Sony, Stanford distributed computing projects ends Oct 23
The partnership between Sony and Stanford University on the Folding@home distributed computing project will come to a close at the end of the month after five years. The project utilized the ‘idle’ hours on a PlayStation 3 that were donated by a user in order to harness the considerable power of the Cell processor and the console’s GPU. This helped Stanford’s researchers to crunch through reams of data to advance medical knowledge in the areas of Alzeimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and cancer.
PlayStation 4 gets possible major new leak
Gradually mounting talk of early PlayStation 4 plans culminated Wednesday with a potentially telling rumor. Believed to be codenamed Orbis or "circle," possibly to make it part of a "circle of life" with the Vita, the system outlined to Kotaku would not just break from using the Cell processor but from the entire Power and NVIDIA graphics combo. Instead, it would reportedly use a 64-bit, x86-based AMD processor as well as graphics based on AMD's Southern Island core, used in the Radeon HD 7700 series and up.
Sony NGP to require less corporate investment
Sony's CFO Masaru Kato gave out clues in a Memorial Day interview that the NGP would be considerably less expensive to make than earlier PlayStations. He described the handheld system as less "investment heavy" than before. Among the options mentioned to the Wall Street Journal were farming out chip manufacturing to other companies or using off-the-shelf parts.
Demos new polarized glasses 3D, glasses-free
Toshiba has introduced its latest line of 3D TVs led by the UL610 Cinema Series and the TL515 Series. The UL610 is available in 46-, 55- and 65-inch models and incorporate Toshiba’s new CEVO Engine, a derivative of the Cell processor. In this application it delivers 2D to 3D content conversion and mitigates image cross-talk. Audessy processing is utilized to deliver optimal sound performance. The new panels also incorporate Toshiba’s new Quantum Black technology that improves image contrast, delivers faster response times and a 480Hz refresh rate.
Toshiba moves Cell to Sony, outsources to Samsung
Toshiba on Friday confirmed a pair of major deals to offset problems with its chip business. The company will end its teamwork on the Nagasaki plant making the Cell processor for PlayStation 3 chips and hand over full control to Sony. The deal should take effect as soon as April.
Toshiba Cell Regza X2 and XE2 arrive
Toshiba committed itself to its high-end TVs in large fashion on Wednesday by adding the full-size Cell Regza X2 and the Cell Regza Slim XE2. Both take advantage of the PS3-derived Cell chip's performance to enhance 3D. On top of displaying 3D, they can upscale standard definition 3D to near HD and even convert some 2D content to 3D by studying movement in the scene.
Toshiba CELL TV coming to US in 2010
Toshiba at its pre-CES keynote discussed what it sees as the core of its future, the CELL TV. The company bills it the "ultimate TV." The first ZX900 CELL TV will be offered at an unspecified date later this year, but will use the eight-core, 3.2GHz Cell processor to convert regular TV to multiple stereoscopic 3D formats thanks to a technology Toshiba calls TriVector. A Net Super Resolution+ feature will also upscale the quality of Internet video for viewing on large panel HDTVs where previous TVs only handled regular video.
PS4 may use simpler multi-core setup
Sony may drop the Cell processor entirely in the PlayStation 4 in favor of a multi-core design, a report from Impress says. Having first considered a modified, upgraded version of the Cell processor that powers the PS3, the electronics giant is now believed considering a new processor design that would use a more direct design with multiple true processor cores. The switch if implemented would be a concession to developers, who have regularly complained that writing PS3 games is too difficult.
Toshiba Cell Regza and 4K appear
Toshiba took the lead at Japan's CEATEC show by unveiling its most advanced TV to date. The Cell Regza 55X1 uses a variant of the same Cell processor found in the PlayStation 3 and can handle tasks that were previously difficult or impossible in regular sets: it can record up to eight simultaneous digital over-the-air TV shows at once using a special DVR box and will even display those images simultaneously. Image correction also moves up with self-congruency adjustment at the edge of the display, better color balance and sharper upscaling for DVDs and other sub-HD video.
Euro PS3 Price Cut
Online retailers in Portugal and Spain today may have spoiled Sony's plans for the gamescom expo next week by cutting the price of the PlayStation 3 by at least €100 to about €300. Both are present-day 80GB models, though the Portugese cut by FNAC also bundles the high profile game Infamous at the same time.
Foxconn Silent on Slim PS3
Foxconn today tried to deflect rumors that it was building the slim PS3. Following a newspaper's claim yesterday that the new Sony console was to be shipped by Foxconn for next month, the assembly firm has filed an official stance with the Taiwan Stock Exchange that turns down commentary on the rumor, citing "customer confidentiality." Pegatron, which has been rumored to share responsibilities for making the new system, hasn't formally responded to the apparent leak.
Toshiba 28nm Deal Extends
Toshiba and NEC together said today that they would extend their agreement with IBM to produce 28 nanometer chip technology. The deal sees the members of the larger alliance continuing to work on the smaller, more efficient technology with the intention of using it for home user products. They now also say they expected 28nm to be particularly useful for "mobile communication devices" such as smartphones.
China C and D on Slim PS3
Cease-and-desist requests sent today may have inadvertently supported rumors of a 120GB slim PlayStation 3 debuting at next month's E3 show. One of the notices delivered to Engadget asks the site to take down its copies of the images, claiming that they contain "confidential document [sic] and photos" that may break the law despite the photos now being widely available. No mention is made of issuing the takedown on behalf of Sony, which itself has remained silent on the subject.
Leadtek video encoder
Leadtek on Monday announced it will demonstrate the first external video encoder equipped with a Toshiba-made SpursEngine media processor, the WinFast HPVC1100, at the 12th Embedded Systems Technology exhibition in Japan on May 15th. The device will let notebook or desktop users to play back or encode high-definition video thanks to a variation of the Cell Broadband Engine used in Sony's PlayStation 3 gaming console, though it has half the processing cores here, at four.
Toshiba Cell TV and REGZAs
Toshiba this afternoon outed its CES offerings and centered them on its TVs. The Japanese firm says it has produced the first prototypes of TVs that use a Cell processor to handle its image processing. The performance of the chip, which is already shared with the PlayStation 3, is strong enough to handle very high resolution video processing but can also encode live HD and easily handle network video streaming. An example 55-inch set can not only play 4K (3840x2160) resolution video but upscale 1080p footage to the higher resolution while reducing the amount of noise and other artifacts.
Sony PS4 May Keep Cell
Sony's eventual replacement for the PlayStation 3 may simply rely on a continuation of Cell technology rather than a whole new architecture, according to info obtained by Impress. Where the PS2 and PS3 both represented major changes in architecture, the PS4 will reportedly focus on driving down costs both for actual buyers and for Sony itself, which is said to consider yet another complete change in processor design too expensive when it has to compete against Nintendo's less expensive Wii and has alredy invested heavily into developing Cell with IBM and Toshiba.
45nm Cell PS3 Chip in 2009
Sony and Toshiba today said they would start producing 45 nanometer versions of the Cell processor next year. The process is 50 percent more complex than the 65 nanometer process used for most current Cell chips and will allow the PlayStation 3 to use both a much smaller and cooler-running processor but also to cost less. Versus the current manufacturing process, the two companies' new technique can produce about 50 percent more chips at a time, reducing the cost for each processor.
Toshiba ships Qosmios
With announcements from HP, Lenovo, and Sony, Toshiba also took the opportunity to announce (and ship) new Centrino 2 versions of its recently announced notebooks for faster networking, better performance, and improved battery life. The Satellite Pro S300 laptop, updated with latest Core Duo processor and Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD, offers Toshiba's fourth-generation EasyGuard technology, sleep-and-charge USB ports, optional SSD/flash-memory drive configurations, built-in docking capabilities and Webcam with business card reader software (starts at $1,2993). For its business-oriented Tecra models, Toshiba is using Intel's Centrino 2 with vPro micro-architecture to manage and secure mobile workforces using hardware-assisted remote isolation, diagnostics and repair: the Tecra M10 has a starting MSRP of $1,399, while the Tecra A10 pricing has yet to be determined.
PS3 switching to 65nm tech
The PlayStation 3 is already using some 65nm manufacturing, says Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Kaz Hirai. The technology has actually been used in the PS3's Cell processor since the last holiday season, Hirai confirms, and the full switch from 90 to 65nm should be complete by the fall, when the RSX graphics processor will make the leap. Manufacturing of new RSX chips has already begun, but the company is waiting until later this year to install them.
Toshiba Qosmio G55 More
Toshiba this morning revealed a near-total overhaul of its Qosmio notebooks with three new models, all of which are the first with new features. The Qosmio G55 is the first-ever notebook to build in a variant of the Cell processor from Sony's PlayStation 3. In the portable, the chip is set to use just four cores but uses them to transcode video far faster than would be possible using the main processor. A 10-minute video that would take an hour to process takes just one minute to handle on the G55, the company says. It also upscales DVDs to 1080p to minimize the low-resolution artifacts that creep up on an HD-capable screen.
Toshiba Cell TV, notebook
Toshiba has announced plans to launch two new commercial products based on Sony's PlayStation 3 technology, according to a Japanese news site. Tech-On! writes that a forthcoming TV will use the PS3's core Cell processor, in order to enable some high-end features; among these are real-time upscaling of SD signals into HD resolution, and the ability to play and record multiple TV shows at the same time. Unusual is the description of another option, "displaying video as if it is being viewed through opera glasses." This may simply refer to a zoom function.
Mossberg 3G iPhone
Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg is claiming that his previous comments indicating that a 3G iPhone would debut in the "next 60 days" were based on the same, widely reported speculation to which other pundits have access, and that he has "no idea" when Apple will release the new device. Silicon Alley Insider reports that Mossberg said "If I knew when this date was, why would I announce it in the middle of a sentence at the Finnish embassy, rather than report it in the Wall Street Journal?" The veteran writer made the comment while discussing the limits of cellular broadband in the US, noting that third-generation access in the country is still slow compared to other areas of the world.
Cell carriers vs. FCC
Cellular carriers are working hard to combat a new FCC regulation that would force all cellphone service providers with half a million subscribers or more to install 8-hour backup systems at almost every cell transmitter site across the U.S. The rule, which the FCC drafted after Hurricane Katrina knocked out hundreds of cell towers and sites along the Gulf Coast in 2005, is designed to strengthen the nation's communication system to help save lives during future disasters. Wireless carriers argue that the regulation was illegally drafted and that it would impose a huge economic and bureaucratic burden, according to the Associated Press.
Montalvo CPU Leak
A relative newcomer to processor design, Montalvo Systems, hopes to take the edge over established firms such as AMD and Intel by using the concept of asymmetric cores, a reported source tells CNET. Much like the Cell processor at the core of the PlayStation 3, the unnamed first chip from Montalvo will feature at least one primary core but also multiple less powerful but more specialized cores that can offload work from the main cores without demanding as much power. While the way Montalvo's design will balance these uses is unknown, the Cell for PS3s typically uses its special cores to handle video decoding, networking, and background tasks.
Avaya one-X Mobile in '08
Avaya has announced plans to ship its Avaya one-X Mobile software for iPhone in the first quarter of next year. Avaya one-X Mobile builds on the functionality of Extension to Cellular by providing a family of mobile clients designed to further enhance the productivity of enterprise mobile workers, according to the company. The family of Avaya one-X Mobile clients provides quick access to office phone functionality via an intuitive graphical user interface, and supports a broad array of devices ranging from high-end smart phones to less expensive consumer-oriented phones.
Two new iPhone unlocks?
Two new apparent unlocking solutions for Apple's iPhone firmware v1.1.2 have surfaced, allowing owners of the cellular handset to sign up for wireless service with carriers other than Apple's exclusive partners. The new techniques, dubbed SonicSIM and StealthSIM, both claim to unlock iPhone v1.1.2 for use with all wireless carriers that use the same technology as Apple's cellphone. SonicSIM is a special card rumored to partially unlock the iPhone by tricking the device and dual booting operating systems, while StealthSIM is a similar card produced by a company hoping to sell the solution for $90 on eBay.
IBM and Toshiba on 32nm
Toshiba today revealed that it will assist IBM's 32-nanometer processor development. The Japanese electronics maker will join AMD, Samsung, and other technology firms in the IBM Semiconductor Alliance in producing CPUs and other chips based on the smaller manufacturing process, likely leading to faster components to be shared between some or all of the firms, such as IBM's Cell processor used in the PlayStation 3 and future AMD Phenom cores.