IoT Digest December 2020

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On the eve of the new year, the companies decided to take stock and not get all the trump cards from their sleeves, saving them for 2021.

The State of IoT in 2020: What's New and What's Next?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a rapidly growing field, with new devices and applications being developed all the time. In December 2020, there were a number of top news and innovations in IoT that caught the attention of the industry.

1. Google closes proprietary IoT platform

In 2016, Google introduced the Android Things project, which was supposed to become a comprehensive software solution for creating IoT devices based on Android. But four years later, the company announced the termination of the once-promising platform.

Despite the search giant's initial plans, Android Things has never been installed on any of Google's mainstream hardware products. As early as January 5, 2021, the company will stop considering new projects using NXP i.MX7D or Raspberry Pi 3B computers compatible with Android Things. A year later, on January 5, 2022, there will be a complete end of support for the platform for non-commercial use, and all the data associated with it will be deleted from Google servers.

Now Android Things is used to a limited extent by some manufacturers of smart displays and speakers. However, it was initially positioned as an alternative to closed projects Brillo and Weave, which were supposed to change the IoT.

2. Apple bought almost all of the TSMC's 5nm manufacturing facilities

It became known that the production facilities for the production of 5-nanometer processors of the Taiwanese company TSMC for 2021 have already been completely bought out. The largest customer was American Apple.

Currently, only two companies on the planet can manufacture 7nm processors: Samsung and TSMC. Simultaneously, the first one is significantly lagging, but already in 2022, it plans to improve performance. But only TSMC has mastered mass production using a 5-nanometer process technology. It is it that makes the A14 Bionic processors for Apple devices.

According to the data received, for 2021, all 5-nanometer capacities of TSMC have already been purchased. At the same time, 80% of them will go to Apple, which plans to release not only A14 and A15 chips but also the computer ARM processors. In the first quarter of 2021, a new factory will go into operation, capable of producing over 90,000 wafers per month. TSMC believes this will help reduce the deficit in the second half of the year. Besides, this will lead to capacity reallocation in such a way as to avoid problems in the future, since the peak in the number of orders is estimated to be precisely in the second half of 2021.

Qualcomm, MediaTek, Supermicro, Broadcom, and Meiman Electronics are also competing for TSMC's 5nm capacities in 2021. In the same year, a 6-nanometer production based on an improved 7-nanometer technical process may be launched, but it will not be mass-produced. After all, it is 6nm lithography that Intel claims to be using for its GPUs.

3. Xiaomi introduced a flagship router with Wi-Fi 6E support for $90

Following the Mi11 smartphone, the range of Xiaomi branded devices has been replenished with a router called AX6000. The novelty is notable for its wide coverage area, the ability to connect over 200 clients simultaneously, support for all modern wireless standards, and at the same time for an affordable price for its hardware.

The Xiaomi AX6000 router is equipped with 512 MB of RAM, six independent signal amplifiers, and seven antennas. Combined with MU-MIMO and OFDMA technologies, it can connect to 248 devices simultaneously and work as part of a mesh network to expand coverage in large rooms.

Thanks to the support of the Wi-Fi 6E standard, the new product allows to reduce the load on the local network with additional channels in the 6 GHz range. At the same time, the router is compatible with the old equipment operating at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The high-speed Ethernet port on the body of the device has a bandwidth of up to 2.5 Gbps.

Xiomi Router

4. The date of starting production of new Intel Rocket Lake-S processors revealed

Authoritative network informant OneRaichu, specializing in computer hardware, published a report in which he revealed the date of starting mass production of the latest 11th-generation Intel Rocket Lake-S platform.

OneRaichu has provided Intel's official roadmap to back up this claim. It is the manufacturer who distributes it to the key manufacturers. It is also known that engineering samples of the Rocket Lake-S processor family were produced in June 2020.

In August, the company released several improved versions of the chips. At the end of November, it started producing the new version of the processors, the photos of which flooded the Internet. Despite the fact that, according to the roadmap, the shipping time is supposed to be from 12 to 21 weeks of 2021, there is a note in the image highlighting Intel's plans to begin shipping retail samples earlier.

Thus, Intel Rocket Lake-S may go on sale in January. Among the expected new products, there are i9-11900 models without K-multiplier and i7 SKU.

5. The main features of the new Apple TV set-top box named

Rumors about the release of an updated version of the multimedia set-top box Apple TV this year have remained...rumors. Nevertheless, insiders continue to inform about the future device — so, in their new report, they talked about its essential difference from its predecessors.

According to network sources, Apple's TV box, which has not been updated since 2017 and which has got support for HDR and 4K resolution, will receive a hardware upgrade the following year. The gadget is credited with a new, much more efficient processor, and, according to rumors, it will be positioned as a gaming station.

In addition, the manufacturer, as alleged, will equip the "charged" version of the Apple TV with an updated complete remote control. Another innovation is the integration with the Find My application so that if the remote control gets lost, you could find it using an Apple smartphone or tablet.

The exact date of the announcement and the cost of the new Apple TV, which is expected to be released in 2021, are still unknown.

6. "Cars are more complex than smartphones." Elon Musk told how he tried to sell Tesla

Tesla is known primarily for its branded cars. The Model 3 sedan was recently recognized as the most popular model in its class, and the company took the first place in the list of electric car manufacturers. But, according to Elon Musk, this has not always been the case. In a recent interview with reporters, he opened up how several years ago he almost sold the company. It turns out that the Apple's head saved the brand from changing the owner — perhaps, without knowing it himself.

According to the businessman, in 2017, Tesla was undergoing far from great times and was on the verge of collapse. Then, Musk approached Apple, which began developing its electric cars in 2015, with a proposal to buy his company. But the head of the brand, Tim Cook, refused to meet with the founder of Tesla, although he asked for only about 10% of the current price for his brainchild. Subsequently, the automaker still managed to stabilize and even become the market leader.

The ambitious billionaire recalled this case, commenting on the statement of Reuters reporters about the alleged release of Apple's electric car in 2024. Rumors about the production of "i-cars" emerged back in 2015, but then the project was suspended due to the lack of suitable batteries.

“It's good that Apple is moving and investing in this direction. But cars are very complex compared to smartphones or smartwatches," - Musk said.

Later, according to the network sources, the situation changed. This came after Apple made progress in developing a lithium iron phosphate battery. Compared to lithium-ion batteries, it has not only less weight but also more energy consumption. Nevertheless, even in the event of a successful debut of the company, according to analysts, it will be necessary to sell at least 100,000 electric vehicles a year for the project to be profitable.

7. The price of Bitcoin exceeded $ 20,000 for the first time in history

Two weeks ago, the price of Bitcoin surged to $ 19,860 per unit, an all-time high. As analysts expected, the growth of cryptocurrency did not stop there. For the first time ever, the value of a digital currency exceeded $20,000.

Last Friday, December 11, the Bitcoin price began to skyrocket. With bated breath, many expected it to overcome the coveted milestone of $20,000. And so, it happened. At some point, the price for one bitcoin even reached almost $ 20,800, and at the time of writing the news, it is hovering around $ 20,500.

Since the beginning of September, the price of Bitcoin has risen more than 100%. Against this background, many large companies have invested in virtual currency. According to experts, the strengthening of the cryptocurrency position was in particular influenced by the PayPal payment system, which allowed its users to conduct transactions using bitcoins.

8. Intel unveils the world's fastest SSD with the record survivability

At Intel Memory and Storage Moment 2020, the company unveiled its new Optane family of a solid-state drives, which, according to the specification, set a world record for read and write speeds. The novelty with support for the PCI-Express 4.0 interface received 3D XPoint memory chips and is notable for its allegedly high lifespan under the constant workload.

According to the vendor, the sequential read and write speed of the Optane P5800X model, intended for data centers, is 7.2 GB / s and 6.2 GB / s, respectively. And the IOPS value for 4K blocks is 1.5 million in both cases. The drive also delivers up to 1.8M IOPS for mixed workloads.

The declared resource of 3D XPoint memory cells, the detailed characteristics of which have not been disclosed yet, reaches 100 full rewrite operations per day (DWPD) for five years. Intel Optane SSD P5800X is available in 2.5-inch U.2 form factor and is available in a variety of capacity configurations: 400GB, 800GB, 1.6TB, and 3.2TB.

The cost of new items and the date of the start of sales will be later announced by the manufacturer.

9. Samsung held an "unconventional" presentation of the flagship Exynos 2100 processor

On December 15, 2020, Samsung was awaiting the presentation of the flagship mobile platform Exynos 2100 in an online format. The company did publish an official video dedicated to the new product, but its content was unexpected. Instead of the chip's characteristics, the vendor showed utterly different, although no less entertaining video material.

In its animated short video, Samsung noted that 2020 was a real challenge for the entire company, including the Exynos development team. Despite the difficulties, engineers managed to create an entirely new mobile processor.

In the video description, Samsung thanked all the company's fans, talked about how the pandemic helped redefine all lives, and promised to unveil soon a brand new mobile processor that "will meet user expectations". The video features Samsung devices and shows a cartoon image of a rabbit symbolizing the new processor. The exact date of the chip presentation in the usual format will be announced by the manufacturer later on.

10. The new alternative to Raspberry Pi with an Intel processor estimated at $99

Chinese startup Hackboard has unveiled a branded single-board computer called HackBoard 2 for developers and enthusiasts. Among the key features of the novelty, there is the use of an Intel processor, the ability to connect 4G / 5G modems, and compatibility with Windows 10 Pro and Linux operating systems.

The microcomputer is built based on a dual-core Intel Celeron N4020 processor with integrated Intel UHD Graphics 600 and a clock speed of up to 2.8 GHz. In addition to the HDMI port, which can transfer 4K images to an external display, the computer is equipped with a 30-pin eDP connector for connecting screens from 11.6 to 15.6 inches and a 6-pin connector for the touch panel.

In addition to the built-in Wi-Fi module and a gigabit Ethernet connector, the company has provided the ability to connect modems to the board for working in LTE and 5G networks in one of two M.2 slots. The set of interfaces also includes three USB 3.0 Type-A and a 5-pin connector for the camera.

HackBoard 2 is priced at $99 for the Linux-compatible version and $140 for the Windows 10 Pro modification. The company estimated the 4G modem at $50, but the ability to work in 5G networks will cost customers $299. The first deliveries of the computer are scheduled for April 30, 2021.

Final Thoughts

We believe that this new year will grant us a lot more new and exciting releases, presentations, and gadgets. Wouldn't that be exciting to watch the race of manufacturers showing what they can do and unleashing their maximum capabilities?

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