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Sep 30, 2011

Sony Puts Tablet S on Pre-Order in Australia

Sony Tablet S, one of the latest devices to be unveiled to the world with Google's Android Honeycomb operating system on board, is now available for pre-order in Australia, via the company's own website. 

Sony has just added Tablet S to its Australian website in two different flavors, differentiated by the amount of internal memory, namely 16GB and 32GB. Both devices sport only WiFi connectivity capabilities. 

The Sony Tablet S 16GB (Wi-Fi) arrives on shelves with a price tag of $579 (around $565 USD/ 417 Euros) attached to it. 

At the same time, Sony lists the 32GB model as available for pre-order for a bit more, at $689 AUD (about $673.35 USD / 500 Euros).

Both device models are available on Sony Australia's website here. Those who will access the said webpage will also observe that the tablets can be purchased with a free Bonus Cradle valued at RRP$69. Pre-orders will end on 19th October, 2011.

Running under Google's Android 3.2 Honeycomb operating system and featuring a 9.4-inch TruBlack touch-screen display, the Sony Tablet S could easily prove a nice option for any user out there. 

The new device also comes to the market with a smooth touch experience with “Quick View” and “Quick Touch,” and with a series of games for PlayStation Certified devices installed on it.

Sony also packed it with a fast 1 GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 application processor, complemented by 1 GB of RAM, WiFi IEEE 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth connectivity, microSD memory card slot, a 5 Megapixels photo snapper and a front camera for video calling, and the like. 

“Imagine all of Sony’s expertise integrated to fit perfectly in your hand. A tablet that streams over 7 million songs from a global catalogue, downloads the latest movies from Sony Entertainment Network, is PlayStation Certified for the best gaming experience and acts as a universal remote control,” the vendor notes.

New iPhone 5 Cases in AT&T's Stores

The availability of a new iPhone model is drawing near, and the emergence of new cases for the upcoming device in stores at wireless carrier AT&T is a clear indicator of that. 

The wireless services provider should launch the iPhone 5 model in the near future, and photos with cases that will fit the handset have already started to make their way to AT&T's shelves. 

The iPhone 5 silicone sleeves reportedly arrived at AT&T only a few days ago, showing that Apple has come up with a new design for the device. 

This is not the first time when cases for the upcoming iPhone models emerge at the United States-based wireless carrier. 

A few weeks ago, we had the chance to have a look at what appeared to be cases for the other rumored new iconic device model, namely the iPhone 4S. 

The new iPhone 5 cases show that Apple will deliver a device with a tapered design, with the mute switch now on the other side of the handset, macrumors notes. 

One way or the other, the new cases show that there will be a series of design changes that users will enjoy, although nothing has been confirmed on the matter for the time being. 

As expected, AT&T will be getting the new iPhone on its network, and the same should apply to Verizon Wireless and Sprint. 

Rumor has it that there will be two new iPhone models arriving on shelves in the next few months, and that they will both sport global connectivity capabilities. 

Among them, the iPhone 4S should be only a refresh to the current iPhone 4 model, while the iPhone 5 might arrive on shelves with various enhancements, including support for LTE networks. 

According to some of the latest reports on the matter, Apple might be set to announce the availability of the new iPhone in the first half of October, so stay tuned to learn the news.

Intel Atom Cedarview CPUs Won't Support DirectX 10 After All

DirectX 10.1 support was one the major features Intel promised to deliver with the introduction of its new Cedarview Atom architecture, but recent reports suggest the chip maker wasn't able to keep up to its word as the Cedar Trail platform is limited at offering just DX 9 graphics.

Intel launched the Atom Cedarview netbook and nettop chips just earlier this week without making to much of a fuss about them.

Compared to their predecessors, these new processors were expected to bring a series of improvements to the graphics core and one of the most important features was the introduction of DirectX 10.1 support.

However, according to CPU-World's findings it seems like DX 10.1 hasn't made its way the new Atom CPUs and that Intel has no plans of introducing support for this API in upcoming versions of its graphics card drivers, as some of us have believed.

For now, the DirectX 9 graphics driver for the new Atom processors is in a beta state, and the final 32- and 64-bit versions are expected to arrive in November and respectively December.

The Cedar Trail platform is comprised of the Cedarview-D processor and the NM10 chipset, which is the same controller logic used by Pine Trail.

These are the first Atom processors to be built using the 32nm fabrication process and feature a unified architecture that packs both the computing cores and the graphics core on the same die.

Speaking of the computing cores, these use the same architecture as their predecessors, but the operating frequencies have been increased in order to allow for better performance.

More important changes were brought on the graphics front, where the CPUs have gained hardware decoding support for MPEG2, VC1, AVC, and H.264 Full HD content as well as for Blu-ray 2.0. 

In addition, Intel has also added support for Intel Smart Connect technology, and for the latest Wireless Display features, both of these being scheduled to arrive in Q1 2012.

'Free' iPhone 5 Upgrades Available Through Trade-In Program

NextWorth, a company that puts bread on the table through electronics upgrades and trade-ins, has announced a way for consumers to upgrade to the iPhone 5 for free. In fact, customers are promised some pocket cash as well, should their iPhone 4 be in mint condition.

“NextWorth … announces a way for consumers to upgrade to the soon-to-be-announced iPhone for free and get an extra $50,” says NextWorth. “By trading in a 16GB or 32GB iPhone 4 on NextWorth.com in good working condition before October 4th, the service will guarantee $250 for the trade-in and lock in the price for 21 days.”

The ‘free’ thing is actually based on the assumption that Apple will replace the iPhone 4 with the iPhone 5 without increasing the price for purchasing a brand new handset model with a two year carrier plan.

The same thing happened with the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and the iPhone 4, so it is only natural to assume the iPhone 5 will follow the same pattern.

Their $250 trade-in price guarantee runs ‘till October 3rd. Apple is set to unveil a new iPhone on October 4th, be it the much rumored iPhone 4S, or the much more rumored iPhone 5.

“With so much uncertainty surrounding the launch of the new iPhone, we wanted to take the guesswork out of wondering when to upgrade/sell your old phone,” said Jeff Trachsel, CMO of NextWorth.

“Combined with our 21-day price lock and the extra $50 for trading up to the new iPhone, it’s no surprise that we’ve seen a 10x increase in iPhone transactions this week,” added Trachsel.

Those looking to sign up for the trade-in will need to present NextWorth with a 16GB or 32GB iPhone 4 in good working condition with no heavy scratches or cracks. The company lays out the the trade-in process as follows:
  1. Go to www.nextworth.com, select the appropriate iPhone 4 and answer a few questions about its condition 
  2. Print the pre-paid shipping label, carefully pack your iPhone and give it to UPS 
  3. Once the iPhone is received, it is inspected to make sure that the item is in the condition described 
  4. NextWorth sends a check or gift card within 7-10 days of inspecting the iPhone 

The company says that if you don’t want the cash, you can get a gift card instead.

Elsa Outs Compact GTX 560 Ti Graphics Card for SFF Systems

Video card maker Elsa, has recently announced the introduction of a new solution graphics based on the GeForce GTX 560 Ti design, which uses a more compact PCB in order to make the card compatible with small form factor cases.

Compared to Nvidia's reference design for the GTX 560 Ti, Elsa's latest creation measures only 170mm (less than 6.7-inches) in length, which makes it almost 60mm shorter than its counterpart.

Elsa has achieved this feat by rearranging most of the components installed on the PCB, while also developing a more compact cooling solution that is also capable of coping with the heat produced by Nvidia's GPU.

The new radiator design covers most of the card's printed circuit board and uses a pair of thick 8mm anodized cooper heatipes in order to draw the heat away from the GF114 core.

In addition, the cooling assembly also contains a 80mm fan that has its rotation speed adjusted depending on the temperature of the graphics card.

Despite all the modifications made in order to shorten the GTX 560 Ti, Elsa has however managed to keep the operating frequencies of the GLADIAC GTX 560 Ti mini intact, which means that the GPU works at 822MHz, while the 1GB of GDDR5 memory is clocked at 1002MHz (4008MHz data rate).

The video outputs of the GLADIAC were also left untouched, so the card comes with the standard dual DVI-D ports and with a mini HDMI connector.

According to Expreview, the GLADIAC GTX 560 Ti mini will become available for purchase in October of this year, for 24,000 Yen (about $312 US or 231 Euros).

Nvidia's GeForce GTX 560 Ti is based on the company's GF114 core and it packs 384 shaders, 64 texture units, 32 ROP units, and a 256-bit memory bus that is usually connected to 1GB of GDDR5 memory.

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 vs. Kaspersky, Avira, AVG, Symantec, BitDefender on Windows 7 SP1

While Microsoft is busy improving the built-in antivirus capabilities of Windows 8, Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 continues to be an excellent choice for customers looking for a free and basic security solution. 

MSE 2.0 was certified by AV-Test.org in the latest series of benchmarks which involved Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1), and a total of 25 products, from suites to free AV. 

Microsoft Security Essentials scored 11 out of a possible 18 points, and delivered a satisfactory performance, especially when compared to paid security suites. 

“During July and August 2011 we continuously evaluated 25 home user security products using their default settings. We always used the most current publicly-available version of all products for the testing,” AV-Test said. 

“They were allowed to update themselves at any time and query their in-the-cloud services. We focused on realistic test scenarios and challenged the products against real-world threats. Products had to demonstrate their capabilities using all components and protection layers.”

In terms of usability, MSE 2.0 had one of the highest scores, consistent with UX delivered by the free antivirus from Microsoft. With a score of 5.0, Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 is on par with Avast: Free AntiVirus 6.0, Panda: Internet Security 2012, Kaspersky: Internet Security 2012, F-Secure: Internet Security 2011, ESET: Smart Security 4.2, Trend Micro: Titanium Internet Security 2011, Symantec: Norton Internet Security 2011, and AVG: Internet Security 10.0. 

Usability wise, only SecurityCoverage: SecureIT Plus 2011, Panda: Cloud Antivirus Free 2012, AVG: Anti-Virus Free Edition 10.0, and BitDefender: Internet Security 2011 & 2012 scored higher than MSE 2.0. 

When it comes down to Protection, Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 scored just 2.5 points, the same as Total Defense (CA): Internet Security Suite 2011, placing in the last five products. 

Kaspersky: Internet Security 2012 with 6.0 and BitDefender: Internet Security 2011 & 2012 also with 6.0 with top scores offer the best security to end users, according to AV-Test. 

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0’s repair capabilities were also quite modest, with a score of only 3.5, compared to F-Secure: Internet Security 2011, Panda: Internet Security 2012 and BitDefender: Internet Security 2011 & 2012 which all scored 5.0.

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) 2.1 is available for download on following links:
Microsoft Security Essentials 2.1.1116.0 32-bit
Microsoft Security Essentials 2.1.1116.0 64-bit

Gigabyte's Newest PSUs Are Superb

Gigabyte's Super line of computer power supplies may not be exactly new, but the five members covered in its latest and succinct press release definitely are, even if they haven't reached stores yet.

The new Superb Gigabyte PSUs are complaint with the ATX 12V v2.3 standard, have 80Plus certification, which means they are efficient (up to 82%), and also boast 120mm fans.

They also come with over-voltage, over-current, under-voltage and short-circuit protection, plus sleeved cables.

The E470C3 and E470C3 have an output of 470W, while the E570, E620 and E720 provide 570W, 620W and 720W, respectively (and obviously, the names say it all).

The PSUs also have multiple 12V rails each and will make their appearance in the next few weeks. 

How much they cost, unfortunately, is still unknown, but since the target consumer segment is the upper mainstream level, they will be priced accordingly.

Linux Could be Kicked-Out of Windows 8 PCs

Being advanced has its own pros and cons. And for the next generation of Windows 8 PCs, it’s going to be something very different. Following the news that the next generation of Windows 8 PCs will be equipped with a completely new booting specification known as UEFI or Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, we were able to receive a rather shocking update about the UEFI’s supposed desirable feature. It appears that Microsoft has gone a little cold, although the UEFI specification is somewhat captivating, we’ve also heard that the interface could most likely include a special secure boot protocol that will be required to all Windows 8 users. Yes, it is a security feature that can not only preserve your PC’s software sanity but can also ward off infectious rootkits from entering into the system as well. But there’s a problem. 

Since UEFI will be requiring keys for drivers and executable files to operate properly within the system, unfortunately, those keys can also be used to keep you from changing your default Windows 8 operating system into something entirely different - such as the Linux open source platform. Wait, did we just say that the next generation of Windows 8 PCs will be closing its doors to Linux? Apparently yes. At least that’s what we are being told. If this is true, then this will certainly disappoint both Linux fanatics and avid developers. Mathew Garrett of Red Hat expressed his thoughts and concerns about the update saying, “If a vendor key is installed on a machine, the only way to get code signed with that key is to get the vendor to perform the signing. A machine may have several keys installed, but if you are unable to get any of them to sign your binary then it won't be installable. Microsoft requires that machines conforming to the Windows 8 logo program and running a client version of Windows 8 ship with secure boot enabled.” Ooops, Microsoft could be making a big mistake. Or, looking on the other side of things, it can work the other way

Nokia Promises Stunning Windows Phone Devices

In the next few months, the first Nokia handsets to run under Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system are expected to hit the market, and they are said to be stunning. 

Reportedly, these are the exact words that Nokia’s Conor Pierce, general manager for UK and Ireland, used to describe the future smartphones from the company: “absolutely stunning.”

In a recent interview with Pocket-lint, he also unveiled that the company's partners who saw the new devices were pleasantly impressed.

“To the partners we have shown the device to, their words, not necessarily mine - although I agree - upon showing it to them. It's spontaneous and unprompted. They say ‘the first Nokia Windows Phone is absolutely stunning’ and that’s die hard gurus in this business, who have thick skin,” he stated. 

“For them to say that spontaneously without any sales pitch shows what we are bringing is pretty spectacular. And that’s only the beginning.”

Before year's end, the Finnish mobile phone maker will bring to the market at least one handset that runs under the Windows Phone platform.

The previously showcased Nokia Searay device would be one of the new mobile phones, yet others might also be there (such as the recently spotted Nokia Sabre). 

However, these handsets will mark only the beginning of what should turn into a large number of impressive handsets that Nokia plans on releasing with Windows Phone on board. 

Next year, the company will ramp up production, and we'll see more devices available in a wider range of markets around the world, all running Windows Phone. 

Hopefully, they will indeed be as impressive as the vendor wants us to believe. One thing that is certain is that Nokia must not make a mistake with the release of Windows Phone devices. 

The company is already moving away from Symbian, is shutting off factories and is sending a lot of people home. All these, amid continuously losing market share in the smartphone segment and seeing its revenues sink.

Enable / Disable Hybrid Boot in Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 M3

Microsoft has already demonstrated Windows 8 booting in some 8 seconds, which included the time it took to load Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), the evolution from the traditional BIOS.

The accelerated start-up time is the result of what the Redmond company has dubbed Hybrid Boot. 

As the software giant explained it, Hybrid Boot brings the best out of two worlds, namely the old cold boot and hibernation. 

When Hybrid Boot is enabled, Windows 8 doesn’t close kernel session, but just user sessions. In traditional hibernation, both user and kernel sessions are written to the hard drive. 

What Hybrid Boot does is that it stores the kernel sessions on the HDD or SSD, accessing them extremely fast and transferring them to RAM, since they’re supposed to run into memory in the first place. 

Improved aspects of the old cold boot still exist, and work in tandem with the new enhancements based on the hibernation process. This is how Windows 8 machines with EUFI motherboards and SSDs can boot in as fast as 8 seconds, and even less. 

Hybrid Boot is also one of the new options available in Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 Milestone 3 (M3).

Users can either disable it or enable it. In order to do so they need to fire up Control Panel and make their way to Power Options. 

Once here, they have to click on the “Choose what the power buttons do,” in the left hand side pane. Right at the top of the next screen, they should select the “Change settings that are currently unavailable.” 

Hybrid Boot should be enabled by default, but if it’s not, this is the place to turn it on. Alternatively, users can also opt to have Windows 8 start-up with the old boot process if they so desire. 

Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 Milestone 3 (M3) is available for download here.

New Nokia and Samsung Windows Phones Leak from Microsoft

Microsoft's hardware partners are working on the release of new handsets powered by the company's Windows Phone Mango operating system, and some new such devices have emerged in a recent leak.

Two Nokia phones and two handsets from Samsung have been recently listed on Microsoft Canada's website, yet they have been removed since. 

The Nokia Sea Ray was one of the two devices from the Finnish handset vendor, while the other was the Nokia Sabre. 

While the former was already spotted into the wild with the Windows Phone platform  on board, yet little is known on the phone that should be launched as the Nokia Sabre. 

However, it seems that the name was actually spotted into the wild before, and that the device might become official in the near future. 

As for the Samsung handsets that have just leaked from Microsoft themselves, we can count the Samsung Wembley and Samsung Yukon.

Apparently, the former should arrive on shelves with specs that bring it close to the recently launched Samsung Omnia W smartphone. 

It is expected to pack a 3.7-inch Super AMOLED WVGA touchscreen display and with a 5-megapixel photo snapper on the back, as well as with a front facing camera for video calling. 

However, the new device will be more powerful than the Samsung Omnia W, since it will pack a faster, 1.5GHz application processor. 

The specs seem to match what is expected from Samsung's new Windows Phone Mango devices, yet it remains to be seen whether they will indeed be released with these hardware internals, or they will suffer modifications. 

As stated above, Microsoft has already modified the web page on which these devices were spotted, and no further details on them could be found. 

Mango has just started to arrive on existing handsets, and new phones should arrive on shelves as soon as October kicks off, but it should not be too long before these devices are made official, so stay tuned for more.

Nokia Shuts Down Manufacturing Plant in Romania, 2,200 Employees Fired

Bad news for Romanian Nokia employees working at the manufacturing facility in Cluj, as the Finnish company has just announced its plans to shut down the factory. 

According to Nokia, the planned closure will have a direct impact on approximately 2,200 employees. 

After reducing its R&D operations in Smart Devices and Mobile Phones earlier this year, Nokia has started to cut down some of its manufacturing facilities across the globe.

It seems that the Romanian factory is one of the first to be closed by Nokia, but the company also announced reductions of personnel at some of its manufacturing facilities in Salo, Finland, Komarom, Hungary, and Reynosa, Mexico.

Even though these manufacturing facilities will remain opened, to serve the European and North American smartphone market, Nokia intends to shift their focus to “customer and market-specific software and sales package customization.”

Europe is core to Nokia's future. In addition to our headquarters, we have a strong R&D presence in Europe. We have four major R&D sites in Finland and two major R&D sites in Germany, as well as Nokia Research Centers and other supporting R&D sites in Europe. Nokia also retains a strong local presence in our many sales offices throughout this region, as well as our operations in Salo and Komarom,” said Stephen Elop, Nokia President and CEO.

However, these changes will not affect the aformentioned factories in 2011, instead Nokia stated they will have an impact on the workforce beginning next year. 

Romanian workers affected by the planned changes will be offered “comprehensive support programs” to make the transition less painful.

On related news, another 1,300 Nokia employees working in Location & Commerce business will be fired as well.

It appears that the Finnish company plans to close its Location & Commerce operations in Bonn, Germany and Malvern, United States.

Ubuntu One Is Now Available on Windows

A client for the popular Ubuntu One online storage service from Canonical is now available for download for the Windows platform. 

It's a known fact that lots of open source lovers have to work on Windows or Macintosh platforms at work and have Ubuntu installed at home. 

Therefore, providing 5GB of free online storage, the new Ubuntu One client for Windows offers users the ability to store their files on a secure place, for syncing the data across multiple platforms. 

"We believe in giving all users regardless of platform, access to one of the best personal cloud services available." was stated in the official announcement. "We want as many people as possible to be able to enjoy Ubuntu One and as a consequence, want to know more about all the great benefits of using Ubuntu." 

Download and install the Ubuntu One client for Windows from its official homepage.

Images below are the Ubuntu One setup walkthrough

Sep 29, 2011

Sharp AQUOS 104SH to Run Ice Cream Sandwich at Softbank

Japanese mobile phone users will soon be able to purchase new mobile phones on the airwaves of local wireless carriers, and the Sharp AQUOS 104SH that will arrive at Softbank soon is one of these devices. 

The new device packs an impressive 1.5GHz dual-core TI OMAP4460 application processor, and is expected to arrive on shelves sometime next year, with the Ice Cream Sandwich platform flavor on board. 

This is the very first smartphone in the world we learned of to be planned with Google's Ice Cream Sandwich OS flavor on board, but it seems that this is only one of the appealing features that it should arrive on shelves with. 

The handset will also pack a large 4.5-inch HD (1,280 × 720 pixels) LCD, offering support for up to 16,770,000 colors.

Not to mention that it should arrive on shelves with a 12.10 megapixels photo snapper with auto focus and video recording capabilities, complemented by a secondary camera.

Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g/n will also be included into the mix, along with Bluetooth 3.0, and a microSDHC card slot with support for additional storage space. 

The Sharp AQUOS 104SH will pack CDMA (1.5GHz/2.1GHz) connectivity capabilities, as well as a series of features exclusive for the Japanese market. 

Apparently, the new mobile phone was also designed with IPX5/IPX7 ruggedness, which adds a little more to its appeal. As stated above, the wireless carrier is expecting it to be released sometime in spring next year.

Specific details on the availability date of the new mobile phone haven't emerged for the time being, nor on the price tag it might feature when made available for purchase. 

One thing that is certain, however, is that, if the new Sharp AQUOS 104SH arrives only next year, it will not be the first Ice Cream Sandwich phone on shelves. Google and Samsung are expected to launch the first such device before the end of the year.

Windows 8 Preview Sends Feedback Automatically, Including Software and Hardware Info

Early adopters get to play with the Developer Preview of Windows 8 for free and Microsoft gets feedback in return. 

This quid pro quo arrangement must already be familiar to all testers of the company’s software products, since it traditionally governs all pre-releases of future technologies from the Redmond giant. 

Of course, Microsoft makes no secret about harvesting user data from early adopters testing Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 Milestone 3 (M3). 

All that users need to do is read the license terms that accompany the first public release of Windows 8 and they’ll get all the information they require. 

“Because this software is a pre-release version, we have turned on some Internet-based features by default to obtain feedback about them,” Microsoft reveals. “In some cases, you will not receive a separate notice when they connect. In some cases, you may switch off these features or not use them.”

“By using these features, you consent to the transmission of this information. Microsoft does not use the information to identify or contact you.”

There are a range of features that phone home to the Redmond company in order to automatically share information from the tester’s Windows 8 computers. 

Still, customers already familiar with the way that Windows works and the communications between the operating system and Microsoft’s servers already know that components such as Windows Update, Windows Time Service, Search Provider Update and others send data to the software giant. There’s really nothing new in this regard. 

But since I was talking about automatic feedback being sent over to Microsoft from Windows 8 machines, here’s some info on what the Feedback Features do. 

“The Customer Experience Improvement Program automatically sends to Microsoft anonymous information about your hardware and how you use this software. Windows Error Reporting automatically sends reports to Microsoft that describe which software components had errors. These reports may include memory dumps,” the software giant says in the EULA. 

“From time-to-time, we will also download a small file to your computer that permits us to collect information about specific errors you have while using the software. The data collected by these features helps us improve our software.”

Just as I said at the start of this article, Microsoft lets early adopters test Windows 8 for free, and influence the development process of the platform for the better, in exchange for feedback. Users that don’t want to participate in this feedback program should not run Windows 8 Developer Preview. 

Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 Milestone 3 (M3) is available for download here.

AMD FX-4100 Bulldozer Processor Available for Pre-Order

Even though AMD's FX-Series processors based on the high-performance Bulldozer architecture aren't expected to hit retail before the middle of October, these chips have already become available fore pre-order from various Websites, the latest CPU to be listed being the FX-4100.

The AMD FX-4100 is comprised out of two Bulldozer modules to deliver a total of four processing cores and it has a base clocks speed of 3.6GHz as well as 4MB of Level 2 cache memory and 8MB of L3 cache.

All these are fitted inside a 95W TDP and the chip was designed to be installed in motherboards using the AM3+ socket.

While this isn't expected to be launched ahead of its six- and eight-core peers, CPU-World reports that in the past few days, that CPU appeared for pre-order in several US online stores.

One of the retailers that offers this is Provantage who has the OEM (tray) version of FX-4100 for $179 (about 131 Euros), but the same CPU is also available from shopblt.com for $189.88 (roughly 138 Euros). 

At the time, the boxed version of the FX-6100 was listed for $188, which makes it $13 more expensive than its $175 (128 Euros) recommended price tag.

From the information that is available at this time, it seems like the FX-4100 won't be part of AMD's initial lineup of FX-Series processors, and will most probably make its way only into OEM desktop systems.

Acer, for example, will use the FX-4100 in the Aspire M3450 (model number PT.SHDP2.001), while Fujitsu will introduce the chip in the ESPRIMO P705 E85+ computer.

As mentioned above, AMD's first FX-Series processors are expected to arrive on October 12 and the initial lineup will include three CPU, two featuring an eight-core design while the latter, the FX-6100, packs only six computing cores.

Intel Sandy Bridge-E CPUs Can Overclock Up to 9.5GHz in Theory

Expected by computer enthusiasts and overclockers alike, Intel's processors based on the Sandy Bridge-E architecture were specially designed in order to provide an impressive overclocking headroom, and the Santa Clara chips maker doesn't disappoint as its upcoming CPUs will be able to reach in theory speeds up to 9.5GHz.

The information surfaced thanks to a leaked Intel slide which details some of the overclocking features of Sandy Bridge-E processors.

According to this document, the two unlocked processors that Intel plans to unveil in mid-November, the Core i7-3960X and Core i7-3930K, will be able to reach frequencies between 7.4GHz and 9.5GHz when overclocked.

These are possible thanks to the 57X multiplier the processors are capable of, which combined with the maximum 166MHz BCLK, results in the impressive clock speed listed by Intel.

As far as the third chip in the Sandy Bridge-E lineup, the quad-core Core i7-3820 is concerned, this is the only one of the processors to come without a fully unlocked design and will have its maximum multiplier set at 45X, which results in a theoretical overclock of 7.5GHz.

Right now, the title of world's fastest processor is held by a yet unreleased AMD FX-8150 CPU based on the Bullodzer architecture, which was overclocked at 8.43GHz by using liquid hydrogen.

While this would look like an easy victory for Sandy Bridge-E, one has to keep in mind that the clock speeds detailed by the Intel slide represent the maximum theoretical frequencies the CPUs are capable of achieving, and that there is no guarantee the chips will come anywhere near those speeds.

Intel is expected to launch its first Sandy Bridge-E processors in on November 14 and they will be compatible with upcoming LGA 2011 motherboards based on the X79 Express chipset. (via Hardcore Hardware)

Motorola XOOM 4G LTE Hits Verizon on October 13th

Mobile phone maker Motorola Mobility and wireless carrier Verizon have just announced that a new tablet PC will become available for purchase on the carrier's airwaves soon, namely the 4G LTE-enabled version of Motorola XOOM. 

The new device is set to hit shelves at Verizon Wireless some October 13th, and will pack all of the features and capabilities that the original device does, plus the advanced connectivity option. 

The launch follows shortly the release of the 4G LTE upgrade for all existing XOOM devices on Verizon's network.

The Motorola XOOM 4G LTE should be able to provide users with average download speeds ranging from 5 to 12 Mbps, and with upload speeds of 2 to 5 Mbps in areas where the wireless carrier's LTE network is available. 

The new device features a 10.1-inch widescreen HD display, a dual-core 1 GHz application processor, 32 GB of built-in memory, and a microSD memory card slot for additional storage space. 

It also sports a 5-megapixel photo snapper on the back, with LED flash and video recording capabilities, as well as a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for video calling on the go (with support for 4G LTE, 3G and WiFi). 

The tablet PC runs under Google's Android 3.2 Honeycomb OS and offers support for Google Mobile Services like Gmail, YouTube, Google Talk, Google Search, Google Maps, Google Movies, and Google Books. 

It also offers a great Internet browsing experience with support for Adobe Flash 10, as well as access to the Android Market, so that users can download and install various applications and games. 

The new Motorola XOOM 4G LTE will feature a price tag of $499.99 (around 367 Euros) with the signing of a two-year contract agreement with the wireless carrier, and will be released via all Verizon Wireless Communications Stores, and online on the carrier's website. 

It can be purchased on a range of data plans from the wireless carrier, with up to 10GB of monthly allowance for $80 a month (around 58 Euros).

Don’t Use Expired Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 M3 - After March 8, 2012

Early adopters currently testing the first public development milestone of Windows 8 lose all rights to use the Developer Preview release once Build 8102 Milestone 3 (M3) has passed its expiration deadline, according to Microsoft. 

As is the case with all pre-release software, and Windows 8 Build 8102 M3 is as pre-release as it gets, Windows Developer Preview is time-bombed. 

This means that Microsoft has slapped an expiration date onto the first public test Build of Windows 8. 

According to the information offered via the “About Windows” dialog box in one of the test copies of Windows 8 Developer Preview deployed here, the expiration deadline is March 12, 2012.

However, the EULA, or end user license agreement tells a story that’s a tad different, offering another expiration date, a few days ahead of the one revealed by “About Windows.”

“The term of this agreement will expire on March 8, 2012 (“the expiration date”),” reads an excerpt of the Windows 8 Developer Preview license terms. 

But the additional details that the Windows 8 Build 8102 M3 EULA contains are very interesting. It appears that the rights of early adopters testing the Windows Developer Preview will be drastically limited after the Build expires, namely after March 8, 2012.

As readers will be able to read below, the EULA covers not only Windows 8 Build 8102 M3 but also the applications that ship with it. 

“You have no right to use the software after the expiration date. Starting from the expiration date, you may not be able to access any unsaved data used with the software. Any applications you receive through the Windows Store will also cease to be available to you in future versions, unless they are made available for re-download and you re-acquire them. You may not receive any other notice,” the software giant reveals. 

As far as I’m concerned, testers have little to worry about. I’m more than sure that Microsoft will have already provided Windows 8 Beta before Windows Developer Preview expires, so testers will have a new toy to play with. 

Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 Milestone 3 (M3) is available for download here.

iPhone 5 Supports HSPA+ (4G) Tech, Says China Unicom VP

A China Unicom executive pulled out a slide in front of a live audience at this week’s Macworld Asia event and claimed that the "iPhone 5", which Apple is said to unveil next week, will support the HSPA+ wireless standard, or "4G", in short.

Citing a Japanese IT site, Macotakara has a two language version report, of which the English version seems to confirm what the above picture shows: “iPhone 5 will support W-CDMA based high-speed data transfer standard HSPA Evolution "HSPA+" (21Mbps).”

The slide in question was reportedly shown by China Unicom's research VP, Huan Wenliang.

Offering a maximum data speed of 21 Mbps (theoretical), the technology would greatly improve Internet speeds on Apple’s iPhone.

It has been long speculated that the phone Apple plans to unveil next would not only be capable of 4G speeds, but also that it would be a world phone.

There hasn’t been a lot of leakage regarding the actual ‘iPhone 5’ (as far as I’m willing to believe), and none of the leaked parts that have been floating around indicate that those prototypes supported HSPA+.

In fact, all Apple has been leaking so far (again, this is just one opinion) are iPhone 4 prototype parts and maybe, just maybe, some altered version of that same device. There’s a good chance the company has been doing it on purpose to build up hype.

Therefore this editor believes it is entirely possible Apple will support the standard in its iPhone 5, even though there’s no real evidence to back these claims for now. For all we know, Huan Wenliang’s 4G iPhone 5 plug may have been based on bad info.

Apple has scheduled an iPhone event for October 4. The company’s press invitations bear some indication that there will be a single iPhone model launched next week, though this is purely speculative on the media’s behalf.

During the show, the Cupertino company will also be releasing iOS 5 and iCloud to the public. The ceremony will be conducted by Apple’s new CEO, Tim Cook.

HIS Makes EyeFinity Multi-Monitor Gaming Cheaper with Special HD 6970

While multi-monitor gaming using AMD's EyeFinity technology is an attractive thought for most of us, such setups aren't cheap to build as users are required to use more expensive DisplayPort monitors or active DP adapters, so HIS developed an HD 6970 graphics card that does EyeFinity through the usual HDMI and DVI video outputs.

The new HIS graphics card is dubbed the HIS 6970 IceQ Eyefinity RTS (Ready-to-see) and it comes with two DVI ports, one HDMI video output as well as with a pair of mini-DP connectors.

While this configuration resembles pretty much the I/O setup of other AMD Radeon GPUs, the real breakthrough in HIS' implementation is that any of these outputs can be used for building an EyeFinity rig.

This means users can install two monitors via DVI, while the latter will connect through the HDMI port, effectively eliminating the need of buying more expensive DisplayPort-enabled displays.

Outside of these special features, the Eyefinity RTS is identical with the two other Radeon HD 6970 IceQ graphics cards previously launched by the company.

This means that HIS' latest creation relies on the same cooler design that pairs together four copper heatpipes with a large aluminum fin array and with a turbine fan for delivering temperatures up to 23°C lower than those of AMD's reference cards.

The operating clocks of the HIS 6970 IceQ Eyefinity RTS were kept to AMD's stock settings, so the core operates at 880MHz, while the memory is working at 1.375GHz (5.5GHz effective).

HIS hasn't released any information regarding the price, or the release date of the, 6970 IceQ Eyefinity RTS .

We do, however, know the graphics card will be bundled together with the DiRT 3 game as well as with a DVI-to-VGA adapter, a CrossFire bridge, and several other accessories.

The Radeon HD 6970 is based on the Cayman XT core and it features 1536 stream processors, 96 texture units, 32 ROP units as well as a 256-bit wide memory bus that is connected to a 2GB video buffer. (via Nordic Hardware)

SHARP AQUOS PHONE SH80F - World's First Android Device to Convert 2D Content into 3D in Real Time

Japanese carrier NTT Docomo and Orange have just announce a partnership to offer Sharp's AQUOS PHONE SH80F, the world's first Android device that is capable to convert 2D content into 3D content in real time. 

Although LG has already announced a dedicated software application for Android phones that can turn 2D games into 3D games, Sharp's smartphone can do it in real time.

The phone will be initially launched in France on October 6 for 199 EUR with a new two-year agreement, but the device will go live in other European and Asian countries soon after.

Sharp AQUOS PHONE SH80F allows users to watch 3D content without wearing special glasses on its 4.2-inch qHD capacitive touchscreen display.

With Sharp's upcoming Android smartphone users will be able to create their own 3D content using the included dual 8-megapixel cameras, or convert their 2D content into 3D. 

We are excited to be launching the AQUOS PHONE SH80F, thanks to our collaboration with NTT DOCOMO and SHARP. Orange is committed to bringing compelling innovations to our customers. Together, we share this ambition, launching this product in both Asia and Europe. We look forward to developing similar opportunities for our customers in the future,” said Yves Maitre, Senior Vice President, Mobile Multimedia and Devices, Orange.

The whole conversion process from 2D to 3D is made in real time and simultaneous for all streaming content that users are watching, the carriers claim. 

Good news for mobile gaming fans, as the phone will be delivered with EA's Need for Speed Shift pre-installed and available in 3D. 

In addition, a range of 3D videos and photos are pr-loaded as well to demonstrate the full capabilities of the smartphone.

The smartphone is powered by the latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread platform and packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.4 GHz processor, as well as 2GB of internal memory and microSD card slot for memory expansion.

Windows 8 Build 8102 Can Keep Consuming Battery When Switching from Sleep to Hibernation

In certain scenarios, early adopters testing the Windows Developer Preview can find that their devices have drained the battery even if they put Windows 8 Build 8102 Milestone 3 (M3) to sleep. 

Microsoft has confirmed an issue with Windows 8 Developer Preview in which the operating system keeps on consuming battery power despite testers putting their devices to sleep. 

While some early adopters running the Windows 8 Developer Preview might experience this issue, not all testers can come across it. 

I had the chance of playing with the Samsung Windows Developer Preview PC for a few days, and fact is that I only put the device to sleep, but never had any issues with Windows 8 draining the battery.

Still, another tester of the Samsung Windows Developer Preview PC told me that he had found the battery drained completely on his device after putting it to sleep. 

“Consider the following scenario: you turn on the hybrid sleep feature in Windows Developer Preview (codenamed "Windows 8"); Windows Developer Preview enters sleep mode (S3); Windows Developer Preview wakes up from S3 mode and tries to enter hibernation,” the software giant said. 

“In this scenario, Windows Developer Preview unexpectedly remains awake. This causes Windows Developer Preview to continue to consume battery power.”

Microsoft has already gotten to the bottom of this glitch. Here’s how the Redmond company explains the source of the problem:

“This problem occurs because of a timing issue that prevents Windows Developer Preview from entering hibernation (S4).”

Microsoft is already providing an update to Windows 8 testers affected by the issue described in this article. All that early adopters need to do is make their way to Windows Update and download KB 2617868, which will prevent Windows 8 from continuing to drain the battery when switching from sleep to hibernation. 

Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 Milestone 3 (M3) is available for download here.

ASRock Also Outs AM3+ Motherboards for AMD FX-Series CPUs

ASRock already sells quite a few AM3+ solutions for AMD's upcoming FX-Series processors, but recently the company expanded its portfolio with two new motherboards compatible with desktop Bulldozer chips, the 990FX Extreme3 and the Extreme3.

Both of these solutions are pretty well equipped and come with a black PCB with some gold highlights that is guaranteed to please many modders interested in building an AMD FX system.

Starting with the more powerful 990FX Extreme3, this board was built in order to house CPUs with TDPs as high as 140W paired with CrossFireX or SLI graphics setups as it comes equipped with three PCI Express x16 slots.

As usual, only two of these get full x16 bandwidth, while the third only has four PCIe lanes routed to it.

The rest of the motherboard configuration features five SATA 6Gbps slots for connecting storage devices, a single PCI Express x1 slot, support for DDR3 memory up to 2100MHz, as well as the usual USB 3.0, eSATA and Gigabit LAN connectivity.

Users who want a less expensive motherboard, but nearly just as many features as in the 990FX Extreme 3 have the option of going for ASRock's other motherboard introduced today, the 970 Extreme3.

This includes the same support for DDR3-2100MHz memory speeds and 140W CPUs, five SATA 6Gbps ports, eSATA, Gigabit LAN and USB 3.0 connectivity.

As far as the expansion options available are concerned, ASRock's AMD 970 board includes a pair of PCI Express 3.0 slots as well as dual PCI Express x1 and dual 32-bit legacy PCI ports.

Unlike its older brother, the 970 Extreme 3 loses support for SLI setups, but is still capable of supporting dual-GPU CrossFireX configuration. 

The two new ASRock motherboards are already listed in various price comparison engines. The 990FX Extreme3 is listed starting at €108.60 ($147 US), while the simpler 970 Extreme3 is available starting at €80.64 ($109 US). (via HardwareLuxx)

Mystery Indian Tablet Costs Just $35

Some may have dismissed the idea of a super-cheap tablet as a good but impossible dream, but the Indian government begs to differ, as it has gone through with the plans to launch a $35 (25.69 Euro) tablet.

Going by what the slate industry looks like at the moment, tablets don't exactly make the top of the list in terms of affordability.

After all, with the standard price point being $500, tablets that approach the $300 and even $400 mark are seen as a marvel.

It is unclear where exactly this puts the tablet that the Indian government decided to make a fairly long time ago, and which is now nearing availability.

Understandably enough, the slate is still wrapped up in mystery, especially in regards to the insides, but the price makes that more or less mandatory.

Then again, any tablet with a selling point of $35 (25.69 Euro) is bound to leave people slackjawed, even if its features don't turn out to be top notch.

Indeed, it is unlikely that, performance-wise, the item will rival the iPad or any Android slate out there.

Nevertheless, the simple fact is that the electronic is the most affordable of its kind to ever surface and will reach students starting next month, on October 5, 2011, or so it is said.

"The computer will be launched next month," stated HRD Minister Kapil Sibal. "This is not just a dream, it is a reality."

Of course, it is unclear what the supply levels are, but it is still a good thing to know that the product has surmounted whatever manufacturing problems prevented it from arriving sooner.

Spec-wise, only the size, or sizes, are known: five inches, seven inches and nine inches, respectively.

Shibal hopes that the $35 wonder-tablet will not only allow students of all ages to broaden their horizons via the Internet, but also contribute to the effort of using IT to assist in rooting out corruption.

"Much of the talk of corruption that we have had in the recent past will be dealt with through initiative of IT. What we need to do is to ensure the scope of human intervention which is the scope of all corruption is dealt with and IT plays an important role in finding solutions and we are in the process of doing it," he said.

Google and Samsung Will Hold Unpacked Event on October 11th

The unveiling of the next flavor of Android is nearing fast, and all might go down on October 11th, 2011, when Google and its hardware partner Samsung will hold an unpack event they already sent invites to. 

“Join Us at Samsung Mobile Unpacked 2011to get a look at what’s new from Android,” the invitation reads. 

While nothing was officially confirmed on what might be launched at that time, rumor has it that we should see the Ice Cream Sandwich platform release going official. 

Moreover, there is the possibility that the two companies will announce a new Google phone, one that has been long rumored to arrive on shelves under the name of Nexus Prime

The event will take place during CTIA, which sustains that idea that new devices will be announced. Maybe we'll see a new tablet too.

Video of Alleged Ice Cream Sandwich on Nexus S Emerges

What appears to be the very first leak of Ice Cream Sandwich, Google's next version of Android, has made an appearance on the Internet, in a video that shows the Nexus S running under the platform. 

Apparently, the mobile phone was purchased from eBay, and came pre-loaded with the next version of Android on it. 

That platform release would be Ice Cream Sandwich, or Android 4.0, if rumors are to be believed, and is expected to become official as soon as next month. 

Google has already announced that they will be holding an event together with Samsung on October 11th, and that event is expected to be dedicated to the unveiling of Ice Cream Sandwich. 

The device that can be seen in the video below, available courtesy of Engadget, appears to be running under an OS build that is different from the Android 2.3 Gingerbread platform flavor that it usually sports.

Some of those who had a close look at the video report that the device appears to be running under a 3.x Kernel, and that most of the UI elements are similar to the Honeycomb OS flavor.

On this list, we can count the lockscreen, dialog boxes and color scheme, icons, Recent Apps list with titles and thumbnails, the Settings screens, or the Google search bar and the voice-input button on the homescreen. 

For what it's worth, this might be nothing more than a well-designed, elegant theme, one that makes the OS on Nexus S look more like the platform flavor destined for tablet PCs, and the entire story could be nothing but a hoax. 

However, there is also the possibility that the device is indeed powered by a newer build of Android, and that all the new elements that can be seen in the video below will make it to the final flavor of Ice Cream Sandwich, set to arrive before the end of the year. 

While keeping the entire story in the rumor section, we'll keep an eye out for more details on the upcoming platform version from Google, so stay tuned for additional info on this.

Sep 28, 2011

Direct Download Links For Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview

The next generation of Microsoft's software development IDE suite - "Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview" is now available for public downloading via the various links shared at the end of this post, This major new update to the "Visual Studio" adds support for next-generation application development featuring support for .Net Framework 4.5, Microsoft Windows 8, HTML 5, and cloud with enabling developers to target multiple platforms across multiple devices and services.

Download Links:

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