HP has begun offering a free Flash security tool called HP SWFScan, which helps developers identify vulnerabilities in their Flash apps. Though the ubiquity of Flash-based content should be enough motivation for developers to tighten the screws, a research conducted by HP revealed otherwise.
Someone cue up Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" and don't stop playing until the memory chip market has been fully weeded out. It was only a week ago that Germany-based chip maker Qimonda became the first major memory chip maker to file for bankruptcy, and now Spansion Japan appears to be on the chopping block as well.
Originally spun off by AMD in 2005 to create flash memory, Spansion now owes just shy of $810 million, making it the biggest bankruptcy filing in Japan's manufacturing sector this year. However, the company maintains that its operations will continue on as normal.
"Spansion Inc. does not expect the filing in Japan to materially affect its global operations," the company said Monday. "Spansion Japan Ltd. will continue its operations and intends to pay, in a timely manner, for all goods and services that it obtains after the date of filing."
How the bankruptcy court decides to proceed remains to be seen, but it would have a number of options available, from letting Spansion continue to operate as it restructures, to full-scale liquidation.
Multiverse might be on the verge of revolutionizing web-based gaming, or so it claims. Using its technology platform, Multiverse says it's possible for developers to create 2D, browser-based versions of a full-scale downloadable 3D game, and then allow players to interact between them.
"Now, you can have proven genres of videogames, really popular games, like shooters, real-time strategy, sports, and things that exist on consoles or specially installed games, and those types of games can live in your web browser without a download," said Corey Bridges, Mulitverse co-founder.
To showcase the technology, Multiverse released a simple Flash game called Battle that runs on Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, and Kongregate. According to Bridges, Battle is one of the first-ever multiplayer, real-time, action or combat-based Flash games. And unlike most multiplayer Flash games, Battle isn't turn-based.
But the real value to developers in having a 2D to 3D cross-over capability might come from being able to offer free online trials where potential game buyers can jump in and play with other people without requiring a download.
Whether or not Multiverse's platform catches on, only time will tell. But according to Bridges, we may not have to wait long. He says a small handful of developers have begun taking their in-development 3D worlds and "are making a window into those worlds that can be done in Flash."
Internet shenanigans are keeping abreast with the latest developments around the world and using it to their advantage. An email doing the rounds around the internet hoodwinks the recipient into believing that it is from CNN. The clandestine email ostensibly contains a link to a “graphic” video of the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. However, it leads to a fake website that contains a Trojan that betrays the user’s sensitive data, according to the RSA.
The author of the phishing attack has tried to make the website as plausible as possible. Upon visiting the link, the user is greeted with a message asking him to update his Adobe Flash Player. If the user lends his countenance to the download, a Trojan is downloaded instead of the latest version of Flash
The SD Association recently announced a new card spec called SDXC (short for extended capacity) that will be able to support up to 2TB of memory with read/write speeds of 104MB/second.
If what they say is true, then that means that one of these SD cards will be able to store 100 high-def movies, 60 hours of HD recording or 17,000 high-resolution photos on a portable device.
Keeping in mind that this is still simply a spec, not an actual product, it’s feasible that we’ll see products based off of this as early as next year. And with memory of this capacity in such a small package, it’s possible that this could help the industry as a whole.
With CES kicking off later this week, expect a deluge of nifty product and technology announcements, not all of which will ever see the light of day. One that likely will, however, is a joint collaboration between Intel and Adobe to extend the Flash platform over to your living TV using Intel's Media Processor CE 3100.
"The Intel® Media Processor CE 3100 is a highly integrated solution that provides a powerful, yet flexible technology foundation that will bring to life the high-definition capabilities of Adobe Flash," said William O. Leszinske Jr., general manager of Intel's Digital Home Group. "Our effort with Adobe is poised to accelerate a rich, yet relevant Internet experience on the TV that will provide consumers with access to a growing number of Flash based applications that will ultimately be enjoyed across a number of screens seamlessly, from the laptop to a MID and now the TV."
Intel said it plans to ship the first CE3100 devices with support for an optimized implementation of Adobe Flash Lite by the middle of 2009 at the very latest. Should that happen, it would be a boon to streaming content providers like Hulu and could help bring online streaming videos on living room TVs into the mainstream.
Just how low can the memory market go? Pretty freakin' low, according to DRAMeXchange, who revised its flash bit growth from 108 percent in September to 81 percent. By comparison, that number stood at 175 percent in 2006, or more than double what it currently is. DRAMeXchange blames the slowed growth rate on declining demand for electronic gadgets.
Despite the weakened demand, the market research firm estimates 1Gb flash shipments to reach 52 billion units, up significantly from 28 billion in 2008. But as competition continues to heat up in the memory market and push flash storage capacities to new heights, actual chip shipments are expected to decline as a result. Throw in an oversupply of flash memory and there's not much for memory makers to celebrate in 2009.
Also feeling the pinch are SSD sales. There's been a major push in 2008 towards maneuvering SSDs into the mainstream, but despite those efforts, sales have been lower than anticipated.
"The penetration rate of SSD in the low cost PC market will be lower than 10% in 2009,” DRAMeXchange stated. "The short term demand mainly comes from the industrial market and the outcome in the low cost PC market is actually lower than expected, which was due to price and reliability issues."
The upshot, at least for consumers, is that flash memory is dirt cheap, and will probably remain that way at least through the next few months.
Micron this week announced it has been working with Sun Microsystems to develop a new single-level cell (SLC) NAND technology the company claims "dramatically extends the lifespan of flash-based storage." Just how dramatic? According to Micron, production devices are capable of one million write cycles, offering the highest available write and erase cycling of any NAND technology currently available.
"Micron is pleased to work with Sun on this landmark achievement, enabling the use of flash in new applications that were previously not possible because of the inherent write/erase cycle limitations of standard SLC and MLC NAND," said Brian Shirley, vice president of Micron’s memory group. "We expect this technology to revolutionize the enterprise storage hierarchy and be adopted by a wide range of transaction-intensive applications, including solid state drives and storage systems, disk caching, as well as networking and industrial applications."
Micron said it is sampling its Enterprise NAND in densities up to 32Gb (that's gigabits, not gigabytes), with volume production on slate for the first quarter of 2009. The company also plans to unveil SLC and multi-level cell (MLC) enterprise versions of its 34nm NAND process early next year.
Most of the talk surrounding solid state storage tends to revolve around the performance numbers, or lack thereof. Sluggish write speeds have hampered the hype on all but a select few models, and while more attention is being paid to the performance numbers, speed isn't the only thing increasing; SSDs are getting bigger.
Toshiba said it will have on display a 512GB solid state drive next month at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), with shipments expected in the second quarter of 2009. At 512GB, Toshiba's SSD would rival mobile hard disk drives and qualify as one of the largest capacity SSDs for use in notebooks.
Alongside the 2.5-inch 512GB SSD, Toshiba also plans to release 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB models in both 1.8 an 2.5.-inch drive enclosures or as SSD flash modules. The new drives will be part of Toshiba's upcoming lineup of "fast read/write SSDs" built on a 43nm manufacturing process using multi-level cell (MLC) technology.
"The solid state drive market is evolving rapidly, with higher performance drives to meet market requirements, and differentiated product families targeted for appropriate applications,” said Mr. Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Vice President of Toshiba Corporation's Semiconductor Company. "This new 43nm SSD family balances value/performance characteristics for its targeted consumer applications, through use of MLC NAND and an advanced controller architecture."
Performance for the new drives look promising, with rated read and write speeds up to 250MB/s and 200MB/s respectively.
This past year we've seen a major push by several manufacturers to move solid state drives (SSDs) into the mainstream market, but the lower pricing has often come at the expense of performance. Enter Intel, who did away with any notion of bang/buck and instead focused on lightning-fast read speeds with its X-25M SSD.
Now OCZ is getting into the high performance SSD game with the introduction of its new Vertex series. Unlike the company's existing Core series SSDs,which target average users, the Vertex is aimed squarely at enthusiasts.
"The new Vertex Series of SSD drives are a premium MLC based SSD solution that are designed for consumers that require fast, rugged, and reliable solid state storage,” commented Eugene Chang, Director of Product Management for the OCZ Technology Group. “The Vertex makes use of our newest architecture and controller design complete with 64MB of cache to offer faster transfers and superior overall system response times in a broad range of applications and games."
Write speeds have traditionally been a weak spot for MLC-based SSDs, but that doesn't appear to be the case with the Vertex drives, at least on paper. OCZ claims read and write speeds of up to 200MB/s and 160MB/s respectively. By comparison, Intel claims up to 250MB/s and 70MB/s read and write speeds for its X-25M, making the Vertex appear to be a more balanced higher performance solution.
No word yet on availability, but OCZ did say the Vertex series will come in 30GB, 60GB, 120GB, and 250GB capacities. MSRPs for the 30GB-250GB will be set at $130, $250, $470, and $870 respectively.