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Baidu Says Second Generation Kunlun AI Chips Enter Mass Production

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Chinese tech giant Baidu said on Wednesday it had begun mass-producing second-generation Kunlun artificial intelligence (AI) chips, as it races to become a key player in the chip industry which Beijing is trying to strengthen.

The new generation of Kunlun AI chips, using 7 nm process technology, achieved a top computational capability two-to-three times the previous generation, Baidu said in a statement.

Kunlun chips, whose first generation entered mass production in early 2020, have been used mostly by Baidu in smart electric vehicles and cloud computing.

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Chinese technology giants are stepping up efforts to design their own chips in a sign of China’s ambition to reduce its dependence on foreign producers such as Qualcomm and Nvidia.

US sanctions imposed on hardware maker Huawei have prevented the Chinese telecom giant from sourcing components including semiconductors, crippling its smartphone business.

Beijing-based Baidu is considering commercialising its AI chip design capabilities, with the aim of making the Kunlun unit a standalone company, Reuters has reported.

In March, Kunlun completed a round of fundraising that valued the business at about $2 billion (roughly Rs. 14,850 crores).

Baidu also operates another chip unit called Honghu.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


It’s a John Cena double-header this week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, as we discuss The Suicide Squad, and later, Fast & Furious 9 (from 28:03). Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Vi Brings New International Roaming Packs With Unlimited Data and Calls Starting at Rs. 599

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Vi (formerly known as Vodafone Idea) has introduced new international unlimited roaming packs for its customers on Monday. New Vi Unlimited International Roaming packs range from Rs. 599 to Rs. 5,999. The former comes with 24 hours validity while the latter offers 28 days validity. Customers travelling to countries like UAE, the UK, the US, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Australia, Thailand, and Brazil can opt for these plans. It offers unlimited voice calling support and data on its roaming networks across travel destinations. The Vi Postpaid Roaming Packs come with an Always On feature that is meant to prevent exorbitant rates while on international roaming even after the expiry of the subscribed pack.

The telecom operator on Monday launched a new range of international roaming packs for customers. The Vi international roaming packs start from Rs. 599 with one-day validity to Rs. 5,999 pack that has 28 days validity. They offer unlimited voice calls and data.

At present, Vi provides roaming services in 81 countries with local service providers. It has also unveiled an Always On feature to make sure that subscribers are not charged excessively even after the expiry of subscribed plans. For example, if travellers who have subscribed to the seven-day Vi Postpaid Roaming Pack, have to extend their stay, they can continue to use their phone for voice, SMS and data, and will be charged standard rates till the user’s usage value doesn’t cross Rs. 599. Upon crossing Rs. 599, the user will be billed Rs. 599 for each additional day that they use the International Roaming facility.

According to Vi, RedX postpaid plan customers of Vi can avail international trip every year with seven days Vi International Roaming Free pack worth Rs. 2,999.


Should you pick Vivo over Galaxy S22 and OnePlus 10 Pro? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Ericsson, Deutsche Telekom Says to Use Solar, Wind Energy for 5G Mobile Masts in Germany

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Ericsson and Deutsche Telekom are harnessing the power of the wind and the sun at an energy-hungry 5G mobile site in Germany in an effort to guard against soaring electricity costs.

With already high bills only rising further, energy-intensive European companies are looking for innovative ways to secure reliable, low-carbon energy.

Telecom operators have extra motivation to cut costs as they also need to channel $872 billion (roughly Rs. 67,59,700 crore) globally into the rollout of next-generation 5G networks until 2030, to Morgan Stanley.

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“Energy costs for our sector are around $25 billion (roughly Rs. 1,93,768 crore) per year, probably closer to $30 billion (roughly Rs. 2,32,522 crore), at current energy prices,” Mats Pellbäck Scharp, Ericsson’s head of sustainability, said in an interview. “So it is sort of on the same magnitude as the investment in radio equipment and other things.”

Ericsson said the 5 kilowatt wind turbine and solar modules could theoretically power the entire site of Dittenheim, around 120 miles (roughly 193 kilometres) north of Munich in the state of Bavaria.

Twelve square metres of solar panels have already been operating for a year, supplying about 10 percent of the required energy.

Backup when the wind drops or the sun sets comes from centralised, often fossil-fuel powered, plants via a connection to the main grid.

Scharp said telecom operators can use local renewable energy when market prices are higher — typically during the morning and evening — and rely on the grid when lower demand reduces costs.

The new system could be quickly rolled out to other mobile sites in the future.

Energy costs accounted for around 5 percent of telecom operators’ operating expenditure on average, according to from McKinsey, a figure which is expected to increase as 5G is deployed more widely.

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© Thomson Reuters 2022


Should you pick Vivo over Galaxy S22 and OnePlus 10 Pro? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Broadcom Said to Be in Talks to Acquire VMware

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Chipmaker Broadcom is in talks to acquire cloud service provider VMware, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Negotiations between Broadcom and VMware are ongoing and a deal is not imminent, the sources said. The deal terms under discussion could not be learned.

The acquisition would further diversify Broadcom’s business away from semiconductors and into enterprise software, following its $18.9 billion (roughly Rs. 1,46,591 crore) acquisition of CA Technologies and its $10.7 billion (roughly Rs. 82,997 crore) purchase of Symantec’s security division in the last four years.

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Bloomberg News first reported the deal late on Sunday. Broadcom and VMware did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment. As of Friday’s market close, the market capitalisation of VMware was $40.3 billion (roughly Rs. 3,12,598 crore).

Michael Dell is VMware’s biggest investor with a 40 percent stake as a result of Dell Technologies having spun out VMWare to its shareholders last year, according to Refinitiv data.

Private equity firm Silver Lake, which has previously invested in Broadcom, is VMware’s second largest shareholder with a 10 percent stake, Refinitiv data shows.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


Should you pick Vivo over Galaxy S22 and OnePlus 10 Pro? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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