Qualcomm's Snapdragon X55 Modem Is the 4G/5G Solution We've Been Waiting For

Qualcomm has unveiled its latest 5G modem, the Qualcomm Snapdragon X55. The chip is the company’s second-generation 5G modem and successor to the Snapdragon X50 that was announced back in 2017. “Headline features of this new chip include multi-mode 4G and 5G in a single chip, blazing fast 7Gbps speeds, and futureproof support for the 5G Standalone specification,” reports Android Authority. From the report: Starting with 5G, the chip supports both mmWave and sub-6GHz spectrum, just like its predecessor. Theoretical peak speeds are boosted from 5Gbps to 7Gbps download and up to 3Gbps upload. However, you’ll need a perfect alignment of network conditions and capabilities to reach such lofty speeds. More important is the introduction of 5G FDD support. This will be crucial in Europe and other places looking to free up low-frequency spectrum (600 to 900MHz) for 5G. The Snapdragon X55 also introduces 4G/5G spectrum sharing, 100MHz envelope tracking for better power management, and antenna tuning in the sub-6GHz region. All very handy improvements over its first generation 5G modem.

Perhaps the biggest point of all is that the X55 also supports the 5G Standalone (SA) specification. First-generation 5G networks and devices are all based on the earlier Non-Standalone (NSA) specification. Eventually, these will transition over to the SA standard. SA ditches the use of LTE networks for backend communication, transitioning over entirely to 5G. This opens up greater networking flexibility with Network Slicing and offers even lower latency for IoT and device-to-device communication. On the 4G side, the Snapdragon X55 supports the Category 22 LTE standard. This allows for peak throughput of 2.5Gbps, making it Qualcomm’s most powerful 4G solution to date. The Snapdragon X55 also introduces Full Dimensional MIMO (FD-MIMO) for LTE. This includes 3D beamforming, allowing for improved elevation support to improve spectrum efficiency. Importantly, the Snapdragon X55 is built on a 7nm process rather than 10nm with the X50. The new modem isn’t expected to appear in devices until late 2019 at the earliest. Android Authority suggests that the X55 will be featured inside 2019’s next-gen Snapdragon 8XX processor, which should be officially announced at the end of the year, close to when Qualcomm expects the first X55 products. “In addition to the new modem, Qualcomm also announced its second-generation mmWave antenna and will be demoing its 5G technologies at MWC,” reports Android Authority. “Dubbed the QTM525, the latest antenna module is slightly slimmer than the previous design and can be built into phones thinner than 8mm thick. It now covers 26, 28, and 39GHz mmWave spectrum and Qualcomm continues to suggest that three or four of these will be needed per 5G phone.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X55 Modem Is the 4G/5G Solution We’ve Been Waiting For

MIT developed a new system to help robots track objects

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a new system that will either improve the quality and accuracy of robotics or lead to humanity’s inevitable demise at the hands of mechanical overlords. Using RFID tags, the rese…

Source: Engadget – MIT developed a new system to help robots track objects

House Dems Accuse Trump Admin of Trying to Export Nuclear Secrets to Saudi Arabia

Donald Trump’s administration rushed to reach a deal to provide Saudi Arabia and its despotic government with protected U.S. nuclear technology, despite numerous legal and ethical warnings that such a deal was ill-advised and possibly in violation of the law, Democrats in the House of Representatives alleged in a…

Read more…



Source: Gizmodo – House Dems Accuse Trump Admin of Trying to Export Nuclear Secrets to Saudi Arabia

The McLaren 600LT Spider has plenty of brains—plenty of soul, too

A supercar sits in a parking lot beneath an overcast sky.

Enlarge (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

Although we make every effort to cover our own travel costs, in this case McLaren flew us to Phoenix to drive the 600LT (and the 720S Spider; more on that next week) and provided two nights in a hotel.

I’ll admit it: I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the McLaren 600LT Spider. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the McLaren 570S, the car it’s based on—unlike almost everyone else who’s driven one, I’d pick an Audi R8 as my daily drivable mid-engined supercar. While the 570S made concessions to practicality, I never gelled with the way it looks, and it had enough electronic foibles that they became one of my overriding memories of my time with the car. But the 600LT makes many fewer compromises in the name of everyday use, and it’s all the better for it.

Veteran McLaren watchers will know from just the name that there’s something special about this one: in McLaren-speak, LT means “long tail.” The first long-tail McLarens—ten F1 GTR race cars and three F1 GT road cars—appeared in 1997, with new bodywork that extended the nose and tail to increase downforce at speed.

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments



Source: Ars Technica – The McLaren 600LT Spider has plenty of brains—plenty of soul, too

China Has Abandoned a Cybersecurity Truce With the US, Report Says

Cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike says China has largely abandoned a hacking truce negotiated by Barack Obama as President Trump embarked on a trade war with Beijing last year. “A slowdown in Chinese hacking following the cybersecurity agreement Obama’s administration secured in 2015 appears to have been reversed, the firm said in a report released Tuesday that reviewed cyber activity by U.S. adversaries in 2018,” reports Bloomberg. From the report: The report comes as the Trump administration seeks to reach a trade deal with China, including provisions on intellectual property theft, ahead of a March 1 deadline. Trump has said he may extend that deadline and hold off on increasing tariffs on Chinese imports if there’s progress in the talks. China’s hacking targets in 2018 included telecommunications systems in the U.S. and Asia, according to Crowdstrike. Groups linked to Iran and Russia also appeared to target telecommunications, a sector that yields “the most bang for your buck” for hackers due to the large number of users that can be accessed after breaching a single network, Meyers said.

The findings align with concern in the U.S. about telecommunications security as the country transitions to the next generation of mobile networks and the Trump administration seeks to secure so-called 5G technology from foreign intelligence gathering. The administration has expressed particular concern about the spread of products made by the Chinese firm Huawei Technologies Co. The report also mentions the increased cyber activity in other parts of the world. “Iran focused much of its cyber activity on Middle Eastern and North African countries while Russia engaged in intelligence collection and information operations worldwide,” the report says. “North Korea deployed hackers for financial gain and intelligence collection, while China targeted sectors including technology, manufacturing and hospitality.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – China Has Abandoned a Cybersecurity Truce With the US, Report Says

AT&T's LTE is now an option on all Airstream camping trailers

You no longer have to be overly picky about your choice of trailer if you want to stay online during a cross-country trip. Airstream has extended its team-up with AT&T to make LTE access available to any Airstream trailer, not just the 2019 Clas…

Source: Engadget – AT&T’s LTE is now an option on all Airstream camping trailers

One of Solo: A Star Wars Story's Giant Explosions Was Inspired By the Slow Mo Guys on YouTube

Digital tools like 3D animation and motion capture helped revolutionize the visual effects industry, but there’s still plenty of room for practical effects to help bring the impossible to the big screen. Solo: A Star Wars Story’s VFX supervisor Julian Foddy revealed to the BBC that one of the film’s most memorable…

Read more…



Source: io9 – One of Solo: A Star Wars Story’s Giant Explosions Was Inspired By the Slow Mo Guys on YouTube

'Samsung's One UI Is the Best Software It's Ever Put On a Smartphone'

In preparation for the Galaxy S10 launch event tomorrow, The Verge’s Dieter Bohn writes about the new “One UI” software that will run on these new phones. After testing the software on a Galaxy S9 for the past week, Bohn says he really likes it, adding that it’s better in some ways than the software found on Google’s Pixel 3. “If it weren’t for the fact that I don’t yet trust Samsung to deliver major software updates quickly, I would be shouting about One UI from the rooftops,” writes Bohn. “As it is, I just want to point out that it’s time for us to stop instinctively turning our noses up at Samsung’s version of Android.” From the report: I can’t go quite so far as to say that everything has changed forever when it comes to Samsung’s customizations. There are still multiple versions of some apps because both Google and Samsung insist on having their software present. Samsung phones also have a reputation for getting a little laggy (the technical term is cruft) over time, and I don’t know yet whether One UI and Android 9 will suffer the same fate. But I do know that one week in, this OS actually feels intentional and designed instead of just having a bunch of features tacked on. Historically, we’ve thought of all those customizations as unnecessary add-ons. But that’s not quite right anymore — customizing AOSP is necessary these days. Instead, we should judge a Samsung phone on its own merits as a phone, not as stuff bolted on to some idealized “pure” version of the phone that can’t really exist anymore.

One UI consists of four key parts. One is the basic update to Android 9 Pie, which means you’ll get a ton of small features for free. Second, there is a generalized update to the look and feel — everything is just a little cleaner and more tasteful than before. Samsung has realized that neon is only cool in small doses. Third, because this is Samsung, there are just a million features hidden in every corner of the OS. Some of them — like a dark mode — are genuinely useful. Others will remind people of the bad old days of TouchWiz. But overall Samsung is doing a better job of surfacing them progressively as you use the phone, instead of asking you to wade though arcane and opaquely named settings screens in the first 15 minutes of using the phone. The last big feature to talk about in One UI is the first one most people will notice: big, giant header text inside apps. When you open up an app like Messages or Settings you’ll see the name of the app in a field of white (or black, in dark mode) that takes up the entire top half of the screen. When you scroll, though, the giant header shrinks down and you have a full screen of content. The last big feature to talk about in One UI is the first one most people will notice: big, giant header text inside apps. When you open up an app like Messages or Settings you’ll see the name of the app in a field of white (or black, in dark mode) that takes up the entire top half of the screen. When you scroll, though, the giant header shrinks down and you have a full screen of content.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – ‘Samsung’s One UI Is the Best Software It’s Ever Put On a Smartphone’

These quarries supplied the stones that built Stonehenge

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments



Source: Ars Technica – These quarries supplied the stones that built Stonehenge

How Streaming Music Could Be Harming the Planet

An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: Current digital technology gives us flawless music quality without physical deterioration. Music is easy to copy and upload, and can be streamed online without downloading. Since our digital music is less tangible than vinyl or CDs, surely it must be more environmentally friendly? Even though new formats are material-free, that doesn’t mean they don’t have an environmental impact. The electronic files we download are stored on active, cooled servers. The information is then retrieved and transmitted across the network to a router, which is transferred by wi-fi to our electronic devices. This happens every time we stream a track, which costs energy. Once vinyl or a CD is purchased, it can be played over and over again, the only carbon cost coming from running the record player. However, if we listen to our streamed music using a hi-fi sound system it’s estimated to use 107 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, costing about $20 to run. A CD player uses 34.7 kilowatt hours a year and costs about $7 to run.

So, which is the greener option? It depends on many things, including how many times you listen to your music. If you only listen to a track a couple of times, then streaming is the best option. If you listen repeatedly, a physical copy is best — streaming an album over the internet more than 27 times will likely use more energy than it takes to produce and manufacture a CD. If you want to reduce your impact on the environment, then vintage vinyl could be a great physical option. For online music, local storage on phones, computers or local network drives keeps the data closer to the user and will reduce the need for streaming over distance from remote severs across a power-hungry network.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – How Streaming Music Could Be Harming the Planet

RadeonSI Gets NIR Improvements, Enabled By Default For Civilization VI

The RadeonSI NIR back-end as an alternative to its longstanding TGSI usage continues to be improved upon as a prerequisite for supporting OpenGL 4.6 with SPIR-V ingestion. A fresh batch of RadeonSI NIR work was merged today, including to enable it by default for one Linux game…

Source: Phoronix – RadeonSI Gets NIR Improvements, Enabled By Default For Civilization VI

Facebook Blames Users for Its Latest Privacy Scandal as Lawmakers Ask to Chat

Members of Congress on Tuesday requested a briefing with Facebook over allegations that the social network potentially misled users who discussed their medical conditions in “closed” groups that they believed to be private and anonymous. But Facebook says users who shared information in these groups should have…

Read more…



Source: Gizmodo – Facebook Blames Users for Its Latest Privacy Scandal as Lawmakers Ask to Chat

The Jim Henson Company and Neil Gaiman Are Bringing Back The Storyteller

The myths and legends of days gone by are coming back for a new generation. Fremantle and the Jim Henson Company have announced that they are teaming up with Neil Gaiman to bring back The Storyteller—an anthology series that brings classic folktales to life with puppets.

Read more…



Source: io9 – The Jim Henson Company and Neil Gaiman Are Bringing Back The Storyteller

Someone tried to end the 'Fortnite' dance lawsuits with a fake email

Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht, the law firm leading legal challenges against Epic Games for allegedly illegally copying dance moves used in Fortnite, claims that someone has been impersonating attorney David Hecht in an attempt to undermin…

Source: Engadget – Someone tried to end the ‘Fortnite’ dance lawsuits with a fake email

Grand Canyon Visitors May Have Been Exposed To Radiation For Years

joeflies writes: Park safety manager Elston Stephenson provides details about buckets of uranium that exposed visitors to radiation, and the subsequent cover up. The radiation was detected by a teenager that brought a Geiger counter to the building, and was subsequently “cleaned” up by employees equipped with dish washing gloves and a broken mop handle. “If you were in the Museum Collections Building (2C) between the year 2000 and June 18, 2018, you were ‘exposed’ to uranium by OSHA’s definition,” Stephenson wrote. “The radiation readings, at first blush, exceeds (sic) the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s safe limits. […] Identifying who was exposed, and your exposure level, gets tricky and is our next important task.” Stephenson said he had repeatedly asked National Park executives to inform the public, but never got a response.
“According to Stephenson, the uranium specimens had been in a basement at park headquarters for decades and were moved to the museum building when it opened, around 2000,” reports AZCentral. “One of the buckets was so full that its lid would not close. Stephenson said the containers were stored next to a taxidermy exhibit, where children on tours sometimes stopped for presentations, sitting next to uranium for 30 minutes or more. By his calculation, those children could have received radiation dosages in excess of federal safety standards within three seconds, and adults could have suffered dangerous exposure in less than a half-minute.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Grand Canyon Visitors May Have Been Exposed To Radiation For Years

Civilization Has Helped Me Feel Slightly Less Terrible About Climate Change

A large part of my day involves sitting on Twitter watching news break, and so a large part of my day is spent surrounded by people justifiably freaking out over climate change news. It’s depressing as hell, but help has come in the last month from the most unlikely of places: Civilization VI.

Read more…



Source: Kotaku – Civilization Has Helped Me Feel Slightly Less Terrible About Climate Change

Social app Peach is looking for a benefactor on Twitter

Remember Peach? The social network from Vine founder Dom Hoffmann was briefly all the rage, but petered out as the realities of competing with Twitter (and every other social network) set in. It’s been largely coasting since then, but now its team…

Source: Engadget – Social app Peach is looking for a benefactor on Twitter

Aliens Visit Earth for an Eerily Specific Purpose in Sci-Fi Short Seedling

We’ve shared lots of cool sci-fi shorts on io9 over the years, but it’s especially exciting when we get to host a premiere. Stevie Russell’s Seedling takes place during an alien invasion that rattles the world—but especially a scared young couple who are waiting it out at their beachside home.

Read more…



Source: io9 – Aliens Visit Earth for an Eerily Specific Purpose in Sci-Fi Short Seedling