DecryptedTech

Wednesday01 February 2023

Displaying items by tag: Smart Phones

P_500-introAsus has recently released their quarterly results for the other side of Asus. This is the part of the company that makes and sells notebooks, netbooks, the EEE Pad, PC and Slate. It is also a part of the company that we expect to turn into its own fully fledged market with the potential for direct sales in the future. The numbers look pretty impressive so far with gains across the board.

Published in Editorials
Thursday, 15 December 2011 07:33

Mobile, it’s the new Black

motorola_droid_x1It looks like mobile is the way to go these days; well really it has been for some time. Back in 2009 or so nVidia saw that and turned their attention toward the mobile world by developing the Tegra SoC (System on Chip) at the time many people slammed them for dropping out of the chipset business and fans of their GPUs became annoyed that this new product was taking priority over development of faster and better products for their games. Now, after a rocky start and three generations into it (plus a design win that could put Tegra on the moon), no one is laughing at the tiny little chip any longer.

Published in Editorials
Monday, 05 December 2011 22:01

CarrierIQ, Not a Keylogger after all

broken-lockIt looks like the CarrierIQ debacle was quite possibly be a case of Chicken Little meets the digital era with a sinister plot twist. A few weeks ago the news broke that a software researcher (Trevor Eckhart) had found that software that was preinstalled on certain phones appeared to be acting like a keylogger. The hypothesis was based on finding two apps that he could not uninstall or stop. Then he discovered what looked like a link between these two apps and one of the debugging logs (that does record everything that you do). Eckhart announced his findings and a whirlwind of articles ran around the internet a few times.

Published in News
Thursday, 10 November 2011 18:47

Just where is AMD headed?

despdAMD has faced some rough time recently. After their ATi purchase back in 2006 AMD has had one poor leader after another. Under Hector Ruiz we ended up with the ill-fated $5.4 Billion buyout of ATi. This was a purchase that caused AMD to not have a profitable quarter for almost 5 years. In fact if AMD had not gotten a settlement from Intel in late 2010 they would still be operating in the red. Hector Ruiz was also responsible for the shedding of AMD’s foundries.  This split created Global Foundries and forced AMD as a CPU and GPU manufacturer into a Fabless state. They now have to pay to have their processors made by another company.

Published in Editorials

qualcommWith all the news about the major ARM players like Samsung, nVidia, Texas Instruments etc. It is nice to finally hear the news about one of the largest, yet least talked about. At one time if you bought a cell phone (this was before the Smart Phone age) you had Qualcomm under the hood (and in many cases AMD as well). However, lately all we hear about is Hummingbird and Tegra (with an occasional mention of Snapdragon). That is until yesterday.

Qualcomm has announced that they are prepping to launch a new series of 28nm processors which they claim are 50% faster than “other ARM based offerings in the mobile CPU market”. This is very healthy boast to say the least. Right now all of this is in the pre-production stages so we do not have any phones or designs to tell you about, but we do have a little bit of information about the processor itself.

The new proc will be dubbed the S4 MSM 8960 and will hit the market as a dual core offering with a quad core to follow. Instead of an on/off switch for power the CPU is going to be built with something like a dial. This will allow for dynamic power steps to be sent to the processor. I have not heard of this being done quite this way so it should be interesting to see how it works out.

Inside the 8960 you will have a new GPU, this is the Adreno 225 which is a unified shader design (think AMD/ATi) and will support DX9.x and possibly shader model 3. Now we wonder what kind of radio they are going to build into this as that has been one of Qualcomm’s strengths (the Cellular and Wireless Radio built into the SoC) and something that Samsung and nVidia have been trying to get done as well.  We know that nVidia has been buying up wireless technology patents with the hopes integrating their own radios into their Tegra SoC, but have not announced anything on that just yet.

For now it would seem that Qualcomm has taken a step out front in the performance arena. We do think that their GPU offering is probably not up to the same standard as nVidia’s Tegra, but then again many people looking to buy a phone do not need it to play graphics heavy games… I mean really, how much GPU does Angry Birds or words with friends use?

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Published in News

LevoniThinSkinJPG_09Well here is an ouch for Apple; according to a report the new touch screen panel for the iPhone 5 could have a defect in many of them. According to the report that DigiTimes saw (through a source) the defect appears after lamination and is called a delayed bubble defect. The good news is that this defect appears during production and is easy to spot before the panels ship. Another good bit of news for Apple and WinTek (the company that is having the issue) is that this defect can be sorted fairly quickly and easily.

Now, if this defect cannot be fixed there is still hope. Currently WinTek is only producing between 20-25% of the panels that will be used in the new iPhone. Initial shipnents would be hindered but that type of delay is easy to spin into a positive with statements like “We are selling them as fast as we can make them” or “Demand was so high, we ran out of all of the initial production units”. You get the picture here I am sure.

Still, a delay in the launch of the iPhone would not be good for Apple. Consumers are still talking about the year-long delay to get a white iPhone4 to market. If there is any serious delay on the next gen iPhone it could impact consumer confidence in Apple’s ability to produce a product, especially when you add in the other problems with the iPhone 4 during its launch (Grip of Death, etc).

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Published in News
Tuesday, 16 August 2011 22:20

Who Will Benefit more? Google or Motorola?

motorola_droid_x1Although the news of Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility is days old we have to wonder about the slew of articles that have come out recently. We all know (whether we choose to admit it or not) that the purchase of Motorola was to bolster Google position in the market of the mobile OS. They, like others, have a lot to fear from Apple’s seemingly endless supply of accusations of copying, patent infringement and friendly venues. However, the deal is more than that in reality.

Motorola has an 82 year legacy of working with wireless (not the wireless we think of today but radios as well).  Because of this they not only have a nice stable of patents but also the technology and the innovation to survive in the cut throat world of mobile devices. The problem has been their “IBM” attitude in the past. Anyone that knows (or would like to Google) the IBM culture will know that the uniform was black slacks, white button down and tie. This is what you wore no matter where you worked. Motorola was the same way until very recently. That kind of rigidity in your culture does stifle innovation to a great degree. After all if you always wear the same thing, you can find yourself always thinking the same things. People that are locked down by their environment can become stagnant and, in extreme cases, ineffective.

So adding the fresh and open culture of Google to this can help out the struggling Motorola quite a bit; while the structure of Motorola may also help Google. It also gives Google something they want and need; a direct market for their OS. Google has been slowly closing the “Open Source” of Android with each successive release and we are looking at a completely closed source Kernel and OS in the very near future. Although Google invites other phone makers to use and customize Android’s UI they still want to have phones of their very own and with Motorola’s $86 Million dollar loss on top of their still popular “Droid” line of smart phones I am sure this looked like a ready-made situation for Google.

Motorola does get to keep operating as its own entity (for now) but you can rest assured that Google is also banking on those nice new Patents to keep Apple’s lawyers at bay.

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Published in Editorials
Tuesday, 02 August 2011 22:37

Mobile phones, the new Windows XP

permissionsNot that long after Windows XP hit the market a very handy little flaw was found (one of many) that would be the start of a great love/hate relationship with this OS. Even today with Windows XP holding a only a little more than 50% of the PC market the venerable OS accounts for more than 60% of rootkits and something like 80% of the known malware and viruses. What does this have to do with mobile phones? Well is goes something like this; when you buy a mobile phone it comes preinstalled with the OS (usually some derivative of Linux). This OS allows you to setup some rather weak security (a reversible password for screen access). However underneath there are usually two accounts that everything runs on. There is the root account which is the master admin account and has rights to do just about anything. Then there is a mobile user account. This is the account that the UI and all applications run under. The problem? Well every phone out there from each manufacturer uses the same passwords for each (this may actually differ a little between handsets depending on the manufacturer). Yup that is right, if I can guess or hack the root password on one phone; I know them all for that line.

This handy little flaw has been shown on Apple, HTC, Google, Samsung (and just about all Android Phones). Where this becomes important is during application installation. It is during that time that some installers will (or can) access the root account of the phone. If a piece of malware written for your phone OS does this then you can be in a world of trouble.

CA Technologies has been tracking a new brand of malware for the Android platform. It started off by just logging the details of incoming and outgoing calls, but now has moved into actually being able to record these calls and transmit them back to a central server. The days of just installing any app that catches your eye is gone (it never really should have existed anyway). Now more than every Smart Phone users need to be careful what they allow their apps to do. As an extra precaution grabbing a mobile security app like Lookout or Similar for that extra level of protection is a good idea. Just like XP what we think of as secure, turns out to be full of holes after all.

Source and picture CA Technologies

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Published in News
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