Qualcomm SDK to Bring Deep Learning to Mobile Devices

Today's topics include Qualcomm’s inclusion of its Neural Processing Engine SDK in smartphones and other devices, the release date for Microsoft SQL Server 2016, a report that HTC will build the next two Nexus Android smartphones for Google, and Hulu's plans to offer streamed cable services in 2017.

Qualcomm wants to make mobile devices running its Snapdragon 820 processor even smarter. Company officials on May 2 introduced a deep-learning software development kit for the ARM-based systems-on-a-chip that will enable device makers to run neural network models on their Snapdragon 820-powered products.

These include smartphones, security cameras, cars and drones—for such tasks as scene detection, text recognition, object avoidance, face and gesture recognition, and natural language processing.

Other devices can do many of the same tasks, but the Neural Processing Engine SDK will allow devices to process those workloads without connecting to the cloud.

Microsoft has finally settled on a release date for SQL Server 2016, the Redmond, Wash., company announced May 2. A year after Microsoft released the first public preview of SQL Server 2016, the database software will be generally available Wednesday, June 1.

Customers can select from four editions: Express, Standard, Enterprise and the free Developer Edition. The latter includes all the features found in SQL Server Enterprise but is meant for development and test deployments, not production workloads.

The official release, along with full enterprise support services from Microsoft, will allow customers "to build mission-critical, and business-critical intelligent applications with the most secure database, the highest-performance data warehouse, end-to-end mobile [business intelligence] on any device," wrote Tiffany Wissner, senior director of Microsoft Data Platform Marketing, in a May 2 blog post.

HTC is reportedly again being tapped to manufacture two Google Nexus smartphone models after building the two previous Nexus Android handsets.

The latest rumors about HTC's move come from well-known news tipster Evan Blass, who posted several tweets on Twitter about his latest observations.

"HTC is building a pair of Android N devices for Google internally dubbed M1 and S1 #nexus," Blass posted in an April 27 tweet. No other details are yet available about the next potential Nexus smartphones at this time.

Hulu is preparing to compete directly with cable television companies by launching its own streaming TV service to customers that will provide daily network and cable TV programming by subscription.

The company "hopes to launch the new cable TV-style online service in the first quarter of 2017," according to a May 1 story by The Wall Street Journal.

The planned service would stream popular broadcast and cable TV channels and expand the company's reach from simply offering streamed on-demand TV programming, including current broadcast TV hits, movies, Hulu original shows and more, the article reported.

"Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox, co-owners of Hulu, are near agreements to license many of their channels for the platform," the story continued.

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