Thursday, March 29, 2012

Seagate launches GoFlex Satellite mobile wireless storage device

Seagate Technology has recently introduced the GoFlex Satellite mobile wireless storage device. The GoFlex Satellite has a storage capacity of 500GB.

The device allows you to carry around your media library and wirelessly stream to an iPad, Android tablet or smartphone. Users can also stream media to three Wi-Fi enabled devices simultaneously. Besides, you can automatically sync media and documents from your PC or Mac.The GoFlex Satellite allows users to carry their media library while on-the-go and wirelessly stream movies, photos, music and documents to an iPad, Android tablet or smartphone. The GoFlex Satellite device also includes a fast USB 3.0/USB 2.0 connect ion and downloadable Media Sync software to easily transfer media and documents from a PC or Mac.

If you love watching movies, the GoFlex Satellite device can store over 300 HD movies! That means: no more worry about running out of space on your tablet or smartphone.

The GoFlex Media app is built for the GoFlex Satellite device allowing users to sort through the media library by Videos, Photos, or Music, keyword search, and folder and thumbnail views. The app allows users to download movies and other media from the GoFlex Satellite device, so they can enjoy the content later, when not connected or extend the battery life of their mobile device and GoFlex Satellite.

The device's small form factor 120mmx90mmx22mm makes it compact and really portable. It supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n as well as WPA security. It comes along with USB 3.0 USM adapter with detachable USB 3.0 cable, a compact wall adapter with retractable pins and a compact car charger. I found the battery as the only negative quality, as it allows only five hours of continuous streaming for one single user. This can definitely be improved.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cadence releases latest Encounter RTL-to-GDSII flow

Cadence Design Systems recently introduced the latest release of Cadence Encounter RTL-to-GDSII flow for high-performance and giga-scale designs, including those at the latest technology node, 20 nanometers.

Rahul Deokar, product management director, said: “We are addressing designer challenges in – high performance design, giga-scale design and advanced node design. The first challenge is the PPA – power performance and area. Next challenge is to handle giga-scale designs with efficient turnaround time. The third key challenge is fast time-to-market on advanced 28nm/20nm design.”

With this latest release, Cadence provides the industry’s best PPA. Second, it is providing 1 billion gates on designer desktops. Third, it provides the fastest path to 20nm digital design. In the new announcement, there are three new technologies – GigaOpt + CCOpt, GigaFlex, and 20nm double patterning.

Cadence has introduced “GigaOpt” - a common optimization engine that unifies physical synthesis and optimization. GigaOpt provides designers globally optimal results across the front-end and back-end of the design flow. And that results in the benefit of the industry’s best PPA for high-performance design. GigaOpt has been designed from scratch to be multi-threaded, which makes it ultra fast and ultra scalable.

Another innovation, CCOpt, is the first and only technology in EDA to unify clock tree synthesis and physical optimization. CCOpt is now an integral part of the Encounter flow accelerating design closure with the best PPA. CCOpt facilitates:
* 10 percent improvement in design performance and total power.
* 30 percent reduction in clock power and area.
* 30 percent reduction in IR drop.

The Encounter flow now allows 1 billion gates to be enabled on the designer’s desktops. This is done with the new GigaFlex abstraction technology. It is the first and only technology in EDA that enables flexible, accurate abstraction adaptable to the flow stage. There is 10X capacity and TAT gains on 100 million+ instance designs. GigaFlex abstraction technology allows accurate, early physical modeling, concurrent top-and-block interface optimization, and concurrent hierarchical closure and late-stage ECO.

In 20nm design, geometry features are disappearing due to lithography distortion. Hence, there is a need for double patterning. The new Encounter 20nm flow employs a correct-by-construction approach that spans floorplanning and prototyping, DPT placement, DPT routing, RC extraction, physical/DFM signoff, DRC, DPT, litho, timing and power signoff.

According to Deokar, this approach results in higher die area and ECO efficiency providing the fastest path to design closure. “We are the first and only EDA vendor with an ARM Cortex A15 tapeout at 20nm. ARM, TSMC and Cadence achieved this milestone in tight and early collaboration. We are working with all key partners of the 20nm ecosystem now making sure that the infrastructure is ready for our mutual customers.”

Telecom will be the big driver in the next couple of years. It will push limits on performance, area, power, functionality, etc. Computing, and server (cloud computing) are some other areas where the industry is working on reducing power. And , the new Cadence Encounter RTL-to-GDSII flow is poised to help designers meet these challenges.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Xilinx expands R&D, tech site in Hyderabad

Moshe Gavrielov, president and CEO, Xilinx Inc. was in Hyderabad, India to inaugurate Xilinx India's new, expanded India site at Hi-Tech city.

The new Hyderabad site is a 131,000 square-foot office building -- more than 2X the size of the previous site. It is equipped with engineering labs for end-to-end development and has a larger, energy-efficient data center. It also has facilities for customer and employee events.

This site is Xilinx's largest R&D centre outside of US headquarters. Pivotal to record-fast delivery of 28nm technologies, it has a stellar worldwide technical support team.

Xilinx has been committed to be the first to process nodes. It is pioneering 3-D IC technology and leading edge processing sub-systems. It is also offering programmable analog/mixed signal solutions as well as system to IC tools and IP to enable silicon.

Gavrielov said that Xilinx's business drivers have been the programmable imperative, relentless system integration and an insatiable intelligent bandwidth. The programmable imperative has further accelerated. For example, 28nm = 2X 45nm cost. Insatiable bandwidth has now expanded to Latin America. It is said to be almost 2x the size of the US market. There has been 20 percent growth in mobile subscribers and 318 percent growth in Facebook users.

There has been insatiable bandwidth across India as well, while bandwidth is also said to be growing in Africa. Trends driving insatiable intelligent bandwidth include extreme bandwidth - which has seen 5X growth in five years, smart vision, ubiquitous computing and embedded security.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sachin boldly goes where no man has gone before! Hail, King Sachin!!

When I was giving up playing the game of cricket in 1989, my focus was drawn toward a snap on the cover of Sportsweek (now closed), which had the faces of two newcomers to the Indian cricket team that was chosen to tour Pakistan. One was Salil Ankola and the other - Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar!

Today, in the league match vs. Bangladesh, Sachin Tendulkar reached his 100th international century!! Sachin has boldly gone on to where no man has ever gone before! Hail, King Sachin!! I could not locate the photograph that I spoke about earlier. Here's one from Ben Radford / © AllSport UK Ltd, from ESPNCricinfo.

Sachin Tendulkar, India. Courtesy: ESPNCricinfo.

Wow! What a feat!! Don't think that this stupendous world record of 100 international centuries will ever be broken!!!

The nearest international cricket player to Sachin Tendulkar on the list of players with the most international tons in a career is Ricky Ponting of Australia with 71 hundreds! South African Jacques Kallis, is further down at 59 tons!! Off the other batsmen with over 40 international hundreds in cricket, only two - Sri Lankans Mahela Jayawardene with 45 tons and Kumar Sangakkara with 41 tons, respectively, make the list.

I remember Sachin came close to his maiden test hundred vs. New Zealand at Napier in Feb. 1990, and the excitement surrounding that! I first saw Sachin Tendulkar play for West Zone at a Duleep Trophy game in New Delhi's Ferozshah Kotla ground in the early 1990s. Since then, I too have followed his career very closely. It has been a real pleasure following you all of these years, King Sachin!!

Highlights of Union Budget 2012-13

Here are some of the highlights from the Union Budget 2012, tabled in the Indian Parliament this morning by Pranab Mukherjee, Union Minister of Finance.

* National Manufacturing Policy announced with the objective of raising, within a decade, the share of manufacturing in GDP to 25 percent and creating of 10 crore jobs.
* Proposal to extend the sunset date for setting up power sector undertakings by one year for claiming 100 percent deduction of profits for 10 years.
* Proposal to tax all services except those in the negative list comprising of 17 heads.
* Basic customs duty proposed to be enhanced for certain categories of completely built units of large cars/MUVs/SUVs.
* Excise duty on large cars also proposed to be enhanced.
* Relief proposed to be extended to sectors such as steel, textiles, branded readymade garments, low-cost medical devices, labour-intensive sectors producing items of mass consumption and matches produced by semi-mechanised units.
* Concessions and exemptions proposed for encouraging the consumption of energy-saving devices, plant and equipment needed for solar thermal projects.
* Concession from basic customs duty and special CVD being extended to certain items imported for manufacture for hybrid or electric vehicle and battery packs for such vehicles.
* Exemption limit for the general category of individual taxpayers proposed to be enhanced from Rs. 1,80,000 to Rs. 2,00,000 giving tax relief of Rs. 2,000.
* Full exemption from basic customs duty on LCD and LED TV panels, and parts of memory card for mobile phones.
* Customs duty on warning systems/track upgrade equipment for railways reduced from 10 percent to 7.5 percent.
* Our MSME sector is fertile ground for the production of low-cost medical devices. In order to provide impetus to this sector, I propose to reduce basic customs duty to 2.5 percent with concessional CVD of 6 percent on specified parts, components and raw materials for the manufacture of some disposables and instruments. Full exemption from basic customs duty and CVD is also being extended to specified raw materials for the manufacture of coronary stents and heart valves. These concessions would be subject to actual user condition.
* To promote investment in R&D, it is proposed to extend the weighted deduction of 200 per cent for R&D expenditure in an in-house facility beyond March 31, 2012 for a further period of five years.
* Kisan Credit Card (KCC) is an effective instrument for making agricultural credit available to the farmers. KCC scheme will be modified to make KCC a smart card which could be used at ATMs.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Succeeding with enterprise mobility

It has been proclaimed that today’s connected world demands relationships, not just eyeballs, at the Mobile World Congress 2012. There have been messages such as 'If you pepper consumers with stuff they are not interested in, you will get vigilante consumers who will shut you out'. And, the 'connected consumer value proposition is not being fully developed'.

Also, another report has stated that the average volume of video traffic on the mobile networks has risen by 10 percentage points since this time last year – up to 50 percent. Android devices are said to be generating more advertising transactions and corresponding data volume on mobile networks than the Apple iOS devices.

The oncoming rise in data-hungry devices is set to be the most disruptive force. However, driving revenues will present the biggest challenge. Next, consider this: Compared to smartphones, tablets seem to generate much more traffic – this is also set to increase as tablets evolve, more applications become available, and those tablets increasingly use cellular networks instead of Wi-Fi for access.

Already, there are several challenges, if you have noticed, right? Also, where does it leave the poor CIO? Does the CIO rejoice at these news, or does he ponder?

Now, I was reading the CIO Guide: Making a Business Case for Deploying a High-Performance Networking Infrastructure by Sufian Dweik, Regional Manager - Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at Brocade Communications. He clearly says that a modern enterprise network should meet four basic requirements:

* non-stop networking to maximize business uptime;
* unmatched simplicity to overcome today's complexity;
* optimized applications to increase business agility; and
* investment protection to provide a smooth transition to new technologies while leveraging existing infrastructure.

CIOs would need to make watertight arguments about how their proposals will deliver a justifiable return on investment (RoI) within the ever shorter time frames, while flexibly supporting anticipated demands over the next five to seven years. According to the author, there are four key guidelines to help CIOs frame such a proposal.

* Demonstrate the future-proofing with a high-performance network.
* Demonstrate the fast and ongoing cost control in a high-performance network.
* Investment protection by leveraging existing infrastructure in a high-performance network.
* Demonstrate the value of greater network expertise.

For CIOs, upgrading the network infrastructure provides a great opportunity to bring these parties to the same table. The business benefits are many -- from having a more comprehensively skilled IT staff, along with more efficient service, greater business continuity, and lower management costs that free up money for investment in other areas of the enterprise.

IT leaders must emphasize throughout their business cases: A highly optimized, always-on network that offers strategic advantage to an enterprise and can be leveraged as a competitive tool. It is time that the businesses recognized this and gave the network its due importance.

In future, organizations that succeed with enterprise mobility will establish a competitive edge in sales performance, operational efficiency, and employee productivity. For those that fail, they risk obsolescence in a world of always-on, always-on-the-move business functions.

Monday, March 12, 2012

WLCSP market and industrial trends

According to Yole Developpement, France, the number of devices packaged with 'fan-in WLCSP will exceed 25 billion units in 2012, exceeding more than 2 million 300mm equivalent wafers. Yole recently held a seminar on wafer level chip scale package (WLCSP).Source: Yole Developpement, France.

Yole estimates the fan-in WLCSP industry value to be over $1.9 billion in 2012. This includes wafer level services (including test) and die level services, as well as the service margin. This market value is expected to keep on growing at a 2010-2016 CAGR of 12 percent, despite decreasing prices. However it does not grow equally across all device types.

The use of fan-in WLCSP for a given application tends to be more and more standardized: it is now clear, for example, that the penetration rate of fan-in WLCSP for connectivity devices in handsets is close to 100 percent, while some players still proposed QFN or BGA solutions a couple of years ago for this same application.

The maximum die size increased recently, and it is now common place to find 36mm² fan-in WLCSP devices in smartphones and tablets. The world record is 50mm² with 309 balls. Any fan-in WLCSP device larger than 4mm in side needs to be underfilled on the PCB. According to Yole, fan-in WLCSP is a maturing technology and market. It still grows faster than the average semiconductor packaging market mainly thanks to the fast growth rates of smartphones and tablet PCs in which WLCSP considerably helps save space and costs.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Intel launches Xeon processor E5-2600 product family

Following its global launch yesterday, Intel Corp. today announced the record-breaking Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 product family in Bangalore, India. R. Ravichandran, director, Sales & World Ahead Program – Asia, Intel Technology India Pvt Ltd, said that the Xeon processor:
* Allows 80 percent performance gain.
* Uses breakthrough I/O innovation.
* Makes use of Trusted Security.
* Provides best data center performance per watt.

Intel has integrated the I/O, which reduces latency by 30 percent. The Xeon E5-2600 processor also has PCI Express 3.o as well as the Intel Data Direct I/O. Overall, the I/O bandwidth is said to improve 3X over the previous generation.

The new chip’s energy efficiency has also increased by 50 percent. As for Trusted Security, there is the Intel TXT and the Intel AES-NI. The Xeon processor is meant for server, storage and network.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Nominum launches world’s first purpose-built suite of DNS-based solutions for mobile operators

Late last month, Nominum launched the world’s first purpose-built suite of DNS-based solutions for mobile operators at the Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona Spain.

Doug Miller, GM, Mobile Solutions, Nominum, said that Nominum has been in the mobile space for many years now. The news at MWC was to announce the new Nominum Mobile Suite, which takes the lessons learned and best practices from working closely with the top mobile providers in the world to craft purpose-built solutions designed to solve very specific mobile provider needs.

He added: "With the demand on mobile networks at its highest and only growing by the day, mobile providers face specific issues their fixed line counterparts simply do not. For example, the concept of spectrum efficiency is a mobile issue and something Nominum can help with via solutions crafted around our core engines, platforms and applications. There are other examples like this built on both network and subscriber needs."

DNS and DHCP core engines
So, what are the DNS and DHCP core engines all about? According to Miller, typically when people think of core engines such as DNS and DHCP, the need to respond to queries and enable basic mobile routing and provisioning come to mind. These engines were considered single-purpose network functions. Nothing more, nothing less. However, although these functions are still vital, beyond the base requirements, there are a number of considerations that must also be taken into account.

At the base level, these engines must be considered for latency and availability to ensure the fastest and most reliable network services. Without considering this, the network may have lower performance or potentially become unavailable in its entirety. Further, the concept of network orchestration must be considered. Without these engines, mobile networks simply do not work. This is very different from fixed networks that are not as reliant on DNS as mobile networks. In the case of mobile, there are a number of control plane functions that must be considered.

Arguably more important than these functions is the ability to deliver business-impacting solutions. The concept of spectrum efficiency was already mentioned, but consider the ability to report on customer and network activity. This is a function that was simply never considered when talking about DNS and DHCP. However, with these elements in place, an entirely new world of reporting and analytics is opened up without the need for additional hardware components being added to the network that create additional complexity or add new risks.

Similarly, these engines can also be the basis for subscriber affinity solutions that generate new revenue and add a new dimension to the battle on churn by creating stickiness not possible previously. Simply put, DNS and DHCP can and should be leveraged for more than they have been historically for true business value.

Helping operators move to 4G
How will all of this help operators who have moved on to 4G? Miller noted: "While it was already mentioned how mobile networks rely heavily on the DNS for routing and control plane functions, the move to 4G will only serve to increase this reliance. In the 3G world, there are a handful of functions that use the DNS to enable users to connect and roam. These are also available on the 4G side, but in addition to those, the 4G networks will also add new functions that increase networking flexibility but carry with them an added element of complexity.

"The DNS serves to enable this flexibility by providing the broad network orchestration required to make 4G networks work. In addition, the DNS is a control point for “interworking” which ensures 4G devices can roam on a 3G network. Add on the increased demand for spectrum and offerings such as Nominum’s Spectrum Efficiency solution become far more vital."

Monday, March 5, 2012

LG intros Optimus Sol E730 smartphone in India

LG has introduced the Optimus Sol E730 smartphone in India. Packed with loads of features the phone runs on the Android OS, v2.3.4 (Gingerbread), and uses a Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon processor. It supports GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, as well as HSDPA 900/2100 MHz. Measuring a sleek 122.5x62.5x9.8mm, it weighs about 110g. The ultra AMOLED capacitive touchscreen supports 256K colors. The panel is 480 x 800 pixels and 3.8 inches (~246 ppi pixel density).

Some other significant features include: Corning Gorilla Glass protection, card slot microSD, up to 32GB, 2GB memory included, with internal memory worth 1 GB storage, 2 GB ROM and 512 MB RAM. For data, it uses GPRS Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32-48 kbps amd EDGE Class 10, 236.8 kbps. Speed offered by the LG Optimus Sol E730 include HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 2.9 Mbps. For WLAN users, there is support for Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, DLNA, etc.

The phone comes with a 5MP camera, which however, pales, (as would many other mobile smartphones) when compared to the recently announced Nokia 808 PureView that has 41MP sensor with high-performance Carl Zeiss optics and new pixel oversampling technology. Some of the camera features in the LG Optimus Sol E730 include geo-tagging and face detection. Again, videos can be made using the 720p@30fps capability, which otherwise dwarfs against the Nokia 808 PureView's full HD 1080p video recording and playback with 4X lossless zoom and the world's first use of Nokia Rich Recording.

Well, this phone too does not have a stylus! Actually, all or most of the Android OS based smartphones are coming without the stylus, and one wonders why! The phone uses a standard Li-Ion 1500 mAh battery, with stand-by time up to 100 hours and talk time up to 4 hours.

As for the applications or apps, they are all standard now on smartphones! Even the LG Optimus Sol E730 is packed with loads! Besides the regular ones -- such as Alarm/Clock, Browser, Camera, Contacts, E-mail, Facebook, FM Radio, GMail, Google Search, Maps, Messaging, Music, News and Weather, there are some new ones as well. For instance, SmartShare alllows you to play and share content from any wireless device via this mobile phone. It requires Wi-Fi settings to operate.

The LG Optimus Sol was priced at Rs. 19,000 at the time of release.