Tag: Canon

Intel comes up with low-cost 3G

Intel is continuing its push into the mobile market by releasing a SoC which could mean lower 3G implementation.

SMARTi UE2p is a new radio frequency product that integrates 3G power amplifiers into radio frequency circuits for a system-on-chip. It means that it is possible to put 3G on a smaller footprint within the phone, making it easier for developers of 3G-enabled devices and cuts the cost of ownership.

As far as Intel is concerned this means that it can push its mobile hardware onto cheap and cheerful 3G phones which are needed in developing economies.

SMARTi UE2p uses Intel’s 3G high speed packet access (HSPA) radio frequency transceiver SMARTi UE2 and 3G power amplifiers on a 65nm silicon die. It has a direct connection to the device battery and supports multiple 3G dual band set-ups

The move should allow mobile customers to introduce lower-cost 3G handsets but also allow for the development of connected objects.

It is something that Intel has been pushing as being part of its internet of things idea which is what we loosely identify as meaning owning an internet connected fridge.

Samples are expected in the fourth quarter of 2012.

It also shows a jolly clever strategy from Chipzilla of quietly entering the mobile market and carving a niche from ARM. 

Intel has to face Android update problems

Chipzilla is lagging when it comes to getting its microprocessors working with Android.

Intel researchers are apparently flat out trying to get their Atom chips to run on Google’s Jellybean but as yet it has not got a working version of the last version of Andriod.

Intel has been waving its Atoms about in developing countries hoping that they might attract a bit of interest from OEMs that want to make cheap and cheerful phones. So far it has managed to snag Lenovo, but the problem for Chipzilla is that the lower power x86 architecture does not play nice with Android Jelly Bean.

According to Gotta Be Mobile, Intel was not saying when the porting work will be finished.

Suzy Greenberg, a company spokeswoman, said that Intel was working closely with Google to enable future versions of Android, including Jelly Bean. Yeah right.

It is not as if Intel has not got older versions of Android to run before. Atom chipsets are used on the Lava smartphone, a device from wireless carrier Orange, and one from Lenovo for the Chinese market.

But these are using Android 2.3 Gingerbread which is looking a bit smelly. Intel thinks it should have a software update to bring those devices to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich but it has not managed the feat yet, or at least has not rolled out the patch. Jellybean is now far in the future.

This puts Intel’s partner Motorola in a tricky position. It wants to deploy smartphones and tablets on Intel architecture in the future, but at the same time releasing a tablet with Gingerbread will be the kiss of death.

Intel’s Clover Trail has also been ruled out as ending up on Android machines. Chipzilla seems to have promised that to Microsoft for Windows 8.

The Clover Trail platform will compete against ARM architecture as well as ARM will be used on Windows RT, a scaled down version of Windows 8.

It seems that while Intel wants the flexibility of having its Atoms run Android, it has so far not committed the time and resources to do it.  Feeble, really.

Intel's ASML splurge hits Samsung

Intel is spending more than $4 billion to buy up to 15 percent of ASML in a move that could hurt the Dutch company’s other customer – Samsung.

As part of the deal Intel will invest in ASML’s research into next-generation chipmaking technology.

ASML makes machines that etch circuits onto silicon wafers and it is famous for its 450-millimeter wafer sizes and “extreme-ultraviolet” or EUV lithography.

The company competes with Canon and Nikon and its main clients are Intel and its sworn rival Samsung. It is not clear where this deal will leave Samsung, which could find itself having to come up with a similar deal with Canon or Nikon.

Intel wants to speed up the next generation of chip manufacturing processes from ASML by as much as two years. It will cost a bomb but could save itself billions by cutting chip production costs.

Under the deal Intel has written a cheque for an initial 10 percent stake in its European supplier and wants to tack on another five percent if it wins shareholder approval, for a total of about $3.1 billion.

It will also move on to larger wafer sizes in its own processing system.

According to Reuters, speeding up a move to 450mm fabs, Intel will make it difficult for smaller chipmakers to compete. They will have to splash out on ever more expensive gear to make cheaper chips that can compete with Intel. 

Laser 'un-printing' wipes ink from paper

There is a lot of talk about approaching a paperless office thanks to mobile devices in the workplace, but until that day comes, the humble sheet of A4 will continue to reign supreme in offices across the world.

This, of course, has its down sides. The vast swathes of forest-devouring paper that are produced for offices has an enormous environmental impact, both in terms of vanishing foliage and carbon emissions pumped out during recycling.

Certainly there are efforts to reduce the amount of wastage produced, and most offices are likely to have at least some form of reuse plan in place.

However, by cutting out the need to actually recycle paper at all, or at least severely limit it, a reduction of up to 80 percent of recycling emissions could be made, while trees would be left untouched.

Now, the University of Cambridge has developed technology which removes the toner from a piece of paper through the use of a laser, leaving a sheet of paper ready to be used again.  It is, effectively, a Tippex upgrade.

The team used a number of lasers along a range of strengths and pulse durations spanning a spectrum from ultraviolet to infrared.  They found that it was possible to totally remove the printed ink from the paper with little damage, allowing for immediate use.

This takes away the need for various time and energy consuming procedures that would be involved otherwise, such as forestry, pulping, paper making and disposal by incinerator, the researchers claim.

Currently, the team is on the lookout for a way to build a prototype device capable of performing the ‘un-printing’. However, they believe that the technology could well be present in offices across the country in the future, with tests showing that it works using your everyday Canon paper and HP Laserjet black toner.

According to one of the researchers, David Leal, there are a number of problems to be faced before we see machines in the workplace. “There are two challenges at the moment, speed and cost,” he told TechEye. “Both are directly related to the possibility of building a laser with the right specs for the process.

“A prototype would have a high initial cost because we are using specialised laser that have been designed for laboratory use in a niche market,” Leal said. “The challenge would be to design a cheaper laser and after this the cost could go down by economies of scale.”

Another hurdle is ensuring that a machine would be able to work on the full spectrum of ink types.

“The effectiveness depends on the toner-paper-laser setup combination,” Leal explained. “We have found a combination that gives very good results – no considerable mechanical and chemical damage to the paper, no discolouration of the paper, and leaves almost no traces of toner behind.

“The laser that we have identified as the best alternative is capable of removing a certain range of toners from paper, but it doesn’t work with every type of toner available in the market.

“In particular, it has trouble with certain types of yellow toners. So, in summary, it is effective for certain toner-paper combinations, but cannot be used universally.”

But, with the team looking to secure the £19,000 necessary to build a prototype, it is not clear how long development might take.

“We haven’t developed a timescale yet,” he said. “The first step would be to obtain the necessary funding to build a prototype and further develop the concept to overcome certain practical challenges such as cost and speed.

“After this it could be possible to talk with copier makers to see if we could license this idea.”

Alcatel-Lucent's Multimedia Patent Trust sues Apple, LG, Canon, TiVo

Multimedia Patent Trust, a subsidiary of French telco Alcatel-Lucent, has filed a lawsuit against Apple, LG, Canon and TiVo, claiming that the companies infringed up to four of its video codec patents.

The case was filed with the District Court for the Southern District of California, with Canon accused of infringing all four patents, while Apple and TiVo are accused of infringing three. LG is accused of infringing two of them.

The patents are: 4,958,226, relating to “conditional motion compensated interpolation of digital motion video”; 5,136,377, relating to an “adaptive non-linear quantizer”; 5,227,878, relating to “adaptive coding and decoding of frames and fields of video”; and 5,500,678, relating to “optimised scanning of transform coefficients in video coding”.

The first patent is allegedly being infringed by everyone except LG, while the second and third are asserted against all four companies. Only Canon and TiVo need to worry about the last one.

The problem with these patents is that the first two have already expired, while the third is set to expire late next year and the fourth in 2014, making this string of lawsuits appear like a last-ditch effort to cash in on them.

If all four companies were found to have infringed the patents it would have a large effect, as the technologies mentioned in the patents are employed in a wide variety of products, including cameras, mobile phones and video software. The companies would either have to pull these products, which is unlikely, or pay substantial licensing fees, a more common phenomenon in patent disputes.

In fact, the matter of damages become more apparent when we recognise that two of the patents have already expired and the third is likely to expire before a court ruling is made. An injunction to prevent the shipment or sale of products cannot be sought on expired patents, but damages can be, according to Florian Mueller, an intellectual property expert.

Multimedia Patent Trust previously brought Microsoft and a number of other companies to court for similar allegations of patent infringement, with the second and fourth of the above patents being raised against against them. Microsoft was initially ordered to pay $1.53 billion, but that decision was later overturned and a settlement between Microsoft and Multimedia Patent Trust was made for an unknown amount.

Since some of the same patents are involved in this case, it raises questions about whether or not any of these companies will be forced to pay up to Multimedia Patent Trust. It is likely that even if the initial rulings agree that patent infringement took place the companies in question will follow Microsoft’s lead and appeal those decisions.

Canon builds self censoring puritan printer

Printer outfit Canon has created software which stops the great unwashed printing out rude words.

We all know how shocked printers can be when they are forced to print out words which might upset their tiny jets. Printers are delicate things and the use of the odd rude word often sends them into a funk which can last for days.

But the nice people at Canon have the answer to all your puritan printing needs. The Uniflow 5, the latest version of its document management system that can prevent users from printing or copying documents containing specific words.

All printers, scanners, copiers and multifunction devices are managed centrally so it is possible to decide on tablets of stone which words shall be deemed naughty in the sight of the management and enforce it.

The software allows a record to be kept of how many documents have been printed and by whom for billing purposes.

The system requires a Uniflow server and Uniflow-enabled Canon imaging devices. We are not sure if the software can recognise someone’s bottom and refuse to print that out too.

The administrator can prevent a user from attempting to print, scan, copy or fax a document containing other prohibited keyword, such as a client name, project codename or just filth.

The server will email the administrator a PDF copy of the document in question if a user attempts to do so so that the administrator can have the user’s mouth washed out with soap.

The system can optionally inform the user by email that their attempt has been blocked, and give them a chance to exit the building before the filth police catch up with them.

Uniflow 5’s keyword recognition uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology licensed from Belgian OCR firm Iris, technology more commonly used for turning scanned documents into editable text.

If you have a determined user you can get around it by adding 00s so printing out “f00uck 00f admin” will still get printed

Canon has not announced a date that Uniflow 5 will hit the shops or how much it will cost to bring in your very own newspeak machines. 

HP still printer sales top dog in EMEA, sales on the up

The EMEA market for the humble printer is on the up, but reflecting trends in similar markets, it is experiencing slow growth. It’s bad news for environ-mentalists who are looking forward to a print free society, the kind of thing that in reality won’t happen for some time. Context’s report says overall printer sales are up 8.8 percent in EMEA and all-in-ones are dominating the market.

Growth in Western Europe has as usual been dire reaching only six percent year on year. Central and Eastern Europe managed 11.9 percent, then Africa at 12.5 percent. The middle east achieved 13.7 percent growth while Central Asia raked up sales growth of a staggering 85.5 percent year on year. 

Of the economies in the West of Europe the UK performed surprisingly well, proving that while we may not splash out for consumer electronics in a downturn we’re more than ready to buck up and pay for updates on boring necessities. It managed 12.1 percent in Q2 2010 compared to the same period in 2009. 

Strong sales in the Central and Eastern Europe segments boosted monochrome printer sales which enjoyed 9.9 percent growth in the quarter, year on year. All-in-One printer sales have jumped to 46.3 percent year on year in the second quarter of 2010 showing that the average punter wants more bang for his or her buck. 

There are no surprises in the printing vendor Top of the Pops. Hewlett-Packard took the lion’s share with 39.4 percent of all units sold in the region. It beat the number two contender, Canon, by about double which managed to take 18.4 percent of the share. Epson, Brother, Samsung and Lexmark followed with 14.6 percent, 8.0 percent, 6.9 percent and 5.4 percent respectively.

Top 10 tech patent list released

American companies are trashing Japanese companies in a list of firms that have made the patent grade.

That’s according to Nikkei, which reveals today that IBM tops the top 10 patent companies based on research from 1980 to now.

Big Blue leads the list, while Canon trails in at number two, the wire says and the rest of the top 10 is dominated by Americanos.

Surprisingly, Micron, an American firm that makes memory devices is third, then comes Korean chaebol Samsung, with Panasonic at number five.

The next five are the Intel Corporation, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, General Electric and Hitachi.

The list is compiled by a Tokyo based company called Patent Result, and the Nikkei story is here (subscription needed).