Collaborating Authors


Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 promises 85% more PC performance


On Wednesday, Qualcomm launched the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 processor platform for PCs, claiming that the chip will offer up to 85 percent more performance than the prior generation. That's good, given that the pandemic severely undercut the value proposition of Snapdragon-powered PCs--long battery life and always-on mobile connectivity--as office work life moved to the home office desk and couch. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 arrived this past spring at about the performance of the original Microsoft Surface Laptop, though with substantially higher graphics chops. Qualcomm's aggressive performance predictions about the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 are based on its new process shrink--from 7nm in the Gen 2 to a new, aggressive 5nm node in Gen 3. In all, Qualcomm believes that the chip will offer 85 percent more CPU performance than the prior generation, and 60 percent additional GPU performance. "We focused on really driving these features and capabilities in the mainstream PC segment," said Miguel Nunes, vice president of product management for Qualcomm, in a briefing with reporters.

Robot Artist Freed By Egyptian Customs After Spy Detention


A British-built robot that uses artificial intelligence and a mechanical arm to create art has been released by customs officials in Egypt ahead of an exhibition this week. Ai-Da, named after the mathematician Ada Lovelace, was seized by officials earlier this month over concerns "her" machinery could contain espionage tools. The device was held for 10 days as the British embassy worked with Cairo on the matter. "The Embassy is glad to see that Ai-Da the artist robot has now been cleared through customs," the UK's embassy in Cairo said in a statement. "Customs clearance procedures can be lengthy, and are required before importation of any artworks or IT equipment."

Egypt detains artist robot Ai-Da before historic pyramid show


She has been described as "a vision of the future" who is every bit as good as other abstract artists today, but Ai-Da – the world's first ultra-realistic robot artist – hit a temporary snag before her latest exhibition when Egyptian security forces detained her at customs. Ai-Da is due to open and present her work at the Great Pyramid of Giza on Thursday, the first time contemporary art has been allowed next to the pyramid in thousands of years. But because of "security issues" that may include concerns that she is part of a wider espionage plot, both Ai-Da and her sculpture were held in Egyptian customs for 10 days before being released on Wednesday, sparking a diplomatic fracas. "The British ambassador has been working through the night to get Ai-Da released, but we're right up to the wire now," said Aidan Meller, the human force behind Ai-Da, shortly before her release. According to Meller, border guards detained Ai-Da at first because she had a modem, and then because she had cameras in her eyes (which she uses to draw and paint).

Egyptian authorities 'detain' robotic artist for 10 days over espionage fears


The robotic artist known as Ai-Da was scheduled to display her artwork alongside the great pyramids of Egypt on Thursday, though the show was nearly called off after both the robot and her human sculptor, Aidan Meller, were detained by Egyptian authorities for a week and a half until they could confirm that the artist was actually a spy. The incident began when border guards objected over Ai-da's camera eyes, which it uses in its creative process, and its on-board modem. "I can ditch the modems, but I can't really gouge her eyes out," Meller told The Guardian. The robot artist, which was built in 2019, typically travels via specialized cargo case and was held at the border until clearing customs on Wednesday evening, hours before the exhibit was scheduled to begin. "The British ambassador has been working through the night to get Ai-Da released, but we're right up to the wire now," Meller said, just before Ai-Da was sprung from robo-jail.

Global silicon chip shortage hits supply of phones, TVs, cars and Australia's NBN

The Guardian

A global shortage of one crucial piece of technology is causing delays in everything from cars and televisions to video game consoles and Australia's National Broadband Network rollout. A temporary shutdown in the production of silicon computer chips at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as severe storms in Texas causing more recent delays, has caused worldwide chip shortages, with a knock-on effect for the production of phones, laptops and even automobiles. Samsung, which is the largest manufacturer of computer chips in the world, as well as one of the biggest users, has said the chip shortage comes amid rising demand for consumer electronics during the pandemic. "There's a serious imbalance in supply and demand of chips in the IT sector globally," the company's co-chief executive, Koh Dong-jin, said. Samsung has indicated it could delay the release of the next Galaxy Note smartphone until 2022 as a result of the shortage.

How AI could unlock super-fast broadband speeds


Artificial intelligence (AI) was centre stage at the World Economic Forum in China. At least 20 of the 56 companies selected for the organisation's Technology Pioneers programme are using AI in some way with applications ranging from autonomous vehicles to advertising technology. A branch of AI, machine learning, is dedicated to the ability of a machine to learn something without having to be programmed for that specific thing. It enables computers to improve their performance automatically over time by being fed data and information in the form of observations and real-world interactions – like a toddler learning about the world around them. Answering whether the animal in a photo is a cat or a dog, spotting obstacles in front of a self-driving car, spam mail detection, and speech recognition of a YouTube video to generate captions are just a few examples out of a plethora of predictive machine learning models.

Qualcomm's latest chip will give midrange phones a gaming boost


Flagship features continue to trickle down from $1,000 phones to their more-affordable brothers, and the same is happening with the chips that power them. Qualcomm unveiled new midrange mobile CPUs today that offer advanced features typically reserved for high-end phones, like AI processing and gaming enhancements. The Snapdragon 730, 730G and 665 are supposed to show up in (presumably cheaper-than-flagship) devices in mid-2019, meaning we may have a slate of budget-friendly handsets to look out for. For the first time, Qualcomm is launching a gaming-specific version of a chipset alongside the regular one. The Snapdragon 730G (G stands for Gaming, get it?)

Don't buy a phone just for 5G


It's possible to be excited by the potential of 5G and yet not thrilled about having to buy a new device to use it. You wouldn't believe that from Samsung's press event last night, which boasted about how great 5G, and its new 5G handset, will make our lives. To take advantage of the speed and extra capacity 5G offers, Samsung hopes that we'll all buy the new Galaxy S10 5G. The phone is a larger S10, with a bigger screen, longer-lasting battery and, crucially, a 5G modem. But there are two issues with this, one of which is the sheer lack of 5G infrastructure currently operational.

Intel and Ericsson develop 5G platform


Intel and Ericsson have partnered to develop a software and hardware management platform for 5G, network function virtualisation (NFV), and distributed cloud. The two companies will combine Ericsson's software-defined infrastructure (SDI) management software and Intel's Rack Scale Design for the multi-year project. "Our infrastructure manageability collaboration with Ericsson will help communications service providers remove deployment barriers, reduce costs, and deliver new 5G and edge services with cloudlike speed on a flexible, programmable and intelligent network," Intel Network Platform Group SVP Sandra Rivera said. It will help carriers deploy open cloud and NFV infrastructure, Ericsson head of Cloud and NFV Business Area Digital Services Lars Mårtensson added, with the product to be demonstrated at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 in Barcelona later this month. In September, Intel had said its technology would be used by Ericsson as well as Nokia in the first series of 5G deployments globally.

Gigabyte's Aero 15 for 2019 uses Microsoft AI to optimize performance


During a CES 2019 press conference, Gigabyte pulled the curtain back on a brand-new Aero 15 with Nvidia's RTX graphics and a complete suite of Intel components inside. The laptop is identical to the previous model in terms of chassis design. Instead, Gigabyte is focused on not only updating the hardware inside the laptop but ensuring as much of it is Intel-made as possible – from the processor to the SSD and the modem. There's a reason for this: Gigabyte has partnered with Intel and Microsoft to bring cloud-based, artificial intelligence-driven (AI) hardware optimization to the Aero 15. This is how it works: upon setup, a user can opt-in to share processor, graphics, fan, keyboard and audio usage data with Microsoft's Azure AI cloud service.