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charlesarthur : intel   65

Exclusive: Intel launches blockbuster auction for its mobile portfolio • IAM
Richard Lloyd:
<p>In what looks set to become one of the highest profile patent sales in years, Intel has put its IP relating to cellular wireless connectivity on the auction block. The company is seeking to divest around 8,500 assets from its massive portfolio.

The news comes as the chip giant searches for a buyer for its 5G smartphone modem business having announced in April that it was pulling out of the market. That was after as it had become increasingly clear that the company, which has been the supplier of 4G modem chips to Apple for the last few years, was struggling to release a 5G product even though the rollout of the next generation of mobile technology is well underway.

The auction offering is comprised of two parts: the cellular portfolio and a connected device portfolio. The former includes approximately 6,000 patent assets related to 3G, 4G and 5G cellular standards and an additional 1,700 assets that read on wireless implementation technologies. The latter is made up of 500 patents with broad applicability across the semiconductor and electronics industries.</p>


Not quite a fire sale, but there isn't anything left of the building now that Apple isn't going to buy 5G modems from it.
intel  wireless  modem  patent  5g 
25 days ago by charlesarthur
Intel’s Project Athena could make laptops better, if only it had teeth • The Verge
Sean Hollister:
<p>Project Athena isn’t going to be a meaningless marketing campaign. In fact, Intel has set its sights on killing off one of the biggest lies the PC industry ever told laptop buyers: battery life.

Intel says Project Athena laptops will need to deliver 9 hours of real-world battery life, browsing the web over Wi-Fi, with their screen set to a level of brightness (250 nits) that a user might actually have in the real world. This is important, because today’s laptop benchmarks are anything but — when a PC maker says your new machine gets 24 hours of battery life, they’re typically measuring that by playing back a video that barely taxes the processor, with Wi-Fi off, and low screen brightness to boot. Who uses a laptop like that?

Now, we’re learning that battery life is just the beginning. Project Athena laptops will need to wake from sleep in under a second, be ready to browse the web in under two seconds thanks to connected standby, and have the same sort of responsiveness on battery that they have when plugged into the wall — plus come with touchscreen displays, precision touchpads (trust us, it’s a must), the latest Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, and enough RAM (8GB) and speedy NVMe solid state storage (256GB) to tackle the basics for most users.

And Intel isn’t just going to leave these things up to the manufacturers. It’s going to test the crap out of some of these things itself, namely battery life and responsiveness, because Intel believes they’re the basis for PCs that actually satisfy modern users’ needs.</p>


Nice, but as Hollister points out, without a brand like "Ultrabook" (from 2011) it will struggle. And there's also ARM processors - which will improve battery life enormously - coming up.
intel  athena  pc  arm  processor 
7 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Intel flaw lets hackers siphon secrets from millions of PCs • WIRED
Andy Greenberg:
<p>MORE THAN A year has passed since security researchers revealed Meltdown and Spectre, a pair of flaws in the deep-seated, arcane features of millions of chip sold by Intel and AMD, putting practically every computer in the world at risk. But even as chipmakers scrambled to fix those flaws, researchers warned that they weren't the end of the story, but the beginning—that they represented a new class of security vulnerability that would no doubt surface again and again. Now, some of those same researchers have uncovered yet another flaw in the deepest guts of Intel's microscopic hardware. This time, it can allow attackers to eavesdrop on virtually every bit of raw data that a victim's processor touches.

Today Intel and a coordinated supergroup of microarchitecture security researchers are together announcing a new, serious form of hackable vulnerability in Intel's chips. It's four distinct attacks, in fact, though all of them use a similar technique, and all are capable of siphoning a stream of potentially sensitive data from a computer's CPU to an attacker.</p>


😫😫😫😫
intel  hacking 
9 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple held talks with Intel about buying its smartphone-modem chip business • WSJ
Tripp Mickle, Cara Lombardo and Dana Cimilluca:
<p>The talks started around last summer and continued for months before halting recently, around the time Apple reached a multiyear supply agreement for modems from Intel rival Qualcomm Inc., QCOM +1.85% some of the people said.

Intel is now exploring strategic alternatives for its modem chip business, including a possible sale—to Apple or another acquirer, the people said. It has already received expressions of interest from a number of parties and has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to manage the process, which is in an early stage. Should there be a deal, it could yield as much as a few billion dollars for Intel, some of the people said.

The Intel-Apple talks, which haven’t been previously reported, reflect growing openness by the iPhone maker toward the idea of big acquisitions, people familiar with the company’s operations said. The talks also are part of broader tumult in the smartphone sector as sales growth has stalled, squeezing the iPhone business that has long driven Apple’s profits…

…Selling the modem business would allow Intel to unload a costly operation that was losing about $1bn annually, according to another person familiar with its performance. Any sale would likely include staff, a portfolio of patents and modem designs related to multiple generations of wireless technology, said Patrick Moorhead, principal at Moor Insights & Strategy, a technology firm.</p>


Entirely predictable that Apple would look at buying this. It probably decided just to hire all the useful staff instead. (Interesting that the story has a cast-of-thousands byline. Most stories like this have a single writer.)
apple  qualcomm  intel  modem 
12 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Why did Intel kill off their modem program? • SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian:
<p>[Intel] quite literally never delivered a modem that worked right. The most glaring example of this was the iPhone 7 which had both Intel and Qualcomm variants. On paper it was a 1Gb LTE device but Apple only delivered a 600Mbps iPhone.

That same 600Mbps Qualcomm modem in the iPhone ran at 1Gbps in Android devices. The Intel modem ran at 600Mbps max and there were no other customers to make a comparison to. Apple crippled their Qualcomm parts to match the delivered Intel specs. Worse yet those Intel parts were only 600Mbps on paper; in practice they had 30% lower throughput. On top of this the Intel modems consumed vastly more energy to do their slower work than Qualcomm, a trend that SemiAccurate has personally measured in the labs across multiple generations of Intel modems but is not at liberty to disclose exact figures on, sorry.

This is significant for several reasons. First, phones operate on batteries, and 30% lower throughput at 30% higher energy use means the Intel modem was about half as efficient as the Qualcomm one. Not only do customers with Intel iPhones get a second rate user experience, they get worse battery life as well.

And then there are the carriers whose product is effectively finite air time on a specific frequency. If a phone is 30% slower due to retries and packet failures it means it ties up 30% more of that time and costs carriers much more to support. They are keenly aware of this and hate Intel modems.</p>


Just as well Intel isn't going to be doing modems much longer.
intel  modem 
april 2019 by charlesarthur
Qualcomm just beat Apple into submission • Semiaccurate
Charlie Demerjian:
<p>Apple was trying to cut Qualcomm down to size and marginalize them to another supplier of commodity parts. They did this by trying to build up Intel modems and even allegedly handing Intel Qualcomm’s trade secrets when the Santa Clara company could not figure out how to make a working product. For the billions Apple dumped into this enterprise, they failed because Intel, the best of the non-Qualcomm modem makers, quite literally never made a single device that met their promised specs. No we are not joking, Intel’s modem business was a mess.

How bad was it? By the end they were showing multiple versions of the same fake chip photoshopped to ‘be’ a 5G modem. Really, you can’t make this stuff up. Intel claimed release dates, specs, and all sorts of numbers but never showed actual 5G silicon, functional or not. Worse yet they never got LTE modems even close to what they promised Apple. This is Intel’s problem not Apple’s, right?

Actually it was Apple’s problem more than Intel’s. Sure Intel was ‘selling’ Apple modems with a $10 bill wrapped around each one as SemiAccurate exclusively told you last year, but finances only go so far. Remember the iPhones with 600Mbps LTE modems? You know the ones where if you put that same Qualcomm part in any other device it was a 1Gb LTE modem? Then again if you put the same Intel modem in any other device it was a 600Mbps modem, not that there were any other customers dumb enough to use that device despite the contra-revenue pricing. Apple literally crippled their Qualcomm modem to match Intel’s so the finance set would put pressure on Qualcomm.

Although both devices were the same spec on paper, the Qualcomm iPhone had 30% more throughput at than the Intel one under the same conditions. What they didn’t say and that SemiAccurate has tested in the lab is that the Intel modems used about 30% more energy to be 30% slower, something that was pretty similar to previous generations.</p>

So the implication seems to be that this year's iPhones (and mobile-capable iPads?) will also use Intel modems, but after that it's going to be Qualcomm parts. Sounds like that's good for everyone apart from Intel.
Apple  qualcomm  intel 
april 2019 by charlesarthur
Intel CPU shortages to worsen in 2Q19, says Digitimes Research • Digitimes
Jim Hsiao:
<p>Shortages of Intel's CPUs are expected to worsen in the second quarter compared to the first as demand for Chromebooks, which are mostly equipped with Intel's entry-level processors, enters the high period, according to Digitimes Research.

Digitimes Research expects Intel CPUs' supply gap to shrink to 2-3% in the first quarter with Core i3 taking over Core i5 as the series hit hardest by shortages.

The shortages started in August 2018 with major brands including Hewlett-Packard (HP), Dell and Lenovo all experiencing supply gaps of over 5% at their worst moment.

Although most market watchers originally believed that the shortages would gradually ease after vendors completed their inventory preparations for the year-end holidays, the supply gap in the fourth quarter of 2018 still stayed at the same level as that in the third as HP launched a second wave of CPU inventory buildup during the last quarter of the year, prompting other vendors to follow suit.

Taiwan-based vendors were underprepared and saw their supply gaps expand from a single digit percentage previously to over 10% in the fourth quarter.</p>


A "supply gap" implies that the (PC) vendor can't raise prices to reduce demand to match the supply. But if all the big names are suffering, why don't they want to raise prices?
pc  intel  cpu  shortage 
march 2019 by charlesarthur
Apple's move to ARM-based Macs creates uncertainty • Axios
Ina Fried:
<p>What we're hearing: Although the company has yet to say so publicly, developers and Intel officials have privately told Axios they expect such a move as soon as next year.

• Bloomberg offered a bit more specificity on things in a <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-20/apple-is-said-to-target-combining-iphone-ipad-mac-apps-by-2021">report</a> on Wednesday, saying that the first ARM-based Macs could come in 2020, with plans to offer developers a way to write a single app that can run across iPhones, iPads and Macs by 2021.<br />• The first hints of the effort came last year when Apple offered a sneak peek at its plan to make it easier for developers to bring iPad apps to the Mac.

Why it matters: The move could give developers a way to reach a bigger market with a single app, although the transition could be bumpy. For Intel, of course, it would mean the loss of a significant customer, albeit probably not a huge hit to its bottom line.

Our thought bubble:<br />• If anything, the Bloomberg timeline suggests that Intel might actually have more Mac business in 2020 than some had been expecting.<br />• The key question is not the timeline but just how smoothly Apple is able to make the shift. For developers, it will likely mean an awkward period of time supporting new and classic Macs as well as new and old-style Mac apps.</p>


That sounds backward. You'd offer devs the way to have cross-platform apps first, so they can write for it. Then you introduce ARM Macs, on which the ARM-first code will run a lot faster. Unless the cross-compilation to Intel is too hard.. except we know it isn't, because there are already four Marzipan apps.

So I'd expect the app framework this year, ARM Macs next year.
intel  arm  cpu  apple 
february 2019 by charlesarthur
Yeah, Apple is probably building a modem • DIGITS to DOLLARS
Jay Goldberg:
<p>the fact that the modem team is just now moving likely means that their modem effort is still fairly nascent. There is a lot of work to be done here, especially in building out support for older wireless standards. Any modem today has to support all the existing cellular standards going back to 2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE. That is a time-consuming process. Moreover, to be competitive, Apple’s modem will have to build 5G capabilities. If they are starting from scratch, it is hard to see them finishing all of that in less than a year, even at an incredible sprint. Admittedly, Apple is always full of surprises, so they probably have some clever shortcut that escapes us mere mortals, but even still, it is pretty unlikely that next year’s (2020) iPhone would have an Apple modem.

Second, this is bad news for Intel who is currently the sole source supplier for iPhone modems. Apple has been long rumored to be working on its own laptop CPU to replace Intel, and now it seems Apple is also designing out the Intel modem. We suspect that Intel will still provide something to Apple’s modem, perhaps some form of IP license or sale of software libraries to speed up the development. There is also an outside chance that Apple just buys Intel’s modem team. We have no idea if this is happening, but it would certainly speed up the hiring for Apple’s modem team.

Third, there is a possibility that this is an Apple head fake of some sort. Why did this story leak now and who leaked it? Reuters only cites “two people familiar with the move”. This does not sound like an Apple employee. The author, Stephen Nellis, covers Apple and Qualcomm, and seems to have a pretty broad contact network. So one scenario is that Apple directly leaked this story, probably as a way of ratcheting up the pressure on Qualcomm, any means necessary for World War Patents. Another scenario is that Apple’s modem team has gotten big enough that keeping it secret is just not possible anymore.</p>
apple  qualcomm  modem  intel 
february 2019 by charlesarthur
SMT solving on an iPhone • James Bornholt
<p>Cross-compiling <a href="https://github.com/z3prover/z3">Z3</a> [a theorem prover from Microsoft Research] turns out to be remarkably simple, with just a few lines of code changes necessary; I open sourced the code to <a href="https://github.com/jamesbornholt/z3-ios">run Z3 on your own iOS device</a>. For benchmarks, I drew a few queries from my recent work on <a href="https://unsat.cs.washington.edu/projects/sympro">profiling symbolic evaluation</a>, extracting the SMT generated by Rosette in each case.

As a first test, I compared my iPhone XS to one of my desktop machines, which uses an Intel Core i7-7700K—the best consumer desktop chip Intel was selling when we built the machine 18 months ago. I expected the Intel chip to win quite handily here, but that’s not how things turned out.

The iPhone XS was about 11% <em>faster</em> on this 23 second benchmark! This is the result I tweeted about, but Twitter doesn’t leave much room for nuance, so I’ll add some here.

• This benchmark is in the QF_BV fragment of SMT, so Z3 discharges it using bit-blasting and SAT solving.<br />• This result holds up pretty well even if the benchmark runs in a loop 10 times—the iPhone can sustain this performance and doesn’t seem thermally limited. That said, the benchmark is still pretty short.<br />• Several folks asked me if this is down to non-determinism—perhaps the solver takes different paths on the different platforms, due to use of random numbers or otherwise—but I checked fairly thoroughly using Z3’s verbose output and that doesn’t seem to be the case.<br />• Both systems ran Z3 4.8.1, compiled by me using Clang with the same optimization settings. I also tested on the i7-7700K using Z3’s prebuilt binaries (which use GCC), but those were actually slower.</p>


OK, that's quite a niche application. A classic LOB - line of business, ie application-specific - app. It's what people used to love Windows for. The iPhone's GPU makes it terrific for this particular LOB app over Intel.
iphone  gpu  intel 
november 2018 by charlesarthur
Apple's iPad Pro A12X nearly matches top-end x86 CPUs in GeekBench • ExtremeTech
Joel Hruska:
<p>There are persistent rumors that Apple will start swapping Intel CPUs for its own silicon in 2020. From there, it’s easy to connect the dots and think that this is evidence of Intel’s own performance collapse, the end of x86, etc. Digging deeper into results often gives a more nuanced picture of what’s going on and where the limits and problems are. For example: One potential reason these results favor Apple is that Apple is still building its laptops with DDR3-2133, while its iPads use LPDDR4 at higher clocks. In theory, a laptop with DDR4-2400 instead of DDR3-2133 would perform a bit better in these tests.

If Apple wants to truly take the general-purpose CPU performance crown away from Intel by 2020 and replace x86 silicon with its own ARM chips, it’s going to have to either improve those areas of performance where it still lags far behind its competitor or say goodbye to the community of Mac users that rely on superior performance in those types of mathematical operations. That’s going to cost the company power and die area at some level. This is by no means an insurmountable problem — it’s more-or-less exactly what Intel did when it transformed its Pentium M Dothan core (2003) into Nehalem (2008). Dothan was a great CPU with some multimedia processing weak spots compared with its predecessors. Over time, Intel fixed those weaknesses and added new capabilities, setting the stage for a brand-new architecture to debut a decade ago.

The other major issue Apple will have to continue to work on is the suitability of iOS as a serious work platform. iPad Pro reviews have always praised the tablet for its build quality and performance. The question of whether you can use it as a replacement for a traditional laptop (including a Mac laptop) has always come down to software support and ease-of-use.</p>
apple  cpu  intel 
november 2018 by charlesarthur
Intel earnings: What the chip maker can say to turn assuage doubts • MarketWatch
Wallace Witkowski:
<p>Intel has struggled mightily the past few months, but it may be able to retrieve some lost love by showing strong data-centre growth and progress on rolling chips using a long-overdue manufacturing process.

Intel is scheduled to report quarterly earnings after the close of markets on Thursday. On Monday, rumors circulated that Intel was killing off its 10nm manufacturing process following a string of delays on the year, but Intel was quick to deny the reports.

“10nm,” where “nm” means nanometers, refers to how small a chip maker can make the transistors that go on a computer chip, with the general rule being that smaller transistors are faster and more efficient in using power. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. AMD, has been chipping away at Intel’s dominance as its 7nm chip manufacturing process has been hailed as equal or even superior to Intel’s.

That is just the latest problem for Intel, which has had a trying year. The chip maker was hit late in 2017 by news of twin vulnerabilities baked into its chips, then dumped its chief executive — who has not been replaced on a permanent basis — while dealing with a shortage of chips thought to stem from manufacturing-process issues.</p>


The reports of killing off the 10nm <a href="https://semiaccurate.com/2018/10/22/intel-kills-off-the-10nm-process/">came from SemiAccurate</a>, which called it "struggling". Intel's denial feels like one of those "in good time we'll agree" denials.

If correct, then that really is the end of Moore's Law for Intel.
intel  10nm  mooreslaw 
october 2018 by charlesarthur
Hardware Unboxed analyzes Intel's commissioned core i9-9900k benchmarks • HardOCP
:
<p>Hardware Unboxed did a short analysis of a few of the benchmarks as their team felt that the i7-8700K benchmarks and the AMD Ryzen 2700X numbers were incorrect. They found that Principled Technologies had allegedly gimped the AMD CPUs by using different coolers, incorrect ram timings, and possibly even disabled some of the cores on the AMD Ryzen 2700X. To put this into perspective, on the Ashes of the Singularity benchmark that Hardware Unboxed ran, the AMD Ryzen 2700X was 18% faster and the i7-8700K was 4% slower, than the commissioned testing that Intel has published. They even showed how over a suite of games that the i7-8700K was only 9% faster than the AMD Ryzen 2700X in previous pure gaming benchmarks conducted by Hardware Unboxed. Yet in Intel's commissioned benchmark results, the AMD Ryzen 2700X was far, far, behind the Intel i7-8700K in performance metrics. This is why we never trust a manufacturer's benchmarks. Always wait for the review before buying hardware.</p>

So Intel is "choosing" who benchmarks its processors for broader publication so that they will come out ahead of AMD. It feels weird to be living in a time when Intel cares again about AMD being competitive.

That said, unless you're building a PC from scratch, you don't have much choice about your processor, do you? (Thanks Stormyparis for the link.)
Intel  benchmark  cheating 
october 2018 by charlesarthur
Hacker finds hidden 'God mode' on old x86 CPUs • Tom's Hardware
Paul Wagenseil:
<p>The backdoor completely breaks the protection-ring model of operating-system security, in which the OS kernel runs in ring 0, device drivers run in rings 1 and 2, and user applications and interfaces ("userland") run in ring 3, furthest from the kernel and with the least privileges. To put it simply, Domas' God Mode takes you from the outermost to the innermost ring in four bytes.

"We have direct ring 3 to ring 0 hardware privilege escalation," Domas said. "This has never been done."

That's because of the hidden RISC chip, which lives so far down on the bare metal that Domas half-joked that it ought to be thought of as a new, deeper ring of privilege, following the theory that hypervisors and chip-management systems can be considered ring -1 or ring -2.

"This is really ring -4," he said. "It's a secret, co-located core buried alongside the x86 chip. It has unrestricted access to the x86."

The good news is that, as far as Domas knows, this backdoor exists only on VIA C3 Nehemiah chips made in 2003 and used in embedded systems and thin clients. The bad news is that it's entirely possible that such hidden backdoors exist on many other chipsets.

"These black boxes that we're trusting are things that we have no way to look into," he said. "These backdoors probably exist elsewhere."</p>


It's almost certain, isn't it? If it's not the software or the firmware or the hardware, it's the software/firmware/hardware that <em>controls</em> the hardware.
security  hacking  intel  cpu  backdoor  hardware 
august 2018 by charlesarthur
ARM says its next processors will outperform Intel laptop chips • Engadget
Jon Fingas:
<p>While ARM already believes that its recently unveiled Cortex-A76 is competitive with Intel's 2.6GHz Core i5-7300U, it expects its 2019 "Deimos" and 2020 "Hercules" designs to clearly outperform that CPU. You would get "laptop-class" speed from a more efficient mobile chip, according to the company.

Of course, it's worth taking ARM's braggadocio with a grain of salt. The figures don't include Intel's comparable 8th-generation Core chips that pack twice as many cores and could easily shrink the performance gap. This is also based on one synthetic, integer-oriented benchmark (SPEC CINT2006), not a broader suite of tests that would measure floating point math and other performance traits. ARM is putting its best foot forward rather than offering definitive proof.

Even so, it's telling that ARM might be in the ballpark.</p>


The argument is strong apart from the bit where it suggests PC OEMs would switch to ARM from Intel. I just don't think it would happen. Fine, Windows could manage it. Could third-party apps? Nope. Only Apple might be able to strongarm enough developers to do that, or run an emulator able to do it.
arm  intel  pc 
august 2018 by charlesarthur
Intel says 5G plans for iPhone are unchanged • VentureBeat
Jeremy Horwitz:
<p>Following yesterday’s report from Israeli publication CTech that Apple has decided not to use an Intel 5G modem called “Sunny Peak” in future iPhones, Intel has denied part of the report — and the publication has updated its story to remove its central claim.

“Intel’s 5G customer engagements and roadmap have not changed for 2018 through 2020,” a spokesperson told VentureBeat. “We remain committed to our 5G plans and projects.” When asked whether this meant that Apple is a customer for an Intel 5G modem, the spokesperson said only that “the Intel 5G modem part of the story is inaccurate.”</p>


So there's an update on the CTech article itself, which now says:
<p>Intel will not provide Wi-Fi and Bluetooth components for Apple’s 2020 mobile devices, according to internal company communications reviewed by Calcalist, and people familiar with the matter. Apple has notified Intel it would not use a mobile communication component developed by the chipmaker in its next-generation mobile device, Intel executives said. Further development of the component internally called “Sunny Peak” has been halted and the Intel team that's working on the product will be redirected to other efforts, the executives said.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Sunny Peak component also included 5G connectivity.</p>


Note that this does not mean that Intel *will* provide a 5G modem. Only that the component it now isn't providing doesn't have 5G.
intel  apple  5g 
july 2018 by charlesarthur
Apple passes over Intel in search for 5G chips for the iPhone • CTech
Yoav Stoler:
<p>Intel will not provide 5G modems for Apple’s 2020 mobile devices, according to internal company communications reviewed by Calcalist, and people familiar with the matter. Apple has notified Intel it would not use a mobile modem developed by the chipmaker in its next-generation mobile device, Intel executives said in the communications. Further development of the modem component internally called “Sunny Peak” has been halted and the Intel team that's working on the product will be redirected to other efforts, the executives said.</p>


Hard to know the track record for this publication, but this is a couple of years off. Of course Apple would be thinking about this; if Intel isn't in 5G, it's really a bit screwed in terms of growth.
apple  intel  5g 
july 2018 by charlesarthur
Intel and the danger of integration • Stratechery
Ben Thompson:
<p>TSMC [founded in 1987! on the promise that it wouldn't compete with its customers to design chips, only make them] got better, in large part because it had no choice: soon its manufacturing capabilities were only one step behind industry standards, and within a decade had caught-up (although Intel remained ahead of everyone). Meanwhile, the fact that TSMC existed created the conditions for an explosion in “fabless” chip companies that focused on nothing but design. For example, in the late 1990s there was an explosion in companies focused on dedicated graphics chips: nearly all of them were manufactured by TSMC. And, all along, the increased business let TSMC invest even more in its manufacturing capabilities.

<img src="https://stratechery.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Paper.stratechery-Year-One.371-2.png" width="100%" />

This represented into a three-pronged assault on Intel’s dominance:

• Many of those new fabless design companies were creating products that were direct alternatives to Intel chips for general purpose computing. The vast majority of these were based on the ARM architecture, but also AMD in 2008 spun off its fab operations (christened GlobalFoundries) and became a fabless designer of x86 chips.<br /> • Specialized chips, designed by fabless design companies, were increasingly used for operations that had previously been the domain of general purpose processors. Graphics chips in particular were well-suited to machine learning, cryptocurrency mining, and other highly “embarrassingly parallel” operations; many of those applications have spawned specialized chips of their own. There are dedicated bitcoin chips, for example, or Google’s Tensor Processing Units: all are manufactured by TSMC.<br /> • Meanwhile TMSC, joined by competitors like GlobalFoundries and Samsung, were investing ever more in new manufacturing processes, fueled by the revenue from the previous two factors in a virtuous cycle.</p>


When you consider the victory that modularisation has wrought in the right-hand part of that image, you have to marvel at how Apple has managed to navigate the rapids to get to where it is. Every company has to integrate to a degree; the question is how much, and when to stop/start. At Intel, it seems to have continued just that bit too long because the money was so good.
intel  economics  business 
june 2018 by charlesarthur
Apple’s next laptops could be more iPhone than Mac • WSJ
Christopher Mims:
<p>mobile processors are gaining capabilities that are less common in larger computers. Today, the depth sensor on the iPhone X enables face recognition, but it could someday play a key role in Apple’s augmented-reality software. (Qualcomm has its own Snapdragon XR1 platform for augmented reality.)

Apple is also pushing capabilities such as on-device artificial intelligence, which could enable better voice recognition and other capabilities, and the company aims to support only its own graphics software in the future. Because Apple’s in-house chip designers only have one customer—Apple—they’re able to tune its silicon to run all these things as fast as possible.

“You see Intel delaying new technologies anywhere from six to eight months, and that hurts Apple’s roadmap,” says Ben Bajarin, an analyst at market-research firm Creative Strategies. “Apple in particular doesn’t want to have to be hamstrung.” By using its own silicon, Apple could potentially offer machines that do things other notebook manufacturers might not match for some time, he says.

The result would be an ARM-powered variation on the MacBook or MacBook Air, or something new that meets similar needs and runs MacOS.

There is a limit to what ARM chips can pull off. Apple’s MacBook Pro laptops are powered by Intel’s Core i5 and i7 processors and—like Apple’s desktop computers—will probably continue to be for a long time.

Workhorse computers need processors that are good at general computing tasks, more than the specialized, task-specific silicon that powers mobile devices.</p>


Everyone is expecting this to happen sooner rather than later. Apple, meanwhile, seems to be moving really quite slowly when it comes to updating its laptops. Not to mention desktops. Not to mention iPads, actually.
apple  laptop  arm  intel 
june 2018 by charlesarthur
Intel kills Kaby Lake-X, the bizarre enthusiast CPUs that nobody wanted • PCWorld
Brad Chacos:
<p>Intel’s Kaby Lake-X chips were a headscratcher from the start.

Launched alongside the massively multi-core Skylake-X processors last summer, the quad-core chips didn’t offer any noticeable advantages over standard Kaby Lake chips beyond a very slight speed bump. Yet they required pricey X299 motherboards that cost significantly more than mainstream hardware—then failed to take advantage of the key platform advantages of the swankier chipset. Intel pitched the CPUs as an overclocker’s dream, but really, they were just plain weird, and effectively made obsolete mere months after release with the introduction of the 6-core, 12-thread Core i7-8700K in October.

Now Kaby Lake-X is officially obsolete. As first noticed by Tech Report, Intel quietly discontinued the Core i5-7640X and Core i7-7740X in a new document outlining end-of-line dates for the chips (PDF). The paperwork hints that Kaby Lake-X was indeed supplanted by 8th-gen Coffee Lake CPUs, stating that “Market demand for the products listed in the ‘Products Affected/Intel Ordering Codes’ tables below have shifted to other Intel products.”</p>


Intel's processor line has just exploded, Cambrian-style, and is now being trimmed back. One hopes.
intel  kabylake 
may 2018 by charlesarthur
Intel plans to shut down smart glasses group • The Information
Aaron Tilley:
<p>The division, formed in 2013, made fitness trackers and smart glasses. Despite an investment of several hundred million dollars by Intel, including through acquisitions of other companies, the group never made much of an impact in the wearables market.

The closure is likely to lead to some layoffs. The department reportedly had 200 people earlier this year, down from as many as 800 in 2016, although the current size isn’t known. Employees who can’t find a position in other divisions of Intel will be laid off, the people said.

In February, Bloomberg reported that Intel was looking for outside investment for the smart glasses project. Intel valued the smart glasses division at $350m with around 200 employees, according to Bloomberg. The closure suggests Intel wasn’t able to raise any fresh investment. That same month, The Verge reported on the smart glass project, known internally as Vaunt.

In a statement, Intel said it is “continuously working on new technologies and experiences. Not all of these develop into a product we choose to take to market.” It added that Intel will continue to take a “disciplined approach as we keep inventing and exploring new technologies, which will sometimes require tough choices when market dynamics don’t support further investment.”

The unit’s closure is the latest sign of how Intel has failed to diversify beyond its core chip business. Intel has tried various other steps, including buying security firm McAfee and internet of services business Wind River, without success. Last year it sold a majority stake in McAfee and recently sold Wind River.</p>

Wearables are tricky - look at Nokia giving up on Withings - but it's hard not to feel that Intel is getting out of this at the wrong time. Unless it has discovered things about AR and similar which tell it that this is an utter dead end.
Augmentedreality  ar  intel  smartglass 
april 2018 by charlesarthur
ARM Mac: piece of cake or gas refinery? • Monday Note
Joean-Louis Gassée:
<p>For Mac app developers, this isn’t a great picture. A new processor, better battery life, lower weight perhaps, might not make a huge difference. Instead, with an iOS-compatible processor running inside new-generation Macs, why not build a new world where the same app would run on both Mac and iOS devices?

This is a dangerous topic. We know what happened with previous attempts to build environments where one app would run on different operating systems. Often referred to as Write Once Run Everywhere (WORE), these superficially pleasing constructs didn’t please the people who actually use and pay for the products. In reality, for an app to be competitive on a given platform, details, details and details need to be attended to under the surface. Such very OS-specific optimizations do not translate to the other platform and thus defeat the WORE theory. Speaking of translations and looking more specifically at Mac OS X versus iOS, one would be facing two languages where words in one have no equivalent in the other. Consider the trouble with wabi-sabi, dépaysement, fingerspitzengefühl or, if you’re really in the mood, Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänsmützennadel: the feather on the hat of the captain of a Danube steamship, obviously. You might get the translation by googling segments of the word one at time… Back to bits and bytes, consider iOS having no notion of a cursor, or the Mac not having a touch-screen, or a stylus, to name but a few transaltion challenges.

Recently, we’ve heard rumors of a Marzipan project, an Apple effort to get iOS apps to run on a Mac. As the saying goes, It’s A Mere Matter Of Software. Still, with Apple in control of both OS X and iOS anything’s possible  —  in theory…

… Speaking of strong words, various Apple execs spoke ill of styli or toaster-fridges, and we know what happened.

Thinking of future Macs would be simpler if its putative new processors weren’t iOS-compatible, but here we are. That being said, setting aside inopportune claims of courage, Apple is a cautious company, well aware of the risks in trading a relatively simple life of separate Mac and iOS product lines for a complicated hybrid platform. This coming transition will be interesting to watch.</p>


That last point - people would be less nervous if the processors weren't iOS-compatible - is a subtle but good one.
apple  arm  intel  processing 
april 2018 by charlesarthur
Apple plans to use its own chips in Macs from 2020, replacing Intel • Bloomberg
Mark Gurman and Ian King:
<p>The shift would also allow Cupertino, California-based Apple to more quickly bring new features to all of its products and stand out from the competition. Using its own main chips would make Apple the only major PC maker to use its own processors. Dell Technologies Inc., HP Inc., Lenovo Group Ltd., and Asustek Computer Inc. use Intel chips.

By using its own chips, Apple would be able to more tightly integrate new hardware and software, potentially resulting in systems with better battery life -- similar to iPads, which use Apple chips.

While the transition to Apple chips in hardware is planned to begin as early as 2020, the changes to the software side will begin even before that. Apple’s iPhones and iPads with custom chips use the iOS operating system, while Mac computers with Intel chips run on a different system called macOS. Apple has slowly been integrating user-facing features over the past several years, and more recently starting sharing lower-level features like a new file management system.

As part of the larger initiative to make Macs work more like iPhones, Apple is working on a new software platform, internally dubbed Marzipan, for release as early as this year that would allow users to run iPhone and iPad apps on Macs, Bloomberg News reported last year.

The company has also previously released Macs with ARM-based co-processors, which run an iOS-like operating system, for specific functions like security. The latest MacBook Pro and iMac Pro include the co-processors. Apple plans to add that chip to a new version of its Mac Pro, to be released by next year, and new Mac laptops this year, according to a person familiar with the matter.</p>

The processing penalty for emulating Intel on ARM would be considerable, so Apple must either be looking at getting people to recompile (in XCode) or some other twiddly magic. The lack of named sources actually makes this seem more likely to me; they'll be people who must not explain the how, when or why. But the why is obvious: get away from Intel's timetable and pricing, use Apple's huge power in chip design.
switch  arm  apple  Intel 
april 2018 by charlesarthur
Intel made smart glasses that look normal • The Verge
Dieter Bohn:
<p>From the outside, the Vaunt glasses look just like eyeglasses. When you’re wearing them, you see a stream of information on what looks like a screen — but it’s actually being projected onto your retina.

The prototypes I wore in December also felt virtually indistinguishable from regular glasses. They come in several styles, work with prescriptions, and can be worn comfortably all day. Apart from a tiny red glimmer that’s occasionally visible on the right lens, people around you might not even know you’re wearing smart glasses.

Like Google Glass did five years ago, Vaunt will launch an “early access program” for developers later this year. But Intel’s goals are different than Google’s. Instead of trying to convince us we could change our lives for a head-worn display, Intel is trying to change the head-worn display to fit our lives.

Google Glass, and the Glassholes who came with it, gave head-worn displays a bad reputation. HoloLens is aiming for a full, high-end AR experience that literally puts a Windows PC on your head. Magic Leap puts an entire computer on your hip, plus its headset is a set of goggles that look like they belong in a Vin Diesel movie.

We live in a world where our watches have LTE and our phones can turn our faces into bouncing cartoon characters in real time. You’d expect a successful pair of smart glasses to provide similar wonders. Every gadget these days has more, more, more.

With Vaunt, Intel is betting on <em>less</em>.</p>

Well. Intel doesn’t have the heft to make these in any volume; so who might? (The absence of a camera is a smart move, certainly.)
Intel  glass 
february 2018 by charlesarthur
'WHAT THE F*CK IS GOING ON?' Linus Torvalds explodes at Intel spinning Spectre fix as a security feature • The Register
Thomas Claburn and Kat Hall:
<p>Intel's fix for Spectre variant 2 – the branch target injection design flaw affecting most of its processor chips – is not to fix it.

Rather than preventing abuse of processor branch prediction by disabling the capability and incurring a performance hit, Chipzilla's future chips – at least for a few years until microarchitecture changes can be implemented – will ship vulnerable by default but will include a protection flag that can be set by software.

Intel explained its approach in its technical note about Spectre mitigation, titled Speculative Execution Side Channel Mitigations. Instead of treating Spectre as a bug, the chip maker is offering Spectre protection as a feature.

The decision to address the flaw with an opt-in flag rather than activating defenses by default has left Linux kernel steward Linus Torvalds apoplectic.

Known for incendiary tirades, Torvalds does not disappoint. In a <a href="http://lkml.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/1801.2/04628.html">message posted to the Linux kernel mailing list on Sunday</a>, he wrote, "As it is, the patches are COMPLETE AND UTTER GARBAGE."

"All of this is pure garbage. Is Intel really planning on making this shit architectural?" he asked. "Has anybody talked to them and told them they are f*cking insane? Please, any Intel engineers here – talk to your managers."</p>


The full Torvalds rant is worth reading. Never one to hold back, ol' Linus.
linux  torvalds  intel  spectre  hacking 
january 2018 by charlesarthur
Intel Management Engine flaws leave millions of PCs exposed • WIRED
Lily Hay Newman:
<p>Security researchers have raised the alarm for years about the Intel remote administration feature known as the Management Engine. The platform has a lot of useful features for IT managers, but it requires deep system access that offers a tempting target for attackers; compromising the Management Engine could lead to full control of a given computer. Now, after several research groups have uncovered ME bugs, Intel has confirmed that those worst-case fears may be possible.

On Monday, the chipmaker released a security advisory that lists new vulnerabilities in ME, as well as bugs in the remote server management tool Server Platform Services, and Intel’s hardware authentication tool Trusted Execution Engine. Intel found the vulnerabilities after conducting a security audit spurred by recent research. It has also published a Detection Tool so Windows and Linux administrators can check their systems to see if they're exposed.</p>


Don't worry, it's only PCs, servers, and IoT devices. Demonstrated by researchers who found it can "run unsigned, unverified code".
security  intel  hacking 
november 2017 by charlesarthur
Landmark Intel judgment critical for other EU antitrust cases • Reuters
Foo Yun Chee:
<p>Europe’s top court will rule on Wednesday whether US chipmaker Intel offered illegal rebates to squeeze out rivals in a judgment that could affect EU antitrust regulators’ cases against Qualcomm and Alphabet’s Google.

The ruling by the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) could also provide more clarity on whether rebates are anti-competitive by nature or whether enforcers need to prove the anti-competitive effect.

The European Commission in a 2009 decision said that Intel tried to thwart rival Advanced Micro Devices by giving rebates to PC makers Dell, Hewlett Packard, NEC and Lenovo for buying most of their computer chips from the company.

It handed down a €1.06bn ($1.3bn) fine, a record that was subsequently eclipsed by the €2.4bn fine levied on Google in June this year.

A lower court upheld the EU competition authority’s decision in 2014, but last year an ECJ court adviser backed Intel’s arguments.

An adverse ruling for the Commission on Wednesday could result in a radical review of ongoing cases, said Andrew Ward, a partner at Madrid-based law firm Cuatrecasas.</p>


Hard to see how a rebate isn't, in effect, a price cut or subsidy. This isn't like consumer rebates, where the expectation is that only a small percentage will actually take advantage of them because of the tedium of the rebate process.
intel  antitrust  europe 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple plans to release a cellular-capable Watch to break iPhone ties • Bloomberg
Mark Gurman, Scott Moritz and Ian King:
<p>Intel Corp. will supply the LTE modems for the new Watch, according to another person familiar with the situation. That’s a big win for the chipmaker, which has been trying for years to get its components into more Apple mobile devices. Qualcomm Inc. has been the main modem supplier for iPhones and other Apple mobile gadgets, but the two companies are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute. Apple added Intel as a modem supplier for some iPhones last year.

Apple is already in talks with carriers in the U.S. and Europe about offering the cellular version, the people added. The carriers supporting the LTE Apple Watch, at least at launch, may be a limited subset of those that carry the iPhone, one of the people said. However, AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc. in the U.S. plan to sell the device, according to other people familiar with the matter. The new device could still be delayed beyond 2017 – indeed, the company had already postponed a cellular-capable smartwatch last year. Apple, Intel and the carriers declined to comment.</p>


It "could still be delayed"? Schrödinger's Watch. This would make sense, but only in the limited situations - as I see it - where you don't have your phone with you. When is that? In my experience, when you are out exercising. While a lot of people who have a Watch might use it to exercise, I'm not so sure many of them would want a data-capable Watch just for getting messages or similar while out and about.

Unless it could really do apps - such as Uber and so on. That might change things a little.
apple  watch  lte  intel 
august 2017 by charlesarthur
Intel eliminates wearables division • CNBC
Christina Farr:
<p>Intel has axed the division that worked on health wearables, including fitness trackers, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The company has been slowly de-emphasizing its own line of wearables for the past several years, and has not mentioned wearables on its earnings calls since 2014.

In November, TechCrunch reported that the company was planning to take a step back from the business after its acquisition of the Basis fitness watch didn't pan out as expected. Intel denied at the time that it was stepping back.

But a source told CNBC that the chip maker in fact let go about 80 percent of the Basis group in November. Many of the people were given the opportunity to relocate to other parts of the business.

About two weeks ago, Intel completely eliminated the group, this person said. The company's New Technologies Group, which looks at cutting-edge business areas, is now focusing on augmented reality, another source told CNBC.</p>


Anyone get the impression wearables are harder than they look?
intel  wearables 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
Intel's Skylake, Kaby Lake chips have a crash bug with hyperthreading enabled • Ars Technica
Peter Bright:
<p>a firmware fix—if available—is the best option, though again, availability may be spotty. Microsoft's Surface Book, for example, does not appear to have a system firmware that includes the fix. I don't mean to call out Microsoft specifically—I daresay many motherboard firmwares have similarly not been updated in the month and a half since Intel issued its patch—but rather to indicate that even systems that are still supported and do receive regular firmware updates may not have Intel's latest and greatest microcode yet.

On systems without either a firmware fix or updated driver, disabling hyperthreading is believed to be a robust solution. Most users, however, will probably just want to take their chances; the exact sequence of instructions and runtime conditions that cause problems seem to be rare (certainly rarer than Intel's description of the bug, "Short Loops Which Use AH/BH/CH/DH Registers May Cause Unpredictable System Behavior," might otherwise indicate), and, under most circumstances, affected systems appear to be stable anyway. More than 18 months passed before this bug was fixed, after all, and there haven't been too many reports of Skylake machines crashing left and right because of it.

Eying up AMD systems as an alternative might be tempting, but they're susceptible to comparable issues, too, in which certain sequences of instructions under certain system conditions can cause crashes or other misbehavior. The workaround in AMD's case is to disable the micro-op cache. Processors are certainly more reliable than software, but they all have bugs, no matter what chip you choose.</p>


For your info: <a href="http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/hyperthreading-technology-explained/">what's hyperthreading?</a> (This bug also affects Apple machines.)
microcode  intel  hyperthreading 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
Intel discontinues Joule, Galileo, and Edison product lines • Hackaday
Jenny List:
<p>Sometimes the end of a product’s production run is surrounded by publicity, a mix of a party atmosphere celebrating its impact either good or bad, and perhaps a tinge of regret at its passing. Think of the last rear-engined Volkswagens rolling off their South American production lines for an example.

Then again, there are the products that die with a whimper, their passing marked only by a barely visible press release in an obscure corner of the Internet. Such as this week’s discontinuances from Intel, in <a href="https://qdms.intel.com/Portal/SearchPCNDataBase.aspx">a series of PDFs lodged on a document management server</a> announcing the end of their Galileo (PDF), Joule (PDF), and Edison (PDF) lines. The documents in turn set out a timetable for each of the boards, for now they are still available but the last will have shipped by the end of 2017.

It’s important to remember that this does not mark the end of the semiconductor giant’s forray into the world of IoT development boards, there is no announcement of the demise of their Curie chip, as found in the Arduino 101. But it does mark an ignominious end to their efforts over the past few years in bringing the full power of their x86 platforms to this particular market, the Curie is an extremely limited device in comparison to those being discontinued.</p>


So Intel is retreating from a number of Internet of Things spaces. ARM stuff is likely to dominate. Strange how it turns out that ARM's RISC (reduced instruction set computing) has won, bit by bit, over Intels' CISC (complex instruction set). ARM, of course, being a British company before Softbank bought it. Just wanted to mention that.
arm  intel  iot 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
Fitbit and Intel circle for Moov buyout • Wareable
James Stables:
<p>Our source revealed that Moov has been talking to Intel's partnership team about a possible buyout, which would see Intel add Moov's algorithm to its tech.

"They have had half a dozen calls and two meetings," our source said. "Conversations have been around adding Moov to their Curie offering due to the algorithms that Intel simply cannot duplicate."

Recounting a conversation with Intel's partnerships exec, Intel has become interested in an acquisition after it "missed with their wearable devices in the past with companies such as Basis." Our source said that Intel believes that buying Moov "allows them to offer more through their licensing arm of the company."

Of course, Intel is only one half of the story. We'd be surprised if Fitbit wasn't looking to buy Moov to add to its fitness proposition, yet our source had less detail on this particular aspect of the buyout. "With Fitbit, these rumours popped up in the past five weeks. All have been based around their wellness and initiative."

The company has already been busy snapping up companies for the Fitbit smartwatch project, namely smartwatch starter Pebble and luxury-wannabe Vector. But would Moov be part of that too?

"That's what the Moov guys initially thought," said our source. "But the algorithm wouldn't work in the watch. As you know one must wear Moov on their ankles sometimes."</p>


I get the feeling the writer is putting too much on the one source, who knows about Intel but not Fitbit, which is struggling to incorporate its recent acquisitions. Adding Moov too feels like an overreach which it isn't even considering.
fitbit  moov  intel  wearable 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
Intel CEO Krzanich: self-driving cars will double as security cameras • CNBC
Chantel McGee:
<p>The benefits of having self-driving cars go far beyond automatic parking or fewer accidents, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich told CNBC on Thursday.

Among those other benefits: Driverless cars will double as security cameras, he said from the sidelines of the Code Conference in California.

"I always say that the cars are going to be out there looking, so the next time an Amber alert comes up and they're looking for a license plate, the cars should be able to find that license plate quite rapidly," said Krzanich.

The idea could bring up concerns about privacy, but Krzanich has already thought of how to minimize those worries.

"We'll have to put limitations on it," he said. "We'll have to encrypt that data and make sure I can't tell that it's John's [car] necessarily," said Krzanich.</p>


Mass surveillance without a warrant! How delightful.
intel  selfdrivingcar 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
How Intel makes a chip • Bloomberg
Max Chafkin and Ian King with an in-depth look which covers all sorts of elements (including hafnium - which "doesn't occur in nature"):
<p>Shrinking the transistors is only part of the challenge. Another is managing an ever more complex array of interconnects, the crisscrossing filaments that link the transistors to one another. The Xeon features 13 layers of copper wires, some thinner than a single virus, made by etching tiny lines into an insulating glass and then depositing metal in the slots. Whereas transistors have tended to get more efficient as they’ve shrunk, smaller wires by their nature don’t. The smaller they are, the less current they carry.

The man in charge of the Xeon E5’s wiring is Kevin Fischer, a midlevel Intel engineer who sat down in his Oregon lab in early 2009 with a simple goal: Fix the conductivity of two of the most densely packed layers of wires, known as Metal 4 and Metal 6. Fischer, 45, who has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, started the way Intel researchers usually do, by scouring the academic literature. Intel already used copper, one of the most conductive metals, so he decided to focus on improving the insulators, or dielectrics, which tend to slow down the current moving through the wires. One option would be to use new insulators that are spongier and thus create less drag. But Fischer suggested replacing the glass with nothing at all. “Air is the ultimate dielectric,” he says, as if stunned by the elegance of his solution. The idea worked. Metal layers 4 and 6 now move 10% faster.</p>


Plenty more like that.
intel  chip 
april 2017 by charlesarthur
ARMing the cloud; Qualcomm's Centriq 2400 platform will power Microsoft Azure instances • PC Perspective
Jeremy Hellstrom:
<p>Last December Qualcomm announced plans to launch their Centriq 2400 series of platforms for data centres, demonstrating Apache Spark and Hadoop on Linux as well as a Java demo.  They announced a 48 Core design based on ARM v8 and fabbed with on Samsung's 10nm process, which will compete against Intel's current offerings for the server room.

Today marks the official release of the Qualcomm Falkor CPU and Centriq 2400 series of products, as well as the existence of a partnership with Microsoft which may see these products offered to Azure customers.  Microsoft has successfully configured a version of Windows Server to run on these new chips, which is rather big news for customers looking for low-powered hosting solutions running a familiar OS.</p>


Some understatement in that. "ARM servers" has been a promise for years; I recall talking to HP which said it was working on it about five years ago. Now it is becoming a reality. This is very dangerous for Intel - especially with Microsoft breaking away like this. If servers become commoditised on ARM architecture, Intel's chip business - which lately has looked to servers to keep it going - doesn't have a floor.

It might not happen overnight, but this is the thin end of a giant wedge in Intel's most profitable business.
intel  arm  server 
march 2017 by charlesarthur
Intel on the outside: the rise of artificial intelligence is creating new variety in the chip market, and trouble for Intel • The Economist
<p>This unipolar world [of Intel processors] is starting to crumble. Processors are no longer improving quickly enough to be able to handle, for instance, machine learning and other AI applications, which require huge amounts of data and hence consume more number-crunching power than entire data centres did just a few years ago. Intel’s customers, such as Google and Microsoft together with other operators of big data centres, are opting for more and more specialised processors from other companies and are designing their own to boot.

Nvidia’s GPUs are one example. They were created to carry out the massive, complex computations required by interactive video games. GPUs have hundreds of specialised “cores” (the “brains” of a processor), all working in parallel, whereas CPUs have only a few powerful ones that tackle computing tasks sequentially. Nvidia’s latest processors boast 3,584 cores; Intel’s server CPUs have a maximum of 28.

The company’s lucky break came in the midst of one of its near-death experiences during the 2008-09 global financial crisis. It discovered that hedge funds and research institutes were using its chips for new purposes, such as calculating complex investment and climate models. It developed a coding language, called CUDA, that helps its customers program its processors for different tasks. When cloud computing, big data and AI gathered momentum a few years ago, Nvidia’s chips were just what was needed.

Every online giant uses Nvidia GPUs to give their AI services the capability to ingest reams of data from material ranging from medical images to human speech. The firm’s revenues from selling chips to data-centre operators trebled in the past financial year, to $296m.</p>
intel  nvidia  hardware 
february 2017 by charlesarthur
Dying Intel Atom processors take out network equipment • iTnews
Juha Saarinen:
<p>A serious flaw with Intel's Atom C2000 product family can cause processors to fail completely, rendering the devices they power inoperable after just 18 months of operation.

The low-power Atom C2000 Silvermont processor range was introduced three years ago, and is found in popular network switches and routers, microservers, and network accessible storage systems.

Kit vendor Cisco has <a href="http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/support/web/clock-signal.html">issued an advisory</a> for the problem, noting the failures start appearing after a unit has been in use for around 18 months.

Once the processor fails, "the system will stop functioning, will not boot, and is not recoverable".

Cisco optical networking, routing, security, and switching gear - including the ASA and ISA3000 family - are affected.</p>
intel  atom  failure 
february 2017 by charlesarthur
[Exclusive] First Intel Core i7-7700HQ laptop benchmarks!
"The team":
<p>We can’t name the brand and the model of the Kaby Lake notebook we have but for the purpose of fair comparison with 6700HQ we took the results of HP Pavilion 15 Gaming which has similar form factor.

 Cinebench 11  Cinebench 15  NovaBench 3
 Intel Core i7-6700HQ (HP Pavilion 15 Gaming)  7.39  664  826
 Intel Core i7-7700HQ  7.53 (+2%)  684 (+3%)  877 (+6%)

A difference from 2% to 6% can’t be a very good reason for postponing the purchase of a new notebook until January when Intel will announce the new processors. However, such improvement was somehow expected given the performance gaps between the last Intel Core generations.</p>


Knowing that you'd only get a 2-6% performance improvement will certainly stop people complaining that the MacBook Pro doesn't have Kaby Lake, right?
intel  laptop 
december 2016 by charlesarthur
Intel is laying off a major portion of its wearables group • TechCrunch
Brian Heater:
<p>In June, Intel recalled Basis Peak devices due to overheating concerns — affecting, according to the company, roughly 0.2% of users. Rather than replacing the units, the company simply stopped sales of the device altogether. Intel took it a step further and shut down the Peak’s software support (including cloud storage), effective by year’s end.

It was clear at the time that this would prove a big setback for Intel’s wearable dreams. After all, the Basis acquisition hadn’t produced much for the company beyond the release of the Titanium, a snazzed up version of the Peak that looked a bit better with a business suit.

Now, according to sources close to the company, Intel is planning to take a major step back from its investment in the space — or possibly even exit wearables altogether. The changes will include a large number of layoffs in NDG, along with the larger New Technologies Group into which it was folded back in April of last year — a move already viewed at the time by some as an early sign of Intel’s displeasure with its wearables division.

The company has already informed a number of employees about the changes, with many expected to lose their jobs before year’s end. Reports thus far have been varied, but all point to a large job loss for those in the NDG and the possible shut down of the group altogether.</p>


In a statement, Intel denied the company is stepping back from wearables, though it didn't directly comment on the layoff news. It has "several products in the works that we are very excited about". Those might have been in the works and won't be followed by any more, though? Intel's problem is that it's not good at low-power work - and that's where the focus is.
intel  wearables 
november 2016 by charlesarthur
iPhone 7 Plus: a tale of two personalities • Cellular Insights
"Milan MP" put the Qualcomm LTE modem up against the Intel LTE modem in the two models of iPhone to the test. The Intel one performs poorly:
<p>To put this into perspective, we have compared the edge of cell performance of a few other flagship devices to see how these iPhones compare in less than favorable conditions:

<img src="http://cellularinsights.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/image-5.png" width="100%" />

In all tests, the iPhone 7 Plus with the Qualcomm modem had a significant performance edge over the iPhone 7 Plus with the Intel modem. We are not sure what was the main reason behind Apple’s decision to source two different modem suppliers for the newest iPhone. Considering that the iPhone with the Qualcomm modem is being sold in China, Japan and in the United States only, we can not imagine that modem performance was a deciding factor.</p>


When you have multiple suppliers, it's almost certain you'll get variation between them. In something like this, Intel is so far behind it's not funny.
intel  lte  iphone 
october 2016 by charlesarthur
If you want to switch carriers, buy Verizon's iPhone 7 • PC News
Sasche Segan points out that there are two models of iPhone 7, and one doesn't work on CDMA networks (as used by Verizon and Sprint):
<p>the secret may lie in <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-10/intel-said-to-get-chip-order-from-apple-first-major-mobile-win">this Bloomberg story</a> saying that Apple moved to Intel modems for some number of iPhones, which would be the AT&T and T-Mobile models. We reported this rumor as far back as 2015, and it was widely echoed in the financial and trade press in mid-2016.

That would mean that while the Sprint, Verizon, Japanese, and Chinese units are probably running Qualcomm's X12 modem, which is the same one used in the Samsung Galaxy S7 and other top smartphones right now, the AT&T and T-Mobile models probably use Intel's XMM7360. Intel's modems don't support CDMA.

Please understand that this is all (informed) speculation. I'm getting radio silence from Apple right now, and Qualcomm, Intel, and all of the carriers have just pointed me back to Apple for comment.

If Apple has gone with Intel, that's Apple getting back to its roots. The first iPhones used modems from Infineon, which was purchased by Intel and became Intel's modem division. But I'm a bit concerned because while the X12 is the current gold standard for modems, we've never seen the XMM7360 in any US phone, although it's been on the market since late 2015. So we don't know anything about the real-world performance of the XMM7360 versus the X12. That's relevant because a phone's modem, which controls its connection to the Internet, is a very, very important part.

Intel's XMM7360 does not support the newest network features like 256 QAM and 4x4 MIMO, which are part of T-Mobile's latest network upgrades. But those features are optional on the X12, so Apple's X12 may not support them either. We don't know.</p>


This is the sort of thing, though, that would be horrendous to discover after the fact as a phone buyer. But Apple's probably not going to go with an "Intel Inside" sticker.
intel  apple  iphone7  model 
september 2016 by charlesarthur
Intel, TPG to form jointly-owned, cybersecurity company called McAfee • ZDNet
Stephanie Condon:
<p>Intel has reached a deal to sell a majority stake in Intel Security to the private equity firm TPG, creating a jointly-owned, pure-play cybersecurity company called McAfee, Intel announced Wednesday.

Intel will get $3.1bn in cash for the deal, as well as a 49% stake in the new business. TPG will own the remaining 51% and will make a $1.1bn equity investment in the business. The transaction values Intel Security at $4.2bn.

Intel Security general manager Chris Young will be appointed CEO of the new company once the transaction closes. Young published an open letter to Intel Security's stakeholders on Wednesday, outlining the benefits of the deal.</p>


Bought it for $7.7bn in 2011. A relevant detail that somehow fell out of the story. So it gets $3.1bn and has 49% of $4.2bn, or $2.1bn: that's $5.2bn. In other words, $2.5bn of value vanished in five years.
intel  mcafee 
september 2016 by charlesarthur
Intel's smartwatches are so hot right now – LITERALLY: Basis Peaks recalled for skin burns • The Register
Shaun Nichols:
<p>Intel has recall every single one of its Basis Peak smartwatches – and urged people to stop using them – because they can become dangerously hot.

Chipzilla has issued a notice to anyone who bought the Basis Peak, asking them to send back the watch along with any and all accessories for a full refund.

"We had hoped to update the software on your watch to address the problem. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we aren't able to develop such a solution without completely compromising the user experience," Intel said.

"As a result, we are asking that you return your Basis Peak watch and authorized accessories for a full refund at your earliest convenience."

Not that anyone should have been actually using the Basis Peak, anyway. Intel issued an advisory on June 13 that customers stop wearing the watch, amidst multiple reports that it was prone to becoming so hot as to cause "burns and blisters" on the skin of those brave enough to wear it.</p>


Brings to mind Fitbit's recall of its Force wristband in late 2014 <a href="http://gizmodo.com/report-fitbit-is-recalling-all-force-wristbands-1528060007">due to irritation and burns</a>. Those things can <a href="http://ecpowergroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Skin-burns-and-safety-events-for-wearable-electronics-batteries.pdf">get really hot</a>.
wearable  intel  recall 
august 2016 by charlesarthur
Intel weighs sale of cyber security business • FT.com
Hannah Kuchler and James Fontanella-Khan:
<p>Intel is looking at options for Intel Security, including potentially selling the antivirus software maker formerly known as McAfee which it bought for $7.7bn almost six years ago.

The Silicon Valley chipmaker has been talking to bankers about the future of its cyber security unit in a deal that would be one of the largest in the sector, according to people close to the discussions.

Intel declined to comment.

Private equity buyers are increasingly interested in cyber security companies, anticipating strong cash flow as corporate customers become increasingly worried about protecting their business from cyber attacks. A group of PE firms might club together to buy Intel Security if it is sold for the same price or higher than the $7.7bn Intel originally paid for it.

Earlier this month, Bain Capital sold Blue Coat Security to Symantec for almost twice what it paid the cyber defence company last year. Vista Equity Partners also bought Ping Identity, an authentication service, which had been planning an initial public offering at the start of June.</p>


Because basically McAfee doesn't add any value to Intel, six years on.
mcafee  intel 
june 2016 by charlesarthur
Intel gets chip order from Apple, its first major mobile win • Bloomberg
Ian King and Scott Moritz:
<p>Apple’s next iPhone will use modems from Intel Corp., replacing Qualcomm chips in some versions of the new handset, a move by the world’s most-valuable public company to diversify its supplier base.

Apple has chosen Intel modem chips for the iPhone used on AT&T’s U.S. network and some other versions of the smartphone for overseas markets, said people familiar with the matter. IPhones on Verizon Communications’s network will stick with parts from Qualcomm, which is the only provider of the main communications component of current versions of Apple’s flagship product. Crucially for Qualcomm, iPhones sold in China will work on Qualcomm chips, said the people, who asked not to be identified because Apple hasn’t made its plans public.</p>


So this seems like Qualcomm keeps the CDMA versions, but Intel gets the GSM market. China might be a toss-up.
intel  apple  iphone 
june 2016 by charlesarthur
Why Plan Sponsors need Professional (Independent) Advice? - The Big Picture
<p>I went on to share the recent story <a href="http://www.bna.com/intel-401k-participants-n57982062983/">from Bloomberg BNA News</a> (October 30, 2015) on class action lawsuit directed at the Intel 401k Investment Committee – specifically addressing changes made by that IC which were so poorly conceived, expensive, and probably inappropriate per regulatory standards as to give the members of that Investment Committee a lot of sleepless nights. And it should…the story is a cautionary tale.

In a span of less than four years the Intel Investment Committee took the plans investment options and changed them by a magnitude of 10 fold, taking $50m of “Alternative Investments” and raising that amount almost $700m in just a few years. Worse, they (the investment committee) ‘directed’ that these expensive and not exactly appropriate ‘securities’ be added to the seemingly vanilla Target Date Funds that they themselves designed.

Did Intel plan participants truly – rank & file workers – understand what was under the hood of those Target Date Funds? As the complaint states, the Investment Committee “invested a significant portion of the plans’ assets in risky and high-cost hedge funds and private-equity investments.”</p>


For non-American readers, 401Ks are basically retirement/pension funds. If Intel, which has just laid a ton of people off, is shifting those into risky assets, you have to ask how assured the payouts to thousands of people recently laid off is going to be.
intel  pension 
june 2016 by charlesarthur
Intel obtains up to 50% of modem chip orders for upcoming iPhone • Digitimes
Julian Ho and Jessie Chen:
<p>Intel will supply up to 50% of the modem chips for use in the new iPhones slated for launch in September 2016, according to industry sources.

Intel will itself package the modem chips for the upcoming new iPhones, but have contracted Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and tester King Yuan Electronics (KYEC) to manufacture the chips, the sources said.</p>
apple  intel 
may 2016 by charlesarthur
The death of Intel's Atom casts a dark shadow over the rumored Surface Phone » PCWorld
Mark Hachman:
Intel’s <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/3063508/components/intel-is-on-the-verge-of-exiting-the-smartphone-and-tablet-markets-after-cutting-atom-chips.html">plans to discontinue its Atom chips</a> for phones and some tablets may not have killed the dream of a Microsoft Surface phone—just the piece of it that made it so enticing.

In the wake of a restructuring that relegated the PC to just another connected device, Intel confirmed Friday that it has cancelled its upcoming SoFIA and Broxton chips. That leaves Intel with just one Atom chip, Apollo Lake, which it had slated for convertible tablets.

Microsoft has never formally commented on its future phone plans, save for a leaked email that suggests that Microsoft is committed to the Windows 10 Mobile platform and phones running ARM processors. But fans of the platform have long hoped for a phone that could run native Win32 legacy apps as well as the new UWP platform that Microsoft has made a central platform of Windows 10. The assumption was that this would require a phone running on an Intel Atom processor. Intel’s decision eliminates that option.

Unless Microsoft has some other trick up its sleeve, the most compelling justification for a Win32-based Surface phone appears to have died.


Kinda big for Intel too; giving up on its mobile ambitions into which it has sunk billions. And for Acer and Lenovo, which has relied on Intel chips (and subsidies) for its mobile effort.
intel  microsoft 
may 2016 by charlesarthur
Intel to cut 12,000 jobs, puts focus on cloud » WSJ
Don Clark and Tess Stynes:
<p>Makers of handsets overwhelmingly chose chips based on designs licensed from ARM Holdings PLC, which are available from a plethora of suppliers, and Google Inc.’s Android software, which is available free. No matter how good Intel or Microsoft products became, they could never counter those fundamental changes.

Sales of PCs, meanwhile, have been mainly declining since Apple’s iPad emerged in 2010. The market recently seemed to plateau, but sales again dropped in the first quarter, falling nearly 10%, Gartner Inc. estimated.

The continuing decline has forced Intel to focus on growth areas such as computers for data centers and noncomputer devices outfitted with data processing and communications capabilities, known as the Internet of Things.

“They’ve looked at the decline of the PC market and clearly decided that they are going to put most of their effort elsewhere,” said Rob Enderle, a market research who heads the Enderle Group.</p>


Let it be recorded that Rob Enderle said something sensible.
intel  jobs 
april 2016 by charlesarthur
Asustek reduces demand for Intel-developed smartphone platforms » Digitimes
Monica Chen and Joseph Tsai:
<p>Asustek Computer has added platforms developed by Qualcomm and Taiwan-based MediaTek for its ZenFone-series smartphones, reducing the proportion of platforms developed by Intel, its original supplier. Asustek's Intel chip demand is estimated to decrease from about 6m units in 2015 to below 5m units in 2016 and may be down further by 50% in 2017, according to industry sources.

With major clients such as Asustek and Lenovo cutting orders, Intel is under strong pressure to stay competitive in the market.

Intel's mobile communication business lost over US$10 billion in the past three years and despite a merger with its PC Client Group, adjustments in business structure and marketing subsidies, the business is still suffering from losses.

Although Intel has been cooperating with first-tier smartphone vendors to develop products using its platform, Asustek and Lenovo are the only two players with large orders and Asustek is the largest client of Intel.</p>


Intel's mobile chip division is already sub-scale, and now it's going to get even smaller.
intel  asus 
april 2016 by charlesarthur
Intel officially kills “tick-tock” » The Motley Fool
Ashraf Eassa:
<p>back in mid-2015, Intel admitted that its 10-nanometer technology was in rough shape and wouldn't go into production at the end of the year as expected. In the company's most recent form 10-K filing, it went ahead and officially declared "Tick-Tock" [by which it reduces the die size in one year, and in the next year improves the microarchitecture] dead.

Intel's wording in the form 10-K filing is as following:

"We expect to lengthen the amount of time we will utilize out 14 [nanometer] and out next-generation 10 [nanometer] process technologies, further optimizing out products and process technologies while meeting the yearly market cadence for product introductions."

The company even includes an interesting visual aid to contrast the differences between the previous methodology and the current one:

<img src="https://g.foolcdn.com/editorial/images/199603/tick-tock-gone_large.JPG" width="100%" />

Intel says that its third 14-nanometer product, known as Kaby Lake, will have "key performance advancements as compared to [its] 6th generation Core processor family." The extent of these enhancements is clear, but leaks to the Web suggest enhancements to graphics and media.</p>


Along with Moore's Law fading, this is an epochal moment.
intel  tech  technology 
march 2016 by charlesarthur
Andy Grove and the iPhone SE » Stratechery
A terrific piece on Andy Grove, the legendary Intel chief executive, by Ben Thompson; rather than just a recap, he puts Grove's contribution into useful perspective:
<p>Beyond Grove’s personal background, the importance of Intel to the technology industry — and, by extension, to the world — cannot be overstated. While Moore is immortalized for having created “Moore’s Law”, the truth is that the word “Law” is a misnomer: the fact that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years is the result of a choice made first and foremost by Intel to spend the amount of time and money necessary to make Moore’s Law a reality. This choice, by extension, made everything else in technology possible: the PC, the Internet, the mobile phone. And, the person most responsible for making this choice was Grove (and, I’d add, his presence in management was the biggest differentiator between Intel and its predecessors, both of which included Noyce and Moore).

That wasn’t Intel and Grove’s only contribution to Silicon Valley, either: Grove created a culture predicated on a lack of hierarchy, vigorous debate, and buy-in to the cause (compensated with stock). In other words, Intel not only made future tech companies possible, it also provided the template for how they should be run, and how knowledge workers broadly should be managed.</p>


Thompson's daily Stratechery newsletter really is worth the (inexpensive) subscription.
business  intel 
march 2016 by charlesarthur
The chips are down for Moore’s law » Nature News & Comment
M. Mitchell Wardrop:
<p>The industry road map released next month will for the first time lay out a research and development plan that is not centred on Moore's law. Instead, it will follow what might be called the More than Moore strategy: rather than making the chips better and letting the applications follow, it will start with applications — from smartphones and supercomputers to data centres in the cloud — and work downwards to see what chips are needed to support them. Among those chips will be new generations of sensors, power-management circuits and other silicon devices required by a world in which computing is increasingly mobile.

The changing landscape, in turn, could splinter the industry's long tradition of unity in pursuit of Moore's law. “Everybody is struggling with what the road map actually means,” says Daniel Reed, a computer scientist and vice-president for research at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) in Washington DC, which represents all the major US firms, has already said that it will cease its participation in the road-mapping effort once the report is out, and will instead pursue its own research and development agenda.

Everyone agrees that the twilight of Moore's law will not mean the end of progress. “Think about what happened to airplanes,” says Reed. “A Boeing 787 doesn't go any faster than a 707 did in the 1950s — but they are very different airplanes”, with innovations ranging from fully electronic controls to a carbon-fibre fuselage. That's what will happen with computers, he says: “Innovation will absolutely continue — but it will be more nuanced and complicated.”</p>


For more context, note that <a href="http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/07/intel-confirms-tick-tock-shattering-kaby-lake-processor-as-moores-law-falters/">Intel is going to do three, rather than two, generations</a> of 14-nanometre chips before going for 10nm.

This is an inflexion point whose importance we might only realise some years from now.
moore  intel 
february 2016 by charlesarthur
Six Features That Allow Your PC To Do More Than Your Phone » About.com
Hilarious advertorial from Intel. See what you make of the six things, which are
<p>• it offers a much larger screen<br />• It has uncompromised performance<br />• You don't have to worry about paying for data<br />• It doesn't skimp on software<br />• It's upgradable and expandable<br />• There's no middleman</p>


Any of these alone could raise a laugh, but my favourite may be "you don't have to worry about paying for data". Intel magically makes data appear? Love it. Now let's move on to our next entry…
intel  pc 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
Rumor: AMD making custom x86 SOC for Apple's 2017 and 2018 iMac designs » WCCFTech
Khalid Moammer:
<p>At the 2017-2018 timeframe AMD will have two high performance CPU cores, an ARM based design code named K12 and a second generation Zen “Zen+” x86 design. However the report explains that as the x86 ISA is a necessity in the high-end desktop and prosumer level Apple products a Zen based design is most likely.

In addition to driving cost significantly down for Apple, another high-profile design win for AMD would serve as viability booster for the company’s semi-custom business following its success in the consoles. Both companies have entered a long-standing partnership, with AMD providing the graphics chips for the current iMac and Mac Pro designs.

A semi-custom SOC x86 for the iMac would have to include a high performance x86 component, namely Zen, in addition to a graphics engine to drive the visual experience of the device. Such a design would be very similar to the current semi-custom Playstation 4 and XBOX ONE Accelerated Processing Units, combining x86 CPU cores with a highly capable integrated graphics solution.</p>


Filed under "far enough away that it could even happen". Chip fab lead times are very long, though, which could make this a reasonable timeframe.
apple  intel  amd 
october 2015 by charlesarthur
Intel has 1,000 people working on a chip for iPhone? Of course they do » DIGITS to DOLLARS
Jonathan Greenberg (who has a lot of valuable experience in the chip industry):
<p>I would argue that Intel has a lot of levers they can pull to win Apple as a wireless customer. They can offer a bundled deal which includes processors for the MacBook, and even cut Apple a deal to serve as their foundry for future versions of Apple’s A-Series of processors. I have no idea if any of these will ever happen, but I want to point out that this is a complex negotiation environment.
And, of course, there is Apple itself to reckon with. The post makes a big deal about the fact that Apple hired a big team of people from Infineon, but that started years ago, and that team has been using Qualcomm modems for a long time. More intriguing is the idea that Apple just wants to license the modem software from Intel and then design their own chip. That rumor has been circling for a long time. And I think it is important to remember that. Apple wants to manage their suppliers for its own ends. They now have two foundry partners to fight over iPhone share. For the past few years Apple has had little choice but to use Qualcomm for modems, so it is only natural for them to want a second source. When (if?) Intel finally gets its LTE modem working, Apple will have that second source. My guess is that Apple really does not want to design its own modems. That requires a lot of labor intensive software work to keep up with those standards mentioned above.</p>
apple  intel  modem 
october 2015 by charlesarthur
Intel has 1,000 people working on chips for the iPhone » VentureBeat
Mark Sullivan:
<p>Intel now has a thousand people or more working to outfit a 2016 iPhone with its lauded 7360 LTE modem chip, sources say. If all goes well, Intel may end up providing both the modem and the fabrication for a new Apple system on a chip.

Sources close to the matter say Intel is pulling out the stops to supply the modems for at least some of the iPhones Apple manufactures in 2016. This phone will likely be the iPhone 7. VentureBeat was the first to report on the two companies’ work together, and more pieces are falling into place as the project progresses and grows.

Apple may dual-source the LTE modems in its new iPhones from both Intel and Qualcomm. Today, Qualcomm’s 9X45 LTE chip is baked into all iPhone modems.</p>


This story makes one go "hmm.." right up to the point where it talks about dual-sourcing. Then it suddenly makes perfect sense: Apple would look to play the two off against each other, <a href="http://digitstodollars.com/2015/10/05/the-contortions-of-the-consumer-electronics-market/">as with CPU supply</a>.
apple  intel  iphone 
october 2015 by charlesarthur
Intel lowers first-quarter revenue outlook >> Intel Newsroom
Intel Corporation today announced that first-quarter revenue is expected to be below the company's previous outlook. The company now expects first-quarter revenue to be $12.8bn, plus or minus $300m, compared to the previous expectation of $13.7bn, plus or minus $500m.
 
The change in revenue outlook is a result of weaker than expected demand for business desktop PCs and lower than expected inventory levels across the PC supply chain. The company believes the changes to demand and inventory patterns are caused by lower than expected Windows XP refresh in small and medium business and increasingly challenging macroeconomic and currency conditions, particularly in Europe.


The XP refresh is/was still going on? Amazing. (During the same period last year, Intel's revenue was $12.7bn. So it might be very close to zero growth.)
intel  pc  business 
march 2015 by charlesarthur
iPhones will ship with Intel LTE chips inside in 2016 » VentureBeat
Mark Sullivan:
Intel will provide the fast wireless modem chip for a new Apple smartphone in 2016, VentureBeat has learned from two sources with knowledge of the companies’ plans.

Intel’s new 7360 LTE modem will occupy a socket on the new iPhone’s circuit board that’s long been reserved for Qualcomm chips.

Intel has been gunning hard during the past year for a place in the iPhone and now appears to have succeeded, at least partly. The 7360 chip will ship inside a special version of the iPhone that will be marketed to emerging markets in Asia and Latin America, the sources said.


First iPhone scoop of the year? A good one if so, and quite a coup for Intel.
iphone  lte  intel 
march 2015 by charlesarthur
Intel: Moore's Law will continue through 7nm chips » PCWorld
Mark Hachman:
Eventually, the conventional ways of manufacturing microprocessors, graphics chips, and other silicon components will run out of steam. According to Intel researchers speaking at the ISSCC conference this week, however, we still have headroom for a few more years.

Intel plans to present several papers this week at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco, one of the key academic conferences for papers on chip design. Intel senior fellow Mark Bohr will also appear on a panel Monday night to discuss the challenges of moving from today's 14nm chips to the 10nm manufacturing node and beyond.

In a conference call with reporters, Bohr said that Intel believes that the current pace of semiconductor technology can continue beyond 10nm technology (which we would expect in 2016) or so, and that 7nm manufacturing (in 2018) can be done without moving to expensive, esoteric manufacturing methods like extreme ultraviolet lasers.
intel  nanometre 
february 2015 by charlesarthur
Intel reportedly to delay launch of 14nm Skylake desktop CPUs » Digitimes
Monica Chen:
Intel reportedly has informed its motherboard partners that it will delay the release of its 14nm Skylake desktop CPUs and corresponding 100-series chipsets to the end of August, compared to its original schedule set for the second quarter of 2015, according to sources in Taiwan's motherboard industry.

The delay will affect PC makers' production and shipment plans for Haswell Refresh and Broadwell-U series products and may also delay the development of Broadwell models with a TDP of 65W, the sources noted.

PC makers will also not be able to unveil Skylake-based models during the upcoming Computex 2015 to be held in June in Taipei, thereby affecting PC sales in the second haft of 2015, said motherboard makers.


Intel is saying that it always planned to release Skylake in the second half of the year. For reference, the Pentium 4, introduced in 2000, had transistor sizes of 0.18 micron - or 180nm.
intel  skylake 
february 2015 by charlesarthur
How much does Microsoft make from PC makers with Windows 8.1? | ZDNet
Mary Jo Foley on how much OEMs pay to have Windows on Intel-based tablets:
According to Microsoft OEM pricing information - a <a href="http://zdnet4.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2015/01/19/a1fc9b61-8a08-4116-a7f2-c7dbb1b8ddef/resize/770x578/ca249a0e709406cc7a70478e6432b3c1/windows81withbing.jpg">screen capture of which is embedded</a> above in this post - Windows 8.1 with Bing is listed at $10 per copy for Intel-based tablets under 9in in screen size. But after a "configuration discount," of $10, OEMs get that SKU for those tablets for free. For tablets with screen sizes of greater than or equal to 10.1in, the Windows 8.1 with Bing SKU is listed at $25 per copy, with the same $10 "configuration discount," resulting in a $15 per copy cost for OEMs.

There's another related SKU that is also meant to help stimulate the market for mobile devices running Windows. The "Windows 8.1 with Bing and Office 365 Personal" is another low-price SKU available to OEMs. Like the Windows with Bing SKU, this one also requires OEMs to set Bing search and MSN.com as the defaults (changeable by users) on new PCs. This SKU also includes a free, 12-month subscription to Office 365 Personal.


Still not cheaper than Android, and Intel chips are going to be pricier (because Intel is dropping its subsidies), which continues to make small Windows tablets a very hard sell.
intel  microsoft  oem  tablets  windows 
january 2015 by charlesarthur
Intel forecast misses estimates, signalling deeper PC slump >> Bloomberg
Intel Corp, the largest maker of chips that run personal computers, forecast first-quarter sales that may fall short of analysts’ estimates, sparking concern that the PC industry is headed for a steeper decline.

Revenue will be $13.7bn, plus or minus $500m, the company said today in a statement. On average, analysts had estimated sales of $13.8bn, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

While corporate demand for new machines helped moderate the PC market’s deterioration last year, the industry has failed to attract enough consumers with new slim laptops designed to compete with tablets and smartphones. Users have learned to live without the keyboards and larger screens of the computers powered by Intel’s processors, said Gus Richard, an analyst at Northland Securities Inc.

“Why would the consumer ever want to buy a PC?” said Richard, who has the equivalent of a hold rating on Intel stock. “The first thing that people do in the morning is check their smartphones.”


Incomes and revenues up, but outlook down.
intel  pc 
january 2015 by charlesarthur
Intel decides to keep tablet subsidies, say sources >> Digitimes
Facing domination from ARM-based processor suppliers such as Qualcomm and MediaTek, Intel's subsidies including those for marketing, have helped reduce vendors' costs by around US$20-30 and have attracted vendors such as Asustek Computer, Acer and Lenovo to place orders for Intel's processors, the sources noted.

Although the strategy helps Intel to maintain a share of around 90% in the notebook market, the strategy has taken a heavy toll out of Intel in the mobile device market as the company has generated about US$7bn of losses from its mobile and communications business during the past two years and will continue to see losses in the fourth quarter, the sources noted.

Internally, Intel has been debating about whether to stay in the tablet market, but the company has decided to push for the market since its absence could impact its PC business and create a hole in its Internet of thing (IoT) lineup, the sources explained.


The logic is sound. And $20-30 could make the difference between profit and loss for some tablet makers.
intel  tablet  subsidy 
november 2014 by charlesarthur
Intel to combine PC and mobile chip divisions to reflect market shifts >> Computerworld
The Mobile and Communications Group, as it's known, will be broken up. The teams that develop mobile processors will join the new client group, while the remainder, which builds modems, will be part of a new wireless R&D group.

Herman Eul, who leads the mobile group today, will oversee the move to the new structure until at least the end of the first quarter, with a new role for him to be announced after that, Mulloy said.

The reorganization comes as Intel battles to improve its position in the market for smartphones and tablets, which is dominated by chips based on designs from Arm Holdings, a UK competitor.

The Mobile and Communications Group reported an operating loss of more than US$1bn in the third quarter, in part because it's been <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/article/2486672/computer-processors/how-intel-is-buying-a-piece-of-the-tablet-market.html">making payments to tablet makers</a> to encourage them to use its chips. As a result of those and other efforts, Intel has said it aims to get its processors into 40m new tablets this year.


Ah. A good way to bury bad losses.
intel  mobile 
november 2014 by charlesarthur

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