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Google and HTC Announce US$1.1 Billion Cooperation Agreement
Google and HTC Corporation announced a definitive agreement under which certain HTC employees – many of whom are already working with Google to develop Pixel smartphones – will join Google. HTC will receive US$1.1 billion in cash from Google as part of the transaction. Separately, Google will receive a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property (IP). The agreement is a testament to the decade-long strategic relationship between HTC and Google around the development of premium smartphones. This agreement also supports HTC's continued branded smartphone strategy, enabling a more streamlined product portfolio, greater operational efficiency and financial flexibility. HTC will continue to have best-in-class engineering talent, which is currently working on the next flagship phone, following the successful launch of the HTC U11 earlier this year. HTC will also continue to build the virtual reality ecosystem to grow its VIVE business, while investing in other next-generation technologies, including the Internet of Things, augmented reality and artificial intelligence. For Google, this agreement further reinforces its commitment to smartphones and overall investment in its emerging hardware business. In addition to the talented and experienced team of professionals, Google will continue to have access to HTC's IP to support the Pixel smartphone family. Additionally, this agreement also represents a significant investment by Google in Taiwan as a key innovation and technology hub. "As a pioneer of the smartphone market, we are very proud of our history of innovation. Our unmatched smartphone value chain, including our IP portfolio, and world-class talent and system integration capabilities, have supported Google in bolstering the Android market," said Cher Wang, Chairwoman and CEO of HTC. "This agreement is a brilliant next step in our longstanding partnership, enabling Google to supercharge their hardware business while ensuring continued innovation within our HTC smartphone and VIVE virtual reality businesses. We believe HTC is well positioned to maintain our rich legacy of innovation and realize the potential of a new generation of connected products and services." "HTC has been a longtime partner of Google and has created some of the most beautiful, premium devices on the market," said Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President of Hardware at Google. "We're excited and can't wait to welcome members of the HTC team who will be joining Google to fuel further innovation and future product development in consumer hardware." The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, is expected to close by early 2018. Evercore served as financial advisor to HTC and Gibson Dunn and Tsar & Tsai acted as legal counsel. Lazard served as financial advisor to Google and Cleary Gottlieb and Lee & Li acted as legal counsel.
Wrestler Launches New Kylin Protective Case for iPhone X
Wrestler releases the ultra-durable iPhone X protective case on the customer electronics market right after the launch of iPhone X, bringing ultimate protection beyond your imagination. The series case is named as Kylin. The inspiration comes from Kylin, one of the mythical animals, with the meanings of "protective" and "auspicious". Wrestler unveils Kylin to the public with only one goal to provide customers reliable protection for their valuable iPhone X. Simultaneously, Wrestler case also introduces some high quality cases, Tack series and Meteorite series for iPhone 8, Encircle series, Knight series, Beloved series and Alien series for iPhone 8 Plus protective case . All cases are designed for the same purpose to protect the iPhone. Apple's new generation handset is totally different, from profile design to functional innovation. The highly-expected smart phone features wireless charging, 3D facial recognition, no home button and edge-to-edge display. The official price is $999. Expensive though the iPhone X is, customers still desire it, and will purchase a solid phone case to reach the maximum safety for their valuable iPhone X. Wrestler Kylin series protective iphone x cases are designed and manufactured to withstand extremely high levels of impact. This means no damage to the iPhone when dropped from three meter high places. These phone cases contain three-layers of protection, combining two durable materials. The thick back made of TPE is covered with a smooth and soft cushion inside which can absorb and deflect impacts to protect your iPhone X from drops, shocks, bumps, as well as scratches. The hardest middle frame is made of PC material. It acts as the core component in the whole structure to support and defend your iPhone X. Moreover, a flexible TPE outer ring is added on the middle frame, offering reinforced protection and a comfortable feeling. It can effectively prevent accidental injury caused by inner hard plastic. There are many delicate grooves on outer sides like Kylin scales, with scratch resistance, anti-slip effect and a pleasant grip feel. Wrestler highlights details in the process of making phone cases. Installation and removal of Kylin protective case can be easily completed for its precise cutouts to all buttons. Moreover, the extra-tough Kylin case with dust plugs and transparent membrane can greatly reduce dust pollution and extend the service life. The polished back cover is quite sleek and scratch-resistant, making the phone pocket-friendly. There is also a vertical camera cutout for dual-lens camera protection and a round window to show the iPhone logo. Another useful function comes with the raised bezel, protecting your phone screen from direct impact. There is a variety of mixed colors including blue/black, yellow/black, silver gray/black, pink/black, as well as orange/black. These available colors continue the Wrestler consistent style of color collocation, simplicity and style.
SHARP to Launch SHARP AQUOS S2, Marking Its Return to Chinese Market
SHARP will release its latest full screen smartphone SHARP AQUOS S2, in a product launch event in Beijing on August 8. It is the 29th full screen smartphone from SHARP, and the first full screen smartphone SHARP introduces to Chinese smartphone market. It will be available in China starting August 14. The latest SHARP AQUOS S2 applies FFD (Free Form Display) technology to dig small holes precisely in the screen for the front camera and receiver, so it offers great user experiences for selfies and excellent audio quality. Its screen-to-body ratio is as high as 84.95%, which makes the 5.5-inch display screen feel like a 5-inch screen body while being held. The excellent visual effect and comfortable grip will provide unprecedented user experience for customers. "The core of full screen design is to break through the technology limit, achieve the double sense of holding and visual comfort, and provide the ultimate experience for users," said Dr. Luo Zhongsheng, CEO of SHARP/InFocus Mobile. Over the years, SHARP has intensively delved into investigations of full screen technologies. Back in 2013, It launched world's first-ever full screen smartphone, EDGEST-302SH, which has a screen-to-body ratio of 80.5% and ultra slim bezels on three sides. It then introduced SHARP AQUOS CRYSTAL product series into the market which applied bone conduction technology and adopted edge reflection approach to accomplish the borderless infinite visual effect in 2014. SHARP has released 28 full screen smartphones since 2013, which are well received by the market. 100% bezel less screen smartphone is the ultimate target for full screen smartphones. There are several obstacles blocking the development of full screen smartphones, for example, the front camera, front fingerprint identification and receiver. SHARP AQUOS S2 with slim bezels on three sides is currently the largest full screen smartphone right now. SHARP will continuously explore the field of 100% bezel less screen smartphone and aim to achieve breakthroughs in screen and anti-dropping technologies.
The assignments of next generation SoC suggested by Qualcomm Adreno 530
Qualcomm is the most ‘unexpected’ company in SIGGRAPH 2015 exhibition. Qualcomm make their show booths in SIGGRAPH 2015, and briefing their new GPU IP ‘Adreno 530, 510’ and ISP using with next generation snapdragon SoC. Qualcomm only announced their new GPU and ISP in SIGGRAPH 2015 because the next SoC’s debut schedule is too far and consider to the characteristic of ‘SIGGRAPH 2015’ I guess. Snapdragon 820 is Qualcomm’s next generation flagship SoC, and the guideline of performance of next year’s flagship smartphones. The feature and performance of Adreno 530 GPU can guess graphic performance and power efficiency of next generation smartphones, and make the trend of display and camera that affect many smartphone’s differentiation strategy. These kinds of changes make whole industry changes because mobile platform is one of the most important contents consumption platforms. Many values required to next generation SoC that high performance and high power efficiency, small footprint and many feature set is conflictingly many time. But technical solution that applied to the new process and architecture, optimizing platform and software compromise with that conflictingly things to higher level. Qualcomm’s announce about Adreno 530 GPU and ISP was including their concern and solution of next generation SoC and platform a little. ▲ This kind of performance gain has architecture changing with SoC usually. Qualcomm told that the Adreno 530 GPU’s graphic performance is 40% up from Adreno 430, 40% low power consumption from Adreno 430 when same workloads. I can’t certain the test configuration exactly, but one of the reasons of performance gain is memory subsystems if consider test display configuration has FHD or 2K display at least. Usually memory interface is most SoC’s point of performance bottleneck if the SoC using shared memory architecture between processor and GPU. Qualcomm said that Adreno 530’s goal of design is performance, power efficiency, and maximize the performance per watt. So, already qualcomm applied some hardware, software technologies about reducing memory bandwidth use. One of these technics already many GPU company uses that is texture compression and drop the invisible surface from rendering task based Z-buffer. That kind of technics can reduce SoC’s memory bandwidth and archive some performance gain and reduce power consumption. The fundamental solution of this kind of concern is using higher physical memory bandwidth. Snapdragon 820 using LPDDR4, that is already using with snapdragon 810 but 820’s LPDDR4 can run in higher frequency. Added channel in memory controller is not suitable for this problem because footprint and cost. So I guess physical memory performance of snapdragon 820 SoC is better only a little-bit than 810 but 25.6GB/s of 810’s LPDDR4 bandwidth is not bad performance in now. ▲ ‘Compression Technology’ for reducing data transport is important part of the latest SoC Hardware based ‘Compression technology’ is good choice of solve memory bandwidth problems between GPU and memory. In my opinion, this kind of improvement make boost of performance and efficiency for Adreno 530. Qualcomm announced that the bandwidth compression ratio is 2:1 for memory, 3:1 for VPU, IPU, and provide 50% higher efficient compared to previous generation. Using the latest high speed memory with minimal serial connection and applying compression technology for boost efficiency is very effective ways of mobile platforms that have tight limitations of physical and logical resources. Latest mobile platform provide high graphics, gaming performance beyond expectation in high resolution display even many tight limitation, because their effort of raise performance and reduce footprint and power consumption. But ‘Data compression’ technology have some technical issues need to solve. Usually compression technology in data bus makes performance variations problems depending on data, application types. But this kind of technology have more advantages in mobile platforms even some users don’t like that. And QoS management technology in SoC can solve that kinds of problems, so Qualcomm applied this technology in 820 SoCs. ▲ GPGPU have high potentials and begin to utilize that more than now One of important tasks of the next-generation SoC is make other ways of using big GPU in SoC not only graphics but other tasks. Almost modern GPU has ‘unified shader’ architecture and available to use for general-purpose such as OpenCL. But most of SoCs uses other IP instead of GPU for special features of multi-media support, because power and performance efficiency. When Qualcomm announced performance of Adreno 530 GPU, they introduce GPGPU performance based on OpenCL separate to graphics performance. Truly, almost latest GPU can be supports OpenCL 2.0 with shared virtual memory like Qualcomm’s new GPU. But Qualcomm’s special point is replace some discrete IP to GPGPU-based software features and it can improve competitiveness in mobile platform that converged to software and hardware very closely. Image and video processing that using traditional discrete IP is the easiest parts of performance boosts to using GPGPU based on modern GPU with OpenCL in mobile platform. Replace discrete IP to GPU-based software function is good choice for performance boost and improve efficiency in SoC’s footprint if the new generation SoC success to solve their GPU’s efficiency when using OpenCL. And it can make more flexible to support new standard and technology. ▲ First of all, default app made from vender start to using that Camera performance of the smartphone is the result of combined to hardware modules and software performance. Sometimes we can find that camera performance is various changing when just using another camera software even on same modules and phones. If the camera apps use GPGPU for make panorama image, image filter, HDR, noise reduction and many pre- or post-processing, it can make most powerful performance of overall camera performance then other apps or phones only using CPU or IPs. Device manufacture’s default app has advantages in optimization if GPGPU technology applied to use in apps. Third-party apps usually focused to use CPU instead of GPU because they need to measured compatibility of many versions of platforms, OS, software environments, and a lot of devices. But manufacture’s default app is measured and optimization with only specific hardware and software configuration. And, SoC vender encouraged more to use that kind of technology because the perfection of default app make images of completion of device and ability to compete. In my opinion, SoC vendor like Qualcomm need to support more for third-party companies or developers, and make some kind of promotions for use GPGPU to their applications. GPU has general-purpose operation abilities and prepare API to use GPU, but only few applications try to use that because lack of make opportunity for using GPGPU application. So, I suggested to make new promotion programs for developers and companies using GPGPU to their apps because boost competitive of SoC and device levels. ▲ The meanings of Qualcomm’s entry in SIGGRAPH is not an picnic I think. Many people focused on the manufacturing process of ‘Snapdragon 820’, but using ‘FinFET’ is only well known of that. Of course, only a few companies have ‘FinFET’ process technology for mass production or have plans, and many people guess that is only choice one of two well-known companies. But we don’t know about progress of build their factories for production, I just can ‘guess’ but not sure. Performance gain in modern SoC is not simple to achieve only manufacturing process because modern process is already near to bit the physical limitation. And modern generation of ARM architecture is not simple, low power-consumption, and need to modify and optimize to new trend of maximum performance in limited resources. But ARM has an advantages than x86 in optimizing because unweighted of legacy architecture support. How to use powerful and big GPU in various way is the key of making competitive in next-generation mobile platforms. Encouraging GPU utilize in platform can change architecture of SoCs to more efficiently, and make performance advantage that users can experience. It is very interesting point that snapdragon 820 can make a chance of change overall direction of device, SoC design in market.