In a week where the world’s eyes were supposed to be focusing on the exciting new gadgets and technologies coming out at CES 2018, it was news from past technologies that had the world reeling.
After nearly two decades, Intel has decided to bring the curtains down on its annual Intel Developer Forum(IDF). Even the China edition has been canned.
A highly anticipated and popular event, IDF was the platform for new product announcements.
“Intel has evolved its event portfolio and decided to retire the IDF program moving forward. Thank you for nearly 20 great years with the Intel Developer Forum! Intel has a number of resources available on intel.com, including a Resource and Design Center with documentation, software, and tools for designers, engineers, and developers. As always, our customers, partners, and developers should reach out to their Intel representative with questions,” according to the official IDF website.
Worldwide security software revenue hit US$22.1 billion in 2015, a 3.7 percent increase in from 2014, according to Gartner.
Security information and event management (SIEM) remained the fastest-growing segment in 2015, with 15.8 percent growth, while consumer security software showed the sharpest decline at 5.9 percent year on year.
In 2015, the top five vendors together accounted for 37.6 percent of the security software revenue market share, down 3.1 percentage points from 2014. These vendors also displayed a collective decline of 4.2 percent in 2015, while the rest of the market (Others) grew strongly at 9.2 percent year on year.
Worldwide semiconductor revenue declined 2.3 percent to US$334.8 billion in 2015, according to final results by Gartner.
The combined revenue of the top 25 semiconductor vendors fell by 0.5 percent during 2015. This was a better performance than the rest of the market, however, which saw a 6.9 percent revenue decline. The top 25 vendors accounted for 73.5 percent of the market, down slightly from 74 percent in 2014.
“The worldwide semiconductor market declined in 2015 as slowing demand for key applications combined with strong currency fluctuations to subdue the market. 2015 saw a mixed performance by the different device categories, unlike 2014 when all categories posted positive growth. Non-optical sensors performed best due to increased usage of fingerprint sensors in smartphones, while discretes saw the strongest decline due to a mix of weak demand and currency issues,” said Andrew Norwood, Research Vice President of Gartner.
Worldwide semiconductor revenue was US$333.7 billion in 2015, a 1.9 percent decrease from 2014 revenue of US$340.3 billion, according to Gartner.
The top 25 semiconductor vendors’ combined revenue increased 0.2 percent, which was more than the overall industry’s growth. They also accounted for 73.2 percent of total market revenue, up from 71.7 percent in 2014.
“Weakened demand for key electronic equipment, the continuing impact of the strong dollar in some regions and elevated inventory are to blame for the decline in the market in 2015,” said Sergis Mushell, Research Director of Gartner.
Intel, NVIDIA and Qualcomm are leaders in their respective markets but all of them have set their eyes on and foot into the automotive market. Building on their leading edge technologies, these consumer chipmakers have developed solutions that are competing against established automotive chipset suppliers such as Freescale, Renesas, TI, and STMicroelectronics.
The reason is clear as the automotive head-unit processor market is expected to grow from US$680 million in 2013 to US$1.95 billion in 2020, according to ABI Research.
“Automotive head-units are transitioning from proprietary architectures requiring long development cycles and Tier1-led integration efforts towards platform designs. Ford set the tone back in 2007 with its SYNC solution based on CPU hardware from Freescale and the Windows Embedded OS allowing quicker development time frames and independence from the previously dominant Tier 1 suppliers,”said Dominique Bonte, Vice President and Practice Director of ABI Research.
APAC PC shipment continued to head south with 28.1 million units in Q3, an 11.2 percent decline from Q3 of 2012, according to Gartner. Factors contributing to the drop were currency volatilities, especially in India and Indonesia, where currencies plunged to record lows. Vendors were careful in managing inventory, bearing in mind Windows 8.1 and new models based on Intel’s Bay Trail that will start shipping the following quarter.
Globally, PC shipment totaled 80.3 million units in Q3, an 8.6 percent decline from the same period last year. This marks the sixth consecutive quarter of declining worldwide shipments.
“The third quarter is often referred to as the ‘back-to-school’ quarter for PC sales, and sales this quarter dropped to their lowest volume since 2008,” said Mikako Kitagawa, Principal Analyst of Gartner. “Consumers’ shift from PCs to tablets for daily content consumption continued to decrease the installed base of PCs both in mature as well as in emerging markets. A greater availability of inexpensive Android tablets attracted first-time consumers in emerging markets, and as supplementary devices in mature markets.”
NVIDIA has made further inroads into high performance computing (HPC) with the acquisition of The Portland Group (PGI), a leading independent supplier of compilers and tools.
Founded in 1989, PGI has a long history of innovation in HPC compiler technology for Intel, IBM, Linux, OpenMP, GPGPU, and ARM. Following the acquisition, it will continue to operate under the PGI name and develop OpenACC, CUDA Fortran and CUDA x86 for multicore x86, and GPGPUs. PGI will also continue to serve its customers, including chip makers, research labs and HPC computing centres.
ZTE has launched a new flagship smartphone — the ZTE Grand X2 In — that comes with the Intel Atom processor Z2580 with up to 2GHz, Android Jelly Bean OS, an advanced 8MP camera and 1080p movie and video play back.
Pitched at demanding but value conscious users, it delivers faster webpage loads, application launch times and content download times, as well as amazing graphics capabilities and responsive multitasking.
The smartphone boasts an 8MP socially-smart camera with one of the shortest shot-to-shot times on the market, capable of up to 24 frames per second and no shutter lag. It secures a high image quality in challenging environments with real-time 2x axis stabilisation, and face and smart scene recognition.
Intel has announced new technologies and partnerships aimed at transforming how people experience technology from the device to the cloud. The announcements at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) included details on new data centre product lines based on the 22-nanometer (nm) process technology and the new Intel rack scale architecture, along with details on the forthcoming 4th generation Intel Core processor family.
During her keynote, Diane Bryant, Intel Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Datacentre and Connected Systems Group, underscored the importance of the data centre in enabling amazing personal computing experiences to deliver real-time information and services. She also outlined the steps Intel is taking to provide the hardware and software needed for data analytics to improve the capabilities of intelligent devices and data center infrastructure.
“People are increasingly demanding more from their devices through applications and services whether at home, at work or wherever they may be,” Bryant said. “Intel is delivering a powerful portfolio of hardware and software computing technologies from the device to the data center that can improve experiences and enable new services.”
Acer has expanded its commercial offering with the Veriton P series and new Altos servers, which support a wide range of computing configurations and feature the Intel Xeon E3 and E5 processors, ECC memory, RAID support, and backup components to maximise the performance and run time.
“With a full range of high-performance products and a flexible operating strategy in place our new workstation and server lineup promises immediate benefits for the most demanding clients. We will be able to reach out to many more customers in the SMB, Enterprise, Education and Government sectors,” said Walter Deppeler, Senior Corporate VP and Head of Commercial Business at Acer.
The new Veriton P Series Workstations provide robust computing and rendering for the individual user. The Veriton P series targets customers ranging from small offices to large scale corporations and public organisations and pack NVIDIA’s professional 3D and 2D graphics cards with support across the Intel range of Xeon processors.
The platform’s dual-core processor with Intel Hyper-Threading Technology provides double the compute performance and up to 3x graphics capabilities over the previous generation Intel Atom Z2460 processor while delivering the same battery life.
This latest engagement builds on the multi-year relationship between ZTE and Intel that has already produced the ZTE Grand X IN, ZTE’s first smartphone with Intel Inside.
“Our work with ZTE has been instrumental as we work to expand our portfolio of mobile products and bring to market exciting new designs with Intel Inside, It’s great to work with ZTE on the new family of Intel Atom processors for smartphones and we’re confident that the combination of high performance, competitive battery life and overall value will be appreciated by consumers,” said Hendrik Unkel, Director for Marketing and Business Development at Intel.
Intel Corporation has announced a range of new products, including a new dual-core Atom SoC (“Clover Trail+”) platform for smartphones and Android tablets, and its first global, multimode-multiband LTE solution that will ship in the first half of this year.
Other disclosures included “Bay Trail” momentum, mobile device enabling efforts, and continued smartphone momentum in emerging markets with the Intel Atom Z2420 processor-based platform.
“Today’s announcements build on Intel’s growing device portfolio across a range of mobile market segments,” said Hermann Eul, Intel Vice President and co-General Manager of the Mobile and Communications Group. “In less than a year’s time, we have worked closely with our customers to bring Intel-based smartphones to market in more than 20 countries around the world, and have also delivered an industry-leading low-power Atom SoC tablet solution running Windows 8, and shipping with leading OEM customers today. Looking forward, we will build upon this foundation and work closely with our ecosystem partners, across operating systems, to deliver the best mobile products and experiences for consumers with Intel Inside.”
The company generated about $18.9 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $4.4 billion, and used $4.8 billion to repurchase 191 million shares of stock.
For the fourth quarter, Intel posted revenue of $13.5 billion, operating income of $3.2 billion, net income of $2.5 billion and EPS of 48 cents. The company generated about $6 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $1.1 billion and used $1.0 billion to repurchase 47 million shares of stock.
Intel plans to accelerate new mobile device experiences across the company’s growing portfolio of smartphone, tablet and Ultrabook offerings.
These include a new smartphone platform for emerging markets, a forthcoming 22nm quad-core SoC for tablets, and more personal and intuitive Ultrabook devices in innovative convertible designs. The plans were shared by Mike Bell, Vice President and General Manager of the Mobile and Communications Group, and Kirk Skaugen, Vice President and General Manager of the PC Client Group at Intel.
“The best of Intel is coming to a mobile device near you,” said Skaugen. “We are set to deliver the biggest increase in battery efficiency in Intel’s history with 4th generation Intel Core processors, while adding broad new human interfaces to computing devices through touch, voice, facial recognition, and gesture-based interactions. We’re also significantly extending the performance and power savings in Atom™ processors as we accelerate our mobile offerings in an unprecedented fashion in 2013.”
The Knronos Group has announced the ratification and public release of an update to the OpenCL 1.2 specification, the open, royalty-free standard for cross-platform, parallel programming of modern processors. This backwards compatible version updates the core OpenCL 1.2 specification with bug fixes and clarifications and defines additional optional extensions for enhanced performance, functionality and robustness for parallel programming on a wide variety of platforms. Optional extensions are not required to be supported by a conformant OpenCL implementation, but are expected to be widely available; they define functionality that is likely to move into the required feature set in a future revision of the OpenCL specification. The updated OpenCL 1.2 specifications, together with online reference pages and reference cards, are available at www.khronos.org/opencl/.
“The OpenCL working group continues to listen closely to the demands of the developer community, and this update provides a timely increase in functionality and reliability of code ported across vendor implementations,” said Neil Trevett, chair of the OpenCL working group, president of the Khronos Group and vice president of mobile content at NVIDIA. “The new extensions enable early access to functionality for key use cases, including security capabilities for implementations of WebCL that enable access to OpenCL within a browser.”
What happened to AMD? Sean Hollister of The Verge asks this pointed question as he analyses development at the chipmaker in recent years.
Fighting the behemoth that is Intel, AMD had done well to carve a niche for itself. It’s not exactly an equal to Intel but still has a noticeable and sizeable presence, attracting a loyal following along the way.
When it acquired ATI, AMD upped the ante and seemed destined to win a bigger market share of the chip market. The graphics technologies gave AMD an edge over Intel and enabled it to develop new products.
However, things don’t seem to pan out as expected. Leadership transitions, layoffs, slow to market, and a dominant Intel stood in the way of growth.
But, all is not lost as AMD is known to be a fighter.