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Imagination Technologies POWERVR SGX545 to be Apple iSlate’s GPU?

When one of your significant investors is Apple and the world is waiting anxiously for an HD media capable iSlate, you can pretty much expect your new graphics core announcement to be jumped on.  Imagination Technologies have unveiled their POWERVR SGX545 (we can only assume the all-caps just means MORE POWER) graphics core, which supports DirectX10.1, OpenGL ES 2.x, OpenGL 3.2 and OpenCL 1.0 for 3D acceleration, HD media and general purpose crunching.  Apple already use lesser versions of the chipset range in their latest iPhone 3GS and iPod touch.

Thanks to that – and because Apple have invested twice in Imagination Technologies – people are now speculating that the SGX545, not the new NVIDIA Tegra 2, will be powering the Apple iSlate tablet.  It would require a companion processor – an ARM Cortex A9 is most likely, the same as found in the Tegra 2 – but offer a significant graphics boost over the current SGX535 in the iPhone 3GS: up from 28 million polygons per second to 40 million.

The real kicker?  Imagination say “the IP is already proven in silicon in a test chip” as well as being “licensed by a lead partner”; no names mentioned, but you can imagine that’s got more than a few people pointing in the direction of Cupertino.  We’ll have to wait until later in the month to find out – Apple are rumored to be announcing the iSlate on January 27th.

Press Release:

Imagination Technologies announces POWERVR SGX545 graphics IP core with full DirectX 10.1, OpenGL 3.2 and OpenCL 1.0 capabilities

New core takes mobile & embedded graphics family to a new level; delivers unrivalled capabilities

POWERVR SGX545 is available for licensing now. The IP is already proven in silicon in a test chip from Imagination and licensed by a lead partner.

Says Tony King-Smith, VP Marketing, Imagination: “Combining our many years of experience in the embedded, mobile and PC-based DirectX graphics worlds, POWERVR SGX 545 takes the possibilities of hand-held graphics to a new level by delivering a full DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL 3.x feature set as well as delivering GPU powered OpenCL heterogeneous parallel processing capabilities for the mobile and embedded markets. This makes POWERVR SGX545 a compelling solution for application processor SoC designers targeting the next generation of netbook and MID mobile products demanding exceptional graphics capabilities.”

The debut of POWERVR SGX545 reinforces the SGX family’s outstanding scalability which ranges from ultra-small OpenGL ES 2.0 mobile cores through solutions for feature-rich mobile and HDTV platforms, to high-performance gaming and computing solutions. The SGX family supports a wide range of APIs including DirectX9 & 10, OpenGL ES 2.x, OpenGL 3.x, OpenVG 1.x and OpenCL 1.x.

POWERVR SGX545 delivers real-world performance of 40 million polygons/sec and 1 Gpixels/sec fillrate at 200MHz,* and is capable of driving HD screens with ultra smooth high frame rate 3D graphics content.

New features in POWERVR SGX545 include:

DirectX10.1 API support

Enhanced support for DirectX10 Geometry Shaders

DirectX10 Data assembler support (Vertex, primitive and instance ID generation)

Render target resource array support

Full arbitrary non power of two texture support

Full filtering support for F16 texture types

Support for all DirectX10 mandated texture formats

Sampling from unresolved MSAA surfaces

Support for Gamma on output pixels

Order dependent coverage based AA (anti-aliased lines)

Enhanced line rasterisation

Support of round-to-nearest for floating-point math

Full 32-bit integer support (includes add, multiply and divide)

64-bit integer emulation

3D texture support

Support for the maximum 2D and 3D image sizes specified in the full profile.


USSE (Universal Scalable Shader Engine), the main programmable processing unit within each POWERVR SGX545 pipeline, is a scalable multi-threaded GPU shader processing engine that efficiently processes graphics as well as many other mathematically-intensive tasks. USSE can be programmed using the GLSL language that forms part of the OpenGL ES 2.0 specification, or in the C-based parallel processing language used in the OpenCL specification – both APIs from the Khronos Group.

POWERVR SGX545 delivers the broadest range of graphics API feature sets in the industry, while also enabling developers to gain greater access to the full capabilities of the USSE-powered GP-GPU in a broad range of applications including digital imaging, video processing, game physics, cryptography, and other general computing tasks that can benefit from parallel processing.

Editor’s Notes

* All fill rate figures stated assuming a scene depth complexity of x2.5.

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Apple Music Classical Is Everything I’Ve Wanted Spotify To Be

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Julian Bream’s 1957 rendition of Weiss’ Tombeau Sur la Mort left a lifelong impression on me. As a ten-year-old, it ignited a passion for music and inspired me to pick up the guitar. In my formative years, I grew to enjoy Mahler, followed the Vienna Philharmonic, and dug out every rendition of my favorite movements. Ironically, it also taught me just how vital metadata can be for a great music-listening experience. 

Over the years, my tastes evolved towards a diametrically different genre — metal. For all their differences, the two genres have sufficient overlap in ideologies. Both are focused on technical proficiency, nuance, and emotion. They both also suffer from a problem of curation, more specifically, metadata. It’s hard to blame the average listener for lumping all metal into a single bucket of heavy music when streaming services have treated the genre irreverently. Even today, streaming services can’t tell the difference between the Gothenburg school of black metal, symphonic black metal, and, say, ambient black metal.

Which music streaming app has the best interface?

806 votes

Metadata powers digital music

I spent a significant chunk of my teenage years amassing a sizable music collection. I’ve devoted hundreds of hours to cataloging and adding metadata to make sense of my spiderweb of a music collection.

Today my music library sits on its own dedicated NAS drive, and depending on my mood, I can dive deep into a discography, find relevant side projects or create a dialed-in playlist within seconds. However, convenience trumps categorization, and most of my music listening happens via streaming, even though the experience sucks. That’s where Apple Music Classical stepped in. 

A quick tap and swipe into the Apple Music Classical app reveals a refreshingly simple interface fine-tuned for the classical music listening experience. The neatly organized grid of categories shows genres, composers, periods, and more. It never takes more than three taps to get to a list of artists, new albums, and more within that specific genre. This shows deference to already existing data, and puts the power of discovery in the hands of the listener. It’s in sharp contrast to how most music streaming apps would prefer you listen to playlists classified by mood, editorial curation, or a mix of both. 

Apple Music Classical understands its userbase knows what it wants to listen to.

Prefer something even more fine-tuned? Swipe right to the instruments tab; the app lets you get into the weeds with guitars, harpsichords, pianos, and more. It’s designed for listeners who want to get intimate with their music.

The playlist model of discovery isn’t wrong, it’s just not conducive to getting intimate with an artist.

It’s not that the playlist model of discovery is inherently wrong. It’s a great way to get a sense of the cultural zeitgeist for pop music or if you are in the mood for some 180 BPM metal at the gym. Unfortunately, playlist-based listening keeps listeners circling within a group of similar-sounding music. How often do you sit up, pause and tap at the playlist to discover an artist and dive further into their works? I feel that the playlist model is entirely at odds with the one thing music lovers like me care about — getting to know the artist.

That same respect for the genre extends to how the Apple Music Classical app displays artist photos, artwork, or life history. Instead of adding jarring video clips or heavy-handed graphics, the app has been designed from the ground up to be respectful to the artist and remain a simple carrier for music. The approach isn’t entirely new, of course, and could be considered an extension of the similarly designed artist page in the regular Apple Music app. However, the focus on curation over becoming a tastemaker for the broadest audience is telling.

No streaming app is perfect, but Apple Music Classical gets close

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

For all its wins, the Apple Music Classical app isn’t perfect either. For the first-time explorer of classical music, the breakdowns by genre or composer can be intimidating, and a streaming service should, by definition, aim for a wider reach. Sure, it’s got some great playlists already, but discoverability can be an issue for someone new to the genre. However, I’d wager that it’s a problem associated with Classical music, not categorization.

Apple Music Classical is a clear example of an app built by people who genuinely care about music. It’s an app that trusts you, the music listener, to know your mood, educate yourself about the nuance of specific pieces or movements, and immerse yourself in an artist’s works. It’s also a great starting point for balancing discovery with curation. 

Apple Music Classical takes a deferential approach to the listener, and balancing it with better discovery is the sweet spot.

I hope Apple takes cues from the Classical app and incorporates some of the interface tweaks and features into the standard Apple Music app. As it stands, the Music app can seem borderline chaotic. I’ve never listened to a single Bollywood track on Apple Music, yet my browse page is chock-full of recommendations for the latest releases. That makes no sense.

Similarly, Spotify’s upcoming TikTok-ification flies in the face of granular music listening. No, Spotify, I do not care about devotional music or the latest Happy Tamil Music playlist.

Apple Music Classical is proof that a better music listening experience can co-exist with the chaos of streaming recommendations. But will any other service learn from it? That’s the million-dollar question.

Apple Music Classical is available for free to all Apple Music subscribers. Subscriptions for Apple Music start at $10.99 a month for individuals, and you can subscribe to a family plan for $16.99 a month.

Yes, Apple Music Classical supports high-resolution lossless streaming as well as spatial audio.

At launch, Apple Music Classical is exclusively available on an iPhone. Apple does, however, plan to launch the app on Android.

No, Apple Music Classical requires always-on internet access.

Disruptive Technologies That Will Cause Disruption To Your Business

One or more of these technologies might already be interfering with your business process flow, giving you a tough time. Digital Disruption is an innovation that creates obstacles in continuing your business the old way. You have to check for possible digital disruptions and be ready for them before they eat into your profits. The article lists the top 5 digital disruptions & technologies that have already started to affect businesses. While you are at it, do check out the link towards the end of the article for an assessment of your business readiness for digital disruptions.

Disruptive Technologies

Technology is called disruptive when it changes the way industries and consumers operate. It can be beneficial for businesses as it can increase their customer base. On the other hand, it can be bad too as it can cause job loss.

We have explained some disruptive technologies below.

Cloud Computing

Anything off-premises and always accessible from anywhere in the world is the simplest definition of cloud. The early adaptions of cloud computing are email and messaging. In the case of email, it is not just a disruption but a disruptive technology that changed the way people interact. Emails removed snail mail (handwritten letters) from the scene of business communication. That is a different story so I won’t delve into it in this article.

Going by the above definition, cloud computing is anything off-premises. Generally, there are cloud service providers who provide all types of services – backup, storage, software development, business communications – including websites and customized email IDs, data processing, and more. All this has affected the businesses that serviced their clients on-site. The cloud is much mature, bigger, and cheaper than these individual entities providing on-site services. While most of the businesses providing on-site storage, backup, etc. have gone out of business, others have evolved into clouds themselves so that they can keep up with the cloud computing disruption.

Same way, programmers and game developers need not arrange all equipment related to software development, testing, and distribution. The cloud, like Azure, provides the perfect platform for software development, testing, and distribution. Service providers in this area – who were providing assisting technologies for software development and distribution – had to change their approach to survive in the business sector.

Another example is Google Apps digital disruption to hosting service providers. With Google offering cloud solutions for business communication, hosting service providers are suffering as a majority of businesses moved to these cloud-based offerings for their ease of accessibility and use. Google Apps for business not only offers to host but makes it easy for non-IT admins to maintain email IDs, communications and collaborations, etc. at a cheaper price.

There are endless possibilities with cloud computing with some of the other startups providing something new frequently, the shape of the IT industry has already changed and will keep on changing. You will have to check out what are the possibilities, how they can affect you, and accordingly, prepare to counter the disruption. You can also make use of cloud services and become a disruptor instead.

Mobile Computing

This is related to smartphones and mobile computing devices that made BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) possible. Employees prefer companies that allow a single device for both office and personal use – as long as data is not in danger.

Not only BYOD but mobile computing has also changed the way people work. With mobile computing as a disruptor, employees can work from anywhere – without having to drive to the office every day. Many companies provide the facility of telecommuting, thereby saving the time otherwise spent wading through the traffic to reach the office.

With the power these mobile computing devices have or will have by 2025, it is expected that most of the business processes will soon turn into mobile apps that can be used anywhere. Already many businesses have gone mobile-only. For example, Snapdeal was an eCommerce website doing well. But when its competitors started going mobile-only, it too had to change its method of functioning.

The focus is on businesses providing mobile access to their customers so that they generate more profits. There is no more need to visit a brick-and-mortar store or to boot up a computer. You can simply use your smartphone app to buy things and services.

We cannot leave out Internet access when talking about mobile computing. It is necessary for mobile computing – for connecting to some business or to connect to your office via VPN remotely. By 2025, it is expected that more than 3 billion people will have access to mobile computing. That may largely change the way businesses are conducted these days. The Snapdeal example could just be a beginning. If you have a brick-and-mortar store somewhere, you will also need an eCommerce website and/or a mobile app that people will prefer over visiting your store physically.

Machine Learning and Automation

With computers becoming smarter, very soon we might see a huge drop in manual operators. It is assumed that Machine Learning may replace some 140 million full-time workers by 2025 when it comes to critical decision-making processes. If your business is related to consultancy, for example, you may have to adapt to machine learning packages so that you are not out of the race in the coming few years. There are many other possibilities that I am not able to think of, at the moment. Check out how Machine Learning and AI can affect your business by assessing what all it does and how it can be a disruption to your business. Then formulate a plan to counter or adapt it to your business.

Big Data

Big Data is another thing that can prove to be a disruption to businesses in the field of not only Analytics and Consultation but also many others. With the amount of data being stored on and off-premises, the methods of collecting and sorting data, and the methods of processing data to achieve results quickly, the process of decision-making will change significantly.

Combined with cloud computing and machine learning, Big Data can be a huge blow to many sectors including but not limited to small-scale storage providers, business consultancies, and analytics.

Internet of Things (IoT as disruption)

Internet Of Things needs no introduction. While some countries are yet to adopt this technology that allows you to control devices remotely, many countries and societies are already learning to harness the power of IoT.

The simple thing it provides is remote monitoring and control of the device. In the process, it provides gazillions of data that can be stored to study the general practices of users and to provide better, interactive devices. A smart light bulb is any day better than a regular light bulb. The smart light bulb can not only operate on its own or by remote apps, it can also collect data that you can use to figure out and reduce your electricity usage. It is just one example. Imagine IoT technology coming to the kind of things your business is engaged in. Would it not be proper for you to start working on smart devices instead of waiting until some other company gives you a jolt?

The above are the top 5 technologies that I see as digital disruptions to any business – irrespective of the markets they engage. There may be several more – like new energy storage devices that store energy for later use, 3D printing and the design of material with superior characteristics are some of the other disruptive technologies. Think of these disruptions and how they can affect your business in the future. Plan accordingly so that you are not left behind when the time comes.

Is Zoom a disruptive technology?

Disruptive technology can be both good and bad. If we talk about Zoom, it has brought an affordable, reliable, and user-friendly solution for video conferencing. Hence, it has disrupted the video conferencing industry.

Is Facebook disruptive?

Yes, Facebook is also considered a disruptive technology. This is because it has disrupted the way of communication. Today, you can use Facebook to promote your business. By doing this, you can reach your consumers easily. Also, it helps businesses expand their customer base. Hence, in this way, it has disrupted the businesses.

That’s it.

Read next: What is Web3 technology used for?

Apple @ Work: Iot Devices Face Security Problems That Must Be Addressed

If you work in the enterprise IT market, there is a word you are hearing all of the time. It’s IoT or Internet of Things. It’s an all-encompassing term to describe devices that are connected to the network that are not end-user devices. IoT devices in the enterprise could be commercial HVAC controllers (think Ecobee, but for commercial heating and air), commercial camera and DVR systems (an enterprise-grade version of something like Arlo), water fountain filter sensors, or connected paper towel dispensers that alert someone when they are close to being empty. All of these products look great on paper, but I am concerned about the security of the devices, their ability to be managed, and their ability to be upgraded.

Security of IoT devices

One of the major issues with IoT security is that devices are built and maintained by companies who aren’t networking natives. When I say networking natives, I mean companies who live, eat, and breath the IT world. A lot of the companies making IoT sensors are companies that generally don’t deal with the IT infrastructure normally. This means they probably don’t play as well with policies and procedures that most IT departments have set in place.

In my experience working with IoT devices, I’ve found they will often ping IP addresses that I didn’t approve, and they will be pinged by IP addresses from other countries. I think what happens is since the companies developing these products aren’t “networking natives”, they are sub-contracting the networking aspect out vs. building something in-house. They aren’t aware of what the products are doing (nor do I think they care). IT departments end up having to build additional security policies around these devices.

IoT devices and the ability to be managed

One of the big issues I am seeing with IoT is there is no standard platform in the enterprise. There is no Alexa or HomeKit. There is no centralized solution that you could build on top of as an IT manager. What happens is that you plug these devices into the network (or connect to Wi-Fi), and then you have to manage them individually. You have to keep track of separate IP addresses, user names, and passwords. What we need is a centralized web dashboard that allows an IT manager to monitor, configure, and track all IoT devices. As the number of devices continues to grow (I suspect that we will soon have more IoT than end-user devices), this will be a must.

IoT devices and upgradeability

Software vulnerability discovery isn’t an if, but rather a when. We live in a hyper-connected world, and a vulnerability in one device can have a ripple effect elsewhere. Especially for enterprise networks, a single vulnerability in a device can open up an entire network.

If a security flaw is discovered in a product, is an IoT vendor prepared to patch the problem? Do they even have staff available who can change the code? Do they have the ability to remotely upgrade the device? This problem goes back to the security and manageability of these devices. If we are going to put devices on our network with mission-critical devices, there must be a plan for handling security problems by addressing how and when they will be upgraded in the future.

Wrap-up on IoT security

I am a big fan of the premise of the internet of things device category. I love what it’s enabled me to do at home by automating my lighting and with saving energy by cutting HVAC usage. I do believe it’ll have a great future in the enterprise, but we need a company to come along and build out a platform to handle security and management aspects instead of each device living off on its own.

Photo by Taylor Vick on Unsplash

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Excelledia Ventures: Embedding Digital Technologies To Provide A Competitive Edge To Organizations

A business-performance management firm that focuses on people, processes, and technologies to help businesses become more efficient, successful, and long-lasting is the perfect way to describe

Empowering Entrepreneurship – 500+ Digital Innovation Ventures in Next 3 Years 80+ International partners, 90+ AI projects, Assignments in 50+ Countries with 7 Ventures in 11 years

Muhammed Farooque founded Excelledia in 2010 with a clear mission in mind to inspire and guide companies worldwide to embrace and reap the benefits of modern digital technology and encourage an open approach towards collaborative innovation. For a while, it was just a one-man training and consultancy company, bringing in specialists from all over the world to deliver best in class service that was missing in the industry. Within the first few months, the company secured a prestigious training contract with Qatar Petroleum, the largest company in Qatar, and one of the biggest oil and gas producers in the world. Being an MBA graduate in Total Quality Management and Marketing, AI (University of Oxford), Venture financing (University of Oxford) has helped him to earn a name for himself among his peers. His expertise in business development and management consulting combined with hands-on experience in running an enterprise laid the perfect foundation stone in building up the company to what is seen today. His passion for teaching and willingness for sharing the gained knowledge earned him the role of a visiting professor at The University of Leeds. Farooque built a world-class team of business, technology, and technical professionals within Excelledia Consulting and Excelledia Ventures. He believes that a team of talented professionals is the major reason for the success they are seeing today, with clients from various sectors including large governments, public sectors, fortune companies, SMEs, startups, and more. What started as a one-man band now comprises a dedicated team of professionals spread across 8 countries, 80+ international partners, 90+ Ai projects, completed assignments in 50+ countries with 7 ventures under its belt. Excelledia Ventures is recognized as the fastest-growing consulting and workforce development company by Silicon India, Best consultant for the year 2023 by Dubai RTA, Corporate excellence award 2023, Best international tech-focussed management consulting firm 2023, and many more.  

The Future is Integration and Collaboration

According to Farooque, the Covid-19 pandemic changed the way of operation and effective integration with synergistic collaboration is going to be the future. Artificial intelligence, Machine learning, Robotic process automation, Natural language processing, Automation, etc was transformational, exciting, and mysterious yesterday, but today it is omnipresent and has become critical and crucial for the overall success of any organization. In 2023 the majority of the growing organization will be investing in workplace AI, ML, RPA, NLP, Automation, etc. Excelledia Ventures believes in creating a fruitful partnership ecosystem which is the foundation for long-term business growth. It looks forward to working together in an integrated manner to build a long-standing relationship with shared values. In line with the vision to inspire and mission to serve it has created Ai Centre of Excellence (Ai CoE) and Innovation engine (Dezign Space), 2 versatile ecosystems that will embed AI technologies and Innovation at the heart of every organization to build resilience. The company welcomes thoughts and ideas on integrating digital technologies or digital innovations into the business process or operations, which are vital for organizational resilience.  

AI Centre of Excellence (Ai CoE), Augmenting Business with Smarter AI

Artificial intelligence is one of the most powerful technologies for reshaping business across the globe. The technologies are optimizing processes throughout organizations and are already an engine behind the world’s most valuable businesses. AI will become a permanent aspect of the business landscape and AI capabilities need to be sustainable over time to develop potential new business models and capabilities. The strategic alliance between a stakeholder and Excelledia Ventures results in establishing an Ai CoE within the organization that encourages innovation through prototyping and simulation of AI use cases. The purpose is to embed AI technologies at the heart of every organization and build resilience to tackle ongoing and future disruptions. The proprietary technology platform, AI factory, AI solutions, AI innovation, AI academy, AI consulting, and AI research boost the outcomes economically.  

Dezign Space, Innovation for Everyone Everywhere 

One of the core reasons for modern existence is innovation. The macro perspectives of innovation are sustainability, poverty reduction, growth across all sectors, quality of life, etc. The micro perspective includes better market share, increased productivity, output, profitability, etc. According to recent data, innovative organizations grow faster with better profits. Another interesting fact is that only 12% of the Fortune 500 companies from 1955 are still in business and half of the S&P 500 companies are expected to get replaced soon, which confirms innovation is inevitable. Dezign Space is a perfect engine for corporate innovation, digital innovation, start-up innovation, business model innovation, business function innovation, innovations within an organization, innovation in the public sector, etc. The unique engine of Dezign Space helps in discovering ideas, designing prototypes, testing prototypes, motivating stakeholders, and fast-track the conversion of an idea to a business venture or product, or service.  

Smart, Connected, and Intelligent Future

The company’s different ventures helping enterprises across industries include:

The futuristic enterprise management system – isorobot, believes that performance with compliance is sustainable. isorobot uses machine learning, data analytics, AI, etc for accurate risk prediction and thus guiding to make appropriate decisions to tackle those potential risks, along with automating major operations. isorobot has helped companies to save time, cost, and effort alongside increasing productivity.

CEO analytix, Live business insights – The intelligent metrics that will collect and process quantitative data from across the organization to deliver valuable business insights.

xiro, Roadmap to Success – The Ai enabled business planners to articulate the idea to vision in realistic terms and identify the gaps in the business model.

Lee, All-in-one learning management system -The customizable platform makes it easy to conduct on-job training, skill development, orientation, inductions, etc., and track training programs with ease and better convenience.

Chief Officers Group (CoG), Crafting a better life – A collaborative platform that brings together industry leaders from across the globe expanding opportunities and making ways for better personal life, professional life, and community life. CoG helps to solve the challenges of leadership and reap the benefits of being connected.

Digital Innovations for Competitive Edge and Sustainability

The quest to inspire technology across new and established companies worldwide has not been a path filled with roses, a team with dedicated minds, and impressive talent has enabled them to create a benchmark in technology services.

The Top 10 Pc Technologies And Trends To Watch In 2023

Though some critics love to knock PCs as dinosaurs, laptops and desktops have gotten sexier, faster and even smarter. For every blue screen of death, there are droves of technological enhancements driving PCs into the era of virtual reality, 4K video and 5G connectivity. Here are the top 10 PC technology and trends to watch next year.

VR PCs on your head


Storage prices will go up

Martyn Williams

A computer with an Intel SSD on display at Computex 2023 in Taipei

Prices of SSDs are going up due to shortages, and that could have an impact on the price of laptops, 2-in-1 computers and storage. Dell’s XPS 13 with Intel’s Kaby Lake chips and a 512GB SSD, for example, is not available right now.  Other laptops with 512GB SSDs are priced unbelievably high. Most PC makers are offering 128GB or 256GB SSDs in PCs by default. Choose storage wisely, as it isn’t easy to screw open a superthin 2-in-1 to replace an SSD.

Talk to your PC


Woman using Microsoft’s Cortana voice-activated assistant on Lumia smartphone.

The feud between Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana voice-activated assistants could get more interesting next year. Users will be able to shout out Cortana commands to Windows 10 PCs from a longer distance, thanks to a “far-field speech recognition” technology that Intel and Microsoft are working on. Until now, Cortana worked best if a user was close to a PC, but millions of Windows PCs will turn into Amazon Echo competitors with this new feature. Cortana can do a lot more than Amazon Echo, like accessing information from the cloud, chatting with chatbots, checking email and other tasks.

AMD ratchets up chip battle with Intel

Martyn Williams

Intel has been the unchallenged king of PCs for more than a decade, but AMD is fighting back with its new Ryzen PC processor, which will reaches PCs next year. A healthy rivalry will be good news for PC users, some of whom may jump from the Intel to the AMD camp. AMD claims Ryzen is 40 percent faster than its current PC chips, which on paper is impressive. The chips will first hit gaming PCs, and then mainstream laptops and desktops later in 2023. Ryzen will battle Intel’s Kaby Lake in early 2023, and the 10-nanometer Cannonlake in late 2023.

ARM-based laptops with Windows, again

Stephen Lawson

The first attempt at ARM PCs, which ran on Windows RT, was an unmitigated disaster, and it left many users skeptical of the idea. But Microsoft hasn’t given up, especially as 5G starts to become a reality and cellular connectivity in PCs becomes essential. Microsoft announced that next year PCs will be available with Qualcomm’s ARM-based Snapdragon 835, which is primarily for smartphones. Super-thin laptops will get integrated modems and a long battery life with the chip. The ARM-based PCs will run Win32 applications that run on regular x86 PCs via emulation.

For now, no PC maker has announced ARM-based Windows PCs—manufacturers  may be cautious in light of the Windows RT fiasco. There are also many challenges. Snapdragon isn’t as fast as high-end x86 Intel or AMD chips, and won’t support 64-bit applications initially. Also, emulation may limit the ability to exploit hardware acceleration.

Bluetooth 5 will take charge

Stephen Lawson

The Bluetooth logo.

Beautiful screens, 4K and HDR


Dell’s XPS 13 has an edge-to-edge screen.

Laptops like the XPS 13 and Lenovo’s Yoga 910 have beautiful edge-to-edge screens, a feature that may be included in more laptops next year. Also, 4K screens and HDR (high-dynamic range) technology will make games and movies look stunning. HDR results in more vivid images, and TVs, cameras and monitors supporting the technology are already available. Netflix is also doubling down on HDR. An HDR standards battle is brewing with DolbyVision and HBR3, but GPU makers are supporting both standards. AMD expects DolbyVision to ultimately win.

New storage and memory technologies


3D XPoint is the technology behind Optane products.

The SSDs won’t be in laptops next year as the technology’s uses are still being explored. Optane is based on a technology called 3D Xpoint, which Intel co-developed with Micron. SSDs based on Micron’s 3D XPoint technology will ship next year under the QuantX brand.

More changes for keyboards


Lenovo’s Yoga Book has a virtual keyboard on a touch panel.

Some ports won’t go away easily

James Niccolai

USB Type-C cable on show at CES

PC makers may not muster up the courage to remove the headphone jack and SD card slots from PCs right away, but USB 2.0 slots could be on their way out. Some PC makers may leave out display and other legacy ports with the emergence of the versatile USB Type-C, which can be used to charge PCs and connect displays, storage devices and other peripherals.

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