Archive

Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

CSSPs — custom to catalog solutions from Quicklogic

April 16, 2013 Comments off

Andy Pease.

Andy Pease.

QuickLogic is a Silicon Valley-based fabless semiconductor company. It is an innovator of CSSPs or customer-specific standard products. It is focused on high-growth mobile markets such as consumer,  enterprise and mobile enterprise.

Speaking at the ongoing 13th Global Electronics Summit in Santa Cruz, USA, Andy Pease president and CEO, QuickLogic, said it does all the drivers that actually need to be inside all the application processors. It is trying to solve the OEM dilemma for mobile market. There are the Android + ARM camp and the Windows + x86 camp, respectively. One way to solve the problem is to do software overlay to Android/Windows.

CSSPs enables the OEM hardware differentiation. It allows fastest time-to-market for custom silicon. It also extends the battery life. The reference designs showcases proven system blocks and capabilities. It is a known good starting point for CSSP development.

The application development dilemma includes optimizing for the specific vertical vs. horizontal markets. When does the integration happen for new standards? Also, how long does a company need to keep mature standards?

QuickLogic has inrtroduced catalog CSSPs. These are ready-to-integrate solutions. They are architectured, developed and verified with application processor vendors.

Platform diversity enables solutions 100 percent programmable for ultimate flexibility. Hybrid programmable/ASIC is provided for common applications requiring some customization. The go-to-market strategy includes complete solutions. It includes software drivers, firmware and application reference codes. It is a collaborative customer model.

A partner challenge could be to re-position its existing AP in new, adjacent markets and applications. QuickLogic’s solution is to provide custom design and software drivers to bridge the AP with camera interface to different types of image capture devices.

Another example is in SD memory. The premier challenge is to adapt the existing baseband processor to emerging market requirements. QuickLogic’s solution is to develop multiple custom designs and software drivers to bridge the baseband with SD memory.

Catalog CSSPs emable the OEM engineers expanded functionality beyond the application processor’s native capability. They expand the served available market of application/embedded processor companies. It scales QuickLogic’s resources across multiple end markets, applications and customers.

Elliptic intros world’s first commercial touchless gesturing technology!

November 13, 2012 1 comment

Source: Elliptic Labs, USA.

Source: Elliptic Labs, USA.

Palo Alto, US-based Elliptic Labs has introduced the world’s first commercial touchless gesturing technology using ultrasound, designed for electronic devices and Windows 8. Elliptic’s breakthrough technology is the first of its kind commercially available and has been incorporated in the Windows 8 Gesture Suite, introduced today. So, what’s this new technology from Elliptic Labs really all about?

Well, OEMs now have a commercially available technology to integrate gesture recognition in their terminals – with extremely low power and robust detection of hand gestures. The technology is based on ultrasound, and requires a small number of low-cost components (microphones, transducers) for integration in the terminal.

The actual gesture recognition is done on the host CPU, running a power-efficient detection software provided by Elliptic labs. Ultrasonic gesture recognition has a perfect fit with Windows 8 user interface, and the company provides gestures for very simple interaction with a Windows 8 terminal with the new Modern/METRO user interface.

With this technology, you can command a laptop simply by gesturing in front of the computer, and to the sides and above the screen. A key feature of ultrasound is that Elliptic Labs supports gestures not only in the front of the computer, but also to the sides and above, enabling intuitive interactions with the terminal.

Another advantage of ultrasound is that it works in complete darkness, and in direct sunlight, which is challenging for camera-based solutions, and very important for mobile use. Yet another great news is the availability of a Software Development Kit (SDK), so that the OEMs and ISVs can adapt the technology to their particular applications. Elliptic Labs has provided a Starter Kit to get started with ultrasound gestures in minutes!

Mobiles and tablets groove!
This technology can also be used in laptops, mobiles and tablets. A Windows 8 laptop can be operated by simple gestures, which is

Source: Elliptic Labs, USA.

Source: Elliptic Labs, USA.

usually found on touch screens. The OEMs and ISVs can now create new and intuitive user interfaces for a Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer as they wish.

With the SDK, game developers can quickly port their games to support ultrasound controls, and business applications can leverage gestures for quick browsing, selection, and general operation of software. Mobiles and tables can also leverage ultrasound gestures, as the SDK is being made available also for the Android operating system.

Ultrasonic approach!
Elliptic Labs has made use of the ultrasonic approach, which apparently, makes life easier for batteries. The amount of information from a few microphones is much smaller than the amount of information from camera-based solutions. The algorithms for ultrasound gesture recognition can execute with less instructions, resulting in significant lower power usage.

As a result, the ability to do gesture recognition can be “always on”, so users can rely on gestures for all applications of the terminal. The aspect of power consumption is of particular importance for mobile terminals.

Elliptic is a leader in ultrasonic touchless gesturing for consumer electronic devices. Its patented, low-power, responsive new technology is superior to the limited, camera-based approaches on the market. The Windows 8 Gesture Suite enables a touchless version of all touchscreen gestures in the new operating system. Combined with Elliptic’s SDK, the technology gives OEMs the flexibility to create disruptive new ways to interact with devices.

Elliptic’s ultrasound technology uses sound waves and microphones to detect movement, similar to how radar detects objects. The technology is not limited to detecting movement within camera view — it detects natural hand movements that extend beyond the camera, surrounding a device screen.

Microsoft launches developer program for Windows Phone

November 3, 2011 Comments off

MIcrosoft Windows Phone.

Microsoft Windows Phone.

Microsoft has launched a program for developers where they can build applications (apps) for mobile and win a Windows Phone. It also showcased some of the latest Windows Phones from leading handset vendors.

Microsoft calls the Windows Phone as People vs. Icons — it puts people first. The mobile phone itself has a load of features, such as People Hub, Groups, Threads, Better email, Calendar, Bing Vision, IE9 and Pictures Hub. There’s more, in form of XBOX Live, Multitasking, Music + Videos, Custom Ringtones, Office 365, Live Tiles, Voice to text, My Windows Phone, SharePoint, Local Scout, Remote Wipe.

According to Harish Vaidyanathan, Microsoft, the company has moved up from zero (0) to 30,000 apps in just 12 months.

Microsoft also highlighted ‘i Unlock Joy’ for students. The Windows Phone is designed to put people in the center – making it easier for them to connect and share with friends, family and colleagues, so they never miss a moment. Here’s your chance to unlock your creativity — build apps for the latest Windows Phone, and win the latest mobile phone.

Microsoft has unveiled a program for developers and students where they can participate and build apps, and win a Windows Phone. For students, the program runs till December 31, 2011, while it runs till March 31, 2012 for developers.

Windows Phone will present your apps to people in smarter and easier ways. The new Metro UI design helps developers create breathtaking apps and makes them easier to discover and use. “I Unlock Joy” program is definitely your chance to become the users’ favourite and get a brand new Windows Phone.

Developers can download the complete set of developer tools to build Windows Phone apps. They can choose the tools and technology for app development. They can also become a member of the Windows Phone Marketplace with an annual membership fee of $99 and get access to the App Hub and certification process. Developers can submit an unlimited number of certified paid apps and up to 100 free apps as registered App Hub member.

In case you are a woman developer, you too have a chance to win a Windows Phone by developing just 1 app (for first 100 female participants). Women are required to submit their apps on the Marketplace by March 31, 2012.

To participate, be aware that you are a technology professional – software developer, project manager or software architect – working and residing in India. You are not an employee, intern, agent or a relative of an employee of Microsoft Corp. (India) or Microsoft Corp. or any of their affiliates; You are not involved in any part of the execution or administration of this program.

You can participate in the program by:
* Submitting three (3) new Windows Phone Apps that get published at the Windows Phone Marketplace by March 31, 2012;
* Submitting two (2) new Windows Phone Apps that you have ported from existing Android and/or iPhone apps, which get published at the Marketplace by March 31, 2012; and
* If you are a woman developer, submitting one (1) new Windows Phone App based on Entertainment, Fashion, Leisure, Gaming, Recreation or Travel Themes, which gets published at the Marketplace by March 31, 2012.

So, fill up the Registration Form posted on Microsoft’s website with all the required information. You need to register on the App Hub with a $99 annual membership fee, which entitles you to publish and manage apps at Windows Phone Marketplace. Your app should get certified on App Hub and published at Windows Phone Marketplace on or before March 31, 2012. To participate, developers need to go through the application submission checklist.

PS: I shall refrain from commenting on the Windows Phone, for now! 😉

Game changers: New paradigms for future of electronic product realization

October 20, 2011 Comments off

The Cadence Executive Forum, titled, ‘Game Changers: New Paradigms for the Future of Electronic Product Realization’, was held this evening in Bangalore, India. The speakers were Lip-Bu Tan, president and CEO, Cadence, and Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman of Microsoft India.

In the opening address, Tan remarked that there is likely to be challenging next 12 months in the USA and Europe. It may also impact the Asia Pacific region. However, from an EDA perspective, there will be new design, as companies would be involved in designing next-generation products and killer applications. There will also be more consolidation, which will continue. Another trend is that the number of start-ups has dropped.

There are two main drivers — technology and market. The cloud is starting to present a big opportunity. Other key areas include green technology and power management. Video will be driving a lot of traffic. The impact on the electronics industry will be new product development, with the IP having expanded beyond processor cores, an increase in collaborations and a changing EDA landscape — Cadence is investing on its decision to deliver the on the EDA360 vision.

Some of the recent highlights include Cadence’s new software development suite that addresses the hardware-software design gap, expansion of the Palladium XP, and releasing the industry’s first DDR4 solution, which includes controller, soft and hard PHY, drivers, verfication IP (VIP) memory models and signal integrity reference designs.

He spoke about horizontal collaborations such as app programing interface, and  vertical collaborations, which creates differentiation in the end markets. It also engages foundries in EDA, IP, etc. As an example, Tan spoke of Spreadtrum achieving one-pass silicon realization for the first 40nm product. Some other examples include Samsung designing and implementing 20nm product, ARM and Cadence collaborating on GHz implementation of Cortex-A15, and ARM, TSMC and Cadence collaborating on the industry’s first 20nm Cortex-A15.

Speaking on ‘Consumerization of IT’, Bhaskar Pramanik touched upon consumer trends driving IT. These trends include the economic system of computers, natural interaction, data explosion, social computing, pervasive displays, ubiquitous connectivity, and cloud computing.

According to him, computers will adapt to us. They will enable computing interfaces that are far more easier to use. The key business requirement is to balance the user expectations with the enterprise requirements.

Smarter systems in third era of computing!

September 19, 2011 2 comments

Jeff Chu, director of Consumer, Client Computing at ARM.

Jeff Chu, director of Consumer, Client Computing at ARM.

Over 1.8 billion ARM cores were shipped in chips during Q1-2011. Consumers are now driving computing. The Internet of things envisages 100 billion+ units by 2020, according to Jeff Chu, director of Consumer, Client Computing at ARM, who was speaking on ‘Smarter systems for smarter consumers: 3rd era of computing’ at the ARM Technical Symposium.

ARM’s ecosystem has benefitted. Tablets have changed the competitive landscape. New OSs such as Android Honeycomb, Google Chrome OS and RIM QNX are enabling innovation. Also, Microsoft Windows 8 will likely transform PCs forever.

Consumers are always demanding more as they want choices. There are a range of devices available. These come in a lot of cool form factors, along with applications and services. There is a growing software ecosystem as well. It is all about smarter systems.

Smarter systems require a balanced approach. High-performance, low power CPUs are critical. The GPU is now critical and more important than the CPU. Video is now moving to 3D. All of these functions require processors that perform. ARM multicore enables the best of both worlds, allowing a perfect balance of peak performance and optimum power.

ARM offers a broad range of application processors. It also has power optimized MALI GPUs. ARM is providing choices in silicon solutions — such as ARM Cortex A8, A9 or ARMv7A. ARM also has the TrustZone security to keep everything safe. A whole lot of software is also required. ARM’s application diversity really delivers here. ARM also maintains a leadership in Android with over 550K ARM devices shipped.

Momentum is leading to innovation. New devices and user experience is based on open source hardware. Local innovation has led to regional designs. As a result, we are now witnessing broader adoption and expanding markets. Enterprise needs are being met by thin clients. There are also a growing number of ARM SoCs.

ARM is building on the smartphone ecosystem. ARM works with OEMs and software developers to create an ecosystem.

Top 10 influential tech products of last 25 years

August 11, 2007 Comments off

It is becoming a season to talk about top things, ain’t it? About a fortnight back, Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), announced its Top 10 list of the most influential technology products of the past 25 years.

According to CompTIA, a total of 471 individuals participated in the CompTIA survey, which was conducted in May and June. Products developed by Microsoft claimed four of the top five spots in the poll of information technology (IT) industry professionals, conducted in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of CompTIA. Apple’s iPod is the only non-Microsoft product to break into the top 5.

As per CompTIA, the top 10 most influential technology (or computing) products of the past 25 years are:

1. Internet Explorer (selected by 66 percent those surveyed)
2. MS Word (selected by 56 percent of survey respondents)
3. Windows 95 (selected by 50 percent of survey respondents)
4. Apple’s iPod and MS Excel (tied at 49 percent each)
6. Blackberry (selected by 39 percent of survey respondents)
7. Adobe Photoshop (selected by 35 percent of survey respondents)
8. McAfee VirusScan (selected by 32 percent of survey respondents)
9. Netscape Navigator and Palm’s PalmPilot (tied at 31 percent each)

While there will be differences of opinion about this list, and also the fact that components of MS Office have been broken up into separate components, it’s quite evident yet again that Microsoft rules the computing world, and will continue to do so for a long time. Well done to the great team at Microsoft!

Now, I have my own comments regarding these selections. First, I have always believed Mac OS to be better than Windows. So, I’d put Mac OS in place of Windows 95.

I won’t have MS Office there, or any components of MS Office, as I felt back in early 2000 that StarOffice and now, Open Office are equally good.

I’d replace IE with Opera, which is a lighter and much better browser, even back when it was first launched.

Yes, Apple’s iPod has revolutionized digital music, but don’t forget Real Player! The first time we all probably started watching videos and listen to music over the Web was by using the Real Player! For most, it was the first experience of streaming video and audio!

I agree Palm’s done very well and changed the way people looked at mobile computing. However, it was the short-lived Apple’s Newton, which first promised all of this. By the way, I must have the iMac on my list too.

My list would have another Adobe product, the Pagemaker, which revolutionized desktop publishing. Don’t know whether people remember Quark Express! I am tempted to add Unix, or well, Linux, as it really brought open source into the great, wide open!

Lot of people are enamored by the Blackberry today. However, it was way back in 2000 when I was using my Siemens GSM phone in Hong Kong and elsewhere to send and receive emails, and also use it to search for hotels and other establishments over GPRS. In fact, at a conference in Singapore in 2002, during a survey done among the participants, I was among the three people using the GSM phone to send and receive emails! So, shouldn’t mobile phones be the first on everyone’s list?

Finally, I’ll definitely add Tally to my list. Tally, as all Indians know, is the most widely used accounting software, starting way back in 1986. The mumbers achieved by this single accounting software is simply mind-boggling!

My Top 10
Therefore, friends, my list of the top 10 technology (or computing) products of the last 25 years would be:

1. Mobile phones (GSM phones, especially) — all down the years
2. Tied between Apple’s Mac OS and the iMac
3. Linux
4. McAfee’s VirusScan
5. Real Player
6. Tied between Quark Express and Adobe Pagemaker
7. Netscape Navigator
8. Tally
9. Tied between StarOffice and Open Office
10. Tied between Opera browser and Apple’s Newton

I am sure that most people will not agree with my selection/choices or even find my list appealing. That’s fine! It’s my own individual selection and I’m not canvassing for anyone in particular! These are purely my observations over the last two decades.

I am delighted at having had the privilege, like most of you, perhaps, to have had the honor of using all of these great technologies and products. Hats off to all the technologists of the world!

%d bloggers like this: