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The U.S. government has revoked more Huawei licenses
by João Carrasqueira
Huawei seems to be getting in even more trouble with the United States government. According to a report by Reuters, citing sources familiar with the matter, the Department of Commerce has issued notices indicating that the administration intends to reject a number of applications for American companies to be allowed to deal with Huawei. On top of that, some existing licenses have been revoked, including Intel's.
The United States government, particularly under the Trump administration, has been harsh on Chinese companies, and Huawei has been the most notable target of its restrictions. The smartphone manufacturer was added to the country's entity list back in 2019, restricting its ability to conduct business with American companies. That's why, since then, we've seen Huawei phones ship without Google services, while the company tries to push its own ecosystem of apps.
American companies can still apply to obtain licenses to work with Huawei, which allowed some laptops to still run Windows or have Intel processors, for example. However, the latest restriction would put even more of a hamper on Huawei's business. Aside from Intel, memory chip manufacturer Kioxia (formerly Toshiba Memory Solutions) is also said to have had its license revoked. Some sources claim that up to eight licenses for four companies have been terminated.
In a last-ditch effort to save at least part of its business, Huawei recently sold off its Honor sub-division to a Chinese consortium, which should save it from all the restrictions imposed by the government. Honor recently announced an Intel-based variant of its MagicBook Pro laptop at CES, which should still be happening since the company has been separated from Huawei.
Around the world, some countries have followed the U.S. in their efforts to curb Huawei technology, removing its products from 5G networks. However, others, such as Brazil, are still welcoming the company to build out their infrastructure.
More recently, the Trump administration appears to be doubling down on its efforts to restrict Chinese companies since the November 3 election. In December, a number of companies were added to its entity list, including SMIC and DJI, and more recently, transactions with eight Chinese apps were banned in the U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is expected to take office this week, and it remains to be seen whether the new administration will signal a new stance from the U.S. towards China.
By Abhay V
ASUS refreshes its ZenBook Duo family with pen support, tilting secondary displays, more
by Abhay Venkatesh
ASUS had a bunch of announcements as part of its CES 2021 lineup, and the list of updates includes refreshes to almost the entire laptop lineup. The devices as part of the announcement include the ZenBook Duo family – the laptops that sport dual displays. The updates to these unique offerings not only include spec bumps but also bring a few new features.
The refreshed ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED houses identical display sizes and resolutions as that of its predecessors. However, the 14-inch secondary display – called the ScreenPad Plus – now features an auto-tilt function that raises the display to 9.5 degrees. The firm says that the angle allows for fewer reflections and improved readability. It also aids in cooling the devices better. The device adds support for a stylus that ships alongside the laptop and features 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. As for custom software, the firm is touting improved multitasking capabilities with its ScreenXpert 2 upgrade.
ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED The internals of the device are being updated to Intel’s 10th-gen Core i9 Comet Lake H-series processors, Nvidia’s latest RTX 3070 GPU, and the option to max out RAM and storage configurations to 32GB and a 1TB SSD, respectively. The laptop now features two Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HDMI port – specifications of which were not mentioned –, and supports Wi-Fi 6 for connectivity. The main 4K OLED panel is PANTONE Validated and VESA DisplayHDR True Black 500 certified.
The smaller of the two, the ZenBook Duo 14, is now an Intel Evo verified laptop and is also receiving a bunch of updates. The secondary display on this device too features the auto-tilt function that raises the display, but just to 7 degrees. The internals have been bumped to Intel’s 11th-gen Tiger Lake offerings with Iris Xe graphics. It also comes with a dedicated Nvidia MX450 GPU. The laptop offers two Thunderbolt 4 ports and supports Wi-Fi 6 for improved connectivity.
ZenBook Duo 14 The ZenBook Duo 14 offers dual FullHD LCDs, with the main display bearing the “NanoEdge” moniker. The panel is PANTONE Validated and covers 100% of the sRGB color gamut. While the company does not mention anything in the way of battery figures for the larger of the two devices, it boasts of an impressive 17 hours of battery life for the 14-inch variant.
The company’s press release does not mention the prices or availability of both devices.
Intel appoints Pat Gelsinger as CEO, Bob Swan to step down next month
by João Carrasqueira
Pat Gelsinger | Image credit: VMWare Intel has announced that Robert (Bob) Swan will be stepping down from his role as CEO of the company on February 15. He will be succeeded by Patrick Gelsinger, who's coming from VMWare.
Bob Swan served as Intel CEO since July 2018, when he was named interim CEO of the company after Brian Krzanich resigned due to a relationship with an employee. He became full-time CEO of Intel in January of 2019, and has seen Intel through the resurgence of rivals such as AMD and the expansion of ARM processors into PCs.
Pat Gelsinger comes into Intel from VMWare, where he has been serving as CEO since 2012. Prior to that, he was President and CEO of EMC Information Infrastructure Products at EMC, and before that, worked for Intel for thirty years, having been the company's first chief technology officer. Gelsinger commented on the new role, saying:
Intel made sure to point out that the change in leadership isn't related to its 2020 financial results, and it says that it expects its fourth-quarter performance to exceed the guidance it provided back in October. The full financial results will be available next week, on January 21. Intel also said that it's been making progress on its 7nm process nodes, and it will share more news during the earnings call on January 21.
MSI officially adds support for RTX 3000's Resizable BAR on select motherboard models
by Sayan Sen
Nvidia took to stage last night at CES to unveil several new products and features among which was the addition of the new Resizable BAR feature to its RTX 3000 series GPUs. Rival AMD had introduced it last year under the name of 'Smart Access Memory' (or SAM) with the launch of the RX 6000 series cards. Today, motherboard vendor MSI has added official support for the feature on select motherboard models from both Red and Blue camps. A BIOS update will likely be required to add the option for the Resizable BAR feature.
Below is the list of models getting the feature as of now:
The list indicates that Intel Core CPUs from Eighth gen Coffee Lake onwards should be compatible with the feature, while with AMD the support is a bit trickier and could vary between different CPU models as older Ryzen and Athlon parts may not be compatible with the feature.
PCIe Resizable BAR allows the CPU to address the entire available VRAM buffer of the GPU instead of the typical 256MB. This allows requests to be queued parallelly instead of sequentially, hence improving the speed of their dispatch. It's claimed to be especially helpful nowadays since game assets keep getting bigger.
Samsung's next flagship Exynos chip will feature AMD GPU, could be released this year
by Rajesh Pandey
Samsung announced its Exynos 2100 chipset which represents a massive leap in performance and efficiency compared to its previous Exynos chips. During the presentation, Samsung also confirmed that its next flagship Exynos chip will feature an AMD GPU.
Samsung had announced a partnership with AMD in 2019 to work on GPUs for mobile devices. Samsung LSI president Dr Inyup Kang told at the Exynos 2100 event that its "next flagship product" would have a "next-generation mobile GPU" by AMD. Technically, the "next flagship product" from Samsung is going to be the Galaxy S21 series that's going to be announced in less than a day from now. However, Samsung Semiconductor clarified soon after (via Android Authority) that the next flagship product here refers to the next flagship Exynos chip and not a phone.
For the Exynos 2100 chip, Samsung is still sticking to an Arm GPU, the Mali-G78 MP14 to be specific. The company claims it offers up to a 40% increase in graphics performance, features advanced multi-IP governor technology (AMIGO) to optimize power usage, and more.
Samsung usually launches one flagship Exynos chipset every year. However, we could see the company launch another flagship Exynos chipset this year itself with an AMD GPU that would make its way inside the Galaxy Z Fold3.
Samsung Exynos chips have long been criticized for offering inferior performance and efficiency compared to offerings from Qualcomm. However, it looks like Samsung's chip division could give Qualcomm chips a run for their money with their upcoming products.