Latest Computer and IT Support Industry News
After selling a million PlayStation 4 units in just 24 hours after launching in the US, Sony has announced that it has sold 2.1 million PS4s worldwide as of December 1.
The bulk of those additional sales came from the system’s launch in the Europe and Australasia, which resulted in 700,000 sales in the two days after the November 29 launch. Some basic math leaves just 400,000 units sold in the US and Latin America following the million-selling November 15 US launch (Sony did not give any further regional or country-based sales breakdown).
You might look at that post-launch number and think that record-breaking launch day satisfied a sizable chunk of the initial US demand for the system, but Sony suggests that sales are limited by production capacity and not consumer desire.
The standard issue tool for the oceanographer at sea is the Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth instrument (or CTD). These sensors are repeatedly lowered into the water to record vertical profiles of—you guessed it—temperature and electrical conductivity (to measure salinity). This work is expensive, requiring a properly outfitted ship and crew.
But what if you could get a decidedly low-tech piece of equipment to do most of the work for you? Researchers in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica (and elsewhere) have developed a sealCTD—a (small) CTD instrument strapped to a seal, which then gathers data that is otherwise quite hard to come by.
It might seem like the Argo array—an armada of automated floats that carry CTDs throughout the ocean—has already been set up to gather this data. But sea ice and the current that circles Antarctica keep the floats at a distance. Seals, on the other hand, make their living navigating the sea ice in the region.
Sitting in front of my computer in my office on the East Coast, I am controlling a robot in Palo Alto, California.
"Push down your up arrow key and follow me," says an employee of Suitable Technologies, the maker of these Beam telepresence robots. I do what I'm told.
The 100-pound Beam is outfitted with wheels, a wide-angle camera, and 17-inch video screen, and I can control it all from an application on my desktop. My keyboard's arrow keys let me drive forward and backward and make turns, while virtual lines superimposed on the ground help me avoid hitting people and objects. Soon enough, I am chatting with Suitable founder and CEO Scott Hassan, who greets me with a fist bump and then sits down on a comfortable-looking chair in the office lounge. Hassan previously founded Willow Garage, which develops hardware and open source software for robotics applications.
Following last week's news of OCZ's bankruptcy filing, it's now official that Toshiba is acquiring OCZ's assets for $35 million cash. The agreement includes all of OCZ's client and consumer SSD business (controller IP, firmware, software and employees) and the acquisition is expected to be completed within the next 60 days. Unfortunately there is no official word on the fate of OCZ's other product groups (such as power supplies and cooling) but I've asked OCZ to clarify that and will update this post once I hear back.
The acquisition agreement includes a condition that Toshiba must provide OCZ with sufficient DIP (Debtor-in-Possession) financing in order for OCZ to keep the business going for the time being. In other words, OCZ's will continue to do business as normally but the press release doesn't reveal anything about what happens when the acquisition is completed. OCZ did tell us that warranties will be honored and their support status will remain unchanged but I'm waiting for OCZ to confirm that this also applies to the post-acquisition period (i.e. Toshiba would take responsibility of OCZ's warranties).
I'm glad that the deal went through because OCZ has a substantial amount of know-how when it comes to SSDs. OCZ had no troubles creating a high performance SSD, which speaks for talented engineering, but reliability was always their stumbling block. OCZ made the mistake rushing products to the market with only little validation but I'm confident that this will change under Toshiba's management. Validation is often the toughest part for smaller OEMs because it's an expensive and time consuming process -- there is simply not enough capital to validate the product for a full year like Intel has done in the past. With Toshiba the capital or manpower for a thorough validation process should no longer be an issue, especially because Toshiba has proven to be reliable in the past.
For someone like Toshiba, $35 million is a drop in the ocean. Compared to OCZ's current market cap ($7.68M), even $35 million is a good deal but bear in mind that back in 2011 OCZ paid $32 million for Indilinx alone. Now Toshiba is getting OCZ along with the former Indilinx and PLX for about the same price. It doesn't help that a little over year ago when OCZ acquisitions rumors were at their hottest, I heard figures of up to $1 billion being offered to OCZ but the company turned down the offers. It's easy to say now but OCZ should have struck while the iron was hot.
Either way, I'm eagerly waiting to see how the acquisition will play out. I doubt we will see the OCZ brand any longer, but it will be interesting to see OCZ's influence on Toshiba's future SSDs.
Just a few days after announcing that it was filing for bankruptcy, solid-state storage manufacturer OCZ has confirmed that it will be selling its assets to Toshiba for $35 million. According to the release, Toshiba will be acquiring "OCZ's client and enterprise solid state drive business" and that the sale is expected to close "within approximately 60 days." Toshiba will also be providing OCZ with the funding it needs to buy up NAND and support "existing and future customers" during the transitional period.
The purchase nets Toshiba every single part of OCZ, most crucially its "proprietary controllers, firmware, and software, as well as the teams responsible for bringing those solutions to market." In other words, Toshiba will now own all of OCZ's tech and the people responsible for developing it, as well as OCZ's "established brand and sales channels."
OCZ CEO Ralph Schmidt blamed "credit issues" and NAND supply issues for the company's financial woes, as well as an increasingly competitive SSD market (other players include Samsung, Crucial, SanDisk, and Intel, and those are just a few of the biggest names). As technologies mature, it's common for smaller companies to merge with and acquire one another until just a few players are left standing—the same thing happened in the GPU industry in the late '90s and early 2000s, for example.