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Now that the Internet is on computers, phones, and eyeglasses, a lot of people think it's time to get the Internet on everything.
That's why the Internet of things has become such a popular catchphrase, based on the premise that Internet connectivity can be embedded into nearly any product and form a larger network of devices that collaborate for the benefit of consumers. But actually making devices from a variety of manufacturers work together is a lot easier said than done.
The Linux Foundation and Qualcomm say open source software is what's needed to bridge the gap. Qualcomm already developed the open source project, AllJoyn, available under the Apache and BSD licenses. Now the company is contributing what it likes to call its "Internet of Everything" software to a new collaborative project called the AllSeen Alliance, which will be overseen by the Linux Foundation. Consumer device makers, service providers, retailers, appliance makers, and chipmakers have joined the effort.
Seismologists have to sort of compartmentalize their emotions about big earthquakes. They present exciting opportunities to study the details of earthquakes, but they can also result in tremendous human suffering. The massive magnitude 9.0 quake off Japan in March of 2011 was one such occasion—truly remarkable yet also infamous. Of course, a seismologist’s scholarly pursuits are not just academic. It’s critical to learn about these events in order to reduce the potential for future calamities.
That 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake was nothing if not colossal, but the size of the deadly tsunami that it triggered was still a surprise. Faults along these subduction zones, where one tectonic plate dives beneath another, extend at an angle from the surface near the seafloor trench to deep beneath the overriding plate. We often picture faults as simple planes marking the boundaries between two, distinct slabs of rock, but they are far more geometrically complex in reality. The shallow portion of the fault runs through contorted layers of sediment and rock that have been squished between the bulk of the two plates, and it behaves differently from the deep portion of the fault during an earthquake.
The Tohoku-Oki earthquake was centered at a depth of 20 to 30 kilometers (12.5 to 18.6 miles), where the rock is under greater pressure. As the motion on faults like this propagates towards the shallow end, the amount of sliding between the two plates normally decreases. Down deep, the frictional resistance along the fault weakens the faster the plates slide. Closer to the surface, the opposite is true—the faster the slipping motion, the greater the friction to dampen it. That didn’t seem to happen in this case, as the seafloor moved an astounding 50 meters (164 feet) or so, displacing the water above it and creating the tsunami wave.
Qualcomm continues to reveal, bit by bit, its processor roadmap for the upcoming year. At the top of the range we've got the Snapdragon 805, which focuses mostly on improving graphics performance and memory bandwidth. And now we know that the middle of the market will be served by the just-announced Snapdragon 410, a successor to the Snapdragon 400 family that brings a new 64-bit CPU architecture, tweaked GPU, and improved cellular capabilities to "sub-$150" devices.
Rather than one of Qualcomm's own custom-made ARM CPU architectures, the company tells us that Snapdragon 410 will use four of ARM's Cortex A53 CPU cores (some variants of the Snapdragon 400, including the one in the Moto G, already use ARM's Cortex A7, so this move isn't without precedent). The A53 architecture supports the same features as the high-end Cortex A57, but it's a smaller, slower, and more power-efficient core—the relationship between Cortex A53 and A57 is similar to the relationship between the Cortex A7 and A15 cores. The A53 architecture will be faster than the A7 that it replaces, but more interestingly it offers support for the 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set. This makes it Qualcomm's first 64-bit ARM SoC.
The Snapdragon 410 will also include a few other upgrades over the Snapdragon 400 series, including a new Adreno 306 GPU (if the model number is any indication, expect only minor changes from the current Adreno 305). The SoC will support up 13MP cameras and 1080p video playback, leaving playback of 4K and other high-resolution formats in the hands of higher-end chips. Finally, the chip will support LTE connectivity courtesy of a baked-in MSM9x25 modem and Qualcomm's "RF360 Front End Solution," which should enable OEMs to build a single phone model compatible with most common LTE bands rather than the multi-model approach needed with the Snapdragon 400 and older chips.