Samsung Developing Low-Cost 14nm and High-Performance 10nm Processes

Samsung has revealed its foundry’s roadmap for the next few years, which includes the development of a low-cost 14nm FinFET process (14LPC), with hopes that it can pass on those savings to its customers, and a new 10nm process (10LPP) that increases performance by up to 10% over its previous 10LPE process.

Samsung foundry’s process technology roadmap for the coming years includes:

  • 28nm: addition of RF and eNVM technology to our 28FDS baseline.  RF will be available this year and eNVM will be rolled out in phases in 2017 and 2018;
  • 14nm: 3rd generation 14LPC offering which provides a lower cost option, without design rule changes or performance sacrifice.  To enable connectivity features, we are also introducing RF add-on to 14LPC this year.  We have also expanded solutions on our 14nm FinFET to cover product applications in the Networking/Server and Automotive segments;
  • 10nm:  2nd generation 10nm with higher performance over 10LPE will be introduced.  We call this 10LPP.  10LPP will come with 10% speed boost, maintaining design results with 10LPE;
  • 7nm: we have already begun work on our cost optimized 7LPP node which comes with very competitive PPA scaling;
  • 8” matured node: keeping in mind there are still ample of new designs and applications that can take advantage of 8in technology, we are opening up our differentiated 8in technologies ranging from 180nm to 65nm, covering eFlash, Power devices, Image sensors and High voltage processes.

“There are always concerns about trading off cost versus performance,” Kelvin Low, Samsung’s Senior Director of Foundry Marketing, told EE Times. “LPC has the same PDK of [14nm] LPP. The number of steps has been reduced […]That allows us to achieve a lower cost point on manufacturing and we decide to share that with our customers.”

“We think 10nm will be a much longer node than other foundries are claiming it will be. We think 7nm has to be defined and optimized to be cost effective to the masses, not just the high margin products,” he added. “EUV is an important enabler for a 7m cost affordable node.”

FreshTech Solutions Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

FreshTech Solutions is one of the leading system integrators in the UK and forged an impressive reputation for their huge range of pre-configured PCs. Whether you’re on a tight budget looking to try out PC gaming for the first time, or a content creator seeking the absolute best performance, there’s something to suit your requirements. Each PC is backed by generous warranty period and it’s even possible to purchase additional cover for further peace-of-mind. For example, on systems costing £1000 and above, you can increase the warranty length from 3 years to 5 years for £25. If you’re opting for a cheaper rig under the £1000 mark, then it’s possible to select three years cover for £25 and five years support at a cost of £50. This level of flexibility allows you to protect your investment for a period which you expect to use the system for.

When selecting a custom PC, the number of configurations and pricing variation means it’s extraordinarily difficult for novices to judge which model to go for. It’s not always a sensible approach to spend more if you’re unlikely to reap the benefits. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of custom PCs from FreshTech Solutions that we are happy to recommend at various price points. Hopefully, our readers will find this useful and those without technical knowledge can make an informed decision about which unit suits their usage scenario.


£529.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6400
  • 8gb Crucial DDR4 2133MHz
  • 120gb Kingston V300 SSD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • EVGA 500w 80Plus White PSU
  • Nvidia GTX 950 2GB
  • Gigabyte H110M-S2H
  • Falcon Blue Case With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 1 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 1 Year Parts, 1 Year Labour)

The first machine we’re taking a look at targets consumers on a very tight budget who want to enter into the Intel ecosystem. While you could compile a cheaper build using an AMD CPU and AM3+ motherboard, it doesn’t offer much headroom in the future if you suddenly demand additional horsepower. The majority of games are GPU bound but there’s some examples including ARMA III and more recently, Black Desert Online which rely heavily on a system’s CPU performance. This particular build features a large enough capacity boot SSD to install the operating system and enjoy a snappier feel in Windows.

Also, the GTX 950 2GB graphics card is a great choice for 1080P gaming providing you turn down a few settings. On another note, the lack of overclocking isn’t an issue at this price and won’t impact on the user experience during graphically intensive games. Ideally, I’d recommend paying extra for the next tier, but this is a great choice for beginners moving away from consoles for the very first time.


£699.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6600K
  • 8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 250GB SSD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • EVGA 500w 80Plus White PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 960 2GB
  • Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3
  • Titan Blue Case with Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 1 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 1 Year Parts, 1 Year Labour )

The next system which retails for £699.00 offers overclocking functionality due to the unlocked K processor and Z170 chipset. Furthermore, the Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3 contains an illuminated LED strip on the PCB to create a more ostentatious appearance. This higher end model includes the GTX 960 2GB GPU to maintain improved frame-rates at higher settings. It’s a significant boost over the GTX 950 and worth considering given the constant influx of modern titles requiring additional graphical grunt. Of course, it’ s still a budget option and pales in comparison to higher end graphics cards, but it should provide an enjoyable user-experience with a 1920×1080 display. Also, the boot SSD’s higher capacity allows you to store your favourites games and benefit from faster load times.


£899.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6600K
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 250GB SSD
  • WD 1TB WD10EZEX HDD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair CX600 80Plus Bronze PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 970 4GB
  • Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3
  • Titan Red Case with Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 1 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 1 Year Parts, 1 Year Labour )

The next tier’s system costs £899.99 and has a number of key improvements including a secondary mechanical hard disk, 16GB RAM and GTX 970 graphics card. When discussing the previous systems it’s important to remember that I’d recommend adding a mechanical drive to store large sums of data. This allows you to easily install various games while ensuring the boot SSD doesn’t fill up rather quickly. Thankfully, this doesn’t increase the asking price by an exponential amount. On another note, the 16GB memory is useful when working with video, photo editing and other complex workloads. It’s not really necessary in games just yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if 16GB becomes the standard in the next few years.

NVIDIA’s GTX 970 offers absolutely stunning performance even with a 2560×1440 monitor and can exceed 60 frames-per-second in various titles including the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot. It’s unquestionably one of the best price to performance GPUs on the market and a suitable choice for a powerful gaming system.


£1049.00

 

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6600K Tested Overclock to 4.6GHz
  • Corsair H80I V2 Water Cooler
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 250GB SSD
  • Seagate 1TB HDD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair RM750x 80Plus Gold PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 970 4GB
  • Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3
  • Falcon Gaming Case With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 3 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 2 Years Parts, 3 Years Labour )

Moving towards the higher end market is a system which retails for £1049.00. This model contains a higher wattage power supply and Corsair water cooling unit to attain better temperatures. Furthermore, FreshTech Solutions guarantees the system will reach 4.6GHz and tests each overclock extremely carefully. This will be incredibly useful to consumers who feel apprehensive about overclocking their CPU and haven’t got any experience in this field. They really shouldn’t be concerned because the process is ridiculous simple. However, whenever anything goes awry, it’s important to have an excellent level of after-care support.


£1599.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i7 6700K Tested Overclock to 4.5GHz
  • Corsair H80I V2 Water Cooler
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 500GB SSD
  • Seagate 2TB HDD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair RM750x 80Plus Gold PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 980TI 6GB
  • Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 5
  • Fractal Design R5 With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 3 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 2 Years Parts, 3 Years Labour )

The £1599.00 system swaps out the i5 6600K for Intel’s enthusiast flagship i7-6700K on the LGA1151 chipset. Once again, FreshTech Solutions guarantees an impressive minimum overclock to reach significant gains compared to stock values. Also, the 500GB SSD is a great addition which allows you to install various applications without constantly checking on the remaining capacity. The system is housed in the highly regard Fractal Design R5 chassis which creates a more premium feel. Clearly, the main improvement revolves around the GTX 980Ti and is a major step up when compared to the GTX 970.

Even though the GPU isn’t capable of running games at maximum details on a 4K display, it’s able to really reach high figures on a 2560×1440 or 3440×1440 monitor. If you want to improve the performance even further, it’s possible to add a second GTX 980Ti due to the power supply’s 750 watts rating. The Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 5 motherboard supports USB 3.1, SATA Express, multi-GPU configurations and opts for a superb audio solution. Once combined, this offers an absolutely staggering user-experience.


£1938.00

Specification:

  • Intel Core i7 5930K 3.50GHz
  • Corsair H80I V2 Water Cooler
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3000MHz
  • 512GB Samsung 950 Pro M.2 Solid State Drive
  • Seagate 2TB Hard Drive
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair RM750x 80Plus Gold PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 980TI 6GB
  • Gigabyte X99-SLI
  • Fractal Design R5 With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 3 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 2 Years Parts, 3 Years Labour )

Up to this point, we’ve focussed on the consumer LGA1151 chipset which offers great value for typical desktop tasks. Unfortunately, the platform only supports up to a 4-core 8-thread CPU. This severely limits the computational power during multi-threaded workloads. As a result, many professionals opt for 2011-v3 powered systems because they can leverage extra performance using 6-core or even 8-core processors. The next system totalling £1938.00 utilises a hex core processor with 40 PCI-E lanes and a 2TB hard disk.

Not only that, the Samsung 950 Pro NVMe boot drive is capable of an astounding maximum read of 2500MB/s and maximum write reaching 1500MB/s. This allows games to load faster and helps to process huge 4K video projects in a more efficient manner. Of course, this elite-grade PC opts for the best possible hardware including the GTX 980Ti and Gigabyte X99-SLI motherboard. This means you can have a powerful workstation and play demanding games in your leisure time.

If you’d like us to review any of the systems mentioned above, please let us know in the comments section below.

Samsung Hosting a Meeting to Standardize 5G Standards

We’ve all heard about 3G and 4G, the standards that define the technology that has helped shape mobile communications and mobile phones for the last generation. Samsung looks to get ahead with the next generation by hosting a meeting in hopes of standardizing standards for the next generation, 5G.

Hosting the 3GPP RAN (3rd Generation Partnership Project – Radio Access Network) group, Samsung Electronics hopes that the meeting taking place in Busan, Korea, will help encourage companies to “discuss ways to support the effective integration of new services such as IoT (Internet of Things) into 5G, and measures to ensure the compatibility of 5G technologies”.

5G is not a new technology, having been in development by Samsung since 2011, but with more and more companies looking to have the first standards ready for June 2018, we could soon see a network that could see speeds of 1.2 Gbps for moving vehicles and 7.5 gigabytes for anyone who stands still for a minute.

With companies looking at rolling out the technology for 2020, the meeting hopes to cover everything from energy and cost efficiency to security and availability, all key factors in releasing a successful piece of technology that people not only accept and pick up but support years down the road.

Samsung Have Patented An Augmented Reality Contact Lens

Previous attempts at portable AR devices have met with lukewarm responses, with many of them, including Google Glass, falling short of what was expected of them upon conception. Now Samsung may be working on the best ubiquitous AR technology yet that may finally be able to be a hit with consumers.

According to a patent discovered by the blog Sammobile, the Korean firm appears to be working on a brand new technology, “smart” contact lenses, which would able to display overlaid images right on the eye and take pictures with a simple gesture like a blink. Of course, the technology to compute all of these factors isn’t yet compact enough that they could be comfortably fitted to a contact lens, requiring a smartphone connected wirelessly to do the heavy lifting.

The patent has been a long time behind the scenes, with the original filming having taken place in September 2014, with it only recently being published. The majority of the patent is in Korean, however, the filing does include a number of diagrams that show off some early concepts of how the lens may work.

Of course, a patent gives no assurance that the product will ever be realized and is often used to ensure that other companies do not take the idea. It isn’t even shown in the paper whether the patent was accepted. Whether we will see this product from Samsung any time soon is a total unknown, but it is exciting to think that they believe this technology is possible and what could become a product capable of shaping our future.

Samsung Starts 10nm-Class DDR4 Mass Production

Much of the focus on process technology has been on GPUs and CPUs. However, there are many other products where semiconductors are needed, among them DRAM. Samsung has been and continues to be one of the leaders in DRAM production and have moved on the next process node with DDR4. According to Samsung, they have started production of DRR4 using the latest “10nm Class” process.

Samsung isn’t always the most forthcoming about their process technology so all 10nm class means is that it is below 20nm. In addition to the reduced size and increased density, the new DRAM modules also feature 8Gb capacity and run at DDR4-3200 speeds. They are also 10-20% more power efficient than current 20nm DDR4 modules. While ram power consumption isn’t a large sahre, every bit helps when you’re talking about servers and mobile devices.

Using a 300mm wafer, the new DRAM is 30% more effiecent which means DDR4 prices should fall once Samsung ramps up their 10nm class production. Samsung has also changed their DRAM design so higher speeds should be easier to come by in the future. DDR4 has just really gotten going and it looks like we’ll be seeing plenty of advancement in the years to come.

You Could Pay For Things With Your Facebook Messenger App Soon

Facebook let you send money to friends through the Facebook Messenger app at the moment, but you could end up being able to spend money in the messenger app as well with some news that the messenger could soon have in-store purchases.

The new feature would be included in a variety of updates and new features that could soon be making their way to the Messenger app. As a result details are scarce, but from what we can gather Facebook’s app would let you pay for goods in person, meaning it would offer the same mobile payments that Android, Apple and Samsung currently offer.

Alongside the payment feature, there is a reference to “secret conversations”, ending unfortunately at just a reference. Initial speculation states this could be a way to hide conversations within the app or even a higher form of encryption that rival apps like WhatsApp offer. The latter would make sense given the current global focus on information security and privacy.

With code further referencing syncing calendars and selective streaming of news feed statuses  to groups of friends, the ability to organise and control who sees what could see the app become a go-to for organising your day-to-day life. With no official word yet we have to take these with a pinch of salt, but the payment sending ability was hinted at in a similar fashion months before Facebook officially announced it.

Would you store your payment details on Facebook? How about organising your everyday life with Facebook’s calendars?

Samsung’s Smart Windshield Should Be More Than A Concept

In this day and age, we are integrating technology into everything, but one thing that seems to just get smarter and smarter is traveling. From automated shuttles to car charging roads, it seems clear that people want smart technology in their cars. The problem being is that a lot of people are being ignored, such as those that ride bikes. This is where the Smart Windshield by Samsung hopes to help bikers catch up a little.

The Smart windshield is just a concept at this moment in time, but with the technology already there and a market prime for the picking we don’t see why interest in this product isn’t higher than it should be to turn it into a real product.

While other ideas for “smart” bike technology have resulted in heads-up displays (HUDs) being placed within the Helmet, Samsung is looking to put it on the bike. Using a small projector that displays a minimal view of what’s needed, the display is projected onto a small sheet of plastic at the front of the bike. The end result is a screen that can tell you the time, give you the next step in your directions or even alert you who’s phoning and texting you so you can pull over and take the message. With an app and wifi system used to communicate between your phone and the bike, it follows a setup that’s available in most GPS systems and even some cars directly.

Do you ride a bike? Would you use this and if so would you be willing to buy certain screens or are helmets betters places to these kinds of displays? Personally, if a phone pops up in front of my face every time someone called me, I might get distracted and freak out a little, so anything you can opt in to looking at seems like a good idea to me.

ASUS Travelair N Wireless 1TB Hard Disk Review

Introduction


When it comes to storage you can either go the ordinary and boring route, or you can opt for something that breaks with the norm with more features than you would expect. I’m taking a closer look at ASUS’ Travelair N today which is a portable USB 3.0 hard disk drive that also works wirelessly with a built-in access point, comes with an SD card reader built-in, and has One-Touch NFC capabilities on top of the 1TB storage capacity.

The ASUS Travelair N ‏(WHD-A2) is a 1TB portable USB 3.0 hard disk drive at heart and that in itself isn’t without. You can easily carry 500 movies, thousands of photos, songs, and files with you where ever you go. An ordinary portable drive has some limitations on the road, mainly the connection interface. What if you would like to access the drive from your mobile phone or tablet? What if you are far from a power outlet? Well, that is no problem with the Travelair N that comes with built-in wireless network capabilities and a battery.

Using the 2.4GHz band, the Travelair N can connect to pretty much any wireless devices available. It is compatible with IEEE 802.11b, g, and n-style connections which cover the entire spectrum of the wireless band. The antennas are internal, so you don’t need to worry about connecting them or breaking them off either. The Travelair N uses enterprise-level WPA2 wireless security to connect with your smart phone or tablet, ensuring all of your content is kept private and secure.

Not only does it come with built-in wireless capabilities, the drive also features a built-in 3300 mAh battery that is rated for up to 8-hours usage. This should be plenty of time until you’re near a charging ability again.

And no, ASUS didn’t stop here and added more features to this drive. The Travelair N supports NFC technology for instant one-touch connection to supported devices without any configuration needs. Simply touch your NFC-supported smart phone or tablet to the drive and you can browse your media library and files straight away.

The final feature of the drive itself is the built-in SD card slot that lets you back up your data from memory cards with simple steps. This is the perfect solution to empty the memory cards onto a larger storage medium and keep shooting those photos while you got the opportunity.

ASUS created the AiDrive companion app which is available on almost any platform: iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire, or Android devices. The app features an intuitive user interface to let you quickly and easily view and share your photos, videos, and files.

The Travelair N can connect with up to five devices simultaneously when transferring files and up to three devices when streaming movies in HD quality. This allows you to easily share a single drive between multiple systems, devices, and people.

A portable drive needs to have a better resistance to environmental hazards and the Travelair N features an IP43-rated water-resistant design. This should guarantee a protection from accidental splashes and spills onto the drive.

With all the talk about USB 3.0 for PC connections and wireless for mobile devices, we shouldn’t forget that we also can connect a drive like this to all our other smart devices with USB or wireless capabilities, may they be gaming consoles, smart TVs, or something else.

Feature Highlights

  • One-Touch NFC for easy connection
  • Integrated SD Card reader expands storage capacity
  • Connect up to five devices simultaneously
  • Splash-proof design with IP43 water resistance
  • Intuitive, easy-to-use companion app

Package and Accessories

ASUS packed the Travelair N in a horizontal shaped box which is unlike most that come more square. That’s very fitting for a drive like this that is anything but ordinary. The front will let you know what you purchase in a simplistic design including features and capacity.

On the rear of the box, you find a lot more details to the different functions such as environmental protection, wifi, and NFC.

Inside the box was a USB 3.0 cable, a warranty card and safety notice as well as the quick start guide. Normally there would also be an AD/DC power adapter for charging purposes, but that was missing in my review sample.

Hum On! App Turns Your Humming Into Music

People love to hum, whether it’s along to music or just a tune you’ve got stuck in your head, it is an easy way to express yourself even if you have no musical talent or skill. Now, Samsung’s C-Lab have developed a way for you to both hum and make music with Hum On! a new app that records your vocal noises and attempts to turn them into music.

Using the app is simple, just hit a record button and hum away. When you are done, the app will convert your vocalization into musical notation and let you play it back like a MIDI file. If you aren’t happy with the result, the app will let you adjust the notes after the recording and even change the genre of the song played back with choices such as “rock”, “orchestra” and “R&B”.

The app works by analysing the pitch and duration of the user’s voice and employs machine learning techniques to calculate suitable accompaniments for the vocal sounds using methods likened to a musician applying melody and chords.

“For hundreds of years, music has only been created by a select few, but that will no longer be the case,” said David Choi, Creative Leader of the project. “With Hum On!, we aim to provide a platform where anyone can turn their inspiration into great music.”

Currently the Hum On! app is in a very early beta phase, with the version of the app being on show at SXSW being very basic, lacking even some of the features that are becoming commonplace in modern apps such as the ability to easily share data with other apps and devices. It is unclear if and when Hum On! will be available to the public, but it should be an entertaining addition to many smartphones.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wj1r9YJ6INA

Samsung and Philips Declare 3D TV Dead

Even when 3D first launched, its hold on consumers was tenuous. After all these years of struggling to put out 3D TVs and content haven’t really taken hold in most homes. A little over six years since 3D TV and content went mainstream, Samsung and Philips have given up. Both companies have dropped their focus on 3D and for 2016, will not be releasing any new 3D capable TV sets.

For Samsung, the choice was plain as “limited consumer demand for 3D, and the small amount of content being produced in this format” meant there was little point to dumping money on development. Philips went as far as to say that 3D is dead since there is no 3D content and no one really wants 3D. LG and Sony have both reduced the number of 3D capable units in their lineups and only Panasonic has any real 3D TV presence to speak of.

Personally, I see little need for 3D content other than for a few niche segments. Until passive 3D takes off and becomes relatively cheap, it’s hard to see 3D’s fortunes turning around. This is even more true for the PC space as the focus shifts to VR and its various forms like augmented VR. Unlike my thoughts when 3D first appeared, I expect VR to be much more successful despite it’s higher entry cost as it actually adds more value. It will be interesting to see if 3D will continue to limp along or will something change its fortunes in the near future.

Fingerprint Scanners from Samsung and Huawei Fooled by Inkjet Printer

While adding fingerprint scanners to mobile phones seems to be a great new way to allow devices to be better secured without requiring the user to remember a lengthy password, it has been found that such scanners can easily be fooled. Apple’s Touch ID was broken by play-doh last month, now it is Samsung and Huawei’s turn in the spotlight, with the sensors on Galaxy S6 and a Huawei Honor 7 being cheated by researchers from Michigan State University.

The tools required to get into these devices was nothing more than a basic inkjet printer loaded with special ink and paper by Kai Cao and Anil Jain from the Michigan State University department of computer science and engineering. The researchers took scans of the fingerprints required to unlock the devices and printed them in 2D using the special conductive ink and paper that is designed for printing electronic circuit boards and other systems that carry an electric charge.

This wasn’t just a one-time trick either, with the researchers able to replicate the technique multiple times for different sets of fingerprints, with the whole process taking very little time using common equipment. This is one-step better than most other methods of bypassing fingerprint scanners, which typically require an imprint of the fingerprint in 3D, often requiring specialist techniques or actions by the ‘victims’ beyond a simple scan.

The number of smartphones this may affect is currently unknown, with the scanner used in the Galaxy S6 and Honor 7 being common across a number of devices including a number of Nexus phones and the LG G5. The attack does not pose a strong risk to most users, however, as it is unlikely that many attackers will be able to acquire a set of fingerprints at a high enough resolution to use, but for those in possession of prints, such as law enforcement agencies, this could be an easy way to break into the devices of criminals that are secured by fingerprint scanners.

 

Apple Looking at OLED Screens For 2017

Every year we are bombarded with new phones, featuring upgraded parts or new features, they come and go as quickly as the seasons. For several years, Apple has been releasing their iPhones, a series of phones that have received just a bad reputation for being just that, a series of phones that seem very similar to the last. That could change in 2017 with Apple looking at OLED screens for their next generation of iPhones.

Apple is known for their high-end machines, offering quality at a price. Many say the same about their iPhones, with quality coming at a price some consider too high to pay. With a faster processor and 3D touch technology, many were convinced that the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus were a symbol of Apple’s “repeating” business model, with little changing from phone to phone.

Switching from LCD to OLED would be a big step for Apple. OLED offer thinner, lighter and more flexible screens, which when combined with their high energy efficiency would mean that Apple’s screens would feel better, combined with their more vivid colours would present a whole new generation of viewing for the iPhone.

While the rumours that Apple could introduce OLED screens in 2017, many are sceptical about this time line and think that you may have to wait till 2019 before you see an iPhone with an OLED screen. With companies like Samsung already using OLED technology, waiting several years before introducing it to your iPhone may do nothing more than hinder already dwindling iPhone sales.

Samsung Start Shipping 15.36TB SSD Drives

Samsung is one of the key companies when it comes to providing memory to everything from your phone to your PC. With their latest revelation being the creation of a 256GB flash memory chip, it was only a matter of time before they made the news again. Today they’ve done just that by releasing to the public the 15.36TB SSD.

Stored within a 2.5-inch enclosure, the latest evolution of the SSD means all that more trouble for traditional hard drives which have slowly been losing out to the SSD’s, winning only on cost per GB (something that solid state technology has been catching up on quickly).

While it would be amazing to plug this drive into your computer or laptop, it may be a while before your everyday device can deal with this drive as it requires a 12Gbps SAS interface, with sequential read and write speeds going up to 1,200 MBps.

While it is currently being released with memory choices going from 960GB to the 15.36TB version, a 480GB version is expected to be released later in the year for those needing a little less storage.

Do you use an SSD? What would you store on an SSD of this size? With no price detailed yet, what do you expect this monster will set you back?

Image courtesy of Gordan Mah Ung.

Samsung Win Latest Round in Patent War With Apple

Samsung and Apple have been embroiled in a costly patent war for the past few years, with the root cause being the supposed infringement of a number of Apple’s patents by the Korean electronics firm. It has already been two years since a San Jose federal judge ordered that Apple be paid the sum of $119.6 million over three supposed infringements, a decision which Samsung chose to appeal. Yesterday a US appeals court overturned this ruling, claiming that the technology created by Apple that was at the centre of the lawsuit was so obvious that Samsung could not be punished for incorporating it into its own devices. A second win came in the form of the court also choosing to uphold a $158,000 ruling against the Cupertino tech giant for infringing one of Samsung’s patents relating to camera features.

One of the patent claims overturned in yesterday’s ruling includes Apple’s patent for the “slide to unlock” feature used on it’s iPhone. It was noted that while the technology could be considered integral to the iPhone’s success, it was not great enough to overcome Samsung’s defense that the information regarding it was readily available to the rest of the industry. The court stated that “A reasonable jury could therefore not find a nexus between the patented feature and the commercial success of the iPhone.” The new hearing also covered the patent regarding “software to detect ‘structures’, such as a phone number, in text and to turn those structures into links,” for which Apple had previously been awarded $98.7 million for the infringement of. It was ruled that the features were not similar enough to infringe the patent as “Apple failed to prove… that the accused Samsung products use an ‘analyzer server’ as we previously construed that term.”

This is the first big win for Samsung since the bloody patent war with Apple began, but, after numerous campaigns against Samsung over these patents, it is unlikely that it will end here. Samsung was forced to pay Apple $548 million in December last year and if anything, that recent victory will only continue to add fuel to this battle.

Samsung Unveils First 256GB Flash Storage Chip

Samsung has announced that it has begun producing the world’s first 256GB Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 2.0 chip, for use in next-generation, high-end mobile devices. The new UFS chip’s performance speeds exceed those of a typical SATA solid state drive (SSD).

“By providing high-density UFS memory that is nearly twice as fast as a SATA SSD for PCs, we will contribute to a paradigm shift within the mobile data storage market,” Joo Sun Choi, Executive Vice President of Memory Sales and Marketing for Samsung Electronics, said in a press release. “We are determined to push the competitive edge in premium storage line-ups – OEM NVMe SSDs, external SSDs, and UFS – by moving aggressively to enhance performance and capacity in all three markets.”

The 256GB UFS memory module boasts 45,000 (read) and 40,000 (write) input/output operations per second (IOPS), which is more than twice as fast as the previous generation of UFS chips, which operate at 19,000 (read) and 14,000 (write) IOPS.

“Using Samsung’s advanced memory technology, the new UFS memory chips are extremely compact, even smaller than an external micro SD card, giving greater flexibility to smartphone designers,” the press release reads.

Samsung hopes the new UFS chips will help support watching 1080p and 4K video on mobile devices, so presumably the memory is set to be a feature of future Samsung Galaxy tablets, and maybe even the Samsung Galaxy Note 6.

Samsung Printer Orders Itself More Ink When It Starts To Run Low

Amazon is a company known for being at the forefront of technology. With everything from their online streaming service to their hopes for drone deliveries. One of Amazon’s key selling points is their “Prime” service, offering you access to their online video collection and free one-day delivery. One of the lesser known features is the ability to re-order something when you get low, something that can now be built into technology.

Amazon announced its “dash” feature some time ago now, with the press of a button re-ordering your much needed supplies. Covering everything from your washing up and laundry supplies to your office needs, it would now seem that Samsung has caught on and built the function into some of their new printers.

While most printers monitoring ink levels, Samsung’s latest will go that step further and re-order more ink when you start to run low. With the orders at which you re-order cartridges adjustable it won’t be a case of one size fits all, even for your printing habits with hand ins and report deadlines destroying the ink that you thought you had in the printer.

With more and more devices offering the “dash” feature, all you have to remember is to pay and put the replacement where it’s needed. The service means that users don’t have to remember to re-order items, with everything from shaving foam and kitchen roll to Gatorade and nappies being supplied at the press of a button and soon, just by you finishing that last pack you had put away in the cupboard.

Samsung 750 EVO SATA SSD Goes Global

After introducing their latest SSD two months ago in China and Japan, Samsung is bringing their latest drive to the rest of the world. Based off of the long-standing TLC tradition at Samsung, the 750 EVO uses the latest planar 16nm TLC NAND to bring a more budget solution to the masses. Coming in the more budget oriented 120 and 250GB capacities, the latest drive will hit lower price points than it’s faster 850 EVO cousin. While the industry is starting to transition to 3D or V-NAND.

While the industry is starting to transition to 3D or V-NAND, planar NAND is still very much relevant and Samsung’s 16nm process is their latest. As the 850 and 850 EVO demonstrated, V-NAND carries a strong speed benefit over planar NAND, leading to better performance. Plain old TLC drives like the 840 tended to be slower than their MLC counterparts. Despite this, the use of the familiar SLC cache allows the 750 EVO manages to mask most of the performance differences compared to V-NAND, allowing it to match the 850 EVO in short, bursty workloads.

Still, a heavier workload would likely overwhelm the SLC cache and cause performance to drop to TLC levels. Other noteworthy specifications include the dual core MGX controller, 256MB of DDR3 cache and improved LDPC ECC and 256Gbit dies. Overall, by releasing a 16nm planar NAND based SSD will help Samsung develop and prepare for the day when 3D-NAND scales down to 16nm or even lower. Hopefully, the 750 EVO won’t inherit the read speed issue faced by the 840 EVO and the still unfixed 840.

Samsung Galaxy Note 6 Rumored to Have 6GB of RAM

Modern mobile phones usually sport a very impressive specification and the technology continues to progress at a rapid pace. It’s common for relatively affordable models to have 2-3GB RAM, and an octa-core CPU. For example, the Hauwei Honor 7 is frequently discounted to £209.99 and utilizes a Hisilicon Kirin 935 processor with a quad-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A53 & quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 configuration. This exemplifies how capable modern smartphones are even if you’re on a very limited budget. Arguably, this means there really isn’t a need to spend a fortune unless you enjoy using a top-of-the-range model.

The Samsung Galaxy Note popularized “phablet” devices and there’s been a growing trend to gradually increase the screen size on various handsets. So far, Samsung has experimented with screen sizes ranging from 5.7 to 6 inches to gauge the market reaction. The Galaxy Note has traditionally featured a 5.7-inch display and some users feel this is far too cumbersome for daily use. However, according to a rumour posted on a Chinese blog, the screen size could be increased to 5.8-inches.

Not only that, the source suggests Samsung will use a Quad-HD Super AMOLED display, and include a 12-megapixel camera. Oddly enough, the camera utilizes something entitled, “Super OIS” but we’re not entirely certain what this means. Perhaps, it’s a special software suite to help with image stabilization. The handset is also rumoured to come in two models; one with 64GB of storage while the higher end unit incorporates 128GB. On another note, the blog predicts Samsung will opt for 6GB of RAM in their latest Note device. This is an unbelievable amount of memory, and I’m not sure why anyone would need that much on an Android phone. Obviously, you can never have too much RAM, but I don’t really see a purpose for it. Furthermore, this will impact on cost.

Flash Memory Density Surpasses Traditional Hard Drives

SSDs are most definitely on the rise, being the go-to source of faster boots and the best loading experience for software and games. Traditional disk-based hard drives have always continued to rule the domain of mass storage, having advantages over SSDs in both areal density and price per Gigabyte. One of these advantages is about to become history now, with Micron revealing at the 2016 IEEE International Solid State Circuits Conference that its NAND flash storage had areal density beyond that of hard disk drives.

Micron is far from the only company aiming to improve the performance and density of flash storage. SSD market leader Samsung revealed in 2015 that their flash storage offerings had as much as 1.19Tbits per square inch (Tbpsi), predicting that by 2016, this could reach as much as 1.69Tbsi. Micron’s revelation of their 3D NAND technology had smashed the aims of Samsung, having reportedly demonstrated density as high as 2.77Tbpsi in their laboratory tests. This puts the 3D NAND head-and-shoulders above the densest HDDs around, which only offer around 1.3Tbsi, with many consumer drives offering as little as 850Gbsi despite using techniques like shingled magnetic recording to increase density.

Of course, many of the super-high density flash devices shown at ISSCC are definitely laboratory pieces and not consumer devices, SSDs that are on the market are definitely not far behind. Samsung announced last year that they had plans to release a 16TB SSD and Fixstars already offer a 13TB SSD costing a whopping $13,000. And while price per GB, HDDs still hold an advantage, the tables could be turned as soon as 2017, with the tumbling price of SDDs vastly outstripping the relatively stable price of hard drives.

What this all means is that the future could be bleak for the hard drive. With its main advantages of density and price set to vanish in the next few years, it is likely that we will see more and more SSDs appearing in both desktops and laptops. I for one look forward to the mass adoption of flash memory technology over the traditional hard drive as I doubt many will miss the times waiting for their hard drive to spin up or the painful sounds of their parts failing.

Image credit to Micron

Samsung Galaxy S7 Battery Could Last Two Days on a Single Charge

Since the introduction of Apple’s first generation iPhone, mobile handsets have become more than a basic communication tool and many users rely on a huge selection of applications. While this provides incredible functionality on-the-move, the use of WiFi, mobile data and multiple applications at once puts a huge strain on battery life. Usually, it’s quite common for mobile devices to require daily charging especially if you’re a heavy user. This really is a major flaw of modern handsets, and reduces the convenience factor of having a music player, camera, and mini-PC in one portable device. Furthermore, there’s been a recent trend to prevent users to replacing the internal battery. This really does have a significant impact because over time the battery’s charging capacity decreases, and owning two batteries can help in an emergency.

According to Tweaktown, this could be an outdated concept on higher-end phones in the near future. A Russian blogger, Elder Murtazin claims he’s been using the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S7 and the battery reportedly lasted 17 hours on a single charge. Not only that, this was achieved with the screen brightness at 100% while playing video content. Murtazin also tested the handset with 75% brightness with LTE enabled and this resulted in a charge of over two days! These numbers are extremely impressive but it’s important to adopt a cautious approach. The source might be genuine, but it’s only from one user, meaning there’s no substantial evidence at this time. However, battery technology is destined to improve and a more power-efficient manufacturing process on the CPU should help matters.

Hopefully, modern handsets will be able to provide superb functionality without impacting on essential longevity. Manufacturers need to move away from the absurd notion of soldering the battery onto the PCB and giving consumers the option to make their purchase last longer.

Image courtesy of PCAdvisor

Samsung to Open VR Film Studio

 

Samsung has revealed that it is opening its own virtual reality movie studio in New York. The company made the announcement at the Sundance Film Festival last week. The news follows the recent unveiling of the new Samsung Gear VR headset, which we got a glimpse at during CES 2016 in Las Vegas earlier this month.

Samsung Studio is a collaboration with the Sundance Institute, founded by actor Robert Redford to support independent filmmakers, and will open at Samsung’s existing New York office. Neither has revealed the specifics of the VR content it plans to produce, but the partnership did yield a VR comedy short, called Interrogation, made by the team from Funny or Die.

“One of the biggest trends and themes for 2016 is virtual reality. At Samsung, we are making VR more accessible by partnering with the best in the industry to deliver a growing library of engaging, rich content for our Gear VR which is all made possible by our latest Galaxy devices,” Marc Mathieu, chief marketing officer at Samsung Electronics America, said. “We are excited to engage with the creative community at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival to collaborate and amplify viewpoints, content and new technological advancements as we continue to cultivate development in the VR community.”

Samsung Ramps Up 14nm LPP Production

With their 14nm LPE (Low Power Early) process behind them, Samsung has moved on and started mass production for their new 14nm LPP (Low Power Performance) process. This is very important for the PC market as AMD is slated to use the 14nm LPP process from Samsung/GlobalFoundries for their upcoming Zen CPUs and Polaris GPUs. A ramp up now means that any major issues with 14nm LPP have been fixed and chips can start being produced.

Unlike the earlier LPE process, LPP is meant for higher power parts that clock faster, perfect for use with CPUs and GPUs. While AMD has not confirmed if they will be using Samsung or GlobalFoundries, this time around, the tight partnership between the two fabs means that a successful ramp for one is a success for the other partner. So even if Samsung is focused on producing their own mobile chips, GlobalFoundries is probably ready for Zen and Polaris.

Once Zen and Polaris production starts up, it will take around six to eight months for products to become available to us. This fits right into the timeline for when Zen and Polaris will launch in 2H 2016. Keep in mind that since Polaris will also use TSMC’s 16nm process, Polaris could arrive before Zen. With 14nm LPP on-track and Polaris and Zen taped out, it is only a matter of time before we see AMD launch their new lineup.

Samsung kicks off HBM2 Mass Production

With both AMD’s Polaris and Nvidia’s Pascal both launching in 2016, the GPU market is very lively this year. Both competing platforms are also set to use HBM2 which JEDEC finally released the final standard for. Within days of JEDEC’s release, Samsung has just started mass production of their HBM2 memory chips.

Starting off with 4GB, Samsung’s HBM2 uses their advanced 20nm process. Each HBM2 package stacks four 8Gb core dies on top of a buffer die at the bottom. Each of these packages will offer 256 GB/s of bandwidth, quadruple that of HBM1. For a more dramatic comparison, each 4Gb GDDR5 die only offers 1/7 the memory bandwidth and 1/2 the energy efficiency. HBM2 also has 5000 TSV (Through Silicon Via), 36x more than what GDDR5 has.

Just like HBM1 did for AMD’s Fury lineup, Samsung is expecting HBM2 to bring 95% space savings compared to GDDR5. In addition to regular HBM2, Samsung is also planning HBM2 with ECC, likely for GPGPU and enterprise work. This means not only will consumer GPUs get numerous benefits, but GPUs found in supercomputers and data centers will soon have HBM2 as well, where it is arguably more useful. Samsung is expecting to continue to ramp up production as demand increases over the year.

We Checkout the Samsung Booth @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Samsung are one of the biggest tech companies in the world and after a quick walk around their colossal booth at CES 2016, it’s easy to see why.

First up, these stylish Samsung Level U headphones with their hybrid neckband mounting.

As well as a wide range of other headphones, we tested a few out and even in the noisy show floor, they sounded pretty fantastic.

The Gear S2 shown off in all its glory, with a huge range of custom straps, UI’s and more being shown off to demonstrate the watches versatility.

The popular Galaxy Gear was only on show in a few different configurations.

Gear VR, a more budget friendly virtual reality experience which works with the latest Samsung smartphones was also demonstrated. The tech is really cool, although given that it’s powered by Oculus tech, it was bound to be. Personally, I still don’t think it has what it takes to compete with the full fat Oculus or rival offerings such as Vive.

Some fantastic new Notebooks, super light, premium build quality and powerful processors. Nothing really new, just the usually hardware upgrades and price changes.

One of the real stars of the show were the world’s slimmest TV and quantum dot displays. There’s no real way to explain the picture quality, it’s certainly bigger, better and sharper than ever before, but this is crazy money territory and will be for a couple of years yet. Either way, it’s nice to see there’s still advancements being made beyond the current resolution boost.

Of course, if money was no object, you could invest in this monstrosity, just the thing you need for gaming in the living room, right?

FitBit Has A Surprising And High Profile New Fan

FItBit’s range of smart fitness products has catapulted the company onto bigger and better avenues over the last year or so, the new breed of small, light yet powerful wearable pieces of tech has captured the imagination. It now looks as if the company has another fan that is rather more powerful than your average consumer.

That consumer in question is 44th US president and a fan of tech Mr Barrack Obama who was seen sporting what looks to be a FitBit Surge while being interviewed by comic legend Jerry Seinfeld. Below is a snap that was taken of Mr Obama wearing the device, it seems the president has been looking forward to test driving the watch since last year. There has also been a humorous take concerning Mr Obama’s preference for FitBit considering both Apple and Samsung smart watches have a recording function built-in which might be slightly dodgy for the president.

According to research that was conducted by IDC, FitBit is the world’s highest selling wearable device and leads Apple. It conveys the paradox that many government officials find themselves in, on one hand they attempt to clamp down and pursue tech companies over surveillance and various laws, yet they also use the gadgets that have been created by that industry.

Image courtesy of kaiserkiwi

Judge Rules NVIDIA Violated Three Samsung Patents – Sales Ban Threatened

NVIDIA must be regretting filing the lawsuit accusing of Samsung of building GPUs without permission – surreptitiously claiming that NVIDIA invented the GPU – that it subsequently lost back in October. Samsung filed a countersuit against NVIDIA, alleging that the latter was infringing on a number of its patents. Judge David Shaw of the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has now ruled that NVIDIA is indeed in violation of three of Samsung’s patents.

While the decision is not yet final, the judge considers NVIDIA to be in violation of Samsung’s US6147385US6173349, and US7804734 patents, for an SRAM module, a shared strobe buffer, and data strobe buffer, respectively.

Samsung argued during the case that its patents allowed chip manufacturers to put “what used to fill an entire circuit board with dozens of discrete components all onto a single chip the size of your thumbnail.”

If the ruling enforced, it could result in a sales ban of any infringing  NVIDIA chip. However, patent US6173349 expires during 2016, so any ban against technology that violates that patent would only be in effect for a matter of months.

Following the decision, NVIDIA’s stock dropped by 27 cents to $32.66 during after-hours trading.

“We are disappointed,” said  NVIDIA spokesperson Hector Marinez, in a statement to Bloomberg. “We look forward to seeking review by the full ITC which will decide this case several months from now.”

Samsung has yet to comment on the matter.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

Samsung Might Settle with Apple by Paying $548 Million

Samsung and Apple have been locked in a costly conflict for about five years now, and even though no side showed signs of throwing in the towel, it seems that Samsung is now actually ready to settle things once and for all by paying Apple a relatively large sum of money. We’re talking about no less than $538 million, and while this number might seem quite high, it only represents about half of what the court asked it to pay in the first place. It’s not exactly clear who’s in the wrong as far as the lawsuit itself is concerned, though.

On the one hand, Apple has accused Samsung of infringing pinch-to-zoom, but the US Patent Office has classified this particular technology as non-patentable in 2013. Moreover, Apple’s D’677 design patent for edge-to-edge glass screen has also been invalidated by the USPTO. Apple has submitted many more IPs to the court when it originally filed the lawsuit. As for the settlement, Samsung is reserving the rights to obtain reimbursement in the event that “the partial judgment is reversed, modified, vacated or set aside on appeal or otherwise.” Apple is officially rejecting these reimbursement rights, which means that the story might be far from over.