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Oct 31, 2011

Symbian Anna Arrives on N8, C7 and E7 in Australia

Australian owners of a Nokia N8, C7 or E7 smartphone can now download and install a new OS flavor on their devices, none other than the Symbian Anna platform that was made official a few months ago. 

The new OS version is available for all unlocked models in Australia, as well as for those devices on the airwaves of Vodafone, 3 and Optus.

“In case you didn’t get it via other channels already: We’ve now published Symbian Anna for Australia this morning. All customers on unbranded as well as Vodafone, 3 and Optus variants can now update. Telstra unfortunately is not available yet as we are still waiting for their approval,” Nokia announced.

Vodafone already went official with the availability of the new OS flavor, and even provided users with details on what they need to do to install the platform on their devices.

“The Symbian Anna software update is for a three Nokia handsets – the N8-00, C7-00, and E7-00. It will fix bugs as well as bring a range of new features and enhancements to these handsets,” Vodafone explains.

The wireless carrier also notes that those who would like to download the new OS version will be able to do so either over the air, installing it directly on the mobile phone, or can download and install it via the Ovi suite on their desktop PCs.

The new software weighs in at around 25.6MB, which means that users will need a fast 3G or WiFi connection when downloading over the air.

They will need to make sure the battery inside the phone is fully charged, and then hit Menu > Applications > SW Update, and select the desired update.

Those who will download and install the OS flavor via Nokia Ovi Suite will need to have the app installed on their computers, plug-in the handset, then search for the update.

Before proceeding, it is recommended to backup all data on the mobile phone, so as to make sure that no important files are lost during the installation process.

The release notes for the new update include: 

  • New user interface
  • New Iconography
  • Portrait QWERTY
  • Split-screen text input
  • Clean new look, superior page visibility
  • Improved page load speeds
  • Browse multiple sites simultaneously
  • Flash Support
  • Create & Accept/Reject Calendar Invites reinstated for Mail for Exchange
  • Overall ‘lighter’ less demanding, smoother OS for new and existing devices
  • ‘Follow’ homescreen transitions
  • Updated Camera interface with improved sharing options
  • OviMaps 3.06 pre-installed.

Intel Reportedly Delays Core i7-3820 CPU, Sandy Bridge-E Availability Scarce and Intel's Unreleased Core i5-2450M Spotted in Dell Notebooks

Intel Reportedly Delays Core i7-3820 CPU, Sandy Bridge-E Availability Scarce

In mid-November, Intel is expected to bring into the world its first processors based on the high-performance Sandy Bridge-E architecture, but some recent reports have come to suggest that the chip maker will face some availability issues with these CPUs.

According to VR-Zone, the latest rumors to reach the publication suggest that Intel has delayed the quad-core Core i7-3820 for the middle of Q1 next year.

As for the Core i7-3930K and 3960X, these will also be available in a very limited amount, the publication citing figures of “tens of thousands,” although it can't disclose the exact figures they were told.

The reason behind these availability issues don't have anything to do with production or anything of this sort, but are motivated by the chip maker's plans to soon release a C3 stepping of the CPUs.

Compared to the C2 version used at launch, the new version is expected to bring some slight improvements, but VR-Zone states that the version worth waiting for is actually the D stepping which won't arrive until later next year.

Intel's Unreleased Core i5-2450M Spotted in Dell Notebooks

Ever since the introduction of the processors in January of this year, Intel has constantly updated its Sandy Bridge CPU range with new models with slightly improved clock speeds and features, and this trend will continue with the upcoming Core i5-2450M.

The new processor has already emerged in the specifications of a series of Dell notebooks, the XPS 14Z, XPS 15 and XPS 17, which according to CPU World are now being marketed in Taiwan.

The new Core i5 chip is destined to take the place of the i5-2430M, and it features slightly improved specs when compared to its predecessor.

Intel has limited the changes to the core frequencies of the processor, which now comes with a base clock of 2.5GHz and a maximum Turbo Boost speed of 3.1GHz, compared to the 2.4GHz and 3GHz frequencies of the CPU is meant to replace.

In addition the the processor clocks, Intel has also increased the maximum clock speed of the integrated graphics core that now works at 1.3GHz.

The rest of the processor's specifications are similar with those of the rest of i5-2400 CPUs, which means that it includes two computing cores, 3MB of last level cache and support for the Hyper-Threading technology as well as for the AVX and AES-NI instruction sets.

The launch date of the Core i5-2450M is not yet known and neither is its recommended price, but most probably this will carry the same $225 (160 Euros) price tag as its predecessor.

The last of Intel's mobile Sandy Bridge processor refreshes came in just three weeks ago when the chip maker released the Pentium B960, Core i3-2350M and Core i5-2430M.

These made their entrance just a few weeks after Intel launched a series of high-performance mobile Core i7 products, featuring 2 and 4 CPU cores.

Mac OS X 10.8 Confirmed - Apple's Next Big Cat

Apple has begun testing its next major version of the Mac operating system, Mac OS X 10.8, of which we currently don’t know anything in terms of features. That includes the name too.

People with a keen eye for web visits from Cupertino, California have discovered that Apple is accelerating the development of Macintosh | Intel 10.8.

Specifically, the listings showed the following software being tested: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_8) AppleWebKit/535.6.2 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.2 Safari/535.6.2.

MacRumors admits that it would be fairly easy to falsify these records, though doing so would only spell a short-term win.

Besides, similar activity has been recorded in past years, like, for example, with OS X 10.7 Lion.

The blog claims to have been able to confirm that the OS X 10.8 requests originated from Apple, Inc. IP addresses and surrounding areas, while the overall clustering is consistent with limited internal testing, according to the report.

The pattern is almost identical to the one observed in October 2009, when Apple kicked off Lion development, or at least went online with Mac OS X 10.7.

While the features in OS X 10.8 are anybody’s guess, the name should be a tad more predictable.

It is fair to assume that Apple will want to continue the tradition of naming major OS X iterations after big cats, the most recent of which were Tiger (OS X 10.4), Leopard (OS X 10.5), Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6), and Lion (OS X 10.7), the latter being the current-selling version of the operating system.

In this respect, a more advanced OS X would be named after an even more elusive feline, though it is hard to pinpoint which one. White Tiger would certainly be an attractive name and marketing icon, don't you think?

Update: our own tests show that OS X 10.8 web access actually kicked off sometime in July, not August. See our graph below (click to enlarge).

Nokia Lumia 800 Is the Official Smartphone of The X Factor

Last week's Nokia Lumia 800 has just become the official smartphone of The X Factor, and was already delivered to contestants, who were impressed with its looks, as the video above shows.

There's nothing much to be said here, except maybe for the fact that Nokia seems to be truthful to the idea of bringing its new devices in the hands of as many young people as it can.

The vendor was already rumored to plan on focusing on this market segment with the marketing campaign for its newer devices, and it seems that it already made the first steps in this direction.

Running under Windows Phone, Nokia Lumia 800 was meant to impress, and so it does, courtesy of both its outer design, and of the range of capabilities Nokia and Microsoft packed it with:

It's here. The much-anticipated Nokia with Windows Phone. View all your texts and chats in one seamless conversation. 

Take, tag and upload photos to Facebook in seconds, and browse the web like you're on a PC. Find your way with satnav that even works without a signal. Nokia Lumia 800 makes the everyday amazing.

Nokia N9 Tips and Tricks (I)

Although Nokia confirmed that the N9 will be its first and last smartphone based on the MeeGo operating system, the Finnish company announced it will support the device with software updates and apps until at least 2015.

Nokia N9 comes with a brand new operating system based on Linux, and features a unique user interface, which seems to be based on a single gesture – 'swipe.'

Even though the 'swipe' gesture has been introduced in Android, iOS and other mobile platforms a long time ago, Nokia N9's 'Swipe' user interface is innovative in the fact that it is almost entirely based on this gesture.

The N9 comes with only three home screens dubbed by Nokia, Applications, Events and Open Applications, which are similar to Android's Launcher, Notifications and Task Manager panes.

The first thing you need to learn is how these home screens are working and how one can make good use of them.

The first home screen displayed when you unlock the phone is the Applications menu, which, obviously, shows all the apps.

This is the place where you can start any apps installed on the phone, as well as install new ones. 

You can install apps via Nokia Store or other app stores, but you will need to enable a special setting from Settings / Applications / Installations / Allow installations from non-Store sources.

To close an application and remove it from the screen you need to swipe toward the center of the screen from any edge. 

The application will be automatically sent on the next home screen, dubbed Open Applications, which acts as a Task Manager.

All applications 'closed' this way can be found on the Open Applications pane, so you can continue working with them when you need them. While on this home screen tap and hold your finger to close all or any of the applications that are still running in the background.

In addition, you can set the phone to automatically close all apps instead of sending them to the Open Applications screen by going to Settings / Device / Display / Swipe down to close app.

Feel free to suggest your own Nokia N9 tips and tricks, especially if you're an advanced user.

Swiftech Launches Apogee HD High-Performance CPU Waterblock

Water cooling specialist, Swiftech has just announced the launch of the company's new flagship CPU waterblock, the Apogee HD, which was specially designed to improve on the performance of its predecessors while also being compatible with AMD's Bulldozer processors and the upcoming Intel LGA 2011 CPUs.

The most important feature brought by Swiftech to the Apogee HD is the support for multi-port connectivity.

What this means is that the waterblock now comes fitted with two extra outlet ports that can be used by computer builders if they want to improve the flow rate of their liquid cooling system when installing multiple waterblock configurations.

Compared to the company's previous Apogee XT Rev2, Swiftech has also worked on removing some of the flow restrictions in the Apogee HD and now bundles it with the high performance PK1 thermal compound for improved thermal performance.

Together with the Apogee HD, Swiftech also announced a new revision of the MCRx20 Drive PC radiators which now feature multi-port connectivity.

“We wanted the new Apogee HD to best the XT by significant thermal and hydraulic performance margins, which also included competitive testing and we wouldn’t quit until we had every sample of the best waterblocks on the market beat”, said Gabriel Rouchon Swiftech’s Chairman & CTA.

“We also felt that we needed a clear competitive edge with our enthusiast users by continuing to bring innovative features to the table, so we developed the multi-port connectivity: supplemental ports were added to the Apogee HD and to the MCR x20 Drive radiators.

“This enables quite dramatic flow rate improvements in complex systems where multiple water-blocks are used to cool CPU, graphics processor, chipset, memory and other devices,” concluded the company's rep.

The Apogee HD processor waterblock and the MCRx20 Drive Rev3 radiators are already available for purchase with prices set at $74.95 (53 Euros) and $85-$169.95 (60-121 Euros) respectively. The Apogee HD is available in two colors, “Classic black” or “Fashionable white.”

Ubuntu 12.10 is Also For Phones and Tablets

Mark Shuttleworth has announced that Canonical is planning on taking its operating system, Ubuntu, to other platforms such as smartphones, TVs, and tablets. 

In an interview with Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, for zdnet.com, Mark Shuttleworth revealed his plans for Ubuntu operating system.

Apparently, 12.04 LTS (Long Term Support) will be a version designed to polish their Linux distro and to make the Unity interface the best it can be. This means that Ubuntu 12.10 will be available for smartphones, tablets and TVs.

“This is a natural expansion of our idea as Ubuntu as Linux for human beings. As people have moved from desktop to new form factors for computing, it’s important for us to reach out to out community on these platforms. So, we’ll embrace the challenge of how to use Ubuntu on smartphones, tablets and smart-screens”, said Mark Shuttleworth in the interview.

We can't really say this is a surprise, especially after seeing that Unity is an interface build for these kind of platforms.

Mark Shuttleworth

Cooler Master Hyper 412 CPU Cooler Supports LGA 2011 CPUs

Announced a short while ago, Cooler Master's upcoming Hyper 412 PWM processor cooler will soon make it to retail and will be one of the first such products to come with out of the box support for Intel's upcoming LGA 2011 CPUs.

The cooler itself is designed as a pretty standard tower heatsink, with four U-shaped copper heatpipes that are destined to draw the heat away from the CPU and into a large aluminum fin array, paired with a 120mm fan.

Like most other fans used for today's coolers, this one also is PWM controlled and its speed varies between 600 and 2000 RPM, depending on the CPU temperature.

According to Cooler Master, its noise level should never go above 36dBA, while, at the minimum rotation speed supported, this generates only 9dBA of noise, making it virtually inaudible.

To further improve the cooler's performance when paired with low-speed fans, the Hyper 412 sports a specially designed heatsink with wider fin gaps to reduce the air flow resistance when going through it.

Performance freaks should be glad to know that Cooler Master's latest creation can also be fitted with a secondary 120mm to create a push-pull configuration.

It should also be noted that the four U-shaped heatpipes use a direct contact design. This means that they are in direct contact with the processor's heatspreader in order to speed up the heat transfer between the CPU and the heatsink.

Outside of the 120mm fan, the Hyper 412 PWM is also shipped together with a tube of thermal grease and with the required AMD and Intel CPU mounting clips.

Pricing is yet uncertain at this point in time, but Cooler Master has already started shipping samples of this cooler to reviewers (VR-Zone) being one of the first publications to receive it), so its launch date shouldn't be that far off.

ASRock X79 Extreme9 Black Edition Motherboard Approaches and First Micro-ATX LGA 2011 Motherboard

ASRock X79 Extreme9 Black Edition Motherboard Approaches

New flagship product has a black PCB and will be one of, if not the most expensive LGA 2011 platform once the product launches start in November. 

The ASRock X79 Extreme9 Black Edition is most assuredly not the first motherboard to leave the company's laboratories. 

Nevertheless, it is, quite clearly even, the most feature-packed of them all, or so VR-Zone says. 

The existence of five PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots is the first thing, or one of them, that jumps into view. 

The fact that the CPU socket is wired to eight DDR3 memory slots is no small feat either. 

Meanwhile, eight SATA 6.0 Gbps ports are present, six of which are supplied by Marvell 2-port SATA 6.0 Gbps controller chips. Four SATA 3.0 Gbps connectors exist as well. 

Additionally, ASRock was able to include eight USB 3.0 ports (four on the back panel, four as headers). 

At this point, it is ready to see just why this might qualify as the true flagship instead of the ASRock X79 Extreme7

The above, as well as the extensive connectivity options on the I/O panel, aren't all that enthusiasts can look forward to though. 

After all, ASRock also intends to offer a daughterboard, to permanently occupy one of the PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots. 

Said board is called “Game Blaster” apparently and has 7.1 channel audio and a gaming network controller. 

Alas, even though the specifications have been unraveled (the photos of the ASRock X79 Extreme9 Black Edition don't leave much to the imagination after all), it is unclear how much it will cost to get one. 

Naturally, the price will be considerable, perhaps the highest of all motherboards to be launched alongside the Intel Sandy Bridge-E CPU series. November 14, or around that time, is when things will become truly clear.

ASRock Shows Off First Micro-ATX LGA 2011 Motherboard

We've seen the X79 Extreme4-M micro-ATX motherboard for LGA 2011 processors mentioned in a wide series of ASRock documents until now, but now the Taiwanese company has finally released the first pictures of this small form factor solution for Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge-E CPUs.

This is actually the first micro-ATX Intel X79-based motherboard we have seen so far and it seems to offer many of the features of its older brothers while using a more compact form factor.

One of the most important features is the inclusion of an eight phase VRM that makes use of high-grade solid-state chokes, driver-MOSFETs and which should be able to deliver enough power for Intel's chips, even when overclocking is added to the mix.

Furthermore, users also get full support for quad-channel memory thanks to the four DIMM memory sockets installed and can also pair the X79 Extreme4-M with three PCI Express graphics cards.

When all are populated, two of these will work at x16, while the middle one has only eight PCIe lanes routed to it, according to TechPowerUp.

The rest of the expansion slots include a single legacy PCI slot, while storage is provided thanks to a pair of SATA 6Gbps ports, which are seconded by four other SATA ports working at 3Gbps.

When taking a look at the rear I/O connections of the X79 Extreme4-M, users are greeted by a pair of USB 3.0 ports, one Gigabit Ethernet, a number of USB 2.0 ports, a Firewire port and by an eSATA connector.

Audio is provided by an 8+2 channel HD codec with optical and coaxial SPDIF outputs, and the rear of the ASRock motherboard also houses a Clear CMOS switch.

On the PCB of the board, consumers will also find the usual Power and Reset buttons and a BIOS POST display, but also a header for connecting two extra USB 3.0 ports. The Intel X79 PCH is cooled by an active cooler.

No details regarding the release or the price of this motherboard were provided by ASRock.

AMD FX-8150 Gets Overclocked to 8,461MHz to Reach New World Record

Just a few weeks after the official launch of AMD's first processors based on the Bulldozer architecture, an overclocker has managed to reach a new CPU frequency world record by utilizing the chip maker's flagship desktop processor, the FX-8150.

The record was achieved by cooling the CPU with liquid nitrogen which has a boiling point of -192°C.

This sort of cooling was required for the CPU in order to allow the overclocker to raise the voltage of the chip all the way to an impressive 1.992V.

Thanks to this vCore the FX-8150 was able to reach 8,461.51 MHz with a bus speed of 272.95MHz and a 31.0X multiplier.

To put things in perspective, the eight-core AMD flagship processor used by Andre Yang (the enthusiast behind this new WR) has a base clock of 3.6GHz and a maximum Turbo Core frequency of 4.2GHz, so this translates into a 235% core speed increase over the chip's stock settings.

The rest of the system used for this overclock was comprised out of a high-end Asus Crosshair V Formula motherboard, 2GB of Corsair DDR3 system memory running at 909.8MHz (1818.16MHz DDR) with timings of 9-9-9-24T and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 graphics card.

Only two out of the eight computing cores were active during this experiment.

The highest frequency achieved by a CPU until this new record was set also belonged to an FX-8150 processor that in mid-September was overclocked to an impressive 8,429MHz by an AMD sponsored team of enthusiasts.

Liquid helium was used for that overclock and the CPU used was back then the world's fastest clocked processor, surpassing by 120MHz the previous world record.

This new world record however comes to show that Bulldozer has even higher overclocking headroom left, and things are probably going to be even better once the new B3 stepping will be launched by AMD.

Gigabyte Readies New WindForce 2X GTX 560 Ti Graphics Cards and Gigabyte X79 Motherboard Will Have Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11n Wi-Fi

Gigabyte Readies New WindForce 2X GTX 560 Ti Graphics Cards

Gigabyte keeps on expanding its WindForce graphics cards series with new products based on Nvidia's designs, the latest solutions to arrive in this range being the rev. 1.0 and 2.0 WindForce 2X GTX 560 Ti models featuring an in-house designed cooling system. 

The changes concentrated on proving the cards with cleaner power as well as on improving their cooling capabilities.

As a result, the new models feature a refreshed WindForce 2X cooling system that now packs no less than four copper heatpipes and a new fan design, that is supposed to decrease turbulence.

Despite these changes, however, Gigabyte has decided not to sell its two latest creations factory overclocked, which means that the GPUs as well as the memory are run at the default clock speeds recommended by Nvidia for the GTX 560 Ti.

Outside of these changes, the two WindForce 2X solutions feature the same specifications as their predecessor and sport 2-way SLI support, a pair of dual-link DVI ports and a mini HDMI video output, reports TCMagazine.

Power is delivered via two 6-pin power connectors for both of these models, and the rev 1.0 GTX 560 Ti comes with an Ultra Durable VGA design featuring a 2oz copper PCB, Japanese solid capacitors and a bunch of other improvements over Nvidia's reference GTX 560 Ti.

Its older brother, adds a series of new features, the most important of which being the presence of a NEC Proadlizer capacitor for delivering cleaner power to the GPU and memory.

Sadly, no information regarding the price of the launch date of these two Gigabyte graphics cards is available at this point in time.

The GTX 560 Ti is based on the Nvidia GF114 core and it packs 384 CUDA cores, 64 texturing units, 32 ROP units and a 256-bit wide memory interface that is usually linked to 1GB of GDDR5 video buffer.

Gigabyte X79 Motherboard Will Have Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11n Wi-Fi

Gigabyte is doing something akin to what rival companies have chosen, although its method of implementation seems a bit more straightforward, consisting of a PCI Express to mini PCI Express adapter. 

Gigabyte decided that, since it is going to release a whole new batch of next-generation motherboards, it may as well go all the way.

One thing that most X79 boards don't have is support for Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11n Wi-Fi.

VR-Zone reports that Gigabyte figured it would just make an add-in-board to make up for the deficit, which is really more of a PC Express to mini PCI Express adapter.

A half-sized mini PCI Express card based on an Atheros processor was equipped with an USB pin-header, meant to be attached to the USB pin-header on the motherboard.

With this to make sure the Bluetooth 4.0 connection works, the WiFi side of the equation will be left with the PCI Express connection.

ECS already tried to solve this 'issue' as well, the solution involving a PCB antenna hardwired to the rear I/O, among other things.

Also, ASUS tried for a proprietary raiser card for the P9X79 Deluxe (with custom designed USB devices, apparently).

Compared to those, Gigabyte's method seems somewhat more simple, even though it is limited to 150Mbps Wi-Fi (it has only two antennas). As such, no MIMO support exists (needs 300 Mbps).

Then again, people who want better speeds can buy something faster if they so wish.

It should also be noted that, despite this minor limitation, the adapter does have a certain other benefit, in its integration of a standard USB port.

The X79-UD5, X79-UD7 and G1.Assassin 2 motherboards are the ones that will ship in a bundle with the PCI Express card. Not certain if the item will sell standalone as well, but there is no reason it shouldn't.

Redesigned Ultra-Thin 15-Inch MacBook Pro Enters Final Testing - Reports

Apple is reportedly putting the finishing touches on a radically redesigned 15-inch MacBook that is believed to emerge sometime early next year.

The recent discovery of new part numbers in Apple’s inventory system led to widespread belief that Cupertino is refreshing its MacBook Pro lineup ahead of the holiday season.

Some reports hav speculated that Apple will only redesign the chassis of its MacBook Pros when Intel launches its Ivy Bridge processors, which is on schedule for next year.

In the interim, a minor processor upgrade was expected. That happened last week, along with upgraded storage and identical pricing.

Now all eyes are on Apple with immense anticipation of the inevitable - redesign the MacBook Pro family to look like the MacBook Air, give it a new CPU, NAND Flash storage, and perhaps even an upgraded display.

Word on the web is that Apple has now finished work on test units of a 15-inch LCD for an upcoming ultra-thin laptop.

The Japanese source says it’s a new 15-inch MacBook Air, but it’s very likely that Apple is upgrading the Pro lineup with key design elements from the Air family.

The source also points out that Apple’s redesigned MacBook will do away with the optical drive. You don’t need a degree in journalism to connect the dots and see that flash storage is the ultimate aim for every computer vendor.

Discs will soon be obsolete, therefore Apple has no good reason to continue implementing it as a feature on its portable offerings.

According to 9to5mac, the entire system was reportedly in testing in July. By now, it should be in its last testing stages, which means the launch may be closer than originally anticipated.

However, what about the Ivy Bridge CPUs? They’re not scheduled to launch until next year. Could it be that Apple is finally launching a Mac based on the A-series of processors?

Oct 30, 2011

Nokia Maps for Windows Phone Demoed

When announcing plans to bring to the market handsets running under Microsoft's Windows Phone, Nokia also announced plans to bring some of its applications and services to the new OS, including the much praised Nokia Maps.

At the Nokia World conference in London this week, the company took its time to showcase some of these apps and services, and the Nokia Maps were caught on video at the event.

In the video, you can see Dan Martins, Product Manager for Nokia Maps, presenting the service on a new Nokia Lumia device from the company.

One thing that is for sure is that the app looks great on Nokia's Windows Phones, and that users will certainly enjoy it, the same as those who own Symbian phones from the company already do.

However, we should mention that Windows Phone devices from other makers are also expected to receive the Nokia Maps app and services, as this was part of the deal Microsoft and Nokia signed in early 2011.

32GB HP TouchPad Back at Best Buy on November 1st

HP's TouchPad is moving closer to disappearing form the market, but it seems that it will go down in style, as the last shipments are getting ready to land at Best Buy on November 1st. 

HP is not selling the device anymore, but Best Buy will have some more units available for those who would like to purchase it at the incredible low price that HP set for the tablet PC a few months ago: $149 (105 Euros) for the 32GB flavor of the device. 

However, there is a catch. The tablet will be available at this price tag only for those who will purchase it in a bundle with an HP or Compaq laptop, desktop or all-in-one computer.

Starting with November 1st, the deal will go live on BestBuy.com, and will also hit brick and mortar stores on November 4th (at all Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile standalone stores nationwide).

Best Buy and HP also announced that the TouchPad is available for individual purchase as well, outside the said bundle, but that the price tag for it has been set at $599.99 (425 Euros).

Those who were looking for the purchase of a $99 TouchPad packing only 16GB of internal memory will be disappointed to learn that the device is officially out of stock. 

For those out of the loop, we should note that the tablet PC is based on HP's webOS mobile platform, and that the computer maker announced a few months ago that it will put an end on the production of this device and of any webOS-powered smartphone. 

“The HP TouchPad is designed to work like you do, so individuals can accomplish more, letting you connect, play, surf and share more easily,” Best Buy explains.

“It provides the ability to seamlessly move back and forth between apps without losing your place while automatically grouping similar activities together. The HP TouchPad functions on the webOS operating platform and comes with 32GB of storage space.”

Windows Phone Marketplace and Games on Nokia Lumia 800

Nokia's new Lumia handsets will arrive on the market with all of the features and capabilities that other Windows Phones out there enjoy, including access to the Windows Phone Marketplace for downloading and installing applications and games. 

In the video embedded above, you can have a look at what the Marketplace on Nokia Lumia 800 is all about, and you can also get through a rundown of some gaming features that this handset has been packed with.

Clearly, modern smartphones are as appealing as the applications and other content available for them is, and this is exactly what Nokia wants to show in the said video. Here's how they describe it:

What's a smartphone without an app or two? Marketplace is the place you'll find the best smartphone apps, games and more on the Nokia Lumia 800

And with Xbox Live available out-of-the-box, you'll have access to endless hours of fun. Great if you find yourself need of a little light entertainment on the move.

HP VP Confirms That Ultrabooks Are Coming

Some Ultrabooks are already showing up and, even though it stuttered a bit because of the strange PC-related woes, HP is apparently on the train. 

Whether or not HP would make Ultrabooks is something that has been the subject of speculation for a while. 

Now, speculations do not apply to this exactly, but to just what Ultrabook will appear. 

“Ultramobile is a notebook category of sub-17 millimeter notebooks,” Todd Bradley, the executive vice president of HP’s Personal Systems Group, reportedly said in a conference call. 

“We’re very focused on having a suite in that ultramobile space. And you’ll see that very soon.” 

For people who want a reminder or an update on this whole Ultrabook business, Intel and PC makers came up with the idea a while ago. 

Essentially, they are very light, very thin but still powerful notebooks that, ideally, will revive interest in this segment. 

Not that people aren't buying notebooks anymore, of course, but the sales level have been slowing down, what with tablets stealing the spotlight with their (now lessening) novelty. 

Ultrabooks are laptops that, even while retaining a physical keyboard, are just as, if not more thin than slates. 

With this to remove the slimness advantage, the full-fledged PC capabilities should be enough of a motivator for consumer to buy them. 

Alas, Ultrabooks still have one big issue, in that they are very expensive compared to both slates and other mobile computers.

Nevertheless, we have already seen such laptops reaching well below the 1,000 Euro price, like when Acer's Aspire S3 was tagged with 799 Euro, which is about the same as $1,133. Granted, higher-end models will still dry finances a lot more, but at least there is clear evidence of what HP might be able to do as well. 

Having decided to keep the PC business, HP will have to make sure to start impressing prospective customers again soon.

AMD Prepares New Revision for Its Llano APUs

AMD is currently working on releasing a new revision for its A-Series Llano APUs launched in the middle of this year, which apparently will fix some of the erratas that are present in the current version of these chips.

The new revision of the APUs was spotted in an MSI document which details the compatibility of its motherboards with AMD accelerated processing units.

Unlike the Llano chips that are available until now, these new processors distinguish themselves by featuring a new suffix, as current parts carry the GX designation, while the upcoming chips are identified by the HX suffix.

According to Hardcore-Hardware, the changes between the two revisions are minor as they carry the same B0 stepping, which seems to point out that AMD has only introduced a series of CPU errata fixes.

Only four APUs in the Llano lineup will apparently get this new revision, all of these featuring two processing cores, 1MB of L2 cache and coming with a 65W TDP.

AMD launched its first Llano APUs at the end of June 2011, and this will be the first revision that the chips go through since their release.

According to the chip makers financial results for Q3 of 2011, APUs make up for around 90 percent of all its mobile processor shipments and approximately 60 percent of total client processors.

In addition to the new Llano revision, AMD is also working on a new stepping for its Bulldozer core, which was spotted in a public company document entitled “BIOS and Kernel’s Developers Guide (BKDG) for AMD Family 15h Models 00h-0Fh Processors.”

No information regarding the changes AMD wants to introduce in this stepping are available, but rumors seem to suggest that they will sport a series of performance improvements, meant to make the CPUs perform better against their competition.

Replace the Annoying Google Chrome New Tab Page with a New Metro UI-Inspired One

If you hate the new Google Chrome new tab page there may be a solution for you and it's very slick-looking one at that. Modestly titled "Awesome New Tab Page" (aNTP) it's an alternative to the rather poorly thought out NTP in Google Chrome 15+.

It's clearly inspired by Microsoft's Metro UI and that's hardly a bad thing. It's made up of a wall of tiles which you can fill with your installed apps as well as some widgets that come with the add-on.

The interesting thing about it is that other developers can create their own widgets to add functionality, like this Weather widget.

The extension is in the early stages, so be weary of bugs. But even now, it shows promise. You can't get to your most visited or recently closed sites, but if you don't need those features aNTP could be for you.

Nokia's Lumia Windows Phones Get 20 EA Games

Earlier this week, Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia announced the upcoming availability of their first devices to run under Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system, and some more info on what will be available for them has emerged. 

Among other applications and services that these devices will benefit from, we can also count a number of 20 games from EA. 

“This time, we’ll be designing our games for an awe-inspiring experience on Windows Phone for Nokia,” Barry Cottle, executive vice president and GM for EA Interactive, said during the Nokia World Conference in London.

He also explained that the company plans on pushing 10 games from EA to Nokia's Lumia devices, along with games from Chillingo, the indie publishing arm of EA. 

On top of that, users will benefit from a range of seven games from the Hasbro line-up, he added. 

“That’s the best games for free plus exclusive content for Nokia users. It’s a big win for Nokia’s consumers worldwide,” Barry said. 

But there's more to it. Apparently, the partnership that EA and Nokia signed also includes the release of content for other handsets from the Finnish mobile phone maker. 

Nokia users all around the world will benefit from this deal and not only those who will purchase Windows Phone devices from the company. 

“First, we’re going to deliver 40 free games on multiple Nokia Series 40 handsets,” Barry stated.

During the said conference, Nokia also unveiled plans to bring to its Windows Phone devices content from other areas as well, including sports, courtesy of a new partnership with ESPN International. 

The forthcoming ESPN Hub in Nokia Lumia devices will differentiate them from other Windows Phones, offering “intelligently localized content to fans,” as Russell Wolff, executive vice president & managing director of ESPN International, explained. 

However, these are only examples of what Nokia's new Windows Phone devices will include. The Finnish mobile phone maker promised even more apps and content to land in users' hands when these smartphones become available next month.

Installing a Product Key and Activating Windows 8 Developer Preview

Early adopters putting the first public pre-beta of Windows 8 through its paces know by now that not only is a product key not provided by Microsoft along with the ISO images of the Developer Preview Build, but that it’s also not needed during the installation process. 

There’s a simple enough reason for this, Windows Developer Preview comes with the following product key out of the box: 6RH4V-HNTWC-JQKG8-RFR3R-36498.

This being said, feedback indicates that testing Windows 8 is not always a perfectly smooth experience, but Build 8102 Milestone 3 (M3) is a pre-Beta release after all.

For example, some testers revealed stumbling across an issue where a product key was indeed required of them during deployment, or as a part of the Reset process. If you find yourself in such a scenario then go ahead and use 6RH4V-HNTWC-JQKG8-RFR3R-36498 and everything should be fine.

Once Windows 8 Developer Preview is installed, there’s a powerful tool at your disposal to help you manage product keys, as well as deal with activation and licensing problems.

The Windows Software Licensing Management Tool might be a command-line utility, but it’s very simple to use, as exemplified below.

Just type ‘cmd’ on the new Windows 8 Start Screen to search for the Command Prompt executable, but don’t launch it immediately. Instead, right click it if you’re using a mouse, or press it and drag it down on touch screens, to access the ‘Advanced’ contextual menu with some extra options, including ‘Run as administrator,’ which you need to select.

The Windows Software Licensing Management Tool requires admin privileges in order to operate under normal parameters.

Enter the ‘slmgr’ command and hit Enter to bring up the Windows Script Host and an exhaustive enumeration of all the options for the Windows Software Licensing Management Tool.

You’ll only need a few of them to install and activate Windows 8, but feel free to explore what this utility has to offer.

‘slmgr /dlv’ is the command you should use in order to get the tool to display detailed license information.

Since the copy of Windows 8 Developer Preview I was using was fully activated, as you can see from the screenshots included with this article, I first uninstalled the existing product key by typing the following command ‘slmgr /upk’ and pressing Enter.

This left me with a copy of Windows 8 Developer Preview which no longer featured a product key, and obviously failed to remain activated.

No worries, though, installing the product key I mentioned at the start of this article is really simple. All you’ll need to do is run this command: ‘slmgr /ipk 6RH4V-HNTWC-JQKG8-RFR3R-36498’ and that’s pretty much it.

Once the product key is in place, make sure to also activate Windows 8 Developer Preview. On a test machine connected to the Internet, enter the following ‘slmgr /ato’ and hit Enter.

The Windows Software Licensing Management Tool is also available in the server version of Windows 8 Developer Preview, but a different product key is required: 4Y8N3-H7MMW-C76VJ-YD3XV-MBDKV.

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

Oct 29, 2011

Stream Content to an HDTV with Warpia's StreamHD VE

Warpia StreamHD may have chased people away with its price, but the StreamHD Value Edition might reel in a few more customers, even if not all the original features are present. 

The StreamHD VE from Warpia is a means through which one can stream any media from a PC to an HDTV.

This achieved through use of a wireless receiver, an A/V base with an HDMI output and a USB adapter.

The original StreamHD also has surround 5.1 audio, as well as S/PDIF output, but the Value Edition settles for stereo audio over HDMI.

One may also notice the distinct lack of a 3.5mm audio jack, not that it was going to see much use if the HDTV was on, at any rate.

The price of the product is $130, which is more or less the same as 91.81 Euro, or so they say.

Oct 28, 2011

Microsoft's Vision Of Our Technology Future, Awesome Video Presentation

Here's Microsoft's concept future vision on how people will get their things done at work, home, and on the go in coming 5-10 years. Watch the concept video to get a glimpse of the future of productivity, a must watch futuristic video for every tech lover.

AMD Radeon HD 7900 GPUs to Ship in 2011

During the company's conference call for announcing its Q3 2011 financial results, AMD has revealed that its next-generation 28nm are on track for being shipped until the end of this year, which probably means that AMD will launch its next-gen GPUs before its main competitor, Nvidia.

The chip maker's press release for the Q3 2011 financial results reads: “AMD’s next-generation family of high-performance graphics cards is expected to ship for revenue later this year.”

It's important to note that shipping for revenue doesn't necessarily mean that the GPUs will also be available into the market, but rather that AMD will be shipping Radeon HD 7000 chips to its AIB partners.

If all goes well, the first Southern Islands parts cold still make their appearance by the end of this year, but a more probably launch date is early 2012.

AMD's Radeon HD 7000 graphics cores, known under the code name of Southern Islands, are built using TSMC's advanced 28nm fabrication node and will be split into two different product families.

The first of these will target low- and mid-range graphics solutions and will be based on the same VLIW4 architecture AMD introduced with the Radeon HD 6900 GPU series.

These will be the first to arrive, while later in 2012 AMD will introduce Radeon HD 7900 GPUs based on the Next Generation Core (NGC) architecture, the company detailed at its Fusion summit.

NCG was specially designed in order to break free from the VLIW (very long instruction word) architecture and was designed to improve performance and functionality of GPGPU computing in AMD's graphics cores.

The entry-level and mid-range Radeon HD 7000 GPUs will be known by the code name of Thames and Lombok, while the NCG HD 7900 series will use the Tahiti designation.

Nvidia's next-generation graphics cores, built using the same 28nm TSMC fabrication node and code named Kepler, will also arrive in 2012 and will be officially announced in December of this year, according to a recent report.

DotA Guide: Azgalor - Pit Lord Introduction

DotA is the most popular custom made map for Warcraft III. To allow players a better understanding of this complex and sometimes complicated game here is a hero guide.

Pit Lord is a strength hero that can be recruited at the Scourge Strength Tavern. He was one of the least picked heroes in DotA, until, Icefrog decided it's time for somechanges. With 6.72, Pit Lord's power grew and how he is a strong hero capable of playing various roles.

Let's take the time and study this big guy's past a little bit: "One of the many regents of Lord Archimonde who became stranded on the physical plane after the Legion fell in Kalimdor, the devil Azgalor's love of destruction allowed him to accept the Lich King's invitation to help lead the Scourge in conquest with few regrets.

After all, this Pit Lord is happiest when he conjures fire to scour his opponents from above, roasting them slowly as the dead literally explode from beneath their feet.

With such hateful power in the hands of a monster such as this, it's no wonder he inspires so much terror as he roams across the battlefield."

Depending on your skill build, Pit Lord takes various roles: pusher/defender, tank, semi-carry, ganker. All of them require lots of farming so make sure you choose your spells wisely.

Firestorm (Shortkey F) - Brings down flame and boulders that do damage to opponents in a fixed area. There are three waves, each of them dealing initial damage (55/80/105/130) and a 3 second after-burn. This is a useful spell against tower and barracks as it deals 30% damage to buildings.

Pit of Malice (Shortkey T) - The Pit Lord opens up a deadly pit that immobilizes any unit that enters it. Besides disabling units (1/1.5/2/2.5 seconds), it also deals 100 damage.

Expulsion (Shortkey E) - Combined with Firestorm this is very useful pushing skill. It will set on fire dead bodies around you making them explode and deal 20/40/60/80 damage to surrounding heroes and units. The explosions fuel each other and a graveyard of dead creeps can become a graveyard of enemy heroes.

Dark Rift (Shortkey D) - With the help of the underworld, Azgalor will open a portal and transport himself or even allied heroes through it to a targeted allied unit or building.

Azgalor is a useful hero and as far as items go they depend a lot on the role that you wan to give to the hero. Here are some suggestions: Pipe of Insight, Heart of Tarrasque, Shiva's Guard, Assault Cuirass, Guinsoo, Bloodstone and even Vladimir's Offering that will increase your pushing power.

If you have any other suggestions please let all the DotA fans know in a comment.

AMD Confirms Trinity APU Will Launch in Early 2012

In a conference call that announced the company's financial results for the third quarter of 2011, AMD has confirmed that the first APUs based on the next-generation Trinity core will get launched in early 2012.

During the Q&A part of the conference, Thomas Seifert, senior vice president and chief financial officer of AMD, said: “One of the first product we launch will be Trinity. And we have not released an official launch date yet but it will happen early in the year.”

The company's CEO, Rory P. Read, also commented on the yield of these chips and said that even if the company is disappointed with the execution around the yields in the 32nm space, things look to be shaping up pretty good for Trinity as Q4 will see a significant increase in the number of 32nm units shipped by Globalfoundries.

AMD's next-generation APU combines either two or four processing cores based on the Bulldozer architecture with a VLIW4 GPU derived from the Cayman graphics used inside the Radeon HD 6900 series.

The computing cores will go by the odd name of Piledriver and, much like the current Llano APUs, lack any sort of Level 3 cache memory as AMD wanted to increase the die area available to the on-board GPU.

An AMD document, that was leaked earlier this week, has reveled that in terms of computing power, Trinity is expected to be about 20% more powerful than the current Llano APUs.

In addition, the chip will also bring support for a series of new instructions sets introduced with the Bulldozer architecture, such as AVX and AES-NI, as well as support for DDR3-2133 memory.

On the graphics side, the new Radeon HD graphics core is expected to deliver 30% better performance than Llano, while also coming with a new Video Compression Engine and support for AMD's EyeFinity technology.

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