July 1 (Reuters) – Qualcomm Inc’s (QCOM.O) new chief thinks that by next year his company will have just the chip for laptop makers wondering how they can compete with Apple Inc (AAPL.O), which last year introduced laptops using a custom-designed central processor chip that boasts longer battery life.
Longtime processor suppliers Intel Corp (INTC.O) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD.O) have no chips as energy efficient as Apple’s. Qualcomm Chief Executive Cristiano Amon told Reuters on Thursday he believes his company can have the best chip on the market, with help from a team of chip architects who formerly worked on the Apple chip but now work at Qualcomm.
In his first interview since taking the top job at San Diego, California-based Qualcomm, Amon also said the company is also counting on revenue growth from China to power its core smartphone chip business despite political tensions.
“We will go big in China,” he said, noting that U.S. sanctions on Huawei Technologies Co Ltd (HWT.UL) give Qualcomm an opportunity to generate a lot more revenue.
Amon said a cornerstone of his strategy comes from a lesson learned in the smartphone chip market: It was not enough just to provide modem chips for phones’ wireless data connectivity. Qualcomm also needed to provide the brains to turn the phone into a computer, which it now does for most premium Android devices.
Now, as Qualcomm looks to push 5G connectivity into laptops, it is pairing modems with a powerful central processor unit, or CPU, Amon said. Instead of using computing core blueprints from longtime partner Arm Ltd, as it now does for smartphones, Qualcomm concluded it needed custom-designed chips if its customers were to rival new laptops from Apple.
As head of Qualcomm’s chip division, Amon this year led the $1.4 billion acquisition of startup Nuvia, whose ex-Apple founders help design some those Apple laptop chips before leaving to form the startup. Qualcom will start selling Nuvia-based laptop chips next year.
“We needed to have the leading performance for a battery-powered device,” Amon said. “If Arm, which we’ve had a relationship with for years, eventually develops a CPU that’s better than what we can build ourselves, then we always have the option to license from Arm.”
Arm is in the midst of being purchased by Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O) for $40 billion, a merger that Qualcomm has objected to with regulators.
Amon said Qualcomm has no plans to build its own products to enter the other big market for CPUs – data centers for cloud computing companies. But it will license Nuvia’s designs to cloud computing companies that want to build their own chips, which could put it in competition with parts of Arm.
“We are more than willing to leverage the Nuvia CPU assets to partner with companies that are interested as they build their data center solutions,” Amon said.
Phone chips accounted for $12.8 billion of its $16.5 billion in chip revenue in its most recent fiscal year. Some of Qualcomm’s best customers, such as phone maker Xiaomi Corp (1810.HK), are in China.
Qualcomm is counting on revenue growth as its Android handset customers swoop in on former users of phones from Huawei, which was forced out of the handset market by Washington’s sanctions.
Kevin Krewell, principal analyst at TIRIAS Research, called it a “political minefield” due to rising U.S.-China tensions. But Amon said the company could do business as usual there.
“We license our technology – we don’t have to do forced joint ventures with technology transfers. Our customers in China are current with their agreements, so you see respect for American intellectual property,” he said.
Another major challenge for Amon will be hanging on to Apple as a customer. Qualcomm’s modem chips are now in all Apple iPhone 12 models after a bruising legal battle. Apple sued Qualcomm in 2017 but eventually dropped its claims and signed chip supply and patent license agreements with Qualcomm in 2019.
Apple is now designing chips to displace Qualcomm’s communications chips in iPhones.
“The biggest overhang for Qualcomm’s long-term stock multiple is the worry that right now, it’s as good as it gets, because they’re shipping into all the iPhones, but someday, Apple will do those chips internally,” said Michael Walkley, a senior analyst at Canaccord Genuity Group.
Amon said that Qualcomm has decades of experience designing modem chips that will be hard for any rival to replicate and that the void in the Android market left by Huawei creates new revenue opportunities for Qualcomm.
“Just for the premium tier alone, the Huawei addressable market is as big as the Apple opportunity is for us,” Amon said.
Another challenge for Amon, a gregarious executive who is energetic onstage during keynote presentations, will be that Qualcom is not well known to consumers in the way that Intel or Nvidia are, even in Qualcomm’s hometown.
“I flew into San Diego and got an Uber driver at the airport and told him I was going to Qualcomm. He said, ‘You mean the stadium?'” Krewell said, referring to the football arena formerly home to the San Diego Chargers.
Amon has started a new branding program for the company’s Snapdragon smartphone chips to try to change that.
“We have a mature smartphone industry today. People care what’s behind the glass,” he said.
(This story refiles to add missing words in paragraph 19)
Google Expands ‘About This Result’ With Info On Ranking Factors – Search Engine Journal
Google is expanding the ‘About This Result’ panel with information about what factors went into ranking a page in search results.
Starting today, when viewing an About This Result panel, searchers will get even more information about the results they’re seeing to help them make sense of which one might be most useful.
That’s what it offers to regular searchers, but to SEOs it offers unique insight into which ranking factors went into surfacing a given page for a given query.
Here’s an example of an updated About This Result panel for the query “how to cook fish in the oven”:
Underneath the “Your search & this result” heading you can see why a page was ranked for that query.
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In the example above Google surfaced that specific page due to the following factors:
- It matched words in the query with words on the page.
- It matched words related to the query with words on the page.
- The content of the page is in the same language as the submitted query.
- The searcher’s location in the United States made the page particularly relevant.
In addition to highlighting matching terms, related terms, and local relevance, the updated About This Result panel can also display information about inbound links.
Here’s another example where you can see the panel telling the searcher: “Other websites with your search terms link to this result.”
The header image of this article shows another version of an About This Result panel, which mentions the page’s images were used as a relevance factor.
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Google’s pitch to searchers is that this information can be used to refine one’s query to get better results.
For everyday users this panel offers techniques and settings that can be used to modify searches to get more relevant webpages.
From Google’s announcement:
“For example, if you usually search in English, but want to find results in a different language, or from a different region, About This Result makes it even easier to adjust your settings.
You may even want to adjust your search. Imagine you search for “best jogging shoes.” While it’s usually helpful for Google to return results about related concepts, in this case “running shoes,” you’re really after shoes that are optimized for jogging.
About This Result will show you tips for how you can get to what you really wanted. For example, you can put quotes around a word or phrase to get results that mention those words exactly, or use a minus sign to exclude certain words from your search.”
For marketers and SEOs, this panel offers an interesting look into how Google determines relevance on a per-result basis.
Prior to today’s update, About This Result only displayed information about the content source and whether the website’s connection was secure. Now it contains a wealth of data about relevance signals.
This expansion is now live for 10% of eligible users and will gradually roll out to 100%. The expanded panels are available in English in the U.S. to start, with plans for a wider rollout in the coming months.
OnePlus Buds Pro are a cheaper but still high-end take on AirPods Pro – Mashable
OnePlus has taken the wraps off of its latest wireless earbuds: the OnePlus Buds Pro. At $150, these are not only the priciest earbuds the company has to offer, but also its most sophisticated.
Compared to last year’s OnePlus Buds (which came in an obnoxious blue color) and the OnePlus Buds Z, the Buds Pro have a much sleeker look. You’ll have the choice between Glossy White and Matte Black — both of which are coupled with metallic stems.
The Buds Pro are also the first of the lineup to feature noise cancelation. With a three-mic setup on each earbud, the Buds Pro can filter out a range of noise levels (up to 40dB).
It’s what OnePlus calls “smart adaptive noise cancellation” (ANC). Depending on the noise within your environment — like cars passing by or conversations around you — the earbuds will automatically adjust the level of ANC in real time.
Inside, the OnePlus Buds Pro pack two 11mm dynamic drivers with support for Dolby Atmos. OnePlus says the earbuds provide “rich treble, heart-pounding bass, and crystal-clear vocals.” (We’ll be the judge of that.)
The company claims the Buds Pro can get up to 38 hours of battery life when you factor in the charging case’s additional battery. Whereas a quick 10-minute charge will get you up to 10 hours of battery life.
The Buds Pro also come with support for Warp Charge, OnePlus’ fast-charging technology. But since they’re Qi-certified, you can simply use any third-party wireless charger to power them up.
You’ll have to wait a little while to get your hands on them, though. The OnePlus Buds Pro will officially be available for purchase direct from OnePlus’ site starting September 1.
Leak: Battlefield 2042 Sandbox Mode To Include Bad Company 2 Maps – Kotaku
Last month, EA pulled back the curtain on climate-change shooter Battlefield 2042 and detailed two of its four modes. The other two remained couched as future announcements—one mentioned only by name (Hazard Zone), and one shrouded entirely in mystery. A since-deleted GameRant article (that was clearly embargoed ahead of today’s EA Play showcase and went live early) jumped the gun on revealing that previously under-wraps mode.
Turns out, the newest Battlefield mode will be…old Battlefield. Called Portal, DICE planned to reveal it during today’s EA Play.
Battlefield 2042’s Portal is essentially a community sandbox mode. Using weapons, gadgets, vehicles, and other assets from previous Battlefield games, players can create customized game modes and share them to the Battlefield 2042 community via playlist. Here’s a trailer, shown at today’s EA Play event:
Six maps from older Battlefield games will be included: two each from Battlefield 1942, Battlefield Bad Company 2, and Battlefield 3, also known as The Best Battlefield. (Yes, Caspian Border is included in Portal.) All of the older maps are rebuilt in Battlefield 2042’s Frostbite engine, and will feature the destruction mechanics recent Battlefield games are known for.
According to a GameRant, though you can mix and match stuff, each team has to be locked into a specific era. And notably, none of the gear will be balanced by default. In other words, if you’re on the team using weapons from a World War 2-era Battlefield, you’ll likely get freakin’ wrecked by the team using high-tech gear from Battlefield 2042.
But you can balance any Portal modes through something called the “Rules Editor,” which can alter damage for era-specific weapons and, according to GameRant, tweak the number of players on each team—so, say, those with weaker weapons have more players. DICE says that it’s gonna be complex AF, and plans to include tutorials to get folks up to speed.
Battlefield 2042 comes out October 22 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. It’ll support 128-player matches on PC and next-gen consoles. Matches on last-gen consoles will be limited to 64 players.
Update, 7/22, 2:15 p.m.: Added trailer.
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