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AMD's Q3 2016 Earnings Call - Revenue is Up, Debt is Down

AMD today released their earnings call for 3Q 2016, giving us some interesting tidbits in regards to their financial robustness. The balance of AMD's economics seems to be pending towards better execution, and, coeteris paribus, a much better outlook for the coming quarters, after the monumental missteps in the past that almost threw AMD under the proverbial bus. Reception for the results seems to be a tangled mess, however, with some sides claiming that AMD beat expectations, while others prefer to draw attention to AMD's 2% stock decline since the report was outed.

AMD posted revenue of $1,307 million, up 27% sequentially and 23% year-over-year. This revenue was distributed unevenly through AMD's divisions, though. "Computing and Graphics" segment revenue was $472 million, up 9% from Q2 2016, primarily due to increased GPU sales (where Polaris picked up the grunt of the work, being responsible for 50% of AMD's GPU revenue), offset by lower sales of client desktop processors and chipsets; whereas "Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom" segment revenue was $835 million, up 41% sequentially, primarily due to record semi-custom SoC sales (such as those found in Microsoft's XBOX One and Sony's PS4 and upcoming PS4 Pro).

NVIDIA Claws Back Console Chips Business: Nintendo Switch Announced

After months of speculation, the lid is off Nintendo's "NX" project, with the company finally announcing today its much-awaited games console, the Nintendo Switch. With an expected release slated for March 2017, the console blurs the line between a games console and a handheld device, by making use of a docking station which will allow it to connect to a television, much like a traditional games console, while instantly entering a so called "portable mode" when it is undocked. As both a console and a portable device, the Nintendo Switch will use cartridges known as Game Cards, displaying games in a "high definition display" embedded on the console while on the go, with two detachable Joy-Con controllers stepping in as input devices.

For PC hardware enthusiasts, that may not be all too interesting. What is arguably more interesting is that this games console will make use of NVIDIA hardware: most notably, a custom Tegra processor is the one pulling out all of the console's processing needs, with the graphics being served by what the company calls "the same architecture as the world's top-performing GeForce gaming graphics cards."

Sony Launches AMD "Polaris" Powered PlayStation 4 Pro

Sony today announced an addition to its PlayStation family of entertainment systems, with the new PlayStation 4 Pro (PS4 Pro). The PS4 Pro isn't meant to succeed the PS4, and is still a "current generation" console, in that all of its games are compatible with the PS4, and there won't be PS4 Pro-exclusive games. What sets it apart is higher-resolution game rendering that looks best on 4K Ultra HD TVs. This doesn't necessarily mean that the games are being rendered at 3840 x 2160 pixels. They could be rendered at resolutions higher than 1080p, and using just the right upscaling algorithms, made to look significantly better than 1080p. Another key visual component is hardware HDR. The PS4 Pro falls in line with Sony's big push for 4K HDR TVs this holiday shopping season.

Under the hood, the PlayStation 4 Pro features an all new semi-custom SoC designed by Sony and AMD. The CPU component sticks to the "Jaguar/Puma" architecture, with 8 cores, but features higher CPU clock speeds. The 8 GB GDDR5 memory is said to run at higher clocks, too, and is bolstered by new lossless memory compression tech by AMD. The GPU component is where the action is. The GPU features over double the shading power of the PS4, and is based on the "Polaris" GPU architecture. The PS4 Pro also ships with a bigger 1 TB hard drive. There is seamless interplayability between PS4 and PS4 Pro. PS4 games you already own are being added with higher-resolution content meant for PS4 Pro. The console also has the muscle for PS-VR. For those still holding on to 1080p HDTVs, the PS4 Pro rewards with higher visual detail, more geometric complexity, and better effects, at that resolution. The PS4 Pro starts at $399.

PlayStation 4K to Feature a 2,304-SP AMD "Polaris" GPU

Sony's upcoming 4K Ultra HD game console, which its fans are referring to as the "PlayStation 4K," while being internally referred to by Sony as "NEO," could feature a very powerful GPU. AMD could custom-design the SoC that drives the console, to feature an 8-core 64-bit x86 CPU based on the "Jaguar" micro-architecture, running at 2.10 GHz; and a GPU component featuring 36 compute units based on "next-generation Graphics CoreNext" architecture.

36 next-gen GCN compute units sounds an awful lot like the specs of the Polaris10 "Ellesmere" chip in its Radeon R9 480 configuration, working out to a stream processor count of 2,304 - double that of the 1,152 on the current-gen PlayStation 4. The SoC is also rumored to feature a 256-bit GDDR5 memory interface holding 8 GB of memory. This memory will be used as both system and video memory, just like on the current-gen PlayStation 4. The memory bandwidth will be increased to 218 GB/s from the current 176 GB/s. Besides 4K Ultra HD gaming, this chip could also prepare Sony for VR headsets, leveraging AMD's LiquidVR tech.Source: GiantBomb

Sony Unveils the SLW-M Series Consumer SSDs

Sony is making its international debut in consumer SSDs, with the SLW-M series. The company was selling some of its first SSDs locally in Japan. Built in the 7 mm thick 2.5-inch form-factor, the drives feature SATA 6 Gb/s interface, and come in capacities of 240 GB (SLW-MG2) and 480 GB (SLW-MG4). There's no word on the controller or NAND flash make, but the company is advertising performance figures of up to 560 MB/s reads, with up to 530 MB/s writes. A 9.5 mm spacer, and a license to Acronis True image 2015 HD come included. Sony is also including its very own drive management software, the Sony SSD Toolbox.
Update: DIYPC HK posted a picture of the drive's PCB. It reveals a rebranded Phison S10 series controller, and Toshiba A19 TLC NAND flash.Source: Hermitage Akihabara, Many Thanks to TheLostSwede for the update.

Microsoft Acquires Havok Physics from Intel

Microsoft acquired Havok Physics, the industry's most popular in-game physics API, from Intel. Microsoft intends to add Havok's IP to its existing tools and platforms, including DirectX 12, Visual Studio, and Azure. Havok will continue to remain accessible to all its existing licensees and partners, including Activision, EA, Ubisoft, Nintendo, and Sony. It currently features in more than 600 AAA game titles across major platforms, such as the PC, PlayStation, Wii, and Xbox.

Source: Microsoft

NVIDIA Ships Over 75% of Discrete GPUs in Q2-2015

Mercury Research published its market analysis for PC Graphics, for the second quarter of 2015 (April-June), this is an important quarter as this is when people tend to buy or upgrade their PCs for the summer break. According to the numbers posted by Mercury Research, NVIDIA hit a new record in discrete GPU market share. In the assessment period, 76.4 percent of desktop discrete GPUs were NVIDIA, up from 63.8 percent in Q2-2014. AMD, the only other desktop discrete GPU maker, saw its share drop to 23.6 percent.

The mobile discrete GPU figures were slightly better for AMD, with the company making up 34.6 percent, slightly up from 33.2 percent in Q2-2014. NVIDIA slipped proportionately down to 65.4 percent, from 66.8 percent in Q2-2014. When being a "discrete" GPU is no longer a criteria, and Intel is added to the mix, i.e. every CPU with graphics Intel sold, and every APU AMD sold (including the ones it sold to Microsoft and Sony), NVIDIA makes up 15.7 percent, AMD 14 percent, and Intel a whopping 70.1 percent. The big-picture isn't looking good. PC graphics shipments declined by 8 percent over the quarter, and down 21 percent from the same time last year. This is the worst on-year decline since the 2008 Financial Crisis.

Source: Mercury Research

Sony Unveils Pro 1 TB and 2 TB Hard Drives with Thunderbolt and USB 3.0

Sony's new HDD models offer dual Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 interfaces for compatibility with a range of widely used computers and devices. These newest entries in Sony's expanding portable storage line-up include PSZ-HB1T, a 1 TB model and PSZ-HB2T, a 2 TB model. Each delivers high performance and durability to professionals who need large capacity, fast, reliable data storage for transport, back-up and transfer of content in the field and on-the-go.

"Professionals need options when making storage purchase decisions, which is why Sony is now offering two high capacity, high-speed, rugged shuttle drives, with flexible interfaces," said Bill Cubellis, Director, Professional and Storage Media Sales & Marketing, Sony Electronics. "Compatibility is also critical, and based on user feedback we included a Thunderbolt port in our HDD. Now users can safely, affordable and easily transport large volumes of content, and deliver it in a timely fashion from the field, from nearly any device." The PSZ-HB2T offers transfer speeds of up to 122 MB/s, while the PSZ-HB1T can read and write at up to 120 MB/s.

Sony Issues US Recall of VAIO Flip Laptops Due to 'Fire and Burn Hazards'

Just as it completed the same of its VAIO division Sony announced the recall of hundreds of VAIO Flip laptops which were sold in the US between February and April (2014). The issue is with the VAIO Flip units bearing the model number SVF11N13CXS as these have Panasonic-manufactured lithium-ion batteries that can overheat, posing fire and burn hazards.

Seems there were no problems reported (yet) in the US but Sony is aware of four incidents in Asia where the overheating batteries led to 'units smoking, catching on fire and melting'. Thankfully nobody was injured.

Sony Adds Two Portable Bluetooth Wireless Speakers to Its Line-Up

Sony Canada announced the SRS-X3 and SRS-X2 portable Bluetooth wireless speakers, giving music lovers more options to listen to the tunes they love anytime and anywhere. Both models offer powerful sound and easy connectivity in a sleek design. The compact SRS-X3 provides rich bass with an output power of 20 watts in a sleek "Definitive Outline" design. The geometric "Definitive Outline" design is characterized by sleek lines and smooth surfaces, allowing the wireless speakers to beautifully blend into any indoor or outdoor space while delivering high quality sound.

The SRS-X3 consists of two full range speakers and two passive radiators, allowing for rich bass in a compact size. The two passive radiators are located at the front and backside. ClearAudio+, a unique Sony digital signal processing technology, provides higher quality sound while Sound Mode delivers a wider sound stage. Users can wirelessly stream audio with Bluetooth, and connect to mobile devices seamlessly with easy One-Touch listening via Near Field Communications (NFC). With a built-in mic, the speaker can be used as a speakerphone for hands-free calling when paired with a mobile device. The built-in rechargeable battery offers up to seven hours of playback. The SRS-X3 portable wireless speaker comes in black, white and red.

Pioneer Develops 256 GB Blu-ray Disc

Pioneer is developing a new media based on the Blu-ray standard, which offers 256 GB of unformatted capacity. The capacity is achieved by recording data in a staggering eight layers, double that of Blu-ray XL, which relies on four layers to achieve 100 GB of capacity. Pioneer claims it has even made strides towards an even newer Blu-ray media that could, in the near future, offer 512 GB of unformatted capacity. The 256 GB Blu-ray disc could prove useful for making large data backups, or even imaging your SSD. Pioneer isn't the only player in the high-capacity optical disc game. Sony and Panasonic collaborated to announce ArchivalDisc, an optical disc that offers 300 GB of capacity, except that it doesn't stick to the Blu-ray standard, and you'll need specially made disc-drives to use them. Since Pioneer's disc builds on the existing Blu-ray standard, it will be cheaper for optical drive makers to adopt it.

Source: Pioneer

Sony Expands Portable Storage Line with New 2 TB Hard Disk Drive

Sony's new 2 TB (terabyte) portable storage hard disk drive takes the worry out of back-up in the field, and gives professionals reliable, bus-powered high-speed storage.

The new 2 TB hard disk drive (PSZ-HA2T) expands Sony's line of portable storage drives, and joins three current models including a 500 GB and 1 TB (PSZ-HA50 and PSZ-HA1T) hard disk model and a 256 GB solid state drive (PSZ-SA25).

Sony Introduces the World's First 9.1ch Digital Surround Wireless Headphones

Get a cinematic sound experience all to yourself in the comfort of your home with the new MDR-HW700DS digital surround wireless headphones system from Sony. Explosive surround sound is delivered via the world's first 9.1ch digital surround headphones. Adding more depth to the headphones system is a choice of sound effect modes that allow you to optimise the listening quality for movies, gaming or news- and talk shows.

The new "Cinema" mode, produced with the expertise of Sony Pictures Entertainments' very own Academy Award winning Supervising Sound Editor Tom McCarthy, recreates a feeling of being at the cinema. You can enjoy premium detailed uncompressed multi-channel surround sound via the digital wireless transmission that eliminates noise and interference from other devices in the home.

Sony MDR-ZX750BN Wireless Headphones Released in the US

Sony Electronics today announced the MDR-ZX750BN over-the-head headphones, offering music lovers wireless freedom, precision noise cancelling, superior comfort and unmistakable sound. The MDR-ZX750BN headphones are available now for about $199.99.

The MDR-ZX750BN headphones offer the flexibility of wirelessly connecting to your tablet or smartphone using Bluetooth with Near Field Communication (NFC) while also reducing 98% ambient noise. Audiophiles will also enjoy strong bass response thanks to large 40mm drivers with Beat Response Control.

Sony SRS-X Series Speakers Now Available

Sony announced three new wireless speakers are available today, each giving audiophiles easy access to rich, powerful sound in a sleek "Definitive Outline" design. The SRS-X9 High-Resolution wireless speaker system, and the SRS-X7 and SRS-X5 wireless speaker systems, developed in collaboration with Sony Music, bring clear vocals and bass-rich thumping tunes to any living space or on the go. The SRS-X9 will retail for $699.99, the SRS-X7 for $299.99 and the SRS-X5 for $199.99.

Sony's new wireless speakers, with clean lines of metal and glass, feature a geometric "Definitive Outline" design consisting of 12 outlines around the square form to create the most suitable sound wave. All three models also offer a multitude of connectivity and streaming options, at home and on the go. The speakers easily connect wirelessly to nearly any Bluetooth-enabled device, including smartphones, tablets and computers, and can connect to NFC-enabled devices with a simple tap. All three models also support on-board WiFi for direct access to online music and internet radio services such as Music Unlimited, Spotify, and TuneIn Radio when consumers download the SongPal app to their mobile device, as well as Apple Airplay and DLNA.

Sony Unveils New MDR-ZX and MDR-EX Headphones

Do you want to enjoy the music, and nothing but the music? Sony's Spring headphones line-up features eleven brand-new MDR-ZX and MDR-EX models - all crafted for a comfortable fit over long periods of your favourite music while offering dynamic, powerful and accurate sound. Several models also feature an in-line microphone/remote, letting you enjoy the extra freedom of hands-free conversations on your smartphone.

MDR-ZX series headband headphones
The luxurious headband-style MDR-ZX750BN Bluetooth wireless headphones combine outstanding sound isolation, noise cancelling function and handy connectivity options with the convenience of wireless listening.

Sony and Panasonic Develop New Optical Storage Standard - Archival Disc

Sony Corporation ("Sony") and Panasonic Corporation ("Panasonic") today announced that they have formulated "Archival Disc", a new standard for professional-use, next-generation optical discs, with the objective of expanding the market for long-term digital data storage.

Optical discs have excellent properties to protect themselves against the environment, such as dust-resistance and water-resistance, and can also withstand changes in temperature and humidity when stored. They also allow inter-generational compatibility between different formats, ensuring that data can continue to be read even as formats evolve. This makes them robust media for long-term storage of content. Recognizing that optical discs will need to accommodate much larger volumes of storage going forward, particularly given the anticipated future growth in the archive market, Sony and Panasonic have been engaged in the joint development of a standard for professional-use next-generation optical discs.

Sony to Sell VAIO Brand, PC Division

Sony is reportedly disposing of the iconic VAIO brand, and with it, its PC division. The brand and its assets will be sold off to Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), much in the same way as IBM disposed its PC business and Thinkpad brands over to Lenovo (which was a major supplier to IBM at the time). We won't see the last of VAIO notebooks, Ultrabooks, tablets, and convertibles, only that they won't be sold by Sony. The deal is part of Sony's larger efforts to shed underperforming businesses.

JIP could establish a new PC company from the assets it buys off Sony. In all likelihood, the VAIO brand could be retained, although the company's name itself hasn't been finalized. The new company will see Sony transfer 300 of its employees, to jump-start operations. The MoU signed between Sony and JIP seems to suggest that the company will prioritize Japan over global markets, in what is a similar strategy to Lenovo's. The Chinese company, after acquiring IBM's PC assets, focused its efforts on capturing the Chinese domestic markets with not just PCs, but also smartphones and tablets.

Source: Sony

Sony Expands VAIO | Flip PC Line

Sony today announced a new addition to its VAIO | Flip PC lineup: the VAIO Fit 11A | Flip PC pre-installed with Adobe Photoshop Elements 12.

In addition, the VAIO | Flip PC 13-inch, 14-inch and 15-inch, VAIO Tap 11, VAIO Tap 21 and VAIO Duo 13 and VAIO Fit 14E and 15E models are updated with Windows 8.1 and Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 for Spring. The VAIO Pro 11 and 13, VAIO Tap 11 and VAIO Tap 21 models will include 802.11ac next generation wireless connectivity technology for Spring.

Sony Debuts the MicroVault MACH QX USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Sony Europe has this week announced the release of a speedy new flash drive, the MicroVault MACH QX. Measuring 69 x 20 x 10 mm, this drive features a scratch resistant metal housing, USB 3.0 connectivity, and uses 'dual channel access and high-performance flash memory' so as to deliver transfer speeds of up to 226 MB/s.

The MicroVault MACH QX is backed by a five-year warranty and comes in 8 GB, 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB capacities.

Sony Introduces a Flash Drive with Micro USB and USB Connectors

Sony's newest USB flash drive is a "2-in-1" device, with dual micro USB and USB 2.0 connectors for fast and easy back-up, sharing and storing of personal content. The new drive fits most Android smartphones and tablets so mobile consumers can transfer and view photos and videos without using cables or Wi-Fi access.

According to industry research, photo-taking is the third most common use for a smartphone, with viewing and sharing not far behind. Tablets are also finding similar use, increasing the need for multi-function devices.

Sony Launches New SD Memory Cards with Backup Capabilities

Sony's newest SD memory cards can do more than just temporarily store and transfer content from digital cameras. The new Backup SD Card adds automatic back-up capabilities, eliminating the need for plugging in external drives each time users want to safeguard their data.

The new cards - available in 16-, 32- and 64 GB capacities - are the first to offer a dedicated real-time backup feature, so consumers can use removable memory as more than just "bridge media."

AVerMedia Unveils ExtremeCap U3 for Uncompressed 1080p 60fps Video Capture

AVerMedia Technologies, Inc., the preeminent name in digital multimedia technology, today announces the ExtremeCap U3, an USB 3.0 capture box for HD video producers to capture, record and stream 1080p 60fps video via HDMI or component inputs. This capture card works perfectly with popular video software and comes with plug-ins for Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 and Sony Vegas, which allows users to edit uncompressed video with the software they are used to. What's better, the USB 3.0 Diagnosis Tool is bundled to ensure the compatibility and performance of the USB 3.0 connection.

AMD to Unveil Next-Generation APUs on November 11

As a follow-up to our older article on how December-January will play out for AMD's next-generation APU lineup, we have news that the company will unveil, or at least tease its next-generation desktop APU, codename "Kaveri," on November 11, 2013. It's when the company will host its APU'13 event, modeled along the lines of GPU'13, held in Hawaii this September, where it unveiled its Radeon R9 200 and R7 200 GPU families. On its backdrop, the company will also hold its 2013 AMD Developer Summit, which brings together developers making software that take advantage of both CPU and OpenCL-accelerated GPUs. APU'13 will be held in San Jose, USA, and like GPU'13, will be live-streamed to the web. In addition to new APUs, the company is expected to make some big announcements with its HSA (heterogeneous system architecture) initiative that brought some big names in the industry on board.

The agenda for APU'13 follows.

Sony Announces US Availability for the VAIO | Flip PCs and Tap PCs

Sony today announced pricing and availability for the VAIO | Flip PC, a brand new form factor that instantly goes from laptop, to tablet to viewer mode with a simple flip. Sony also revealed pricing for the VAIO Tap 11 Tablet PC, the world's thinnest (0.39") Windows 8 tablet with 4th generation Intel Core Processors, and its next evolution of the portable all-in-one PC, VAIO Tap 21. Expected to be available just in time for the holiday shopping season, the fall VAIO line-up offers powerful PC performance designed to support both entertainment and productivity.

The VAIO | Flip PC, Tap 11 Tablet PC and Tap 21 all-in-one PC are now available for pre-order from Sony and Best Buy for about $1099 (VAIO Fit 13A | Flip PC), $799 (VAIO Fit 15A | Flip PC), $749 (VAIO Fit 14A | Flip PC), $799 (Tap 11 PC) and $999 (Tap 21 PC). Both VAIO | Flip and Tap 11 PCs will be exclusively sold through Sony and Best Buy and is expected at retail locations nationwide beginning late October. The VAIO Tap 21 model is also expected to be available late October at Sony retail stores and other authorized dealers nationwide.
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