Often it’s hard for a “story of the week” to bubble to the surface, but this week was easy: Google goes Alphabet.
If you missed it, the technology giant announced in a blog post that it is creating a holding company — a la Berkshire Hathaway Inc. — to help manage disparate initiatives, and make the company “cleaner and more accountable.” Sundar Pichai, who was product chief at Google, becomes Google’s CEO, while Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin become CEO and President respectively of Alphabet. In the blog, Page wrote:
“Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main Internet products contained in Alphabet instead. What do we mean by far afield? Good examples are our health efforts: Life Sciences (that works on the glucose-sensing contact lens), and Calico (focused on longevity). Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related.”
What does this mean for Android? Pete Pichal, writing at Mashable, sees increased focus on the platform thanks for the organizational change but also challenges.
“Pichai's Android mission is thus three-pronged: Clean up the mess, keep making big strides and do it without slowing the platform's meteoric growth. Not quite as easy as ABC.”
What should we be doing about the explosive growth in demand for bandwidth? A Samsung executive suggests we look to the heavens. Farooq Khan, Samsung’s president of R&D in Texas, has published the paper “Mobile Internet from the Heavens,” in which he argues that leveraging Low Earth Orbit satellites could provide additional data transfer capacity equivalent to 200GB/month for 5 billion users worldwide. Mark Tyson at Hexus.net reports on the story, and you can download the paper here.
The other big news of the week came on the hardware front, where specs surfaced around Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 device, a completely new design with a new Adreno 530 GPU, an enhanced DSP and two Spectra 14-bit ISPs. The SoC includes Qualcomm’s new custom designed Kryo 64-bit quad-core ARM. Jon Peddie, writing for EE Times, dives deep, and, among other things, notes that the SoC, built in Samsung’s 14nm FF process, is both a new architecture and a new process node. Additional coverage can be found at Engadget and CNET, among other outlets.
What’s up with Tizen? Plenty. The Samsung-spawned operating system was launched two years ago as an Android alternative.
This week Samsung Electronics co-CEO J.K. Shin, who runs the company’s IT and mobile communications division, said in an interview with CNET, that Tizen is more than a “pet project.”
“There are many convergences not only among IT gadgets, including smartphones, tablets, PCs, and cameras, but also among different industries like cars, bio, or banks. Cross-convergence is the one [area] Samsung can do best since we do have various parts and finished products.”
Here’s the story from Kyoung-Mook Kim and Roger Cheng.
The wearables market is huge—expected to reach nearly $6 billion in 2016. Yet it remains a fragmented consumer electronics segment, where winning products and companies are hard to pick. That according to Brian Markwalter, vice president of technology and standards for the CEA, according to an EE Times story by Rick Merritt.
Elsewhere around the industry, Synopsys CEO Aart de Geus doesn’t spent a lot of time chatting with the press but when he does it’s hugely interesting. In an interview with Semiconductor Engineering Editor in Chief Ed Sperling, de Geus says of security and IoT: “IoT is like putting kitchen windows in the bank.” That’s the just the beginning.
What’s going on in high-performance computing (HPC)? Robert Roe from Scientific Computing World guest-writes an overview of ISC 2015 for Inside HPC.
Lastly, I slept through the Perseid meteor shower this week, but in all honesty the viewing in the light-polluted San Francisco Bay Area is sub-optimal, so I wasn't about to set my alarm for 1 a.m. I am content to watch vicariously. This is worth the short watch just for the calming sound track:
That Just Happened (Aug. 6): Decacore to debut; Xiaomi’s new design; the Slinky escalator
That Just Happened (July 31): Windows 10 rolls; baseball eyes tossing umpires