Vendor News

Microsoft Teases Windows Mixed Reality Event

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Microsoft Teases Windows Mixed Reality Event

The press is to see more of the Windows Mixed Reality-- aka the Microsoft combination of virtual and augmented reality-- at a special event come 3 October 2017, ahead of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update launch.

The event should be an "opportunity to hear where Microsoft is headed next," and will have Kinect and HoloLens inventor Alex Kipman as speaker.

One can safely assume the event will host a variety of Windows Mixed Reality headsets, which should hit the market from 17 October. As seen at IFA 2017, Mixed Reality headsets come from a number of vendors, including Acer, HP, Dell and Lenovo. The trade show also hosted an Asus headset with unique polygonal design, but that one will only hit the market on Spring 2018.

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Huawei Takes on Apple With "Real AI Phone" Promise

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Huawei Takes on Apple With

Were you impressed by the iPhone X's Neural Engine-powered face-recognition? Huawei insists it isn't, as it posts a video on its Facebook page stating "facial recognition isn't for everyone."

Following that, the video also claims it will unveil a "real AI phone" on 16 October 2017-- meaning its latest flagship, the Mate 10.

Marketing bombast aside, Huawei might have something actually interesting to show off with the Mate 10. After all, it will be the first phone powered with the Chinese company's latest system-on-a-chip, the Kirin 970. Presented at IFA 2017, the Kirin 970 carries a "Neural Processing Unit" (NPU), a set of processing cores dedicated to AI tasks.

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New iPhones, Watch, Apple TV at September Apple Event

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New iPhones, Watch, Apple TV at September Apple Event

The 12th of September sees Apple inaugurate its new, purpose-built theatre-- named, of course, the Steve Jobs Theatre-- with the launch of the latest iPhone models, as well as the Watch Series 3 and the Apple TV 4K.

Following an preamble on the state of the Apple Store by retail chief Angela Ahrendts, Tim Cook took to the stage to present the next version of the Watch. First off was the revelation the Watch is now the top watch in the world, beating even the likes of Rolex and Fossil, while customer satisfaction is no less than 97%. The company also claims the Watch is now the most used heart rate monitor in the world.

But what is really interesting is the next generation of Watch-- Watch Series 3, now with built-in cellular radio for truly bringing the Dick Tracy 2-way wrist radio dream to life. The smartwatch shares a number with the user's iPhone, streams Apple Music and pairs with with the AirPods. Powering it is a new dual-core processor promising a 70% performance boost, together with a custom W2 wifi/Bluetooth chip. Handling cellular connectivity is an electronic SIM, while the antenna is built right into the display.

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What Apple Wants: Samsung OLED Alternatives?

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What Apple Wants: Samsung OLED Alternatives?

Well connected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the next iPhone brings Apple a massive dilemma-- being sole OLED supplier lends Samsung power in the negotiation of display prices, leading to production costs.

As AppleInsider reports, Kuo says OLED prices cost Apple $120-130 per unit, much higher than the $45-55 per unit Apple is believed to be paying for iPhone 7 LCD displays. Thus, the analyst states, Apple is "in urgent need" for a second OLED source. However such a task is no way easy, since such a supplier needs to ramp up OLED output while meeting Apple quality control standards.

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Intel Focuses WiGig on VR

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Intel Focuses WiGig on VR

According to Aanandtech Intel is giving up on most of its 60GHz 802.11ad-- aka WiGig-- networking products, as it has plans to discontinue all current WiGig devices before focusing the technology on VR applications.

WiGig offers higher performance than 802.11ac, reaching up to 4.8 gigabits per second. However the use of the 60GHz band (as opposed to the 5 or 2.4GHz of regular wifi) limits the technology to a very short range. It also requires line of sight between device and base station, with essentially zero penetration through walls. As such, using WiGig as a wifi replacement requires putting a base station in every room of the house.

That said, despite such limitations WiGig makes for an excellent cable replacement-- such as in VR headsets, which is where Intel is going to use the technology. Back in May 2017 HTC showed off a Vive running on WiGig, the result of a collaboration with Chipzilla. Other companies are also interested in WiGig, including AMD (who acquired Nitero for millimeter wave radio technology) and the Facebook-owned Oculus.

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Apple Pay Coming Soon to Germany?

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Apple Pay Coming Soon to Germany?

According to MacRumors another European country might soon get Apple Pay-- Germany, at least judging from a news story submission by reader Philipp Ebener.

Ebener says that as he was presented with the option to add German bank cards to Apple Pay as he was setting up a new Apple Watch on the 5th regional betas of iOS 11 and watchOS. He was not actually able to register a German credit card on the system, but the partial enablement suggests full activation will arrive once the two operating systems get official launch.

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LG Display Goes All Out on OLED

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LG Display Goes All Out on OLED

LG Display has big plans for OLED technology-- the company announces the investment of almost $7 billion (or 7.8 trillion Korean won) over the next 3 years in OLED panel production in order to meet demand from smartphone and TV makers.

The company plans to open 3 OLED production lines, two in S. Korea and one in China. Both will produce glass and plastic panels suitable for next-generation smartphones and in-vehicle displays. In addition, around $2.5bn will go in the development of larger OLED displays, while $4.5bn will go towards a separate line of flexible OLEDs.

As a result, the total LG is investing in OLED technology totals $13.5 billion (15 trillion Korean won). The success of recently launched OLED panels for TVs such as the Wallpaper OLED and Crystal Sound OLED (CSO) is cited as part of the reason behind such spending.

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Corsair Finds Buyer?

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Corsair Finds Buyer?

According to Reuters PC peripheral and component maker Corsair has found a buyer-- "advanced discussions" on the matter are going on with EagleTree Capital, a middle market private equity firm.

The story comes from anonymous sources, and neither Corsair nor EagleTree has commented on the matter.

Founded in 1994 by current CEO and owner Andy Paul, Corsair makes high performance gaming hardware such as keyboards, mice and headsets. It also owns the PC gaming brand Raptor Gaming. The company was set to go public in 2013, but scrapped such plans after it received a $75 million investment from Francisco Partners.

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Logitech Buys Astro Gaming

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Logitech Buys Astro Gaming

Logitech acquires the means of producing another piece of gaming hardware with Astro Gaming, maker of the highly rated A-Series headsets and Mixamp console peripherals.

The deal cost Logitech $85 million in cash and is the second acquisition for the company in little more than a year, following the September 2016 purchase of British joystick maker Saitek from Mad Catz. Post-acquisition Astro Gaming will be folded into the Logitech G gaming peripheral brand.

"Astro is the leading player for premium console headsets and is the preferred headset for console esports athletes," Logitech says. "It's a perfect complement to Logitech G's focus on PC gaming and we couldn't be more excited; we love the team, the brand and the products. Together, we want to make game play even more fun for gamers everywhere."

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EU Considers More Durable, Repairable Devices

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EU Considers More Durable, Repairable Devices

The European Parliament is discussing how to encourage the creation of more durable and repairable devices-- with measures including "minimum resistance criteria" and labels showing how easy devices are to repair.

According to a 2014 Eurobarometer survey, 77% of EU consumers would rather repair goods than buy new ones. As such, MEPs are suggesting ways to tackle built-in obsolescence, which forces users to replace or discard products. For instance, companies can get incentives for making durable and repairable products, boosting repairs and 2nd hand sales. Meanwhile essential components such as batteries and LEDs should not be fixed into products, and spare parts should be available “at a price commensurate with the nature and life-time of the product.”

The Parliament is also asking the European Commission to consider a "voluntary European label" giving products a score based on durability, eco-design features, upgradeability and repairability, as well as a "usage meter" for large electrical appliances.

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Apple Pay Expands Further in Europe

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Apple Pay Expands Further in Europe

An update of the Apple regional websites shows Apple Pay is available in more banks in France, Italy and Spain, increasing the coverage of the iPhone maker's mobile payment system.

In France, Apple Pay will be available at three regional federations of Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne, Crédit Mutuel du Sud-Ouest and Crédit Mutuel Massif Central. It is also coming to Crédit Mutuel Arkéa online banking subsidiary Fortuneo and Max.

In Italy Apple Pay is available at Banca Mediolanum for Mediolanum Card debit cards, which are based on the Mastercard Maestro network.

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