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Nvidia in Advanced Talks to Acquire SoftBank-owned Chip Maker ARM For $32 Billion

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Buying ARM would consolidate graphics giant Nvidia’s position at the centre of the semiconductor industry.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: August 1, 2020, 11:05 AM IST

US chip-maker Nvidia is reportedly in advance talks to acquire SoftBank-owned UK chip company ARM in a cash-and-stock deal worth at least $32 billion. According to a report in the Financial Times on Friday citing sources, the talks began after “Nvidia approached SoftBank, which has been pursuing a series of other asset sales, about a potential acquisition”. The proposed deal includes “both cash and stock and that it valued ARM at above the $32bn price that SoftBank paid for the business in 2016”. Both Nvidia and ARM did not comment on the report. The British chip designer powers major mobile processor from companies like Qualcomm, Apple, Samsung and Huawei.

Apple last month confirmed its break up with Intel chips for ARM chips in its Mac desktops, announcing it will transition the Mac to its world-class custom silicon to deliver industry-leading performance and powerful new technologies. Buying ARM would consolidate graphics giant Nvidia’s position at the centre of the semiconductor industry. SoftBank bought ARM for $31 billion in 2016. Microsoft makes an ARM-based Surface laptop and a version of Windows designed for ARM. According to The Verge, Nvidia would make an interesting owner for ARM. While Nvidia is the leader for GPUs, it has little to do with CPU design or mobile hardware.

Nvidia said this week it delivered the world’s fastest Artificial Intelligence (AI) training performance among commercially available chips, a feat that will help big enterprises tackle the most complex challenges in AI, data science and scientific computing. Nvidia A100 GPUs and DGX SuperPOD systems were declared the world’s fastest commercially available products for AI training, according to MLPerf benchmarks. The A100 Tensor Core GPU demonstrated the fastest performance per accelerator on all eight MLPerf benchmarks.



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Tech

Major WhatsApp Updates Show Up on Android Beta: Linked Devices, Advanced Search

We have been talking about linked accounts on WhatsApp for a long time, and finally, WhatsApp’s beta update on Android has turned up with new interfaces that suggest the update is closer to releasing. The Linked Accounts feature will essentially allow you to use one WhatsApp account and link it with multiple devices, hence further increasing the scope of usage. Shared by WABetaInfo, the WhatsApp beta for Android update shows a new interface using which all devices linked to an account can be managed. Interestingly, the ‘Linked Devices’ tab appears to replace the ‘WhatsApp Web’ tab that is presently available on WhatsApp’s stable build, hence stating that WhatsApp is now ready to link one account to more devices beyond the Web app functionality.

The detailed Linked Devices interface now shows a list of all devices that are linked to your account. Using this interface, users can choose which devices to stay logged in on, and which devices can be logged out. The account linking feature is most importantly expected to allow users to run the same WhatsApp account on two phones (or maybe more), which will likely be done by the same QR code interface that WhatsApp for Web presently uses. The interface will also allow users to add or link a new device to their WhatsApp account. According to prior reports, up to four devices may be linked to one WhatsApp account when the feature is released.

Beyond linked devices, the WhatsApp for Android beta update 2.20.196 has also brought in a more elaborate ‘advanced search’ feature. According to the screenshot shared by WABetaInfo, this feature will allow users to search by filtering photos, videos, links, GIFs, audio snippets and documents, which classify six different types of files that can be shared on WhatsApp. A previous report had also suggested that WhatsApp may also get the ability to search for messages chronologically, and by this new advanced search feature, it appears that WhatsApp is simultaneously appealing to those who use WhatsApp as a work application as well.

As with most beta updates, the features are presently in the works, and will likely be rolled out as part of stable builds in the near future. The fairly advanced stage of the features suggest that a stable update for them may actually come quite soon, although there are no release dates per se that have been revealed. The ability to link one WhatsApp account to multiple devices is WhatsApp’s highlight update of 2020, and it remains to be seen whether it generates the same amount of hype and interest that WhatsApp’s Dark Mode rollout in 2019 had sparked.


Categories
Tech

Advanced Hydrogel Can Cool Devices and Convert Waste Heat Into Electricity

Using electronic devices for too long can cause them to overheat which might slow them down but now researchers have developed a hydrogel that can both cool down electronics, such as cell phone batteries, and convert their waste heat into electricity. According to the study, published in the Nano Letters, some components of electronic devices, including batteries, light-emitting diodes (known as LEDs) and computer microprocessors, generate heat during operation.

Overheating can reduce the efficiency, reliability and lifespan of devices, in addition to wasting energy. The researchers from Wuhan University in China wanted to design a smart thermogalvanic hydrogel that could convert waste heat into electricity, while also lowering the temperature of the device. So far, scientists have developed devices that can do one or the other, but not both simultaneously.

According to the findings, the research made a hydrogel consisting of a polyacrylamide framework infused with water and specific ions. When they heated the hydrogel, two of the ions (ferricyanide and ferrocyanide) transferred electrons between electrodes, generating electricity. Meanwhile, water inside the hydrogel evaporated, cooling it. After use, the hydrogel regenerated itself by absorbing water from the surrounding air. To demonstrate the new material, the researchers attached it to a cell phone battery during fast discharging.

Some of the waste heat was converted into five microwatts of electricity, and the temperature of the battery decreased by 68 Fahrenheit. The reduced working temperature ensures safe operation of the battery, and the electricity harvested is sufficient for monitoring the battery or controlling the cooling system, the researchers noted.