Tag: SDK

Qualcomm releases Connected Car Platform

accidentcarinwashingtondcQualcomm has released its Connected Car Reference Platform, which is designed for the car industry to build prototypes of the next-generation connected car.

If carmakers go for it, Qualcomm could make itself a pretty penny as cars are supposed to get more intelligent, even as their owners lose brain cells.

While the package does not seem there yet, as autonomous steering and collision avoidance features were missing, on-board specialised processors, in addition to new capabilities are all there.

Qualcomm will probably apply its machine learning SDK, announced just a few weeks ago, and the Snapdragon 820 processor to meet those needs.

Qualcomm said the Connected Car Reference Platform uses a common framework that scales from a basic telematics control unit (TCU) up to a highly integrated wireless gateway, connecting multiple electronic control units (ECUs) within the car and supporting critical functions, such as over-the-air software upgrades and data collection and analytics.

The vehicle’s connectivity hardware and software to be upgraded through its life cycle, providing automakers with a migration path from Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) to hybrid/cellular V2X and from 4G LTE to 5G.

It can also manage concurrent operation of multiple wireless technologies using the same spectrum frequencies, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy.

The system supports OEM and third-party applications to providing a secure framework for the development and execution of custom applications.

Qualcomm appears to be trying to solve the problem of over-the-air software updates. Updating software on a mission-critical system such as an autonomous car is a much harder problem than updating a smartphone because it has to be completely secure and work every time without reducing safety.

Qualcomm has to solve this problem anyway to accelerate shipments not only to the car market but to the IoT market, where it hopes to sell tens of billions of chips.

#Qualcomm says it expects to ship the Connected Car Reference Platform to automakers, tier 1 auto suppliers and developers late this year.

Intel announces Bay Trail tablet CPU, part two

[Part one is here]

Kirk Skaugen, senior VP General Manager PC Client Group at Intel took over in the second half of Wednesday’s IDF Keynote presentation. He began talking about the “2 in 1” computing platform. That raises the question: Have Ultrabooks slipped off Intel’s road map just when HP is announcing its HP ZBook 14 Ultra Workstation?

Kirk Skaugen


Perhaps they are simply not selling in the volume predicted at a couple past IDFs when Ultrabooks were announced? Skaugen put it this way: “Now we’ve stopped counting [OEM designs], and assumed that the entire world has gone thin”. He added that more than 40 percent of all Core notebooks have been designed with touch. Seventy percent of today’s Ultrabooks are touch-enabled, on the way to 100 percent touch later this year.

Skaugen said by this year’s holidays, the 2-in-1 form factor will be selling in the $999 down to $349 price range. He said that by the year’s end, there will be 60 2-in-1 devices in that future marketplace. Examples he showed were the Sony Duo 13-inch slider, the Dell XP 11, the Sony detachable – which only weighs 780 grams and handles both wired and wireless, and the Dell XP 12, which is a flip screen. An application from CyberLink will be provided on Haswell machines by the end of the year to energise content creation.

Skaugen handed over to Tami Reeler, Microsoft VP who discussed the Windows 8.1 released to developers. There was the usual sales story about how wonderful Windows 8 is.

In August, Windows 8 had the highest demand and sales, which was probably prompted by the back to school movement. She discussed Windows XP and its end of support in April 2014. She also claimed that “three quarters of the corporate users have moved to a modern Windows from Windows XP” – but she didn’t specify whether they were using Windows 7 or Windows 8.x.

Tami Reeler talks Windows 8 with Kirk Skaugen

Intel says that it has the business community handled with fourth generation core CPUs, SST Pro 1500 SSD, location-based security in the enterprise, and its new Pro-WiDI plus password free VPN connections – which got a round of applause from the audience.

Mario Müller, VP of IT Infrastructure at BMW, was next to join Kirk Skaugen on stage. There was some banter about a new BMW for everybody in the audience. Müller said that 55,000 of its 120,000 employees will be getting core i5 computers, but none of the audience will be receiving a BMW, unfortunately.

Mario Müller and Kirk Skaugen discussing new BMW i8 Plug-In Hybrid Sports Car 

Skaugen returned to topic saying that Bay Trail has 140 design wins and it runs all operating systems faster – Android, iOS, Chrome, and Linux. He talked about the Cinnabar benchmark using the fourth generation Broadwell 14 nm CPU. The chips will include AVX 3.2, DDR4 and PCI Express 4.0 support among their improved feature set.

Bay Trail SoCs are aimed at tablets and convertibles with screen sizes priced at $599 or below and will ship in tablets running Windows 8 and Android, ranging down to below $100 in price. When Chinese tablet OEMs start selling $100 price point 7-inch tablets with Bay Trail inside, then Intel will have to be taken very seriously by the ARM and MIPS partners.

Sony Duo slider as a tablet 

The discussions turned towards 3D. By Q2 2014, Intel predicts there will be collaboration over a 3D camera specification that will be implemented into Ultrabooks. We were told that Intel has had high numbers of downloads for its 3D SDK. It has the $100,000,000 Experience  and the Perceptual Computing Fund to work with.

Skaugen showed a 2D/3D camera that fits into the bezel of an Ultrabook. He gave an example of 3D functionality with a video showing children playing with an Ultrabook which had a 3D camera installed. Their expressions were of surprised joy.

3D developers should be glad to know that Project Anarchy is a free 3D game production engine and is ready to be downloaded and used.

Gonzague de Vallois, VP Sales and Marketing for Gameloft, showed off the company’s latest Android 3D auto racing game, referred to as Asphalt 8: Airborne, which takes advantage of Bay Trail and 3D graphics. At $4.99 it’s pretty affordable.

Gameloft’s Asphalt 8, for Android

Sundar Pichai, Senior VP Android Chrome & Apps at Google talked about the just-introduced Haswell CPU Chromebook and its stunning performance, extended battery life, and 3D capabilities. He also presented Doug Fisher from Intel’s Software and Services Group with an official Google Beanie cap – what a new hire at Google wears for their first days. After Pichai left the stage, Fisher said something about ‘that is a give away’.

Sundar Pichai gives Doug Fisher a Google Beanie

Over 1,000 Intel engineers are working on Google Android and Chrome.

Research firm NPD says Chromebooks represent 20-25 percent of the $300-or-less computer segment. Clearly, Intel has embraced Google’s Android and Chrome operating systems as a target market to put a lot of “Intel Inside”. 

Microsoft releases Kinect for PC SDK beta

Software giant Microsoft has released its Kinect For Windows SDK beta which will allow anyone to plug their Kinect peripheral into a PC and use it to develop motion games.

The software can be downloaded here. According to Microsoft, the SDK will allow access to raw data streams from the depth sensor, colour camera sensor, and four element microphone array.

This will let developers build upon the low-level streams that are generated by the Kinect sensor.

It can track the skeleton image of one or two people moving within the Kinect field of view and make it easy to create gesture-driven software.

There are also audio processing capabilities, including acoustic noise suppression and echo cancellation, beam formation to identify the current sound source, and integration with the Windows speech recognition API.

It is fairly involved. The SDK includes more than 100 pages of technical documentation for those who need to read the manual and there are built-in help files.

The Kinect has been one of Microsoft’s few success stories. On the Xbox it has flogged 0 million units since its release in November 2010.

People have been using hacks to access the Kinect on their computers and have come up with some interesting ways of using it.

Currently the SDK can only be used for non-commercial purposes, but Microsoft said that there will be a commercial version in the future. 

Intel announces OpenCL SDK

Chipzilla has told the world and its dog that it will be releasing an OpenCL SDK enabling execution of OpenCL code on Intel x86 Processors.

Currently it is only possible to run this sort of stuff on Windows Vista and Windows 7 and the move is probably to counter anything that NVidia and PGI is doing with its ‘CUDA x86′.

OpenCL is an emerging standard from the Khronos Group industry consortium and Intel has made a lot available to the standard’s feature set.

It is the first open, royalty-free standard for general-purpose parallel programming of heterogeneous systems and provides a uniform programming environment for software developers to write efficient, portable code using a mix of multi-core CPUs and other parallel processors.

Intel said that its API enables developers to take advantage of things like the Intel Streaming SIMD Extensions and Multi-Core scalability.

While showing off the Alpha release of Intel OpenCL SDK, Intel said that it would continue to support parallel computing tools and standards support .It has a way to go yet.

OpenCL is still not as popular as CUDA, mostly because it is a bit trickier to work with.However CUDA has also been out there a bit longer and as a large pool of expertise

However Intel’s announcement means that its big idea of having a single truly universal language that runs on AMD and Nvidia GPUs and Intel’s CPUs is getting a lot closer. 

Android Gingerbread update coming this week

The next update for Google’s successful Android OS, codenamed Gingerbread, is set to be released this week and will carry a lower version number than most people expected.

Android Police spotted a tweet from a member of the Open Handset Alliance, which is a consortium of around 80 handset manufacturers, mobile operators, semiconductor firms, and software companies supporting the Android platform, revealed that a Software Development Kit for the Android Gingerbread version is expected within the next few days.

The tweet came from Alvaro Fuentes Vasquez, a member of the leadership and usability team at the Open Handset Alliance, who wrote in Spanish:

“Preparen sus Nexus One (Developer version) para la actualización vía OTA de Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) para los próximos días :-D”

Google translated this to:

“Prepare your Nexus One (Developer version) for Android OTA update 2.3 (Gingerbread) for the next few days :-D”

Aside from the obvious importance of a release coming this week, the tweet confirms that the version of the update will be a more modest 2.3, rather than the substantial increase to 3.0 that most expected

It is not clear if this represents a scaling back of the update due to delays of major features or if the world simply got the number wrong, but since FroYo was quite a big update despite the small version number increase we can probably expect plenty in Gingerbread, including the highly anticipated user interface revamp.

The Nexus One became Google’s official developer phone after commercial failure. There have been recent rumours that a Nexus Two might be on the way, touting the new version of Android, but developers won’t need to fork out for a new phone if today’s news is true, as an over-the-air update should arrive for them by the end of the week.

A full public release is likely to be further off, possibly surfacing at the end of the month or in early December. This fits in with initial reports that Google wanted Gingerbread released by the end of 2010, where it will compete with an update to rival Apple’s iOS.

Qualcomm launches Augmented Reality SDK for Android

Qualcomm has today launched its free Augmented Reality Software Development Kit (SDK) for Android smartphones, opening new avenues for developers to create interactive 3D apps that allow an additional layer of virtual data to be placed over our everyday world.

Qualcomm has been working on an Augumented Reality platform for a while and believes it can offer a better version of the technology than rivals on the market. Most Augmented Reality techniques require the use of GPS and a compass to place the virtual objects on the underlying terrain, but Qualcomm’s approach is “vision-based”, where graphics are placed directly over real world objects, making them look like they are literally there.

Qualcomm first unveiled its Augmented Reality platform at its Uplinq Developer Conference in San Diego, California on July 1 of this year, garnering a lot of interest from toy companies and game developers who see Augmented Reality as the next big thing.

Toy manufacturer Mattel licensed the platform for its Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em game and plans to include Augmented Reality in more of its products. Ogmento, one of the first companies to specialise in Augmented Reality games, has also signed a deal with Qualcomm to use its platform on a number of upcoming titles.

While the big developers will be turning directly to Qualcomm to licence its platform, smaller developers working with Google’s Android operating system will be free to work with the new Software Development Kit to create games and apps that merge the virtual world with the real.

The SDK includes an advanced feature set, which allows augmentation of everyday images, both 2D and 3D. It even allows user interaction with the augmented objects by physically interacting with the real world, opening up a number of possibilities for new gaming experiences.

AMD proclaims wave of Firestream GPUs

X86 and graphics company AMD today announced its newest Firestream GPU compute accelerators, the Firestream 9350 and 9370, for use in servers and enterprising clouds. The smaller 9350 offers 2.0 TFLOPS single precision and 400 GFLOPS double precision floating point performance, whereas its larger relative, the Firestream 9370, achieves 2.64 TFLOPS single precision and 528 GFLOPS double precision performance.

Both cards come packed with GDDR5 memory, 2GB on the 9350 card and 4GB on the 9370. The 9350 also merely needs to occupy one lonely PCIe slot. Standards such as OpenCL, DirectX 11 and OpenGL are naturally supported by the latest streams of fire. The cards require 150W and 225W of power, respectively.

“Heterogeneous systems in which high-performance GPU and x86 CPU technologies work in tandem can deliver enormous computational power,” said Patricia Harrell, a director of CUDA, sorry, stream computing at AMD.

AMD states it will start shipping the cards in the beginning of this year’s third quarter, so they can be expected sometime in July. Partners and OEMs will offer them in rack servers and expansion systems. AMD did not go out of its way to mention One Stop Systems and Supermicro.

The lesser X86 chip maker recently announced its newest Opteron CPUs, and boy-oh-boy would its Firestream cards just work swell with those server brains. A software development kit (SDK) is also available so “the developer community can harness the combined compute power” of a Firestream-enhanced Opteron system.

AMD did not comment if crossing its streams would lead to total protonic reversal, stopping all life instantaneously and exploding every molecule in a server by the speed of light.

Imagination Technologies pimps out its SDK

Imagination Technologies (IMG) is a firm with a confident swagger about it these days. The company just released its new SDK and is “pimping it out” at every opportunity.

David Harold, director of PR for IMG, recently told TechEye that although he felt the SDK was worth hundreds of dollars, the firm was passing it out for free and giving out hundreds of the kits to developers on CD-ROMs, as well as having a downloadable version up online.

“We could make a lot of money out of it if we wanted to monetise it, but we don’t,” he told us. Of course, IMG is not playing developer soup kitchen out of the goodness of its heart, more developers developing means more apps to take advantage of IMG’s tech in a world where content is king.

“The richer the content on mobile devices, the faster IMG will grow, so we see it as essential to encourage developers,” Harold told us.

“This community is important to us, especially in a world where mobile is exceeding consoles.”

And mobile really is becoming a focus for IMG, which believes more portable devices will really cut into the desktop business.

“Power consumption will have to continue to go lower and lower, and people just don’t want fans anymore,” he said noting this was some of the reason why set top boxes had seen a sudden explosion in popularity.

Of course, IMG is also collaborating very intensely with Intel on set top boxes, and says the chip giant’s business is “incredibly important to us.”

Intel is a very major shareholder in IMG, and the two firms are working together on Intel’s Sodaville (C4100) plans for set top boxes and digitally wonderous TVs.

“Power consumption and performance per watt is very, very important to us,” Harold added.

More, er, less power to ‘em then!