Category: Products

Norwegians sue Tesla for not being Viking enough

vikingTelsa’s Norwegian customers are unhappy with the US electric-car manufacturer, saying their models marketed with an “insane mode” of acceleration needed a lot more Viking.

Some 126 owners of the Tesla Model S sedan’s P85D performance version are seeking unspecified reimbursements after the model only reached 469 horsepower instead of a pledged 700 hp.

Kaspar Thommessen, an attorney at Wikborg Rein law firm representing the plaintiffs said that the car has too low horsepower and it affects the car’s performance, according to the consumers.

Tesla spokesman Even Sandvold Roland, said that is rubbish and it meets requirements “according to the measurement method required by the authorities.”

Norway is one of the biggest markets for the Model S, mostly because the state subsidises electric-car purchases. Still it is not cheap. Tesla flogs its P90D $96,700. It is an earlier model which had the so called “insane mode” acceleration option after it came out two years ago.

Norway’s Consumer Disputes Commission ruled in June that five P85D buyers who complained of inadequate acceleration should be reimbursed as much as 50,000 kroner apiece.

Sandvold Roland said Tesla’s own tests and independent checks showed the P85D can accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometers (60 miles) per hour in 3.1 to 3.3 seconds. That indicates the performance figures “have always been accurate,”


Apple goes to war

bandvagn_bv202_2Fruity cargo cult Apple has decided to weaponise some of its driving technology.

The outfit has just scored a patent on a “steering device” on large vehicles with pivot joints to help them turn. While the idea is commonplace, Apple has tried to patent its use in a “war situation”.

It all seems a bit weird.  In fact the US  Patent and Trademark Office granted the patent originally to BAE Systems Hägglunds Aktiebolag, a Swedish subsidiary of the huge global defence company which makes a little more sense. However somehow Jobs’ Mob has got in on it.  Neither BAE or Apple are saying anything so we are just left guessing.

The invention is designed to better connect and steer two compartments of a vehicle inside a special “ballistic protection” enclosure.  It is a bit similar to the Swedish Army’s Bandvagn 202, an all-terrain truck which is two different vehicles tied together.

The new tech will help steer the front and back units simultaneously.

So why is Jobs’ Mob going to war?  The theory is that this sort of tech is designed first for defence departments but might be adapted for civilian purposes later.  So it could be used to drive an Apple Truck or Bus which we personally find more horrifying than a weapon designed by Jobs’ Mob.


Tame Apple Press reports that Apple Music is bad

a8a442ac275a36c2da0b85a42b625225The writing appears to be on the wall for Apple Music after one of Jobs’ Mob’s cheerleaders the New Yorker dismissed the Apple Streaming service as “bad.”

To put this into perspective, the article has the headline “Why Apple Music is so bad when the iPhone is so good,” thus providing Jobs’ Mob with a free advert for its self-reverential out-of-date iPhone.

The writer Om Malik’s theme is that Apple can either create great software, or great hardware but when the two need to work side-by-side, like with Apple Music, the result is pants.

“Apple has always been, and always will be, a hardware-first company. It produces beautiful devices with elegant designs and humane operating-system software,” he enthuses without any trace of irony that might otherwise rescue his reasoning.

Malik then makes the very good point that Apple releases two versions of the same hardware a year and this makes sense but it also applies the same refresh programme to software. As a result its software is nearly always out-of-date and unable to cope with the fast adapting software scene.

He said that Apple’s corporate DNA is that of a hardware company, its activities are meant to support hardware sales. For example, its “Made with iPhone” advertising campaign talks up the iPhone’s camera, and thus drives up hardware sales.

“All of Apple’s services, iCloud, Apple Music, Apple Photos, iMessage, exist to support the sales of phones, tables, and laptops. The executive team, the sales machine, and the manufacturing, software, and services components are all locked into the hardware schedule.”

He added that it was daft that the Apple Music update needs to be revealed at the World Wide Developers’ Conference.

“Why should Apple Music have to wait for the conference to make usability fixes when Facebook and Google, and every Internet-services-oriented company, does this on a routine basis?”

Malik describes a hardware company which is trying to be a software company and failing. In much the same way that Microsoft tried to be a hardware company and balls that up.  But what is more interesting from the New Yorker article is that while the premise is obvious, the fact that someone who is blindly an Apple fanboy is saying it.

Apple fanboys are having a tough time of things lately. Not only is their faith tested by the fact that Jobs’ Mob is failing to attract interest, they also have to cope with the fact that they are no longer seen as the industry innovators. Coupled with this, poor programming and software design is making the rather elderly designs look buggy.

In the past, Apple fanboys would never complain, instead they held fast to the reality distortion field even when their Apple Macs were catching fire. All that is starting to change, as Apple’s grip over its follows starts to slip. Without any inquisition, a new messiah, or at the very least good products with good software, we can see more of this coming.

The iPhone 7 will be another good test of this faith.  So far it appears to have little in the way of innovative technology and will look the same as the disappointing iPhone6S. If it contains the same rubbish software that we are being seen coming out of Apple with its Apple Music then that particular cash cow might as well be sent to the meat works.


Opera sings of VPN

opera460The desktop version of the Opera browser has just been given a free built-in VPN service, which will provide a major headache for those who have set up geo-restricted content gates.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) service allows users to hide their actual location for privacy and helps protect users from revealing what they are surfing when using free public Wi-Fi.

It will effectively knock out any attempt by the British government to stop the working classes seeing porn.

To make matters even better,  Opera’s integrated VPN will offer users unlimited data as well, which means there are no data caps to worry about that may be prevalent on similar free VPN services.

All this is happening as Netflix, have become more strict on blocking users from accessing content not in their region. While the primary aim of Opera’s VPN is to ensure its user’s privacy but it does boast of bypassing geo-restrictions as a feature.

Opera says that users should be able to watch HD content, though 1080p and above versions may encounter buffering. It will also be free.

However, the company declined to comment on whether the VPN service will work in China. The browser company will soon be sold to a Chinese consortium and use of VPN services are typically frowned upon behind the Great Firewall of China, with some services blocked from local access.


HTC has announced its 10

htc-one-m10-concpetHTC has formally announced the release of its flagship smartphone for 2016.

The HTC 10 mixes the design of the M series with the A9 that came last year. HTC says it spent a year designing the 10.

The 10 has a 5.2-inch, quad HD Super LCD 5 display that HTC says displays 30 percent more colour than last year’s flavour. The screen is covered in Gorilla Glass with curved edges that blend into the phone’s metal frame.

It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM and there is 32GB of internal storage plus a MicroSD slot. HTC says it has optimized the 10’s software and hardware for faster touch response and the new phone is 50 percent more responsive than the M9. The 10’s 3,000mAh battery can go for two days of life thanks to software and hardware optimizations, and supports Quick Charge 3.0 through the phone’s USB Type-C port.

Looks wise it is similar to both the M9 and A9. It has HTC’s all-aluminium construction, with large chamfered edges and machined ports. Below the display is a fingerprint scanner flanked by two buttons for back and recent apps. This is a move away from the on-screen buttons HTC has used on its flagships for the past couple of years.

It doesn’t look like an iPhone, which is a bonus.

The 10’s rear camera has a 12-megapixel sensor behind an optically stabilized f/1.8 lens that should take better photos in low light. It’s accompanied by a dual-LED flash and second-generation laser autofocus system. The camera can also capture 4K video with 24-bit high resolution audio.

The 10’s front camera has also been upgraded to a 5-megapixel sensor with optically stabilized, f/1.8 wideangle lens (a first for front-facing cameras, according to HTC), that should make for better selfies in low light.

There is a high resolution audio system, with a headphone amp that can output twice as much power as other smartphones. The 10 can upscale audio to 24-bit quality. In the box with the phone are Hi-Res-certified earphones and HTC has partnered with JBL to produce a noise-cancelling set of headphones that are powered by the phone’s USB-C port. It can wirelessly play audio through AirPlay-certified speakers.

The software is closer to Google’s version of Android than HTC’s. The outfit said it worked with Google to reduce duplicative apps, and the 10 uses Google’s apps for key things such as calendar, photos, and music. It still uses HTC’s email, messaging, and camera apps, but the interface is more like a Nexus.

The phone ships next month for $699. It will be available in black and silver in the US, while global markets will see a gold option and Japan will get a special red colour.  HTC is offering preorders of an unlocked version of the 10 through its online store starting today.

Nintendo flushes the last of the Wii

Funny-Toilet-221Nintendo is flushing its Wii U this year ending its reign of toilet themed games consoles, according to a report from Japan’s Nikkei.

The Wii U console sold poorly compared to the Wii which was a ray of gold in the darkness in 2012. Nintendo has already stopped manufacturing certain Wii U accessories.

While Wii U hardware is being discontinued, it looks like the launch of the company’s next platform — codenamed NX — is not guaranteed this year. This means users will be caught short if they are looking for Wii.

Nintendo plans to splash out on its  next-generation console sometime in 2016, but there is no guarantee it will be in the shops anytime soon. The company launched its first mobile app, Miitomo, last week.

Nintendo has sold just 12.6 million Wii U consoles since 2012. Its previous home console, Wii sold more than 100 million units.



Adesto Technologies Launches IoTs Memory


Sunnyvale, CA – Adesto Technologies is introducing an ultra-low power memory solution with the ability to aid in the design of Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications that can run for years on a single battery.

Adesto also announced that the new 45nm based CBRAM Products will be manufactured by TowerJazz Panasonic Semiconductor Company  (TPSCo), 300mm, Hokuriku, Japan Fab.

There’s much to like with their selection of “Moneta” for the branding name. Moneta is the goddess of memory and money – also prosperity and finances. In fact the English word “Money” derives from this lovely goddess’s name.

Adesto went public last October on the NASDAQ Exchange with the call letters IOTS, a straight forward play on the companies intentions. Long thought a takeover target by many analysts the company seems to have convinced acquisition suitors that they are much better off by leaving Adesto an independent entity – this gives the company the ability to adapt their Resistive Conductive-Bridging Random Access Memory (CBRAM) to a multiplicity of special design requirements for the rapidly expanding IoTs segment. Adesto, in effect, has been able to dodge the takeover bullet by being much more useful by remaining small while offering their products through multiple avenues from discrete devices through BEOL SoCs.

Adesto, having completed their developmental stage, is now transitioning to the commercialization and expansion phase of their technology. Several analysts expect that the company will continue to capture a significant portion of the non-volatile memory outside of the commodity data storage market and enjoy profitable royalty licensing from a number of other markets.

The newly introduced memory is entering “…, a hardware landscape (that) is changing quickly,” according to Narbeh Derhacobian, chief executive officer of Adesto. “Off the-shelf memory products were appropriate for the smartphone and PC markets, but they cannot satisfy the requirements of a new world of connected things. Unless we can dramatically reduce power consumption, the cost of changing batteries will prevent the IoT from becoming a reality. At Adesto, we are focused on this emerging market, and Moneta demonstrates our ability to execute and deliver next-generation products to meet its requirements.”

Adesto is a case book example of a company that has been “tinkering away” with a technology that the greater market paid little attention to. Gaining traction has been a continuing mantra of Adesto’s management. Along the way they gathered a number of “Black Swan Outliers” helping them to steer their way to, and carve out an unoccupied niche in the ultra-low power, non-volatile memory for the Internet-of-Things market – a market that is now enjoying a sudden and near explosive growth rate. Let us all remember that there is no such thing as an “easy” technology.

AMD retires catalyst controllers

AMD Analyst Day '15Troubled chipmaker AMD is ditching Catalyst Control Centre for a new system dubbed Radeon Settings.

The new software is part of AMD’s Radeon Software Crimson Edition which is supposed to be the next new thing in graphics drivers.

AMD’s Raho Koduri and Terry Makedon said that AMD has been delivering graphics drivers for the past 20+ years, and during this time the graphics driver evolved way beyond the graphics device driver.

Now there are user interfaces, libraries, tools, applications, packaged as drivers.

The software has morphed into a mini graphics operating system. With the formation of Radeon Technologies Group, AMD has decided to call this mini graphics operating system, Radeon Software, they said.

Radeon Software Crimson Edition is completely “re-architected” and will offer new features, improvements to stability and responsiveness, and performance improvements.

This includes a new Game Manager, video quality presets, social media integration, simplified EF setup, a system notifications tab, and more. The first version is expected out this month.

The Radeon Settings of the Catalyst Control Centre is based on.NET and doesn’t work particularly well. This update is supposed to be more responsive and easy to use. The Radeon Settings menus will offer a completely new modernised UX.

Apparently it will open in fraction of a second rather than the few seconds the current software takes.

The new Game Manager will give users the ability to set per-game profiles. And the video manager will feature several optimised profiles for various video types (sports, classic cinema, home video, outdoor, etc.) and also allow for easy customization.

The Overdrive menu returns, with a similar feature set to what’s already offered in CCC, but the new Overdrive menu is revamped.

The Display Settings menu has also been completely revamped and will allow for customised settings on individual screens. The Eyefinity configuration menu and System Info tabs have similarly been redesigned.

Viking Technology and Sony in ReRAM memory mashup

Viking-+-Sony-LogoViking Technology, a Sanmina Company, announced that it  is  collaborating with Sony Corporation to bring ReRAM Storage Class Memory to the NVDIMM market.

“Viking has a strong legacy developing Non-Volatile DIMM (NVDIMM) products over several generations from DDR2 to DDR4,” said Hamid Shokrgozar, President, Viking Technology. “This partnership with Sony solidifies a long term roadmap for our NVDIMM products by utilizing next generation ReRAM Storage Class Memory from Sony. This product roadmap is also very important for our customers, who are deploying this key technology in their next generation computing and storage products. It also sets the stage for future Persistent Memory module solutions not only for Viking but for the enterprise storage and server markets.”

According to the company’s announcement, “The collaboration between the companies launches a significant advance in Storage Class Memory system product development, designed specifically for enterprise computing customers. Sony ReRAM Storage Class Memory delivers performance and endurance that greatly exceeds NAND flash, while simultaneously providing the data non-volatility and module memory capacity desired for persistent applications”.

“We are excited and looking forward to the co-development with Viking Technology on the next generation of NVDIMM products,” said Terushi Shimizu, Senior Vice President and Deputy President of Device Solutions Business Group, Sony Corporation. “At this stage in ReRAM development, we are looking ahead to the implementation of this technology accelerating real-world cloud datacenter applications such as In-Memory Databases and Real Time Analytics. This will prove to be an exciting new chapter in the decade long development of our ReRAM memory technology.”

Non-Volatile DIMMs, often termed NVDIMMs, are designed to deliver high performance, endurance and reliability to next generation servers that are NVDIMM enabled. Traditionally, enterprise applications could not depend on main memory (DRAM) alone because it is volatile (loss of data upon power failure). Therefore, batteries, Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS’s) and techniques such as check-pointing have been used to ensure data durability, but at the cost of performance. NVDIMMs now enable server and storage arrays to utilize persistent memory that delivers both the highest performance and 100 percent data integrity.

The Coming out of ReRAM; a Resistive Memory Family Member

The real eye opener is the strange bedfellows that are making a sudden appearance in what can only be called the “Resistive Memory Rush”. Most in the analyst community expected such a forward thinking announcement to be coming from companies like Samsung, Toshiba and SK Hynix. That it came from Viking and Sony only makes sense if you’ve been immersed in the ruminations of the resistive universe for the last 15 years.

In discussions with Viking over the past several years I’ve asked about how they expected to position the company with the coming advent of In-Memory Database computing – this is their answer.

Of all the companies that have gone from memory modules to SSDs Viking is to date the only company to make the tie-up with a semiconductor supplier of resistive memory with the potential IMDB marketplace. Viking has set their strategy on supplying the IMDB marketplace with what might be called “Storage Class DIMMs” that support legacy DRAM with DDR4 stacked DRAMs coupled with Persistent Storage provided by Sony ReRAMs.

TechEye Take

This announcement, in no small way, adds further credence to the validation of resistive RAM as a key element in systems that will be announced in the next several days and should quiet the naysaying into obscurity.

The downside is the lack of numbers. Intel/Micron hasn’t provided any except comparison numbers but none that could be plugged into an Excel spreadsheet. Stay tuned…,

Intel-Micron announce 3D XPoint SCM technology

What-is-3D-XPointIntel and Micron announced their jointly developed 3D XPoint technology at an analyst meeting today in Santa Clara, California.

Rob Crooke, Senior VP & GM of the Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) Solutions Group, Intel Corporation and Mark Durcan, CEO Micron Technology took the stage to present the jointly developed 3D XPoint memory technology. The 300 mm wafer shown in the presentation was produced at Micron’s Lehi, Utah fab. The new devices are debuting as 128Gb, 2 Layer, Byte Addressable devices that use “bulk material property change” process – availability is limited to what’s “in (joint) production facility today” though 2016 was stated by Durcan.

The 3D XPoint technology is 1,000 times faster than Flash, 1,000 times the duration of Flash and 10 times the density of DRAM.

The new technology has been widely circulating as “Persistent Memory” and “Storage Class Memory” until now and has been widely speculated upon. One interesting quote, “no other competitors have the technology” indicates that Intel-Micron has scooped their competition in the cloud access storage marketplace.

3D XPoint Innovations

Cross Point Array Structure
Perpendicular conductors connect 128 billion densely packed memory cells. Each memory cell stores a single bit of data. This compact structure results in high performance and high density.

The initial technology stores 128Gb per die across two stacked memory layers. Future generations of this technology can increase the number of memory layers and/or use traditional lithographic pitch scaling to increase die capacity.

Memory cells are accessed and written or read by varying the amount of voltage sent to each selector. This eliminates the need for transistors, increasing capacity and reducing cost.

Fast Switching Cell
With a small cell size, fast switching selector, low-latency cross point array, and fast write algorithm, the cell is able to switch states faster than any existing nonvolatile memory technologies today.

Fast Switching Cell
With a small cell size, fast switching selector, low-latency cross point array, and fast write algorithm, the cell is able to switch states faster than any existing nonvolatile memory technologies today.

Byte Addressable Data
3D Xpoint technology allows data to be directly addressed at the byte level. Access to DRAM and 3D Xpoint memory uses the same addressing model greatly simplifying the CPU interface to data and enables Near Data Processing within an In-Memory Database system.

TechEye Take

This announcement was evidently rushed in order to beat the pre Flash Memory Summit press announcements next week – and they “blew the socks off the competition” according to one analyst source. Over 100 engineers have been involved in these well camouflaged developments which indicate the companies have spent in the billions of dollars on this program. Oh, and 3D Xpoint use Micron’s planar process indicating that the technology is near term to production. There is no mention made of TSV stacking but from all indications this technology will enter the market as stacked devices. From what we can ascertain this technology is in “rollout” – we expect production volumes ramping much sooner than might usually be expected. 

The “bulk material property change” provides no indication about process details. Connecting the memory elements with their bit-lines remains unclear – whether it’s a diode switching element or an Ovonic Switch remains to be revealed. In fact all the good questions remain unanswered – more fodder for later.