AME Info, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, technology briefs
Mar 19, 2013 (AME Info - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
SAUDI ARABIA JAILS COMPUTER TECHS FOR SPYING ON ARAMCO: Three Saudis have been sentenced to prison terms by the Summary Court in Riyadh following a conviction for leaking confidential Saudi Aramco information while working for a computer maintenance company contracted by the oil company, Arab News has reported. The suspects were arrested when the police discovered that the first suspect replaced the hard drives of several Aramco employees' computers and took the originals that contained important and confidential information related to the company. The case has no connection with last August's incident, in which hackers disabled 30,000 Saudi Aramco workstations.
HP ELITEPAD 900 LAUNCHED IN UAE: HP has unveiled in Dubai a new tablet with enterprise-grade features and functionality, Gulf Today has reported. The new ElitePad 900 is targeted at business, government, healthcare and retail segments. The ultrathin, lightweight Microsoft Windows 8 tablet features HP ElitePad Smart Jackets, which add connectivity options and longer battery life along with specific add-ons that customise the tablet for specialised uses.
GOVERNMENT TO DRIVE IT SPENDING IN OMAN THIS YEAR: REPORT: According to a report by Business Monitor International (BMI), Oman's IT market is forecast to be worth $410m this year, up 6.5 percent from an estimated $385m in 2012, Muscat Daily has reported. The government is expected to be a significant driver of IT spending over the next five years. Computer hardware sales in the sultanate are expected to reach $220m in 2013, up 5 percent from $209m last year, due to macroeconomic factors and the release of Windows 8, according to the report. Software sales are seen to rise 7 percent in 2013 to $80m on steady demand for enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions among SMEs and corporates, while IT service sales are expected to witness an 8 percent growth this year to $110m, BMI said.
APPLE RELEASES OS X UPDATE: Apple has released an updated version of its OS X operating system with a variety of changes to improve stability and compatibility as well as security, Information Week has reported. The Apple's OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.3 Update addresses 21 vulnerabilities, 11 of which could be exploited to allow remote code execution. Apple has also fixed an error in the way VoiceOver interacted with the Login Window. The flaw allowed a person with keyboard access to launch the System Preferences control panel and alter system configuration details prior to login.
BLACKBERRY'S NEW PLAYBOOK TO LAUNCH IN UAE BY JUNE: BlackBerry has unveiled plans to launch the all-new BlackBerry PlayBook, running BB10, in the UAE by the end of the second quarter, Emirates 24-7 has reported. The tablet comes with a 1024 x 600 display and a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. It also has a 5-megapixel back camera and a 3-megapixel camera in the front.
EMIRATES NBD AWARDS WIPRO MANAGED SERVICES DEAL: UAE lender Emirates NBD has awarded Wipro Infotech, the India and Middle East IT Business unit of Wipro, a three-year managed services contract to deliver end-to-end service transition and transformational services to maintain their IT systems through a managed service framework, Khaleej Times has reported. Under the contract, Wipro will support both physically and remotely all Emirates NBD's offices in the Middle East and many of its international offices through a remote support model. It will also maintain and manage more than 8,000 assets of the organisation.
MICROSOFT TO ROLL OUT PATCHES THROUGH WINDOWS STORE: Microsoft has announced future security updates will be released through its Windows Store in order to speed up the updating process, PC World has reported. The policy will apply to applications that are preinstalled on Windows 8 but updated through the Windows Store, such as Mail, said Mike Reavey, senior director of the Microsoft Security Response Centre. "Our goal is to have a quick, transparent and painless security update process," he said. "With this in mind, we will deliver high quality security updates for Windows Store apps as they become available."
ADOBE TO MAKE CREATIVE SUITE AVAILABLE ONLINE ONLY: Adobe has said it is to halt boxed sales of its Creative Suite software, making its packages for creative pros available online or by subscription only, TechHive has reported. "As Adobe continues to focus on delivering world-class innovation through Creative Cloud and digital fulfilment, we will be phasing out shrink-wrapped, boxed versions of Creative Suite and Acrobat products," a spokesperson for Adobe said. "Electronic downloads for Creative Suite and Acrobat products will continue to be available-as they are today-from both Adobe.com, as well as reseller and retail partners. We are in the process of notifying our channel partners and customers, as plans solidify in each region."
ANDROID TABLETS TO OUTPACE IPADS IN 2013: IDC: According to a figures by IDC, shipments of Apple Inc.'s iPads are set to fall behind the growing variety of tablets running Google Inc.'s Android operating system for the first time in 2013, as smaller-sized devices catch on with more consumers, Reuters has reported. iPad shipments are expected to account for 46 percent of the market in 2013, down from 51 percent last year, IDC said. Devices running Android are expected to grow their market share to 49 percent this year from 42 percent last year. The research firm also raised its 2013 tablet shipment forecast to 190.9 million units, up from its previous forecast of 172.4 million units. Last year, global tablet shipments grew to 128.3 million units, up from 72 million in 2011, according to IDC.
QATAR SETS UP CYBER SECURITY RESEARCH CENTRE: Qatar Computer Research Institute (QCRI), an initiative of Qatar Foundation for computer research, has set up a research centre dedicated to find solutions for cyber security issues in the country, Gulf Times has reported. "The research in cyber security will result in a number of solutions in line with the social and computing research of QCRI. Our work is to research and provide the necessary tools to ensure cyber security in Qatar," said the director of QCRI, Dr Ahmed Elmagarmid.
JORDANIAN FIRM USES PS3 HARDWARE TO BUILD SUPERCOMPUTER: Jordanian IT consulting company Al Oula has unveiled a 25-teraflop supercomputer based on Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) hardware. The 25 teraflops IMAN1 computer was made from 2,260 Sony PS3 games consoles, which are powered by the Power4-based Cell Broadband Engine Architecture (CBEA) microprocessor designed by Sony, Toshiba and IBM, which also manufactured the units, and uses PowerPC-series microprocessors in its Unix servers. The project was started in January 2010 and turned on in October 2011 and is now in use at a local Jordanian university.
EGYPT, CHINA AGREE ON SETTING UP SATELLITE ASSEMBLY PLANT IN CAIRO: The Egyptian Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (NARSS) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) to build a satellite assembly plant in Egypt, Mena has reported. Under the agreement, CAST is to review and approve the design of the Egyptian satellite "Egypt Sat 2," which is expected to be finalised by the Egyptian side in July 2014. The Egyptian side will also be allowed to take part in the Chinese space missions and new in-orbit technology demonstrations, said NARSS chairman, Dr Mohamed Mokhtar.
YEMEN HAS HIGHEST SOFTWARE PIRACY IN MIDEAST, UAE LOWEST: Microsoft has said rate of counterfeit software in the UAE in 2011 was 37 percent, the lowest in the region and better than the global average of 42 percent, The National has reported. "It is a good number compared to the region. Qatar's rate is 50 percent and Oman is 61 percent, but it is still $208m in lost business," said the general manager of antipiracy at Microsoft, Dinis Cuoto. Yemen has the highest rate of piracy at 89 percent in the region, followed by Algeria at 84 percent, he added.
SAMSUNG BLAMES THE DECLINE OF PC SALES ON WINDOWS 8: Samsung Electronics has said the PC market segment has failed to see a boost from Windows 8 as it's "no better than the previous Windows Vista platform," Korea Times has reported. ''The global PC industry is steadily shrinking despite the launch of Windows 8. I think the Windows 8 system is no better than the previous Windows Vista platform,'' said Jun Dong-soo, president of Samsung's memory chip division, told reporters in Seoul. Last week, IDC cut its growth estimate for PC shipments for 2012 from a prior projection of 2.8 percent growth to 1.3 percent, or 345.8 million PCs, citing the rise of tablet PCs and an ''underwhelming reception to Windows 8,'' which went on sale on October 26.
GLOBAL PC MARKET TO DROP 1.3 percent THIS YEAR: IDC: IDC has said that global PC shipments in 2012 dropped 3.7 percent compared with the previous year, with computer shipments seen to drop another 1.3 percent in 2013. Total shipments of both desktops and notebooks this year is expected to hit 345.8 million units, down from 350.4 million units in 2012, said IDC. "Growth in emerging regions has slowed considerably, and we continue to see constrained PC demand as buyers favour other devices for their mobility and convenience features," programme vice president, worldwide PC trackers at IDC. "We still don't see tablets (with limited local storage, file system, lesser focus on traditional productivity, etc.) as functional competitors to PCs - but they are winning consumer dollars with mobility and consumer appeal nevertheless."
RIMINI STREET TO FURTHER EXPAND IN EMEA: Third-party enterprise software services firm Rimini Street has announced plans for further expansion and additional investment in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) to meet continued growing demand for its SAP and Oracle support services. The US-headquartered company said its sales in EMEA had doubled in 2012, with 117 percent year-over-year growth in new client invoicing, and achieved a 175 percent year-over-year increase in new bookings in the region to around $42m. "We remain committed to growing our support capabilities across EMEA and other regions in order to meet the strong market demand," said Seth Ravin, Rimini Street CEO.
SEAGATE TO CEASE PRODUCTION OF LAPTOP HARD DRIVES: Seagate has announced it will stop making 2.5", 7200-rpm laptop hard drives by the end of 2013, PC World has reported. "High performance in the notebook segment in the future will come from solid-state hybrid drives (SSHDs) rather than drives with higher spin speeds," a Seagate spokesperson said. The company's high-performance, notebook-sized hard drives will still be available for some time, as the company winds down production and works through its remaining stock, added the spokesperson.
SMALLER TABLETS OUTSELLING 10-INCH TABLETS: According to a study conducted by Display Search, consumers are getting more inclined to buy smaller tablets like the iPad Mini over larger tablets like the iPad 2 or the New iPad. Smaller tablets smaller like the Apple iPad Mini, Samsung Galaxy 8 and other 8" tablets will outsell larger tablets like the Retina Display enabled iPad, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 in 2013, the study said. "Apple had planned to sell 40m iPad minis (7.9") and 60m iPads (9.7") in 2013," said Display Search. "However, the reality seems to be the reverse, as the iPad mini has been more popular than the iPad. We now understand that Apple may be planning to sell 55m iPad minis (7.9") and 33m iPads (9.7") in 2013."
ETHERNET SWITCH, ROUTER MARKETS IN MIDEAST REGISTER GROWTH IN Q4: IDC has said the Ethernet switch market in the Middle East and Africa region grew 13.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. The region also recorded a 25.3 percent year-over-year growth in the router market, the firm said. Globally, the Ethernet switch (Layer 2/3) revenues climbed 0.5 percent year-on-year to $5.7bn in the quarter, while the router market dropped 0.2 percent year-on-year, essentially staying flat despite the 5.6 percent sequential improvement over Q3 2012, the market research firm said.
SHOURA COUNCIL CALLS FOR COMPLETE SAUDIZATION OF IT SECTOR: The Saudi Shoura Council has called for the total Saudization of information technology (IT) jobs at government and public sector institutions for national security reasons, Arab News has reported. The head of the fiscal committee at the Council, Saad Mareq, said that his proposal was not aimed at blaming any foreigners. "It only concerns Saudis without pointing a finger at other parties," he said.
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