Oprah Winfrey has done it. So has Ellen Degeneres. Jen-Hsun Huang got into the act too by giving all GTC 2014 participants an NVIDIA Shield. At the end of his keynote address on March 25, the NVIDIA CEO made the announcement to gasps and shrieks of joy from the audience. Those who were unable to be at the event can get the handheld Android device for US$199 for a limited period.
Those futuristic movies showing self-driving cars have come to reality with the likes of the Audi A7. AT GTC 2014, the car glided across the stage as Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of NVIDIA, delivered his keynote address and drove home his point about the applications of NVIDIA processors. The Audi A7 is powered by a small computer featuring an NVIDIA Tegra K1 chip.
Dubbed the world’s first mobile supercomputer for embedded systems, the NVIDIA® Jetson TK1 platform will enable the development of a new generation of applications that employ computer vision, image processing and real-time data processing.
It provides developers with the tools to create systems and applications that can enable robots to seamlessly navigate, physicians to perform mobile ultrasound scans, drones to avoid moving objects and cars to detect pedestrians.
With unmatched performance of 326 gigaflops – nearly three times more than any similar embedded platform – the Jetson TK1 Developer Kit includes a full C/C++ toolkit based on NVIDIA CUDA architecture, the most pervasive parallel computing platform and programming model. This makes it much easier to program than the FPGA, custom ASIC and DSP processors that are commonly used in current embedded systems.
NVIDIA has introduced Iray Visual Computing Appliance (VCA), a GPU rendering appliance that dramatically accelerates ray tracing, enabling professional designers to interact with computer models of such high visual fidelity that it can largely replace the lengthy, costly process of building physical prototypes.
Honda Research and Development is an initial user of NVIDIA Iray VCA, with a prototype cluster made up of 25 nodes to refine styling designs on future cars.
Iray VCA combines hardware and software to greatly accelerate the work of NVIDIA Iray — a photorealistic renderer integrated into leading design tools like Dassault Systèmes’ CATIA and Autodesk’s 3ds Max. Because the appliance is scalable, multiple units can be linked, speeding up by hundreds of times or more the simulation of light bouncing off surfaces in the real world.
As a result, automobiles and other complex designs can be viewed seamlessly at high visual fidelity from all angles. This enables the viewer to move around a model while it’s still in the digital domain, as if it were a 3D physical prototype.
“Iray VCA lets designers do what they’ve always wanted to — interact with their ideas as if they were already real,” said Jeff Brown, Vice President and General Manager of Professional Visualisation and Design at NVIDIA. “It removes the time-consuming step of building prototypes or rendering out movies, enabling designs to be explored, tweaked and confirmed in real time. Months, even years — and enormous cost — can be saved in bringing products to market.”
In the opening keynote for GTC 2014 in San Jose, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang made a host of announcements, the first of which is NVIDIA NVLink, a high-speed interconnect that enables GPUs and CPUs to share data five to 12 times faster than they can today. This will eliminate a longstanding bottleneck and help pave the way for a new generation of exascale supercomputers that are 50-100 times faster than today’s most powerful systems.
NVIDIA will add NVLink technology into its Pascal GPU architecture – expected to be introduced in 2016 – following this year’s new NVIDIA Maxwell compute architecture. The new interconnect was co-developed with IBM, which is incorporating it in future versions of its POWER CPUs.
“NVLink technology unlocks the GPU’s full potential by dramatically improving data movement between the CPU and GPU, minimising the time that the GPU has to wait for data to be processed,” said Brian Kelleher, Senior Vice President of GPU Engineering at NVIDIA.
“NVLink enables fast data exchange between CPU and GPU, thereby improving data throughput through the computing system and overcoming a key bottleneck for accelerated computing today,” said Bradley McCredie, vice president and IBM Fellow at IBM. “NVLink makes it easier for developers to modify high-performance and data analytics applications to take advantage of accelerated CPU-GPU systems. We think this technology represents another significant contribution to our OpenPOWER ecosystem.”
GSMA has completed its second Mobile Energy Efficiency (MEE) Optimisation project in Pakistan, working in conjunction with mobile operator Warid Telecom and systems integrator Cascadiant.
The project trialled innovative energy-saving technology in Warid’s network and demonstrated significant energy savings of between 30 and 60 percent. When the solutions are rolled out across Warid’s network in Pakistan, the annual savings are expected to be more than US$6 million and 19,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
GSMA also announced that Eltek, Enertika, PowerOasis and Purcell Systems have joined the GSMA’s MEE programme as technology partners. The companies are working with the GSMA to deliver MEE Optimisation projects for mobile network operators (MNOs) who wish to reduce their networks’ energy consumption and cost, as well as carbon emissions.
“It is fantastic that this MEE Optimisation project in Pakistan has already successfully demonstrated significant cost savings and emissions reductions, and is clearly showing the benefits of the service to our members,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer of GSMA. “The GSMA is also delighted to welcome these four companies as MEE Optimisation technology partners to deliver real cost savings and environmental benefits for operators.”
ZTE9 has released FunBox, which is claimed to be the world’s fastest home entertainment console. The console is expected to give consumers and families a unique high-performance all-in-one gaming, video-chatting and online video experience.
FunBox is the fruit of the engineering capabilities of ZTE and the video game development expertise of The9. ZTE9 is a joint venture between ZTE, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of mobile devices, and The9, one of China’s foremost video game companies. Online sales for FunBox will start on JD.com next month, and consumers can choose between 12 different colors.
The console is powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 processor, based on the new A15 architecture, and the superior graphics performance is delivered by a 72-core GeForce graphics processor with 2GB DDR3L memory and 8GB of Flash memory.
Once a luxury item, embedded in-car navigation systems are now increasingly becoming less expensive and are offered in mass-market cars. At the same time, more and more car navigation units are becoming connected and multi-functional as they converge with other technologies in the car.
The attachment of embedded in-dash factory installed navigation units is expected to increase from 22 percent at the end of 2013 to 38 percent by 2019, according to ABI Reseach. This represents a compounded annual growth rate of 13.6 percent.
“However, this growth will be eclipsed by the number of smartphone-based navigation devices used in the car, particularly off-board devices, where navigation is performed in the cloud as opposed to on the device,” said Gareth Owen, Principal Analyst of ABI Research, which forecasts that shipment of handset-based navigation services will reach 1.68 billion globally by 2019.
NVIDIA has launched its GeForce 800M line-up of notebook GPUs that deliver up to 60 percent performance improvement over the previous generation.
The new mobile GPUs sport a multitude of new features designed just for gamers, first of which is NVIDIA Battery Boost, which delivers up to double the gaming battery life.
Instead of pushing every notebook component to its max, Battery Boost targets a user defined frame rate, such as 30 FPS. The driver level governor takes over and operates all system components, including CPU, GPU, and memory at peak efficiency, while maintaining a smooth, playable experience.
The Red Wave is spreading from China to the rest of the mobile world. Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo may not be the leading names that come to mind when it comes to handset vendors today but their influence is spreading. As it Xiaomi, which is taking East Asia by storm with sellouts every time it puts its phones for sale online.
ABI Research has reported that Chinese handset vendors will account for more than half of mobile handsets in 2015. Chinese vendors already accounted for 38 percent of mobile handset shipments in 2013 and the ongoing shift in growth to low cost handsets, especially smartphones, will increase their market share.
Many oChinese OEMs have focused almost exclusively on the huge Chinese market, with little activity beyond its borders, but this is set to change. Huawei (6th in worldwide market share for 2013) and ZTE (5th) have already made an impact on the world stage, but other Chinese handset OEMs like Lenovo — the Motorola acquisition is a clear statement of intent — and Xiaomi are set to join them.
HTC has unveiled the HTC Desire 310, which packs a powerful quad-core processor and some of the features of the HTC One series but is more affordable.
Boasting a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, the smartphone can deliver fast, responsive web browsing, silky-smooth graphics when watching videos or playing games and the ability to switch between multiple apps.
“The latest addition to our renowned HTC Desire range combines super-fast processing and premium features at a lower price, offering users the best possible experience in this category,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC.
The much sought after tablet — the darling of the technology industry in recent years — is expected to grow just 19.4 percent this year. That’s a massive slow down from last year’s growth of 51.6 percent. According to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, the reduction is due to slowing consumer purchases as hardware iterations slow and the installed base — particularly in mature markets — continues to grow.
Over the course of the past two years, average selling prices (ASPs) have declined rapidly in the tablet market, but this too appears to be slowing. In 2012, ASPs declined 18.3 percent from the previous year, and in 2013, prices dropped another 14.6 percent.
Price erosion has started to slowly bottom out, with ASPs forecast to drop a modest 3.6 percent in 2014. IDC believes ASP declines will slow for several reasons; chief among them are the growth of higher-priced commercial shipments and a consumer movement away from ultra-low cost products.
NetApp has introduced a new line of enterprise storage systems and enhanced software designed to accelerate the broadest range of virtualised applications.
The new NetApp FAS8000 series unifies SAN, NAS and storage virtualisation into a single hybrid array. It is NetApp’s first FAS platform designed specifically for scale-out storage environments built on clustered Data ONTAP.
The new FlexArray virtualisation software enables existing storage to be managed by Data ONTAP for a greater return on investment and makes legacy storage cloud-ready. The software enables the FAS8000 to virtualise and manage third-party arrays and delivers a nine-month payback guarantee.
Hong Kong is the top location in Asia Pacific when it comes to suitability for setting up new and outsourced data centres, according to IDC’s Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) Data Center Index study.
Singapore and Taiwan are the next favourites based on factors such as energy costs and bandwidth availability.
“Choosing a strategically correct location has become increasingly important for organisations to serve their customers across countries. Hence, the scrutinizing process has to be done very thoroughly and carefully,” said Simon Piff, Associate Vice President of Infrastructure Research at IDC Asia Pacific.