Fossil announces new update to Android Wear watches with HR tracking, GPS

Fossil announces new update to Android Wear watches with HR tracking, GPS
Fossil’s Q watch line is an interesting foray by a traditional fashion watchmaker into the wearable world. Their latest additions to the line, the Fossil Q Venture HR and Fossil Q Explorist HR, add a great deal of Android Wear functionality to a watch that is reminiscent of Fossil’s earlier, simpler watches. In other words, these are some nice, low-cost smartwatches for the fitness fan.
The original Q watches included a clever hybrid model with analog face and step counter. As the company expanded into wearables, however, they went the Android Wear route and created a number of lower-powered touchscreen watches. Now, thanks to a new chipset, Fossil is able to add a great deal more functionality in a nice package. The Venture and the Explorist adds untethered GPS, NFC, heart rate and 24-hour battery life. It also includes an altimeter and gyroscope sensor.
The new watches start at $255 and run the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip, an optimized chipset for fitness watches.
The watch comes in multiple styles and with multiple bands and features 36 faces, including health and fitness-focused faces for the physically ambitious. The watch also allows you to pay with Google Pay — Apple Pay isn’t supported — and you can store content on the watch for runs or walks. It also tracks swims and is waterproof. The Venture and Explorist are 40mm and 45mm, respectively, and the straps are interchangeable. While they’re no $10,000 Swiss masterpiece, these things look — and work — pretty good.

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch

Europe updates its predatory pricing investigation against Qualcomm over UMTS baseband chips

Europe updates its predatory pricing investigation against Qualcomm over UMTS baseband chips

On the heels of Google getting served a $5 billion fine by the EU over monopolistic practices related to its Android operating system, the European Commission today resurfaced another ongoing case in the world of large U.S. tech companies. The EC said that it has added to its investigation into Qualcomm and its predatory pricing of UMTS baseband chips. Specifically, today the Commission has sent more details relating to elements of the “price cost” test that it had applied to measure just how much below cost Qualcomm was selling UMTS baseband chips to edge out competitors.

If the case is decided against Qualcomm, the company could face an additional fine of up to 10 percent of its worldwide revenues. In 2009, these were $10.4 billion, while in 2017, global turnover was over $22 billion.

The original, 2015 case was based on a complaint filed by Icera — once a big player in baseband chips — and dates back to practices between 2009 and 2011 and alleged that Qualcomm used its market position to negotiate artificially low prices for UMTS chips — used in 3G phones — in order to oust out Icera. Others that made similar chips include Nvidia.

Qualcomm has wasted little time in responding to the notice posted by the EC.

“This investigation, now in its ninth year, alleges harm in 2009-2011, to a competitor who chose years later to exit the market for reasons unrelated to Qualcomm,” said Don Rosenberg, general counsel and executive vice president of Qualcomm in a statement. “While the investigation has been narrowed, we are disappointed to see it continues and will immediately begin preparing our response to this supplementary statement of objections. We belief that once the Commission has reviewed our response it will find that Qualcomm’s practices are pro-competitive and fully consistent with European competition rules.”

Qualcomm is already in the middle of appealing a $1.23 billion fine in the EU over LTE chip dominance in the iPhone, related to deals that were made with Apple at the expense of another big rival of Qualcomm’s, Intel. (Never mind that Apple and Qualcomm are also in the middle of a patent dispute.)

This older case, as Qualcomm points out, has been narrowed since it was first announced almost exactly three years ago. And while we don’t know what the exact details of the supplementary objections are and whether they have expanded them again (we have contacted the EC to try to find out), the Commission also notes in its short statement — printed in full below — that sending an update to its calculations doesn’t necessarily imply the outcome of this case.

Statement below.

The European Commission has sent a Supplementary Statement of Objections to Qualcomm Inc. This is a procedural step in the Commission’s ongoing investigation under EU antitrust rules looking into whether Qualcomm engaged in ‘predatory pricing’. The Commission sent a Statement of Objections to Qualcomm in December 2015 detailing its concerns. In particular, the Commission’s preliminary view is that between 2009 and 2011 Qualcomm sold certain UMTS baseband chipsets at prices below cost, with the intention of eliminating Icera, its main competitor in the leading edge segment of the market at that time. UMTS chipsets are key components of mobile devices. They enable both voice and data transmission in third generation (3G) cellular communication. The Supplementary Statement of Objections sent today focuses on certain elements of the “price-cost” test applied by the Commission to assess the extent to which UMTS baseband chipsets were sold by Qualcomm at prices below cost. The sending of a Supplementary Statement of Objections does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number AT.39711.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

Facebook and Qualcomm will bring fast Wi-Fi to cities in mid-2019

Facebook and Qualcomm will bring fast Wi-Fi to cities in mid-2019

Facebook’s been talking Terragraph since way back during its 2016 F8 keynote. The social media giant’s ambitious plan to bring fast Wi-Fi to cities is taking another key step toward real world trials with the addition of Qualcomm. The chipmaking giant announced today that it will add the 60Ghz tech to its future chipsets, with plans to start trials in the middle of next year.

“It is based on the pre-802.11ay standard with enhancements provided by the Qualcomm Technologies’ chipset and the integrated software between Facebook and Qualcomm Technologies to support efficient outdoor operation and avoid interference in dense environments,” Qualcomm writes in the announcement.

San Jose has already been floated as a potential testing ground for the technology. It’s not the biggest U.S. city, but the Silicon Valley hub should prove a solid testing ground with its tech savvy population. The companies say the tech will be useful in lowering the cost of high-speed wireless and helping deliver connectivity to populated areas with significant obstacles, including those densely packed with buildings.

The latter, naturally, makes Terragraph a natural for urban environments, where digging up the ground for fiber is a nuisance, to say the least. Facebook is also looking to service more rural spots with its Antenna Radio Integration for Efficiency in Spectrum (ARIES) system, a technology that was unveiled at the same F8 event.  

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

China closing in on massive new chip fund in bid to dominate US semiconductor industry

China closing in on massive new chip fund in bid to dominate US semiconductor industry

China’s government has made technological independence from the United States one of its highest priorities. And now it appears to be putting its money where its messaging has been.

According to The Wall Street Journal, China is close to finalizing a $47 billion investment fund that would finance semiconductor research and chip startup development. The fund, formally the China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund Co., appears to be underwritten predominantly by government capital sources.

Such a fund has been rumored for months, with the size of the fund ranging widely. Just two weeks ago, Reuters reported the fund would be $19 billion, while Bloomberg reported $31.5 billion two months ago. The exact number appears to be under intense negotiation among the Chinese leadership, and is also responsive to the increasingly tense trade negotiations with the United States.

If the $47 billion number pans out, it would be identical in size to a $47 billion fund that was financed by Tsinghua University, China’s leading engineering university, to spur the development of an indigenous semiconductor industry back in 2015.

China is highly dependent on foreign tech in its semiconductor industry, importing 90 percent of its chips in order to power its fast-growing economy. The Chinese government has always been wary of that dependency, but its fears were heightened in recent weeks after the United States banned American companies from selling components to ZTE, a prominent Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has gone on something of an indigenous innovation tour in recent weeks, visiting factories across the country and encouraging further investment in the country’s technology industry. From the Communist Party of China’s official newspaper the People’s Daily two weeks ago, “National rejuvenation relies on the ‘hard work’ of the Chinese people, and the country’s innovation capacity must be raised through independent efforts, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday.”

While the numbers discussed are eye-popping, so are the costs of developing leading-edge semiconductor technology. As semiconductors have grown more complex, costs have skyrocketed to maintain Moore’s Law. Intel spent more than $13 billion on R&D expenses alone in 2017, according to IC Insights, with Qualcomm, Broadcom, and Samsung each spending more than $3 billion.

While China may try to play catchup in the broad category of semiconductors, it is strategically placing its money on new areas like 5G wireless and artificial intelligence-focused chips where it might become a leading provider of technology. Concerns over 5G in particular have galvanized American attention on Qualcomm and its ability to compete in what is rare virgin territory in the telecom equipment space.

For American companies like Intel and Qualcomm, which are used to holding de facto monopolies on entire swaths of the semiconductor market, the renewed competition from China is going to pressure them to push their tech forward faster.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

Broadcom gives up and drops Qualcomm bid

Broadcom gives up and drops Qualcomm bid
It was already a complicated deal, but it now looks like Broadcom’s plans to take over Qualcomm are done. The company announced that it would respect Donald Trump’s block and drop its Qualcomm bid.
“Although we are disappointed with this outcome, Broadcom will comply with the order,” Broadcom said in a statement.
At one point, Broadcom was willing to pay $121 billion to acquire Qualcomm. It would have been the biggest tech acquisition of all time and a risky deal. But Qualcomm rejected the offer (without closing the door entirely).
After months of discussions, some Qualcomm shareholders became impatient. It led to a board shakeup with Executive Chairman Dr. Paul E. Jacobs leaving the board. Retrospectively, resisting Broadcom’s offer may have been the smartest move given the regulatory risks of the deal.
Trump’s administration said that Qualcomm’s acquisition represented a security risk. Broadcom is currently based in Singapore, and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States didn’t want to let Qualcomm become a foreign company.
Broadcom has mentioned plans to relocate its headquarters to the U.S. And Reuters confirmed that it would still move to the U.S.
Qualcomm has been manufacturing systems-on-a-chip for Android phones as well as modems and other communications chips. In addition to this semiconductor business, Qualcomm earns a significant portion of its revenue from patent licensing deals. But Apple, South Korea and others don’t want to pay those fees anymore.
Broadcom also produces a ton of chips that you can find in all sorts of electronics devices, from networking to modems, GPUs and more. Chances are that all the devices that you have around you have one or multiple Qualcomm and Broadcom chips.

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch

Qualcomm is pushing back its pivotal shareholder meeting this week amid a regulatory review

Qualcomm is pushing back its pivotal shareholder meeting this week amid a regulatory review
 Massive chipmaker Qualcomm, currently targeted by aggressive acquisition attempts by Broadcom, is now delaying a pivotal meeting with shareholders this week that would determine its fate going forward by at least a month to comply with regulators regarding the deal. The CFIUS — the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States — has requested that Qualcomm delay the… Read More

Source: Mobile – Techcruch