Qualcomm faces a challenging future despite dodging Broadcom’s bullet

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After months of listening to Broadcom say flattering things about Qualcomm during its hostile takeover bid, it’s tempting to see Qualcomm as a prized jewel bursting with potential. But now that Broadcom’s pursuit has been permanently blocked due to national security concerns, it’s worth remembering that Qualcomm is a company with…Read More
Apple – VentureBeat
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Apple now has four roads to a 5G iPhone, each challenging

Now that the dust has settled from Mobile World Congress 2018’s major 5G wireless announcements, two things are clear: 5G networks are coming even faster than recently expected, and based on its current relationships with 5G modem suppliers, Apple has a tough road ahead before it launches a 5G iPhone.

Being second or even tenth to market didn’t matter to Apple in 2007, when the first iPhone arrived without 3G network support, or in 2012, when the iPhone 5 shipped two years after early 4G networks. But a lot has changed since then. Apple is now the world’s #1 or #2 smartphone maker, depending on the quarter, and depends on iPhones for 1/2 to 2/3 of its revenues. Additionally, its current flagship phone arguably leads the industry in technology and sales. So if Apple decides to wait on 5G, which will certainly be 2019’s biggest new technology, it could simultaneously hurt its stock, market share, and reputation for innovation.

I’m not going to tell you what Apple is going to do, because that has become a Tim Cook-level business decision that may require Apple to work with a partner it doesn’t like. But I am going to outline the four roads Apple is going to choose from, and tell you which direction I think it’s most likely to take.

Road 1: Qualcomm

Normally, Qualcomm would be Apple’s most obvious 5G partner. Qualcomm’s modems have been inside iPhones for years, sometimes alone, and more recently alternating with Intel modems. The San Diego-based chipmaker has also been working on 5G technology for years, pushing to get 5G standardization completed early, and signing up dozens of 5G customers.

Above: Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon announces that 19 manufacturers and 18 carriers will be using Snapdragon X50 modems to roll out 5G devices to customers in 2019.

Image Credit: Jeremy Horwitz/VentureBeat

But Apple and Qualcomm are in the middle of a gigantic legal dispute over 4G patent payments, which has evolved from “largely about money” to “international antitrust battle” status over the past year. The dispute is currently serious enough that Apple has reportedly abandoned Qualcomm entirely for 2018’s new iPhone models, and has been actively working to remove Qualcomm parts from its product families. (That’s no easy task given the varying cellular needs of iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches.)

So why is Qualcomm listed as Road 1? Disputes like this have a way of getting resolved when working together is necessary, and Qualcomm recently settled similar patent licensing issues with another major customer, Samsung. As discussed below, Apple might not have a better option for launching its first 5G phone, and settling with Qualcomm could make future device development a lot easier.

Road 2: Samsung

Conventional wisdom has it that Apple doesn’t really like Samsung — that, as years of lawsuits have established, Apple sees the Korean company as a knock-off artist that made its name trading on obviously copied Apple innovations. Yet Samsung components are inside many Apple devices — sometimes screens, sometimes chips, and yes, sometimes even ideas. Apple’s latest flagship phone, the iPhone X, depended 100% on Samsung for its Super Retina display, as rival screen maker LG reportedly couldn’t meet Apple’s quality requirements.

Samsung is already publicly working on 5G devices, having revealed prototype tablets earlier this month, and the Galaxy S10 will almost certainly be 5G-capable. Not surprisingly, Samsung makes 5G modems, too, now including CDMA support, as well as hardware that can be used to provide an entire home with 5G wireless services, including optimized performance for Samsung phones.

That’s either bad news for Apple, which recently exited the wireless router business and won’t get Apple-specific optimizations, or a great opportunity for Apple to get friendlier with its key Korean supplier. All things considered, I’d call Samsung a dark horse possibility at best — it’s hard to imagine Apple swallowing its pride at this point and relying upon another Samsung solution for a key iPhone feature, but given its current legal situation with Qualcomm, it mightn’t have another practical choice.

Road 3: Intel

Intel is listed as Road 3 for Apple, but it could easily become Apple’s 5G partner in one of two situations: if Intel’s 5G modem development is going better than is publicly known, or if Apple is willing to wait past the first generation of 5G devices. Either is a possibility.

In the 4G era, Intel modems have lagged enough behind Qualcomm’s that Apple felt compelled to slow down the Qualcomm chips in some iPhones to perform comparably to Intel modems found in other iPhones. Without detailed specs for Intel’s upcoming XMM8000 series of 5G modems, many people are assuming — perhaps incorrectly — that Intel will again struggle to match Qualcomm’s performance.

Above: Visitors to Intel’s Mobile World Congress booth on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, are given a first look at a 5G-enabled concept PC. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

The big question right now is whether Intel will have any smartphone-ready 5G modem available in 2019. This week, Intel said only that it will have laptop-ready modems available by late 2019 — a long time to wait — and unlike rivals that are already producing early chips, Intel might just miss the entirety of 2019 for phones. Certainly, Apple and Intel know more than they’ve publicly said on this topic, but the lack of any 5G phone announcement from Intel at a show as big as MWC suggests that Apple will need to pick another path.

A Road Not Taken: Huawei

Without spending too many words on this point, it’s fair to say that even though Huawei announced the first commercially available 5G chipset this week, Apple’s not going to touch it.

Because of its relationship with the Chinese government, Huawei’s been under investigation by the U.S. government for the entire 4G generation, and has been deliberately frozen out of 5G planning in the U.S. — Australia is likely to be next. Many other companies appear set to use Huawei parts, but Apple won’t use any components that would lock it out of selling phones in its home market.

Road 4: Apple

The last road — and one I’m not going to put much faith in for the time being — is Apple having its own 5G modem ready to go next year. It’s widely known that Apple is actively working on wireless chip development, and Apple-designed W-series chips have already appeared in the Apple Watch, AirPods, and Beats headphones.

However, a full modem would be a big step forward for Apple, and a 5G modem is all but unthinkable right now. As much as Apple would probably love to own this particular component in its devices, 5G is so hugely complicated from an engineering and testing standpoint that I can’t see Apple going its own way with the first 5G iPhone. 2020? 2021? Maybe.

One of the issues is antenna design. Qualcomm clued journalists into this ahead of MWC, noting that 5G device makers will need to find ways to keep multiple antennas accessible, lest data speeds drop dramatically. In an effort to address this for particularly reception-challenged 5G millimeter wave modems, Intel’s laptop solution at MWC was a pair of huge kickstands designed to serve as antennas. Apple would never be OK with a solution like that, but it’s going to need to engineer and test something smarter on its own.

Which road will Apple take?

It’s easy to conclude that Apple will likely rely on Qualcomm, Samsung, or Intel for its first (and maybe even its second) 5G iPhones, then switch to its own modem whenever it’s confident in its network compatibility and performance. But that conclusion leaves two key questions: which company will be its first 5G modem supplier, and when?

If I had to pick just one of these companies as Apple’s most likely partner, it would come down to a choice between Intel and Qualcomm, with Qualcomm in the lead based solely on today’s publicly available information. Despite Intel’s widely-publicized 5G displays at sporting events, the fact that it hasn’t announced smartphone deals suggests that it has probably fallen behind its rivals in some key way. For Apple, that means either waiting for Intel, or choosing between Qualcomm and Samsung. Its dispute with Qualcomm is over money, versus Samsung, which it still deals with despite issues with both money and copying. Settling the lawsuit with Qualcomm would give Apple immediate access to 5G chips, and hence, the ability to launch a 5G iPhone.

There’s always the possibility that Apple could sit out the first generation of 5G devices — and obviously, there’s precedent for that with 3G and 4G. I think the stakes for Apple are too high at this point, but if the company’s willing to risk sales, its reputation, and its stock price, it could be 2020 before we see the first 5G iPhone. If so, the market for premium 5G smartphones will be Samsung’s to lose.

Apple – VentureBeat

Glitch Dash is a brutally challenging auto-runner that demands quick and precise movement

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

David Marquardt’s Glitch Dash is his third game released on the Play Store, and oh boy did he ever hit this one out of the park. Unlike most auto-runners, this is not a game for casuals. The difficulty is high, and it only gets higher the further you progress. Now I’m not saying this to scare away players as this is a beautiful running game that is a blast to play, but rest assured it will be quite a challenge to reach the end.

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Glitch Dash is a brutally challenging auto-runner that demands quick and precise movement was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Lost Socks: Naughty Brothers is a challenging auto-running platformer that just released for Android

The developer Nerf-Game has finally released its challenging 2D auto-running platformer Lost Socks: Naughty Brothers on the Google Play Store. It has been two years since the original iOS release, and in that time it has changed from a premium game to a free-to-play title. Despite the shift in monetization the challenging gameplay and goofy story are just as great as ever.

If you have never heard of Lost Socks: Naughty Brothers before then you are in for a treat.

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Lost Socks: Naughty Brothers is a challenging auto-running platformer that just released for Android was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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WTF: What’s the future of business – Why challenging the status quo takes more than a rallying cry

“It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” – Leon C. Megginson We live in an era of digital Darwinism, where technology and society evolve faster than most businesses can adapt. Business as usual is no longer good enough. To survive, organizations must also evolve. While this sounds commonsensical, it’s easier said than done. Challenging convention might be in the DNA of progressive companies such as Apple, Netflix, Starbucks and Tesla, but it’s not an inherent trait for more traditional organizations. And, while the “digital” in Digital Darwinism might…

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Samsung confirms plans for smartspeaker challenging Apple HomePod & Amazon Echo

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In addition to premiering the Galaxy Note 8, Samsung on Wednesday said that it’s working on its own smartspeaker, which will face off against products like the Apple HomePod, Amazon Echo, and Google Home.
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IBM is Challenging Congress’s Apocalyptic Perceptions of AI

IBM to Meet Washington

IBM is taking a stand for artificial intelligence (AI). The technology giant is lobbying Washington with the hope of challenging the view of “fearful prophets envisioning massive job loss, or even an eventual AI ‘overlord’ that controls humanity” — as David Kenny, the vice president for IBM Watson, wrote in an open letter to congress.

He went on to write that the “real disaster would be abandoning or inhibiting cognitive technology before its full potential can be realized.” Kenny is also participating with the bipartisan Artificial Intelligence Caucus.

Kenny’s arguments center around three core principles. The first is that past technologies like the bar code scanner and ATM have vastly improved efficiency and drove job creation. The second is that taxing or otherwise inhibiting the process of AI will cost the U.S. its competitive advantage. Instead, there should be a change in education and training to prepare the country for the technology. The third is any AI company should be transparent about their system’s decision-making process and promote a principle of individual data governance.

IBM is weaved into the history of AI’s development. Its engineers pioneered some of the earliest AI systems, including Deep Blue, which was responsible for beating world chess champion Gary Kasparov — one of AI’s greatest achievements to date. Currently, IBM’s Watson is one of the leading cognitive computing systems in the world, with applications stretching from diagnosing disease, to writing cookbooks and creating recipes, to tackling the data-heavy tasks of the federal government.

The Ethics of AI

IBM’s proposal to inform congress about AI is not the first high-profile venture to do so. Numerous think tanks, meetings, and summits have occurred to discuss the ethics of AI and promote responsible integration of the technology.

White House AI Report: Everything You Need to Know [INFOGRAPHIC]
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Last year, representatives from Google, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, and Facebook formed the Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society with the goal of developing a possible set of guidelines for AI development. There have also been more individual attempts to investigate AI — such as those by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, and Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, both of whom have invested millions in AI research.

Despite the minds and the money devoted to solving the problem, the ethics of AI remains a remarkably sticky moral bog, which involves questions of personhood, sentience, and rights that have troubled philosophers for centuries.

However, IBM’s efforts represent a positive step toward a pragmatic approach to solve a problem before we are amidst it. Our regulation of — and relationship with — AI is likely to govern our future. We can take solace that the industry leaders are at least taking it seriously and thinking about the implications of their decisions.

The post IBM is Challenging Congress’s Apocalyptic Perceptions of AI appeared first on Futurism.


Seven Islands – [Sponsor] Defeat the cardinal sins in Seven Islands, a challenging endless runner out now on iOS

We’d like to thank our sponsor for this week, Seven Islands from LionStar Studios. Seven Islands is a brand new endless runner that’s anything but generic. It tasks you with traversing, you guessed it, seven islands that are each themed on one of the seven cardinal sins. There’s a unique challenge to overcome based on the sin each island is associated with, but don’t worry – you won’t be going in blind. You’re given a clue at the start of each level to help prepare you for the new challenges ahead. And you’ll need all the help you can get, as the difficulty quickly ramps up. This isn’t your traditional casual endless runner. It’s level-based, and it’s far from easy. It plays like a traditional endless runner though. You’ll swipe right and left to dodge obstacles, jump over stuff, and collect a bunch of helpful items like stones, coins, treasure, and diamonds. Seven Islands, seven deadly sins

Available For: iOS

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Evergrow – Evergrow is a polished and challenging puzzler

The premise of Evergrow is simple — combine the same color blocks to create a larger and larger square. The level based game play keeps the game from getting stale or too difficult too quickly. It all seems pretty standard, but something happened when I was playing the game, Evergrow grew on me. The little touches like haptic feedback, customization, and a great soundtrack set this apart from other simple puzzlers. Give it a shot!

Available For: iOS

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