Monday, September 25, 2006

Cisco Offers Enterprise Digital Media System

Cisco Systems introduced a new product set to enable enterprises to more easily use business-quality, dynamic video and audio.

The Cisco Digital Media System allows users to create, manage and deliver live and on-demand digital media in various formats to multiple wired or wireless connected devices. It was developed in Cisco's Emerging Markets Technology Group, an internal venture team that focuses on innovation in adjacent markets beyond Cisco's traditional networking audience.

The Cisco Digital Media System comprises three product lines:

  • Cisco Digital Media Encoders: The Cisco Digital Media Encoder 2000 is a studio-level appliance with multiple channel support. The Cisco Digital Media Encoder 1000 is a portable encoder that can be used wirelessly for single-channel encoding. Both encoders support live and on-demand encoding in many formats.

  • Cisco Digital Media Manager: The Cisco Digital Media Manager manages and publishes digital media and provides tools for users to add and archive media; assign metadata and keywords; preview content and manage workflow; and schedule instant and future deployments. Cisco Digital Media Manager integrates with Cisco Application Networking Services technologies, including Cisco's Application and Content Networking System and wide-area content engines, for business-class digital media deployment across the network.

  • Cisco Video Portal: The portal allows users to browse, search and view digital media content. It features a customizable program guide and search functions; personalized playlists and featured lineups; advanced player controls, full-screen playback; and a usage reporting system. It is also fully integrated with the Cisco Digital Media Manager and supports Windows Media, RealPlayer and Flash file formats initially, with QuickTime and MPEG4 following later this year.

Intel and DIRECTV Show STB Design

Intel and DIRECTV previewed an upcoming digital set-top box with integrated digital media adapter (DMA) functionality verified to work with Intel Viiv technology. The unit will provide the ability to record and view 200 hours of standard definition content or 50 hours of MPEG 4 high-definition programming.

DIRECTV's new set-top box, the DIRECTV Plus HD DVR, marks the first time a major service provider has endorsed an integrated DMA deployment in the home through a set-top box. A software download, which is expected to be available starting in December, will enable the DMA capabilities.

The design is in the final stages of Intel Viiv technology testing and verification.
  • DirectTV is preparing to launch a Broadband Video by the end of the year that would deliver content-on-demand to a DVR. Hundreds of hours of popular content would be available for download via satellite, and thousands of hours would be available for download via broadband over the Internet. All content would be under DirecTV control.

Intel's Tera-Flop Chips and Future "Mega Data Centers" with Million-Plus Servers

The coming decade will see the arrival of a new wave of online software services hosted by "mega data centers" with more than a million servers, predicted Intel Senior Fellow and Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner, speaking at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco. This new power will allow people to access personal data, media and applications from any high-performance device to play photo-realistic games, share real-time video and do multimedia data mining. The new usage model will challenge the industry to deliver the one trillion floating-point operations-per-second (teraFLOPs) of performance and terabytes of bandwidth.

"The rise of mega data centers and the need for high-performance personal devices will require the industry to innovate at every level, from many-core processors to higher-speed communications between systems, while delivering better security and energy efficiency," said Rattner. "Solving these challenges will bring benefits to all computing devices while creating new markets and opportunities for developers and systems designers."

At the IDF, Intel outlined the first details of its tera-scale research prototype silicon, the world's first programmable TeraFLOP processor. Containing 80 simple cores and operating at 3.1 GHz, the goal of this experimental chip is to test interconnect strategies for rapidly moving terabytes of data from core to core and between cores and memory.

Intel said that unlike existing chip designs where hundreds of millions of transistors are uniquely arranged, this chip's design consists of 80 tiles laid out in an 8x10 block array. Each tile includes a small core, or compute element, with a simple instruction set for processing floating-point data, but is not Intel Architecture compatible. The tile also includes a router connecting the core to an on-chip network that links all the cores to each other and gives them access to memory.

A second major innovation shown at IDF is a 20 megabyte SRAM memory chip that is stacked on and bonded to the processor die. Stacking the die makes possible thousands of interconnects and provides more than a terabyte-per-second of bandwidth between memory and the cores.

Rattner also demonstrated a third major innovation, the recently announced Hybrid Silicon Laser chip developed in collaboration with researchers at University of California, Santa Barbara. With this breakthrough, dozens or maybe hundreds of Hybrid Silicon Lasers could be integrated with other silicon photonic components onto a single silicon chip. This could lead to a terabit-per-second optical link capable of speeding terabytes of data between chips inside computers, between PCs, and between servers inside data centers.

Jazz Semiconductor to be Acquired by Buy-out Firm

Jazz Semiconductor, an independent wafer foundry primarily focused on specialty CMOS process technologies, has entered into a merger agreement with Acquicor Technology Inc., a publicly traded firm focused on acquiring businesses with technologies that can be positioned advantageously in the market. The all-cash deal is valued at $260 million.

Jazz Semiconductor was initially formed upon the contribution to Jazz of Newport Fab, LLC by Conexant Systems Inc., together with a $52 million cash investment in Jazz by The Carlyle Group for a controlling interest. The Carlyle Group invested in Jazz to facilitate the company's transition from a captive manufacturing facility within Conexant to an independent semiconductor foundry. This transition has largely been completed and has resulted in over 300 design wins with over 95 new customers.

Jazz's initial customers consisted of Conexant and Skyworks Solutions, Inc., a publicly traded company created from the spin-off of Conexant's wireless business and the merger with Alpha Industries in June 2002. Since then, Jazz has successfully expanded and diversified its customer base. These new customers include Freescale Semiconductor, Marvell, Texas Instruments, and RF Micro Devices.

As a result of the acquisition offer, Jazz will drop plans for a pending IPO.

Acquicor is led by industry veteran Gilbert F. Amelio, former chairman and chief executive officer of Apple Computer, Inc. and former chairman and chief executive officer of National Semiconductor Corporation. Mr. Amelio also served as the president of Rockwell Communications Systems, a semiconductor manufacturing division of Rockwell International Corporation, which was later spun-off as Conexant Systems, Inc. In that capacity, Mr. Amelio was responsible for operation of the manufacturing facility that is now operated by Jazz.

As a result of the deal, Conexant expects to gain $100 million for its share of Jazz.

JAJAH Promises Free Global Calls from Mobile Phones

JAJAH, a venture-backed VoIP start-up based in Mountain View, California, is unveiling a Mobile Suite that will allow consumers to make free long-distance and global calls directly from their mobile phones.

JAJAH establishes phone-to-phone connections through the Internet for cheap calls. The process is simple: callers type in their own number (landline or mobile) at , and insert their desired destination number. JAJAH then rings both parties on their actual phones.

The company said its JAJAH Mobile Suite will allow virtually any mobile phone to make JAJAH calls easily. Starting with Symbian and Java-based J2ME phones and soon with text messaging and smart-phone/browser solutions. JAJAH said it can enable virtually any cell phone, regardless of carrier, manufacturer or existing agreement to make these calls. It works existing mobile phones and plans -- no new number, no new agreement.

To use the service, you first need a JAJAH account, which is free and without obligation.

SIRIUS Introduces Stiletto 100 Portable Satellite Radio

SIRIUS Satellite Radio announced the availability of Stiletto 100, the company's first live portable radio, featuring WiFi, Yahoo! music purchasing software, and the ability to save music for playback later.

The Stiletto 100 allows users to store up to 100 hours of SIRIUS content in three ways:

  • Automatically recording hours of 100% commercial-free music from listeners' favorite SIRIUS Satellite Radio channels;

  • Scheduling recordings, of up to 6-hours in length, of favorite talk or music shows; and

  • Allowing users to save up to 10 hours of individual songs from live SIRIUS Satellite Radio broadcasts by a simple press of the "love" button.

The Wi-Fi capability uses an Internet connection for access to SIRIUS' Internet radio services, which offers all of SIRIUS' 64 commercial free music channels, plus Howard Stern's two channels, Martha Stewart Living Radio, OutQ, and other original talk programming.

The device runs Yahoo! Music Jukebox software. MSRP is $349.99.

Nokia N95 Combines GPS with HSDPA

Nokia introduced its N95 , an all-in-one multimedia computer with a 2-way slide concept, integrated GPS functionality, a 5 megapixel camera and support for High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) mobile networks.

The 2-way slide concept makes it easier to switch between different modes, going from reading maps to watching a video with a simple slide. A numeric keypad slides out from one end of the device while dedicated media keys slide out from the opposite direction, converting the display into full screen landscape mode.

The integrated GPS application includes maps for more than 100 countries.

Other features include a large 2.6" QVGA 16 million color display, 3D graphics, built-in stereo speakers offering a 3D stereo effect, standard 3.5 mm audio jack, support for compatible microSD cards and mini USB for convenient data transfer.

The Nokia N95 is based on Symbian OS. It is expected to start shipping in volumes during the first quarter of 2007 at an estimated unsubsidized retail price of EUR 550.

WiMAX Forum PlugFest Tests Mobile Interoperability

The WiMAX Forum's first public mobile WiMAX Forum PlugFest brought together 21 members of the equipment development and operator communities. The showcase, which hosted by Bechtel Telecommunications at its Training, Demonstration, and Research (TDR) Laboratory in Frederick, Maryland, kicked off on September 24, 2006 and will conclude on October 1.

Participating companies include: Accton Technologies, Adaptix, Airspan, Alcatel, Altair Semiconductor, Alvarion, Beceem Communications, CETECOM- Aeroflex, GCT Semiconductor, Intel, M/A-Com, Motorola, Navini Networks, picoChip, POSDATA, Runcom, Samsung, SEQUANS Communications, SOMA Networks, TTA Labs, Wintegra, and test equipment vendors: CETECOM, Invenova, and Rohde and Schwarz.

The WiMAX Forum is also announcing that an additional PlugFest will be held at the CETECOM testing facility in Malaga, Spain on October 20-24, 2006. The PlugFest at CETECOM will focus on incremental service interoperability tests for WiMAX products designed for fixed and stationary applications.

Chelsio's 3rd Gen Adapter ASIC Integrates NIC, iSCSI, RDMA and TOE

Chelsio Communications introduced its third generation Ethernet protocol acceleration engine, integrating NIC, iSCSI, RDMA and TOE with wire virtualization functionality to enable convergence of storage, clustering, and networking applications onto a single unified fabric. The Terminator 3 (T3) ASIC runs full wire-rate 10Gbps at less than 5% CPU utilization. It combines NIC, iSCSI Target and Initiator, industry standard iWARP RDMA, and TOE functionalities with integrated dual 1 GbpE / 10GbpE ports and both native PCI-Express and PCI-X 2.0 / 1.0 (266 / 133 MHz) host bus interfaces.

The T3 ASIC also enables 10 Gbps adapter cards to support remote management and value added features, such as traffic management, line rate traffic classification and filtering, and virtualization on top of the core offload technology. These unique features enable the use of T3 in various embedded applications such as blade servers, video servers, application gateways and performance proxies, server and storage virtualization, SAN arrays, and NAS filers.

At this week's Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, Chelsio Communications is demonstrating its 10 Gbps iWARP RDMA Ethernet adapter running an unmodified RDMA application over an Ethernet network. The demo features an Oracle Database using the OpenFabrics API to run indistinguishably over InfiniBand or Ethernet. Chelsio's adapter, based on the new Terminator 3 (T3) ASIC, shows the power of the Unified Wire to run InfiniBand and Fibre Channel applications with lower latency, and higher bandwidth, in addition to high performance TCP/IP applications.

Chelsio said this milestone heralds the era of Ethernet as a high performance clustering fabric, requiring no changes to existing cluster applications, while bringing in Ethernet's versatility and ease of use and management.
  • In June 2006, Chelsio Communications, a start-up offering 10-Gigabit Ethernet server adapters and protocol acceleration technology, announced the first close of a private venture funding round, raising a total of $12 million and adding LSI Logic as a new investor. The company said the new funding provides sufficient capital to reach profitability and will be used to grow the business and ramp production of Chelsio's next generation product line that addresses the growing demand for 10GbE protocol offload.