AMD Radeon RX Vega 56, RX Vega 64 GPUs, and Threadripper 1900X Announced

AMD has formally announced a return to the enthusiast-class gaming space with new graphics cards based on its next-generation Vega architecture. The new AMD Radeon RX Vega series takes on Nvidia’shigher-end GeForce GTX 10-series cards, targeting gamers who want 4K quality and variable refresh rates. The new cards will be positioned above the existing Radeon RX 500 series.

There are two primary models, the Radeon RX Vega 56 and Radeon RX Vega 64. As their names suggest, they have 56 or 64 of AMD’s next-gen Vega compute units, for a total of 4,096 or 3,584 execution blocks called “stream processors”. This makes these cards capable of delivering 10.5 Teraflops and 12.66 Teraflops of compute power respectively. Both GPUs have 8GB of HBM2 memory on a 2048-bit bus. Memory bandwidth is 410GBps for the Vega 56 and 483.8GBps for the Vega 64.

There is also a Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled Edition which has an integrated closed-loop liquid cooler with a 120mm radiator, but is otherwise no different from its namesake. It can push out 13.7 Teraflops because of its clock speed can reach 1677MHz as opposed to 1546MHz for the is the regular Vega 64 and 1471MHz for the Vega 56. Its power consumption is also rated at a massive 345W, rather than 295W and 210W for the two air-cooled cards.

AMD’s own cards use blower-style coolers similar to the ones used on previous reference designs, but third-party manufacturers will be launching their own cards with the same GPUs. Reference cards will have three DisplayPorts and one HDMI output, plus hardware switches to control the colour of the LED accents.

The Vega 56 is priced at $399 (approximately Rs. 25,625) while the standard Vega 64 costs $499 (approximately Rs. 32,045) and its liquid-cooled counterpart costs $699 (approximately Rs. 44,890). They will all go on sale in the US on August 14. Pricing and availability in India are not yet known. The company also teased a small-form-factor Radeon RX Vega Nano card, though no information about its specifications or capabilities is yet known, as well as Project 47, a server product that packs 1 Petaflop of processing power in a single rack.

AMD Radeon RX Vega 56, RX Vega 64 GPUs, and Threadripper 1900X AnnouncedBecause of the likelihood that these cards will be snapped up by cryptocurrency miners just like the Radeon RX 500 series, prices could be driven up and gamers could end up frustrated. AMD is trying to even the playing field by selling a number of each card as part of what it is calling “Radeon Packs”, at least in the US. These cost $100 extra but give users a $200 discount on Samsung’s CF791 34-inch Freesync-enabled curved monitor, a $100 discount on a Ryzen 7 CPU and motherboard bundle, and coupons for Wolfenstein II and Prey, adding up to another $120. AMD hopes that the extra cost will dissuade miners and be helpful to gamers building a new PC.

AMD also confirmed the existence of a third member of its upcoming Ryzen Threadripper enthusiast CPU lineup. The Ryzen Threadripper 1900X will have 8 cores and 16 threads, joining the 12-core and 16-core Threadripper 1920X and 1950X. It has a base clock speed of 3.8GHz, a boost clock of 4.0GHz and an XFR limit of 4.2GHz. It will have a $549 price tag and use the same X399 platform as its bigger siblings, which sets it apart from the octa-core Ryzen 7 family because it will be able to work with the full complement of 64 PCIe lanes, and has a 180W thermal ceiling for overclocking.

This appears to be a response to Intel’s Core-X family, which includes mainstream Kaby Lake-X CPUs with fewer cores and PCIe lanes. The Ryzen Threadripper 1950X and 1920X will be on store shelves in the US on August 10, while the 1900X will launch on August 31.

Windows 10 Gets ‘Eye Control’ Feature, Command Prompt Console Gets Colour Overhaul

To empower physically-challenged people to operate an on-screen mouse and keyboard, Microsoft has announced beta version of ‘Eye Control’ feature for Windows 10 that lets users control much of the interface with just eye movements. The ‘Eye Control’ feature is now rolling out in the Windows Insider Preview Build 16257 for PC. Separately, Microsoft is also revamping its Microsoft Console aka command prompt with more colours for the first time in more than 20 years.

Microsoft has mentioned in its blog post that the Eye Control feature requires a compatible eye tracker, like the Tobii Eye Tracker 4C. When users turn on Eye Control, a launchpad appears that allows then reads eye movements and gives access to mouse, keyboard, and text-to-speech tool. Users will also be able to reposition the UI to the opposite side of the screen.” There is also an Eye Control interaction model to interact with the Windows UI, where looking at the UI will activate it along with voice guidance. Eye Control only works with the US English language keyboard support initially, with plans to add more keyboard layouts later.

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Users can control the mouse by simply selecting the mouse from the launchpad, position their eyes on the screen where they want the cursor to be placed. Users can select the keyboard from the launchpad and ‘dwell’ on the characters they want to type. However, the new tool faces challenges in direct sunlight and, therefore, the company said the device might require new calibration when moving to a location with different lighting conditions. Also, the launchpad partially blocks the Tobii UI during device calibration, which can worked around by turning the Eye Control off and turning it back again after calibration is done. The Eye Control feature currently supports only with selected eye trackers of Tobii hardware, however Microsoft plans to bring more devices in future.

Moving to the Microsoft Console aka command prompt that has now been overhauled to include a new colour scheme for the first time in more than 20 years. The same Windows 10 Insider Preview Build (v16257) now brings support for additional default colours on the command prompt, giving users a dramatic change to Windows Console’s legacy blue to improve its legibility. “The default colour values have been changed to improve legibility of darker colours on modern screens, and to give the Console a more modern look & feel,” notes the blog.

Windows 10 testers will only be able to see new colours as the default Console scheme only if they clean-install the build 16257. However, upgrading Windows to this new build will brings new colours but without the new defaults. Microsoft will also be soon releasing a tool that will help testers apply this new colour scheme and a selection of alternative colour schemes to the Windows Console.

Google Glass Enterprise Edition Officially Unveiled, Now Available to More Firms

Google Glass 2.0 or Google Glass Enterprise Edition has been tipped for a while, and on Tuesday, the search giant finally made the wearables official. Called Google Glass Enterprise Edition, the new glasses have seen improvements to the design and hardware to make them more lightweight and comfortable for long term wear. They also feature better battery life and more power.

The Mountain View giant made the announcement over on the website of X, Google’s moonshot factory. Jay Kothari, Product Lead for Glass, said the company has been working on the new and improved Google GlassEnterprise Edition for the past two years, in which time it has been available to a small number of enterprises in a limited programme. These firms include AGCO, DHL, GE, Samsung, Sutter Health, and Volkswagen.

Image result for Google Glass Enterprise Edition Officially Unveiled, Now Available to More FirmsNow, the Google Glass team has returned to X, and the Google Glass Enterprise Edition is available to more enterprises through the company’s network of expert partners. To recall, the first Google Glass was unveiled way back in 2012 and then made available in a limited programme, before being made available to everyone in the US in 2014. It was finally discontinued for consumers in 2015. Since then, rumours of a new version of Google Glass have been rife. Now Google admits it has been testing the new edition for the past two years, making past reports more credible.

Detailing the use cases for Google Glass Enterprise Edition, and hinting at the work that went into developing it, Kothari writes, “Workers in many fields, like manufacturing, logistics, field services, and healthcare find it useful to consult a wearable device for information and other resources while their hands are busy. That’s why we’ve spent the last two years working closely with a network of more than 30 expert partners to build customised software and business solutions for Glass for people in these fields.”

Kothari also revealed that the Google Glass team is working with the Google Cloud team and other partners to help enterprises across sectors make best use of the wearable.

Honor Band 3 With Heart Rate Sensor Launched in India at Rs. 2,799

Honor had unveiled a new fitness wearable – Honor Band 3- alongside the Honor 8 Pro (Review) in India earlier this month. While the company revealed the band’s features at the event, it chose not to disclose the pricing and the details. Honor Band 3 has now been launched in India at Rs. 2,799 and will be made available exclusively via Amazon India starting midnight on Thursday.

The Honor Band 3 is a water-resistant fitness wearable that features a heart rate sensor that allows continuous monitoring. It will be made available in “funky” colour options liked Dynamic Orange, Navy Blue, and Carbon Black colours.

The new fitness band from Honor features a 0.9-inch (128×32 pixel) vertical PMOLED display that shows users data regarding their fitness activities. With the Band 3, Honor is claiming 50 metre water resistance and 30 days battery life on a single charge. Notably, the company clarifies that the battery life claims are on the basis of the tests conducted in its lab and actual performance of the wearable in this department will depend on usage patterns. The battery is rated at 105mAh.

With Honor Band 3, users will be able to see data on heart rate monitoring, workout sessions, and smartphone notifications from the display. The Honor Band 3 comes with a 16mm wide strap made of thermoplastic polyurethane. Apart from the heart rate sensor, the band comes with an infrared sensor, pedometer, and a 3-axis accelerometer to map real time data of your sleep schedule patterns, walking steps, calories, distance, and running.

Users will also be able to get access to this data through the company’s app on their smartphone.

Honor Band 3 With Heart Rate Sensor Launched in India at Rs. 2,799In terms of connectivity, the Honor Band 3 comes with Bluetooth v4.2 BLE. As the band is water-resistant, it additionally comes with a swimming mode that tracks swim time and calories burnt in the activity.

“Further, the band’s larger bright display not only helps you track your statistics but also works as your All Day Assistant with notification alerts like caller ID, emails, call rejection, social media and calendar alerts,” the company said. With its TruSleep feature, the band is able to track sleeping patterns of the users as well.

While only the Carbon Black colour variant will be available initially, the company says that other colour variants will be introduced around Rakshabandhan and Independence Day.

“Focused on innovation and customer-centricity, Honor is committed to introducing meaningful products. Wearable technology is changing the world really fast as they provide us with vital information that can help us live better. The new Honor Band 3 is equipped with smart technology to help people use intelligent trackers to keep a close watch on their fitness statistics.” P. Sanjeev, Vice President – Sales (Huawei & Honor Consumer Business) said on the launch of the Honor Band 3.

Bingo F1, F2 Fitness Bands With Heart Rate Sensor, OLED Display Launched in India

Bingo Technologies, over the weekend, unveiled its new fitness bands – the F1 and F2. The Bingo F1 has been priced at Rs. 1,499 and Bingo F2 at Rs. 1,699.

Both the fitness bands are available in several colours, including Blue, Pink, Green, Black and Purple. Both the bands come with a six-month manufacturer warranty and are now available via e-commerce websites like Amazon India, Snapdeal, Flipkart, Shopclues, and Paytm among others. The new Bingo F1 and F2 bands are compatible with all devices featuring Android and iOS via Bluetooth 4.0 and above. Much like other fitness bands, the Bingo bands are dust and water resistant with IP67 certification.

Some of the features of the new Bingo F1 and F2 include a 0.71-inch OLED display with touchscreen support; ability to record steps; sleep monitor; incoming call notification; calories burns recording; heart rate sensor, and pedometer. The Bingo F2 also comes with push button.

Bingo F1, F2 Fitness Bands With Heart Rate Sensor, OLED Display Launched in IndiaBoth the bands support Bluetooth sync for reminders for alarm, calls, and other connected apps like WeChat, Facebook, and WhatsApp. Bingo says that both bands also come with sedentary reminder which notifies the user when they don’t move for an hour as well as drinking water reminder.

Talking about what’s under the hood, the Bingo F1 and F2 fitness bands pack a 70mAh battery that can offer standby time of up to 300 hours. They weighs less than 10 grams and are made with plastic ABS and TPS elastomer.

Commenting on the launch, Abhinaya Pratap Singh, Marketing Manager, Bingo Technologies said, “The F1 and F2 fitness bands are designed for Indian weather conditions with its water and dust proof features. An array of fitness related features aim to enhance the existing routines of consumers and encourage new users to live a healthy and fulfilling life. We believe the F1 & F2 fitness bands are a truly value for money offering which will appeal to our customers.”

Microsoft HoloLens 2 to Sport Custom AI Chip, Company Reveals

Microsoft has taken another step in the AI direction, by announcing that its next-generation HoloLens augmented reality headset will come with an on-device AI chip. This integrated AI chip will help in faster processing time and eradicate the need to upload on cloud first, making mobile processing more secure and fast. With this, Microsoft joins Apple, ARM, Qualcomm, Google, Nvidia, Facebook, and other major tech companies scrambling to bring AI in future mobile devices.

Bloomberg reports that Microsoft is building an AI chip that will be integrated into its HoloLens goggles enabling it to analyse content on-device, rather than uploading it to cloud first. The new processor – a version of the company’s Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) – was showcased at an event in Honolulu. While Microsoft confirmed that this one-of-a-kind chip for mobile devices will be integrated into the next HoloLens version, it refrained from sharing a launch date for the goggles.

Microsoft HoloLens 2 to Sport Custom AI Chip, Company RevealsMicrosoft claims that it has designed the chip from ground up, but will be manufacturing it from third party dealers. “We’re taking this very seriously. Our aspiration is to be the No. 1 AI cloud,” Doug Burger, engineer in Microsoft Research, told the publication.

With the iPhone 8 rumoured to have AI and AR features integrated, the boom in mobile AI is expected to rise inevitably in the near future. As mentioned, companies are already work in progress in building these chips. Apple is reported to be building its own custom AI chip called the Apple Neural Engine to power AI on the iPhones, and Nvidia is said to be building an AI chip called Volta which may be used by Amazon in the future. Microsoft’s AI chip is now a new entrant into the mix, and we expect to see its first glimpse in 2019, as that’s the year the the HoloLens 2 is largely rumoured to be launched.

HTC Vive Standalone VR Headset With Snapdragon 835 SoC Unveiled, but Only for China

HTC on Thursday announced its Vive Standalone VR (virtual reality) headset exclusively for the Chinese market. HTC has partnered with Qualcomm to develop the new “premium” standalone VR headset, and said come with HTC’s Viveport as its official content platform.

One of the biggest highlights of the new premium standalone VR headset is that it will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC.To recall, Qualcomm had launched its Snapdragon 835 SoC-powered reference VR headset in February this year, alongside a hardware accelerator programme for OEMs. For now, no exact specifications are available for the Vive Standalone VR headset.

HTC claims that the new Vive Standalone VR headset will deliver an “outstanding standalone VR experience” making it the “best-in-class premium device for this segment in the China market.” There’s no pricing or availability details announced as of now. Previously, HTC launched a VR headset only for Japan, and it was compatible with the HTC U11 smartphone.

HTC Vive Standalone VR Headset With Snapdragon 835 SoC Unveiled, but Only for ChinaThe Taiwanese company is calling out interested VR developers to register at viveport.com/standalonevr-cn to apply for participation in the associated support programmes of the Vive Standalone, and also to get an early access to upcoming developer events. The headset is said to come with built-in VR functionalities without the need of a PC or phone to operate.

“China is the leading mobile market in the world today, and has the momentum to lead the global VR market as well. Partnering with Qualcomm to deliver an easy to use and more affordable Vive VR system will enable us to make premium standalone VR widely accessible to the masses in China,” said Alvin W. Graylin, China Regional President of Vive, HTC.

“We are thrilled to work with HTC’s Vive team as they utilise our rich feature set to create exciting, new VR experiences in the first truly mobile VR headset of the Vive ecosystem,” said Hugo Swart, Senior Director, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies.

Apple, Cochlear Partner on First ‘Made-for-iPhone’ Hearing Implant Sound Processor

Cochlear, a company focused at implantable hearing solutions, has teamed up with Apple to unveil the first “made-for-iPhone” cochlear implant sound processor. With the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor, people with a Cochlear Nucleus Implant can stream sound directly from a compatible iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Additionally, people using the new Cochlear Nucleus hearing implant will be able to control, monitor, and customise their hearing on their iPhone or iPod touch through the Nucleus Smart App available to download for free from the App Store. The company also claims that the Cochlear Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is the “smallest and lightest” behind-the-ear cochlear implant sound processor available in the market.

The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor will be commercially available in September in the United States and Canada for those who are looking to receive a cochlear implant. Additionally, the company will make the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor available as an upgrade in October for select recipients of cochlear implants.

The Nucleus 7 Sound processor offers a range of features like the hearing tracker records coil-offs time when the sound processor coil does not detect the implant coil in cases such as if it has fallen off. The Nucleus Smart App’s Find My Processor feature helps locate a lost sound processor.

Apple, Cochlear Partner on First 'Made-for-iPhone' Hearing Implant Sound Processor

chris Smith, Cochlear Chief Executive Officer and President, announcing the new implant said, “The approval of the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is a turning point for people with hearing loss, opening the door for them to make phone calls, listen to music in high-quality stereo sound, watch videos and have FaceTime calls streamed directly to their cochlear implant.”

This is not a first hearing aid device for which Apple has collaborated with a hearing solution company. The company lists a range of products on its website.

Sarah Herrlinger, Senior Manager for Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives at Apple toldTechCrunch, “We wanted to see something that could become ubiquitous out in the world. We want everybody to use our technology and to say ‘wow my iPhone is the best piece of technology I’ve ever used before’…with every iteration of our operating system our goal is to add in new accessibility features in order to expand the support that we can give to people all over the world.”

Disney Research Makes Augmented Reality a Group Experience

Have you ever wanted to sit and drift through a magical world with your friends? Disney Research has developed a ‘Magic Bench’ platform that actualises this dream by combining augmented (AR) and mixed reality experience.

In this platform, wearing a head-mounted display or using a handheld device is not required. Instead, the surroundings are instrumented rather than the individual, allowing people to share the magical experience as a group.

“This platform creates a multi-sensory immersive experience in which a group can interact directly with an animated character. Our mantra for this project was: Hear a character coming, see them enter the space, and feel them sit next to you,” said Moshe Mahler, Principal Digital Artist at Disney Research.

The Magic Bench shows people their mirrored images on a large screen in front of them, creating a third person point of view.

Disney Research Makes Augmented Reality a Group Experience“The scene is reconstructed using a depth sensor, allowing the participants to actually occupy the same 3D space as a computer-generated character or object, rather than superimposing one video feed onto another,” the researchers said in a paper that will be presented at ‘SIGGRAPH 2017’ event in Los Angeles on July 30.

According to the researchers, a colour camera and depth sensor were used to create a real-time, HD-video-textured 3D reconstruction of the bench, surroundings and participants.

“The bench itself plays a critical role. Not only does it contain haptic actuators, but it constrains several issues for us in an elegant way. We know the location and the number of participants, and can infer their gaze. It creates a stage with a foreground and a background, with the seated participants in the middle ground,” Mahler explained.

“It even serves as a controller; the mixed reality experience doesn’t begin until someone sits down and different formations of people seated create different types of experiences,” he added.

iPod nano, shuffle Discontinued as Apple Looks to Simplify Lineup

After years of being outsold by the iPhone, the venerable iPod has taken a big step toward eventual oblivion. Apple said Thursday it was discontinuing two of the cheapest iPod models: the nano and shuffle.

The two products have been removed from the Apple online store and will vanish from retail locations as well. Apple demoted the iPod’s placement in its retail stores a couple of years ago, moving the devices to the company’s accessory shelves. The $149 nano and $49 shuffle were last updated with new colors in 2015, but the nano hasn’t been revamped since 2012 while the shuffle hasn’t been redesigned since 2010.

“Today, we are simplifying our iPod lineup with two models of iPod touch now with double the capacity starting at just $199 and we are discontinuing the iPod shuffle and iPod nano,” Apple said in a statement.

The original iPod arrived in 2001. It wasn’t the first digital music player but it upended the music industry and put 1,000 songs in your pocket. The shuffle hit the market in 2005 as the first iPod with faster flash storage and without a screen, while the nano was introduced later in the year as a replacement for the then-popular iPod mini. Both went through several redesigns in their early years before being supplanted by iPhone.

iPod nano, shuffle Discontinued as Apple Looks to Simplify LineupThe iPod touch, the company’s highest selling iPod and once referred to by Steve Jobs as an iPhone without the phone, remains on sale. The company updated the device’s storage capacities on Thursday, discontinuing the 16GB and 64GB models and lowering the price of the 32GB and 128GB options to $199 and $299, respectively.

Apple discontinued the iPod classic in 2014, a large iPod with a “click wheel” that looked most like the original model. Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said at the time that the classic was discontinued because the company was unable to source the necessary parts. Nonetheless, with the success of the iPhone, the lack of an App Store and services like iCloud and Apple Music, the non-touch iPods have become less useful to both Apple and consumers.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, has sold more than 400 million iPods so far, while the iPhone surpassed a billion units sold in July 2016.