Tag: britian

British read news on mobiles now

Britons are abandoning computers as their main way to access digital news in favour of updates on smartphones and tablets.

According to beancounters at Oxford University’s Reuters Institute the proportion of consumers who mostly rely on a computer to get news online has fallen by 23 percentage points in the last year to 57 percent.

Smartphones are now the main way to access digital news for 24 percent, up 11 percentage points in the same period, and tablets for 16 percent, also up 11 percentage points.

The shift in hardware is part of a broader change with potentially profound effects for society according to the report’s authors.

The study said that there was an ‘echo chamber’ effect as mobile consumers rely on increasingly narrow sources to make sense of the explosion of choice online.

Dr David Levy, director of the Reuters Institite, said: “In some countries such as the UK the established news brands have retained their loyalty in the more competitive online environment but the rapid growth of social media as a way of discovering and consuming news has a range of possible ramifications.

“While choice proliferates, consumption may narrow; reliance on recommendations from like-minded friends could mean people are less exposed to a broad news agenda.

“As the ways of reading change, some people may operate in a news echo chamber where they are less likely to be exposed to other content through chance.”

The report shows how some readers are increasingly committed to news providers amid the rapid change.

Of those who pay for digital news, 63 percent do so via a recurring subscription, compared with 42 percent a year ago, with the reputations of individual reporters and commentators increasingly seen as a selling point. 

ARM based console, Ouya, slammed

Hopes that ARM might be able to push itself into the gaming market have been dashed as the Ouya console failed to live up to its expectations.

Benchmark tests are coming out which reveal that Ouya is not at all up to scratch and there are over 70 other mobile devices that have performed better.

Ouya is shipping only to developers who had signed up and customers who had pre-ordered the gaming console. It is not expected to be flogged to the great unwashed until the summer.

However, the benchmarks suggest that even for the comparatively cheap sub $100 price, it is going to be a turkey.

The android based gaming console packs a Nvidia Tegra 3 System-on-Chip (SoC) and the quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor is clocked at 1.7GHz. The graphics leans on the Nvidia A GeForce ULP.

But the Tegra 3 is a little slower than Nvidia’s latest efforts, the Tegra 4 and is pretty much a chocolate teapot when it comes to games.

Futuremark’s benchmarking on mobile devices has ranked Ouya at 73rd. This means that smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S II plus and Galaxy Grand performed better. In fact Ouya would have been better off powered by Qualcomm processors with Adreno 320 graphics.

This is all a bit of a pity. Ouya had a few good things going for it. It was the the first totally open video game console and could have allowed a lot of tinkering from its users. Tinkering is widely seen as the way to get the next generation of developers roped into the IT industry and with a $99 price tag it was the sort of gizmo kids could buy.

It would have also moved the console market away from the x86 spec and allowed a greater cross-fertilisation between the ARM based mobile market and other hardware. 

IdeaPhone scores points in Intel's ARM wrestle

Anyone who thought that Intel might take years to catch up to ARM on the mobile front might want to think again.

In an early benchmark test an Intel based Lenovo IdeaPhone K900 gave the Samsung Galaxy S4 a good kicking.

The IdeaPhone has a dual-core Intel Atom Clover Trail+ processor. Unfortunately the benchmark did not indicate if the S4 used Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa chipset or a variant bearing Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 quad-core CPU.

GSM Arena, which carried out the test, said that the Lenovo K900 reveals that the smartphone is a touch ahead of Samsung Galaxy S4 and the K900 is one of the fastest smartphone in the current market.

The Galaxy S4 was the fastest Android phone yet, so Intel knocking it off the top spot would be significant.

Intel as it is using a dual-core CPU design to combat ARM’s quad-core designs.

The dual-core Intel Atom CPU inside the IdeaPhone K900 is clocked at 2 GHz. 

Intel needs an extra ARM licence

Chipzilla needs to stop mucking about and get itself an ARM licence so that it can push into the mobile market, claims, er, a co-founder of ARM.

Robin Saxby, a co-founder of ARM, at the GSA Entrepreneurship Conference at the British Museum, channelled the late Kenneth Williams and told Intel to stop messing about.

Years ago, Intel offered StrongARM and Xscale microprocessors based on ARMv4 and ARMv5 instruction-sets, but flogged off that division to Marvell Semiconductor in mid-2006.

At the time Chipzilla thought that ARM architecture was not scalable enough in terms of performance. While it turned out ARM was scalable, its power consumption increased along with performance. Intel did not think that the ARMv8 64-bit architecture will only be insignificantly more power-efficient than comparable x86 offerings based on AMD Jaguar or Intel Silvermont.

Saxby said that AMD recently came to the ARM party and decided to develop server-class system-on-chips based on ARMv8, just like loads of other companies, including Applied Micro, Calxeda, Nvidia, Samsung, Qualcomm and many others. But Intel just does not want to be friends with ARM, he moaned.

Talking to Electronics Weekly, he said that ARM had to turn its enemies into friends, the only one it did not manage to turn was Intel.

“I recommend Intel to take an ARM licence and stop messing about,” said Saxby. With a nice ARM licence, Intel could start building mobile chips around ARM cores, he added. A few years ago, Tudor Brown, a senior ARM executive, told us that Intel has several licences, something that Intel confirmed.

Of course this implies that Intel’s own mobile chips are going nowhere. 

ARM reports more power savings

Fabless chip maker ARM claims that a test chip using its A15 and A7 cores saved 50 percent on power consumption without sacrificing performance.

According to EETimes the information was released as part of a road map for enabling software for the so-called big.little initiative which pairs a large and small core.

The technology is pretty good and there is talk that even Intel will have to buy it.

Samsung is expected to sample the first big.little SoC before the end of the year, although it is not clear when anyone will see any products coming from it.

Big.little looks at the power drain for mobile workloads. It works on the idea that software can be divided into low performance apps which can be handled on a low power core and a few high performance ones that sometimes need more cores. Big.little automates choosing which job to run on which core to get work done quickly but with less energy.

ARM said that a CPU Migration mode moves jobs between clusters of cores and it has working software available now that will be ready for production before June.

ARM thinks that that A15 probably will deliver about twice the performance of today’s A9, and the A7 will about match the A9.

The company’s test chip used two A15s and three A7s with a DMC-400 memory controller which uses a 40nm process. 

ARM does better than expected

The UK’s fabless chipmaker ARM has done a lot better than the cocaine noses jobs of Wall Street predicted.

Despite the fact that there are signs of weakening consumer demand, and the fact its rival Intel reduced its forecast, ARM continues to do well.

Chief financial officer Tim Score said the strength of demand for its technology and a strong performance in licensing meant it was confident of meeting market forecasts for the year.

Wall Street Analysts emerged from powdering their noses in he office toilets to tell Reuters that the figures being shown by ARM were about five per cent better than they expected.

The company posted a 23 percent rise in adjusted pretax profit to $103.25 million.

ARM seems to be coining it in from strong demand for smartphones, tablets and digital TVs.

Everyone is still predicting a slow down for ARM, but it is fairly clear that it did not see it this quarter. Some of this is to do with the fact that ARM reports royalties a quarter in arrears, so its second-quarter numbers reflect sales of devices in the first months of the year, when some 2 billion ARM-based chips were shipped.

Analysts expect ARM to bank a full-year revenue of $875 million after slightly lowering their numbers down from $877 million to reflect the weaker economic climate.

Wall Street expects ARM to report pretax profit of £57.8 million  on revenue of £129.8 million. 

UK Coalition gives Big Content committee the power to censor web

The British Government has formed a secret committee whose members are mostly a cabal of Big Content companies, which will have the power to censor the Internet.

According to Boing Boing,  the decision to form the committee follows a confidential meeting of UK copyright lobbyists held with Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries.

The decision was leaked, and it reveals a plan to establish “expert bodies” that would decide which websites British people were allowed to see, to be approved by a judge using a “streamlined” procedure. It means that if Big Content says so, a site will be swiftly shut down.

The only saving grace of the concept is that the process will be overseen by a judge. However, the fact that public interest groups like the Open Rights Group who asked to attend the meeting were told to go forth and multiply does not bode well.  

The system, will be funded by the taxpayer and is expected to cost millions. If it succeeds in its goals, it could save Big Content a fortune by not having to take file sharing sites to court.

It seems that while the Coalition is calling for austerity measures to save the economy, splashing out huge sums of money to keep Big Content in extra swimming pools remains a priority. 

South Korea working on giving homes super speedy internet

Britain should take a leaf out of South Korea’s book.

The country may already take the award for the world’s fastest internet connections but that’s not enough to have it resting on its laurels.

It wants to go one step further and give every home in the country a connection of one gigabit per second by the end of 2012. If it’s successful then this will mean the coverage will get one over on the US, at a rate of 20 times.

The South Korean government is already setting the wheels in motion with a pilot scheme already taking place with 5000 in five households. The cost for this trial sets back residents around $27 (30,000 won) a month and will also boost wireless broadband services tenfold.

The project is the brain child of engineer Choi Gwang-gi, 28, who wanted to push ahead with the project as he believes it will help equip people with the technology to make the most of upcoming technology such as 3D TV, IP TV and high def multimedia. There’s also the allowance for technology still in the pipeline such as cloud computing.

According to the New York Times, Japan already has a gigabit service, while Australia wants to have a service in place by 2018.  However for the honour in Japan people have to shell out a huge $70 a month, something Mr Gwang-gi says is unlikely to happen in South Korea.

And it also seems that there will be minimal disruption to get this service going. Although DSL lines will have to be replaced, the fibre-optic lines needed for this high speed technology are already widely used.  

UK government signs green tech space deal with Russia and US

The UK government has announced an agreement with space rivals, the US and Russia in a bid to help combat climate change.

The announcement was made at the Farnborough Airshow this week, where Space Minister David Willetts said the government had signed an agreement with these two countries to develop Earth-observation satellite technology, which will give a better insight into climate change.

He said the agreement showed that international partners viewed Britain as a “major player in the space industry”. He also pointed out that the Russian agreement would help cut down
some customs and tax issues involved in space-based projects.

But that’s not the only technology project the government has its eye on. It has also announced a £4.9 million contract to build an Earth Observation Hub at the International Space Innovation Centre in Oxfordshire, which will be used to process the information collected by future space missions.

Announcing this project Willetts said: “The Earth Observation Hub will help UK scientists make the most of the wealth of information we are collecting about our home planet, in vital areas such as monitoring the effects of climate change or so we can respond quickly to natural disasters throughout the world.”

He added it was an important first step in making the International Space Innovation Centre a reality, linking regional space capabilities and promoting knowledge-sharing between academia and industry.

According to eWeek Europe, government figures show that the UK’s space sector contributes £6.5 billion a year to the UK economy and supports 68,000 jobs.