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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.

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