New Android devices boost Australia smartphone market in Q2

New Android mobile phone launches spurred growth in Australia, leading to year-on-year growth of 18.4 percent to 2.16 million units, exceeding expectations in Q2, according to IDC.

Smartphones accounted for nearly all of the shipped phones — totalling 2.06 million.

Android returned to being the most popular smartphone OS in Australia. Recently, iOS had overtaken Android as the most popular smartphone OS in Q4 2016 as it held over 54 percent of the market compared to 47 percent for Android.

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NVIDIA and Indonesia university set up first AI R&D centre in Jakarta

Launch completed (from left): Raymond Teh of NVIDIA, Sanny Hadinata of Tech Data, Bernard Gunawan of BINUS Nusantara, Hengkie Kastono of HPE, Bens Pardamean of BINUS, and Bahtiar Saleh Abbas of BINUS.

NVIDIA has teamed up with BINUS University and Kinetica to establish the first artificial intelligence (AI) research and development (R&D) centre in Indonesia.

Located at the university’s Anggrek Campus, the centre will support BINUS University’s aim to be the premier R&D hub for Al in Indonesia. Leveraging the power of NVIDIA’s GPUs, it will be a showcase of the commercial potential of GPU-accelerated deep learning applications.

“Today, we stand at the beginning of the AI computing era, ignited by a new computing model, GPU deep learning. This new model — where deep neural networks are trained to recognise patterns from massive amounts of data — has proven to be ‘unreasonably’ effective at solving some of the most complex problems in computer science. In this era, software writes itself and machines learn. Soon, hundreds of billions of devices will be infused with intelligence. AI will revolutionise every industry. NVIDIA provides the products and solutions to power this revolution,” said Raymond Teh, Vice President of APAC Sales and Marketing of NVIDIA.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 available in Singapore from Sep 15

After missing a beat with the Galaxy Note 7, which resulted in a massive recall and lots of bad press, Samsung has launched the Galaxy Note 8 with availability in Singapore from September 15.

Sporting a similar look to the Galaxy S8, the new smartphone’s key differentiator is the S Pen, which is designed to communicate in more personal ways. It has a finer tip, improved pressure sensitivity, and features such as Live Messaging that enable users to better express themselves.

The always on display allows users to stay on top of notifications without unlocking their phone. Screen off memo lets them take up to one hundred pages of notes as soon as they remove the S Pen. Users can also pin notes to the always on display and make edits directly.

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AMD Vega price hike irks reviewers

When AMD launched the RX Vega 64 and 56 last month, reviewers were impressed by its price-performance and thought that the new GPUs could give NVIDIA a run for its money.

However, it has turned out that the prices were promotional rates with the actual prices around US$100 more. This has drawn the ire of several influential reviewers who felt misled and are considering updating their reviews.

This looks like a PR disaster for a company trying to rise again to compete in the high-end GPU market.

 

Security spending to hit US$86.4billion in 2017

With prominent ransomware attacks that affected many organisations, it is unsurprising that many are investing more in security products and services. According to Gartner, worldwide spending on information security products and services is expected to reach US$86.4 billion in 2017, an increase of 7 percent over 2016. This is expected to grow to US$93 billion in 2018.

Within the infrastructure protection segment, Gartner forecasts fast growth in the security testing market (albeit from a small base) due to continued data breaches and growing demands for application security testing as part of DevOps. Spending on emerging application security testing tools, particularly interactive application security testing, will contribute to the growth of this segment through 2021.

Security services will continue to be the fastest growing segment, especially IT outsourcing, consulting and implementation services. However, hardware support services will see growth slowing, due to the adoption of virtual appliances, public cloud and software as a service editions of security solutions, which reduces the need for attached hardware support overall.

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NVIDIA invests in Chinese auto startup

NVIDIA is among a group of investors led by Chinese social media company Sina investing more than US$20 million in Chinese startup TuSimple.

Formed in 2015, TuSimple has more than 100 employees in R&D centres in Beijing and San Diego developing technology for autonomous long-distance freight delivery. It uses NVIDIA GPUs, NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2Jetson TX2CUDATensorRT, and cuDNN to develop its autonomous driving solution.

In June, the company successfully completed a 200-mile Level 4 test drive from San Diego to Yuma, Arizona, using NVIDIA GPUs and cameras as the primary sensor.

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Singapore to trial on-demand bus service

Bus commuters are currently using apps such as MyTransport to plan their journey.

Bus commuters have always been dependent on fixed bus routes and timings. What if you can customise your own time and route? That’d be a bus commuter’s dream come true.

Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) is calling for a tender to seek proposals to trial on-demand, dynamically-routed public bus services.

According to the LTA press release, the trial will enable LTA to evaluate the feasibility of operating public bus services based on real-time commuter demand and along dynamic routes, instead of plying on the basis of pre-determined and fixed timetables and routes. Through a mobile application, commuters will be able to request pick-ups and drop-offs at any bus stop within a defined operating area.

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China to dominate APAC robotics spending

Spurred by growing interest in artificial intelligence (AI), the Asia-Pacific (APAC) robotics market is expected to growth to US$162 billion in 2021, accounting for 70 percent of the world’s total robotics market in 2021, according to IDC. China is expected to dominate with 45.7 percent market share over the next five years.

From a technology perspective, APAC spending on robotic systems is expected to grow to US$92 billion in 2021.This includes industrial, service and consumer robots and after-market robotic hardware. Meanwhile, services-related spending, which encompasses application management, education and training, hardware deployment, system integration, and consulting, will grow to more than US$44 billion in 2021.

“The convergence of robotics and artificial intelligence technologies are accelerating the development of the next generation of intelligent robots for industrial, commercial, and consumer applications. Intelligent robots with innovative capabilities such as cognitive interaction, self-diagnosis, and learning are emerging and driving wider adoption of robotics in many industries including manufacturing, resources, healthcare, retail, and so on,” said Dr Jing Bing Zhang, Research Director of Robotics at IDC Manufacturing Insights.

ICML: Gathering of the brightest in AI

“I’m amazed at the quality of the papers presented. The project teams’ line of thinking and breakthrough concepts are refreshing,” exclaimed a leading artificial intelligence (AI) scientist at the International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) in Sydney.

International Convention Centre Sydney was a massive hive of activities as 3,000 of the world’s top researchers, developers and students in AI gathered for ICML. The participants moved rapidly from one workshop to another and took great interest in the exhibition booths of top deep learning proponents such as NVIDIA, Google and Facebook.

With so many bright young talents. the event proved to be a good fishing ground for vendors as they held recruitment interviews at their booths, as well as posted openings on the board.

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Worldwide semiconductor market to grow 10.2% in 2017

Global semiconductor market is expected to grow 10.2 percent in 2017, to US$77.7 billion, according to Gartner.

This growth rate is up from the previous quarter’s forecast of 1.4 percent, due to continued aggressive investment in memory and leading-edge logic which is driving spending in wafer-level equipment.

“Spending momentum is more concentrated in 2017 mainly due to strong manufacturing demand in memory and leading-edge logic. The NAND flash shortage was more pronounced in the first quarter of 2017 than the previous forecast, leading to over 20 percent growth of etch and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) segments in 2017 with a strong capacity ramp-up for 3D NAND,” said Takashi Ogawa, Research Vice President of Gartner.

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5 reasons why I like the Google Pixel

By Edward Lim

When the Google Pixel was first announced late last year, my antenna went up as my trusty Samsung Note Edge though working generally fine and still looking great was slowing down.

I’ve been a Samsung user since the original Note and love the phablet with its stylus but the Google Pixel is something else. It looks great, has powerful features, including a 12MP rear camera, and best of all, runs on stock Android. Goodbye, bloated Android!

But, there was a major letdown. Google had no plan to make its new flagship smartphone available at this part of the world. While not impossible to ship from overseas, the cost is fairly prohibitive, bearing in mind the strengthening US dollar.

However, a recent trip to Sydney proved to be the turnaround. The Google Pixel was staring right at me as I was heading towards the gate at Kingsford Smith Airport. I couldn’t take my eyes off the smartphone and there was added incentive. JB Hifi was offering the phones at A$100 off the retail price. A quick mental conversion of the price of the Google Pixel 128GB version (the smaller model) was more than S$1,100. While not cheap, the deal proved too good to pass and I returned with a spanking new toy.

It’s been more than a month since I switched from my Samsung Note Edge to the Google Pixel and I’m loving it. Here are five reasons:

  1. Stock Android: The smartphone will always get the latest version of Android. Better yet, there’s no service provider additional dead weight.
  2. Fingerprint access: The fingerprint sensor at the back just hits the sweet spot. It’s ideally located with a natural holding position. And it works perfectly, turning on the phone and screen quickly.
  3. Swipe: I love swiping and somehow this feels and works better, making it so convenient for crafting messages.
  4. Rear camera: The 12MP camera is fast, shoots well and produces great shots.
  5. Smooth transition: Nothing dampens getting a new phone more than the pain it takes to transfer the necessary files and data over. With the cable provided, switching over took just a few minutes. It doesn’t get any better.

Do I miss my Samsung Note Edge? Only one thing, the stylus when I need to annotate images. There again, I hardly annotate images. Possible shortfalls are the lack of a replaceable battery and inability to upgrade memory. That’s why I went for the 128GB version.

Overall, thought pricey, the Google Pixel has proved its worth.

More graphics power for creative professionals

One of the flaws of notebooks is the lack of upgrading capabilities. This is especially so for creative professionals whose work are increasingly more demanding and complex, requiring more graphics processing power.

NVIDIA has solved that with the newly-announced external GPU (eGPU) chassis that lets professionals easily add a NVIDIA Titan X or NVIDIA Quadro graphics card.

“While more computer power than ever is needed for VR, photoreal rendering and AI workflows, mobile systems are getting thinner and lighter, with limited performance and memory. Our eGPUs can now solve this problem, enabling creatives to plug into our most capable GPUs so they can do their best work on the most graphically demanding applications,” said Bob Pette, Vice President, Professional Visualisation, NVIDIA.