Vendor News

Apple Irish Datacentre Gets Approval

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The Irish High Court has a decision on Apple's plan to build a datacentre in the country, Reuters reports-- construction can go ahead, bringing relief for both the iPhone maker and the Irish government.

Apple Ireland datacentreApple announced it was going to invest €850 million in a datacentre in Derrydonnell, Galway county back in February 2015. The local council gave planning permission 6 months later but a series of appeals blocked the works for over 2 years.

Most recently residents attempted to stop the construction on November 2016, as they insisted the permission granted by the An Bord Pleanála planning authority was invailid. According to the allegations, the authority failed to do a proper impact assessment. This lead to Apple (successfully) asking the High Court to fast-track the case.

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Microsoft Confirms End of Windows Phone

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Microsoft OS designer Joe Belfiore takes to Twitter to confirm what many already suspected-- work on Windows Mobile is officially over, bringing an end to the Microsoft-powered smartphone.

Windows PhoneBelfiore does say existing support phones will continue to receive bug fixes and security updates, but Microsoft is not working on new software features or hardware. This was to be expected, considering how new development builds of the mobile OS stopped appearing earlier this year.

One also has to keep in mind Windows Phone user volumes remained all too low, leading to developers dropping support for the platform even as Microsoft offered financial incentives.

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Apple Expands Chip Design Efforts?

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Apple is a "semiconductor superpower in the making," Nikkei reports-- the iPhone maker is said to be pushing chip design efforts further in order to rely less on suppliers such as Intel and Qualcomm.

iFixit teardownAccording to "industry sources in Asia," Apple is currently "invested in research and development" in a number of components making its devices. The first is the baseband modem chips required for cellular communications. To do so Apple has poached Esin Terzioglu, a modem chip engineer from current iPhone modem supplier Qualcomm, with whom Apple is locked in a bitter $1 billion dollar lawsuit over unpaid royalty rebates.

The second is "core processors for notebooks." Such chips would reduce dependence on Intel-- so much so Apple is said to be using an ARM-based (not x86) design. A final chip Apple is supposed to be working brings together "touch, fingerprint and display driver functions," and comes through a desire to "control next-generation display technology and some related key components."

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Huawei Takes on Apple With "Real AI Phone" Promise

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Were you impressed by the iPhone X's Neural Engine-powered face-recognition? Huawei insists it isn't, as it posts a video on its Facebook page stating "facial recognition isn't for everyone."

Huawei AppleFollowing that, the video also claims it will unveil a "real AI phone" on 16 October 2017-- meaning its latest flagship, the Mate 10.

Marketing bombast aside, Huawei might have something actually interesting to show off with the Mate 10. After all, it will be the first phone powered with the Chinese company's latest system-on-a-chip, the Kirin 970. Presented at IFA 2017, the Kirin 970 carries a "Neural Processing Unit" (NPU), a set of processing cores dedicated to AI tasks.

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Withings Becomes Nokia Body

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Nokia finalises its April 2016 purchase of Withings-- the French health and wearables company now bears the name Nokia Body, while Withings products get a Nokia rebranding.

Nokia HealthAs a result, the Withings Body scale has been renamed to "Nokia Body Plus", the Withings Body Cardio is the "Nokia Body Cardio" and the Steel HR fitness-tracking watch is now known being sold as the "Nokia Steel HR." On the other hand the Aura sleep tracker is no more, since the company says it has been "on the market for a while" (having launched since 2014).

The rebranding also brings new products-- the Body smart scale, BPM+ blood pressure monitor and a Health mate app. The Body is connected scale able to solely tracky body weight, with no BMI or other functionality. Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity allows users to easily sync weight data with the companion app, and it is the lowest-cost smart scale offered by Nokia.

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