LONDON—Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google hold a “vise-like grip” over how people use mobile devices, Britain’s antitrust regulator said Tuesday, adding it was assessing whether to try to loosen what it said was their control over smartphone ecosystems.
The preliminary report is among several, nonbinding research efforts by the U.K. and other antitrust regulators in Europe into competition in the tech industry. It doesn’t come with any regulatory action like fines or remedial orders. Still, previous reports have laid the…
Google hold a “vise-like grip” over how people use mobile devices, Britain’s antitrust regulator said Tuesday, adding it was assessing whether to try to loosen what it said was their control over smartphone ecosystems.
The preliminary report is among several, nonbinding research efforts by the U.K. and other antitrust regulators in Europe into competition in the tech industry. It doesn’t come with any regulatory action like fines or remedial orders. Still, previous reports have laid the foundation for more specific action and legislative proposals by regulators in the U.K. and Europe.
The report also represents another high-profile push from Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority. After the U.K.’s divorce from the European Union, the agency has struck out on its own in pushing a series of ambitious—sometimes novel—regulatory actions. Last month, for instance, the agency directed
Meta Platforms Inc.,
formerly Facebook, to sell animated-images company Giphy, saying the acquisition would limit competition among platforms and U.K. advertisers. Meta has said the deal benefits consumers and is appealing that decision.
On Tuesday, the head of the CMA said its 445-page report found that Apple and Google determine which software is available on their app stores and make it difficult for people to switch to alternate web browsers on their phones. He said that control limits innovation and choice, and leads to higher prices.
The CMA said the report could lead to recommendations about what it might do to boost competition if the agency gets new powers being proposed by the British government. Those proposals would allow the CMA to rein in companies with “strategic market status,” in part under a new digital-markets unit it has set up. The report sets out a range of actions it could consider taking to address the issues, including making it easier for customers to switch ecosystems without losing functionality or data.
“Apple and Google have developed a vise-like grip over how we use mobile phones, and we’re concerned that it’s causing millions of people across the U.K. to lose out,” CMA Chief Executive
said. The CMA said it is continuing to study the issue and expects to publish a final report in June 2022.
Apple’s hardware, software and services work so harmoniously that it is often called a ‘walled garden.’ The idea is central to recent antitrust scrutiny and the Epic vs. Apple case. WSJ’s Joanna Stern went to a real walled garden to explain it all. Photo illustration: Adele Morgan/The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition
An Apple spokeswoman said that the company faces “intense competition in every segment in which we operate,” and that it will continue to work with the CMA on its study. A Google spokeswoman said that the company is “committed to building thriving, open platforms that empower consumers and help developers succeed.”
The U.K.’s CMA is one of the most active antitrust regulators in the world and has taken a leading role both in studying digital markets and investigating big technology companies. In 2020, the regulator’s 437-page report on online advertising highlighted the market power of Google and Facebook. That report called for the new competition rules that the U.K. is now in the midst of debating.
The control that the owners of the big app stores have over the mobile market has been a subject of investigation for the CMA as well as other regulators. In March, the CMA opened an investigation into whether Apple imposes anticompetitive conditions on app developers—such as requirements that some types of apps use Apple’s in-app payment system.
At the time, Apple defended the requirements it places on app developers when submitting apps, saying they are necessary “to protect customers from malware and to prevent rampant data collection without their consent.”
—Joe Hoppe contributed to this article.
AMD's Entry Level Radeon RX 6500 XT Launch is Not Going Well – ExtremeTech
(Image: AMD)Back at CES a few weeks ago, AMD invited people to “step up your game” with its upcoming Radeon RX 6500 XT graphics card. It was marketed as the first “entry level” RDNA2 GPU from the company, and that status was confirmed by its low-ish asking price of just $199. The prospect of a budget-friendly GPU with advanced features is certainly appetizing, and quite welcome right now given the current GPU shortage. However, it seems the launch isn’t going very well, for one simple reason: the company graced the GPU with a measly 4GB of VRAM. It’s a bit embarrassing for AMD, given that it has railed against such low RAM loadouts in the past.
Of course, there’s other reasons for the card receiving sideways glances in online reviews. It has a minuscule 64-bit memory bus while offering 16 ray tracing cores, which seems totally pointless. Ray tracing would absolutely crush a card with this amount of horsepower, so it’s more of a marketing gimmick than a feature gamers would actually use. AMD did endow the card with 16MB of Infinity Cache, which does help with memory bandwidth, but with such a narrow pipe it’s really an uphill battle. It’s also limited to just four PCIe 4.0 lanes, which means if the card is dropped into an older system that only has PCIe 3.0, available bandwidth is cut in half, going from 8GB/s to 4GB/s. PCGamer writes: “Effectively you’re getting RX 580 performance, sometimes lower because of having half the VRAM.”
However, the biggest issue AMD is dealing with is its alleged attempt to conceal a blog post written in June of 2020, which argued that 4GB of RAM was insufficient for the the latest titles (which we covered here at the time). Kitguru noticed the post had been scrubbed from AMD’s website, which seemingly prompted the company to repost it in all its glory, but Kitguru noted that the post was missing for approximately four hours or so.
In the original post AMD declares, “Competitive products at a similar entry level price-point are offering up to a maximum of 4GB of VRAM, which is evidently not enough for todays games. Go Beyond 4GB of Video Memory to Crank Up your settings.” Despite its earlier proclamations, in January PCWorld interviewed AMD CEO Lisa Su and Radeon vice president Laura Smith about the card, and one of them exclaimed, “We have really optimized this one to be gaming first… You can see that with the way we’ve configured the part. Even with the four gigs of frame buffer, that’s a really nice frame buffer size for the majority of triple-A games…” To be fair to AMD though, the post was written by a Radeon Product Marketing Specialist named Adit Bhutani, and the blog post features this disclaimer at the bottom: “His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions.” Rightttttt.
The other issue with the card is that like any GPU released in the past two years or so, nobody actually believes it will sell for its $199 MSRP due to the GPU shortage. This means gamers who are interested in the card will likely end up paying $300+ for a 1080p GPU that runs AAA titles at medium settings, which just seems wrong. Though AMD’s 4GB RAM allotment might dissuade miners from scooping up all the available cards, looking at Newegg this morning there’s not a single card in stock, and some of them such as the the Asus TUF model are being offered for an insane $359 sticker price, but most of them are actually listed at $199, with a few hovering in the $269 region.
Though text-based review verdicts are mostly mixed, summarizing the situation as “it’s not that bad if you can find it for MSRP, which you probably can’t,” YouTubers seem to have their knives out for the newest member of the Radeon family. Hardware Unboxed labels its review, “Worst GPU,” calling the card the “Corner Cutting Edition,” while Gamers Nexus describes it as “Worse than 2016’s GPUs.” Hardware Canucks summarized the situation succinctly by simply asking, “WTF AMD!?”
Pokémon Legends: Arceus For Switch Has Now Been Datamined – Nintendo Life
Not only is footage all over websites like Twitter, Reddit, and ResetEra, but it seems the game has now also been datamined.
There are a lot of images and videos already doing the rounds online – revealing Pokémon models, the Pokédex roster, the game’s full story, soundtrack and more, and it’s rather easy to find. Pokémon fans have once again taken to social media sites to warn each other about possible spoilers floating about. Here are a few examples:
@piplup31 – “I just wanted to let anyone who sees this who’s planning on playing Pokémon Legends Arceus know that the game has been datamined and a lot of info is getting leaked, including all of the new forms! If you want to avoid spoilers until the game comes out be careful!”
Dataminers have also uncovered other details about what’s going on behind the scenes of the new game and extra information such as the file size. Here’s some information, courtesy of dataminer OatmealDome:
If you are excited about the new Pokémon game and don’t want any spoilers, you might want to stay off social media sites. And if we hear any other developments, we’ll let you know.
Samsung's Galaxy S22 Could Get a Graphics Boost From a New AMD-Fueled Chip – Gizmodo
Samsung has unveiled the Exynos 2200, its first smartphone processor with AMD graphics. More specifically, the chip uses AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture which enables variable-rate shading and hardware-accelerated ray tracing, a technique used to make lighting effects in virtual environments appear more realistic.
While it hasn’t been confirmed, we assume the SoC will be featured in Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S22 set to be revealed at the Unpacked event (which is rumored for Feb. 8). However, Samsung typically reserves its in-house Exynos chips for international markets and turns to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips for stateside models. Based on the latest rumors, US Galaxy S22 versions will likely run on the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.
The Exynos 2200 uses what AMD calls an “Xclipse” GPU and is based on Samsung’s 4-nanometer processing node. We’ve known since 2019 that the two chipmaking juggernauts would work together, and just last year, AMD confirmed that Samsung’s “next flagship mobile SoC” would use RDNA 2, the platform of AMD’s latest mobile and desktop GPUs.
The term “flagship” here is noteworthy in that it suggests the processor will indeed make its way to Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S series phones when they presumably arrive next month. What neither company has been willing to share just yet are performance numbers, though Samsung will likely highlight those during the Galaxy reveal. So far, the company is only claiming that the chip will enable the “ultimate mobile phone gaming experience.”
“AMD RDNA 2 graphics architecture extends power-efficient, advanced graphics solutions to PCs, laptops, consoles, automobiles and now to mobile phones. Samsung’s Xclipse GPU is the first result of multiple planned generations of AMD RDNA graphics in Exynos SoCs,” said David Wang, the senior vice president of Radeon Technologies Group at AMD.
Shifting to the CPU, the Exynos 2200 will use Arm’s latest Armv9 CPU cores in a tri-cluster configuration consisting of a single Arm Cortex-X2 “flagship core,” three balanced Cortex-A710 big cores, and four power-efficient Cortex-A510 little cores.
According to Samsung, the chip has more advanced AI, an upgraded neural processing unit (NPU) with twice the performance as its predecessor, and an image signal processor with support for up to 200-megapixels, 4K HDR (or 8K video recording), and the ability to connect to seven individual image sensors and drive four concurrently.
We’re curious to see what benefits the new graphics bring and whether those performance gains and features will be supported by mobile games. Interestingly, Samsung says the Xclipse GPU is “positioned between the console and the mobile graphic processor” so it sounds like the company wants to blur the lines by delivering at-home gaming performance on mobile hardware.
Change your Perspective (Plastic use)
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