Thursday, September 23, 2010

Marvell unveils 1.5GHz triple-core application processor, all current smartphones look on in envy

Marvell's decided to whip out the "game changer" tag for its latest slice of silicon, but when you read the spec sheet that accompanies it, you might be willing to forgive it. Just this once. The new Armada 628 application processor delivers three cores, two of which crank along at 1.5GHz, and enough graphical prowess to churn 200 million triangles a second. You might remember we were once impressed by the Hummingbird's 90 million -- yeah, not so much anymore. The 628 is capable of 1080p 3D video and graphics (meaning it can sustain two simultaneous 1080p streams, one for each eye) and pledges to have an "ultra" low power profile: more than 10 hours of 1080p video or 140 hours of music playback are on offer. If that's not enough, it's also the first mobile SOC to include USB 3.0 support, adding yet another speed crown to its bulging resume.

Free Microsoft Security Essentials now for small business, too

Microsoft Security Essentials has won a lot of praise since its introduction last year. The anti-malware software is unobtrusive and reasonably effective, and its price—free—can't be beat. One fly in the ointment has been the software's licensing terms; MSE is only licensed for home users. Businesses have to look elsewhere for their anti-malware needs.

That's set to change, at least a little, next month. From early October, small businesses—defined here as those with ten PCs or fewer—can use MSE, too. Microsoft claims that enterprise security software is too expensive, complicated, and hard to use for these organizations, hence its decision to expand the reach of MSE.
While it's interesting to see yet another definition of "small business" from Redmond (Small Business Server is good for up to 75 desktops, and the forthcoming cloud-based Small Business Server "Aurora" is for companies with up to 25 users), this is certainly a good move.

Free anti-virus for home users has been around for a long time, but most of the free products include similar restrictions to MSE—if you want to use them on corporate desktops, you have to pay for the privilege. Microsoft's entry into the free anti-virus market was met with mixed reactions by its competitors, with some voicing antitrust concerns even when MSE was a consumer-only product. This foray into the corporate anti-malware market is sure to raise the hackles of the company's competitors once more.