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Oct 17, 2011

RIM Makes Up for BlackBerry Outage with App Bundle Worth $100

Following last week's BlackBerry outage that affected millions of users, Research in Motion announced that it will compensate its customers with a suite of apps worth of more than $100.

All applications offered will become available for download at BlackBerry App World starting October 19 through November 19.

Although RIM announced the availability of 12 free apps, the company confirmed that additional apps will be added to this bundle.

Furthermore, the company also stated that these apps will continue to be available until December 31, 2011.

Our global network supports the communications needs of more than 70 million customers. We truly appreciate and value our relationship with our customers. We’ve worked hard to earn their trust over the past 12 years, and we’re committed to providing the high standard of reliability they expect, today and in the future,” said RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis.

RIM's app bundle comprises 5 games and 7 apps: 
  • SIMS 3 - Electronic Arts
  • Bejeweled - Electronic Arts
  • N.O.V.A. - Gameloft
  • Texas Hold’em Poker 2 - Gameloft
  • Bubble Bash 2 - Gameloft
  • Photo Editor Ultimate - Ice Cold Apps
  • DriveSafe.ly Pro - iSpeech.org
  • iSpeech Translator Pro - iSpeech.org
  • Drive Safe.ly Enterprise - iSpeech.org
  • Nobex Radio Premium - Nobex
  • Shazam Encore - Shazam
  • Vlingo Plus: Virtual Assistant - Vlingo

As for enterprise customers, RIM is now offering one month of free Technical Support, or a complimentary one month extension of their existing Technical Support for customers who already have contract.

Enterprise customers who do not have a Technical Support contract will be offered a one month trial free of charge.

Analysts say that that the 3-day BlackBerry outage may cost RIM more than $100m, but it remains to be seen whether or not these compensations will prevent its customers from turning to other platforms, such as iOS or Android.

Intel Ivy Bridge CPU Names and Features Revealed

While there are still six more months to go until Intel plans to introduce its first processors based on the Ivy Bridge architecture, details about these chips keep pouring in and the latest info has come to confirm the names Intel intends to use for these CPUs as well as some of their specifications.

Starting with the Core processor lineup, this will be split into the same i3, i5 and i7 series, but Ivy Bridge parts will carry the 3000 designation, just as is the case with the upcoming Sandy Bridge-E processors.

Pentium CPUs on the other hand, won't get the same 3000-series designation as their more powerful brothers, but will also move to a new naming scheme that used four digits instead of the usual three.

In addition to the new names, Intel has also operated a series of changes to the maximum TDP's of the processors as these now top at 77W compared to 95W in Sandy Bridge.

This TDP is common for both the high-end Core i7 and Core i5 parts, including the K-series unlocked CPUs. 

The rest of the features were pretty much left unaltered so the same characteristics that made the difference between Core i7, i5, i3 and Pentium processors in Sandy Bridge SKUs are also used for Ivy Bridge parts. 

Ivy Bridge is the code name used for the 22nm die shrink of the current Sandy Bridge chips and features basically the same architecture, but with a few minor tweaks and improvements.

This includes a new on-die GPU that will come with full DirectX 11 support as well as with 30% more EUs than Sandy Bridge, in order to offer up to 60% faster performance that current Core CPUs according to Intel.

In addition, the processor cores have also received some minor tweaks as their AVX performance was slightly increased and Intel has updated the integrated PCI Express controller to the 3.0 standard.

Right now, Intel's partners received rev. 2 engineering samples of Ivy Bridge processors, but next week the chip maker is expected to start shipping the first QS (qualification sample) chips. The retail version of Ivy Bridge is expected to arrive in March or April of 2012. (via Hardcore-Hardware)

Samsung Ramps Up 28nm Apple A6 SoC Production Says Report

Chip and consumer electronics maker Samsung will reportedly ramp up production of the quad-core A6 processor designed by Apple for its next-generation mobile devices, according to information received by the Korea Times publication from an un-named Apple component suppliers.

According to the source, Samsung has won this contract in front of TSMC as the Taiwanese foundry wasn't able to stabilize the production of this chip, most probably due to the problems it faces with its 28nm fabrication node.

"Apple has been in talks with Samsung over shipment of its A6 quad-core mobile processor chips to be used in the next iPhone," said an Apple parts supplier based in Korea according to the report.

"Samsung Electronics will apply its advanced 28-nanometer processing technology to produce qualified A6 mobile APs. TSMC will provide customized chips with designs from Apple, however, the volume will be very small," the report quoted the executive as saying.

Apple wanted to step away from Samsung as the two companies are involved into a series of legal battles that target their smartphone and tablet devices.

The A6 chips that Samsung will start producing for Apple are destined to make their way into the next iteration of the Apple smartphone and may also arrive in the next-gen iPad device.

Information about this chip is scarce at this time, but we do know that it will feature four processing cores built on the ARM architecture as well as a powerful graphics core most probably based on a PowerVR design.

The system-on-a-chip (SoC) device will be manufactured using the 28nm fabrication process that, together with an improved power gating technology, is expected to bring power consumption down to the levels of today's single-core and dual-core smartphones. (via EETimes)

Samsung Answers Apple in Kind, Wants iPhone 4S Out of Australia

Samsung sues Apple in Australia over the latter's alleged infringement of three 3G patents in the making of the iPhone 4S, demanding a ban from Australian stores. 

Users probably know of the big battle that Apple and Samsung got embroiled in a while ago, after the former sued the latter over the Galaxy Tab. 

Seeing that Apple was seriously seeking the total exclusion of the tablet from every market it could complain in, Samsung eventually started to sue it as well. 

The result is a series of courtroom showdowns that, alas, Apple seems to have been getting the better part of the deal out of. 

After all, it actually managed to get the galaxy tab 10.1 banned not just in Germany, but also in Australia, not long ago. 

Apple also won a victory in the US, which means that the tablet could get banned there as well. 

That said, Samsung is preparing to appeal in those areas, but that doesn't mean it can't strike back in other ways. 

Indeed, the company is now hoping to gain an injunction against Apple's iPhone 4S, for violating three 3G patents. 

This is the same claim it made in Europe, when it asked that the item be banned in Italy and France. 
"Apple has continued to violate our patent rights and free ride on our technology," Samsung said. "We will steadfastly protect our intellectual property." 

It is unclear what will happen, but not too unclear, since Apple already won a victory against these same claims in the Netherlands. 

Meanwhile, Samsung also sued Apple in Japan, concerning one patent for HSPA-based 3G and three user interface patents. 

Again, the same patent system loopholes apply, so onlookers who hopes that the new law would get things to settle down on the legal level are in for a disappointment.

Intel Xeon E5-2400 CPUs Specifications Unveiled, Arrive in Q2 2012

In the second quarter of 2012, Intel will update its Xeon processor lineup with a series of new chips based on the high-performance Sandy Bridge-E architecture that will target dual-socket servers and workstations.

While there is still some time to go until Q2 arrives, CPU-World has managed to uncover the specifications of these CPUs.

According to the Website, Intel's initial batch of Xeon E5-2400 processors will include no less than 9 new models with four, six or eight computing cores and TDPs ranging from 70 to 95 Watts.

The most basic of the CPUs are the Xeon E5-2403 and E5-2407 and both of these feature a quad-core design, 10MB of Level 3 cache, an 80W thermal envelope and lack support for the Hyper-Threading and Turbo Boost technologies. 

Both of these technologies are enabled in the upcoming six-core parts, the E5-2420, E5-2430L, E5-2430 and E5-2440, which also get a faster DDR3-1333 memory controller, and 15MB of L3 cache. 

The last three of the processors uncovered are the eight-core Xeon E5-2450L, E5-2450 and E5-2470 and all of these come with 20MB of L3 cache and support for DDR3-1600 memory.

Intel's Xeon E5-2400 processors are known under the code name of Sandy Bridge-EN and use a simpler memory controller than the rest of the Sandy Bridge-E processors.

This drops support for one of the four memory channels available to socket LGA-2011 processors and that can only drive up to 2 DIMMs per channel ,meaning that is supports a maximum of 48GB DDR3 per CPU.

The PCI Express controller has also been simplified to integrate and it now packs only 24 PCI-E lanes, compared to the 40 lanes supported by the Xeon E5-2600 CPU family.

As noted earlier, Intel is expected to launch these LGA 1356 chips in the second quarter of 2012, at an yet undisclosed price point.

BlackBerry Bold 9790 Headed to Koodo Mobile

The successor of the popular BlackBerry Bold 9780, Bold 9790 has just been spotted in Koodo Mobile's inventory system.

According to the guys over at MobileSyrup, the smartphone may be introduced at this year's BlackBerry DevCon, which is set to take place between 18 – 20 October, in San Francisco, U.S.

However, Koodo Mobile customers will have to wait a bit longer until the unannounced smartphone will hit shelves.

The white version of BlackBerry Bold 9790 is expected to be available at Koodo Mobile for $400, but the amount has yet to be confirmed.

Although Bold 9790's design is almost similar to its Bold 9780's predecessor, it comes with advanced technical features that makes it superior.

Rumor has it that BlackBerry Bold 9790 will be delivered with a 2.44-inch touchscreen display with 480 x 360 pixels resolution and a standard portrait QWERTY keyboard.

In addition, the phone is equipped with a 1.2 GHz processor, a 5-megapixel camera with HD video recording capabilities, as well as W-Fi connectivity and NFC (Near Field Communication) support.

Obviously, the smartphne will run Research in Motion's (RIM) latest BlackBerry 7 operating system.

On related news, BlackBerry Bold 9790 was also spotted at TELUS and WIND Mobile, but more Canadian carriers may launch the handset by the end of the year.

The roadmaps of both carriers, TELUS and WIND Mobile, include the Bold 9790, but no release dates emerged yet.

It is also worth mentioning that the smartphone was also confirmed by RIM's BlackBerry Developer's Blog, which mentions the Bold 9790, along with another unannounced device called Curve 9380.

According to this post on RIM's blog, “new BlackBerry 7 OS smartphones are getting ready to launch, and to assist our developer community in preparing for this, we are posting device information, simulators, and opening up the BlackBerry App World storefront for submissions.”

Intel Sandy Bridge-E CPUs Are 'Almost' PCI Express 3.0 Compatible

One of the main features that Intel planned to introduce with its upcoming Sandy Bridge-E processors was the support for PCI Express 3.0, but now the Santa Clara chip maker has decided not to market this feature as it wasn't properly tested for compliancy with PCIe 3.0 devices.

Intel hopes that in this way it won't have to address any compatibility issues that may arise when the CPUs will be used together with PCI Express 3.0 add-on cards.

According to the information supplied by SweClockers, PCIe Gen 3 is however supported by Sandy Bridge-E at the silicon level, so there is a strong chance that users will actually be able to acticvate this (unofficial) feature when installing the CPUs in an PCI Express 3.0 compliant motherboard.

Almost all LGA 2011 boards spotted until now, including the EVGA X79 Classified we covered a bit earlier today, feature support for this new interface, so at least as motherboard makers are concerned, PCI Express 3.0 shouldn't be a problem.

Compared to PCIe 2.0, the third revision of the PCI Express doubles the bandwidth available to devices using it, from 500MB/s per lane in each direction to 1GB/s per lane in each direction.

This means that, a PCI Express x16 Gen 3 slot can provide a total bandwidth of 32GB/s, compared to the 16GB/s available to a similar Gen 2 slot.

According to the latest information to hit the Web, Intel's first Sandy Bridge-E processors will launch in mid-November.

The initial release will include three chips belonging to the Core i7 product line, the mot powerful of these being the Core i7-3960X, which is actually an Extreme Edition part.

This Intel CPU packs six processing cores with HyperThreading support that have a base frequency of 3.30GHz and a maximum clock speed of 3.9GHz (in Turbo mode), and are backed by 15MB of Level 3 cache memory.

Intel 7-Series Ivy Bridge Chipsets to Gain Next-Gen SRT Support

The next generation of Intel chipsets for the LGA 1155 Ivy Bridge processors will include support for the next-generation of the the company's SSD caching technology also known under the name of SRT.

SRT 11 (Smart Response Technology) will only work with a select number of Panther Point chipsets, respectively the Q77, Z77 and H77, and will also be compatible with Sandy Bridge processors installed in the motherboards.

Right now, Intel hasn't mentioned what new features SRT 11 will bring to the table, but judging by the new revision number the technology should get some worthwhile improvements.

SSD caching allows users to speed up their storage system by pairing together a solid state disk with an HDD and using the former as a fast cache memory for the hard drive.

Real world testing has revealed that the SRT offers a tangible speed improvement over using just a hard drive, although its has its limitations especially as far as boot times are concerned.

The consumer sector will witness the introduction of three PCH chips in the Panther Point series dubbed Z77, Z75 and H77, which feature similar specifications apart from some minor changes.

The most feature rich chipset of the three, the Z77, will packs four USB 3.0 ports, two SATA 6Gbps , four SATA 3Gbps connectors and can split the 16 PCI Express lanes available for the CPU into a pair of x8 lanes or into an x8 + x4 + x4 configuration.

In related news, a leaked Intel slide has also revealed that not all the 6-series chipsets used for Sandy Bridge will be compatible with Ivy Bridge CPUs as Q67, Q65 and B65 platform controller hubs (PCHs) won't support these new chips. 

The first motherboards based on the Panther Point chipset are expected to arrive together with Intel's Ivy Bridge processors in March/April of 2012. (via Hardcore-Hardware)

iPad 3 Entering Mass Production in Q4 2011, Says Analyst

Susquehanna Financial Group analysts Jeffrey Fidacaro is spreading the word that production of Apple’s third-generation tablet computer will begin shortly.

Fidacaro says Apple has been talking to its manufacturing partners to have as many as 1 million iPad 3 tablets built in the fourth quarter of this year.

Fidacaro’s note echoes a report from one of his colleagues, Christopher Caso, who had noted earlier that the iPad 3 had been scheduled for a late-4Q production start.

Caso specifically wrote that “iPad 3 appears on the forecast for 4Q production start. Our checks indicate that iPad 3 has now shown up on AAPL’s production forecast for a late-4Q production start. We believe 0.6 mln-1 mln units are forecasted for 4Q production.”

Another analyst tracking Apple, Ticonderoga Securities’ Brian White, said last week that before the iPad 3 is unveiled next year, Apple will introduce a $200 ‘iPad mini’ that will give Amazon’s Kindle Fire a run for its money.

iPhone 5 to Pack A6 Quad-Core Chip by Samsung, Says Korea Source

Citing industry sources who are familiar with both Apple’s and Samsung’s business, a Korean report reveals that the duo’s partnership will continue with a deal signed for a quad-core A6 chip, while the litigations between the two continue.

And while there’s no sign of the two coming to a legal agreement any time soon, business is still business, according to a Korea Times report citing industry sources as saying that Apple still wants Samsung to be the main manufacturer of its A-series chips.

The A6 is headed for the next iPhone, says the report. The SoC (system on a chip) is quad-core, which sounds pretty fantastic now, but I reckon these kinds of application processors (AP) will become ubiquitous in late 2012.

Samsung Electronics will be applying its advanced 28-nanometer processing technology to make the A6. TSMC will handle some customized orders for the Cupertino giant.

Asus UX21 and UX31 Zenbook Now Available for Purchase

When it introduced its UX21 and UX31 Zenbook just the past week, Asus said that the Ultrabooks were expected to arrive shortly in stores across the US, and the Taiwanese notebook maker has kept its promise since the first models have already started to make their appearance at retailers such as Newegg.

The well known online retailer is selling both versions of the Asus Ultrabooks, with prices starting at $1099.99 (about 801 Euros) for the 13.3 inch UX31E-DH52, while the smaller 11.6-inch UX21E-DH71 Zenbook retails for $1199.99 (874 Euros).

For this much money, the 13.3-inch model comes equipped with an 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-2557M processor, a 1600x900 pixel display, and a 128GB SSD. 

The more expensive 11.6-inch Zenbook sold by Newegg also comes with an 128GB SSD, but it swaps the Core i5 CPU for an 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-2677M and has a lower display resolution of 1366x768 pixels.

Outside of Newegg, other stores have also listed Asus' new Ultrabooks, but these are only available for pre-order and the $999 UX21 is strangely lacking from the offer.

The main difference between the UX21 and UX31 Zenbooks is the diagonal of the screen used, as the first one carries a 12.1-inch display while the latter is slightly larger measuring 13.3-inch.

Despite this difference, both designs use a thin and light anodized aluminum uni-body chassis that measures no more than 17mm at its thickest point, with an all-aluminum keyboard and glass touchpad, which were designed to accentuate the style of the unit.

At the heart of both of these laptops stand ULV Intel Core processors from the i5 and i7 ranges, which can be paired with 128GB or 256GB solid state drives, stereo speakers with Bang and Olufsen's ICEpower technology, and various connectivity options including Bluetooth, WiFi and USB 3.0.

Battery run time is estimated at five hours for the Zenbook UX21, while its older brother can go up to seven hours without requiring a recharge. (via Liliputing)

Download the New Nokia Suite 3.2 Beta

A new flavor of Nokia's desktop suite application is now available for download for all owners of handsets running under the Symbian platform, namely the Nokia Suite 3.2 Beta. 

The new release is meant to mark a major change in the application's evolution, namely the transition from the “Ovi” name to “Nokia.”

Basically, this is the same application that was available for users before, only that it brings along a refreshed visual style, along with the aforementioned change in name. 

At the same time, the development team notes that the new flavor of the application was released to end users with a wide range of new features, as well as with a great deal of bug fixes, all aimed at ensuring that users benefit from a better experience from the application.

The release notes for the new application version include:
  • Nokia Ovi Suite is now called Nokia Suite
  • The application has a refreshed look and feel
  • The new Support view offers info and help with using Nokia Suite and your phone
  • The Support view helps make sure you have enough free space on your phone
  • The improved sync log shows you what has changed during syncing
  • Software updates for your phone software and phone applications now run more reliably
  • You might also notice, that Nokia Suite doesn't anymore run the MPlatform.exe process - we've removed that from our architecture. You'll see MPlatform.exe still running, if you have Nokia Ovi Player installed on the same PC

Users who will download and install the new application release are encouraged to provide feedback on the experience they receive from it, so that more improvements will be packed with any future application iterations. 

“If you have feedback that you want to share with us, just go to the 'Help' menu and select 'Send feedback'. You can also provide feedback through Nokia Betalabs discussion forums.

The new Nokia Suite is being made available for download as version 3.2.64 Beta on links below:

AMD Is Already Cutting 8-Core FX-8150 Bulldozer CPU Price

We've already talked about how underwhelming the 8-core AMD Bulldozer processor turned out to be, and it looks like the Sunnyvale, California-based company has already started to reduce its price. 

AMD's FX-8150 central processing unit has started to decrease in price already, even though it has only been out for about five days or so. 

Right now, it can be found online at 213 Euro ($292.42) instead of the original 245 Euro ($336.36). 

Naturally, this is because of how disappointing the performance of this 8-core processor turned out to be in benchmarks, compared to Intel's Core i5-2500K. 

Actually, the failure of the processor to live up to the hype it had amassed started something akin to a chain reaction that might not have reached its conclusion yet. 

Even if Windows 8 does end up increasing the performance of the Bulldozer, through better multi-core management, the rankings probably won't change much, since Intel's own multi-core units are bound to get similar boosts as well. 

Either way, the Bulldozer FX-8150 led to some nasty marketing opinions, some analysts even saying that the Sunnyvale, California-based company could become irrelevant. 

Whether or not this happens is still up in the air of course, even though Intel does seem to have secured a serious advantage. 

AMD may or may not recover face if it succeeds in releasing its next product early, even if they are GPUs instead of CPUs. 

For those that haven't heard or read about it, Advanced Micro Devices might release its 28nm Gpus in December. 

Meanwhile, the company will have to deal with lingering undersupply issues (mostly affecting Llano APUs) and the possibility of this extending to the next collection of Fusion products as well. 

Time will have to reveal what direction things take next and if the Sunnyvale corporation rebounds into the predator that its new CEO wants it to be.

EVGA Demos X79 Classified E779 Motherboard for LGA 2011 CPUs

After releasing a series of teaser pictures a while back, EVGA has now come out of hiding and showcased its upcoming flagship motherboard based on the Intel X79 chipset for Sandy Bridge-E processors, the X79 Classified E779.

The Classified will be just one of the LGA 2011 motherboards that EVGA plans to release in November of this year as its Sandy Bridge-E lineup will also include the X79 SLI and the X79 FTW.

Moving back to the Classified, the board looks pretty similar to other high-end solutions based on the X79 chipset, although it does come with a series of features that enthusiasts will surely appreciate.

These include not only the now familiar on-board Power and Reset buttons, but also a series of DIP switches for disabling each one of the six Gen 3 compliant PCI Express x16 slots installed, dedicated voltage measurement points, and a rear panel Clear COMS button.

This is accompanied by no less than eight USB 3.0 ports driven by a VIA Labs controller, a pair of eSATA ports, two Gigabit NIC’s, 8 channel audio with S/PDIF out, a Blutooth transmitter and of course a connector for the bundled EVBot.

Two additional USB 3.0 ports are available through an on-board header, so the X79 Classified is definitely a motherboard that isn't lacking in this department.

Power to the board is provided via two 8-pin CPU power connectors and a 24-pin power plug, the latter being angled to ease cable management inside the case, a design that will be used in all of EVGA's future motherboards.

As far as storage is concerned, we get only the standard ports that are provided by the Intel X79 PCH, meaning that the motherboard packs four SATA 3Gbps ports and just two SATA 6Gbps connectors.

No information regarding pricing was provided, but the EVGA X79 Classified E779 is expected to make its debut in mid-November together with Intel's Sandy Bridge-E processors. (via Legit Reviews)

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