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Memory Prices Could Fall 20% in 2019

DRAMeXchange says that DRAM prices could "drop by 15~20% YoY in 2019 due to the weak price trend of server DRAM." The researchers point a finger towards the sluggish smartphone market and an Intel CPU shortage as major contributors to the 2019 price drop. While some manufacturers are trying to slow down expansion, the industry's "bit output" is still expected to increase by 22% thanks to process advances and yield improvements. Meanwhile, flash memory prices are expected to drop as much as 30% thanks to increased 3D NAND production capacity, "fierce" competition, and reduced smartphone demand.

DRAMeXchange now anticipates continuing price decline during the traditional slow season of 1H19. Because of the seasonal headwinds, shipment forecasts for smartphones, notebooks and tablets are fairly conservative for the first half of next year, together with the following-up impacts of China-US trade war. The gap between supply and demand may be moderated if the NAND Flash manufacturers postpone their capacity expansion and transition to 96-layer 3D NAND devices. By 4Q19, the overall production capacity of NAND Flash is expected to grow by 5% YoY, of which the capacity of 3D NAND production would increase significantly by 20% YoY. Hence, for the NAND Flash manufacturers' capital expenditure, DRAMeXchange now expects further downward revision for their spending plans for 2019.

Posted by alphaatlas October 12, 2018 10:54 AM (CDT)

Facebook Launches Their First Home Hardware

Facebook launched their first 2 home-grown hardware products today. The Portal and Portal+ both feature Alexa integration, 4 beamforming microphones, stereo speakers, and a "Smart Camera" that "uses AI to keep everyone in the frame - panning and zooming automatically no matter where the conversation goes." The base portal goes for $199 and features a 720p display, wile the Portal+ goes for $349 and features a tall 1080x1920 display. Facebook themselves aren't totally oblivious to privacy and security concerns, so on top of a software option to disable the camera and microphone array, they include a camera cover with the product. You can check out the promotional video on the website, and you can see the BBC's less flashy take on the device below:

Facebook doesn't listen to, view or keep the contents of your Portal video calls. Your Portal conversations stay between you and the people you're calling. In addition, video calls on Portal are encrypted, so your calls are always secure.

Posted by alphaatlas October 08, 2018 10:26 AM (CDT)

Samsung to Ship World's First 8K TV Oct. 28

Never mind the utter lack of native 8K content: those with $15,000 to spare can purchase Samsung’s 85-inch QLED 8K Q900TV by the tail end of this month. The set features a 7,680 x 4,320 panel capable of 4,000 nits of brightness and upscaling aided with artificial intelligence (AI) processing.

The Q900FN, which S&V’s Tom Norton said "looked stunning" in CEDIA demos, features an enhanced version of Samsung’s LCD-based QLED technology. The Q in QLED stands for quantum dot, a backlight technology that uses a more precise method to generate the red, green, and blue light that makes up a video image than the process typically used in standard LCD displays.

Posted by Megalith October 07, 2018 2:45 PM (CDT)

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Trailer Offers First Look at Spock

CBS has debuted a brand-new Star Trek: Discovery trailer at New York Comic Con, introducing not only the new season, but fan favorite Spock. The legendary Human/Vulcan hybrid will evidently be played by a bearded Ethan Peck, whose credits include voicework for Final Fantasy XIII and Halo.
Posted by Megalith October 07, 2018 12:40 PM (CDT)

Texas Hospitals Are the First in the Country to Feature a Robot Helper

Moxi is a socially intelligent robot that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create facial expressions to convey information to staff members at a hospital. It is not a chatbox robot; in fact it makes very little noise other than to announce its presence. It is designed to perform menial tasks such as the fetching of supplies so that nurses can spend more time monitoring their patients. The nursing field has a high turnover rate because of factors such as physically strenuous workloads, mental fatigue, and emotional challenges. For example nurses spend 30% of their shift gathering and stocking medical supplies which translates to 8 - 10 miles of running back and forth to supply rooms. Diligent Robots wants the hospitals in the trial to find uses for Moxi, to ease the load on the nurses, so they can have more face to face time with patients.

"We want to learn where nursing intersects with socially and artificially intelligent robotics in the daily processes of caring for patients and families, really investigating how this kind of technology can help nurses focus more on the direct needs of our patients by alleviating the more routine, non-clinical duties of caregivers," said Cole Edmonson, with Texas Health Resources. "Nurses and other caregivers want to spend more time with their patients and on high value work that improve outcomes at the end of the day."

Posted by Kyle October 04, 2018 11:37 AM (CDT)

D-Wave Launches Free Quantum Computing Service

D-Wave just launched a free cloud quantum computing service called "Leap". Anyone can register an account for free on the project's site, which gives them 1 minute of computation time on a D-Wave 2000Q every month. D-Wave also released an SDK called "Ocean" to help users quickly set up quantum computing problems to solve, and set up a forum for those users to discuss their projects. D-Wave claims that precious minute of time is enough to "run between 400 and 4,000 jobs each month," and that users can pay $2000 for a full hour of access if they need more time.

"We want to enable hundreds of thousands or millions of developers to gain access to quantum computing technology, to understand it, and to develop applications," says Murray Thom, D-Wave's director of software and cloud services.

Posted by alphaatlas October 04, 2018 10:53 AM (CDT)

Intel Gets Big Bump on First Good 10nm News

This is all based on one report from BlueFin Research Partners, but The Street is reacting very favorably for Intel, and not so much for AMD. As of typing this, Intel is up 4% and AMD has dropped a whopping 5.5%. There looks to be little more said than this. "Intel's second-half production levels suggest upside to analyst revenue estimates for the fourth quarter and first quarter of 2019." So let's wait and see what comes out of this and if anything specific about 10nm production actually comes to light. As surely previous news has not been pretty for Big Blue.

On Monday, RBC Capital Markets and Barclays predicted Intel's earnings would be impacted in the coming quarters as it grapples with a processor shortage. RBC lowered its target price to $55 from $57 and maintained its "sector perform" rating while Barclays lowered its rating to "underweight" from "equal weight" and reduced its price target to $38 from $53 — a 20% downside to where shares settled on Monday.

Posted by Kyle October 02, 2018 1:02 PM (CDT)

Memory Market Still Has Growth Potential

According to CK Chang, president of the memory module firm Apacer Technology, the memory market's future might not be as grim as some organizations predict. In an interview with Digitimes, Chang said that DRAM demand is picking up thanks to seasonal factors, and that predicted price drops come from supply side issues. He says that prices will stabilize to "reasonable levels" in 2019, and that threats from Chinese DRAM manufacturers remain to be seen. Meanwhile, NAND prices are expected to stabilize after a flash oversupply in 2018.

Prices for consumer SSDs, for example, have halved since the middle of December 2017. Prices for 120GB models have dropped below US$0.20 per gigabyte. Such unreasonable price levels indicate that the supply chain has been flooded by substandard NAND flash chips. Substandard NAND flash chips could destroy SSDs and cause a certain level of damage to data. Nevertheless, some firms still intend to sell lower-quality SSDs to respond to the continued decline in NAND flash prices. Such development will ultimately disadvantage end consumers.

Posted by alphaatlas October 01, 2018 11:09 AM (CDT)

Expensive F-35 Fighter Jet Program Suffers Its First Crash

The long-running, super-expensive F-35 fighter jet program suffered its first casualty Friday when one of the $100m aircrafts crashed in South Carolina for "unknown reasons." While the pilot managed to eject without injury, the incident doesn’t look great for the Lockheed Martin effort, which has been criticized for lack of performance and safety.

The crash came on the same day that the Pentagon announced an $11.5 billion contract for 141 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed, which lowers the price for the most common version of the stealthy jet by 5.4 percent. The plane in the South Carolina crash was one of 245 F-35 fighter jets in the U.S. military, a Pentagon official said, and one of a total of 320 F-35 jets being flown around the world.

Posted by Megalith September 29, 2018 1:05 PM (CDT)

Discord Announces "First on Discord" Games

After Valve announced Discord-like chat features, Discord announced their own Steam-like game storefront just last month. Today, Discord revealed that the storefront will launch with games unavailable anywhere else. Last Year: The Nightmare, King of the Hat, Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption, At Sundown, and Bad North will all get timed releases on the storefront, though its not clear how long the games will remain Discord exclusives. The company posted trailers for each game in the blog post, and you can check out their promotional video below:

We're really excited to share this initial wave of First on Discord games. Look forward to these coming to the Discord store later this fall.

Posted by alphaatlas September 28, 2018 11:43 AM (CDT)

Ford is Using NASA's Quantum Computers to Optimize Travel

IEEE Spectrum says that Ford Motor Company signed a contract with NASA's Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory to use their D-Wave 2000Q quantum annealer for research. More specifically, Ford is seeking a generalization of the "traveling salesman problem," which involves finding the most efficient route between multiple stops. While the obvious application of the research is in the navigation systems of self driving cars, Ford also says its looking to improve route logistics in traditionally piloted vehicles. Volkswagen conducted similar research in 2017, using a quantum computer and artificial intelligence to optimize travel routes of taxis in Beijing. Ford's chief technology officer, Ken Washington, says "Quantum is too far out to roll into that business yet. For us, quantum computing is one of many things we're doing to imagine and prepare for what might be around the corner, so that we can disrupt ourselves as opposed having others disrupt us."

"Route management for fleet vehicles is a problem that we face in a real-world scenario," he says, referring to Ford's Chariot microtransit service. "If you try to solve this problem with a computer that we have today, there are so many options that you can easily run out of time. We think that quantum computing could be an alternative computing platform." "One of the things we're hearing from our customers as we're deploying some early fleets in cities [is that] they're not being deployed optimally," adds Washington. "That's a real problem we need to have an answer to. Ultimately, we'll bring autonomous vehicles and ride services to those cities in a smart way that actually makes the experience in the cities better."

Posted by alphaatlas September 28, 2018 8:00 AM (CDT)

World's First Hydrogen-Powered Trains Enter Service in Germany

French rail transport company Alstom announced this week the debut of the world’s first hydrogen-powered trains, now running in Germany’s Lower Saxony. These represent a green alternative to conventional diesel locomotives, having fuel cells that "convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity, thus eliminating pollutant emissions related to propulsion."

"This is a revolution for Alstom and for the future of mobility. The world’s first hydrogen fuel cell train is entering passenger service and is ready for serial production," emphasises Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Chairman and CEO of Alstom. "The Coradia iLint heralds a new era in emission-free rail transport. It is an innovation that results from French-German teamwork and exemplifies successful cross-border cooperation."

Posted by Megalith September 23, 2018 3:00 PM (CDT)