A report from The Register yesterday claimed that Windows and Linux developers were scrambling to fix a "fundamental design flaw in Intel's processor chips." The flaw theoretically allows any program to view the layout or contents of protected kernel memory areas, which often contain passwords, login keys, cached files, and other sensitive data. Even a web app could potentially read kernel-protected data. Read More
Qualcomm has announced two new platforms today, the Snapdragon 660 and 630, meant to supplant the 653 and 626 respectively. Both are built on the company's latest 14nm FinFET process. They are also each part of Qualcomm's so-called "High tier," which rests — as one would numerically assume — between the 800 and 400 tiers. I don't want to oversimplify too many details of this release since it is very nifty, but at the same time I would like to ensure the information I'm presenting is accessible, so forgive me if I occasionally digress and/or geek out. Read More
The name MediaTek is usually associated with lower-end Chinese smartphones and tablets, since their SoCs are rather inexpensive. In the last year or so, the chip manufacturer has been working to push past that reputation. When it introduced the Helio X20, a few people took notice. Innovation is not usually the game with MediaTek, but it does try some interesting CPU designs. Today, it revealed the new Helio X23 and Helio X27 mobile processors. Read More
Earlier this month, I wrote about possibly the worst benchmarking application I had ever seen, 'Nenamark.' But Geekbench has come to save the day, bringing their Geekbench 4 benchmarking utility to Android. Geekbench is another cross-platform benchmarking program, so you can compare your results to a wide range of devices.
The Android Geekbench app, at least compared to the Windows/macOS equivalents, seems rather simplistic. You can benchmark your device's CPU and GPU, which are displayed as a number at the end (unlike Nenamark). The CPU benchmark performs both single-core and multi-core results, which is a nice touch. Unfortunately, Geekbench's battery test has been removed in this version. Read More
Back in late July, the Qualcomm Corporation - employer of over 30,000 individuals at the time - began the process of telling about 15% of those people (eg, over 4,000 gainfully-employed human beings) they were no longer needed. This was after already cutting another 1500 jobs in late 2014.
The company's stock is currently trading near 2-year lows, and while obviously still a very robust company, Qualcomm can't keep putting in these kinds of numbers if it's going to maintain its position at the tippy-top of the smartphone chipset market.
Qualcomm (QCOM - NASDAQ) stock is down over 10% year-to-date. It is down over 20% from its peak, reached in early 2014. Read More
Samsung and Qualcomm have been reliable partners since the rise of Android, to the mutual benefit of both the phone maker and the OEM chip supplier. But according to this report from Bloomberg, that relationship has hit a rocky patch as Samsung prepares its next flagship phone, presumably the Galaxy S6. An anonymous tipster told Bloomberg that Samsung will decline to use a Qualcomm chipset for the phone after poor testing of the Snapdragon 810, the OEM's top-of-the-line processor.
According to the report, Samsung has found that the 810 often overheats during testing, causing the company to choose its own line of Exynos processors instead. Read More
ARM technology powers the vast majority of mobile devices in the world, and the company has just announced some new designs to continue that tradition. The ARM Cortex-A17 is a new mid-range CPU core that offers improved speed and efficiency for budget devices. That's not all – there is also a new version of the Mali GPU for a complete price-conscious package.
The Cortex-A17 is not meant to replace the A15 – that's still the flagship CPU core design from ARM. The A17 is a mid-range part that should give chip makers a better option than continuing to use older A9s, the limited A12, or just a bunch of low-power Cortex-A7 cores. Read More
If you've already updated to Android 4.3, whether via an OTA or by flashing it manually, and rooted it, you're more than likely using Chainfire's SuperSU, which carefully works around the new restrictions Google put in place. Cody has a good write-up about why they did it and what's going on, so go read that if you're interested in the details.
Chainfire created the Android 4.3-compatible root method and the updated SuperSU back when the first leaks showed up for the Galaxy S4 but hasn't updated it for a few weeks. During that time, a good portion of users have discovered that sometimes SuperSU causes CPU spikes and starts eating up 100% CPU. Read More
ARM is kind of of big deal if you like mobile devices: they release and maintain the architectures licensed by nearly all the world's mobile System-on-a-Chip (SoC) makers. Today they've announced new CPU and GPU designs specifically targeted ant the growing mid-range market, the Cortex-A12 and Mali-T622. This silicon is powerful by today's standards, but a bit less so than their A15 (Samsung's Exynos 5250, NVIDIA Tegra 4) and T624 (and higher) counterparts, designed for more economical implementation. The basic idea is that mid-range devices, which ARM defines as between $150 and $350 unsubsidized, will get both more powerful and more efficient. Read More
Over at Black Hat USA 2012, security researcher Ralf-Phillip Weinmann demonstrated a vulnerability in several Android devices that utilized A-GPS to send illicit messages to the device which could, he explained, be used to send a report of the device's location any time an A-GPS message was sent or even be used to gain complete control of the device.
In describing the attack, Weinmann pointed out that, for example, a malicious WiFi network could instruct a phone to relay all future A-GPS requests, even once the device has left the WiFi network's range. This even further drives home the point that you should not join any networks you don't trust. Read More