Tech news

Sony puts music on the cloud
Berlin: Sony has announced a new service called Music Unlimited, through which its electronic products will stream music, converting them into online libraries. The new service joins Sony's already available video-on-demand service called the Qriocity service.

Fujio Nishida, President, Sony Europe said of the new service, "It is a cloud-based digital music streaming service that gives music lovers access to millions of tracks stored and synced with your devices. The service will be going live by the end of the year."

The announcement of Music Unlimited service came at the IFA electronics show, which is the world's largest trade fair for consumer electronics and home appliances.

Although Sony has been trying hard to push its music services and pitting it against Apple time and again, the results have not been to Sony's liking. However, with the Qriocity service, Sony has taken the music and video on the cloud. This a completely different model and a novel approach.

The cloud model allows the music to be sent over the network to several devices including Sony's TVs, Blu-ray players, PS3 game consoles, and Windows PCs. The service will gradually be available on range of portable devices of the future, added Nishida.

Nothing was announced of the cost of the service or the range of the music that will be available in the service. Chris Thielbar, Manager, Product Planning for Sony's network services said that Sony was still negotiating with labels.
Apple launches in built iTunes service 'Ping' 
San Francisco: In a move to enter the social networking business, Apple has introduced Ping, a service built into iTunes that aims to help users discover new music and, presumably, buy more songs from Apple.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has showcased Ping at Apple's annual music event along with a string of other new products including updates to iPod line of music players and new software that allows wireless printing from iPads and iPhones. With Ping, users will be able to follow friends and see what music they have bought or enjoyed, what concerts they plan to attend and what music they have reviewed. They will also be able to follow bands and get updates on their new releases, concert tours and other events.

Three new iPods were announced, an iPod Shuffle that ditches the previous no-button style in returning to a more classic look, a smaller iPod Nano that now has a touch screen but can no longer play video, and a thinner iPod Touch that has most of the features first introduced on the iPhone 4. The new iPods will be available next week.

Researchers at HP and Rice University to solve microchip roadblock
Bangalore: Scientists at Hewlett- Packard and Rice University are reporting that they can overcome a fundamental barrier of computer memory that has been the basis for the consumer electronics revolution.
HP might enter into a commercial partnership with a major semiconductor company to produce a related technology that also has the potential to push computer data storage to astronomical densities in the next decade.

HP and the Rice scientists are making what are called memristors, or memory resistors, switches that retain information without a source of power.

In one of the two new developments, researchers at Rice University in Houston are reporting in Nano Letters, a journal of the American Chemical Society, that they have succeeded in building reliable small digital switches an essential part of computer memory that could shrink to a significantly smaller scale than is possible using conventional methods.

The advance is based on silicon oxide, a building block of the current chip industry, thus easing a move toward commercialization. The scientists said that PrivaTran, a Texas start-up company, had used the technique to make experimental chips that could store and retrieve information.

These chips store only 1,000 bits of data, but if the new technology fulfills the promise envisioned by its inventors, single chips that store as much as the highest capacity current disk drives could be possible in five years. The new method involves filaments as thin as five nanometers five billionths of a meter in width. That is thinner than what the industry hopes to achieve by the end of the decade using standard techniques. The initial discovery was made by Jun Yao, a graduate researcher at Rice.

IBM, Intel and other companies are already pursuing a competing technology called phase-change memory, which uses heat to transform a glassy material from an amorphous state to a crystalline one and back. Phase-change memory has been the most promising technology for so-called flash chips, which retain information after power, is switched off.
Third generation mobile services to hit the markets soon

New Delhi: Making certain amendments to the licence terms, the government Wednesday allocated airwaves to private telecom operators like Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone and Idea Cellular to roll out the third generation (3G) mobile and broadband services in the country.

The operators have been allocated 3G spectrum in each circle they won in the auction that fetched the government over Rs.67,000 crore. As many as seven operators had successfully bid for the spectrum in the auction in May.

Under the amended licence terms, the service providers are authorized to use the spectrum for a period of 20 years from the date allocation.

The amended licence conditions allow an operator to offer 3G services to its subscribers till the validity of the spectrum even if its telecom licence expires before that.

Under the roll-out obligations, the government has asked the operators to cover at least 90 percent of the service areas in the metros within five years.

In case an operator fails to carry out the roll-out obligation, it shall be given an extension of one year by making a payment of 2.5 percent of the successful bid amount per quarter. However, even after that if the service provider fails, the spectrum will be withdrawn.

Also, in case of a merger of two or more companies, only one slot of spectrum will be retained and they will have to surrender the remaining 3G spectrum blocks in that service area.

Public sector BSNL and MTNL, which were allotted 3G spectrum in advance on the condition that they would pay whatever was the highest bid amount, have launched the service in Delhi, Mumbai and 463 other cities and towns. 
 India will not compromise on security, firm on BlackBerry

New Delhi: India will not compromise on its security and all telecommunication data-related companies will have to comply with its demands, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said Wednesday.

Presenting his ministry's monthly report on security, Chidambaram said all companies who have come under the scanner of security agencies, including Research in Motion (RIM), Skype and Google, will have to find ways of providing access within 60 days.

"Discussion on technical solutions for further access are continuing and the matter will be reviewed within 60 days," said Chidambaram, who was accompanied by Home Secretary G.K. Pillai.

At a talk organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry Tuesday evening, Chidambaram had said: "Our stand is firm. We look forward to get access to data. There is no uncertainty over it."

India has asked companies that allow users to make voice calls over the Internet and RIM to provide security agencies access to their encrypted data.

"I do not want to go into details as the talks are still going on. But all the companies, which are providing communication services in India, will have to provide lawful access to (their telecommunication) data (to security agencies)," said Pillai, on being asked if notices have been sent to the likes of Google to allow access.

"They have to install servers in the country. The key word is lawful access and they will not be required to install server in India if they are able to provide access to their data without installing it."

The services offered by the likes of Skype and Google convert audio in a digital format that is later transmitted over the Internet. So a Skype user can make a call using a regular Internet connection to another computer, or a regular landline and mobile phone.

Though such calls are not allowed within the country, it is possible to do so for international calls. Security agencies have a problem with such calls as they are not able to monitor the encrypted content.

The government had extended the deadline for RIM to comply with its demands Monday by 60 days and said it will examine the efficacy of the technical solutions given by the smart phone maker in accessing its popular BlackBerry email service and messaging services.

The Department of Telecommunications has also been asked to provide a report on the feasibility of services provided through a server located in India within two months.
Internet users in India to touch 237 million by 2015

Bangalore: The number of internet users in India is likely to touch 237 million by 2015, which currently stands at 81 million, said a report by Boston Consulting Group. Although only 1 percent of mobile phone users are using the internet now, many Indians will first go online from a phone, the report further states.

According to Arvind Subramanian, Managing Director, BCG Mumbai, India is going to be different than what we have seen in mature markets but also in emerging markets. It’s going to be predominantly a mobile experience.

Indians are more interested in services that enhance personal productivity like job alerts or continuing education, said Subramanian. According to the research, about 73 percent of people who go online in India spend time job hunting.  
Semiconductor revenue to hit record level by 2011
Bangalore: Semiconductor revenue in 2010 on worldwide to see a 31.5 percent increase from 2009. In 2009 the revenue was $228 billion and it is expected to reach $300 billion by year end. In 2011 it is expected to reach $314 billion, a 4.6 percent increase from 2010.

"Semiconductor growth in the first half of 2010 was very strong but it is becoming increasingly clear that the industry cannot maintain the momentum in the second half of 2010 and into 2011," said Bryan Lewis, Research Vice President at Gartner. "While the impact of the European credit crisis has subsided, the global economic recovery is slowing and there is concern that electronic equipment vendors are adopting a cautious stance, ready to cut production at the first signs of slowing customer orders."

The projected 2010 revenue for the semiconductor industry has increased from Gartner's forecast in the second quarter of 2010, when it expected worldwide semiconductor sales to grow 27.1 percent in 2010.
The PC supply chain is showing the most evidence of a correction, as can be seen by recent company announcements, including Intel's lowering its third quarter guidance. The outlook for the mobile phone market has been steadily improving throughout 2010.

Smartphones continue to drive the mobile phone semiconductor market, representing 18 percent of units and 36 percent of overall 2010 mobile phone semiconductor revenue. These percentages increase to 41 percent of units and 64 percent of mobile phone semiconductor revenue by 2014 as entry-level smartphones trigger a second wave of growth in the market. A dramatic rise in DRAM revenue growth also is set to peak in 2010.
Govt. to send notice to Google, Skype for access of data 

NEW DELHI: After mobile phone maker BlackBerry, the government will issue notices to search engine Google, internet phone call provider Skype, service provider Virtual Private Network (VPN) and a few other entities to make available their services to law enforcement agencies.

The notices to these entities will be issued beginning tomorrow and all of them will be asked to comply with the directive or else they will have to close down their networks in India, a senior official said today.

"There will be no discrimination. All networks operating in India will have to give access to their services to law enforcement agencies," the official said.

The development comes after the government had given a similar notice to Research In Motion, the makers of BlackBerry mobile phones, to allow interception of all types communications using the device.

The Union Home Ministry has discussed the security concerns related to voice and messaging services on the Internet offered by Google and Skype in India, both of which have considerable presence in the country.

The data travelling through Google, Skype, VPN and a few other networks is not accessible by security agencies in the country.

Google is a popular search engine which also offers email, online chatting and owns social networking website Orkut.

Luxembourg-based Skype SA provides telephony services over the Internet on personal computers and mobile phones also uses proprietary encryption and decryption.

VPN is a network that uses a public telecommunication infrastructure, such as the Internet, to provide remote offices or individual users with secure access to their organization's network.
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