PC Shipments in India Grow 10.6 Percent in Q4 2015

PC Shipments in India Grow 10.6 Percent in Q4 2015: Gartner

Personal computer (PC) shipments in India totalled around 2.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015, a 10.6 percent increase over the corresponding period of 2014, according to information technology research and advisory company Gartner.

“Consumers accounted for 40 percent of total PC sales in the fourth quarter of 2015, down from 52 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014,” Vishal Tripathi, research director at Gartner, said in a statement Mumbai on Wednesday.

Lenovo moved into the number one position in PC shipment in India in this period due to the state government order execution in the quarter which helped it experience the largest increase in market share. It was followed by HP, Dell and Acer, the statement added.

“The PC market in India is facing some challenging market dynamics. The enterprise segment might witness some growth going forward due to government and education projects, however we do not foresee significant growth in the PC market in India,” Tripathi added.

“White boxes (including parallel imports), which accounted for 32 percent of the overall desktop market, declined 6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014,” the statement said.

Similarly, in the fourth quarter, mobile PCs grew by 27 percent year-on-year primarily due to state government orders.

Microsoft Insists It Isn’t Forcefully Installing Windows 10, Users Disagree

Microsoft is refuting reports that it has been forcefully installing Windows 10, its newest desktop operating system, on users’ machines. The company insists that users are “fully in control.”

Over the months, many instances have been reported in which users found Microsoft installing Windows 10 on their computer without their consent. The latest of which was reported by a Kotaku writer who noted that Microsoft seemingly downloaded and installed Windows 10 on his PC overnight.

The Redmond, Washington-based company insists that it isn’t the case. A Microsoft spokespersonissued a quote to HotHardware on the topic, “We shared in late October on the Windows Blog, we are committed to making it easy for our Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers to upgrade to Windows 10.”

“As stated in that post, we have updated the upgrade experience to make it easier for customers to schedule a time for their upgrade to take place. Customers continue to be fully in control of their devices, and can choose to not install the Windows 10 upgrade or remove the upgrade from Windows Update (WU) by changing the WU settings,” the spokesperson added.

If comments from incensed users are to be believed, Microsoft is downplaying the situation here. Close to 3,000 people have commented on a Reddit thread with the vast majority of them acknowledging facing a similar issue on their PC or laptop.

“This came up on all of our work computers,” a user noted last week. “Yep this happened to me this morning. Working and all of a sudden Windows closed all my programs, logged me out and started the upgrade. I quickly shut down my computer and was able to stop it but my son wasn’t so lucky. Same thing happened to him today,” another user chimed in.

It’s no secret that Microsoft has been aggressively trying to push Windows 10 to a wider audience. While users have the option to change settings on Windows Update to stop it from automatically downloading it, orchestrating things in a way that is likely to be ignored by most is perhaps not in users’ best interest.

Plug Your MacBook Charger Sideways With This Ingenious Plug

Plug Your MacBook Charger Sideways With This Ingenious Plug

A US-based design studio is taking pre-orders for a neat side-facing plug that seems so obvious, Apple is probably wondering why it hadn’t thought of it first.

Blockhead lets users fit their MacBook and iPad chargers to sit tight against the wall. Sculpted to fit the MacBook and iPad power adapter, users can slide their charging adapters behind a bed or couch, in tight spots where the standard Mac chargers would struggle to fit. Fitted with the standard power adapter, it takes just over an inch of space, in comparison to 3.8-inches of space that the standard plug adapter takes. It’s also leaner than the standard power cord, which takes 2.6-inches of space.

“When the idea first arose, there was a mixture of disbelief that it hadn’t been done, and kicking myself for overlooking it for so long,” says Peter Skinner, Product Designer at Ten One Design. For now, Blockhead presently supports the US standard NEMA 1-15 plug, which should work with multi-standard sockets, but a version with an Indian-style/EU plug adapter is on the studio’s long term roadmap. For now, the team wants to establishing if it’s truly useful in North America.

Priced at $19.95 (roughly Rs. 1,300) and $34.95 (roughly Rs. 2,300), for one and two units respectively, the design studio will be shipping them out late next month. While some users are moaning that it is expensive, Blockhead already has over 450 up votes and is trending at first place in the tech categoryon Product Hunt at the time of writing.

Apple launched the MagSafe connector more than ten years ago, which ensures that the charging cord pulls out of the socket, preventing the laptop from taking a dive when someone trips over the cord. While commenters are wondering why Apple didn’t come up with something so obvious, we’re glad someone did.

Xerox’s New Service Can Translate and Print Scanned Documents

Xerox's New Service Can Translate and Print Scanned Documents

Xerox has released its Easy Translator Service tool for users to print out a document they scan in any language they choose.

To use this service, users should have one of the Xerox’s ConnectKey-enabled multifunctional printers (MFPs). Some of the supported MFPs include ColorQube series and WorkCentre series. The complete list can be seen on the dedicated website.

People can simply scan a document on the printer, choose a language in the display menus of the printer, and print it out in any of the 35 languages supported by the service. For those who do not have a multifunctional printer, they can use the translator’s Android and iOS app.

All app users would have to do is to take a shot of the document to get its translated version or access the Easy Translator Service through its website. On the website, users have to upload the jpeg or a pdf file to get machine translated results. They can also choose the upgraded version – the human translator.

A Xerox representative told Engadget that first 30 pages will be translated for free within 30 days after the registration. Post 30 days, users would have to pay $10 per 10 pages of translation. The human translator upgrade will cost 10 cents per word.

“Imagine an MFP that can translate a document into more than 35 languages, or be customized and built to meet customers’ particular business needs,” said Jim Rise, Senior Vice Pesident, Office and Solutions Business Group, Xerox. “The ConnectKey-enabled i-Series MFPs provide those services and more. It allows businesses to go beyond printing, scanning, faxing and copying, and gives channel partners the tools they need to capture new recurring revenue streams.”

Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Laptop With Ubuntu Launched

Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Laptop With Ubuntu Launched

Dell last week revealed its Ubuntu-based XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop for a hefty base price tag of $1,549.99 (roughly Rs. 1,03,940). The 5th generation developer edition laptop runs Ubuntu Linux 14.04 Service Pack 1 out-of-the-box. The company however, is yet to announce the laptop’s availability. Also mentioned was that now the Precision 5510, Precision 3510, Precision 7510, and Precision 7710 mobile workstations all come with Ubuntu options as well.

The Ubuntu-based Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition will be available in three variants based on different RAM and inbuilt storage configurations. The base version includes 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM and 256GB of SSD storage, while the $1,949.99 (roughly Rs. 1,30,696) and the $2,349.99 (roughly Rs. 1,57,533) models feature 16GB of RAM with 512GB of SSD storage, and 16GB of RAM with a 1TB hard drive, respectively.

All the variants of the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition running Ubuntu house the company’s iconic borderless 13.3-inch QHD+ (3200×1800 pixels) InfinityEdge touch display with Corning Gorilla Glass protection and are powered by a sixth generation Intel Core i7 processor, clubbed with Intel Iris Graphics 540 GPU. The models feature a widescreen HD (720p) resolution webcam with dual array digital microphones; full size backlit chiclet keyboard; precision touchpad with an integrated button, and a bunch of ports including support for Micro-USB 3.0, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort 1.2 video output, VGA, HDMI, Ethernet, and more. All are backed by a 56Whr, 4-cell battery.

Dell last week in India launched a range of Windows 10 Pro-running Latitude laptops and 2-in-1 devices in India starting from Rs. 44,999. While the highlight of the launch event were the Dell Latitude 13 (7370) Ultrabook and the Latitude 12 (7270) detachable notebook, the company also showcased its revamped Latitude 3000 and Latitude 5000 series.

Dell XPS 12, XPS 13 High-End Windows 10 Laptops Launched in India

Dell XPS 12, XPS 13 High-End Windows 10 Laptops Launched in India

In the market for a high-end Windows 10 laptop? You will want to check Dell’s newest offering. The company has launched the new Dell XPS 12, which features a 4K display, and the Dell XPS 13 in India.

The Dell XPS 13 as well as the hybrid Dell XPS 12 are powered by sixth generation Intel ‘Skylake’ Core processors. The Dell XPS 13 is available at a starting price of Rs. 76,990, whereas the Dell XPS 12 starts at Rs. 1,24,990. The latter is being exclusively sold in India from Dell.co.in website.

The Dell XPS 13 features a 13.3-inch full-HD InfinityEdge (1920×1080 pixels) with a bezel that is only 5.2mm thick. The starting variant is powered by sixth generation Intel Core i3 processor coupled with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD. Other features include an HD webcam, two USB 3.0 ports. The Dell XPS 13 runs Windows 10 Home.

Users can opt to a higher variant of the XPS 13, which features 6th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256 of SSD, and a display with QHD+ resolution (3200×1800 pixels) for Rs. 1,34,990. The company says that the FHD variant of the Dell XPS 13 can last for up to 18 hours and 14 minutes under normal use.

The Dell XPS 12 is a 2-in-1 laptop that also serves as a tablet. The keyboard side of the body attaches to the display part using a magnetic connection. Dell says that the XPS 12 is the only hybrid computing device to offer a 4K (Ultra HD) display. Other features of the laptop include an 8-megapixel camera on the back and a 5-megapixel sensor on top. The Dell XPS 12 is powered by Intel Core M5 processor, coupled with 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD. Other features include a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port and 30Whr battery.

WD PiDrive Is a 314GB Hard Drive Designed for Your Raspberry Pi

WD PiDrive Is a 314GB Hard Drive Designed for Your Raspberry Pi

WDLabs, a part of Western Digital (WD) Corporation, on Monday announced the availability of the WD PiDrive – a uniquely crafted storage solution design for Raspberry Pi devices – on the occasion of Pi Day. The drive is currently available in a capacity of 314GB (a play on the first few decimals in the mathematical constant and transcendental number Pi) and is on sale at an introductory price of $31.42 (approximately Rs. 2,100) and comes with a two-year warranty. All orders will start shipping by March 30.

The drive is based on WD’s high-volume 500GB with features certain design changes engineered for low-power USB operation. Further customisations have also been made to the drive’s magnetic recording and electrical system in order to align it with Raspberry Pi’s USB data and power design. This specialised drive is a boon for those looking to add additional storage to their projects.

“Adoption of Raspberry Pi computing devices is expanding at a tremendous rate, reaching eight million units in about four years1. However, the millions of Raspberry Pi users are finding limitations from data storage devices (SD card, USB hard drive or cloud storage) originally designed for other applications,” said Dave Chew, chief engineer, WDLabs. “The WD PiDrive 314GB HDD is designed to support Raspberry Pi growth by addressing barriers to hard drive adoption such as affordability, power loading and system set-up. In addition, we’ve maintained the key strengths of hard drive technology, including mass-storage value, high data integrity and reliability.”

Just last month, the Raspberry Pi foundation launched the third version of its low-power development platform. Priced at $35 (approximately Rs. 2,300), the Raspberry Pi 3 boasts of a quad-core processor which provides up to 50-60 percent increase in performance in 32-bit mode compared to the earlier model and you even get integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Time- and frequency-resolved quantum optics for large-scale quantum computing

A new architecture, based on a single optical parametric oscillator, is used to produce entanglement between qumode optical fields.

Quantum computing has the promise of exponentially faster speeds than classical computing methods for specific, but important, calculations. Such problems include Shor’s factoring algorithm (which pertains to data encryption)1 and the simulation of quantum physics.2 Quicker computing for the latter would vastly expand the horizons of quantum physics and quantum chemistry by addressing currently intractable issues (e.g., the potential discovery of room-temperature superconductors, optimization of nitrogen fixation for high-yield fertilizer production, or finding an efficient carbon sequestration process).3 To build a practical quantum computer and achieve such revolutionary objectives, however, the challenges of quantum-bit (‘qubit’) scalability and coherence must be faced. Addressing these challenges has turned the quest for a practical quantum computer into an interdisciplinary endeavor that comprises widely different physical platforms for qubits. Such platforms include trapped ions, optical crystals of atoms, semiconducting quantum dots, superconducting quantum circuits, photonic qubits—and most recently—quantum fields.4

Entanglement (specific quantum correlations) is a crucial property of a quantum processor because the computationally universal set of quantum logic gates must always include an entangling gate. In the circuit model of quantum computing, qubits are initialized independently. The quantum logic gates are subsequently applied to run the algorithm before the result is revealed by measurements on the qubits.5 However, another approach is also possible, in which all the required entanglement is integrated at the start in a generic ‘quantum computing substrate’ (also known as a cluster state).6 A cluster state is defined by a precise entanglement network between qubits, or quantum graph. Once this cluster state has been produced in the laboratory, ‘one-way’ quantum computing7, 8can then proceed solely via single-qubit measurements of individual qubits—or qumodes (quantum optical fields defined by the resonant modes of a single laser cavity)—and can feedforward to their graph neighbors. These previous studies have all been conducted within the frequency9, 10 and time11 domains and have yielded linear, unidimensional cluster graphs. Universal one-way quantum computing requires a two-dimensional cluster graph, such as a square lattice.7 A scalable version of a square-lattice cluster state, however, has not yet been created in the laboratory (for qubits or qumodes).

In our experimental quantum optics group at the University of Virginia, we have been working as part of a collaboration with the quantum theory group at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia, led by Nicolas Menicucci (formerly at the University of Sydney, Australia). We demonstrated the feasibility and the potential of a new approach to making a quantum computer. In our approach, we replace the qubits with qumodes. Our method is advantageous because the number of qumodes can be extremely large. This is the case, for instance, in hundred–thousand mode, octave-spanning optical frequency combs of carrier-envelope phase-locked classical femtosecond lasers.12, 13

In our approach, we use an optical parametric oscillator (OPO) rather than a laser. The cavity of an OPO contains a second-order nonlinear medium (instead of a one-photon-emitting laser gain medium) in which photons are created in pairs from the annihilation of pump photons. This photon pair emission, into two distinct OPO qumodes, produces entanglement between the qumode optical fields. In our group, we used carefully designed periodically poled potassium titanyl phosphate crystals as well as exquisitely controlled interference between the OPO qumodes of the same frequency and orthogonal polarizations to create prototype quantum processors in the laboratory. These processors have a confirmed—record—size of 60 qumodes entangled over frequency and polarization,9, 10 with an expected size of 3000 entangled qumodes.14 In parallel, work at the University of Tokyo (led by Akira Furusawa)—also in collaboration with the Menicucci group—has demonstrated 104 sequentially entangled qumodes, although these are accessible only two at a time.11

We propose15,16 that a scalable square-lattice cluster state can be generated over qumodes by combining existing quantum optical technologies (i.e., that yielded unidimensional cluster states in the frequency and time domains). Our experimental setup is illustrated in Figure 1. It is based on a principle in which the initial entangled qumode pairs emitted by the OPO are first ‘threaded’ into 1D frequency ‘wires’ (as has previously been demonstrated).10 We then separate these wires (in a somewhat artificial, but nonetheless rigorous, approach by fulfilling the musical score condition) into different temporal bins. These bins are then, in turn, ‘weaved’ into the time-frequency square lattice (depicted in lower left of Figure 1).

Figure 1. Proposed experimental setup for the generation of a scalable square-lattice cluster state. Light propagates (right to left) from the optical parametric oscillator (OPO) of free spectral range, Δν, and mode linewidth, δν. The OPO has two pumps that are offset symmetrically from the center frequency (2ν0). The principal axes of the OPO’s nonlinear crystal are denoted X, Y, and Z (OPO light propagates along the X direction and is polarized along the Y or Z direction). PBS: Polarizing beam splitter. BS: Beam splitter. HWP: Half-wave plate (rotated at angle θ). The time delays between the two arms of each Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI) are indicated (cis the speed of light). In particular, the ‘musical score’ condition (δt≫δν– 1) is essential to the definition of the time bins, of duration δt. The obtained entanglement graphs are depicted in (a)–(d), in the lower half of the figure, ranging from initial entanglement pairs (a) to a fully fledged square lattice (d). In these graphs, the frequency labels of the qumodes run vertically and the time bins (t) run in the horizontal direction.

In summary, we demonstrated that our current, record-size, prototype quantum computing processors can be weaved into a hybrid time-frequency square lattice cluster state suitable for universal quantum computing. Until now, these processors have been scalable either in frequency or in time, but not in a universal manner because they are unidimensional. It is important to emphasize that the experimental implementation of our proposed approach merely requires putting together existing time- and frequency-domain technologies. In our future work we will address quantum processing in earnest. We will thus focus individually on measurement of, and feedforward on, all qumodes, and on the implementation of quantum error correction.

Quantum cloud computing could arrive in the next decade, says Bill Gates

Cloud-based quantum computing could be helping to solve big science problems within the next decade, according to Bill Gates.

Speaking during an ‘Ask me Anything’ interview on Reddit, the Microsoft founder was optimistic about the future of the nascent technology.

“Microsoft and others are working on quantum computing. It isn’t clear when it will work or become mainstream. There is a chance that within 6-10 years cloud computing will offer super-computation by using quantum,” he said.

Google’s quantum computer can blitz a normal PC – but it’s not ready for production just yet

Google’s latest tests show there’s light at the end of the quantum computing tunnel with its D-Wave 2X system running millions of times faster than today’s technology.

Gates added: “It could help us solve some very important science problems, including materials and catalyst design.”

While traditional digital computers use bits — ones and zeros — to perform calculations, quantum computers use subatomic quantum bits, or qubits, which can be in multiple states at once. This means they can carry out more calculations in parallel and could offer new ways of solving problems that traditional digital computers find very hard to do.

Companies like IBM and Google are pouring millions of dollars into quantum computing in the hope of creating the next big thing in computing.

Gates is more optimistic than some: last year Intel said a fully functioning quantum computer was “at least a dozen years away”.

However huge hurdles remain, including how to connect thousands of qubits together to build large-scale computers, how to control them — or even measure the signals coming from them.

Gates also touched on the FBI-Apple row and his use of a Microsoft Surface Book during the session.

GPU computing breakthrough? Cloud rendering company claims to run CUDA on non-Nvidia GPUs

One of the major differences between AMD and Nvidia is their share of the professional graphics market. Nvidia dominates this space and its profit margins, and while AMD has had some high profile wins with Apple, it hasn’t cut deeply into Nvidia’s market share. Part of the reason Nvidia has a lock on both workstation and high performance computing is CUDA, its programming language for GPU compute. Now one company, Otoy, is claiming to have broken that lock.

Otoy is the owner and developer of Octane Render, a real-time unbiased rendering engine that supports 3D rendering software suites like 3ds Max, Maya, Cinema4D, and Lightwave. It’s also available as its own standalone software suite. It was the first unbiased rendering suite to support GPU-only rendering and a high-profile early win for Nvidia’s CUDA — which is part of why it’s surprising to see the company branching out to support other architectures in this fashion.