Your current smartphone’s processor may be fast, but Qualcomm is hoping to show you a whole new definition of mobile performance. On Tuesday, the company staged a benchmarking exhibition in San Francisco to demonstrate the raw speed of its Snapdragon 800 chip, designated for “premium” smartphone deployment later this year.
Qualcomm already has a footprint in many of the top handsets. The 400 series of chips is included in both the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4, for example. Qualcomm hasn’t announced which phones and tablets will use the 800 series, but, for what it’s worth, the company showed off the new chip using the 700MHz LTE band that’s specific to ATT—although that means little at this point.
When Qualcomm first announced the Snapdragon 400 and 800 chips at the Consumer Electronics Show this past January, the company said the 800 series will appear in “premium” mobile devices in the second half of the year and provide as much as a 75 percent performance boost over Qualcomm’s current Snapdragon S4 chip.
The 800-series chips include a quad-core CPU, known as the 28-nm Krait 400, with each core running at up to 2.3 GHz. It has a new Adreno 330 GPU, integrates a 4G LTE modem for data rates of up to 150 Mbps, and supports the 802.11ac WiFi standard.
In the San Francisco press event Tuesday, Qualcomm showed off the new chip in mobile development platforms (MDPs), and gave reporters a chance to run several benchmarks on this purpose-built hardware. Not surprisingly, the Snapdragon performed swimmingly, with games like “Need for Speed: Most Wanted” running perfectly smoothly. “Epic Citadel,” a tour of a medieval town powered by Epic’s Unreal Engine, also ran with nary a judder, and generated an average frame rate of 59.7 frames per second at 1920-by-1008 resolution. For what it’s worth, tests reported the SnapDragon 800 as a 2.27 GHz chip paired with 1.83 GB of memory.
Hitting 60 frames per second in the Unreal Engine sounds great on paper, but Jeff Bier, president of embedded processor analyst firm Berkeley Design Technology, points out that numerical performance benchmarks are becoming less relevant. The most useful benchmark? One that gauges power consumption, the measurement that couldn’t be qualified via benchmarks during Tuesday’s testing regimen.
Regardless, using the 1.0 version of the SunSpider benchmark, Qualcomm’s chip spit out results of 782.0 ms, 802.8 ms, and 821.2 ms, with an average score of 802 ms.
What are those high performance numbers good for in real life? Raj Talluri, senior vice president of product mangement for Qualcomm, said that OEMs could use the processor as “computational cameras,” providing the software equivalent of the Lytro post-focusing camera technology for phones and tablets.
Qualcomm showed off the camera capturing 4K video and transferring it to a tablet using its TransferJet technology, as well as a demonstration of it playing a video of “Dead Space 3,” a popular game. It’s worth noting, however, that playing back 4K video will not only suck up the bulk of one’s available bandwidth, but chew through data limits as well. (The SnapDragon supports both USB 3.0 as well as 4G LTE with carrier aggregation, however.)
The new Qualcomm processors will compete with Nvidia’s Tegra 4, Samsung’s Exynos 5, Apple’s A5 and A5X, and Intel’s Atom chips.
At this point, the Snapdragon 800 looks like a potential winner when it’s released this fall. But doesn’t everything, many months before it actually appears in shipping hardware? The real questions will be answered when the Snapdragon launches against its competition, and we get a better idea of its battery life.
Additional reporting by James Niccolai, IDG News Service
Sprint Nextel sued Clearwire and Dish Network on Monday in a bid to block Dish from taking over Clearwire, Sprint’s majority-owned network partner.
Dish and Sprint have been in a bidding war over Clearwire, which Sprint also plans to buy, and last week Clearwire’s board recommended shareholders accept Dish’s offer. But in a complaint filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery on Monday, Sprint said Dish’s proposal violates its rights and those of other strategic investors. In its suit, Sprint wants to prevent the deal from being consummated and seeks unspecified damages.
Sprint co-founded Clearwire along with several strategic partners in 2008 to build out a WiMax network to carry its first 4G service. It still owns a majority of Clearwire’s stock and is seeking to buy out the rest of the company in order to build a strong LTE network to take on its larger rivals. Because of Clearwire’s massive spectrum holdings, the fate of that company is expected to play a key role in the complicated takeover battle among Dish, SoftBank and Sprint. A lawsuit over Dish’s Clearwire bid had been widely expected.
Dish is also seeking to buy out Clearwire, but in its last bid the satellite TV and Internet provider said it would be willing to buy a minority stake as long as it got certain rights, such as being able to name three board members and approve material transactions with third parties.
Dish’s offer violates Clearwire’s charter and the Equity Holder’s Agreement that outlines the rights of Sprint and other strategic shareholders, Sprint said. The offer couldn’t be completed without approval by the holders of at least 75 percent of Clearwire’s voting stock, nor without the approval of Comcast, one of the company’s strategic investors, Sprint said. “Completion of the tender offer without such approvals is unlawful,” Sprint said in a press release.
“Dish has repeatedly attempted to fool Clearwire’s shareholders into believing its proposal was actionable in an effort to acquire Clearwire’s spectrum and to obstruct Sprint’s transaction with Clearwire,” Sprint said.
Sprint offered to buy out Clearwire for US$2.90 per share last year after its board agreed to a $20.1 billion merger with Japanese carrier SoftBank. Dish offered to buy Clearwire in January, setting off a bidding war that has brought Dish’s offer to $4.40 per share. Dish is also bidding against SoftBank to buy Sprint for $25.5 billion.
“We are reviewing the complaint and considering our options,” Dish spokesman Bob Toevs said in an email message on Monday. Clearwire declined to comment on the suit.
Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen’s e-mail address is email@example.com
Gemalto, based in Amsterdam, develops digital security systems and network security. Gemalto’s solutions sales manager for M2M, Lakhi Baug, talks about how machine-to-machine (M2M) communication systems are used to preserve rainforests and why they are better than traditional satellite surveillance and radio monitoring.
Tell us about machine to machine (M2M) communication systems and how authorities in Brazil are using it to preserve the Amazon rainforest?
To prevent illegal logging in the Amazon, Gemalto and Cargo Tracck have developed a discreet tracking device that uses Gemalto’s tiny and powerful Cinterion BGS2 M2M module to enable cellular communications between trees and Brazil’s law enforcement agencies.
Smaller than a deck of cards for inconspicuous deployment, the tracking device is camouflaged in a resin case that is made to blend in with tree trunks and installed in remote active harvesting areas deep in the jungle. With a sophisticated power management system that vastly improves power efficiency, the M2M modules in the tracking device can remain active in the field for about a year without being recharged. The devices are also rugged enough to operate reliably in rainforest heat and moisture, while being powerful enough to track trees through remote and dense forests.
The moment a tagged tree is harvested, officials from the Brazilian Institute of Environment are immediately notified by the tracking device. Cutting-edge geo-location algorithms allow precise tracking with unprecedented accuracy, as location data is transmitted the moment harvested trees pass within 20 miles of a cellular network. This allows officials to remotely track trees and intercept illegal loggers in the act of selling timber at sawmills, which ultimately leads to quicker prosecution to stop illegal activities and preserve the rain forest.
What is Invisible Tracck and how did it come into being? Was this solution especially created/devised for a client?
Invisible Tracck is the name of the wireless device that was developed by Gemalto and our partner Cargo Tracck, as part of a pilot program to thwart illegal deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.
The solution leverages the built-in capabilities of the Cinterion BGS2 M2M module with advanced power management and its robustness being put to good use in the harsh environment of the Amazon rainforest.
The device is meant as a supplement to traditional satellite surveillance and radio monitoring systems that typically provide information only on long term deforestation patterns rather than real-time tracking.
How is M2M communications better than traditional satellite surveillance and radio monitoring? Can it be used in India’s Naxal/Maoist infested areas where authorities have failed to pick up intelligence with video surveillance?
Satellite surveillance and radio monitoring has been traditionally deployed to protect a massive area, but this method tracks deforestation based on long term patterns. To get around this, illegal loggers have abandoned clear-cutting for stealthy new logging strategies that target small tracks of the most prized trees, which renders them almost undetectable.
In contrast, the M2M-powered Invisible Tracck solution is able to monitor individual trees and detect whether or not they are being logged. It adequately counters these new tactics being used by illegal loggers. To overcome the fact that the rainforest spans such a wide area, Radiation Data Exchange (RED) technology is used to boost the range of wireless communications to cover even extremely remote areas that lack mobile network coverage.
As the nature of monitoring, and the requirements, differ across use cases, it is difficult for us to comment on whether M2M communications could work in place of video surveillance. However, Gemalto M2M solutions are also used to power video surveillance systems.
Invisible Tracck is powered by Gemalto’s Cinterion M2M solution. Is there anything else that Gemalto is doing in M2M communications?
Gemalto’s M2M communications portfolio is enabling solutions across a wide variety of industries, ranging from healthcare, retail services, smart energy, and automotive. For example, Gemalto’s Cinterion range of automotive-grade M2M technology is providing 4G connectivity for Audi’s industry-first, embedded LTE infotainment system, providing enhanced services that will enrich the mobile lifestyle of both drivers and their passengers. For the Oil and Gas sector, Gemalto is working with UAE’s integrated telecommunications service provider du to deploy M2M solutions that will assist with the management of hard-to-reach OG meters to ensure effective maintenance.
But beyond that, we’re also looking into areas such as transportation and logistics, as well as smart grids, which will all be able to leverage on M2M for better service delivery and improve efficiency. In transport and logistics, M2M technology makes it possible to track down and trace vehicles, goods shipments, and mobile resources, thus improving the efficiency of the entire supply chain. For smart grids, M2M can make business processes more efficient, productive and cost-effective by adding remote metering capabilities.
Facebook and Microsoft each fielded thousands of requests for user data as part of law enforcement investigations from U.S. authorities in the second half of last year, they said late Friday.
Some of those investigations might have been related to national security — but perhaps not. While the companies are for the first time allowed to include national security requests in the numbers, Facebook and Microsoft are still not permitted to say whether any are actually included.
The companies disclosed the figures in corporate blog posts. Facebook said it had received between 9,000 and 10,000 requests while Microsoft said it had gotten between 6,000 and 7,000 requests.
The release of data was, said Facebook, the result of week-long discussions with the U.S. government after allegations published in The Guardian and The Washington Post said the National Security Agency had “direct access” to the servers of major Internet companies. Facebook said it pushed the government for permission to release more information about the requests related to national security — which until now it had been forbidden from acknowledging.
But restrictions laid down by the government mean the data does little to shed any light on snooping in the name of national security, including under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
“We are permitted to publish data on national security orders received (including, if any, FISA Orders and FISA Directives), but only if aggregated with law enforcement requests from all other U.S. local, state and federal law enforcement agencies; only for the six-month period of July 1, 2012 thru December 31, 2012; only if the totals are presented in bands of 1,000; and all Microsoft consumer services had to be reported together,” wrote John Frank, Microsoft’s deputy general counsel.
So the numbers announced by the two companies include a broad range of requests.
“These requests run the gamut from things like a local sheriff trying to find a missing child, to a federal marshal tracking a fugitive, to a police department investigating an assault, to a national security official investigating a terrorist threat,” wrote Ted Ullyot, Facebook’s general counsel, in a blog post.
Grouping of the national security requests related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) with other more mundane requests was, of course, by design.
The several thousand requests might include some under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, but they might not, Frank wrote.
“We are still not permitted to confirm whether we have received any FISA orders, but if we were to have received any they would now be included in our aggregate volumes,” he wrote.
Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Inkjets, which are losing some of their cachet among consumers, are finding new jobs in small offices and workgroups. We’ve tested enough business models over the past couple of years to prove that a high-quality inkjet multifunction is faster and cheaper to operate than a comparably prices laser product in the sub-$500 space. A good place to start is with HP’s $400 OfficeJet Pro 276dw. It is expensive to buy, but it’s also an excellent inkjet multifunction whose enhanced manageability features lets it play nice even in the corporate environment. The 276dw also installs easily, produces nice output quickly, and ink costs are low.
The 276dw is a dark-chocolatey shade of brown, which, while a bit old-school, works well with the printer’s soft edges and corners. It sports a large, 4.3-inch touchscreen control panel with a well thought-out menu structure that makes it easy to operate. Software includes HP scan, remote email printing, and a complete onboard management console accessible via your Web browser. Management features include email alerts, a firewall, proxy support, etc. You can reach the management interface via the control panel or your browser.
The 276dw sports Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and USB, so you may attach it to your network in any fashion and location that you want. Installation was a breeze: There were no firewall hassles, or other such configuration issues that we commonly see, though there are quite a few dialogs to wade through. Push-scanning to our test PC from the 276dw’s control panel was available almost immediately. Quite often it takes printers an inordinate amount of time to get their networking act together.
What you see in the 276dw’s output tray will put a smile on your face. The text is near-laser-quality, and the color graphics are very nice overall. Plain-paper photos appear ever so slightly washed out, but they look good embedded in newsletters and the like. Color photos on glossy paper are excellent, though HP’s bent toward orange-ish skin tones remains. The greenish tint has vanished from its PCL 5 monochrome graphics—a welcome change. It’s still found, however, in monochrome graphics printed via Postscript on the Mac. Scan quality is quite good.
The performance of the 276dw was smooth (no odd pausing, as with some inkjets) and quick. Most documents fit easily within the printer’s 512MB of memory. It printed text pages (which included a few simple monochrome graphics) at a rate of 10.8 per minute (ppm) on the PC and 13 ppm on the Mac. To plain paper, 4-by-6-inch photos printed at a little over 4 per minute, and to glossy paper at a rate of about one per minute.
A full-page photo printed at best quality took 2 minutes and 15 seconds on the Mac, and just over two minutes on the PC. However at the default settings, which look nearly as good, you can cut that down to 75 or so seconds. An anecdotal test of printing a relatively simple Excel spreadsheet took perhaps 15 seconds per copy on the PC, but it slowed tremendously on the Mac. We were unable to determine where the fault lay, but look for driver updates if you’ll be sharing the 276dw with Mac users.
Ink costs for the 276dw are outstandingly low–especially if you purchase the XL supplies: 1.6 cents per page for black and 5.6 cents per page for cyan, magenta, and yellow. 7.2 cents per four-color page is a lot cheaper than you’ll get with a laser printer anywhere near the price of the 276dw, and cheaper than most inkjets. The normal capacity supplies add up to about 12 cents for the same four-color page. The difference in actual cartridge cost is so small, you might be tempted to go with the XL supplies. Just remember that if you don’t print much, getting too much ink would be overkill.
The 276dw carries a standard one-year warranty, but $120 and $140 three-year add-on packages are available. The duty cycle is 30,000 pages a month and the recommended maximum workload is 1,500 pages. Paper handling features include automatic duplex printing, duplex scanning (automatic re-feed), a 250-sheet input tray, 150-sheet output tray, and a 50-sheet automatic document feeder. There’s also a 250-sheet auxiliary tray available for $80.
The 276dw’s management features, smooth setup and operation, low ink costs, and quality output make it one of the nicest experiences we’ve had with a printer. Overall it’s a temptingly nice alternative to a laser printer for a small office or workgroup.
Windows 8 is dramatically different than its predecessors. The colorful, tiled Modern interface was designed with Intel-powered Ultrabooks, and mobile, touchscreen devices in mind. The real value of the Windows 8 Start screen, though, lies in customizing it to fit your needs.
Intel-powered Ultrabooks are designed to make your notebook PC experience better than ever. They’re sleek and powerful at the same time, with a variety of connectivity and security features to make your mobile computing simpler and more secure. Hybrid devices with both a keyboard and a touchscreen, like the Toshiba U925 Ultrabook, offer both the capability of a traditional notebook PC and the mobility of a tablet.
To get the most out of your device, you’ll want to set the tiles on your Windows 8 Start screen so you can see important information at a glance and have easy access to the apps you use most.
You can configure just about any aspect of Windows 8, from the aesthetic elements like the color scheme and wallpaper, to the features that impact productivity like the positioning of apps, and enabling Live tiles for real-time updates on apps like Mail, Calendar, or Messaging.
For starters, let’s look at how to configure the colors, background, lock-screen image, and other elements that affect the look and feel of the Windows 8 Start screen. On the Toshiba U925, you can swipe from the right side of the touchscreen display, or swipe from the right side of the touchpad on the keyboard to open up the Charms bar. You can also hover the mouse pointer in the upper-right corner of the display.
Tap on the Settings icon at the bottom of the Charms bar, and then tap on the link that says “Change PC Settings.” The top option under PC Settings is “Personalize.” The right pane shows you the settings available to personalize.
If you tap “Lock Screen,” you can choose the image to display when Windows 8 is locked, and at the bottom you can specify which apps are allowed to continue running in the background and display alerts or updates on the Lock Screen while the PC is locked.
“Account Picture” lets you select a photo to use for your account. You can also take a new photo from the Account Picture settings using the built-in webcam on the Toshiba U925.
Tap on “Start Screen” to choose a color scheme and background. There are 25 different color schemes, and 20 different background images preloaded on Windows 8—so there are 500 different ways you can configure the look of your Start screen. If you’re logged into Windows 8 using a Microsoft account, the changes you make to these settings will be automatically synced to any other Windows 8 PC you log into.
Traditionally, when you install software in Windows it adds a shortcut icon to the Start menu. Some software also places an icon on the Windows desktop. With Windows 8, that behavior is replaced with adding new tiles to the Start screen.
Whether you download and install apps developed for Windows 8 from the Microsoft Store, or install legacy Windows software, the shortcut icons are added as new tiles to the Windows 8 Start screen. The difference is that Windows 8 apps run in the Windows 8 Modern interface, while the legacy software opens up in desktop mode. If you don’t arrange and manage the Start screen, Windows 8 can quickly become a chaotic mess of tiles.
Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to straighten things up. You can decide which apps should have tiles on the Start screen, drag the tiles to organize them how you wish, and change the size of the tiles. Some tiles also have a Live tile option, which dynamically refreshes the tile with recent updates or current news.
To access your options on the U925, right-click on a tile. If you’re using the touchscreen, tap and hold the icon you want to work with, and drag it down slightly. Either way, you’ll see a checkmark appear at the upper right of the tile, and a bar will pop up at the bottom of the Start screen.
For some apps, such as the default apps that come pre-installed with Windows 8—apps like Mail, People, Calendar, Music, and Bing—your options are limited. You can unpin the tile from the Start screen, uninstall the app entirely, change the size of the tile, or turn Live tiles on or off. Legacy apps that run on the desktop also have options like pin to taskbar, and run as administrator.
First things first, you should go through and simply unpin all of the apps you don’t want displayed on your Windows 8 Start screen. The apps will still be available, but the tiles won’t appear on the Start screen. You can right-click (or tap and drag) multiple tiles simultaneously, and then select “Unpin” from Start to remove them all in one fell swoop.
Next, move the tiles around to organize them. You might want to group your productivity apps together in one section, and the entertainment apps in another. Or, perhaps you want all of your social networking apps to be together. One recommendation is to put the tiles you use most—especially Live tiles like Calendar or Mail that display important information—on the far left where they’re most visible and accessible.
To move a tile, you can tap the touchscreen display and simply hold and drag the tile. Alternately, you can tap and drag the tile using the U925 touchpad.
Along with moving the tiles, you may also want to resize some of them. There are two choices for tile size—small and large. The small tiles are squares, while the large tiles are rectangles that are twice as wide—essentially two square tiles combined. You might want some tiles like Photos or News to be large so more information can be displayed. Other tiles, however—especially tiles that aren’t Live tiles—can be small tiles so you can fit more on the screen.
However you choose to configure the Windows 8 Start screen, it’s worth investing a few minutes to organize it and make it your own. You will enjoy your Windows 8 experience more, and operate more efficiently and effectively with your Ultrabook if you customize Windows 8 to make it your own.
Clearwire’s board of directors has unanimously recommended its shareholders reject the takeover bid by Sprint Nextel, which owns roughly half of Clearwire, and instead accept a buyout offer from Dish Network.
Sprint has been planning to buy out the remainder of Clearwire in conjunction with its possible acquisition by SoftBank, which would give Sprint the heft to make the deal possible. Before Wednesday, Clearwire had repeatedly recommended Sprint’s bid over Dish’s amid a bidding war between the companies.
Dish is a satellite TV and Internet carrier that wants to move into the mobile business. Clearwire is currently a close partner of Sprint, which co-founded the company and is the main wholesale customer of its 4G WiMax service. Sprint is rapidly building out a 4G LTE service but says it plans to use Clearwire’s own budding LTE network as a complement to its own.
Clearwire’s board, and a special committee of directors not affiliated with Sprint, now recommends that shareholders accept and tender into Dish’s offer of US$4.40 per share. That offer, made late last month, was in response to Sprint’s latest offer of $3.40 per share.
When Dish made the offer, it also set out the possibility of becoming an influential minority shareholder, saying it would be willing to buy shares from a minority of Clearwire shareholders even if it couldn’t buy the company. Dish said it would need the right to name three members to Clearwire’s board.
In a statement after the Clearwire recommendation on Wednesday, Sprint indicated it might use its clout in Clearwire to fight Dish’s plan.
“Sprint is evaluating today’s statement from Clearwire’s Board and will review any corresponding filings before determining its next steps,” the statement said. “Sprint continues to have every intention of enforcing its governance rights. All commercial agreements, including network and customer agreements, will be honored and enforced as it regards our ongoing relationship with Clearwire.”
Also on Wednesday, the Clearwire board again postponed a special shareholder meeting that was to take place on Thursday. It’s now set for June 24.
Even as it moves in on Clearwire, Dish is also countering SoftBank’s offer to buy Sprint. On Monday, SoftBank boosted its bid in response to Dish.
Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen’s e-mail address is email@example.com
The operator of a website that sold more than US$100 million worth of pirated software to customers worldwide was sentenced Tuesday to 12 years in a U.S. federal prison.
Li Xiang, a 36-year old resident of Chengdu, China, was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and criminal copyright infringement for operating the website crack99.com, according to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) statement.
He was arrested in June 2011 by U.S. agents when they lured him to a meeting in Saipan where he believed he was delivering 20 gigabytes of data to the representatives of U.S. businessmen. Saipan, an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and like the Atlantic island of Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the U.S., giving American authorities jurisdiction.
Li’s website specialized in offering copies of industrial software which had the access control or licensing files removed or circumvented.
The specific software titles sold by Li were not detailed in the statement but characterized as those for aerospace simulation and design, defense, electronics, energy, engineering, explosives simulation, intelligence gathering, manufacturing, mining, space exploration, mathematics, storm water management and manufacturing plant design.
In other words, they were considerably more specialized than the typical cracked software fare of Windows 7 and Photoshop.
The $100 million in revenue was achieved with 700 transactions to just 400 customers — an average sale price of over $140,000 per transaction.
Some of his customers were in countries under U.S trade embargo for such software products while others were agents of foreign governments and U.S. government contractors holding security clearances. The use of cracked software for classified projects can be particularly problematic because of the possibility that software back doors were introduced to the products when they were cracked. Typically, they also won’t receive necessary security patches.
Among Li’s customers named by the U.S. ICE were a NASA electronics engineer who used the software on a NASA network to work on a side project designing a thermal simulation for Chinese communications manufacturer Huawei Technologies and a freelance contractor who used it to design components for Patriot missiles and the radar systems on the Marine One and Black Hawk helicopters.
The ICE net started tightening around Li when agents began making a series of purchases in January 2010. A year and a half later, they suggested the Saipan meeting to collect pirated software and data and to discuss a plan to distribute software to businesses in the U.S. Li was arrested in a Saipan hotel after he delivered the software and was flown to Delaware.
While Li operated the crack99.com site and distributed the software, ICE agents believe he was part of a larger network of Chinese and Russian hackers that crack and trade in software.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said his sentencing represented “one of the most significant cases of copyright infringement ever uncovered and dismantled.”
Li will be extradited to China after serving his jail sentence.
The number of people who visited Taiwan’s Computex exhibition this year appears to have failed to meet the expectations of organizers and was largely unchanged from last year.
In a statement issued on the final day of the five-day event, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council said attendance is expected to reach “over 130,000.” Last year’s Computex attendance was 130,013 and this year organizers had been hoping for “over 140,000” visitors.
Attendance was up in one important area. The number of international visitors was 38,300, a rise of 1800 on Computex 2012.
Those who did attend found a slightly smaller exhibition than in previous years. A total of 1724 exhibitors occupied 5,042 booths at the event compared to 1800 exhibitors and about 5400 booths at the 2012 event. As a result, organizers cut an entire exhibition hall—Hall 2—from this year’s show.
Computex is the premiere showcase for Taiwan’s PC and electronics manufacturing industry, but the decline of the desktop PC has hit the show. Companies that make PC components and desktop computers are typically among some of the largest and most prominent exhibitors at Computex.
Despite the smaller size, the show remains one of the most important fixtures in the international IT trade show calendar. Intel used this year’s event to launch Haswell, the latest version of its laptop processor that brings power savings on previous chips. Several PC makers also unveiled Haswell laptops.
Google is close to a deal to acquire Waze, maker of the eponymous crowdsourced mapping app, for at least $1 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal and others.
The potential deal was first reported by Israeli business site Globes which said it would be worth $1.3 billion, citing sources.
Started in Israel, now with offices in Palo Alto headed by CEO Noam Bardin, the company says it has about 45 million users in 193 countries, according to the Journal. Waze originated in 2006 as an open-source mapping project led by CTO Ehud Shabtai; the company formed two years later with venture-capital backing, according to information on its website.
The app allows users to tap into shared traffic and navigation information. Data on road obstacles, rush-hour snarls, accidents and the like can be shared with other drivers in real time. The most recent version of the app delivered last month, Waze 3.7, includes integration with Facebook that places Facebook events in users’ navigation lists and allows them to see the progress of Waze-using friends travelling to the same event. Users can also join the community of map editors to improve data on the maps themselves, which use TIGER (Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing) data from the US Census Bureau. The app is free, supported by location-based advertising.
A deal could be announced this week, the Journal said.
Waze did not reply to a request for comment; Google declined to comment in the published reports.