While it pushes 5G in the global markets in 2018, mobile chipset maker MediaTek will, in India, continue to focus on the 4G segment, David Ku, the firm’s Chief Financial Officer, has said.
“Globally, the company is likely to invest the highest on fifth generation (5G) connectivity, followed by the 4G segment,” Ku told IANS in an interview.
“4G is definitely for India. 5G is, arguably, for India as well, but not in the next year,” he said, adding, however, that in the next two to three years the chipset maker would bring 5G to the country.
He said the automotive segment would be next in their global priority list followed by Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC). In 2018 and 2019, 5G would be pertinent for China, the US, Europe and Japan, among others.
The company on June 5 had announced that it would commercially deploy its first 5G modem “Helio M70” in 2019, and some of its key partners would be Nokia, NTT DoCoMo and Huawei.
Talking about MediaTek’s business in the country, Ku, who is also the Senior Corporate Vice President of the company, said revenue from India is about 10-15 per cent of the overall revenue and, in 2017, the growth rate “was very good”, given the low base of the company in the country.
MediaTek’s current market share in India is around one-third and the company is trying to be the market leader, Ku said.
On the outlook for the current year, he emphasised: “Growth rate is definitely double-digit for India in 2018.”
In 2017, however, the global performance of the company slowed on a year-on-year basis, he said, adding that, on a quarterly observation “from Q3 (July-September) of last year, the performance started recovering”.
“I think, in general, last year we did okay, but profitability-wise (it went down), due to our product portfolio… especially on the smartphone side”, leading to loss of some market share in China.
“Our market share in China alone is around 40-45 per cent, but last year it was down to 30 (per cent), but this is we have come back to 40-45 per cent… and want to maintain that level.”
MediaTek is currently listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange and asked about its plans of listing in other exchanges, Ku said: “Currently we don’t have any plans for listings.”
The financial performance of the modem maker in the current fiscal has been as per the guidance, the CFO informed.
“For the first quarter we were basically in line with our guidance, for the second quarter… we have not closed the quarter, but in general it is in line with our guidance.”
“The topline guidance on a quarter-on-quarter basis is to grow 12-20 per cent for the second quarter. I think we should be looking for a mid-high of this range…which means it is pretty good,” he added.
Amazon Echo Input Goes on Sale in India, Brings Alexa to Your Dumb Speaker for Rs. 2,999
Back in September 2018, Amazon added a suite of new products to its Echo line of devices and among them was the Echo Input, which was scheduled to launch in early 2019 in India. It seems as if Amazon has kept good on its promise as the Echo Input is finally on sale in India, at a price of Rs. 2,999. The device adds Alexa support to any of your existing speakers at home, either through a wired or Bluetooth connection. This lets you stream music from Amazon Prime Music, Saavn and TuneIn and starting today, Hungama and Gaana music streaming services too, with simple voice commands. Apart from Amazon, the Echo Input will also be available from offline retailers such as Croma, Vijay Sales and others.
To recall, the Amazon Echo Input was first introduced in September last year, and at around the same time, US-based e-commerce giant had announced it would be made available in India early next year – that time has come. Amazon had not detailed the Amazon Echo Input price in India back in September, and this is the first we’ve learned of it.
Amazon Echo Input launch offers
Amazon has tied up with some speaker manufacturers to bundle the Echo Input with certain products. The JBL Go 2 speaker bundle gets you a flat Rs. 1,499 discount where as you can get the Echo Input for free if you buy the newly launched Ultimate Ears Boom 3 or the Bose SoundLink Revolve. You can check out the offers on right side of the page, just below the ‘Buy Now’ button.
Amazon Echo Input specifications
The Echo Input measures just 12.5mm in thickness and looks a bit like a hockey puck. There are two buttons on the top for switching the microphone off and triggering Alexa, respectively. You also get a four-microphone array on the Input which is said to recognise your voice across a room, even with music playing. There’s a single LED light on the top and a 3.5mm headphone socket and a Micro-USB port on the side for connectivity and power.
It also features dual-band 802.11 Wi-Fiac for connecting the device to you home Wi-Fi. Setting up the Echo Input requires the Alexa app, which is available on both Android and iOS. The Echo Input ships with a 5W power adapter, Micro-USB cable, auxiliary cable and a quick start guide.
Novel technology cleans water using bacteria
Researchers, led by one of Indian-origin, have developed a new technology that can clean water twice as fast as commercially available ultrafiltration membranes, an advance that brings hope for countries like India where clean drinking water is a big issue.
According to a team from the Washington University in St. Louis, more than one in 10 people in the world lack basic drinking water access, and by 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.
The team led by Srikanth Singamaneni, Professor at the varsity, developed an ultrafiltration membrane using graphene oxide and bacterial nanocellulose that they found to be highly efficient, long-lasting and environment-friendly.
The membrane technology purifies water while preventing biofouling, or build up of bacteria and other harmful micro-organisms that reduce the flow of water.
For the study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, they used bacteria to build such filtering membranes.
The Gluconacetobacter hansenii bacteria is a sugary substance that forms cellulose nanofibres when in water.
The team then incorporated graphene oxide (GO) flakes into the bacterial nanocellulose while it was growing, essentially trapping GO in the membrane to make it stable and durable.
They exposed the membrane to E. coli bacteria, then shone light on the membrane’s surface.
After being irradiated with light for just three minutes, the E. coli bacteria died. The team determined that the membrane quickly heated to above the 70 degrees Celsius required to deteriorate the cell walls of E. coli bacteria.
While the bacteria are killed, the researchers had a pristine membrane with a high quality of nanocellulose fibres that was able to filter water twice as fast as commercially available ultrafiltration membranes under a high operating pressure.
When they did the same experiment on a membrane made from bacterial nanocellulose without the reduced GO, the E. coli bacteria stayed alive.
While the researchers acknowledge that implementing this process in conventional reverse osmosis systems is taxing, they propose a spiral-wound module system, similar to a roll of towels.
It could be equipped with LEDs or a type of nanogenerator that harnesses mechanical energy from the fluid flow to produce light and heat, which would reduce the overall cost.
If the technique were to be scaled up to a large size, it could benefit many developing countries where clean water is scarce, the researchers noted.
Google loon balloon web service taps board to lift business
Loon, the balloon-borne rural internet service from Google parent Alphabet Inc, has recruited three wireless-industry leaders to help the company’s yearslong effort to get the business off the ground. Wireless pioneer and Nextel Partners Inc co-founder Craig McCaw, former Verizon Communications Inc executive Marni Walden, and Ian Small, a former Telefonica SA executive, will serve as Loon’s new three-member advisory board. They’ll help the fledgeling company sign on partners and expand to new areas.
Loon started as a project inside Google’s X research arm to deliver internet access to rural areas. As of last year, it planned to offer service in Kenya. Using antennas held aloft by large balloons 12 miles (20 kilometres) above Earth, well beyond the paths of aeroplanes, Loon can beam coverage over a wide area and relay the signals to ground stations operated by wireless carriers.
When first conceived, Loon was considered a potential threat to wireless carriers, but in recent years the company has wooed established providers as partners. Other companies including Facebook Inc have been working on ways to get more people connected to the internet. Instead of balloons, Facebook has tested solar-powered drones and satellites.
“We quickly realized that as a business with the mission of connecting people everywhere, our path to success is to partner with those who have significant experience connecting people every day,” Loon Chief Executive Officer Alastair Westgarth said in a blog post.