Cloud computing has grown from an intriguing concept into serious business in 2009, and in 2010, it's going to be all out warfare, with IBM leading the offensive. According to an IBM exec, Big Blue will accelerate its cloud computing efforts in the coming year and invest in the cloud at a rate that is commensurate to a $120 billion cloud computing market, eWeek.com reports.
The cloud isn't new territory for IBM, who in 2009 rolled out several cloud-based initiatives covering servers and storage. But the real battle may be in collaboration, an area where Google is hot to trot with its Google Apps. IBM's counter is its LotusLive Connections, a SAAS (software as a service) version of its social networking suite.
"IBM is in earlier in the cloud than it has moved into the market in the last 10 years," said Sean Poulley, vice president of online collaboration for Lotus Software. "The reason is that we have a unique set of assets that no one else that is comparable to IBM has in that we have world-class delivery skills in our global services organization, we have world-class infrastructure software, and we have world-class experience of running other peoples' systems in a 24-by-7, 99.999 percent availability, way."
While Poulley didn't get into specifics, he did say you can expect IBM to use the cloud to create simple business processes across company firewalls, and that more information would be forthcoming next month during Lotusphere 2010.
Is it a D’oh or an oops? Whatever it is the folks at Hewlett-Packard (HP) must be a bit red-faced over the incident. It seems that HP’s new face tracking webcam has a bit of a racial bias. It happily tracks faces that are white, but isn’t quite as obliging with faces that are black.
A demonstration HP’s webcam has been posted on YouTube. In the video two co-workers demonstrate the webcam’s little idiosyncrasy. Sure enough, the web camera has no problem tracking “white Wanda’s” face, while refusing to track “black Desi's”. As if that’s not bad enough, Desi confesses to having just bought the same system for Christmas.
Over at the Voodo Blog an HP representative posted: “We are working with our partners to learn more. The technology we use is built on standard algorithms that measure the difference in intensity of contrast between the eyes and the upper cheek and nose. We believe that the camera might have difficulty 'seeing' contrast in conditions where there is insufficient foreground lighting.”
It’s very likely that HP is right--the algorithms aren’t up to snuff. But, it also imparts a reasonable lesson: be sure your product is ready for primetime before release. It might save you from an awkward YouTube moment.
MSI’s offerings, the Wind U130 and the Wind U135, will use the N450 processor. The N450 is designed to be more energy efficient, and promises to extend battery life by about 15 percent. Each netbook will come with a 1024 x 600, 10-inch LED backlight screen, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3.5G WiMax, stereo speakers, and a 1.3 megapixel webcam. The U130 will have a 160GB hard drive; the U135 a 250 GB hard drive.
These two netbooks will be on sale in January. Gizomodo is reporting prices for the UK market of £229 and £279 respective. (That’s about $370 and $450.)
Hynix today announced what it claims are the industry's first 2Gb (gigabit) GDDR5 chips using the 40nm manufacturing process. Boasting 7Gb/s of bandwidth and processing power of up to 28GB/s with a 32-bit I/O, these rank as the highest density graphics memory available.
But it's not all about sheer speed. Hynix says its new 2Gb chips also impress on the power consumption front. With an operation voltage of 1.35V, energy consumption drops down by 20 percent over previous parts built on 50nm technology, the company claims.
Hynix will begin mass producing the new chips in the second half of next year to coincide with increased demand for high-performance graphics memory.
It looks like the elves in Intel's workshop have been working overtime this holiday season, enough so that the chip maker today officially announced its next generation Atom platform, which includes the first Intel chips to integrate graphics and a memory controller in the CPU.
On the netbook side of things, the new Atom platform consists of an Atom N450 processor. It's a single-core part clocked at 1.66GHz with 512KB of L2 cache and a 7-watt total TDP. For entry-level desktops, there's the single-core D410 (1.66GHz, 512KB L2 cache, 12-watt TDP) and dual-core D510 (1.66GHz, 1MB L2 cache, 15-watt TDP). Intel says both processors were designed from the ground up for small devices and low power usage, and both come built on the company's 45nm high-k metal gate manufacturing process. These chips will run in Intel's NM10 Express Chipset.
An industry first on x86 processors, the new Atom chips integrate both the memory controller and graphics into the CPU. By going this route, Intel reduces the number of chips from three (CPU, chipset, I/O controller hub) to two (CPU, chipset), which the company claims results in a lower TDP, and "substantial reductions in cost, overall footprint, and power."
Intel said it will announce pricing information when the platform ships in the first week of January.
HP didn't forget to celebrate the 35th anniversary of its high-end NonStop servers by announcing upgrades in capacity, performance, and enterprise integration. The company's NonStop servers are used in several sectors, including banking institutions, ER centers, hospitals, and mobile phone operators.
"Rabobank looks to HP NonStop technology to handle our mission-critical financial services applications and help mitigate risks associated with virtual banking," said Diederick de Buck, technical architect for NonStop systems at Rabobank, a full-range financial services provider based in the Netherlands. "The HP NonStop system has been an innovative force in mission-critical computing from the very beginning and has laid a solid foundation for Rabobank for many years to come."
HP said it upgraded the NonStop SQL 2.3 database, paving the way for increased service levels through simplified software programming, improved application capacity, and higher performance.
Other upgrades include the introduction of NonStop BladeCluster Express 1.2, which offers a performance boost in complete enterprise data center systems spanning a large geographic area, and the introduction of NonStop SOAP 4.0, which purportedly offers seamless integration with open-source software such as Spring, Apache Axis2, MyFaces, and Hibernate.
Not everyone needs a rocking socket 1366 platform crammed with high-end parts and prepped for Intel's upcoming 6-core Gulftown chips, and even the more affordable (and mainstream) socket 1156 might be too much. Budget conscious shoppers not looking to push the envelope instead turn to IGP solutions, but if you're planning a build based on Intel's G41 chipset, you may want to hop off the fence and make it happen.
Wait too long and you may find that mobo of choice is out of stock. That's because supplies of Intel's G41 chipsets are falling short, a situation sources from motherboard makers say is due to insufficient capacity at the company's 8-inch Fab and a turnaround in orders by mobo makers.
In somewhat of an attempt to play hardball, motherboard manufacturers tried to push demand for Intel's G31 chipset, a part that costs about $4-5 less than G41. The idea was to force Intel to maintain its output of the older chipset, but Intel has held firm on transitioning to G41, causing mobo makers to place orders for the newer part.
The sudden turnaround, sources say, has resulted in a surge in demand that Intel's maximum supply volume simply can't keep up with.
Much ado about nothing? Perhaps. Intel says the situation is typical of a product transition and that it is working closely with customers to satisfy demand.
With all the talk and attention focused on Google's Android platform and Apple's still trendy iPhone (even as AT&T's service wigs out), it seems easy to forget about RIM and the BlackBerry - just ask Wall Street.
RIM on Thursday reported a 59 percent increase in third-quarter income, made possible by a flurry of new subscribers and record sales of the company's BlackBerry. And all but 20 percent of those new subscribers were non-corporate customers, which would indicate that BlackBerrys are holding their own in the popularity contest alongside the iPhone, Palm Pre, Droid, and other hot smartphones.
"The consumer side is growing real fast," co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie said on a conference call with analysts. "It's not like this isn't a competitive space with big companies trying to do well and yet we're No. 1."
RIM managed to sell 10 million BlackBerry phones during the third-quarter alone, beating its previous record of 8.3 million set in the second-quarter. To put it into perspective, Apple sold 7.4 million iPhones in the most recent quarter.
Yesterday we posted a blurb referencing comments Nvidia made to news and rumor site Fudzilla, in which the graphics chip maker talked up its upcoming Ion 2 platform as being a faster solution than an Atom platform built around Intel's upcoming Pine Trail architecture. So does that mean you should hold off on buying a netbook?
Not at all, Nivida's Ken Brown says, who got in touch with us to clarify a few points. Regarding the performance benefits of Ion 2 over Pine Trail, Brown said all of that is correct, but that "is also true for current generation Ion-based PCs. Pine Trail will not deliver a significantly better experience than current-generation Atom-based PCs (link). Ion based systems which are available today will provide a much better experience than Pine Trail for HD video, games, media conversion, and other applications that people want to run."
In addition, Brown stated that first-generation Ion parts will also deliver anywhere from 5-10x faster graphics performance than Pine Trail, so for anyone who needs a graphically-charged netbook today, waiting isn't necessary.
LaCie announced today a brand new storage option made available by USB 3.0’s massive throughput. John O’ Neill, VP of Marketing at Symwave boasted, “The end user experience of external storage is undergoing a very significant upgrade with the launch of USB 3.0 products. We are pleased to be leading the market transition with such a strong partner like LaCie.”
Lacie integrated Symwave’s dual SATA bridge controller, which touts burstable read speeds of 275MB/s, enough to perform real time streaming and editing of HD files. The 2Big USB 3.0 RAID drive will sport up to 4TB of storage and should be available early in 2010. The new product will be showcased at CES 2010 in January as well.