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Micron Cuts DRAM and NAND Flash Output as ASP Falters

Micron has revealed plans to cut production of its DRAM and NAND flash products by 5% to combat its average selling price (ASP) falling by 20% in the quarter ended February 28, 2019. Oversupply in both sectors led to the sharp fall in pricing and was "worse-than-expected DRAM and NAND pricing." Micron DRAM revenues experienced a "decrease 30% sequentially and 28% from a year earlier to account for 64% of its total revenues in the second quarter of its fiscal 2019." Micron's NAND revenue slid "18% sequentially and 2% on year to account for 30% of company revenues in the fiscal second-quarter 2019. ASPs went down about 25% from the first quarter." Micron expects revenues to drop another 17% in fiscal Q3 2019. Micron bought back 21 million shares of its common stock. Thanks @workshop35 !

Looking into the fiscal third-quarter 2019, Micron expects revenues to register another sequential drop of about 17% to US$4.6-5 billion, with gross margin sliding to 37-40% from 50% in the prior quarter. "Micron continues to execute well across a range of product, operational and financial initiatives against the backdrop of a challenging market environment," said Micron president and CEO Sanjay Mehrotra. "These initiatives and our focus on high-value solutions, cost competitiveness and innovation will enable us to emerge even stronger as the market environment improves."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 22, 2019 5:16 PM (CDT)

Captain Marvel Will Lead the MCU, Kevin Feige Says

Like her or hate her, Marvel fans are going to be seeing much, much more of Brie Larson: MCU architect Kevin Feige has gone on record with his enthusiasm and plans for Captain Marvel, stating she will "take the lead and be at the forefront of the entire Cinematic Universe." The character is already slated to reappear in next month’s Avengers: Endgame, improving the odds against Thanos. There is a rumor some cast members aren’t happy with how an overpowered newbie is swooping in to save the day, however.

When we found out that Brie Larson might be interested in joining our world, we had a number of meetings. She was a huge fan of the character in the comics. One of the highlights of my career at Marvel was introducing her at Comic-Con and having her come out on stage and stand there with literally almost everybody else from our movies. There she was at the forefront, and it was a great foreshadowing – not just for how audiences are going to embrace Brie as this character, but also for how Captain Marvel is about to take the lead and be at the forefront of the entire Cinematic Universe.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 1:35 PM (CDT)

Gaming Display Prices are Dropping

As anyone who recently built or updated a PC probably noticed, memory and GPU prices were conspicuously high throughout most of 2018 and late 2017. But, as we've said before, memory prices are dropping like a rock, while GPU prices are starting to level out thanks to the crypto mining bust. According to a recent report, another important component for any PC is expected to get cheaper throughout 2019. Digitimes claims that competition among "gaming monitor" manufacturers is starting to "heat up" as more Chinese LCD manufacturers enter the market. TV-size panel production is expected to grow as well, and OLED TVs in particular could get significantly cheaper as more OLED factories come online.

However, China's panel makers including BOE Technology, CPC-Panda LCD Technology and China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT) have recently stepped into the gaming panel sector, encouraged by government policy support and high profits generated by such products. The growing competition has sent gaming monitor panel prices falling sharply, with models with refresh rates of 144Hz and below being hit hardest, indicated the sources. Prices of 144Hz and below gaming panels fell 10% on average in 2018 and has dropped another 5% so far in 2019, as most China-based suppliers are focusing on this segment, said the sources, noting that the prices of 144Hz models will continue to fall in the second quarter.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 14, 2019 8:47 AM (CDT)

AT&T Raises Prices Again

According to recent reports, AT&T is raising subscription prices for their DirecTV Now streaming service. Citing their own sources, as well as an official confirmation from AT&T, Cord Cutters says that emails about the $10 price hike are supposed to go out today. AT&T also raised U-Verse and satellite subscription prices earlier this year, which wouldn't be particularly surprising were it not for the AT&T's controversial Time Warner acquisition last year. The company argued that the acquisition would make AT&T a more "competitive" company, and allow them to lower prices, but it seems that the DoJ's fears of price hikes during the case were well founded.

The principal reason is simpler: the government did not even begin to make a credible case that the merger would likely harm competition, substantially or even just a little. There is no sound evidence from which the Court could fairly conclude that retail pay-TV prices are likely to increase, that there will be coordinated withholding of content from virtual MVPDs, or that distributors will be unable to use HBO as a promotional tool. There is no proven harm at all-only proven benefits. And because there is no proven harm, there is no basis in law for any remedy, equitable or otherwise.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 12, 2019 11:42 AM (CDT)

Tesla Raises Prices to Keep More Retail Stores Open

Tesla has announced that is going to raise prices 3% to keep more of its retail locations open. Some stores in high visibility locations will be reopened. These stores will have fewer employees, but test drives will be available. Some stores are under review and a decision will be made over the coming months to close or keep them open. As a result of keeping significantly more stores open, Tesla will need to raise vehicle prices by about 3% on average worldwide.

Potential Tesla owners will have a week to place their order before prices rise, so current prices are valid until March 18th. There will be no price increase to the $35,000 Model 3. The price increases will only apply to the more expensive variants of Model 3, as well as Model S and X. To be clear, all sales worldwide will still be done online, in that potential Tesla owners coming in to stores will simply be shown how to order a Tesla on their phone in a few minutes. Stores will also carry a small number of cars in inventory for customers who wish to drive away with a Tesla immediately.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 11, 2019 3:25 PM (CDT)

Progress on an Iron Man Suit is Being Made

Back in 2017, Red Bull posted a video of the "Daedulus" kerosene-powered jetpack created by Richard M. Browning, and its creators set a Guinness world record later that year. But since then, Mr. Browning has gone on to become the CEO of a company built around the jetpack called "Gravity Industries," and it looks like he's made some significant progress with the device's development. The company uploads new testing footage almost every week, including a shot of a jetpack pilot landing on a moving truck, but the company is so confident that they're starting to give the press members access to the suits. In the Hacksmith's latest video, the YouTuber seemingly picked up the basics of the flight suit relatively quickly, and Gravity mentioned that they already have a cheaper, 3D printed jet suit in testing. Thanks to CaptNumbNutz for the tip.

FLYING LIKE IRON MAN RETURNS! Gravity Industries & Richard Browning have successfully flown like Iron Man with their custom jet suit that uses kerosene jet engines! I flew (punny!) down to California to meet them and try out the jet suit for myself! Stay tuned for the next video where we turn his system into a true Iron Man suit, complete with a metal iron man helmet!

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 11, 2019 10:11 AM (CDT)

Whole Foods Cuts Workers' Hours after Amazon Introduces Minimum Wage

Amazon’s $15 minimum-wage increase didn’t turn out so well for Whole Foods workers: one employee claims the retailer has negated wage gains by reducing schedule shifts across many stores, cutting a lot of work. "My hours went from 30 to 20 a week. We just have to work faster to meet the same goals in less time."

The Illinois-based worker explained that once the $15 minimum wage was enacted, part-time employee hours at their store were cut from an average of 30 to 21 hours a week, and full-time employees saw average hours reduced from 37.5 hours to 34.5 hours. The worker provided schedules from 1 November to the end of January 2019, showing hours for workers in their department significantly decreased as the department’s percentage of the entire store labor budget stayed relatively the same.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 12:20 PM (CDT)

Nintendo Launches Labo VR Kit

Following up on their immensely profitable Labo kits for the Switch, Nintendo just announced a new Labo kit designed for "sharable, simple, VR gaming experiences." The basic kit includes cutouts for VR Goggles and a VR blaster for $40, while the full package with a cardboard elephant, camera, bird, and wind pedal will set you back a whopping $80. Naturally, the internet isn't happy about how much Nintendo is charging for colored cardboard cutouts, but those pricey packages apparently include a license for Nintendo's new VR software as well. Thanks to cageymaru for the tip.

The inventive Toy-Con Garage mode - included as part of all Nintendo Labo software - returns with Nintendo Labo: VR Kit, offering basic programming tools for players to experiment with. More information about the experiences offered by Nintendo Labo: VR Kit will be revealed in the future. The Nintendo Labo: VR Kit - Starter Set + Blaster and complete Nintendo Labo: VR Kit will be available in stores on April 12.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 07, 2019 12:14 PM (CST)

DRAM Prices See Sharpest Decline Since 2011

If you're a regular at HardOCP, you've probably heard that memory prices are dropping like a rock. As we've reported before, a number of factors, including reduced smartphone demand, excess inventory, the Intel CPU shortage, and a stable "bit output" thanks to advancing lithography tech are quickly bringing down DDR4 prices, in spite of manufacturers' efforts to slow down production. However, DRAMeXchange reports that there was a "a most unusual, large down-correction in prices" last February. DRAM contracts are now monthly instead of quarterly deals, and DRAMeXchange revised their first quarter price drop projection to 30%. Looking farther ahead, the market research firm notes that suppliers are holding "around a whopping six weeks' worth of inventory (wafer banks included)," and that the Intel CPU shortage is expected to last until 3Q19, hence the down-corrections are expected to continue throughout the year.

Looking at the DRAM market one or two years into the future, the big trio aren't going to roll over in the competition for market shares any time soon. SK Hynix has recently announced that it will invest 120 trillion won (around US$107 billion ) to build four new wafer fabs as part of its strategy to improve its competitiveness. Micron, on the other hand, doubled down and commenced construction of an IC testing and packaging plant in Taiwan. At the same time, its subsidiary Micron Memory Taiwan ( formerly Rexchip) in Houli, Taichung, is considering building a new 12-inch DRAM wafer fab, which could finish construction as early as the end of next year, and massively contribute to production in 2021. As for the world's largest DRAM supplier Samsung, it is currently building a second fab at Pyeongtaek. "The rich stay rich" - such is the immutable trend of the DRAM market; furthermore, new competitors are aided by a wealth of resources and capital upon entering the market. Hence, if smaller DRAM suppliers don't find ways to catch up on production processes and scale, they may risk being marginalized in the near future.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 07, 2019 8:40 AM (CST)

Developers Install Windows 10 on an Nintendo Switch

A developer and hacker who goes by "Ben" on Twitter has allegedly shoehorned Windows 10 for ARM into an Nintendo Switch. This is reportedly the same hacker who helped get Windows 10 running on the Lumia 950 and the Raspberry Pi 3, but the Switch doesn't appear to be quite as functional as those devices yet.
Qualcomm is behind a push to bring ARM-powered Windows devices to the market, but this is the first time I've seen Windows 10 for ARM running on a Nvidia Tegra-based device. Ben recently mentioned that there's still "some more work to do," and that he's currently working on SD/MMC support, but I'm eager to see a public release of this effort some day. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 06, 2019 10:40 AM (CST)

Cryptocurrency Mining Slowdown Could Lead to GPU Price Cuts

Industry analysts recently claimed that AMD, Nvidia, and their manufacturing and retail partners are sitting on tons of unsold GPUs they made during the cryptocurrency mining craze, and now, Digitimes' industry sources say that they've begun cutting prices to get rid of them. More specifically, the sources claim that the RX 580, GTX 1070, and GTX 1060 are getting significant price drops, which may adversely impact the profit margins of GPU makers and sellers in the coming months.

The inventory digestion process may not end until mid- to late-2019, the sources noted... Taiwan-based first-tier players have mostly seen losses from their graphics card businesses for the past two months. Although Nvidia has been planning new products for the entry-level to mid-range segments including GeForce RTX 2060, GTX 1660Ti, and the upcoming GTX 1660 and GTX 1650, to maintain its profitability, graphics card players are only expected to earn little from the new cards. With Nvidia releasing new cards and cutting prices to clear out its previous-generation inventory, AMD is currently under heavy pressure to lower its quotes, while players selling AMD-based cards are also facing strong competition from Nvidia-based ones.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 06, 2019 9:46 AM (CST)

New Speculative Execution Bug Allegedly Affects Intel CPUs

Back in 2018, when the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities were first publicized, many security experts feared that they opened a figurative Pandora's box. Those two exploits are part of a wider class of potential speculative execution flaws, and this week, those fears were realized, as researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute have revealed (PDF Warning) a new speculative execution exploit dubbed "Spoiler." Intel CPUs reportedly use "dependency resolution logic" to resolve false dependencies when speculatively executing load operations, and the researchers say "the dependency resolution logic suffers from an unknown false dependency independent of the 4K aliasing. The discovered false dependency happens during the 1 MB aliasing of speculative memory accesses which is exploited to leak information about physical page mappings." In that vein, the researchers claim this particular exploit only requires "a limited set of instructions," and that all Intel "Core" CPUs running on any operating system are vulnerable to the attack. The attack can be loaded with Javascript code from a website, without any need for privilege escalation beforehand, and the researchers successfully demonstrated the exploit on Nehalem, Sandy Bridge, and Ivy Bridge-based Xeon servers. Intel was reportedly informed of the exploit on December 1st, 2018, and they recently published this response:

Intel received notice of this research, and we expect that software can be protected against such issues by employing side channel safe software development practices. This includes avoiding control flows that are dependent on the data of interest. We likewise expect that DRAM modules mitigated against Rowhammer style attacks remain protected. Protecting our customers and their data continues to be a critical priority for us and we appreciate the efforts of the security community for their ongoing research.

While speculative execution enables both SPOILER and Spectre and Meltdown, our newly found leakage stems from a completely different hardware unit, the Memory Order Buffer. We exploited the leakage to reveal information on the 8 least significant bits of the physical page number, which are critical for many microarchitectural attacks such as Rowhammer and cache attacks. We analyzed the causes of the discovered leakage in detail and showed how to exploit it to extract physical address information. further, we showed the impact of SPOILER by performing a highly targeted Rowhammer attack in a native user-level environment. We further demonstrated the applicability of SPOILER in sandboxed environments by constructing efficient eviction sets from JavaScript, an extremely restrictive environment that usually does not grant any access to physical addresses. Gaining even partial knowledge of the physical address will make new attack targets feasible in browsers even though JavaScript-enabled attacks are known to be difficult to realize in practice due to the limited nature of the JavaScript environment. Broadly put, the leakage described in this paper will enable attackers to perform existing attacks more efficiently, or to devise new attacks using the novel knowledge.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 06, 2019 8:47 AM (CST)