2014 will be the year that specialised ARM-based chips gather momentum in the server market. That was not good news for Intel as it scrambled at CES to maintain relevance in the mobile device market. The last thing it needs – but the next thing it’s going to get – is competitive pressure on server processors, an increasingly rare example of a growth market that it dominates.
ARM maintained a relatively low profile at CES, leaving center stage to companies, like Qualcomm, that license its microprocessor architecture and make the chips that rule the smart phone and tablet space. Or, like Samsung or Huawei or ZTE, that make those devices. It did have a small stand at the Pepcom press preview event, though, showing examples of wearable products – the breakout category at the show – that it powers.
“Our customers can build optimal solutions, that’s what happening in the server space”, said Jeff Chu, an ARM marketing executive. The idea is to build chips that are specifically designed for a particular kind of application: media servers, for example. The ARM architecture is more modular and adaptable than Intel’s x86 monolith, which gives it the flexibility needed to support the development of an increasingly complex server-side ecosystem.
Chu said that AMD will be shipping samples of an ARM-based server chip in the next couple of months, with full production expected later this year. Broadcom is also working on a server-optimised processor. The two companies have different takes on how to build chips that improve performance and reduce power consumption for particular server applications, according to Chu.
New adult IPTV platform Fyretv.com sez 5K subs at launch a month ago, 27K more signed up & waiting for equipment. STB, basic lineup: $10/mo. Some biz models are recession proof.
HD downloads caching on 1GB USB stick on Fyretv roadmap. Subs buy content but store it on Fyretv servers. Miami HQ, headend in Dallas colo.
Fyretv OEMs STBs in China: Broadcom 7401 chip, mostly text & menu-based inhouse user interface on Linux kernel. No content storage, streaming only. All the standard gozintas and gozoutas, plus USB for expandability. But not for content storage.
Tiki Tag puts RFID chips on cheap stickers, lets you attach metadata to your stuff, makes smart biz cards.
PlasticLogic.com large format ebook reader, made out of plastic. Very cool. Unfortunately, not on market until 2010.
AT&T CruiseCast is Sat TV to cars. 22 channels now, via 20 cm x 10 cm mechanically tracking antenna on car roof.
CruiseCast runs off Intelsat Ku bird, managed by RaySat. In aftermarket now, targeting auto OEM eventually.
CruiseCast competition: digital broadcast TV, mobile phone carriers, recorded content. How much backseat video is enough?
Via Technologies is another player in the netbook game. Product looks good, not game changing.
MeeBox. Home media center, 1TB storage with 1TB backup, does the usual movies, music, etc. thing.
Autonet aggregates many cellular data carriers into single service, provides more robust Internet access in car. Biz play.
HP showing netbooks. Product is pretty ordinary, but brand will carry it just fine.
From the Showstoppers event at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show.