From: TechRadar: All latest feeds - Qualcomm feels pinch from Mediatek and Intel as it ponders restructure

Qualcomm feels pinch from Mediatek and Intel as it ponders restructure

Qualcomm is ready to cut 15% of its workforce following a shocking set of results for the third quarter of 2015 that affirm the fact that competition in the mobile processor market continues to bite.

Qualcomm’s quarterly earnings report revealed a 14% revenue drop to $5.8 billion (about £3.73 billion, AU$7.87 billion) from $6.8 billion (about £4.37 billion, AU$9.23 billion) in 2014 – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Additionally, operating income dropped off by a shocking 40% to $1.2 billion (about £770 million, AU$1.63 billion) in just a year and net income decreased by 47% to $1.2 billion (about £770 million, AU$1.63 billion).

Following this body blow, Steve Mollenkoft, CEO of Qualcomm, told shareholders that a major restructuring is in order and 15% of workers may lost their jobs. Most of the losses will come in the firm’s temporary workforce, engineering and the physical offices themselves, according to AnandTech.

It’s easy to see where the loss comes from as Samsung, arguably Qualcomm’s biggest customer, chose to use own Exynos processors for its flagship Galaxy S6 smartphone rather than a Snapdragon chip. Additionally, the chip maker ran into trouble with overheating Snapdragon 810 chips, plus added research and development costs of an additional Snapdragon 808 chip.

Big savings

The hope is that the job losses will help it to save some $1.1 billion (about £710 million, AU$1.49 billion) in expenses per year. Qualcomm also plans to further reduce the annual share-based compensation by approximately $300 million (around £193 million, or AU$407 million).

The planned purge is expected to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2016.

There are also plans to review the entire corporate structure of the firm, capital return opportunities, and any other way they can squeeze some more stockholder value from the firm. Despite all this doom and gloom, it should be pointed out that Qualcomm made a profit. Just not the big one that it was expecting.

From: TechRadar: All latest feeds - Updated: iPhone 6S release date, news and features

Updated: iPhone 6S release date, news and features

iPhone 6S release date, concept and design

iPhone 6S is how Apple intends to spell success this year, even though the phone’s design doesn’t look all that different and it isn’t really called the iPhone 7 after all.

With the new iPhone, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, as a teacher resembling Apple CEO Tim Cook may have once told you. The same applies to the nearly identical iPhone 6S Plus, too.

Update: Our final iPhone 6S review put Apple’s new phone to the early test. Read how it fared, or conti continue to read about all its features below.

The most important iPhone 6S news is that you’re in for a significant specs upgrade, with a faster performing phone, a novel 3D Touch screen and a much superior 12MP camera.

Is there enough here for an upgrade? Now that it’s out in stores, let’s break down all of the details, from the iPhone 6S price, to the design, to camera and, and finally, the battery life.

See the iPhone 6S in action in our first look video:

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHlVqbLL69I

iPhone 6S release date

The official iPhone 6S release date was last Friday, September 25 in a dozen countries, including the US, UK and Australia. Pre-orders began more than a week earlier on Saturday, September 12.

There was strong demand of the “rose gold” iPhone 6S from the moment Cook revealed that new pale pink color during the iPhone press conference at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.

iPhone 6S

Interestingly, Apple let fans line up in front of its Apple Stores on launch day, unlike the more tame Apple Watch release date, but it let in-store pickup reservation holders go first, in our line experiences.

That means, no matter how long people physically waited in line for the launch, being online was the best way to score the rose gold iPhone on day one.

iPhone 6S price

Apple answered all of the new iPhone rumors during its live event earlier this month, including the all-important question: how much does iPhone 6S cost?

iPhone 6S prices are all over the place in the US, but essentially the same

“Any iPhone you want is pretty affordable,” according to Apple, which of course means it’s just as expensive. Apple never uses soft adjectives like “pretty” when words like “definitely” and “unquestionably” exist. It’s thoroughly unapologetic about that.

The iPhone 6S price starts at $649 in the US, £539 in the UK and AU$1,079 in Australia. That’s the same price as last year’s iPhone 6 in the US and UK. It’ll be $199 in the US on a two-year contract.

That’s for the entry-level configuration, which again starts at a paltry 16GB. The iPhone 6S in a more accommodating 64GB is $749 (£619, AU$1,229) and 128GB is ($849, £699, AU$1,379). Once again, there’s no 32GB iPhone when almost every Android this year began with that storage size.

iPhone 6S news

There’s no price change, but a revision is being made to the how US consumers go about buying the new iPhone. Instead of “starting at $199,” it’ll cost around $27 or more a month from carriers. Apple had to pivot to also mention this monthly device payment plans being offered by Verizon, AT&T, Sprint T-Mobile and others.

Apple also introduced an “iPhone Upgrade Program” of its own that starts at $32 a month, includes a new unlocked iPhone every year for $0 and throws in its AppleCare+ protection. You end up spending $384 on the phone over 12 months and trade-in the working iPhone for the next one.

iPhone 6S: it won’t bend

Apple attacked last year’s iPhone 6 Bendgate problems head on, almost exactly like it addressed iPhone 4 AntennaGate flaws when the iPhone 4S was announced.

iPhone 6S features more durability thanks to less pliable 7000-series aluminum. This is an entirely new aluminum,” said executive Phil Schiller, noting it’s “the same alloys used in the aerospace industry.”

iPhone 6S

Apple didn’t go into the science of it, but it likely has corrosion-prone zinc compounds and a thicker anodization coating that prevents said corrosion, as we’ve seen in this alleged bend test.

Your ultra-thin phone may be safe in your back pocket again, although I still wouldn’t suggest tempting fate of a dented frame without an iPhone 6S case first.

There’s good news for anyone who has smashed a phone screen. Schiller talked up the iPhone 6S glass being “the strongest in the industry, made with a dual ion exchange process.”

iPhone 6S rose gold color and dimensions

The popular new rose gold iPhone 6S color is here, too, and it matches the pale pink tones of the more expensive rose gold Apple Watch. This metal case, however, is still made of aluminum.

iPhone 6S

The rose gold iPhone 6S joins existing colors of gold, space gray and silver, and now the new iPhones are the only way to get gold. The popular color has been discontinued in older models.

Other than that, the iPhone 6S looks exactly the same as last year’s iPhone 6 on the outside, at least with the naked eye. It’s hard to tell, but the dimensions are bigger by a few fractions of a millimeter. It’s 0.2mm thicker and 0.1mm wider and 0.2mm taller. There’s still an iPhone 6S camera bump, I’m afraid.

3D Touch

iPhone 6SThe next-generation of multi-touch has launched, and it’s indeed called 3D Touch, confirming all of the rumors in the lead up to Apple’s press conference.

Apple executive Craig Federighi gave the first live demo of 3D Touch, and it works a lot like Force Touch on the Apple Watch or new MacBook trackpad.

It’s like a “right click” for the iPhone 6S, and it results in a context sensitive pop-up window in front of translucent backgrounds every time you apply a little bit of pressure on the screen. In the Mail app, for example, you never really need to navigate away from the inbox to read or reply to your messages.

“Take action on apps without even having to open them,” explained Federighi. From the home screen, he was able to make calls to favorites, view directions from an address given to him in iMessages and take “emergency selfies” right from the front facing camera, all without opening the usual app menus.

3D Touch is also going to change playing games on iPhone 6S going forward, with new developers taking advantage of the new multi-touch technology in their interactive apps. Since games are among the No. 1 apps in the Apple App Store, they may put 3D Touch to use the best.

New iPhone 6S camera

At long last, there’s going to be a much-improved iPhone 6S camera, and Apple showed off the accurate skin tones and incredible depth of field possible. This is thanks to photos taken with the new 12MP camera sensor.

iPhone 6S

Everything from beautifully detailed close-up macro shots, to sweeping panoramic photos without visible stitching lines could rival the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5. Both new iPhones are have the same focus pixels-filled sensor, but only the bigger iPhone 6S Plus has optical image stabilization for photos and video again.

Videos are shot in 4K, with 8 million pixels via the rear camera. The front-facing camera will now be 5MP, and a TrueTone flash is simulated thanks to the Retina display that lights up the screen three times brighter than normal. This “Retina Flash” is ideal for lighting up darkened selfie environments.

iPhone 6S

Apple claims to have invented an “entirely new technology” with Live Photos, which are short bursts of moving pictures and sound. At first, it seemed ridiculous, as if it was claiming to have invented video or high-resolution GIFs.

But Live Photos are automatically turned on for the iSight camera, capturing 1.5 seconds before and 1.5 second after you press the shutter button. Pressing down on the 3D Touch screen brings them to life, or even swiping through your photo gallery shows a little bit of movement for a really neat effect.

It’s like Burst Photos, but put to better use. Don’t worry, Apple says that Live Photos won’t take up too much space. That’s a wise move for anyone brave enough to buy the space-limited 16GB new iPhone.

Faster than ever

Apple claims that Wi-Fi is twice as fast when using the new iPhone 6S. That means the slowdown on your phone’s connection at home and at work can properly be blamed on your ISP.

More importantly, the iPhone 6S specs include the all-new A9 processor with with embedded M9 motion coprocessor. It’s not as speedy as the iPad Pro A9X chip, but it’ll be plenty fast for a new phone.

iPhone 6S

Apple’s System-on-a-Chip is snappier than ever, with a CPU that’s 70% faster than the iPhone 6, and the GPU sees on 90% performance boost. The co processor has better activity tracking and it enables you to issue “Hey Siri” commands at any time. Previously, your iPhone had to be plugged in to take advantage of this always-listening virtual assistant mode.

The iPhone 6S is confirmed to have 2GB of RAM. It’s a key spec that translates into letting you have more apps and tasks open at once. Since the iPhone 5, we’ve been dealing with just 1GB of RAM.

Apple only likes to go so deeply into its iPhone specs, or maybe it’s that the new phone might look bad on paper next to 4GB Android handsets. Either way, it’s a much-needed upgrade.

Battery life

Like the iPhone 6S price and the overall look, there’s no difference in the “all-day” battery life for the new 4.7-inch phone, according to Apple at least. It has the same 14 hours of talk time and 11 hours of continuous HD video playback.

iPhone 6S

That doesn’t mean the battery capacity is the same size, however. Those are two different specs, as an Apple promo video clearly labels, and subsequent teardowns have confirmed, the iPhone 6S battery is 1,715mAh instead of last year’s 1,810mAh.

How does it maintain the same charge duration without the same battery size? Hardware changes, and also iOS 9 software tweaks are extending battery life across the board for iPhones.

Should you buy an iPhone 6S?

With the exception of the new rose gold color, this looks and feels like a hard-to-read S upgrade, as we say in our iPhone 6S review. But it does pack in powerful enough specs to consider running out and purchasing.

iPhone 6S

The new 12MP camera is important for anyone who takes iPhone photos every day (read: everyone) and the 5MP front-facing camera’s Retina Flash is ideal for anyone who only takes selfies (narcissists). It’s the most important app to phone users these days, and therefore the biggest upgrade.

4K videos and Live Photos may be fun to play around with, even if they’re not revolutionary, and the jury is still out on 3D Touch. Right now, it’s a nifty menu shortcut convenience taken from the Apple Watch.

The aluminum 7000 build quality, Apple A9 processor and faster Wi-Fi and Touch ID sensor make this a speedier and stronger phone upgrade next to the iPhone 6, especially if you’re ready to move on from that two-year old iPhone 5S.

From: TechRadar: All latest feeds - Java raises the stakes in its lawsuit with Android

Java raises the stakes in its lawsuit with Android

Oracle is looking to recoup a significantly higher sum than present when it returns to the courtroom opposite Google in the coming weeks.

First reported by PC World, Oracle wants to update its lawsuit concerning Google’s use of Java in Android to reflect the monumental gains made by the world’s number mobile operating system over the past five years.

Oracle reportedly holds some new information, which could bolster its argument against Google’s assertion that Java is protected by “fair use” and can be copied to a certain extent.

“It is in 80% of smartphones, in tablets, in televisions, on wearables, and even in cars,” Oracle’s lawyers wrote. “Android now has a billion users; Google reaps untold profits from these users through a variety of means.”

Whilst this has been happening, Oracle, by its own admission, “has suffered more than ever” and the company hopes that this, combined with other factors, will help its argument against fair use to succeed.

Started back in 2010

The original case was filed back in 2010 and it took three years before a San Francisco jury decided that Google had, indeed, infringed Oracle’s copyright but was split on the fair use argument.

By the time the ultimate decision is made, Java could be a very different animal. One of the chief architects behind the platform explained that it could become modular as early as next year when Java 9 gets its release.

From: TechRadar: All latest feeds - Phone Week: How to use your smartphone as a brilliant games console

Phone Week: How to use your smartphone as a brilliant games console

A new way of gaming

You might think that gaming on a smartphone is all about smashing jewels or playing fiddly first person shooters – but they’re actually capable of rivalling the console, whether that’s by bringing your mobile games to the TV or streaming console games to your phone.

While the Xbox One and PS4 are leagues ahead in terms of power, the phones we’re leaving idle on the sofa are more than capable of playing brilliant games or streaming high-end graphics to much sharper screens than the one on your wall – and here we’ll even show you the easy steps you need to do it too.

Can smartphones match consoles?

Skylanders

In some ways yes. We spoke to Qualcomm, responsible for delivering the chipsets in most phones offering high-end gaming, and spokesperson told us “we believe that the latest high tier Snapdragon processors are already able to deliver sufficient performance to render the graphics, audio and video for console quality games.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll always be getting a console quality experience however

“The very highest end games will likely remain on consoles for the foreseeable future, but the vast majority of other games are coming to mobile, where the mobile form factor and memory makes them appropriate to do so.”

As an alternate way to experience your favourite smartphone games a proper controller and TV output are great options that won’t break the bank, but if the smartphone is going to be a genuine alternative for the console for those people who crave a powerful gaming experience on the go there needs to be a change in perception for the technology.

The key thing is making the smartphone a platform that warrants the same fanfare for a new game that a console or PC gets. Right now, we’re lucky to get a basic offshoot of a larger game, but with phone capacity, graphic processing and power growing all the time, the ability to port better titles over is finally here:

“Last October Activision launched Skylanders Trap Team on mobile. It was the first time a full AAA console game launched day-and-date on both console and tablet,” said the Qualcomm spokesperson. “The tablet version of the game was developed alongside the console versions and contains the same cut scenes, voice overs, and game play as the console versions.

Godfire

While for smartphone exclusives the spokeperson also pointed to Godfire: Rise of Prometheus by indie developer Vivid Games as a title that’s really starting to take advantage of the power and processing on offer.

A brief look at the games shown off every year at Apple’s WWDC conference, where the brand tries to show off the power of its new software, confirms that we’re getting some impressively good graphics from a small handset.

High-powered handsets

Galaxy S6

If you’re serious about gaming on your phone, well, you’re going to want a serious phone. While all smartphones can run some level of gaming there are a few that are a lot more accomplished than others.

A powerful handset is obviously crucial if you want to play high-end games. The Samsung Galaxy S6, HTC One M9, Sony Xperia Z3+, LG G4, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus would all be ideal options, but you should be safe with most recent flagship phones from lesser brands.

Many of these have 64-bit octa-core processors and 3GB of RAM, so they’ve got a lot of grunt. The Snapdragon 810 chipset which powers a number of recent high-end phones, such as the One M9 and Xperia Z3+, is also designed to allow for online 3D gaming.

Apple is a big player in the mobile gaming space now too, thanks to the creation of Metal, a new technology found in recent versions of iOS (which makes more effective use of recent hardware, with the iPhone 6 Plus particularly shining), which allows the CPU and GPU to work together for more detailed graphics and impressive visual effects.

Gaming is already a key focus for top of the line phones and handled well…and it’s only going to get better as newer handsets and technologies emerge.

So while you do need something decent right now, there’s good news for the more budget-concious gamer. We spoke to Qualcomm, which creates the high-end Snapdragon 810, and they told us a change is coming.

“We’re typically improving our performance by roughly 30%-40% a year on average.

“Even the next generation of low tier smartphones, based on Snapdragon, will be able to support very advanced graphics APIs, full HD, responsive capacitive touch displays, and a level of performance that’s not very far from what the highest tiers of smartphones were able to support last year.

“Game developers need to get a maximum return on their investment, so it is raising the feature support and performance bar for the entirety of mobile devices that will bring about better games, rather than just raising the bar on the most capable, but lowest volume, products.”

In short, the cheaper devices will be able to handle really high-end graphics as the industry looks to enable a wider range of smartphones rather than just the expensive flagship devices.

Tools of the trade

Moga controller

There are a variety of controllers available that are compatible with, or in some cases even designed specifically for smartphones.

Some of them, such as the Moga Pro controller, include a cradle for the phone so that you can essentially turn your handset into a true handheld console, complete with the necessary buttons and sticks.

Others, such as the Nyko Playpad Pro, are just standard controllers, which don’t clip to your phone, so they’re no good for gaming on the move, but will be ideal if you stream or output your games to a television or monitor through a dedicated MHL cable or mirroring device.

Some phones, such as the Sony Xperia Z3 and many other Xperia handsets, can even be made to work with Sony’s DualShock 4 pad via Bluetooth, giving you the comfort of a familiar controller.

These aren’t overly expensive either, if you want to upgrade your gaming experience. A controller is likely to cost at least £15 and in many cases you also need a cable to link your phone to a television, which will also cost at least £10 for a half-decent option, while a console comes with everything you need out of the box. But if you’re serious about smartphone gaming they’re worthwhile investments.

How can my phone replace a console?

Mirroring your screen

MHL adapter

Once you’ve got the requisite controllers and cables you’ll need to get them set up with your phone. The exact process will depend on what you’re using, but there are a few things you’ll probably have to do.

If using an MHL adapter (as you likely will be to mirror your screen to a TV or monitor), it’s as simple as plugging one end into the micro USB port on your phone and the other into an HDMI cable, which itself needs to run to an HDMI port on your TV.

Not only will that mirror your screen, but there’s usually an extra port in the adapter which you can plug into a charger, so you can enjoy a marathon gaming session. MHL keeps getting better too, with the latest superMHL standard supporting higher resolutions, faster frame rates and more.

Other options exist, such as wireless screen mirroring with Chromecast or Miracast, but these aren’t generally ideal for gaming as there’s more likely to be lag than when using a wired solution.

Note that not all phones support MHL though, so it’s worth checking if yours does before investing in an adapter.

It’s not an option with any iPhone for example, although you can get dedicated Lightning connectors for the same task. You can mirror your screen using AirPlay, but you’ll also need an Apple TV, so it’s a bit pricier to get set up. If you have an Apple TV then simply head to Control Centre on your iOS device, tap AirPlay, select Apple TV, turn mirroring on and launch a game.

Connecting a controller

Logitech PowerShell

For a true console experience you’re not going to want to use on-screen controls, so as well as mirroring the screen you’ll probably want to hook a controller up to your phone.

The exact process for this will vary but it’s usually fairly straightforward. The popular Moga controllers for example use a dedicated Moga Pivot app on Android, which will automatically pair your controller to your phone assuming both are on.

The Logitech PowerShell controller for iPhone on the other hand requires a physical connection, plugging in to the phone’s Lightning port to pair.

If you have a Bluetooth controller and there’s no obvious setup instructions then you pair it the same way you would any other Bluetooth device- enable Bluetooth on your phone, scan for devices, select the controller from the list and enter the pairing code.

Big screen gaming

Games test

Even once you’ve got a controller and screen to hand a phone is never likely to fully replicate a console experience. We put big screen gaming to the test with a £20 Moga Mobile Gaming system controller and an MHL cable paired with an HTC One – and the bad news is that it’s nowhere near a console experience, thanks partly to the games on offer.

We found that while the gaming was reasonable, it was no substitute for a home console.

On a 32-inch screen Asphalt 8 looked a little blurry and lacking in detail, though Dead Trigger 2 fared rather better, almost passing off as a low budget console game.

It’s understandable that blowing the games up led to lower quality visuals though, as a Gameloft spokesperson told us “a high-end mobile game may be able to push 30% – 50% of the polygons of current-gen consoles,” so it stands to reason that visual quality on a large screen is likely to be 50% – 70% worse.

The controls weren’t perfect either. Using a controller was definitely better than a touch screen, but there was slight lag with some inputs due to using a Bluetooth connection.

Worse than that, the games just didn’t feel like they’d been designed for a controller as there was none of the precision or smoothness you’d experience on a home console, with jerkiness and stiffness creeping in.

Speaking of consoles though, there’s always the likes of the Ouya or GameStick, which are attempts at making an Android-powered home console. Laggy performance and a lack of games hold them back, but it points towards a future when smartphone games could be as comfortable on a television screen as on the move.

PS4 Remote Play

PS4 Remote Play

Outputting your phone to a larger screen is one way to turn it into a games console, but you can also bring your console games to your phone. Or at least you can if you’ve got a PS4 and a Sony Xperia Z3+, Xperia Z3, Xperia Z2 or Xperia Z3 Compact.

To get started just download the Remote Play app and make sure your new Playstation is on and connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your phone.

Then launch the app, follow the instructions to pair your DualShock 4 via Bluetooth, log in to your Sony account and it should automatically find and connect to your PS4. You’ll then be able to play your PS4 games on your phone, using your DualShock controller, though for a comfortable experience you might want to invest in a controller mount.

If you don’t fancy the mount or want to take the controller out of the equation entirely you can also use on-screen controls, but these have the typical issue of obscuring some of the action and not being as precise as physical buttons.

However you choose to control it the result is fairly impressive. The games look good and play quite well, though they don’t always feel at home on a small screen and there is sometimes ever so slight lag.

Remote Play is a bridge for bringing the console experience to a smartphone, but as phones become ever more powerful the games will inevitably be more akin to their console counterparts, the technology will become more capable and we’ll start seeing a big jump former – it’s clear we could see the phone truly matching a console before the end of the PS4’s life cycle.

Now… back to finally being able to complete Sonic the Hedgehog…

From: The Verge - All Posts - World’s largest e-sports group to start drug testing in wake of Adderall scandal

It’s not just traditional sports that have to worry about performance-enhancing drugs. In the wake of an ongoing controversy surrounding the abuse of Adderall by e-sports players, the Electronic Sports League has said that it will introduce policies to keep drugs out of virtual sports.

“We were all on Adderall.”

There are no details yet on how that might work, but the group tells Motherboard that it has “taken steps to move forward with drugs policing, education, and prevention among participants of [its] competitions.” The ESL describes itself as the “world’s largest e-sports organization,” though it’s far from the only name in the business, and it doesn’t cover some of the largest events, including the championships for Dota 2 and L…

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