Архив метки: AMD

Don’t expect a new Nvidia Shield Tablet anytime soon

The Shield TV, Nvidia’s Android TV streaming box, is still getting regular updates, but the Shield Tablet, which launched in 2014, was last refreshed in 2015 and officially discontinued last year, wasn’t quite the same success. As Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said during a small press gathering at CES in Las Vegas today, the company doesn’t have any plans to resurrect it.
“Shield TV is still unquestionably the best Android TV in the world,” he said. “We have updated the software now over 30 times. People are blown away by how much we continue to enhance it.” And more (unspecified) enhancements are coming, he said.
On the mobile side, though, the days of the Shield Tablet are very much over, especially now that the Nintendo Switch, which uses Nvidia’s Tegra chips, has really captured that market.
“We are really committed to [Shield TV], but on mobile devices, we don’t think it’s necessary,” Huang said. “We would only build things not to gain market share. Nvidia is not a ‘take somebody else’s market share company.’ I think that’s really angry. It’s an angry way to run a business. Creating new markets, expanding the horizon, creating things that the world doesn’t have, that’s a loving way to build a business.”
He added that this is the way to inspire employees, too. Just copying competitors and maybe selling a product cheaper, though, does nothing to motivate employees and is not what Nvidia is interested in.
Of course, Huang left the door open to a future tablet if it made sense — though he clearly doesn’t think it does today. He’d only do so, “if the world needs it. But at the moment, I just don’t see it. I think Nintendo did such a great job.”

Bonus: The outspoken Huang also used his time with the assembled journalists to voice his opinion of AMD’s new Radeon VII graphics cards, which were announced earlier today. “Wow. Underwhelming, huh? I was kind of like saying ‘what?’ Because the performance is lousy and there’s nothing new. There’s no raytracing, no artificial intelligence. It’s a 7nm chip with HBM memory that barely keeps up with a 2080 and when we turn on DLSS, we’ll crush it. When we turn on raytracing, we’ll crush it. And it’s not even available yet.”

Don’t expect a new Nvidia Shield Tablet anytime soon

Android On Your PC: Qualcomm Invests In BlueStacks After Beta Sees 1M Downloads In 10 Days

New BlueStacks Logo

If you’re an Android and a PC, you should check out BlueStacks — before hackers catch on or Chrome sneaks in this functionality, take advantage. The startup’s software has been going like hotcakes over the last few months, as it’s offering a much-needed service for Android and PC users, having developed software that allows Android users to run their apps on all Windows PCs, tablets, and laptops — without any modifications.

Thanks to this appealing concept, BlueStacks lured $7.6 million in venture funding pre-launch, before adding another $6.4 million a few months later — all from investors like AMD, Citrix Systems, Andreessen Horowitz, Ignition Ventures, and more.

The startup finally released its public beta on March 27th, and so far users have been eating it up. In the first 10 days after its release, BlueStacks’ App Player racked up more than 1 million downloads, with over 12 million apps collectively being run by its users. It’s on the heels of this early traction that the company is today announcing it has found yet another investor — this time from global telecom giant, Qualcomm.

Acting through its venture arm, Qualcomm Ventures, the chipmaker invested an undisclosed amount in BlueStacks, but from what we’ve been hearing from those familiar with the matter, the round was in the seven-figure range.

The startup now has over $15 million in outside investment, which is notable both in size (relative to the age of its product) and for the fact that BlueStacks has been able to bring together (at least symbolically) two of the biggest semiconductor/chipmakers on the market — Qualcomm and AMD. Not two names one typically finds side-by-side on a startup’s roster of investors.

“Consumers are increasingly looking for computing experiences that enable them to access their apps across different platforms,” said VP of Qualcomm Ventures Nagraj Kashyap. “We believe BlueStacks is well-positioned to capitalize on the marriage of mobile and PC.”

Again, for a recap for those unfamiliar, BlueStacks’ App Player is a free software download that gives Android users the ability to get one-click access to their apps on any Windows PC, including full-screen viewing. In turn, the startup’s Cloud Connect lets users push apps from their phone onto their PC easily and remotely, turning PCs into extensions of any Android-based mobile device, using their own personal cloud-based app channel.

Obviously, the big goal for BlueStacks is to bring the some 450,000 Android apps to those billion-odd PC users out there. If done right, it’s a fairly sizable market, to say the least. The other key to the startup’s beta release was the new ability to run graphics-intensive Android apps on desktop PCs, using its patent-pending technology called “Layercake.” Essentially, as we wrote at the time, Layercake allows Android apps to run on x86-based PCs, including apps written for the ARM processor, like Angry Birds Space or Fruit Ninja, for example.

The beta release leverages the PC’s graphics card to enable apps running graphics-intensive engines like Unity to process without hiccups, and also offers accelerometer tilting and pinch-to-zoom smartphone UI features to the desktop via mouse and keyboard prompts. Users can also now download apps from within BlueStacks even if they don’t have an Android phone, and can send and receive SMS messages on their PCs.

The company partnered with the developers behind apps like Fruit Ninja, SliceIt!, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Townsmen, Evernote, Defender and StumbleUpon for its beta release. Shainiel Deo, the CEO of Halfbrick (the makers of Fruit Ninja), said that the appeal of BlueStacks’ software is that developers don’t have to port or modify apps to run them on PCs, meaning there’s no heavy lifting for those who’ve already developed apps for Android.

Of course, Android fragmentation could be a problem, as some users of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus in particular have complained of trouble in syncing app data between devices and PCs — beyond simply syncing APKs — something which will be crucial for its long-term viability. It will also be interesting to see how BlueStacks deals with security, as some users pointed out that the software could become a victim of having to make repeated security upgrades as hackers catch onto loopholes.

But, in the meantime, BlueStacks could offer Android users a great way to avoid using data-time on their smartphones, reducing bills across the board. It also offers Android developers of all stripes access to the billion-user PC market, something which has previously only been offered for a select few, like Rovio and Cut the Rope.

In that sense, BlueStacks wants to become a developer platform, by which developers can build for Android and get a PC app version for free. It’s without a doubt a smart play, and with big money from Andreessen, AMD, Qualcomm and more there’s reason to believe its product will continue to improve, though it will certainly be interesting to see how sustainable the company’s concept can be in the long term. If Windows 8 tablets take off, long-term viability could be within reach.

For more on BlueStacks, check ‘em out at home here. Below you’ll find a demo video of Fruit Ninja fullscreen on a PC using BlueStacks software:


Android On Your PC: Qualcomm Invests In BlueStacks After Beta Sees 1M Downloads In 10 Days

Why No AMD-Powered Smartphones?

amdphone

With companies chomping at the bit to enter the growing mobile space and take advantage of the opportunities therein, it’s almost more intriguing to explore why some companies don’t throw their hats in the ring. Case in point: AMD — the second largest x86 processor manufacturer in the world has yet to make their play. Why haven’t they made their push into mobile, just like everyone else?

Well, if AMD SVP Rick Bergman is to be believed, it’s because they believe their true strengths lie elsewhere. Rather than try and force their way into an already crowded market, Bergman said AMD has “other areas it can focus on in order to grow.”

Perhaps it’s a smart move for the perennial also-ran of the x86 processor race. ARM has already carried off the lion’s share of the mobile processor market, striking lucrative licensing agreements with companies like LG and Texas Instruments, meaning their processors now power a huge number of mobile devices. If AMD really wanted to compete, it would require a little bit of luck and a lot of cooperation — either with Intel to combat ARM’s stranglehold on the market, or with ARM to one-up their longtime rival. Neither of those options probably sounded very appealing.

For AMD, the future largely remains in their traditional desktop, server, and notebook offerings, but the higher-ups have set their sights on another booming market: tablets. Their Z-series processor, launched back in June, was AMD’s first step into tablet computing. While it hasn’t popped up in any must-have tablets yet, AMD remains hopeful that their graphics and processor technologies will align with the growing performance and battery needs of tablet customers. Their rival in graphics, Nvidia, thinks the same, however, and has an ambitious roadmap as well.

So is that it for them? Have they decided to watch the smartphone wars unfold from the sidelines? Not exactly: Mr. Bergman hinted that they may make a move “if the right circumstances come up and we can see a way to impact the market.” We’ll see if that conservative strategy pans out, but as my old Latin teacher used to say, “fortes fortuna adiuvat.”




Why No AMD-Powered Smartphones?