Tag: gap

Intel announces Bay Trail tablet CPU: Part One

Wednesday’s IDF Keynote started by asking the audience to stand for a moment of silence in remembrance of lives lost on 9-11 in 2001. From there, it was business as usual with product hype and promises of future success.

Intel seems to be spotlighting health. It opened with a feel-good video of Jack Andraka, child prodigy and biology whiz. Andraka is a high school sophomore who won the youth achievement Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in December 2012 for inventing a new method to detect a lethal form of pancreatic cancer.

From there, Intel moved into its theme of “The Internet of Things.” One thing that aroused curiosity was a dull white plastic wristband on every seat. It became an attention-getter later in the programme. In the meantime, everyone got a shot at the podium to talk about their pet project.

Doug Fisher, VP General Manager Software and Services Group, gave a few brief remarks, then introduced Dr. Herman Eul, VP General Manager Mobile and Communications Group. He started off with a video about MTV and Intel getting together to improve the audience’s experience because they do not really understand how wireless works, and what are its limitations.

Eul said the goal is to make the mobile platform smarter, the CPU more powerful, and the imaging performance better. He did a brief introduction of “Bay Trail,” the next-generation Atom Z3000 ,  focusing on it being used as a gaming platform. He showed that it is capable of running Windows – which is called heavy legacy software – or running Android OS, Apple OS, Chrome OS, or Linux OS. Bay Trail is a 64-bit processor, built using Intel’s Silvermont 22nm micro-architecture. There will be six variants of the chip available – with dual and quad-core configurations. Clock speeds will range from 1.8GHz to 2.4GHz.

Bay Trail’s Hardware and Software supports:  

  • Windows (32/64-bit) and/or Android and/or Chrome
  • Displays resolutions up to 2500 x 1600 (Retina display)
  • Dual independent displays
  • Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) technology
  • Up to 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM
  • USB 3, HDMI, Displayport, SD card, NFC, 4G, Wi-Fi, GPS
  • X 11, Open GL 3.0 graphics
  • Up to 13MP camera on the rear with Zero shutter lag, burst mode, digital video stabilization, 1080p recording at 60FPS and up to 2MP on the front.

Eul then brought Victoria Molina on stage, a fashion industry consultant and former executive for Ralph Lauren, Levi’s, and the Gap, who explained her virtual shopping experience application. They developed it using the Intel Android SDK in about a week  – but gave no information on the experience level of their programmers.

Molina said the most important part of this application is the fit map, an important factor in making the apparel attractive on the wearer, to attain a “cool” outcome. The application uses an avatar based around the person’s measurements, height and weight, and a facial photograph. The shopper goes out to the web site where they want to shop and chooses the clothing to virtually try on before purchasing. Next, the website pulls up sample clothing from their product lines.

After you build your ensemble of clothing, then you can adjust the clothing so the fit is tight, medium, or loose. After deciding on your look, you go through the “Cat Walk” show-n-tell process. That means the avatar is dressed with each one of the outfits in the size and drape you want and it looks like you are a model on a fashion show runway. Molina said, “This will revolutionise the online shopping experience. Because of the huge “cool factor”.

Next, Intel focused on a Bay Trail small-form-factor tablet running and editing videos. Eul invited Jerry Shen, chief executive of Asus, to introduce its T100, a 2-in-1 Bay Trail notebook with over ten hours of battery life. “We are very excited about the Bay Trail quad-core promise,” Shen said.

Asus is more optimistic than Intel regarding battery longevity. Intel claims Bay Trail tablets could weigh as little 14.1 ounces and offer more than eight hours of battery life when the users are watching high-definition video.

Neil Hand, Dell’s VP of Tablets, showed its  Venue 8-inch, Windows 8.1, Bay Trail tablet that is going to be shipping soon. He said it has 4G LTE.
Eul talked briefly about upcoming Merryfield, a 22nm SoC which is build on the Silvermont architecture specifically for smartphones. We were told that Airmont, a 14nm process engineering SoC with all the features of Bay Trail for tablets, is on schedule for Q3 2014 release.

Finally, Eul satisfied our curiosity by showing his audio DJ idea which activated those dull white plastic bracelets that were sitting on each chair. A video was projected onto the giant screens in the auditorium showing the Keynote audience and the wristbands lighting up in synch with Eul’s music.

The presentation took another turn with Kirk Skaugen, Senior VP General Manager PC Client Group at Intel which will be covered in part two.

Town saved by superfast broadband 2,400ft above sea level

* Update. We have made some corrections to the original story.

Start up Bluwan is a hero for a small town in the mountains 2,400 ft above sea level, which had no broadband internet and had given up hope.

The French town of Le Sauze-du-Lac had residents without broadband because it was thought wiring up the community was beyond expensive – with fibre deployment estimated to cost around  £26-30 million (€30-35 million). When France completes its switch over from analogue to digital TV, the town might lose its TV signal too.

However, woes were answered by Bluwan, which put forward a way to get broadband through a wireless technology spun off from French military research.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Bluwan offered the citizens internet at 100Mbit/sec. It said it could also deliver both high-definition and standard-def TV in a pilot scheme costing the local authority €80,000.

Bluwan said it would use an unused part of the radio frequency to deliver the internet through the air, which it originally named “Fibre Through The Air” (FTAA).  

The technology stems from the Gulf War. In 1991 American fighter planes were misguided in their targeting systems and were hitting British troops.

This sparked François Magne, a researcher at French defence company Thales, into action and he came up with a system that could do real-time video analysis and create a high-speed broadband connection that would easily analyse video and optimise targeting systems.

According to Shayan Sanyal, Chief Marketing Officer for Bluwan: “It worked. So in 2005 he went to Thales with a proposal to spin this technology off for civilian purposes. The EU had just normalised a very close frequency to the one the system used and François [Magne] saw potential to use this to deliver high-speed broadband very cost effectively to areas where fibre was not possible. So the company was born,” he told the WSJ.

Bluwan took this idea to Gap, which has the closest high-speed fibre connection and is 15 miles away.

Hooking up a radio transmitter, Bluwan will beam that internet connection up the mountain which dominates the town. On that mountain is an existing TV mast where Bluwan will install its own technology. Its receiver picks up the beamed internet signal and then re-broadcasts it over the whole town.

To ensure citizens of the town will get their fair share of access Bluwan will fit each house with a transceiver mounted on the roof to pick up the signal and deliver internet traffic to the home. 

FTTA will use the 40.5 – 43.5 GHz frequency to beam all the bandwidth across. According to the company the technology stamps all over LTE and Wimax, which both offer 20MHz of bandwidth, whereas FTTA will offer 3GHz. Compared to 300 Mbits/sec for 4G, Le Sauze-du-Lac, citizens will get around 10 Gbits. This is because Q-Band is allocated in 500 MHz chunks.

And because the bandwidth is so generous, not only will FTTA deliver high-speed internet, but it will also bring 30 High Definition and up to 120 Standard Definition digital TV channels to the home.

However, there’s always a catch and in FTTA’s case it’s all about line of site. If residents are unable to see the broadcast tower or a re-broadcast relay, they won’t get a signal. Residents will also have to forgo accessing the net on their mobiles as the technology is only suitable for fixed access.  There is also general worry about high frequency transmissions and health concerns. So far, Bluwan has conducted trials in Paris and in three cities across Slovakia.