Microsoft hops on the “Band”wagon

Microsoft BandMicrosoft is the latest to dive into the wearables market with Microsoft Band, which works with Windows Phone 8.1, Android and iOS.

It can track heart rate, steps, calorie burn, and sleep quality, as well as enable email previews and calendar alerts. Cortanaan intelligent personal assistant on Windows Phone 8.1 and Microsoft Band, can take notes, set reminders, provide driving directions, and keep wearers abreast of traffic, sports, stocks, and weather.

For now, the US$199 band is only available in the US. But, don’t get your hopes up yet even if you have contacts in the US because the product is currently out of stock.

 

 

NetApp rolls out new solutions and services for hybrid cloud

NetApp Cloud ONTAPNetApp has announced new software, services, and partnerships that simplify data management across clouds, including a new version of the NetApp clustered Data ONTAP operating system, Cloud ONTAP, OnCommand Cloud Manager, and NetApp Private Storage for Cloud.

These patented and patent pending offerings enable enterprises to embrace the hybrid cloud while maintaining control of their data and ensuring choice across a blend of private and public cloud resources.

 

“Hybrid clouds will be the backbone of IT today and tomorrow. We help enterprises maintain control of their data as they bridge their on-premises architecture with the cloud of their choice. The NetApp Data Fabric for the Hybrid Cloud is the right architecture for building enterprise-class hybrid clouds. Our software improves the economics, flexibility, and business impact of a customer’s existing infrastructure, while our cloud technology solutions give customers the needed confidence in our ability to help them navigate the future,” said said George Kurian, Executive Vice President of Product Operations at NetApp.

3D printers set for rapid growth

GartnerThe global 3D printer market is set to double next year to reach 217,350 units in 2015, according to Gartner.

From then, 3D printer shipment will more than double every year between 2015 and 2018, by which time worldwide shipments are forecast to reach more than 2.3 million.

“As we noted last year, the 3D printer market is at an inflection point. Unit shipment growth rates for 3D printers, which languished in the low single and double digits per year throughout the 30 years since the first 3D printers were invented, are poised to increase dramatically beginning in 2015. As radical as the forecast numbers may seem, bear in mind that even the 2.3 million shipments that we forecast will be sold in 2018 are a small fraction of the total potential market of consumers, businesses and government organisations worldwide,” said Pete Basiliere, Research Vice President of Gartner.

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GSMA to recognise young innovator and connected women

GSMAGSMA has introduced two special awards to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Global Mobile Awards. The Young Mobile Innovator of the Year and Connected Women: Leadership in Industry awards will be presented at the Global Mobile Awards ceremony at GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on March 3, 2015.

The Young Mobile Innovator of the Year is designed to showcase young and exciting new talent from across the mobile ecosystem and is open to anyone between 18 and 25 years old, working in an organisation or independently, or currently pursuing further education. The Connected Women: Leadership in Industry award, will recognise leadership in the establishment of initiatives that have a positive impact in reducing the digital skills gap and attracting and retaining women and girls in mobile and telecommunications.

“These additional awards will put the spotlight on individuals and organisations that will be shaping the face of the mobile industry in the years to come,” said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer of GSMA.

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A star is born in Malaysia

ZTE Star 1ZTE has launched the ZTE STAR 1 smartphone in Malaysia, the first time the model has been introduced outside China. According to the company, Malaysia was chosen because of the nation’s strong economy and development in technology, and its influence as a regional hub geographically and culturally.

“Malaysia is one of the biggest potential markets in the region. ZTE had focused on B-to-B business sector in the past. But now, we are ready to establish our brand in the retail market, and we are confident that our products will suit consumer’s needs. Our goal is to cement ZTE as an innovative and leading smartphone provider in Malaysia,” said Jacky Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of ZTE Device, Asia Pacific and Commonwealth Independent States.

The STAR 1 comes with excellent user-experience features, such 4cm macro shooting capability, clarity + imaging technology and a dual-colour temperature flash. Priced at RM1,088, it is aimed at the young, fashionable and innovative.

Singapore has right attributes for Smart City development

IDCSingapore possesses the necessary ingredients for sustained Smart City developments, according to IDC Government Insights.

While it is still unclear which paths lead to the success of Smart City implementations, IDC explains that this forecast relates to an effective and innovative strategic leadership as well as strengths in close cross-industry ties across a multitude of technology and business partners alike to drive the necessary future developments of its city.

It defines Smart Cities as a district, town, city, county, metropolitan area, city state, or even functionally clustered government operations such as public order and safety, transportation, healthcare, and education sectors. Such next-generation models of cities are anticipated to capture, analyse, and use information to achieve over-arching long-term sustainability goals around improving the lives of their residents, business, and government services.

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PhotoMath app solves algebra problems using smartphone camera

PhotoMathAlgebra can be a bane to students and while some turn to their teachers for help, others request for assistance from parents, siblings and tutors. With PhotoMath, they now have another source of help. Best of all, it’s free!

PhotoMath, which is now available on iOS and Windows smartphones, leverage the devices’ cameras to scan a printed math problem and provide an answer in an instant — complete with the steps to solving the problem.

All the student needs to do is to install the app, scan the equation within a red frame and the app does the rest.

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APAC PC market up 8% in Q3

IDCSpurred by consumer PC demand in China and India, the APAC (excluding Japan) PC market rose eight percent in Q3, according to IDC’s preliminary results. However, shipment dropped five percent year-on-year compared to Q3 2014 to 26.6 million units.

In India, positive consumer sentiment after the elections resulted in high retail walk-ins while vendors in China pushed volumes in spite of a poor sell-out. Asean was a mixed bag with Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand experiencing double-digit annual declines, while other countries such as Vietnam did well.

“XP migration helped boost commercial PC spending earlier this year. But in recent quarters, we have seen Microsoft add a lot to the entry-level segment by launching the Windows 8.1 with Bing programme. This programme has helped consumers buy licensed OS PC in many countries in the region,” said Handoko Andi, Research Manager for Client Devices Research at IDC Asia/Pacific.

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Google’s Nexus 9 breaks new ground with NVIDIA Tegra K1 64-bit processor

Google Nexus 9When Google announced the Nexus 9 last Wednesday, one of the more pertinent developments is that the new tablet sports the NVIDIA Tegra K1, which brings 64-bit capabilities to Android for the first time.

Google’s first tablet, the first Nexus 7, was also powered by the NVIDIA Tegra two years ago.

The Nexus 9 has broken new ground as the Tegra K1 is the first ARM processor for Android to take advantage of Lollipop support for 64-bit CPU architectures. Earlier known as Project Denver, the ARM v8-based custom CPU design brings class-leading efficiency and power to mobile devices.

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VMware and NVIDIA preview NVIDIA GRID vGPU

NVIDIA_GRID_vGPUVMware and NVIDIA have announced that Airbus Group, CH2MHILL and MetroHealth are among the first to join their early access programme to try the latest technology for GPU virtualisation and virtual application and desktop infrastructure, ahead of its general availability.

Customers selected to participate in the programme have deployed a technology preview of the solution. They get to work directly with the engineering teams from both NVIDIA and VMware, and provide direct input about their experiences — influencing future products, training, documentation and services.

NVIDIA GRID vGPU technology allows multiple virtual machines to share the power of a single GPU to deliver rich graphics experiences with professional 2D and 3D applications. Combined with VMware Horizon, the technology can deliver a great user experience and the scalability that IT teams require for the most demanding users in their organizations.

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ZTE launches payment solutions

ZTEZTE has launched a range of payment solutions including phone POS (point of sale), photonic and DTV (Digital TV) payment products.

With a NFC (near field communication) capable smartphone, users can install the phone POS app to enable the smartphone function as a POS payment device. Businesses and individuals can then manage a vast range of transactions including transferring money, checking account balances, paying off credit cards, topping up mobile phones and paying bills.

This functionality gives complete freedom to users, allowing them to complete transactions whenever and wherever they want, as well as allowing businesses to save on operating expenses by receiving immediate payment.

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China open to using smartwatches as payment system

gfk_logoSmartwatches are set to be more than health trackers with countries around the world exploring different potential.

According to a recent GfK survey, 54 percent of respondents are keen to use smartwatches for payment even though mobile payment using a smartphone to pay at the checkout with near field communication (NFC) technology hasn’t proved very popular so far.

Besides mobile payment, the survey covering China, Germany, South Korea, the UK, and the US, revealed taht people in these countries see potential in using smartwatches to “carry” tickets for passenger transport or as security keys to their computers and online accounts.

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GSMA announces connectivity guidelines to accelerate the Internet of Things

GSMAGSMA has published guidelines for the Internet of Things (IoT) market that outline how devices and applications should communicate via mobile networks in the most intelligent and efficient way.

The report, IoT Device Connection Efficiency Guidelines, has received the backing of leading mobile operators including AT&T, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, KT Corporation, Orange, NTT DOCOMO, Tata Teleservices, Telefónica, Telenor Connexion, and VimpelCom as well as ecosystem partners including Sierra Wireless and Jasper and aims to support device and application developers as the IoT market develops.

The guidelines include a number of best practice areas such as data aggregation within devices, non-synchronous network access, application scalability and guidance on how to manage signaling traffic from de-activated or out-of-subscription SIMs.

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HP to split

HPWhen it comes to technology companies, being big may not be the best. In the mid-1990s, IBM, then the world’s leading IT company, had to wrestle with its size. It eventually divested product lines that were deemed to have low margins to focus on software and services. Out went its printers and hard drives. In 2005, IBM sold its personal computer business, including the ThinkPad notebooks to Lenovo. And last week, it officially pulled out of the x86 server market with the sale to Lenovo.

It looks like HP is facing size challenges and taking the same route as IBM of old. While IBM slumbered, HP went on an acquisition spree, chomping up Compaq, EDS and 3Com and many others. It became the world’s top technology company with revenues exceeding US$100 billion.

However, yesterday, HP announced plans to split into two companies — HP Enterprise to focus on enterprise technology infrastructure, software and services businesses, and HP Inc, which will concentrate on the PC and printing businesses.

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IBM turns to NVIDIA to power OpenPOWER-based systems

IBM PowerHaving exited the x86 server business, IBM has turned its focus to a new range of systems that leverages GPU acceleration delivered by NVIDIA.

Built on IBM’s POWER8 processor, the new IBM Power S824L servers are optimised for big data workloads. The new systems tightly integrate IBM and other OpenPOWER member technologies, including NVIDIA’s GPU accelerator technology for the first time, to unleash computing performance to help enable banks to better analyse risk, energy companies to more precisely locate oil reserves, and scientists to more quickly identify cures for diseases.

They provide clients the ability to run data-intensive tasks on the POWER8 processor while offloading other compute-intensive Big Data workloads to GPU accelerators which are capable of running millions of data computations in parallel and are designed to significantly speed up compute-intensive applications.

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Worldwide semiconductor market to grow 7.2% this year

GartnerA slew of demand for semiconductors is helping the industry to hit a targeted 7.2 percent growth to hit US$338 billion this year.

Apple and Samsung are among the many IT vendors that have unleashed new products in recent months, spurring the growth in the semiconductor market.

“Semiconductor revenue set an all-time record in the third quarter of 2014, fueled by a strong electronics build for the holiday season. Get ready for a flood of new product introductions, ranging from simple low-cost tablets to high-end ultramobiles and smartphones. Demand for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has been robust, but there is concern for other types of devices planned for the holidays,” said Jon Erensen, Research Director of Gartner.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 4G+ available for pre-order in Singapore

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 pre-orderThe Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is now available for pre-order from telcos and the Samsung Experience Stores in Singapore with delivery from October 11.

Those interested can register their interest at:

Alternatively, those who would like to pre-order the S$1,088 phablet without a contract can do so at Samsung Experience Stores at Great World City, Tampines Mall, AMK Hub, and Jurong Point.

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New Honda cars to feature NVIDIA Tegra-powered Android infotainment system

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The 2015 editions of the Honda Civic, Civic Tourer and CR-V will leverage the power of  the energy-efficient automotive-grade NVIDIA Tegra processor for the Honda Connect infotainment system.

Easy and intuitive to use, the Android-based system is responsive to touchscreen gestures such as pinch, zoom and swipe to give drivers the same experience that they get on their smartphones and tablets.

Featuring rich, vibrant graphics and the ability to customize screens, Honda Connect delivers a personal experience to whoever is behind the wheel. The Tegra-powered system drives a seven-inch capacitive touchscreen display for satellite navigation, AM/FM/DAB, rearview camera and vehicle information. Access to the Honda App Center enables compatible apps for use on the touchscreen, such as Aha Radio.

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Microsoft jumps to Windows 10

Windows 10 familySkipping a generation seems to be the norm these days. A couple of weeks ago, NVIDIA introduced its GeForce GTX 900 series, bypassing the 800 series. Yesterday, Microsoft made a similar move by skipping a highly anticipated Windows 9 to introduce Windows 10.

In a technical preview, Microsoft highlighted advancements in the new operating system that are designed for business, including an updated user experience and enhanced security and management capabilities.

“Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows, unlocking new experiences to give customers new ways to work, play and connect. This will be our most comprehensive operating system and the best release Microsoft has ever done for our business customers, and we look forward to working together with our broader Windows community to bring Windows 10 to life in the months ahead,” said Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President of the Operating Systems group at Microsoft.

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