John Sontag has seen the future—or at least Hewlett-Packard’s version of it. Sontag, vice president and director of Systems Research at HP Labs, has been in charge of the team developing “The Machine,” an experimental piece of computing hardware that HP executives hope will be the template upon which the future of networked computing is built. In an interview with Ars, Sontag explained how the core technologies of The Machine—memristor-based memory and low-cost silicon-to-optic interfaces—will change the shape of computing.
The Machine is a hyper-dense collection of computing hardware that could be used in anything from a data center to a mobile device. It has terabytes of storage and a much smaller power draw than today’s computing devices—all because of memristor-based memory and optical interconnects.
"Fidelity is among the true believers. The investment giant is rebuilding its IT operations around a private cloud datacenter architecture, and it's embracing OCP-inspired hardware as part of that change. OCP designs now account for a third of Fidelity's servers, and George Brady, executive VP of IT, expects that figure will grow to 80%. HP and Dell designs will provide the other 20%.
Fidelity has been moving away from Tier 1 suppliers to custom or "white box" suppliers such as ZT Systems, Avnet, Penguin, and Hyve, Brady says. The prices Fidelity pays for servers have declined 50% over the 2-1/2 years since the company started buying OCP-inspired systems from the custom builders, he says."
“The new Chromebook boasts an 11.6-in. 1366 x 768 display. That's slightly smaller than the 12.1-in. 1280 x 800 displays on the previous Chromebook models, but at a glance, it's hard to tell much of a difference. The screen certainly isn't the most eye-catching, high-def display you've ever seen, but with its matte finish, it's easy on the eyes and perfectly suited for things like Web browsing, email and document-oriented work.
Above the display there's a webcam and microphone for online video chatting. The Chromebook has a headphone jack and SD card slot on its left side; along the back you'll find one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port, the power connection and a slot for a SIM card. This last appears to be nothing more than a placeholder -- Google confirmed to me that this model is Wi-Fi-only and that a 3G-capable version will launch at some point in the future.
While the device includes 16GB of local SSD storage, buyers also get 100GB of cloud-based Google Drive storage for two years -- a subscription that would cost $120 if bought outright. “
A looming clash between Intel Corp. and Qualcomm Inc. will take center stage at the Consumer Electronics Show next week in Las Vegas, with both chipmakers seeking to control the future of mobile devices.
Qualcomm Chief Executive Officer Paul Jacobs will demonstrate notebook computers based on his company's chips on Jan. 10, highlighting a push into an area dominated by Intel. Later that day, Intel CEO Paul Otellini will take the same stage to announce phones featuring his chips, renewing a decade-long push to get into a market that Qualcomm controls.
I had profiled an earlier version of the machine used in the field in the chapter on BP in the New Polymath. Here is its latest incarnation.
“Starting at only 5.6 pounds and delivering up to 10 hours of battery life, the Toughbook 53 provides mobile professionals, such as inspectors and claims adjusters, a highly reliable and versatile device that delivers high performance computing. The latest in the line of products that created the semi-rugged category, this new notebook is the first Toughbook device offering optional 4G LTE mobile broadband and a host of other features designed to improve productivity and maximize return on investment.”
“..few people know much about ARM, the British company whose technology is central to so many of the devices seen at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.”
“ARM doesn’t build the chips itself; it designs the cores–or central brains–used on those chips. I like to compare it to selling a basic cake recipe. If you’re a baker whose expertise is making really great frosting, why bother dreaming up a brand-new cake recipe when you can use an existing one, and instead use your time and effort to make great frosting? A lot of semiconductor and electronics companies have reached the same conclusion, and paid to license ARM’s recipes for chips, and then built their own custom enhancements around the ARM core.
It’s a pretty popular recipe. The company issued more than 700 licenses as of last year to some 250 chip companies, which then turned around and sold the chips to more than 1,000 manufacturers. ARM estimates that in 2009 four billion chips based on its designs were sold, and that more than 20 billion have been sold in the two decades since the company launched.”
“Otellini has been subtly remaking the company: aligning with Apple, in a step away from the company's PC-only heritage; pushing the Atom mobile chip, in a dogleg pivot from Moore's Law, the founding axiom behind Intel, that chips get exponentially faster; and embracing new territory, new markets, and new ways of playing with others. The goal is to better compete in a world in which computing is everywhere, from laptops to tractors.”