Epson Debuts Versatile, Smart Projector for Remote and Hybrid Work Environments

As business professionals continue to navigate new work environments - in an office, at home, or a mix of both - having proper technology and display tools are essential for maintaining team productivity and collaboration. Dedicated to delivering top-quality projection that is also versatile for a range of professional environments, today Epson introduced the new Epson 880X 3LCD 1080p smart portable projector. Compact and equipped with a convenient carrying case, the 880X meets a variety of on-the-go business display needs. Additionally, with Android TV and built-in Chromecast, users can easily switch it into a streaming machine for epic entertainment virtually anywhere.

"As the dynamics of work environments continue to shift, it's important that business professionals have the proper tools to set them up for success in any space," said Kenny Tang, product manager, projectors, Epson America, Inc. "The demand for bigger displays has continued throughout the pandemic for both business and home entertainment. The 880X smart projector is ideal for video conferencing and presentations with the added versatility to transform spaces into entertainment hubs."

Sony Electronics Adds Two New Wireless Models to its Award-Winning Headphones Range

Sony Electronics Inc. today announced two new wireless headphones - the WF-C500 earbuds and the WH-XB910N over-ear model. With easy to use Bluetooth pairing, long lasting battery life and unique sound customization features, these headphones make it easier than ever to listen to favorite music and content in even better quality.

"Sony strives to deliver a premium and best-in-class listening experience with every audio product it introduces, and these new additions meet that demanding standard," said Tyler Ishida, Deputy President for Consumer Business Group, Sony Electronics Inc. "Whether customers are looking for bass-heavy cans or compact go-anywhere buds, our new headphones offer something for everyone."

Genesis Launches a New Krypton 290 Gaming Mouse

The Genesis Krypton 290 is the model from the 200 series. In its ergonomic case you will find a 6400 DPI sensor, in-built memory for storing settings, as well as switches which provide effortless work for a long time. The set is complete with LED illumination with the signature PRISMO effect.

The Genesis Krypton 290 gaming mouse is a light (99 g) design with a symmetrical shape. The model is equipped with seven programmable buttons which can be configured with the use of the manufacturer's software. It also allows for recording of macros as well as changing the illumination settings and saving those options in the in-built memory. There are 16 million colors to choose from. The roller, logo on the top, as well as a LEDs running along the base are illuminated.

Windows Subsystem for Android Performance Benchmarks Discovered

Microsoft announced that as part of Windows 11 Android applications would be natively supported as if they were desktop apps. The Windows Subsystem for Android will enable this support through emulation and is derived from the Windows Subsystem for Linux added in Windows 10. Microsoft has been working with Intel and Amazon to integrate their Bridge Technology and Appstore to improve the performance and experience of using Android apps. We have recently seen a slew of Geekbench results from devices running the Windows Subsystem for Android which reveals what we can expect in terms of performance.

The listings show Geekbench 5 single-core scores ranging from 107 - 828 and multi-core scores between 439 - 4908 which indicates that performance could far exceed that of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 on the high-end. We cannot determine the specific desktop processor used in each benchmark so these results can only be interpreted as a potential range. Microsoft has announced that Android support won't be available in Windows 11 at launch and will instead come as a future update.

Google Teases Upcoming Custom Tensor Processor in Pixel 6

In 2016, we launched the first Pixel. Our goal was to give people a more helpful, smarter phone. Over the years, we introduced features like HDR+ and Night Sight, which used artificial intelligence (AI) to create beautiful images with computational photography. In later years, we applied powerful speech recognition models to build Recorder, which can record, transcribe and search for audio clips, all on device.

AI is the future of our innovation work, but the problem is we've run into computing limitations that prevented us from fully pursuing our mission. So we set about building a technology platform built for mobile that enabled us to bring our most innovative AI and machine learning (ML) to our Pixel users. We set out to make our own System on a Chip (SoC) to power Pixel 6. And now, years later, it's almost here. Tensor is our first custom-built SoC specifically for Pixel phones, and it will power the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro later this fall.

Microsoft Extends Xbox Cloud Gaming to PCs and Apple Devices - Powered by Xbox Series X

Microsoft has opened the floodgates, and allowed the huge PC and Apple devices market to enter the Xbox ecosystem via Cloud Gaming. Now you don't need to have a gaming PC or Xbox console. Now, you can be a part of Microsoft's ecosystem with whatever device you use - Xbox will always be there with you. This is the vision Microsoft is aiming at with the extension of Cloud Gaming to (almost) anything - with a simple browser, via its (currently Beta) xCloud for PC. Provided you subscribe to the Games Pass Ultimate subscription tier, of course. Which Microsoft is offering at $1 a month, with two extra free months, and then $12.99 a month.

However, there's a catch: if you want to be on the receiving end of Microsoft's franchises via Cloud Gaming, you have to possess a supported controller - Xbox offerings are the surest bets; however, PS4's controller is also supported). This happens because the stream is being originated in custom Xbox Series X consoles on the cloud - Microsoft's best performant hardware to date. However, it seems a way to adapt the stream from Xbox Series X's controller inputs and adapt them to the PC's native mouse and keyboard controller wasn't found. Streams will also be constrained by a less than optimal (but still very respectable) 1080p and 60 FPS limitations. Other than those caveats, if you don't have a gaming-capable PC or Microsoft's latest family of consoles, this is the way to enjoy gaming within Microsoft's franchises and all other partners through the ecosystem. Microsoft had already launched an xCloud app for Android smartphones, thus capturing most of the market in one fell swoop. The press release follows.

The Best Just Got Better: Lypertek Announces the PurePlay Z3 2.0

KS Distribution is pleased to announce the release of the new Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 true wireless earphones. This update to the multi award-winning PurePlay Z3 adds features such as the new Qualcomm QCC3040 chipset, Bluetooth 5.2, wireless charging, Hear Through mode and the new PureControl app compatibility - all this and more while keeping the price at £99/$99/€99.

Successor to the multi award-winning PurePlay Z3 (TEVI), the PurePlay Z3 2.0 takes the performance of Lypertek's first true wireless earphones to a whole new level. Utilising Qualcomm's latest QC3040 chipset allows for Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity and superior connection quality thanks to its TrueWireless Mirroring technology. Added features including wireless charging, Hear Through mode and compatibility with the new Lypertek PureControl app guarantees to offer an outstanding and customisable audio experience.

Panasonic Introduces TOUGHBOOK S1 - the Ultimate Rugged Android Tablet

Panasonic today introduced the TOUGHBOOK S1 tablet - the ultimate rugged Android tablet for the truly mobile worker. This 7 inch screen device is easy to use in one hand, adaptable for a variety of tasks yet powerful and tough enough to cope with the busiest shift. It's at its best when in the hands of security and police forces patrolling the streets, technicians monitoring production lines, field services engineers carrying out inspections and maintenance or construction workers on site.

"The modern mobile worker deserves a mobile computing device designed for their everyday needs - not just another consumer tablet in a hardcase with all the potential problems they bring," said Baris Koc, European Product Manager for rugged mobile IT at Panasonic. "The TOUGHBOOK S1 is that professional mobile workforce device. It's built without compromise to meet the very specific and practical everyday needs of both the users and the IT administrators deploying and maintaining them."

Denuvo Joins Exclusive PlayStation 5 Tools and Middleware Program to Offer Anti-Cheat Technology to Game Developers

As security and innovation collide, Denuvo by Irdeto today announces it has joined the exclusive PlayStation 5 Tools and Middleware program. Denuvo, the leader in video games protection, offers its Anti-Cheat solution through this program to publishers and developers whose games are available on PlayStation 5.

Denuvo is at the forefront of games security with over 2 billion unique game installs protected across all platforms, and over 1,000 games secured. Joining the PlayStation 5 Tools and Middleware program therefore fosters Denuvo's continued commitment to excellence and innovation in game security. It also supports Denuvo's goal of protecting the developers' investment, where approximately 70% of their revenue is earned in the first two weeks after the launch of a game.

NVIDIA Expands GeForce NOW Game Streaming Service to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Australia

NVIDIA has today announced the expansion of its GeForce NOW game streaming service to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Australia. The company has worked closely with telecommunication providers to ensure that the streaming service is working well and now they can deliver even more gamers a chance to play their favorite games in the cloud. NVIDIA stated that: "It also offers an opportunity for the world's leading telecommunications firms to deliver high-quality, low-latency PC gaming to nearly any device from the cloud. These partners form the GeForce NOW Alliance, a partnership of operators using RTX Servers and NVIDIA cloud-gaming software to expand and improve cloud gaming globally."

As a reminder, the GeForce NOW is a game streaming service that "brings real-time raytracing to today's biggest blockbusters to underpowered PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, Android and iOS devices." You can access a wide range of games from almost any device and play as much as you like.

V-MODA Unveils M-200 ANC, Its First Bluetooth Active Noise Cancelling Headphone

V-MODA, the award-winning manufacturer of the world's finest high-fidelity audio devices, announces the availability of the M-200 ANC, its first Bluetooth active noise cancelling headphones, featuring award-winning V-MODA sound coupled with hybrid active noise cancellation. The M-200 ANC takes V-MODA customization one step further by working in tandem with the new V-MODA app, allowing listeners to adjust their noise cancellation level and personalize their sound with EQ presets to fit their lifestyle.

"With this new release, we are propelling ourselves into a new generation of headphones that are unlike anything we've ever done before and into the V-MODA of the future," says Luca Bolognesi, VP of Marketing Technology of V-MODA. "We're thrilled to be introducing our customers to a brand-new kind of ANC headphone where they can fully customize their listening experience, as well as the physical build and design of the headphones they're wearing."

Genesis Announces Rhod 250 Gaming Keyboard

Genesis Rhod 250 is a practical and durable gaming keyboard. The manufacturer included laser engraved symbols, resistance to splashes, as well as 19-key antighosting. All of this is available for a shockingly low price. The black and red design of the Rhod 250 is based on membranes with high durability. Its antighosting mechanism efficiently handles combinations of up to 19 keys pressed, enabling playing in duos on the same keyboard. The keys have laser engraved symbols, so that they do not vanish after long-term, intensive use.

The Genesis Rhod 250 allows for the swapping of arrows and W, A, S, D keys. The device also includes multimedia control keys, and some of the keys are enriched with symbols of video game equipment. The whole set is resistant to splashes, which enhances the practical value of the device. There are also standard features such as Windows block key or anti-slip, foldable feet.

SoundID Cutting-Edge Sound Personalization Technology Now Available on Gateway tablets

Sonarworks, the company behind precision audio software used by Grammy-Award-winning engineers to record top artists like Lady Gaga, Madonna, Rihanna, Adele, Coldplay and Kanye West, announces its partnership with Gateway, the beloved cow-spotted PC brand, integrating its SoundID sound personalization technology into Gateway's new tablets. With SoundID enabled The Gateway 8" and Gateway 10" tablets, users can enhance their listening experience - at home or on-the-go - on some of the most popular music streaming services including Spotify, YouTube Music, Apple Music, and more.

"We're proud to partner with an iconic brand like Gateway to deliver a seamless experience of SoundID to its Gateway tablet customers," said Martins Popelis, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Sonarworks. "SoundID enabled Gateway tablets deliver premium sound tailored for each individual with no extra costs. We at Sonarworks believe sound can be enjoyed to the max irrespective of how, when or where you listen. And we're excited Gateway has joined us on this mission."

Netgear Updates Orbi Pro Lineup with Wi-Fi 6 AX6000 Tri-Band Model

NETGEAR, Inc., the leading provider of networking products that power businesses both large and small, today announces the addition of WiFi 6 to the Orbi Pro portfolio. The Orbi Pro WiFi 6 (SXK80) Tri-band Mesh System is an industry leading tri-band WiFi 6 (802.11ax) multi-node mesh system designed to grow with small businesses and home offices as the need to expand their area of network coverage increases. It is comprised of a single router and a single satellite, and can expand to support up to 6 satellites (wireless nodes).

The Orbi Pro WiFi 6 Tri-band Mesh System provides the latest generation of WiFi technology to deliver increased capacity, advanced security and enhanced speed for employees, customers and guests of small businesses and small office environments. In an era where business is widely being conducted remotely while other members of the household are also dependent on connectivity, this new addition to the Orbi Pro family can also address the demand for separate and secure WiFi networks when working from home. Featuring the latest WiFi data security standard, WPA3, along with 4 SSIDs and VLAN support, the Orbi Pro WiFi 6 Mesh System provides a secure network while also isolating connections for separate activities, making it the ideal solution for today's work from home paradigm.

Fortnite Gets Kicked Out From Google and Apple App Stores, Epic Games Files a Lawsuit

Today, Epic Games has decided to file a lawsuit against both Apple and Google after both companies removed Fortnite form their platform app stores (Google Play and Apple App Store). Firstly, Apple has decided to remove the Fortnite app to form its App Store because the game violated the company's policy that all in-game payments must go through the Apple App Store system, instead of them being processed directly. That means that Apple can also apply its 30% cut on all the payments made in-game. After Apple has revoked the Fortnite app, Epic Games has decided to file a lawsuit that aims to fight the company's monopoly and make the iOS platform more developer-friendly. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said that Epic will not seek or accept any special deal that Apple may offer, but rather wants to fight for all developers.

Just hours after Apple decided to pull the Fortnite game from its App Store, Google has also removed the game from its Google Play Store. Google's Play Store policy about in-app payments says that all games must use Google Play in-app billing if they want to process payments, so Fortnite was pulled from it as well. In light of that move, Epic Games has also filed a lawsuit against Google on the same terms. The company wants to fight both Apple and Google in court and make them be more developer-friendly, especially Apple. We have to wait and see how the case progresses. Being that Apple is almost a $2 trillion company, it can surely afford lots of good lawyers, just as Google will. We want to express our support for Epic Games for going in the right direction, as we do need more open ecosystems.

Sid Meier's Civilization VI Officially Ported to Android Devices

Sid Meier's Civilization VI is the latest turn-based strategy in the series launching back in 2016, the game has made its way onto various platforms including Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and now Android. The game is available through the Google Play store as shareware with a 20 USD fee to play past turn 60, "Rise and Fall" and "Gathering Storm" expansions are also available for 30 USD and 40 USD respectively. There are a variety of scenario packs also available for 5-9 USD, this pricing is consistent across mobile versions.

The game has received mixed to positive reviews mainly due to compatibility issues, the game requires a modern device to run smoothly especially in the late game. The animations have been simplified or removed along with the addition of a 30fps frame rate cap to help improve performance which given the genre is fine.

Samsung Aims to Become Number One Android AP Vendor by Joining Forces with AMD and Arm

Samsung Electronics has reportedly laid out a plan to become the number one Android application processor (AP) vendor in the industry with its plan to join forces with AMD and Arm. The report of Business Korea indicates that Samsung wants to use both company's knowledge and IP to produce the best possible silicon. In early November of last year, Samsung has decided to shut down its division responsible for making custom CPU designs, and to start licensing IP from Arm. Also last year, Samsung has announced a strategic partnership with AMD to use its RDNA graphics processors in smartphones.

So Samsung plans to license IPs from both companies and just put them in SoC that will be up to the task to deliver the best performance, as the company predicts. The CPU is reportedly going to be based on Arm's Cortex-X custom design that should deliver high-performance Samsung wants. In the past, the company had some problems with the heat-management of its CPUs as they were designed a bit inefficiently. To cover everything, Samsung also plans to increase the number of employees working on a neural processing unit (NPU) and make a good performing NPUs as well, to combine with the rest of IPs.

Qualcomm Could Deliver Chips to Huawei

In the ave of the news that Trump administration has forbidden TSMC to have Huawei as its customer, Huawei seems to be exploring new options for sourcing the best performing mobile processors. As the company has turned to the Chinese SMIC semiconductor factory, it still needs a backup plan in the case of Chinese semiconductor manufacturing flops. So to combat US sanctions, Huawei will use already made chips form the US company - Qualcomm. By sourcing the processors from Qualcomm, Huawei is losing some benefits of customs design like better system integration, however, it will gain quite powerful mobile processors. As Qualcomm is known for providing the fastest processors for Android smartphones, Huawei has ensured that it remains competitive. Qualcomm is reportedly now negotiating with the US government about delivering the chips to Huawei, and if it is allowed, Qualcomm will gain a big customer.

Vulnerabilities in Qualcomm Snapdragon's DSP May Render 1 Billion Android Phones Vulnerable to Hacking

Vulnerabilities in Qualcomm's DSP (Digital Signal Processor) present in the company's Snapdragon SoCs may render more than a billion Android phones susceptible to hacking. According to research reported this week by security firm Check Point, they've found more than 400 vulnerabilities in Snapdragon's DSP, which may allow attackers to monitor locations, listen to nearby audio in real time, and exfiltrate locally-stored photos and videos - besides being able to render the phone completely unresponsive.

The vulnerabilities (CVE-2020-11201, CVE-2020-11202, CVE-2020-11206, CVE-2020-11207, CVE-2020-11208 and CVE-2020-11209) can be exploited simply via a video download or any other content that's rendered by the chip that passes through its DSP. Targets can also be attacked by installing malicious apps that require no permissions at all. Qualcomm has already tackled the issue by stating they have worked to validate the issue, and have already issued mitigations to OEMs, which should be made available via software updates in the future. In the meantime, the company has said they have no evidence any of these flaws is being currently exploited, and advise all Snapdragon platform users to only install apps via trusted locations such as the Play Store.

Sony Announces WH-1000XM4 Industry-leading Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Sony today announced the WH-1000XM4, the 4th generation over-ear wireless noise cancelling headphones in Sony's award-winning 1000X family. The latest headphones offer all the much-loved technology from the hugely popular WH-1000XM3, with additional intelligent features that allow you to personalise and control your music, improve noise cancellation and adjust ambient sound automatically based on your preferences for a superior sound experience.

Whether you're flying long haul or relaxing in a café, the WH-1000XM4 headphones deliver Sony's best ever noise cancelling performance, reducing high and mid frequency sounds. With two microphones on each earcup, being used for noise cancelling, our Dual Noise Sensor technology captures ambient noise and passes the data to the trusted HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1. Then a new BLUETOOTH Audio SoC (System on Chip) senses and adjusts to music and noise at over 700 times per second. Using a new algorithm, the HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 applies noise cancelling processing in real time. This allows the user to focus more on the music they love and blur out the chaos of the outside world.
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