OLED TV Greatness: Samsung and LG Showing Off 55" OLED TVs

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2012 - 06:34 PM |
Tagged: tv, Samsung, oled, LG, 55

There were rumors floating about the Internet pre-CES concerning a massive 55" OLED Television from LG. Lo and behold, CES is upon us and not only do we have a OLED TV from LG to drool over, but Samsung has also joined the fray with its own TV!

The LG television is 55" of OLED panel. The TV is 4mm thick and weights a mere 16.5 pounds, which is quite impressive compared to comparably sized LCD and Plasma Televisions which can weigh around 80 pounds and are not pleasant carrying up three flights of stairs (that's personal experience talking, folks). According to The Verge, LG claims their image processing technology, "Color Refiner," and WOLED (white organic light emitting diode) panel results in "the most natural colors of any TV set."

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Also squarely in the good news pile, the company claims to have wrangled the manufacturing process into a more streamlined solution and are able to offer the panel at much lower price points than previous OLED televisions. The bad news; however, is that "much lower price points" are good but when it's "much lower" from tens of thousands of dollars, it's not all that much lower for most folks.

The LG US Director of Product Development, Tim Alessi, stated that the OLED beauty would be available for purchase towards the end of this year (Q4).

Meanwhile, Samsung is showing off a OLED television of its own. The TV promises accurate colors, "true-to-life" image quality, and extremely minimal motion blur. This is thanks to an OLED panel featuring RGB sub-pixels. In the world of apps and app stores, the Samsung TV includes access to the company's Smart TV apps. Further, the television has a Microsoft Kinect like feature called "Smart Interaction" that allows users to turn the set on and off, search the browser, and start up applications using voice commands.

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Samsung will be putting this beauty on "sale" in the second half of the year; however, there is no word yet on pricing (though indications are north of "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" territory).  More info on the Samsung can be found here.

While I won't be getting one of these this year, I will definitely be jealous of the early adopters who do. Although the 4K 3D LED backlit LCD TVs are cool and all, OLED colors just look so damn good! Stay tuned for more CES news and drool worthy photos (I just hope we'll be able to pry the guys away from the OLED and 4K TV demos)!

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: The Verge

Seagate Completes Acquisition of Samsung’s Hard Disk Drive Business

Subject: General Tech, Storage | December 20, 2011 - 02:52 PM |
Tagged: Seagate, Samsung, sale, partnership, hdd

Back in April of this year we heard that Samsung was going to spin off its HDD department, handing the entire compliment of staff, equipment and trademarked names to Seagate for about $1.4 billion USD total.  Today that sale is complete as Seagate announced the final approval of the acquisition.  This means very little for the consumer over the next 12 months, and not just because of the lack of available HDDs.  Samsung's branding will remain on their HDD lines for the next year and as the entire Samsung team and facilities came with the rights to the products the design and assembly teams will be the same as when they were owned by Samsung.  

Fans of Samsung notebooks and other PCs will also be unaffected as those products tended to utilize Seagate HDDs already, as the two companies have had a long and tight partnership.  After a year we may see many of the Samsung lines disappear as they are folded into pre-existing Seagate product families, though it seems reasonable to hope that the new products will represent the both of best worlds.

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CUPERTINO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ:STX), a world leader in hard disk drives and storage solutions, today announced the closing of the transaction to acquire the hard disk drive (HDD) business of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in digital consumer electronics and information technology.

Under the terms of the transaction, Seagate has gained select elements of Samsung’s HDD business, including assets, infrastructure and employees that enable Seagate to drive scale and innovation. These assets include Samsung’s leading M8 product line of high-capacity, 2.5-inch HDDs. Samsung employees joining Seagate include a number of senior managers and design-engineering employees from Samsung's Korea facility, who will focus on development of small form-factor products for the mobile compute market. N.Y. Park, senior vice president and general manager, will oversee Seagate’s product development activities in Korea and serve as country manager of the Korea design center, reporting to Bob Whitmore, Seagate’s executive vice president and CTO.

“Together, Seagate and Samsung have aligned our current and future product development efforts and roadmaps in order to accelerate time-to-market efficiency for new products and position us to better address the increasing demands for storage,” said Steve Luczo, Seagate chairman, president and CEO. “It is an exciting time in the industry with rapidly evolving opportunities in many markets including mobile computing, cloud computing, and solid state storage.”

This transaction was announced in April 2011 along with a series of other agreements between Seagate and Samsung. Seagate is supplying disk drives to Samsung for PCs, notebooks and consumer electronics devices. Samsung is supplying its market-leading semiconductor products for use in Seagate’s enterprise solid state drives (SSDs), solid-state hybrid drives and other products. The companies have also extended and enhanced their existing patent cross-license agreement and have expanded cooperation to co-develop enterprise storage solutions.

“The strategic relationship will open new opportunities for the two companies by mutually complementing each other’s creative technology solutions for a broad diversity of IT applications,” said Oh-Hyun Kwon, vice chairman of Device Solutions of Samsung Electronics.

The transactions and agreements substantially expand Seagate’s customer access in China, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Germany and the Russian Federation. Seagate and Samsung also have been working together to ensure that customers continue to receive a high level of service, support and innovation, including activities to align the two companies’ supply bases and delivery infrastructure. To ease the transition of products and technologies, Seagate will retain certain Samsung HDD products under the Samsung brand name for 12 months, and maintain or establish a number of independent operations including sales staff, key production lines and R&D. Customers can find more information at www.seagate.com/samsung.

The combined value of these transactions and agreements is approximately US $1.4 billion, consisting of 45,239,490 Seagate Ordinary Shares and the remaining balance settled in cash. In addition, Samsung will designate a nominee to join Seagate’s Board of Directors.

Seagate does not presently expect significant restructuring costs and expects to achieve considerable reductions in overall operating expenses for the combined business while minimizing the integration costs. As previously stated, Seagate expects that the transactions and agreements will be meaningfully accretive to non-GAAP diluted earnings per share and cash flow in the first full year following the closing. Seagate will provide additional financial information for the combined company on its fiscal second quarter conference call in late January.

Source: Seagate

Mighty Mite; the ARM Cortex A15 and Samsung

Subject: General Tech | December 2, 2011 - 01:37 PM |
Tagged: Exynos 5250, Samsung, cortex a15, arm, 32nm

Samsung is the first to put ARM's new chip into a product, the Cortex A15.  While only 500MHz faster on paper, enhancements to the architecture have wonks predicting double the performance of the Cortex A9.  This little chip will be capable of outputting 2560 x 1600 video over DisplayPort as well as supporting SATA, UART, and USB 3.0.  This is a rather impressive list for a chip from a manufacturer that many have ignored.  You can bet that the power consumption on this chip will be minuscule, but the capabilities are not.  Check out SemiAccurate for the full story.

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"Samsung (SEO:005930) has started sampling a processor based on the latest microarchitecture, the A15, from ARM. The processor is fabbed using 32nm high-k metal gate low-power process technology. The processor clocks in at 2GHz, but thanks to advances in the microarchitecture, it is roughly twice as powerful as an A9-based processor running at 1.5GHz.

Samsung has named its new chip the Exynos 5250."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: SemiAccurate

Just Delivered: Samsung Infuse 4G

Subject: Mobile | November 9, 2011 - 07:08 AM |
Tagged: Samsung, Infuse 4g, froyo, AT&T, Android

Just Delivered is a new section of PC Perspective where we share some of the goodies that pass through our labs that may or may not see a review, but are pretty cool none the less.

I've been rocking an aging Nokia N900 smart phone for quite some time now. It was a good phone but I felt that it was time to take advantage of the upgrade pricing, and pick up a new phone with better support and hardware. Fed Ex today dropped off a smart phone in this ever unassuming box. Let's hope the phone is shinier than the box!

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After opening the box and taking out all of the components, I was left with quite a bit of kit. The phone in question is a Samsung Infuse 4G (for AT&T), and the box includes all the various retail odds and endsa that go with it. The Android smart phone is fairly thin, and although made of plastic it feels sturdy. Weighting in at 4.9 ounces, the phone resembles a small tablet with a massive 4.5" Super AMOLED+ capacitive multi-touch display with a resolution of 480 by 800 pixels. Powering the display is a single core Hummingbird processor running at 1.2 GHz, 512 MB of RAM, and 16 GB of internal storage via an internal microSD card.  Unfortunately, the phone is only running Android 2.2 and Samsung is using their own TouchWiz UI on top of the OS.  Despite that, the phone does still feel very snappy in terms of scrolling, bringing up menus, and transitioning between applications.  I'll have to play around with it some more though.

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Notable accessories Included in the box are a 1750 mAh battery, 2 GB MicroSD card (and SD card adapter), and wired headset as shown in the image below. Also a nice touch is a combination USB/AC charger and USB cable, which will be easier to manage than carrying around two chargers for my old phone (the AC charger and separate USB cable). The phone is capable of supporting up to a 32 GB microSDHC card for maximum storage.

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As far as very first impressions go, I'm really liking the Samsung Infuse. Although the display is one of the largest on a phone I've ever used, the phone is surprisingly light. It doesn't hurt that the display is very sharp and the colors are great, either. Now excuse me while I run out and get a screen protector before I scratch this thing!

Of hens teeth and hard drives

Subject: General Tech | November 4, 2011 - 11:42 AM |
Tagged: hdd, thailand, flooding, western digital, Samsung

According to SemiAccurate both Western Digital and Samsung will cease shipping hard drives to suppliers and retailers because of the devastating flooding in Thailand.  Both companies need to find a new source for head stacks and drive motors and Western Digital will need temporary manufacturing facilities while they wait for the flood waters to recede and repairs to start on their damaged factory.  Expect to see this have large effects on the industry as major suppliers like Dell, Acer, ASUS and HP do not tend to keep large supplies of hard drives lying around in storage which means that only the models with SSDs inside will be able to be manufactured and shipped out.  That reduction in production in turn will effect motherboard, GPU and CPU manufacturers as the demand for their products drop.  While you will not convince the 11,000+ Thai people who have been displaced by the flooding that the fate of Western Digital's factory is the biggest impact of this disaster, for many in the western world it is the only reason they are paying attention to this story.

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"According to sources that we have spoken with in the Taiwanese market both Samsung and Western Digital have decided to suspend shipments of disk drives to PC makers in Taiwan due to a parts shortage."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: SemiAccurate

Hard Drive Prices Spike on Thailand Flooding

Subject: General Tech, Storage | October 27, 2011 - 04:00 PM |
Tagged: wdc, shortage, Seagate, Samsung, hitachi, hdd, Hard Drive

Chances are good you have heard about the recent flooding in Thailand - as Yahoo puts it: "The country's worst flooding in half a century, caused in part by unusually heavy monsoon rain, has killed 373 people since mid-July and disrupted the lives of nearly 2.5 million."  Obviously this is a horrific disaster and we feel for the people affected by it.

But there is a tech angle to the story that has been showing up in many of our discussions as late and is the impact this disaster has had on the production of spindle-based hard drives.  Looking for a 2TB hard drive today on Newegg.com this is what I found:

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Prices for hard drives have sky rocketed in the last week or so due to the pending shortage of them across the world.  Many of the top manufacturers have facilities based in Thailand for production as well as partners that are responsible for supplying companies like Western Digital, Seagate, Samsung and Hitachi with the parts they need to produce platter-based drives. 

While we used to talk about finding 2TB hard drives in the $89 price range, the best prices we could find on comparable units today start at $129; and this is for the slower units.  Western Digital Caviar Black drives are starting at unit prices of $229 now!

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Pricing graph from Pricegrabber.com for Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB

If you are careful and shop around, you can still find drives like this for the $149 price point at sellers like Amazon are bit slower to update their prices.  (Scratch that, after publication this was already at $199!)  But don't just blindly purchase drives at this point - do your research!

WD drives aren't the only ones affected.  When doing a search for a Seagate 2TB drive, these were our results:

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When asked for comment, a representative of one of the affected manufacturers expressed concern for the people of Thailand first, but when pressed, said:

"The entire hard drive business is affected. Two of our factories are inundated with water, which supports 60% of our output. But a ton of suppliers that the entire industry uses are also flooded so we are all impacted."

While looking over at WD's press center we found this comment from John Coyne, President and CEO:

In mid-October, to protect our employees and our equipment and facilities, we temporarily suspended production at our two factories in Thailand, which have been inundated by floodwater. In addition, many of our component suppliers have been impacted, leaving material for hard drive production considerably constrained. We are working with suppliers to assess the extent of their impact and help devise short- and long-term solutions. This is a complex and dynamic challenge that will require extensive rebuilding for the Thai people and government, and present unprecedented obstacles to the hard drive industry for multiple quarters.

Obviously with a majority of the facilities affected we can only expect these prices hikes to increase and to linger.  That fact that Coyne specifically notes "multiple quarters" indicates that users likely won't see a return to the pricing we were used to until at least mid-2012.  With competition from solid-state drives heating up, this could be bad timing for companies dependent on spindle drives as the driving revenue source: comparing a $300 SSD to a $90 standard drive is a much different decision than that same $300 SSD and a $240 standard drive of high capacity. 

According to this report from Xbit labs, the industry has "two to four weeks" of hard drive inventory available.  The author claims that this points to the situation not being so dire, but with the WD's CEO stating the effects will be seen for "multiple quarters", I am guessing we will see a major buy-up of inventory from system builders like HP and Dell that will cause drive shortages much more quickly than anticipated.  

PC Perspective will keep tracking the effects on driving pricing and if any player in the business has other input they want to offer us.  Stay tuned!

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction, Specs, Design and Ergonomics

Introduction

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Courtesy of Samsung

 

Samsung's Galaxy S II smartphone debuted in the U.S. with Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile in September and we finally got our hands on a review sample. The Samsung smartphone runs on Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" operating system and includes an 8 MP camera with LED flash and 1080p video, front facing 2 MP camera, and Samsung’s custom TouchWiz user interface.

 

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Courtesy of Samsung

 

T-Mobile and Sprint’s version sports a 4.52-inch display, but AT&T’s version has a 4.3-inch screen that matches the original international version of the Galaxy S II. We are reviewing T-Mobile's Galaxy S II with 16GB of internal memory (there are two options for 16 and 32 GB). The Sprint and AT&T versions are outfitted with a dual-core 1.2 GHz Orion processor, but the T-Mobile version we are reviewing today sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU.

Read the rest of our review of the Samsung Galaxy S II!

Hope you weren't holding your breath for Ice Cream Sandwich

Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2011 - 12:45 PM |
Tagged: Android, ice cream sandwich, Samsung, nexus prime

It looks like the release of the full specs of Samsung's Nexus Prime yesterday was nothing more than a tease as today we find out that the release of the phone and Google's new Ice Cream Sandwich will be delayed.  Not only do we not know the new schedule for release, we also do not know the reason for the delay.  The Inquirer mentions the possibility that the release of the phone would be overshadowed by the iPhone 4S and iOS 5, though it could also be simply because of the leaks about the phone that have occurred recently.  Whatever the true reason, you won't able to snack on a sandwich anytime soon. 

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"KOREAN HARDWARE GIANT Samsung has confirmed it has pushed back its product announcement that was due to take place next week.

It was extremely likely that the company was going to announce, along with Google, the Nexus Prime smartphone at the Cellular Telephone Industries Association conference in San Diego next Tuesday. The phone will be the first to run Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), but the announcement now has no date or venue."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Samsung and Micron Developing Hybrid Memory Cube Technology

Subject: Memory | October 7, 2011 - 08:52 AM |
Tagged: memory, hybrid memory cube, HMC, micron, Intel, Samsung, ram, DDR, DRAM

Micron Technology and Samsung Electronics, in cooperation with Intel, Altera Corporation, Open Silicon, and Xilinx among others have formed the “Hybrid Memory Cube Consortium” to develop and encourage adoption of a new storage interface specification. This new storage technology is based on Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) technology, which is comprised of PCB, a thin logic layer, and stacks of DRAM chips. These memory chips are stacked vertically on top of one another and connected via TSV.

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A mock up of a HMC (Source: CNET)

According to Tech Connect Magazine, Micron’s Vice President for DRAM Marketing is quoted in stating “HMC brings a new level of capability to memory that provides exponential performance and efficiency gains.” Hybrid Memory Cube technology is claimed to be capable of using 70% less power than current DDR3 memory modules (DIMMs) while being up to 15 times faster.

Reinforcing Micron’s position is Intel’s CTO Justin Rattner who talked very highly of the technology and it’s massive bandwidth and I/O improvements versus traditional DDR style memory designs. The Hybrid Memory Cube is capable of sustained transfer rates of 1 terabit per second, and is “the most energy efficient DRAM ever built” by a bits transferred per amount of energy consumed.

Both Intel and Micron have expressed that the HMC technology will be a boon for data centers and high performance computing that demands low power and high bandwidth memory storage. Assuming the numbers pan out, the Hybrid Memory Cube will be quite a leap in memory efficiency and will further accelerate adoption rates of so called “cloud” applications as well as more efficient high performance servers used in scientific research endeavors. All in all, the idea of the Hybrid Memory Cube is cool stuff, and it will be interesting to see if the actual memory will live up to its grandeur name.

Not an Ultrabook but it could be, Samsung's Series 9

Subject: Mobile | September 6, 2011 - 04:59 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, Series 9, ultraportable

If you are in the market for an ultraportable Intel notebook, instead of waiting to see what becomes of the Ultrabook you could consider the Samsung Series 9.  A 13" notebook powered by a Core i5-2537M with 8GB of DDR3-1333 and a 256GB Samsung SSD pretty much matches anything that is on the market.  At $1300 it is a bit expensive but for a 12.9" x 8.9" x 0.64" notebook with that much power you have to expect a steep entry fee.  The Tech Report were impressed overall with some negative points from the keyboard's quality and the battery life which was not as long as they had hoped, you can't expect much more than four hours from the notebook.

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"This 13" notebook has much in common with Apple's MacBook Air—an almost impossibly slim chassis, a very light weight, a low-voltage Sandy Bridge processor, and solid-state storage. Did Samsung hit a home run with this laptop, and is it worth the money?"

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