Day: December 6, 2018

Microsoft Announces Move to Chromium For The Edge Browser

Today Microsoft has officially announced it is going to abandon its EdgeHTML and Chakra scripting engines, and move to Chromium for their first-party web browser, Microsoft Edge. This is big news for the company that once dominated the web browsing market. There’s a lot of reasons for this change, and the move is a good one, but it’s also a little sad for the web as a whole.

Despite being the built-in browser on Windows 10, which is installed on around 700 million active devices, Edge owns just a tiny fraction of the desktop browsing market. Google Chrome is far and away the leader here, and with Google’s relentless update schedule, there is no indication of this reversing anytime soon. I recall when Google Chrome was first launched, and wondered if the world really needed yet another browser, and clearly the answer was no. The only thing was the no was not for Chrome.

With such a small share of the market, and Edge only available on Windows 10, developers would often never even see if a website worked on Edge or not. Even though Edge was the most standards compliant browser Microsoft ever shipped, that still was not enough for a perfect web experience on every site. If users ran into an issue, they would just move to Chrome even if they had given Edge a chance.

The move to Chromium as the underpinnings of Edge should improve the situation quite a bit. As well, Microsoft will be releasing versions of Edge based on Chromium for Windows 7, Windows 8, and even macOS, in addition to Windows 10. This should help developers who use those platforms test Edge if they need to.

In addition, Edge has been powered by Chromium on Android already, so the team is at least somewhat familiar with what it can do.

Goodbye EdgeHTML – we hardly knew you

Microsoft is has been heavily involved in open-sourcing its own software lately, and with Edge it will now join the Chromium community with their own contributions. Microsoft has committed to still advancing web standards, and bringing the current advantages from Edge over to Chromium, such as the accessibility and security features. By embracing Chromium, they will be having a much larger impact on the web than they ever could have maintaining their own code, so it should be a win for people who never even use Edge.

It’s sad that the web has evolved into this, and although you can’t really compare the world of IE6 to today, there are similarities there that can’t be forgotten, but for Microsoft and its users, this is a good move, and we look forward to seeing how the project evolves.

Source: Microsoft Edge on Github

Microsoft Retools Its Edge Browser, But Internet Explorer Is Forever

In 2015, Microsoft introduced Edge, a homegrown browser it pitched as a modernized successor to Internet Explorer, and capable competitor to Google Chrome. Just three years later, Microsoft has raised a white flag, opting to rebuild Edge on Chromium, the same open-source rendering engine used by Chrome. As for Internet Explorer? Two years after its stopped getting feature updates, it’s still more popular than Edge ever was.

Plenty has been written about why Edge is making the jump, including by Microsoft Windows lead Joe Belfiore. “Ultimately, we want to make the web experience better for many different audiences,” Belfiore wrote in a blog post announcing the change, arguing that users, web developers, and corporate IT departments will all benefit from coalescing around Chromium. The shorter version may simply be that even three years in, even being bundled with Windows 10, precious few people were using Edge. Especially compared to Internet Explorer.

Chrome dominates the desktop browser space, notching over 60 percent market share over the last year or more. But in November of this year—as in, about a week ago—second place went to Internet Explorer, at a hair over 11 percent. But that’s just desktop, you say. Fair enough! But even when you combine mobile, tablet, and desktop traffic, at least one metric slots IE in third place, accounting for about 10 percent of users. Edge? It’s at 4.5 percent on a good day. You’ve already done the math, but just to stress the point: That’s less than half the market share of a browser that’s been frozen in time since Castle was canceled.

The enduring popularity of Internet Explorer has long been a handy punchline. But it can also tell you a lot about why Edge failed to take off, and Microsoft’s latest moves might finally convince people to leave their zombie browser for dead.

One of Us

The first thing to know about Internet Explorer diehards: They’re maybe not who you expect. Yes, they include the technophobes who haven’t installed an update since Windows XP. (No judgment here, just anxiety over how much malware lurks inside those Dell Inspirons by now.) But they also include a surprising number of corporate IT departments, who either lack the option or the inclination to move on.

“Historically, because of legacy applications or even third-party applications, including some of Microsoft’s own applications, they only really work well with Internet Explorer, they don’t necessarily work with Firefox or Chrome very well,” says Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst with Spiceworks, a network for IT professionals. “There were some reports of Edge in its early days not working well with services, especially Office 365, which you would think they would have tested extensively.” Edge in the early days struggled with critical Microsoft programs like Intune, as well, making enterprise IT departments anxious about embracing it.

But even if Edge had worked seamlessly with those applications, it’s only been available on Windows 10. More than 700 million devices run Microsoft’s

Qualcomm Tech Summit, Day 3: Snapdragon 8cx, the New ACPC SoC

For the final day of Qualcomm’s 3rd Annual Tech Summit, the focus is on its Always Connected PC (ACPC) platform. This is Qualcomm’s attempt to bring mobile processors to standard laptops by enabling Windows on Snapdragon devices. So far we have seen two generations of processors, both based on the preceding mobile chip for flexibility. Now Qualcomm has announced that the ACPC market will get its own dedicated chip, called the Snapdragon 8cx. Here’s what we know.

Snapdragon 8cx: World’s First Laptop 7nm SoC

The two previous ACPC chips from Qualcomm, the S835 and the S850, were simple enough to follow: put the mobile processor into a device that allows for higher power, but use the efficiency to extend battery life and the integrated modem to provide a smartphone-like always connected device. Rather than use Android, Qualcomm worked with Microsoft to enable a version of Windows that ran on the chips as well as working with software partners to enable their software on the device – for everything else, there’s an emulation layer if the software was built for x86 processors.

With this idea, Qualcomm was always reliant on two things: the most common software being natively supported, and for everything else efficient machine translation. The best way to speed either of those up is to use a more powerful processor, preferably one with a higher power budget and better efficiency point to squeeze the frequency out. This is what the Snapdragon 8cx is all about. Qualcomm stated that the 8cx will sit above the S850 in a new higher power category, rather than directly replace it.

For the name, c = Compute, and x = eXtreme. Just in case you were wondering.

The new 8cx is built off of many of the same base elements as the Snapdragon 855 announced yesterday, but the 8cx is a larger chip with a number of key features expanded and enhanced for the intended market segments.

Starting with the CPU, this chip has eight next-generation Kryo 495 cores, split into four performance cores and four efficiency cores. Qualcomm states that these are the fastest Kryo cores the company has ever built, although at the time of writing the microarchitecture and frequencies have not been disclosed. (Update: the demo systems being used stated a peak big CPU speed of 2.75 GHz, although we were told by Qualcomm that the final speed will depend on the OEM implementation, so we’re likely dealing with a configurable TDP.) We know that these cores are Arm v8.1-based, likely A76-variants designed under Arm’s program that offers some custom tweaking of the design for specific customers. In the presentation, Qualcomm stated that there is a total of 10 MB of cache, but doesn’t break it down into exactly where that cache is, however the system cache and L3 cache is listed as ‘larger’ than before.

On the GPU, the new Adreno 680 graphics inside are only discussed in terms of performance metrics relative to previous platforms: we

Spotted: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Wafer on 7nm

Alongside the announcement of the new 7nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx processor for the company’s line of next generation premium tier Always Connected PCs, in the demo room today we saw a wafer of chips built on TSMC’s 7nm.

With this image, we can do one primary thing: work out the die size. Based on our estimates, we can see about 36 chips from top to bottom, and 22.2 chips from side to side. On a standard 300mm wafer, and give a little for the small amount of unused silicon from die to die so they can be cut up, we get a reasonable die size value of 112 square millimeters. This is what we expect to be the upper bound, and the final result may be lower.

That 112 mm2 is from a height of 8.3 mm and a width of 13.5 mm (which technically makes 112.05 mm2, but there is always margin for error here). This would make a total of 532 dies per wafer. There is no mention of defect rate or price per wafer in order to do an analysis of cost per die in manufacturing terms, but if ever get that information it would be an interesting metric.

In the slides, Qualcomm stated that the 8cx has double the transistors. We assume that’s a comparison to the Snapdragon 850, which is an overclocked S845, which had 5.3 billion transistors on the 10nm node. This would make the 8cx at around ~10 billion transistors (to 10.6b) at 112 mm2, or the equivalent of 89-95 million transistors per square millimeter (MTr/mm2). The Snapdragon 845/850 on 10nm would have been 56 MTr/mm2.

*It has come to our attention that the slide listing ‘2x transistors’ was only referencing the size of the graphics of the chip, and not the whole chip itself. The table has been updated.

Die Size and Transistor Counts AnandTech Process Node Die Size
(mm) Die Area
(mm2) Tr Density
(MTr/mm2) Snapdragon 8cx 7nm TSMC 8.3 x 13.5 112* > 5.3b
< 10.6b
> 56.4
< 94.6
Snapdragon 845/850 10LPP Samsung   94 5.3 b 56.4 Snapdragon 835 10LPE Samsung   72.3 3.0 b 41.5   Kirin 980 7nm TSMC   74.13 6.9 b 93.1 Kirin 970 10nm TSMC 9.75 x 9.92 96.72 5.5 b 56.9 Kirin 960 16nm TSMC 10.77 x 10.93 117.72 4.0 b 34.0   Apple A12 Bionic 7nm TSMC 9.89 x 8.42 83.27 6.9 b 82.9 Exynos 9810 10LPP Samsung 10.37 x 11.47 118.94 ? ?   8-core Ryzen 14nm GloFo 22.06 x 9.66 192 4.8 b 25.0 Skylake 4+2 14nm Intel  13.31 x 9.19 122 1.75 b 14.3 *Upper Bound

More information as we get it.

The Road Ahead for Open Source

This story was originally published on Sept. 19, 2018, and is brought to you today as part of our Best of ECT News series.

Linux and the open source business model are far different today than many of the early developers might have hoped. Neither can claim a rags-to-riches story. Rather, their growth cycles have been a series of hit-or-miss milestones.

The Linux desktop has yet to find a home on the majority of consumer and enterprise computers. However, Linux-powered technology has long ruled the Internet and conquered the cloud and Internet of Things deployments. Both Linux and free open source licensing have dominated in other ways.

Microsoft Windows 10 has experienced similar deployment struggles as proprietary developers have searched for better solutions to support consumers and enterprise users.

Meanwhile, Linux is the more rigorous operating system, but it has been beset by a growing list of open source code vulnerabilities and compatibility issues.

The Windows phone has come and gone. Apple’s iPhone has thrived in spite of stagnation and feature restrictions. Meanwhile, the Linux-based open source Android phone platform is a worldwide leader.

Innovation continues to drive demand for Chromebooks in homes, schools and offices. The Linux kernel-driven Chrome

Snapdragon 855 Power Consumption Demo, But

One of the interesting demos for the newly announced Snapdragon 855 SoC here at Qualcomm’s Tech Summit was to do with power. In a dedicated area, Qualcomm had set up two pairs of devices, with Snapdragon 855 and 845 chips inside, and had images of power on two big displays designed to show the generational gain of the new chip that has been promised with more performance on a smaller process node.

For the power consumption values, Qualcomm had wired up some meters to the battery connects in each device. This gives the overall system power, not just the power of the chipset, so that includes the display, the connectivity, and anything else that might draw a microjoule or two.

On the first pair of devices, Qualcomm was running through a script of random web based searching. The script allowed for automation, and it was continually loading a set of known webpages fresh without cache lookups. This is a fairly light test, but it does stress the radio a fair bit as well as a changing display that has a lot of white area.

Overall it showed that the S845 system was using an average power of 2219 mW, while the new S855 system was at 1778 mW. In the grand scheme of things, this is 20% less power.

For the second demo, Qualcomm went for gaming. Firing up PUBG, we were told that the two devices were fixed into a 40 FPS mode with identical quality settings. This was also a scripted test, with the player jumping out of the plane onto the ground and quitting out. This obviously requires a bit of radio in order to connect to the online server, and there would be a small disjoint between the two games based on server latency.

Values for these tests put the S845 at an average power of 3276 mW, and the new S855 at 2543 mW. The difference in this test would be 22%.

All of this is well and good, although one big caveat came up: none of the screens were brightness calibrated. The Qualcomm representative said that the brightness of the devices was ‘eyeballed’ to be in the same region, however based on personal experience, that’s never a guarantee and they could be out by as much as 20-30%. The panels were also not from the same manufacturer, so there’s a question of panel efficiency as well.

All being said, this is perhaps not unexpected (or rather, showing power at this point is unexpected). There has to be some obfuscation as Qualcomm has to manage expectations but also the final tuning needs to occur. On top of that, it will be up to Qualcomm’s OEM partners to put the SoC into an environment that may or may not be efficient for radio, display, thermals, etc.

We’ll wait until we get some hands on with the hardware until we make any judgements. Funnily enough, I have my display calibration tool with me. To

Vodacom welcomes arrests after store trashed

Vodacom on Thursday welcomed arrests made in connection with the ransacking and looting of a franchise store in Polokwane in Limpopo at the weekend.

“Vodacom welcomes the arrests made in connection with the theft, destruction of property and assault that took place in a Vodacom store at the Mall of the North in Polokwane on Sunday,” the mobile operator said in a statement.

Reports emerged earlier on Tuesday, quoting the Democratic Alliance premier candidate in the province, Jacques Smalle, saying that arrests had been made.

Vodacom reiterates its unequivocal condemnation for resorting to violence as an instrument for resolving conflict

It’s not known how many suspects have been taken into custody, but Smalle reportedly said more arrests are likely in the next few days.

TechCentral reported on Sunday that three women were assaulted by thugs — apparently supporters of the Economic Freedom Fighters — in the attack on the Polokwane franchise store.

The store ransacking happened in apparent protest at criticism levelled against the far leftist party by Corruption Watch chairman Mavuso Msimang at a recent Vodacom-sponsored journalism awards ceremony.

Terse statement

On Tuesday, Vodacom and the EFF issued a terse joint statement in which the operator said it is “politically neutral and it doesn’t influence party political positions in any way”.

In the statement, they both said they “encourage the right of freedom of speech and the free circulation of ideas”.

Following the arrests, Vodacom said on Thursday that it will “continue to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies on this and a number of other criminal cases that have been opened to ensure that the rule of law is upheld”.

“Vodacom reiterates its unequivocal condemnation for resorting to violence as an instrument for resolving conflict. The safety and security of employees and customers remains a primary concern of Vodacom.”  — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media

Qualcomm Tech Summit, Day 3 Live Blog (Starts at 2pm ET)

01:44PM EST – The final keynote this week is on Qualcomm’s Always Connected PCs. We’re waiting outside to be let in!

01:44PM EST – Event is scheduled to start at 2pm ET, 7pm UTC

01:57PM EST – Now sat down, front and center 🙂

02:02PM EST – Here we go

02:02PM EST – Alex Katouzian to the stage, SVP and GM Mobile

02:03PM EST – 200k social media watchers, 10x over last year

02:03PM EST – A dig at Intel’s advertising at the local airport

02:04PM EST – Video about always connected laptops

02:05PM EST – Sanjay Metha, SVP Compute Products to the stage

02:05PM EST – ‘Saved the best for last’

02:05PM EST – Going to announce product and speeds and feeds

02:05PM EST – Qualcomm is a tech enabler

02:06PM EST – ACPC is designed to solve several key pain points

02:06PM EST – battery power, connectivity, carrying a power cord, thermals

02:06PM EST – An industry going from a couple of hours battery life to multiple days

02:07PM EST – Current devices take ages to log in to corporate VPN

02:08PM EST – THe uses cases for the ACPC allows connected freedom

02:08PM EST – Airport, train, wherever

02:08PM EST – No longer need to use a legacy device

02:10PM EST – Current two generations of ACPC in the market, Snapdragon 835 and S850

02:11PM EST – Laptop market is ~200m, smartphone market is ~2B

02:11PM EST – Taking core IP from mobile into laptops

02:12PM EST – Process leadership with ACPC. Snapdragon 835 at 10nm when CPU/GPU on 12/14/16nm

02:13PM EST – (Note that process node # means very little these days comparing across foundries)

02:13PM EST – Commitment to the PC industry and to innovation

02:13PM EST – Announcing a new member to ACPC

02:14PM EST – Snapdragon 8cx

02:14PM EST – Kryo 495, Adreno 680

02:14PM EST – It’s a completely separate chip to the 855

02:15PM EST – Lenovo’s dual screen design

02:15PM EST – Looks like a surface ?

02:15PM EST – World’s first 7nm compute platform

02:15PM EST – (photos are slow again, apologies)

02:16PM EST – To the stage, Miguel Nunes to the stage

02:16PM EST – Most extreme snapdragon ever created

02:16PM EST – extreme perf, extreme battery, extreme connectivity

02:17PM EST – Everything updated

02:17PM EST – higher frame rates, more transistors

02:17PM EST – better video, faster download

02:18PM EST – battery life and thermal efficiency remains key

02:19PM EST – Coexist with S850, create a new perf tier

02:19PM EST – Productivty based OS

02:20PM EST – A real PC that can do productivity

02:20PM EST – Usually have to decide between premium computing or battery life

02:20PM EST – Others have a focus on peak performance

02:20PM EST – Qualcomm is all about the balance

02:21PM EST – Integrated design philosophy in the chip

02:21PM EST – Built technologies purposefully built for compkute

02:21PM EST

Intel Further Boosts CapEx to Meet Demand for 14nm Chips

Earlier this year Intel said that it had reaffirmed its plan to invest $1 billion in a bid to increase the number of chips made using its 14 nm process technology. Apparently, the processor giant did not stop there and is now further amplifiying its CapEx expenditures by $500 million for 2018.

Intel originally planned to invest $14 billion on capital expenditures (i.e., production equipment, building new facilities, and similar expenses) before this year, and then early on added an extra $1b which was reaffirmed mid year. Because demand for its multi-core server and client processors grew beyond the company’s expectations and Intel could not meet it, the company had to increase its production capacities. Back in September Intel said that it the additional $1 billion allocated on manufacturing tools to meet demand for its 14 nm products was in full swing. Since then, Intel has further increased its CapEx spending and now the expenditure will total $15.5 billion for the year, the company said this week.

“I think one of the consequences of getting $6 billion of upside in revenue is we have been chasing supply and some of our businesses are somewhat constrained in terms of equalizing demand and supply,” said Murthy Renduchintala, chief engineering officer and president of technology, systems architecture and client group at Intel, at the Nasdaq 39th Investor Conference. We have invested about $1.5 billion of extra CapEx since our January guidance, bringing our CapEx investment for 2018 to about $15.5 billion.”

Allocating an extra half of a billion USD on CapEx in several months indicates how severe Intel’s capacity constraints are today and gives an idea regarding Intel’s expectations based on orders coming from its clients.

Since Intel rarely discloses information about its production capacities, it is impossible to say how significantly it increased its 14 nm manufacturing capabilities this year and what targets did it set for Q1 – Q2 (when it is expected to meet demand). Meanwhile, it should be noted that $1.5 billion was mostly spent on switching to newer more advanced production tools that enable it to increase output of existing fabs. Many of these tools are going to be re-used for production of chips using more advanced process technologies, so Intel will take advantage of them for years to come.

Related Reading:

Intel Investing $1B to Meet 14nm Demand: Prioritizing High-End Core and Xeon Intel 10nm Production Update: Systems on Shelves For Holiday 2019 Intel’s Xeon Scalable Roadmap Leaks: Cooper Lake-SP, Ice Lake-SP Due in 2020

Sources: Intel, SeekingAlpha

Overcome load shedding this Festive Season with these top tips

December 6, 2018 • Lists, Mining & Energy, Top Stories

Overcome load shedding this Festive Season with these top tips.

The festive season has officially begun; however, it looks as though South Africans will be celebrating the holidays without electricity, at certain times of the day and night, as South African power utility Eskom has implemented load shedding.

As load shedding is becoming a regular occurrence in South Africa, IT News Africa has put together a few tips to get you through the load shedding cycles this festive season.

Download a load shedding notification app

With load shedding occurring more often, it is best to keep up to date with Eskom’s load shedding schedules. The best way to do this is with the Load Shedding Notifier app. This app monitors the current Eskom load shedding status and notifies you if the power is scheduled to go off in your area.

Some of the apps key features include:
• Real-time Eskom load shedding status monitoring
• Power grid status monitoring
• Early warning of scheduled load shedding in your areas
• Very low data usage
• Configurable alerts
• Configurable status update frequency

Stay connected with a generator

Most landline and mobile services work when the power is out. These include your telephone services as well as your ADSL line; however, your Wi-Fi router will need power. If you have a generator, you can run an extension lead from your generator to your router in order to supply it with power. This will essentially allow you to power your router as well as connect to the internet. As a second option, you can purchase a personal Wi-Fi router. This will allow you to stay connected while at home or on the move. These come in handy as you can connect multiple devices to them.

Keep your devices charged up during load shedding cycles

As the world of technology is forever evolving, you don’t entirely need a plug point to charge your device. Your laptop has energy stored up just waiting to be distributed to multiple devices. In addition to this, be sure to keep Power Banks on hand. Not only can they store power for an extended period of time, but they can also fully charge a mobile device or tablet.

If you do find yourself without a Power Bank or laptop available… most of the newer cars on the road come standard with USB ports that can be used to charge various different devices.

An Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) can also benefit individuals as well as companies. These devices can keep laptops, smartphones and tablet devices charged for a good couple of hours. They also allow you enough time to back up your work while working on a standard desktop computer.

Download the flashlight app

Mobile phones are powerful tools. Not only can they be used to communicate with your loved ones during power outages, but they can also be used as a flashlight. By downloading a flashlight app you can use your mobile

LG Releases Gram 17 Laptop: An Ultra-Thin Notebook with a 17.3-Inch Display

Due to their size and lack of portability, 17-inch notebooks are not exactly popular among road warriors. Instead this is largely the domain of desktop replacement-class machines, which in turn has caused 17-inch laptops to  be built bigger still in order to maximize their performance and emphasize the replacement aspect. Every now and then however we see a 17-inch laptop that still tries to be reasonably portable, and this is the case with LG’s latest gram laptop, which hit the market this week.

Equipped with a 17.3-inch screen featuring a 2560×1600 resolution, the LG gram 17 comes in a dark silver Carbon Magnesium alloy chassis that is only 17.8 mm (0.7 inches) thick, which is thinner than most 15-inch notebooks (in fact, this even thinner than the ASUS ZenBook Pro 15). Meanwhile, the laptop weighs 1.33 kilograms (2.95 pounds), which is in line with many 13-inch mobile PCs. As a result, while the 17-inch gram still has a relatively large footprint, its still a relatively portable laptop.

Moving on to the guts of the unique laptop, the LG gram 17 is based on Intel’s quad-core Core i7-8565U (Whiskey Lake-U) processor with the company’s UHD Graphics 620 iGPU, and is paired with 16 GB of DDR4-2400 RAM as well as 512 GB SATA SSD. Unlike the vast majority of 17-inch notebooks, the LG gram 17 does not have a discrete GPU, which will be missed by gamers and performance enthusiasts, but the removal of which helps keep weight and power consumption down for road warriors.

When it comes to connectivity, the LG gram 17 has a 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth module, three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a USB Type-C connector that can be used for charging (there is a special power connector too), an HDMI output, a microSD slot, and a TRRS jack for headsets. The notebook is also outfitted with a webcam featuring an IR sensor for Windows Hello as well as a fingerprint reader, thus offering two ways of biometric authentication.

Specifications of the LG gram 17   17Z990-R.AAS8U1
different products will offer different configs LCD Diagonal 17.3″ Resolution | Brightness | Features 2560×1600
Wide viewing angles Color Gamut 100% sRGB (?) Touch Support ? Protective Glass Corning Gorilla Glass NBT (?) CPU Core i7-8565U (4C/8T, 8MB, 1.8/4.6 GHz) Graphics UHD Graphics 620 (24 EUs) RAM 16 GB DDR4-2400 (onboard) Storage 512 GB SATA SSD Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE, NFC, and GPS options I802.11ac (2×2) Wi-Fi + Bluetooth USB Type-A 3 × USB 3.0 Type-C 1 × USB 3.1 Gen 1 Thunderbolt – Card Reader microSD Camera Front Webcam with IR sensors Fingerprint Sensor Yes Other I/O Microphone, stereo speakers, TRRS audio jack Other Sensors ? Battery 4-cell, up to 19.5 hours Dimensions Width 38.1 cm | 15 inches   Depth 26.67 cm | 10.5 inches   Thickness 1.778 cm | 0.7 inches Weight 1.33 kilograms | 2.95 pounds Launch Price Starting at $1,699

One of the key features of this year’s LG gram laptops is

Nigerian Communications Commission suspends frequency spectrum allocation

December 6, 2018 • Mobile and Telecoms, West Africa

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta is the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Office (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission.

The Nigerian Communications Commission has suspended the allocation of frequency spectrum likely to be approved by the International Telecommunications Union for 5G services. NCC had planned to offer frequencies in three different bands ahead of the 5G roll-out in 2020.

NCC CEO Umar Danbatta revealed that it was important to suspend the allocation of 2.6 GHz, 3.8 GHz and 4.2 GHz frequencies operators so that there would not be any encumbrance when they were eventually assigned for 5G services by the ITU.

He said the regulator has identified some of the potential frequency bands that may be harmonised for 5G deployment in region one and thus suspended the licensing of those frequencies to ensure that Nigeria is not caught unawares when they are harmonised by standardisation bodies.

Danbatta said the NCC is already working on the three key factors that will drive 5G deployments, namely infrastructure, spectrum and regulation, ahead of the 2020 roll-out. Meanwhile, the GSMA has put the total bandwidth assigned to mobile operations in Nigeria at 470 MHz so far in the country, reports the Guardian.

The GSMA said this is far in excess of the sub-Saharan African average of 268 MHz in the last few years and noted that some inefficiencies may exist in the use of spectrum, as around a quarter of that assigned for mobile is being used by a few service providers that jointly account for less than 2 percent of the mobile market. According to the association, this includes 50 MHz of valuable sub-1 GHz spectrum that is vital for creating good nationwide mobile broadband coverage.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Intel: EUV-Enabled 7nm Process Tech is on Track

Originally planned to enter mass production in the second half of 2016, Intel’s 10 nm process technology is still barely used by the company today. Currently the process is used to produce just a handful of CPUs, ahead of an expected ramp to high-volume manufacturing (HVM) only later in 2019. Without a doubt, Intel suffered delays on its 10 nm process by several years, significantly impacting the company’s product lineup and its business.

Now, as it turns out, Intel’s 10 nm may be a short-living node as the company’s 7 nm tech is on-track for introduction in accordance with its original schedule.

For a number of times Intel said that it set too aggressive scaling/transistor density targets for its 10 nm fabrication process, which is why its development ran into problems. Intel’s 10 nm manufacturing tech relies exclusively on deep ultraviolet lithography (DUVL) with lasers operating on a 193 nm wavelength. To enable the fine feature sizes that Intel set out to achieve on 10 nm, the process had to make heavy usage of mutli-patterning. According to Intel, a problem of the process was precisely its heavy usage of multipatterning (quad-patterning to be more exact).

By contrast, Intel’s 7 nm production tech will use extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) with laser wavelength of 13.5 nm for select layers, reducing use of multipatterning for certain metal layers and therefore simplifying production and shortening cycle times. As it appears, the 7 nm fabrication process had been in development separately from the 10 nm tech and by a different team. As a result, its development is well underway and is projected to enter HVM in accordance with Intel’s unannounced roadmap, the company says.

Murthy Renduchintala, chief engineering officer and president of technology, systems architecture and client group at Intel is quoted to have said at the Nasdaq’s 39th Investor Conference:

“7 nm for us is a separate team and largely a separate effort. We are quite pleased with our progress on 7 nm. In fact, very pleased with our progress on 7 nm. I think that we have taken a lot of lessons out of the 10 nm experience as we defined that and defined a different optimization point between transistor density, power and performance and schedule predictability. […] So, we are very, very focused on getting 7 nm out according to our original internal plans.”

The Intel exec reaffirmed the company plans to start HVM production of client CPUs using its 10 nm process technology in 2019, with datacenter products following on a bit later. That said, Intel is clearly not skipping any of its already announced 10 nm products, but implies that its 7 nm products may hit the market earlier than we might expect today (i.e., four years after the 10 nm).

“One thing I will say is that as you look at 7 nm, for us this is really now a point in time where we will get EUV back into the manufacturing matrix, and therefore, I think, that will

Apple Watch: How to Take an ECG Reading

One thing that makes smartwatches increasingly valuable is their inclusion of biosensors, little modules that keep tabs on what’s happening with your body, whether you’re an athlete running a marathon, or somebody who just decided to get up off the couch. And one of the most useful health metrics a smartwatch can track is your heart rate. Apple knows this, and, as part of an effort to make the Apple Watch a more alluring accessory for iPhone owners, the company is focusing intently on building advanced heart-rate monitoring into its best-selling wearable.

A software update rolling out today will include an optional app for Apple Watch Series 4 that takes ECG (electrocardiogram) readings through the new device’s specially designed sensors. That same software update will allow older Apple Watches without the redesigned sensors to detect irregular heart rhythms. Both of these enhancements are supposed to help wearers identify signs of atrial fibrillation, a condition identified by a rapid or irregular heartbeat that can lead to serious heart complications.

Apple made a splash when it announced these features at its annual hardware event in September, partly because the ECG app had been cleared by the FDA (which, it’s worth keeping in mind, is different from FDA approval). But, even if you don’t have the latest hardware and can’t take advantage of the ECG app, there are plenty of heart-rate tracking features to dive into on the Apple Watch. It’s a lot; here’s a short guide.

Heartware Limitations

Let’s start with the basics: the ECG app and notifications around irregular heart rate rhythms are rolling out as a part of a watchOS update for Apple Watch. The latest software is watchOS 5.1.2. Apple Watch updates can take an extremely long time for such a little gadget—you may wait more than an hour—and at the time of publication, I hadn’t installed the update myself yet. My experience with the ECG app was on a loaner watch Apple provided. But hopefully, the update process has improved.

The ECG app will only work on Apple Watch Series 4. That’s because that watch has electrodes built into the back of the watch, as well as electrical heart sensors in the watch’s crown. Older Apple Watches don’t have this.

All Apple Watches, however, do have the same optical heart rate sensors. That means that, with this latest software update, Apple Watch Series 1 and later watches will attempt to track irregular heart rhythms, and therefore will potentially be able detect atrial fibrillation.

How to Use the ECG App

Before you start using the ECG app on the Apple Watch Series 4, you’ll have to first go through the onboarding process in the Apple Health app on iPhone. Same with setting up notifications for possible signs of Afib. It requires scooting back and forth between the iPhone’s Watch app, the iPhone’s Health app, and the Apple Watch itself. But once the setup is done, you shouldn’t have

Reinventing the role of the CIO

As organisations across every industry look to harness emerging technologies to drive business transformation and growth, the role of chief information officer is undergoing its own evolutionary journey.

Deloitte’s 2018 third and final CIO legacy report, Manifesting Legacy, reveals a need for CIOs to reinvent themselves by shifting from the traditional technology stewardship role, to one of contributing partner that helps to shape the future of the business.

A shift in how business expectations are evolving is evident, and IT is more frequently being brought to the table to discuss business issues. Many CIOs are recognising the changes needed, and expect that leadership expectations, and CIO responsibilities, will evolve to be more transformative and growth orientated over the next three years.

For many, the transition from functional leader to organisation leader will be challenging

While operational efficiency and reliability will likely remain a given, the responsibilities of the trusted operator will likely become table stakes, as the day-to-day management of the technology infrastructure is delegated to others within the IT organisation or, in some cases, outsourced to external vendors.

For many, the transition from functional leader to organisation leader will be challenging. Many CIOs rose to the position of IT leader based more on technology know-how than on vision, communication or relationship skills. Looking forward, however, the traditional competencies around delivering results, and being problem solvers, will likely carry less weight.

Technology gurus

As technology gurus, many CIOs are well positioned to inform, shape and lead their organisations’ digital efforts. To become the leader that today’s organisations need and demand, CIOs will likely have to develop the business and soft skills necessary to translate technology expertise into business solutions that drive revenue and efficiencies.

The 2018 survey data shows that CIOs recognise the need to evolve specific leadership skills in the future — ones that are focused on delivering major organisational change (66%), building high-performance teams (63%) and influencing others (48%). In addition, they will likely need to develop leadership values that centre on providing direction, harnessing innovation and empowering others to drive the digital agenda.

By leveraging their technology and business expertise, CIOs can use digital to become more engaged with strategic business initiatives and to help drive true transformation throughout the IT organisation and across the business. Digital can present CIOs with the exciting opportunity to become the business leaders that they want to be — and that their organisations need.

The author, Arun Babu, says digital presents an uncommon opportunity for CIOs to reinvent themselves

As technology leaders, CIOs with vision, communication skills and relationships will be well positioned to command more influence, and responsibility, than ever before. It is clear that it is no longer viable to be a trusted operator, as the role will likely become obsolete.

Nearly 70% of survey respondents agree that in the next three years, the CIO — even more than the CEO (61%) — will have one of the most important roles in driving digital initiatives. You cannot successfully drive