Operators unite to deliver mobile applications to over 3 billion users
Leading telecommunication operators have formed
the “Wholesale Applications Community” to build an
open platform that delivers applications to all mobile
phone users, according to an announcement made
at the GSMA World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on
15 February 2010.
América Móvil, AT&T, Bharti Airtel, China Mobile,
China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KT, mobilkom
austria group, MTN Group, NTT DoCoMo, Orange,
Orascom Telecom, Softbank Mobile, Telecom Italia,
Telefónica, Telenor Group, TeliaSonera, SingTel,
SK Telecom, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, VimpelCom,
Vodafone and Wind will create a new, open ecosystem
to spur the development and distribution of
mobile and Internet applications that can be used
regardless of device, operating system or operator.
Together, the 24 firms have over 3 billion customers
worldwide. The new alliance is also backed by GSMA
and three of the world's largest device manufacturers
— LG Electronics, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.
Initially, the alliance plans to use the “JIL” and
“OMTP BONDI” requirements, evolving these
standards into a common standard within the next
12 months. Ultimately, it expects to work with the
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for a common
standard, based on a converged solution, to ensure
that, in future, developers can create applications
that port across mobile device platforms, and between
fixed and mobile devices.
New high-power processors from IBM
On 8 February 2010, International Business Machines
Corporation (IBM), of the United States, announced a
new range of silicon chips called “POWER7” that are
designed to manage the most demanding applications,
such as real-time analysis of financial markets.
IBM says the processors have twice the performance
and four times the virtualization capabilities as the
previous “POWER6” series, but consume much less
POWER7 chips each have up to eight processing
cores and can manage millions of transactions
in real time and analyse the associated volumes of
data. They could be used in a smart electricity grid,
for instance, which requires frequent monitoring of
how customers are using power, and transmission of
that data back to consumers.
According to IBM, a technology known as “intelligent
energy” allows users to switch on or off various
parts of a system, or to dynamically increase or
decrease processor clock speeds — on a single server
or across a pool of multiple servers. In addition,
costs are reduced through the virtualization feature,
which supports 1000 virtual servers or “partitions”
on a single system. This enables one big server to do
the work of up to a thousand smaller servers. The
company has also unveiled four new models of Unix
servers based on the POWER7 processor.
Intel announces “single-chip cloud computer”
Also on 8 February, Intel Corporation of the United
States introduced its four-core “Itanium 9300” processor,
which it says delivers more than double the
performance of its predecessor, boosts scalability and
adds reliability features.
The trend towards multi-core processors — and
technologies to get the most work out of them at
the lowest energy cost — was also illustrated in an
earlier announcement by Intel. Its research laboratories
demonstrated an experimental version of a new
microchip that packs 48 separate processing cores
onto what they call a “single-chip cloud computer”
or SCC. It is said to offer about 10 to 20 times the
processing power of the most popular processors
produced by the company today.
The prototype was announced in December 2009
by Intel Labs, with technical details of its architecture
presented on 8 February 2010 at the International
Solid State Circuits Conference, held in San Francisco.
Intel researchers say that their long-term goal is to
add scaling features to computers in future that will
spur the development of entirely new software applications
and ways for people to interact with machines.
At present, a typical desktop computer has
four processing cores; the new chip has twelve times
as many cores that are fully programmable.
Future laptops with processing capability of this
magnitude could, for example, have human-like
“vision”, or track motion as it happens and with a
high degree of accuracy. This could eliminate the
need for keyboards to communicate with computers, or joysticks for gaming, while an attached three-dimensional
camera could put onto the screen a perfect
mirror image of the user.
An important feature is that the chip contains
within it a high-speed network for sharing information.
Data can be transferred between a “cloud” of
48 “computers” (or cores) across distances of millimetres
rather than the metres that might separate
computers in normal datacentres, and applications
can pass information directly between cooperating
cores in a few microseconds. In addition, cores can
be turned on and off, or change their performance
levels, thus continuously adapting to use the minimum
energy needed at a given moment.
Such chips could lead to datacentres of the future
that are very much more energy-efficient than
today, saving significant resources for companies and
greenhouse-gas emissions for the planet as a whole.