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Oct 7, 2011

Nexus Prime in New Photo and Video [Updated]

There have been a wide range of rumors regarding the release of a new Nexus handset and, while all of them should be put to rest as soon as next week, when the smartphone is expected to be made official, a new photo with the phone appears to have just emerged, along with a short video preview. 

Update: Screenshots with the new Ice Cream Sandwich platform have been added to the article.

The next Google phone is expected to become available with the upcoming Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system on board. 

The forthcoming device has leaked on Romanian site mobilissimo.ro, where some of its hardware specs were confirmed as well. 

The new mobile phone is said to have been manufactured by Samsung and to arrive on shelves under the name of Samsung Nexus Prime. 

Some of the previous rumors on it suggested that it would be on its way to the US market exclusively on the airwaves of Verizon Wireless, and that it will be called Samsung Galaxy Nexus there. 

One way or the other, it appears that this might be one and the same device, sporting a 1,750 mAh battery inside, and a 5-megapixel photo snapper on the back. 

The handset is said to pack a plastic cover, but the brown shades it sports will make you think it is metal. 

The anonymous source that provided these details on the new Nexus smartphone also said that the Ice Cream Sandwich OS flavor looks and feels great. 

In the video embedded below, you can have a taste of it, but all the goodies it will bring to devices will be unveiled only after the official launch of Nexus Prime. 

Overall, the new smartphone is said to have been created to impress, and that it will certainly manage to do so when put up for sale. Details on when that might happen have not emerged for the time being, nor on the price tag it would feature when released, so stay tuned. 

The video with Nexus Prime was already removed, which confirms that the leak was real. However, the clip emerged on YouTube as well, and can be seen below.

White Galaxy S II 4G Available at Bell Canada Today

Samsung Galaxy S II 4G is one of the latest handsets to become available for purchase in Canada, and the handset is now up for sale via wireless carrier Bell in a white flavor as well, in addition to the usual black variant. 

The handset features the same capabilities and specs as the usual version, and was even made available with the same price tag attached to it. 

At Bell, those interested in the purchase of a Galaxy S II 4G device will have to pay only $149.95 (about $145 USD / 107 EUR) for it with the signing of a three-year contract, or a bit more if they commit to shorter term deals. The device is available free of contract as well. 

The new mobile phone arrived on shelves at Bell with a large 4.3-inch screen display, complemented by a fast 1.2GHz application processor, and a high-quality photo snapper on the back.

“The Samsung Galaxy S ll 4G is truly an amazing superphone. It's equipped with a powerful 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and is designed to run at incredible maximum speeds of 21 Mbps,” the wireless carrier notes. 

“It's a super-thin device with a 4.3" Super AMOLED Plus display that delivers crisper text, clearer graphics, wider viewing angles, and readability even in direct sunlight.

“It also has an 8 megapixel camera with flash, a 2 megapixel front-facing camera, plus a 1080p camcorder to capture and play back full HD.”

Some other features of the new device would include Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities, along with Exchange ActiveSync and Adobe Flash 10.1 support, and more.

The new mobile phone runs under Google's Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system and offers support for a wide range of Google Mobile Services, including Gmail, Search, YouTube, Maps and the like, as well as for the Android Market, where users can find applications and games for their devices. 

The Samsung Galaxy S II 4G is listed on Bell's website here, both in black and white flavors.

Asus Readies PCI Express 3.0 Compliant Maximus IV GENE-Z/GEN3

No more than a week has passed since Asus revealed its first LGA 1155 motherboards to feature support for PCI Express 3.0 and Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge processors and now the company has announced another PCIe 3.0 compliant board, the Asus ROG Maximus IV GENE-Z/GEN3.

Asus' new motherboard uses the same design as the previous version of the Gene Z, which has now received PCI Express 3.0 compliant bridge chips to support this new standard.

Otherwise, the board is identical with its non-GEN3 predecessor and includes an important number of enthusiast features like AMD CrossFireX and Nvidia SLI support, ROG Connect support and an on-board Supreme X-Fi sound chip.

In addition to the two PCI Express x16 Gen 3 slots that are required for dual-GPU setups, Asus has also included an open-ended PCI-E x4 slot (this is only PCIe Gen 2 compliant).

Storage is provided by six SATA ports, two of the 6Gbps variety, and Asus has also included a USB 3.0 header which allows for two such ports to be routed to the front of the case.

Another two USB 3.0 ports can be found on the rear I/O panel along with an impressive number of USB 2.0 ports, two eSATA connectors, 7.1-channel audio with a digital S/PDIF output and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

Since we are dealing with an Intel Z68 board, the Taiwanese company has also included an HDMI video output, which is placed right below the S/PDIF connector.

This means that the Maximus IV Gene-Z is fully compatible with the LucidLogix Virtu on-the-fly graphics switching technology as well as Intel's Quick Sync technology. Smart Response is also supported.

CPU power is delivered by a complex Extreme Engine Digi+ PWM with an 8-phase design that Asus claims it can deliver a whopping 250A of current to the processor.

Pricing and availability details are sadly lacking from Asus' press release, but don't get too disappointed as there isn't any reason why you would need such a PCI Express 3.0 motherboard until Ivy Bridge arrives.

AMD Opteron 4200 and 3200 Bulldozer CPUs Also Get Priced

Earlier today we reported that an US based retailer has listed online the prices of AMD's upcoming Opteron 6200-series processors based on the Bulldozer architecture, and now we found out that the same retailer has added to its offer processors from the Opteron 4200 and 3200 ranges.

Together with the designations and the specifications of the single- and dual-socket Opteron chips, Bottom Line Telecommunications has also revealed the pricing of the CPUs.

Starting with the Opteron 3200-series, this ranges in price from $114.45 (85.18 Euros) to $263.12 (995.8 Euros) and contains three processors.

Two of these, the Opteron 3250 EE and 3260 EE, are low-voltage parts with four processing cores, a base clock of 2.5GHz and respectively 2.7GHz and a TDP of just 45W, while the third chip includes eight processing cores, has a base frequency of 2.4GHz and its Level 3 cache memory size is set at a full 8MB.

The second processor series to be listed, the Opteron 4200, includes no less than eight CPUs with either six or eight processing cores and with clock speeds ranging from 2.5GHz to 3.3GHz.

Just like the Opteron 6200 parts, these are also split into low-, mid- and standard-voltage processors, the most expensive chips being the ones with a higher energy efficiency.

Outside of the low-power Opteron 4274 HE and 4256 EE CPUs, which are both priced at $430.00 (roughly 320 Euros), the rest of the processors in this series come with much more affordable price tags ranging from $143 to $360 (106 to 268 Euros).

All the AMD Opteron processors listed above and described in the table accompanying this article are based on the Valencia core.

No information regarding the release date of these processors is available for now, but their desktop counterparts will arrive in a little less than a week from now, on October 12.

Free Windows 8 Whitepapers Available from Microsoft

As Microsoft stressed repeatedly since BUILD, Windows 8 Build 8102 Milestone 3 (M3) is just a Developer Preview of the operating system. 

As such, it should be no real surprise that developers are the focus of the release, with core user experiences being less of a priority, at least for the time being, although this is bound to change with the advent of Windows 8 Beta. 

Early adopters already testing the Windows Developer Preview, and especially those devs already building Metro apps, can take advantage of a number of Windows 8 whitepapers offered by Microsoft. 

All they have to do is make their way to the “White papers for Windows Developer Preview” webpage on the new Windows Dev Center

There are no less than three examples of documentation available right there: 

“Developing connected applications - This paper provides a set of network considerations that every connected Metro style app should know about. 

“Metro style apps using JavaScript versus traditional web apps - This topic provides information about the differences in coding styles used in existing Web apps written in JavaScript, compared to Metro style apps written for the Windows Runtime. It provides guidelines for Web developers to understand how code that is optimized for Windows relates to apps that are meant to be migrated among platforms with ease. It assumes that the reader is familiar with JavaScript programming and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards.

“Input Hosting Manager and the Touch Keyboard - This paper provides information about the invocation and dismissal behaviors of the Touch Keyboard (TKB) for Windows operating systems. It provides guidelines for developers to understand how the TKB shows and hides itself.”

Another four whitepapers can be grabbed right from the Microsoft Download Center, unlike the examples enumerated above. 

The “Play To and media sharing for Metro style apps” whitepaper focuses on the newly introduced Play To and home media sharing APIs for, providing developers with examples on how to leverage the new resources at their disposal. 

With “Introduction to Background Tasks,” Microsoft manages to detail the background tasks for Metro style apps. Similarly, the label of the “Overview of motion and device orientation for Windows Developer Preview” whitepaper should also be self-explanatory. 

And last but not least, “Using the Windows App Certification Kit” is a resource set up to offer insight into ACK and the key role it plays in app certification programs for Windows 8.

BlackBerry Curve 9360 Arrives in Indonesia

Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion has just announced the availability of its BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone on the market in Indonesia, featuring a price tag of Rp 3,599,000 (around $400 /300 EUR). 

The new mobile phone was released in the country via RIM authorized partners such as PT. Comtech Cellular, PT. Selular Media Infotama and PT. Teletama Artha Mandiri.

The new device offers users the possibility to try all of the benefits of the new BlackBerry OS 7 on an affordable device, RIM explains. 

The latest addition to the company's Curve series packs a faster application processor than its predecessors, as well as various other enhancements inside. 

“The new BlackBerry Curve 9360 is a stunning, easy-to-use smartphone that will appeal to Indonesian customers who want to stay socially connected,” Hasting Singh, vice president of South Asia at Research In Motion commented. 

“The Curve family of smartphones has been a real hit in Indonesia and we expect the new BlackBerry Curve 9360, with its significant performance enhancements and all the benefits of the new BlackBerry 7 operating system, to be well received by new customers as well as existing BlackBerry users looking to upgrade.”

The new BlackBerry Curve 9360 comes to the market with the popular QWERTY keyboard on RIM's handsets, as well as with a 2.4-inch screen and built-in support for NFC (Near Field Communications).

The handset was also packed with a microSD Memory card slot with support for up to 32GB of additional storage space, as well as with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, 3G capabilities, and more. 

The new mobile phone also packs a 5-megapixel photo snapper on the back, with support for video recording, and can deliver various features powered by the new BlackBerry OS 7 platform, including the advanced WebKit browser engine that should provide users with faster Internet navigation capabilities.

HP t200 Zero Client Enables Up to 15 Users to Share the Same PC

Once touted as the next big thing in computing, thin clients have been slow to catch the attention of the market, but HP seems determined to give this concept another try and has released the HP t200 Zero Client, which should offer business owners a nice alternative to the traditional desktop PCs.

The HP t200 Zero Client is housed inside a small chassis weighting only 0.34 kg (12.1 oz), which provides its users with four USB 2.0 ports and a VGA ouput.

After plugging in the required peripherals and a computer monitor, HP's thin client needs to be connected to a HP MultiSeat ms6200 desktop (either through USB or Ethernet) that supports up to 15 such devices.

This relies on the Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 operating system to provide each user with its own computer environment.

Outside of the benefit of not having to waste space and money on dedicated desktop systems for each of the users requiring a computer in an office, the HP t200 Zero Client also has the advantage of using only 3 Watts of power while running, which should lead to an important economy in energy bills.

HP's thin client is designed to be used in small businesses and classrooms, but also in the training, healthcare and manufacturing environments.

"The HP t200 Zero Client provides additional scalability to our HP MultiSeat Solution, making it an ideal solution not only for small businesses and classrooms, but also training, healthcare and manufacturing environments," said Jeff Groudan, director, Worldwide Thin Clients, HP. 

"As the global industry leader in thin clients, HP continues to innovate simple, flexible, affordable thin computing solutions that deliver rich, productive user experiences," concluded the company's rep.

The HP t200 Zero Client for MultiSeat is expected to be available worldwide in early November at a starting price of $99, which translates into roughly 73.6 Euros.

x64 Windows 7 SP1 Can Cripple x86 Applications and Services

Microsoft is offerings customers an update designed to help them deal with x86-based applications or services being left crippled following the installation of Service Pack 1 (SP1) on computers running the 64-bit (x64) flavor of Windows 7. 

x64 Windows 7, as well as its 64-bit predecessors, can also run 32-bit applications, but it seems that SP1 upgrades can introduce some issues. 

According to the Redmond company, only customers running x64 Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 can be affected by the problem described in this article. 

The software giant stresses that customers must also be running “some x86-based applications or services on the computer. [They also need to] install updates through Windows update without first stopping the x86-based applications or services. These updates may include Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) or Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (SP1),” Microsoft said

“In this scenario, an error may occur in the x86-based applications or services, which causes the application or service to stop unexpectedly. This behavior may cause data loss.” 

KB 2487426 has been available for download since early 2011. The refresh comes in three versions, one for each of the variants of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. 

Customers need to head over to the Microsoft Download Center in order to access the updates. They’ll be able to find the necessary links at the bottom of this article. 

“Updates to the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 installation software are included in this update. The installation software is the component that handles the installation and the removal of software updates, language packs, optional Windows features, and service packs,” Microsoft said. 

“This update is necessary to successfully install and to remove any service packs to all versions of Windows 7 and on Windows Server 2008 R2.”

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) RTM Build 7601.17514.101119-1850 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (SP1) RTM are available for download on link below.

Windows 7 RTM Enterprise 90-Day Evaluation is available for download here.

ADATA Launched Premier Pro DDR3 Memory Tweaked for Improved Stability

Memory specialist ADATA has just announced the introduction of a new line of DDR3 computer memory, called the Premier Pro Series, that targets IT professionals and promises to deliver outstanding stability and compatibility.

Compared to standard memory, these new Premier Pro series modules are built only with DRAM chips that go through an extensive burn-in process, which is designed to spot the memory chips that have a tendency to fail.

Once this process is finished and the DRAM memory is installed in the DIMM modules, ADATA claims that the Premier Pro Series goes through another series of tests.

According to the company, these cover a wide range of failure scenarios that were encountered through years of field application, and which are also designed to uncover eventual compatibility issues. 

“When memory devices are not reliably engineered, there is very high chance that the memory module will fail within the first year of usage," said Ukyo Jeong, Vice President of DRAM product engineering at ADATA.

“A 1.6 to 3.2% rate of system failure due to problems with DRAM is not acceptable for IT professionals, and this is the typical failure range when a DRAM module uses components that are not subjected to burn-in process,” concluded the company's rep. 

These new DDR3 modules are available in densities of 2GB and 4GB, while running at either 1333MHz or 1600MHz with timings set at CL9 and CL11, respectively.

No matter their density or the timings running at, all the Premier Pro memory DIMMs require 1.5V in order to operate. 

The ADATA Premier Pro Series DRAM Modules are now available through selected distributors and resellers, but sadly no information regarding pricing was unveiled by ADATA.

NFS: The Run Gets PC System Requirements, Video and Screenshots

Electronic Arts has posted even more goodies for fans of its Need for Speed racing franchise, including PC system requirements for the upcoming Need for Speed: The Run title, as well as a new trailer, called On the Edge, and a batch of screenshots from that video.

Need for Speed: The Run is set to be one of the most anticipated racing games of the year, as EA and its Black Box studio have tried to deliver a high quality, story-based experience using the all-new Frostbite 2 engine, courtesy of Battlefield 3 developer DICE.

Now, after hearing that a demo for The Run will be out on October 18, even more information and goodies about the game have been released.

First up, there are the minimum and recommended PC system requirements which owners of the platform need to fulfill in order to play The Run as it's intended.

Is your computer capable of The Run? Check out the system specifications below.

Minimum System Requirements (PC)
OS: Windows Vista SP2 32-bit
DirectX: DirectX 10
CPU: 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or equal AMD 
Memory: 3 GB
HDD: 18 GB
Graphics (AMD): 512 MB RAM ATI Radeon 4870 or better
Graphics (NVIDIA): 512 MB RAM NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT or better
Sound: DirectX compatible
Input: Keyboard, Gamepad or Wheel
DVD Rom 
Online: 512 KBPS Internet connection or better

Recommended System Requirements (PC)
OS: Windows 7 SP1 64-bit
DirectX: DirectX 11
CPU: 3.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Quad or equal AMD
Memory: 4 GB
HDD: 18 GB
Graphics (AMD): 1024 MB RAM ATI Radeon 6950
Graphics (NVIDIA): 1024 MB RAM NVIDIA GeForce GTX560
Sound: DirectX compatible
Input: Keyboard, Gamepad or Wheel
DVD Rom 
Online: 512 KBPS Internet connection or better

After you're done seeing if your computer can handle the new NFS game, check out the glorious On The Edge trailer below, as well as the screenshots from the footage, depicting two beautiful supercars, the McLaren MP4-12C and the Pagani Huayra, racing on the Million Dollar Highway.

Need for Speed: The Run is out on November 15, in North America, and November 18, in Europe, for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 as well as the Nintendo Wii and 3DS.

Nokia N9 Goes Live in Australia via Telstra

Nokia's one and only MeeGo device, the N9 has been confirmed in several markets, including Australia via Optus, Telstra and Vodafone.

It appears that the MeeGo smartphone has just hit Australian shore via Telstra, which is the first carrier to offer the device in the country.

Part of the “Beautifully designed” marketing campaign, Nokia N9 (16GB model) has been priced by Telstra at $840 AUD (about $820 or 612 EUR) and will be retailed along with multiple price options.

Aussie Nokia fans can get the N9 with $20 per month on Telstra's $59 Freedom Connect plan over 24 months, meaning a total of $79 per month or they can choose to purchase the smartphone at no extra monthly cost with one of the three Telstra $79, $99 and $129 Freedom Connect plans.

In addition, a $35 per month on the $45 Freedom Connect plan is also available for Telstra customers.

To make things even more interesting all customers purchasing the N9 online will get a Bluetooth headset valued at $49.95 for free (while stocks last).

The N9 also comes with Nokia Maps app, which provides walk and drive navigation with turn-by-turn voice guidance.

According to Telstra, the phone has pre-loaded maps for Australia, allowing for immediate use and save on data costs.

The smartphone features a large 3.9-inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen with 16 million colors and 480 x 854 pixels resolution, which is protected by Gorilla Glass display.

It is equipped with a single core 1GHz TI OMAP 3630 processor and a PowerVR SGX530 graphics processing unit.

The 8-megapixel camera on the back features Carl Zeiss optics, autofocus, dual LED flash, face detection and HD 720p video recording capabilities. 

Other highlights of the MeeGo smarpthone include: NFC support, HSDPA and HSUPA, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, as well as 2.1 with A2DP and EDR support.

Gigabyte Delivers Micro-ATX H61M-USB3 Motherboard for LGA 1155 CPUs

Micro-ATX motherboards based on the Intel H61 chipset are a great buy for users not wanting to spend an arm and a leg for a Sandy Bridge system, and Gigabyte has just introduced a new LGA 1155 solution that should deliver on that promise, the H61M-USB3-B3.

Since this is an entry level offering, the motherboard doesn't packs so many features as its more expensive siblings, but users will still get USB 3.0 support as well as Gigabyte's own Ultra Durable design.

This means that the motherboard uses only solid state capacitors, that are supposed to have a longer operating life.

In addition, the board features six phase CPU power, two DIMM sockets, that can support up to 16GB of DDR3 memory, and four SATA 3Gbps ports paired together with another two 6Gbps ports driven by a Marvell 88SE9172 controller.

Graphics wise, users can opt for the Sandy Bridge built-in graphics or can add a dedicated GPU thanks to the PCI Express x16 slot.

This is also accompanied by two PCI-E x1 slots as well as by a regular PCI slot, quite an impressive list for a micro-ATX board.

Moving to the board's I/O panel, we get all the basic ports and connectors that one would expect from such a motherboard, including DVI and VGA video outputs, four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a pair of PS/2 ports and 5.1-channel audio thanks to the high-grade Realtek ALC889 HD audio codec.

An HDMI output is also provided, so users interested in building an HTPC system can go for the H61M-USB3-B3 without any worries.

The H61 chipset is destined to be used in budget Sandy Bridge systems and should be a great choice for users who will buy cheaper Pentium CPUs.

No information regarding pricing was provided by Gigabyte, but the H61M-USB3-B3 is expected to hit the streets in the coming weeks. (via TechPowerUp)

Apple Store Down

Days after launching the iPhone 4S, Apple has taken down its online store to accommodate pre-orders for the new device in the countries chosen for initial shipping.

I’d speculate there’s more ‘in-store’ but, sadly, there’s nothing on the horizon that could count as a reason for Apple taking its store offline.

Most likely, the single reason for the move is iPhone 4S pre-orders, which Apple confirmed would kick off around 3 a.m. in the States.

Unlike previous years, iPhone buyers now have a choice of three carriers, all of which try to entice customers with an attractive offer.

For example, Sprint, the new iPhone carrier this year, offers an unlimited data plan, albeit only through October.

AT&T will leverage the 14.4 Mbps data transfer advertised by Apple for the iPhone 4S, while both Verizon and AT&T offer free hotspots with some of their plans.

NVIDIA Doesn't Have a Rage Driver but Forces a Fix, More or Less

Rage turned out to be quite appropriately named for a game, although not for reasons one would expect, certainly not pleasant ones, though NVIDIA did just offer a way to get over most problems. 

Rage is the new game from idSoftware and, knowing that these people crated Quake (among other things), there were, understandably enough, high expectations. 

Unfortunately, even though the company had every intention to meet those standards, it ran into somewhat serious problems. 

Basically, the game ended up suffering from rather serious graphics issues, particularly in regards to texture streaming (textures didn't load properly, especially while moving the point of view around with the mouse). 

AMD already tried to assuage the issue a bit by releasing a special driver. Now, NVIDIA has made a move of its own, although it is a bit more complicated and does not consist of a new driver package. 

Instead, the company wrote an article about how one may create a new config file that will override game settings and force the title to play in high resolution. 

Granted, there are big hardware demands if this is going to do any good (1.5 GB of Video RAM for 8K textures, GPU Transcoding, etc.). 

Systems with 1 GB of video RAM could handle it as well, though only if the settings are reduced. Basically, the purpose is to override the rage auto-balancing program.

The file will predictably be named rageconfig.cfg and (via GPU Transcoding) is meant to “increase your frame rates, improve in-game visual fidelity, and reduce texture streaming issues.” 

The good part about the article is that the instruction should work just fine for people who own AMD Radeon graphics cards as well. Whether or not this makes all problems go away (idSoftware did say drivers are to blame) remains to be seen.

Windows 7 Running Asus Eee PC X101H Up for Pre-Order in Europe

When it announced the MeeGo-running Eee PC X101 netbook a couple a months ago, Asus also promised to introduce a Windows 7 version of this machine and this has just become available for pre-order in Europe where is listed at 229 Euros ($307 US).

The Asus netbook is available from Amazon Germany and has suffered quite a few modifications from the original X101.

The most important of these is the inclusion of a faster Atom N570 processor which offers two 1.66Ghz processing cores with Hyper-Threading support, 2MB of Level 2 cache and an integrated graphics core that is used to drive the 10.1-inch display with a 1024x600 resolution.

This is quite a far cry from the original 1.33GHz Intel Atom N435 CPU with just 512KB of L2 cache offered in the MeeGo-running version of the netbook.

Taking a look at the remaining specifications, we get to see that the Eee PC X101H is also equipped with 1GB of system memory, a 320GB hard drive as well as the standard 802.11n Wi-Fi, low-res webcam, and optional Bluetooth 3.0.

All of these, together with a 4-cell battery that can deliver up to 5 hours of running time, are packed inside a slightly thicker chassis than the one used for the Eee PC X101.

Amazon hasn't supplied a shipping date for the Eee PC X101H, but Notebook Italia suggests that the Asus netbook will be officially launched in November.

In related news, Amazon.de has also listed a new version of the Eee PC X101 that drops MeeGo in favor of Windows 7 Starter and swaps the original 8GB solid state drive with a 32GB SSD.

Pricing was also increased from 169 Euros to 249 Euros, roughly $334 US, which is quite a large price hike considering the limited modifications brought to the netbook.

Download Office 2007 Service Pack 3 (SP3) RTM in October 2011

Customers still running Office 2007 will receive a new upgrade for their version of the productivity suite sometime by the end of this month, according to Microsoft. 

The software giant was targeting the fourth quarter of 2011 for the release of Office 2007 Service Pack 3 (SP3), but it appears that the wait is nearly over, with a launch date set by the end of October 2011. A specific availability deadline was not shared with the public at this point in time. 

As usual, the new service pack covers both Office 2007 and SharePoint Server 2007, and of course, users will get to upgrade all components of the two products. 

Most likely, SP3 will also be the final upgrade for Office 2007 and SharePoint Server 2007, with the Redmond company not planning any new service packs. 

“We are offering this release in preparation for the April 2012 end of mainstream support for the 2007 client and server products. The October 2011 release provides a 6-month window to test and deploy the release prior to exiting mainstream support,” the company said. 

“For those of you hoping to test SP3 prior to its deployment, we will continue or standard practice with Service Pack releases. Initially SP3 will be offered through the Microsoft Download Center as a manual download, through Microsoft Update as an Optional update. No earlier than 90 days after release, we will convert SP3 to an Automatic Update for our 2007 customers.”

Users should by no means expect a major upgrade from Office 2007 SP3, as this is nothing more than a standard service pack, as far as Microsoft is concerned. 

In fact, the company has highlighted no new features that customers could look forward to, indicating that SP3 is designed to bring all existing updates together in a single package, rather than anything else. 

“Service Pack 3 contains a roll-up of all 2007 Cumulative and Public Updates since Service Pack 2 for both Office client suites and applications as well as SharePoint Servers, in addition to some new fixes for issues discovered during the lifecycle of SP2,” the software giant said

“For each of these products, if you are current with Automatic Updates for Office 2007, you have already installed most of the changes in the release. SP3 is much smaller than 2007 SP1, SP2 or the recently released 2010 SP1.”

Microsoft is also advising customers to consider making the jump to Office 2010, and ensure that they’ll enjoy mainstream support until at least 2015.

HTC Sensation XL with Beats Audio Now Official

Taiwanese mobile phone maker HTC Corporation has just announced the upcoming availability of a new handset packing Beats Audio, namely the HTC Sensation XL. 

The new handset comes to the market soon after the release of HTC Sensation XE, the first smartphone from the company to include the said audio technology. 

Running under Google's Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system flavor, the same as all the other devices in the Sensation family, the new handset sports hardware specifications that put it in line with the new HTC TITAN Windows Phone.

Thus, it should will arrive on shelves with a large 4.7-inch Super LCD touchscreen display that can deliver a 480 x 800 pixel resolution, and also sports a 1.5 GHz single-core application processor inside.

The new device also sports an 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back, with dual-LED flash and support for recording videos in 720p HD resolution, as well as a 1.3-megapixel photo snapper on the back, with support for video calling while on the go. 

The HTC Sensation XL is also set to arrive on shelves with 16 GB of built-in storage (though only 12GB of them are available for users).

The handset also sports 768 MB of RAM, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity capabilities, as well as built-in GPS receiver, along with all the usual sensors found in today's smartphones. 

It is also pushed to the market with 14.4 Mbps HSDPA capabilities, as well as with a 1,600 mAh battery inside. 

One of the main selling point of the new device should be the Beats Audio technology that HTC has packed inside it.

The new mobile phone is also accompanied by in-ear Beats headphones, yet a special edition is also available, with Beats Solo headphones.

The new HTC Sensation XL is expected to become available for purchase in various countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia starting with November. No information on the price tag it might feature emerged for the time being.

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