Apr
05
2019
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On balance, the cloud has been a huge boon to startups

Today’s startups have a distinct advantage when it comes to launching a company because of the public cloud. You don’t have to build infrastructure or worry about what happens when you scale too quickly. The cloud vendors take care of all that for you.

But last month when Pinterest announced its IPO, the company’s cloud spend raised eyebrows. You see, the company is spending $750 million a year on cloud services, more specifically to AWS. When your business is primarily focused on photos and video, and needs to scale at a regular basis, that bill is going to be high.

That price tag prompted Erica Joy, a Microsoft engineer to publish this Tweet and start a little internal debate here at TechCrunch. Startups, after all, have a dog in this fight, and it’s worth exploring if the cloud is helping feed the startup ecosystem, or sending your bills soaring as they have with Pinterest.

For starters, it’s worth pointing out that Ms. Joy works for Microsoft, which just happens to be a primary competitor of Amazon’s in the cloud business. Regardless of her personal feelings on the matter, I’m sure Microsoft would be more than happy to take over that $750 million bill from Amazon. It’s a nice chunk of business, but all that aside, do startups benefit from having access to cloud vendors?

Feb
20
2019
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Arm expands its push into the cloud and edge with the Neoverse N1 and E1

For the longest time, Arm was basically synonymous with chip designs for smartphones and very low-end devices. But more recently, the company launched solutions for laptops, cars, high-powered IoT devices and even servers. Today, ahead of MWC 2019, the company is officially launching two new products for cloud and edge applications, the Neoverse N1 and E1. Arm unveiled the Neoverse brand a few months ago, but it’s only now that it is taking concrete form with the launch of these new products.

“We’ve always been anticipating that this market is going to shift as we move more towards this world of lots of really smart devices out at the endpoint — moving beyond even just what smartphones are capable of doing,” Drew Henry, Arms’ SVP and GM for Infrastructure, told me in an interview ahead of today’s announcement. “And when you start anticipating that, you realize that those devices out of those endpoints are going to start creating an awful lot of data and need an awful lot of compute to support that.”

To address these two problems, Arm decided to launch two products: one that focuses on compute speed and one that is all about throughput, especially in the context of 5G.

ARM NEOVERSE N1

The Neoverse N1 platform is meant for infrastructure-class solutions that focus on raw compute speed. The chips should perform significantly better than previous Arm CPU generations meant for the data center and the company says that it saw speedups of 2.5x for Nginx and MemcacheD, for example. Chip manufacturers can optimize the 7nm platform for their needs, with core counts that can reach up to 128 cores (or as few as 4).

“This technology platform is designed for a lot of compute power that you could either put in the data center or stick out at the edge,” said Henry. “It’s very configurable for our customers so they can design how big or small they want those devices to be.”

The E1 is also a 7nm platform, but with a stronger focus on edge computing use cases where you also need some compute power to maybe filter out data as it is generated, but where the focus is on moving that data quickly and efficiently. “The E1 is very highly efficient in terms of its ability to be able to move data through it while doing the right amount of compute as you move that data through,” explained Henry, who also stressed that the company made the decision to launch these two different platforms based on customer feedback.

There’s no point in launching these platforms without software support, though. A few years ago, that would have been a challenge because few commercial vendors supported their data center products on the Arm architecture. Today, many of the biggest open-source and proprietary projects and distributions run on Arm chips, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu, Suse, VMware, MySQL, OpenStack, Docker, Microsoft .Net, DOK and OPNFV. “We have lots of support across the space,” said Henry. “And then as you go down to that tier of languages and libraries and compilers, that’s a very large investment area for us at Arm. One of our largest investments in engineering is in software and working with the software communities.”

And as Henry noted, AWS also recently launched its Arm-based servers — and that surely gave the industry a lot more confidence in the platform, given that the biggest cloud supplier is now backing it, too.

Sep
05
2018
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Google adds a bunch of rugged devices to its Android Enterprise Recommended program

Rugged smartphones, the kind of devices that business can give to their employees who work in harsh environments, are a bit of a specialty market. Few consumers, after all, choose their smartphones based on how well they survive six-foot drops. But there is definitely a market there, and IDC currently expects that the market for Android -based rugged devices will grow at 23 percent annually over the next five years.

It’s maybe no surprise that Google is now expanding its Android Enterprise Recommended program to include rugged devices, too. Chances are you’ve never heard of many of the manufacturers in this first batch (or thought of them as smartphone manufacturers): Zebra, Honeywell, Sonim, Point Mobile, Datalogic. Panasonic, which has a long history of building rugged devices, will also soon become part of this program.

The minimum requirements for these devices are pretty straightforward: they have to support Android 7+, offer security updates within 90 days of release from Google and, because they are rugged devices, after all, be certified for ingress protection and rated for drop testing. They’ll also have to support at least one more major OS release.

Today’s launch continues our commitment to improving the enterprise experience for customers,” Google writes in today’s announcement. “We hope these devices will serve existing use cases and also enable companies to pursue new mobility use cases to help them realize their goals.

Apr
29
2016
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Microsoft’s new tool for building line-of-business apps is now in public preview

innovations Microsoft PowerApps allows anybody to build basic business apps without having to touch any code. These apps can run on the web and on mobile (through the PowerApps apps for iOS and Android). Microsoft first announced a private preview of this project last November but starting today, it’s open for anybody who wants to give it a try. Building apps in PowerApps is mostly a… Read More

Mar
30
2016
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Microsoft: Windows 10 now runs on 270M monthly active devices

O92A2781 Following from the unmitigated disaster that was Windows 8, Windows 10 has been doing rather well for Microsoft. After announcing that its flagship operating system ran on 200 million monthly active devices in January, the company today used its Build keynote to announce that this number is now up to 270 million monthly active devices. Read More

Feb
25
2016
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Jide’s Slick Remix OS Tweaks Android For PC-Style Productivity

remix os A startup comprised of a trio of ex-Google engineers is doing something Google has roundly failed to do: make Android compelling on larger screen devices like tablets and even PCs. Read More

Nov
04
2015
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Google Says Over 19K Organizations Are Now Testing Or Using Android For Work

android-work Google today announced that over 19,000 organizations are now either testing, deploying or using its Android for Work service. Android for Work makes it easier and safer for businesses to allow their employees to bring their own Android devices to work. Read More

Aug
31
2015
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Apple And Cisco Ink Nebulous Enterprise Partnership

apple-wwdc-20150411 Apple playing nicely with enterprise companies is a sight for sore eyes. The edict that Microsoft has enterprise on lockdown is dissipating. Huge enterprise player Cisco and Apple announced a “Fast Lane” for iOS enterprise users, which promises a more streamlined and optimized experience for those enterprise customers using Cisco networks and products. There aren’t a lot… Read More

Feb
06
2015
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Google Uses Hangouts As A Virtual Genius Bar To Sell Google Devices

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 14.59.58 In 2013, Google expanded its Hangouts video conferencing service into a commerce platform called Helpouts, where people buy and sell services like cooking or technical advice via live video. Now Google has developed another new service based on its Hangouts infrastructure. It is running a live video chat service for would-be buyers of Google smartphones, tablets and Chromebooks (but not… Read More

Jan
12
2015
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80% Of All Online Adults Now Own A Smartphone, Less Than 10% Use Wearables

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 15.18.19 If people are looking to Apple and its new smartwatch to kickstart wider consumer interest in wearable computing gadgets, the maker of the iPhone will have a lot of work ahead of it. New research out from the GlobalWebIndex indicates that in a survey of 170,000 adult internet users across 32 markets, only 9% report having a smartwatch, and 7% said they owned smart wristbands. In… Read More

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