Xbox One Teardown: Yet Another PC in Game Clothing | EE Times

Xbox One Teardown: Yet Another PC in Game Clothing | EE Times.



I thought this teardown from Chipworks is very informative

The wifi board is won by Marvell, the XBox One has a pair of Avastar chips, a 88W8897M WLAN/BT/NFC SoC  and88W8782U WLAN SoC.

The main processor is an AMD chip with x86 and graphics built in. See the picture below for details.



Qualcomm Toq watch

Want a Toq watch for Christmas? Yes, you can pre-order it from Qualcomm‘s web site

Qualcomm TOQ

The Toq watch is really an innovative gadget, with Qualcomm’s Mirasol display technology (MEMS based) which is always on and consumes very little power. It also supports wireless charging, which is really neat and convenient. Unfortunately, you will need an Android phone to use the Toq, if you use iOS, you are out of luck. You should also be running at least version 4.0.3 Android, or preferably Jelly Bean or newer operating systems.

I wonder what sort of problems does the Toq actually solve? I could think of a few:

  1. Phone is sitting in a purse or backpack and results in missed calls during commute.
  2. Phone is set to mute and as a result, missed calls or text messages.
  3. Stock quotes and government alerts are missed as cell phones are not in front of us at all times. Is this a big deal?

I also wonder about the problems that the Toq could bring:

  1. Bluetooth must be turned on at all times for Toq to work. Will this cause battery on the cell phone to drain too quickly?
  2. Is wearing a Toq watch a fashion statement or will it appear too nerdy?
  3. Will the Toq distract drivers while driving? Will it cause OCD type behavior like checking the watch all the time?
  4. If I wish to switch to a different bluetooth connection, can I do it seamlessly? This happens when I get in my car and want to use my bluetooth speakerphone in my car. Is it overly complicated?

I guess the bottom line really is this, what problems is the Toq trying to solve? Is it effective in solving the problems? What are the problems that could be caused by the Toq?  I don’t have the answers 🙂





Digitimes Research forecasts 1.24 Billion smartphones in 2014

Coolpad mi515Digitimes Research is forecasting Global smartphone shipments to reach about 1.24 billion in 2014, up 30% from 2013.

Russia, India, Indonesia and Latin America countries will likely be driving demand for new smartphones in the coming year.

The following are the rankings of various handset OEMs according to Digitimes:

1. Samsung
2. Apple
3. LG
4. Sony
5. Lenovo
6. Huawei
7. Microsoft (Nokia)
8. ZTE
9. Coolpad
10. TCL

Apple confirms deal for 3D sensing company PrimeSense

Microsoft XBOX 360 Kinect Sensor. it can Expos...

Microsoft XBOX 360 Kinect Sensor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PrimeSense, the company that launched 3D sensing technology used in the Kinect by Microsoft will be acquired by Apple for close to $345 million.

PrimeSense is based in Tel Aviv in Israel and is best known for powering gesture control used by Microsoft XBox 360. For its next generation XBox One game console, Microsoft has chosen technologies from 3DV (which it acquired earlier) and Canesta.

Based on the acquisition of PrimeSense, there has been speculation that Apple is preparing for a television offering or enhancements to its current Apple TV product. Regardless of which way Apple goes, it is certainly an exciting development as everyone can look forward to innovation in the living room entertainment platform. For early adopters, they can look forward to shell out more money to get the next big thing in their living room. I like the video that PrimeSense posted on their website, although the parts about ordering pizza and answering the phone with video enabled are not likely scenarios for most consumers.

MediaTek launches world’s first true octa-core mobile chip

MediaTek’s MT6592 is the first true octa-core mobile processor and will support simultaneous operations of all eight cores between 1.7 GHz to 2.0 GHz. According to MediaTek, handsets with the new MT6592 will be shipping by end of the year.

The MT6592 also spot an ARM Mali-450 MP graphics processor which could perform video frame rate upscaling to 60 frames per second as well as decode full 4K H.265 (Ultra-HD) video.

MediaTek disclosed that it would launch a 4G LTE modem by end of the year to complement the new Octa-core processor.

The big question will be, can the MT6592 beat the Snapdragon 805 in performance and power consumption? Will the 4G LTE modem by MediaTek be good enough? We will have to wait to find out. Competition is certainly heating up.

Press release from MediaTek 


Semiconductor Product Lifecycle Management

According to a survey conducted by Kalypso in 2006, semiconductor companies are facing significant challenges in product development. Key findings are summarized below:

  1. Only 45% of new product launches meet their original launch date
  2. More than 60% of all semiconductor designs require at least one re-spin
  3. Only 59% of semiconductor designs make it into production
  4. Over 40% of development projects exceed the planned budget
  5. Less than 60% of semiconductor projects hit their product cost targets
  6. 83% of issues identified during validation are design-related

The findings point to a need for much better new product development processes in semiconductor companies. The challenges for semiconductor companies are daunting:

  1. Mask cost is $2 million for 65 nm wafers. Mask cost is more than $4 million for 45 nm wafers
  2. Increased design complexities due to higher integration and smaller geometries
  3. Intellectual property is getting costlier and may not be readily available from 3rd parties.
  4. EDA tools need to be upgraded constantly and accurate models may not be available.
  5. New Packaging technology is getting significantly more complex, making it hard to simulate and predict performance
  6. The ecosystem of creating packaged products involve many parties, including foundries, quality, reliability, packaging, assembly houses, wafer probe and testing, operations, suppliers and many others. Too many moving pieces to get everything aligned.

I really like the block diagram in the Kalypso whitepaper written by Bill Poston and Joe Dury. I am reproducing it here for reference:

Source: Kalypso White Paper "Semiconductor Product LifeCycle Management"

 Each of the above deserves detailed discussion and consideration. Recognizing the importance of a well thought out Product Lifecycle Management process and system is the first step towards overcoming the challenges of new product development mentioned above.

You can read the full Kalypso paper here:

Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 805

The just announced Snapdragon 805 is definitely a significant step forward for Ultra-HD video on mobile platforms. I am surprised at how fast Qualcomm moves to support Ultra HD (4K) since adoption of Ultra HD is still very limited even on large screens.

The new Adreno 420 GPU is impressive and provides spport to render as well as capture 4K video. Coupled with 4 Krait CPUs running at 2.5 GHz per core, the Snapdragon 805 will support HQV video post processing and hardware HEVC H.265 decode. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is an UltraHD home theater in your pocket, but it certainly would help push the creation of handheld 4K content for early adopters of Ultra HD video. I look forward to see new handsets with this capability.