Qualcomm Partners with Google’s VR Initiative Tango; And Other News


Qualcomm Partners with Google’s VR Initiative Tango

Qualcomm has announced that its Snapdragon 820 processors are now compatible with Google’s Tango, a part of the Silicon Valley giant’s augmented reality initiative. This may allow phone manufacturers to make their devices compatible with Tango simply by installing Qualcomm processors and pave the way for smartphones with 3D vision sensors.

Currently, all of Tango’s augmented reality processing runs on Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon 652 SoC. Tango allows images to be superimposed over the real world through a smartphone’s camera, allowing for nifty applications such as visualizing what your house will look like before furnishing or renovating it.

Qualcomm has been working on Project Tango for over a year and a half to make its processors interoperable with Google virtual reality and augmented reality devices, calling the initiative “ Snapdragon Heterogeneous Processing Architecture.” What this new processing architecture does is allow non-compute-heavy chips in an SoC to be utilized for processing in a Tango-enabled phone, recruiting chips such as the digital signal processor, sensor, and Image Signal Processor.

Qualcomm has also modified the digital signal process, dubbed the Snapdragon DSP, to expand its capabilities and allow for general-purpose computing. These innovations allow for phones to run Tango’s algorithms and sensors with a reduced CPU overhead, conserving energy and consuming less than two watts. While these claims have yet to tested in an actual smartphone, it stands to reason that Qualcomm’s innovations make it easier for smartphones to adopt Tango technology by removing the need for extra hardware and offloading processing to other components.

Seshu Madhavapeddy, VP of product management for Qualcomm told Ars Technica that the company was confident that the technology would be widely adopted: “We are committed to Tango and we believe in this technology. We see broad adoption of this technology as forthcoming and we would like to support that.”

Unfortunately, the first Tango phone, Lenovo’s Phab2 Pro which is launching this September, does not come equipped with such a computing chip.

Huawei CEO Commits to Cloud, Describes A New Connected Future

At the Huawei User Group Meeting, held in Shanghai’s World Expo Center, Huawei’s rotating CEO Eric Xu noted that the Chinese telco was preparing for a fully cloudified and connected future that would be home to advanced mobile networks beyond our imaginations by 2025. Xu also predicted that there would be 100 billion network connections globally as early as 2020. The event focused on network transformations, operations, maintenance, services and business experience.

In his keynote address, Xu noted that “supporting secure and stable network operations is one of Huawei’s social responsibilities. Networks and IT systems will soon be fully cloudified and connected. By 2025, there will be 100 billion connections worldwide, and the data traffic and coverage of networks will be beyond our imagination. Faced with complex network environments, Huawei will remain committed to providing customers with high-quality products, solutions and services, and addressing challenges together with them.”

In order to fully leverage the forthcoming opportunities, Xu explained that Huawei would focus on five major areas in which it would strengthen its connection with customers: building a Joint Product Definition Community (JDC), jointly optimizing the Issue to Resolution (ITR) process, leveraging Big Data for smart operations and maintenance, addressing network challenges brought by cloudification, and jointly identifying areas for talent transformation.

Huawei equipment and solutions are currently used to operate over 1500 networks worldwide and service a whopping one-third of the world population. Through this experience, Xu argued that Huawei had gained the knowledge necessary to build an engagement model in which customers provide input for the improvement of products.

With regard to building a JDC, Xu commented that Huawei “has studied how online communities address problems and built the Joint Product Definition Community, where Huawei users from across the world can join the community and directly express their needs or improvement suggestions for our products. This is a good engagement model, allowing us to rapidly improve product quality and better meet users’ network needs.”

He continued on to describe how cloudification and software defined networking would transform networks and render certain technologies obsolete, using the example of alarm indicators: “For existing network equipment and functions, software and hardware are coupled, as are hardware maintenance and managed services. Using alarm indicators is one of the most common [operations and maintenance]approaches. However, as the functions of certain network elements are achieved through software, software and hardware will be decoupled. Then there will be no alarm indicators for a particular service because it no longer has any piece of hardware to go with it.”

FCC Names 4 Initial Bands for US 5G at Ericsson Seminar

The Federal Communication Commission commissioner Michael O’Rielly announced that the regulatory agency would release four initial spectrum bands in the US in a matter of weeks. He also informed listeners at the “Broadband for All” seminar in Stockholm, Sweden that the agency was already in the process of locating high-spectrum bands for operators to use in next generation wireless networks.

O’Rielly notified the audience that the FCC was considering opening up millimeter wave frequencies above 24 GHz for commercial wireless, specifically allowing use in the 28, 37, and 39 GHz bands on a licensed basis and the 64 to 71 GHz band for unlicensed. mmWave bands are widely perceived to be the foundation of 5G wireless networks in the future, which will reach speeds up to 100 times faster than existing 4G networks.

He also went on to explain the rationale for opening those specific bands up, arguing that “5G testing was already underway in some bands and because they were seen as having comparatively fewer complications than other potential bands.” In particular, O’Rielly praised the agency’s efforts to engage stakeholders and incumbents in other US agencies to request advice “on how to protect current services and provide flexibility for these operators to expand use in the future” before determining which bands to open up.

O’Rielly spoke to the need for creating an environment that encourages growth and investment in wireless, arguing that while the government has the responsibility of making spectrum resources available, the FCC is still committed to maintaining a light regulatory touch and structure. He credited America’s favorable environment for “investment, innovation and deployment” to the FCC’s hands-off approach to the auction program and licensing structure.

The FCC commissioner also reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to stimulating investment in wireline infrastructure and backhaul in order to support 5G infrastructure: “While I have heard that wireless backhaul may be used, in part, so that every small cell does not have to have a fiber connection, at some point, the communications need to reach a wireline network. While promoting wireline expansion is tough, the Commission has taken steps that are counterintuitive and likely to slow wireline backhaul expansion.”

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