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Sep 16, 2011

Microsoft Says Mango Will Come This Fall, O2 UK Says Very Soon

Early reports on the availability of Windows Phone Mango, the next version of Microsoft's mobile operating system, have indicated that some HTC smartphones in Taiwan have already tested the update, yet Microsoft says that we should wait a little longer for it to arrive. 

The update is almost here, yet it will take at least another week before it arrives, the Redmond-based software giant explains, without offering a firmer release date for it. 

A tweet from Microsoft's Joe Belfiore was meant to put all the possible rumors on the release date of Mango to a rest: “9/15 isn't mango day, that was another rumor, folks. We've been saying 'fall'... it's not fall yet!”

The fall, however, should kick off on the North American continent no later than next Friday, and more info on the matter might become available at that time. 

The general consensus, however, is that the update will arrive on devices in the very near future, and wireless carriers around the world are already preparing for its release. 

We already learned that Australian carriers like Vodafone and Telstra were already prepared for Mango's arrival, and it appears that European carriers are ready for it as well. 

In a recent tweet, O2 UK confirmed that the software update was near, though the wireless carrier was unable to offer a more specific availability date. 

Even so, the fact that carriers in more countries are getting ready for the release of Mango suggests that Microsoft might be considering making it available simultaneously around the world, which, in the end, should not come too much as a surprise, that's for sure. 

Previously, the company took a similar approach with software updates for the new Windows Phone operating system, and it was only natural for it to make the move with Mango as well. 

What remains to be seen, however, is whether the company will deliver the update over-the-air, or it will choose to push it via Windows PCs, as it did before. Stay tuned for more on this.

Intel Core i7-2700K 3.5GHz Operating Frequency Confirmed

In just a few weeks time, Intel is expected to bring the first update to it high-end Sandy Bridge processor lineup with the introduction of the Core i7-2700K CPU, which was just confirmed to have a base operating frequency of 3.5GHz.

The upcoming Intel chip was recently listed by motherboard maker Biostar in the CPU support list for one of its LGA 1155 motherboards.

Besides the improved clock speed, the most important feature brought by the Core i7-2700K is its unlocked multiplier design, as this means overclockers will be able to push the operating frequencies of the processor further than Intel's specifications.

The existence of this chip was uncovered just a few days ago when Intel listed it in the company's updated Material Declaration Data Sheets (MDDS), but no specs were available at that time.

When it arrives, the Core i7-2700K will take the place of the current 2600K in Intel's lineup and will become the fastest Sandy Bridge desktop processor to be released to date.

Unfortunately, we don't know when this is supposed to happen apart from the fact the Intel targets a Q4 launch.

Pricing is also unknown, but the Santa Clara chip maker usually releases its updated top-of-the-line offerings as the same price as their predecessors, in the case of the Core i7-2600K this being set at $317.

When it designed the Sandy Bridge architecture, Intel decided to take a different route as far as overclocking is concerned and it locked the BCLK of the CPUs.

This means that overclocking is severely limited if the processor doesn't come with an unlocked multiplier. Right now, only two of Intel's CPUs have such a multiplier, the Core i7-2600K and the Core i5-2500K, both featuring four processing cores. (via Nordic Hardware)

iPhone 5 to 'Steamroll' RIM's BlackBerry 7 Lineup, Says Analyst

Analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities has issued a new research note to investors saying he believes Apple’s iPhone 5 will "steamroll" RIM's BlackBerry 7 phones.

Research In Motion (RIM) is struggling to push its Blackberry 7 phones as Apple gears up for yet another iconic refresh of its own smartphone business.

This time around, Research in Motion will again be caught off guard, as the iPhone 5 will simply "steamroll" their BlackBerry 7 lineup, White said.

Apple’s iPhone business has had the advantage of gaining momentum, something that has been perpetuated every year since 2007, when the original Apple smartphone saw the light of day.

That momentum is going "off the charts" in October, White said, when Apple's iPhone 5 is expected to drop.

On the tablet front, RIM's PlayBook is likely taking the same route as HP's TouchPad, White said. The analyst even foresees discontinuation and specifically noted that RIM’s PlayBook is slated to be the "next casualty of iPad's tablet dominance."

In what gives true meaning to the expression ‘great minds think alike’, Analyst Mark Moskowitz with J.P. Morgan said the exact same thing today when talking to his clients about Apple’s iPad business.

In his own research note to investors, Moskowitz said Apple doesn’t even have to launch an iPad 3, pointing to all the junk tablets that are supposed to compete with it. He said Apple will introduce its third tablet sometime in 2012 at the latest.

Back to White’s research, he said that RIM keeps giving investors bad guidance and that he doesn’t have too much faith in their latest forecast for the next quarter.

"Having repeatedly provided an overly optimistic outlook and the iPhone 5 poised to launch soon, we believe RIMM will again come up short," he said.

Windows 8 Metro Still Embryonic, Yet to Reach Its Full Potential

Metro is the most palpable example of user interface innovation that Microsoft built into Windows since the release of Windows 95. 

A new platform as well as the medium facilitating a new interaction model for Windows users, Metro is much more than just UI.

It’s key to catalyzing new user experiences powered by immersive applications in the Redmond company’s chromeless next-generation Windows operating system. 

And it’s critical in bringing tangible form to the marriage of concepts such as graphical user interface (GUI) and natural user interface (NUI), enabling users to interact with the Windows client like they have never done before. 

I had the chance to play with the Samsung Windows 8 Developer Preview PC, the device that Microsoft handed off to developers at BUILD, for over a day. 

I’ll say this, it’s easy to fall in love with Windows 8 Metro, especially on such a powerful devices. 

Yes, Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102.winmain_win8m3.110830-1739 Milestone 3 is far from perfect, and I’d expect nothing else from an M3 release. 

But when I say that Metro is still embryonic, I don’t necessarily refer to the stage it reached in the development process of Windows 8. 

Let me put it this way. I see Metro much as the equivalent of the Windows 95 UI, since Microsoft itself invited this comparison. 

It took the software giant a few years and a number of Windows releases to perfect the user interface to the level it reached in Windows 7. In fact, that old UI will continue to evolve, since the desktop still has an important role to play in Windows 8, as the company stressed at BUILD. 

Windows 8 is Metro’s Windows 95, it will certainly bring it to life and support its future growth. And I’m as sure that the world has yet to see the full potential of Metro just as I’m sure that icons are dead and tiles are the future.

Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102.winmain_win8m3.110830-1739 Milestone 3 (M3) is available for download here.

'Fairly Different' iPhone 5 Launching in Weeks, Says Apple Engineer

An actual Apple engineer has reportedly spilled the beans on the next-generation iPhone 5, confirming that it will not be as similar to the iPhone 4 as previously thought.

Pundits have long speculated that this year Apple will introduce a new iPhone that takes many cues from the iPhone 4. But that’s not to say it can’t brings some of its own to the game.

According to an Apple engineer quoted by the New York Times’ Bits blog, the new handset would be “fairly different” from the current-generation iPhone.

This person, reportedly familiar with the new iPhone, suggested the device was substantially altered both on the outside, and on the inside.

But the engineer did not mention any parts that the iPhone 5 rumor mill hasn’t churned up.

He said there would be an eight megapixel camera on the back of the phone, and that it would sport the A5 chip currently found in the iPad 2.

Nothing new, but he did throw in a slightly more important tidbit. According to this person, the announcement is just weeks away.

There’s more. Discussing the design of the phone in greater detail, the engineer looked at renderings from accessory maker Case-Mate and said the images seemed “potentially authentic.”

If we didn’t know any better, we’d say the device housed in those cases displayed above is an original (2G) iPhone.

Then again, numerous case manufacturers have so far painted the exact same picture about the new iPhone 5 - specifically the part about the tapered metallic back.

I, for one, believe that Apple’s iPhone 5 simply must be ‘fairly different’ from the iPhone 4.

Does anyone really think Apple will take the chance of not innovating just as its iconic CEO stepped down?

iPhone 5 Rectangular Home Button Seems Likely to Happen

Puported iPhone 5 screen protectors obtained by a Chinese web site indicate there will be an elongated home button on Apple’s next-generation iPhone, which falls in line with many recent rumors on the subject.

Likely slated for release in the September - October timeframe, Apple’s next iPhone is believed to sport a bigger screen, both wider and slightly longer, measuring close to four-inches on the diagonal.

In addition to the bigger screen, there are several other rumored design alterations, such as a tapered metal back, and an elongated home button that boasts touch functionality.

Ukwire.hk is flashing around these screen protectors claiming they belong on iPhone 5 units, and they conveniently show a rectangular-oval opening where the home button should be situated.

All iPhones released by Apple so far have a relatively small, round-shaped home button that doesn’t have any purpose other than to be pressed / held down.

The new one on the iPhone 5 is said to be touch-sensitive, in addition to mechanical.

There aren’t many well thought theories as to how users might benefit from the added functionality, but we can agree it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have it.

An iPhone 4 placed on one of these screen protectors indicates that the next iPhone will be slightly larger, which should translate into a bigger screen - one of the most heavily rumored aspects surrounding the iPhone 5 (image on the left).

Seen up close, the film has a narrower opening around the area where the earpiece would be situated as well. This is to accommodate the front facing camera that sits right next to the earpiece. 

It’s not a question of whether these images are genuine, but rather a question of this being a fake product altogether.

Who’s to say China didn’t just spit out a piece of plastic that won’t accommodate a still-round home button on the iPhone 5?

Yet, so far, there have been a lot of leaks that seem to corroborate all these rumored hardware specifications, including the elongated home button.

Apple has been able to keep the iPhone 5 under tight wraps so far, despite reportedly losing another prototype this year. An incremental iPhone 4S model is also expected to arrive this fall.

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