Intel's already popular Atom chip may get a whole lot more interesting next year if a leaked slide turns out to be accurate. The slide comes courtesy of Japanese technology news site PCWatch, and it shows that Intel plans on bringing a next-generation Atom chip to market in Q3 2009. Code named Pineview, the CPU will come in both dual- and single-core versions, according to the report.
But the biggest news with the new Atom is its Lincroft microarchitecture. Lincroft differs from the current Silverthorne microarchitecture by integrating both a GPU core and a memory controller into the chip package. How exactly Intel plans to mesh a GPU core remains a mystery, but such a feat would spark an already booming Netbook market, assuming it would even be made available for Netbook systems.
Making things even more interesting, AMD is reportedly readying its own Atom competitor code named Bobcat, which is expected to be a single-core 1GHz AMD64 processorwith 256kb of L2 cache with an 8W power draw.
It's a good time to be a browser connoisseur. Last week Google unveiled it's beta Chrome browser to the public, and Mozilla has now made available for download Firefox 3.1 Alpha 2. Code named Shiretoko Alpha 2, the new browser is built on a pre-release version of the Gecko 1.9.1 platform. New features include:
Drag and drop tabs between browser windows
New selector to create areas of Aero-style "glass" in XUL
Support for some CSS 2.1 and CSS 3 properties
Improved performance and new preference values for color managment profile support
At a glance, the previously struggling Napster appears to have bounced back and is now doing well. As outlined in the company's fiscal first quarter financial report, the music service can boast a positive cash flow for the fifth straight quarter with revenue holding steady at about $30 million. According to Napster's brass, the company is making the right move and is in a good position moving forward. But convincing investors of that is another story altogether.
Despite the positive quarterly financial reports, Napster's stock hit an all-time low in mid-July and today is trading at less than half of what it went for one year ago. Subscribers are down 7 percent from last quarter, and a group of impatient investors have initiated a proxy battle to win seats on the board.
"It's kind of damned if you and damned if you don't," Napster chairman and CEO Chris Gorog laments. "The bottom line is, five years ago we were number 2 or 3 in the this industry, and five years later we're still number 2 or 3 in this industry."
Hit the jump to learn why Napster remains stagnant.
It’s not unusual for tech companies to find themselves in legal hot water with governments, or their competitors. But this time AMD & Nvidia will face off in courts against we the consumers. AMD & Nvidia have been cited in a class action lawsuit filed in a California court alleging both companies of conspiring to commit price fixing. The plaintiffs identified as Jordan Walker and Michael Bensingor have named themselves, and anyone else who has ever been a customer of either company as the injured parties. According to the filing; "The Named Plaintiffs allege that, in violation of the federal antitrust laws, Nvidia and ATI conspired to fix, raise, maintain and stabilize prices of graphics processing chips and cards. The Named Plaintiffs also contend that Defendants unlawfully colluded to coordinate new product introductions." Further developments have been uncovered by Tom’s Hardware which was able to obtain legal documents as well as detailed email exchanges between the two GPU giants. Careful review of the emails doesn’t show any silver bullet, at least not to a layman. But in what is arguable a duopoly enviornment, it doesn’t take much to prove anti competitive behavior to the courts. The lawsuit seeks triple damages, legal fees, and any other incurred costs.
AMD & Nvidia customers who don’t wish to be represented in the lawsuit can opt out. Hit the jump to find out how.
In a seemingly never ending battle with the FCC, Comcast is back on the offensive. The cable giant is looking to overturn the ruling reached on August 1st which found them in violation of the FCC’s network neutrality principles. Comcast was mandated to immediately cease any packet shaping initiatives and to publically disclose the full extent of its traffic blocking policies. Experts close to the case have chimed in on the issue and it would appear as though news of the appeal wasn’t all that surprising. Comcast has become famous in legal circles for appealing any decision it doesn’t agree with, and this case is no exception. Comcast firmly believes that packet shaping of peer-to-peer traffic is a legitimate and reasonable means of managing network traffic and intends to defend that contention to the bitter end. Despite the impending appeal, Comcast has agreed to abide by the FCC mandates until a new verdict is reached. Comcast’s packet shaping activities have been in the spotlight since late 2007 when the Associated Press revealed proof that Comcast was blocking P2P traffic during peak hours. The FCC case was seen as a test run help to determine if it could enforce its network neutrality principles. I’m sure most Maximum PC readers are rooting for the FCC, but since so little precedent in a case like this; the outcome of an appeal could still go either way.
ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley has apparently learned that Microsoft’s online alternative to Google Docs will emerge from beta before the end of this year. Office Live Workspace is a service that is geared to work as either a standalone product, or in tandem with Office 2003-2007. It has been suggested that the current public beta is fairly close to the final version, and the primary issue outstanding is language support. Microsoft wishes to expand the 11 languages it currently supports to 37 before it officially lifts the beta tag later this year. Spokesmen Kirk Gregersen from Microsoft has also reportedly commented on the surprising trends they have identified during the public beta. It was originally assumed that casual users such as students would use Live Workspace as a means to author and remotely access documents. Instead, the service is being used mostly as a single access point for collaborative efforts involving multiple users. Insiders have suggested that this only further demonstrates why desktop versions of Microsoft Office won’t be leaving us anytime soon.
For those who haven’t been following the development of Office Live Workspace, hit the jump to learn more about the services currently being offered.
Consumer electronics giant Samsung also happens to be the world’s premier NAND Flash memory manufacturer. It now aims to further strengthen its position by acquiring flash memory maker SanDisk, if reports in the Korean media are to be trusted. The rationale behind such a move is that an acquisition will not only bolster Samsung’s current flash memory production capacity but also save the company about $350 million annually – the amount Samsung pays SanDisk in royalties. SanDisk has been navigating through some rough financial weather lately, but still is coveted by couple of big companies. Of course, rumors of Seagate making a bid for the company have also been around. A possible acquisition would handover a considerable advantage to Seagate in the SSD market. SanDisk certainly seems to have a few takers.
Be informed, dear readers, Microsoft’s next installment of security bulletins is going to be on September 9 – Patch Tuesday. Microsoft revealed in the security bulletin advance notification for September that it will release four security bulletins on the following Patch Tuesday. All four of them merit immediate attention as they have been rated critical. The security bulletins will all fix vulnerabilities pertaining to remote code execution. The Patch Tuesday in August also carried quite a few security bulletins related to remote code execution including a patch for the “MS Access Snapshot Viewer ActiveX control," which hackers had begun to exploit using a malicious toolkit.
Intel has pushed the release of its upcoming chips with integrated graphics core to 2010. According to the company, the move was necessitated due to the “client platform learning and customer feedback” it gained in 2008. These chips - codenamed Auburndale and Havendale -are based on Intel’s Nehalem microarchitecture and have integrated graphics core, memory controller and PCI-Express. They will be locking horns with AMD’s much vaunted APU (accelerated processing unit) that the company has codenamed Fusion. If AMD can release its Fusion in the second half of 2009, as widely speculated, it will have a bit of time to freely plug its APU.
This week, Google unveiled a public beta of its Picasa 3.0 photo-sharing software. Picasa 3.0 offers a huge number of new and improved features that will appeal to both point and shoot and DSLR users. I was particularly impressed by the following:
A new photo viewer that integrates with Windows Explorer and supports PNG, TGA and RAW formats as well as JPEG, TIFF, BMP, and GIF. The preview window displays thumbnails of other photos in the folder for faster navigation and offers one-click editing in Picasa, one-click uploading, or a one-click slideshow. Even on my less than swift single-core laptop, it displays Canon CR2 RAW files much faster than Windows Live Photo Gallery does. Google tested Picasa 3.0 on systems with up to 1 million photos, and it shows.
The ability to display image metadata for RAW files from within Picasa.
The enhanced photo collage creator with six preset designs along with easy drag and drop repositioning and image rotation. It's so good that I wonder if Microsoft Research's new AutoCollage 2008 (which costs $19.95) can compete.
Improved photo editing tools such as the retouching tool (good for removing scratches and dust) and the tuning tool, which features highlight, shadow, fill light, color picker, and color temperature controls. If you don't want to learn (or pay for) Adobe Photoshop Elements, you can do quite well in fixing less-than-perfect photos.
To see the photo viewer in action, and to find out where to learn more (or just get your hands on Picasa 3.0), join us after the jump.