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Nov 7, 2011

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Arrives on Android




Owners of devices running under Google's Android operating system now have the possibility to download and install a new game on their devices, namely the Need for Speed Hot Pursuit.
The new mobile game was already published in the Android Market and is available for download for all devices that run under Android 2.0 or newer OS flavors.

The new mobile game weighs in at 7.6MB and was made available here with a price tag of $7 (5 Euros) attached to it.

Those who have played the Need for Speed franchise from Electronic Arts are certainly familiar with what the game is all about. For those who aren't, below are some details on the new game.

“Outrun the law as a Racer in supercars like the Pagani Zonda Cinque – or stop racers cold as a Cop in high-speed police interceptors like the Lamborghini Reventon,” the description of the game in the Android Market explains.

“Experience pulse-pounding action as you make the escape – or make the bust – with Need for Speed Hot Pursuit on Android.”

In this game, users will enjoy driving a number of up to 20 precision-performance cars while having to outrun competitors or escape the police.

“Drive up to 20 precision-performance cars in adrenaline-fueled showdowns across 24 day-and-night tracks. Take it to the limit in 48 total Cop and Racer Career Events, collect bounty, and rise to the top of the ranks,” the game's description reads.

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit on Android has a lot of features to offer, and the fact that it is part of a leading interactive racing franchise spells only a great experience for all users.

When playing as a cop, users will lay roadblocks and spike strips on the road to catch speeders. When playing as racers, users will need to escape these traps and duel rival racers as well.

“As a Cop, lay down the law with roadblocks and spike strips – or fry the Racer’s electrical system with an EMP lock. As a Racer, make the getaway with overdrive, jamming, and oil slicks. Duel it out on the road,” the said description continues.





Nokia 3D World Gaze Arrives on Nokia N9




Nokia has just made available a new application for their Nokia N9 MeeGo device, namely the Nokia 3D World Gaze, which provides users with a new view over the entire Earth.
The mobile application was previously made available for Nokia's handsets running under the Symbian OS, and is now up for download for the Nokia N9 handset as well.

Moreover, the development team behind the application notes that they also packed it with some new features, which means that N9 users will benefit from a better experience when running the application on their devices.

Apparently, these features will be pushed to Symbian devices as well via the next update, but they are available only for the MeeGo phone for the time being.

However, it should be noted right from the start that the mobile software is currently available only in a beta flavor, and that there might be issues that users will encounter when using it.

“We are happy to announce that Nokia 3D World Gaze is now available also for the Nokia N9,” the development team behind the app notes in a blog post.

“It has all the features of the Symbian version, plus a few extra ones we've added recently: you can now look for cities in Wikitravel.org and easily pinpoint the exact opposite side of the Earth.

“These features will also be available in the Symbian version when we release the next update for Symbian; at the moment we are still working on it.”

The Nokia N9 sports a large 3.9-inch touchscreen display, which means that it can provide users with a great view of the Earth through this application.

Those who would like to learn some more info on what the mobile application is all about should have a look at the video embedded below.

“We think the Nokia N9's beautiful large display is superb for exploring the Earth with Nokia 3D World Gaze,” the development team notes.






The new Nokia 3D World Gaze application for Nokia N9 is available for download via link below.
v1.9.27 beta for Symbian [.sis]
v1.11.7 beta for Meego

Intel Says Android 4.0 Has x86 Optimizations




Just two months after Google and Intel have announced their partnership to tune the Android OS for x86 Atom processors, Intel has revealed that Ice Cream Sandwich already includes a series of optimizations for its low-power chips.
According to Tech Report, the first Intel-powered Android smartphones and tablets should be built around the company's 32nm Medfield SoC, which was specifically designed for such devices.

The Atom SoC could enable tablet makers to build devices that are thinner than 0.35" and lighter than 1.5 lbs, making them comparable with their ARM-powered counterparts.

The sad news is that even if Ice Cream Sandwich seems to be prepared for Intel's processors, the chip maker itself isn't, as the first Medfield chips won't be available until the first half of 2012.

It's hard to say how will things progress in the future, but Intel's entrance into the low-power device could happen just a bit too late, considering the powerful ARM-based processors that will make their arrival in the next couple of months.



Asus Transformer Tablet Gets Firmware Update




Even though the Transformer Prime is expected to arrive in just a couple of days from now, Asus hasn't forgot about its older tablet models and it has prepared a new firmware update for the original Eee Pad Transformer.
The update is known as version 8.6.5.18, according to Phandroid, and it brings a series of features, such as support for App backup and Netflix pre-installed for US users.

The App backup feature allows users to backup apps and data stored by these apps for easy migration to another Asus tablet, so you can for example continue Angry Birds from where you left off instead of having to start the game all over again.

Other improvements also made their way into this firmware update, some fixing various issues of the previous software while others bring newer versions for the apps installed.

Later down the line, the original Transformer is also expected to get updated with Android Ice Cream Sandwich, so the Asus tablet certainly deserves a second look if you want a cheaper alternative to the upcoming Prime.


Windows 7 SP1 Fix – Copying 40GB of Data to a Blu-Ray Disk May Take Over 3 Days and Can Crash If Command Prompt Is Opened and Closed Repeatedly




Windows 7 SP1 Fix – Copying 40GB of Data to a Blu-Ray Disk May Take Over 3 Days


Microsoft is providing a fix to customers which have experienced problems when copying large amounts of data to a Blu-Ray disk on their Windows 7 computers.
According to the software giant, extremely poor performance is the indicator that users might have a problem.

The Redmond company reveals that copying over 10 GB of data to a Blu-Ray can take more than a day to complete, and even several days, depending on the size of the job.

Windows 7 customers can find that they’re affected, as can those with Windows Server 2008 R2. Upgrading to Service Pack 1 won’t solve this problem for either.

“Assume that you try to copy more than 10 gigabytes of data to a Blu-ray disk on a computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2. In this situation, the copy operation takes more than one day to finish,” Microsoft reveals.

“For example, you try to copy 40 gigabytes of data to a Blu-ray disk on a computer that is running Windows 7. In this situation, it may take more than three days to copy the data. However, this operation only takes about 12 hours on a computer that is running Windows XP.”

Another symptom detailed by Microsoft involves customers operating system dual Blu-ray disc drives on their machines. The second disc drive fails during the copy operation, the Redmond company notes.

The software giant already identified the source of the glitch, noting that:

“This issue occurs because of redundant error checking in the Universal Disc File System driver (Udfs.sys) code. This behavior slows the speed of the write operation after a specific amount of data is written to the disc.”

Not only this, but a hotfix is already available for download from Microsoft Support, with the Redmond company promising that it will be included into the second service pack for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.







Windows 7 SP1 Can Crash If Command Prompt Is Opened and Closed Repeatedly


It might be less of a good idea to repeatedly open and close a command prompt or a PowerShell console in Windows 7, than you might think, at least according to Microsoft.
The Redmond company reveals that launching and exiting either a command prompt or a PowerShell console multiple times can generate potential problems, and even crash the operating system.

Windows Server 2008 R2 is also affected by this issue, as are the versions of the two platforms that have already been upgraded to Service Pack 1 (SP1).

If customers indeed go ahead and perform the actions described above, Microsoft warns that “the performance of the computer may become slow, and applications may crash.”

Still, the problem is not generalized, as it “occurs when you use a non-English input method (such as the Japanese IME),” Microsoft added.

Apparently, at fault for the poor performance and for the potential crashes are Graphics Device Interface (GDI) objects, which get leaked for every open / close action.

“The leak occurs in the Taskhost.exe process or the Explorer.exe process, depending on whether the language bar is displayed or not. When the number of leaked GDI object handles in the process reaches the maximum number, no more GDI objects can be created,” Microsoft explains.

“When an application receives the focus for the first time, a notification is sent to all language bars. Then, the language bars allocate GDI objects for the application. However, when a command prompt or a PowerShell console is closed, the Conhost.exe process does not send a notification to clean up the GDI objects that were allocated by the language bars. Therefore, the leak occurs.”

Microsoft details the issue in KB2617157, and this article is also the best place for customers to find and download a fix.

The hotfix is available directly from Microsoft support, but users should only deploy it if they are indeed impacted by the glitch described above. Otherwise, they should wait for Windows 7 SP2, which apparently will also pack this hotfix.

Intel Unreleased Celeron B815 to Ship in the Dell Vostro 1550 also Intel Core i7-3960X and i7-3930K Make Appearance in UK Retail




Intel Unreleased Celeron B815 to Ship in the Dell Vostro 1550



In the first quarter of 2012, Intel is expected to launch a series of new Celeron processors based on the Sandy Bridge architecture and one of these chips, the Celeron B815, was already spotted in the Dell Vostro 1550 notebook.
The yet unreleased Celeron processor features two computing cores running at a frequency of 1.6GHz and includes 2MB of Level 2 cache.

While the specifications of the CPU look extremely similar with those of the Celeron B810 is meant to replace, the B815 does feature a higher maximum clock for the integrated graphics that can now reach 1050MHz, instead of 950MHz in the previous chip.

The rest of the CPU specifications include a dual-channel DDR3-1333MHz memory controller, SSE4.2 and VT-x virtualization support, a 35W Thermal Design Power (TDP) and pricing is expected to be set at $86 US (about 62.7 EUR).

The Vostro 1550 notebook spotted by CPU-World on Dell's Japanese website pairs this CPU with 4GB of system memory, a 500GB hard drive with a spindle speed of 5400RPM and a 15.6-inch screen.

In addition to the Celeron B815, Dell has also listed in the specifications of the notebook the yet unreleased Core i5-2450M processor that we have detailed in a previous article.

In essence, the i5-2450M is a higher clocked version of the Core i5-2430M which Intel introduced a short while ago.

As a result, the chip 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 to the processor clocks, Intel has also increased the maximum operating frequency of the integrated graphics core that now works at 1.3GHz.

Right now we don't know when any of these two chips will be made official by Intel, but Q1 2012 seems to be the most likely target.



Intel Core i7-3960X and i7-3930K Make Appearance in UK Retail



Not so much time has left until Intel plans to make official its first processors based on the Sandy Bridge-E architecture and these chips have already started to become available for pre-order from various retailers, the latest country to get them being UK.
Both of these CPUs were spotted by Hexus in on the Website of an unnamed e-tailer which has listed the Core i7-3930K for £477.59 (557,64 EUR or $766 US), while the Core i7-3960X is available for pre-order for a whopping £850.79 (993 EUR or $1,365 US).

As I'm sure that most of you have noticed, these prices are a great deal higher than those that have been rumored previously, but this isn't all that unusual to happen with unreleased products.

Just as its name implies, the Core i7-3960X is the fastest of the two CPUs Intel will launch in mid-November, the X at the end of its designation informing us that it belongs in the company's Extreme Edition line.

This processor packs six computing cores with Hyper-Threading support, has a base frequency of 3.30GHz and a maximum clock speed of 3.9GHz, and the cores are paired with 15MB of Level 3 cache memory.

The second chip, the Core i7-3930K, also includes six processing cores with Hyper-Threading support, but has a base operating clock of 3.2GHz, while the maximum frequency in Turbo mode is set at 3.80GHz.

Unlike its older brother, the Intel Core i7-3930K sports only 12MB of Level 3 cache memory.

The Core i7-3820, which Intel was expected to release together with the two SKUs detailed above, wasn't listed by the retailer which seems to confirm the rumors that state this won't actually arrive until February of 2012.

All the processors are compatible with motherboards using the LGA 2011 socket and feature support for quad-channel memory.

AMD's Upcoming 1090FX AM3+ Chipset Gets Detailed




In 2012, AMD plans to introduce a replacement for the company's current 990FX chipset for AM3+ processors that will bring a series of improvements meant to make it more competitive with Intel's upcoming 7-series platform controller hubs (PCHs).
The new chipset will be called the AMD 1090FX and it was just detailed in a leaked company slide that entered into the possession of the Donanim Haber publication.

Judging by the information provided by the document, the most important feature that the upcoming 1090FX will introduce over its predecessor is the native support for USB 3.0 which was previously just present in the AMD A75 chipset for Llano APUs.

Right now, we don't know the number of USB 3.0 ports that the 1090FX will support, but the A75 is capable of driving four such connectors, so the new chipset should at least match its smaller brother in this area.

Another change which AMD plans to introduce with the 1090FX controller is the support for a maximum of eight SATA 6Gbps ports, which brings the platform a major advantage in its fight against Intel that has limited even its high-performance X79 chipset to a pair of 6Gbps ports.
 
Other features include support for a total of 32 PCI Express lanes, which can be split in order to drive two PCIe x16 slots with support for AMD's CrossFireX and Nvidia's SLI multi-GPU technologies.

Together with the 1090FX, AMD is expected to also introduce the 1070 chipset that comes without the USB 3.0 and dual-PCI Express x16 capabilities of its older brother, but still gets eight SATA 6Gbps ports.

Sadly, PCI Express 3.0 support will be missing from both the 1070 and the 1090FX chipsets, so AMD is still behind Intel in this area.

A more specific launch date for the 1090FX apart from the 2012 timeframe suggested by the leaked slide is not available.




HIS Outs Low-Profile Radeon HD 6670 Fan 1GB for HTPC Use




HIS has just announced that it has expanded its portfolio with yet another graphics card based on an AMD Radeon graphics core, the HIS 6670 Fan 1GB, which was specially developed for being used in media center and home theater PCs.

As a result, the card was designed with a low-profile PCB and occupies a single slot inside the computer case, while cooling is provided by a dual fan setup.

Its home theater PC role is also accentuated by the bundled low-profile expansion bracket, which is a great addition if the card must be fitted in a half-height computer case.

The rest of the card's specs include a Turks GPU with 480 stream processors, 24 texture units and 8 ROP units that are linked to the installed video buffer via a 128-bit wide memory bus.

The memory used by HIS is GDDR5 and is clocked at 1GHz (4GHz GDDR5 data rate), while the GPU has an operating frequency of 800MHz.

These values correspond to AMD's recommended frequencies for the Radeon HD 6670, so while HIS' latest creation won't break any records, it will surly be able to easily surpass most other low-profile HD 6670 graphics cards that come factory underclocked.

The rest of the 6670 Fan 1GB specs are nothing out of the ordinary as the graphics card features the usual VGA, dual-link DVI-D and HDMI video outputs. A DisplayPort connector is sadly missing.

HIS' latest creation is available in the retail market as we speak, with pricing set at $129, which translates roughly into 93.6 Euros.

This makes it a great deal more expensive than other Radeon HD 6670 graphics cards out there, such as HIS's own 6670 iSilence 4 that is priced at $94.99 (69 EUR), but it does have the advantage of coming with a low-profile design and sticking to AMD's reference clocks.


White Nokia N9 on Video, Filmed Using the Nokia N8




Nokia's only MeeGo-powered smartphone, the N9, will arrive on shelves all dressed up in white as well, the handset vendor announced not too long ago, and we can already have a look at the device, courtesy of the video embedded above. 

Apparently, what we can see in the video above is the 64GB flavor of the device, though there is no design difference between it and the 16GB model, except from the larger amount of internal storage.

The N9 comes with a large 3.9-inch screen and with no physical buttons, which means that all actions on it are performed through gestures on the touchscreen.

Available courtesy of MyNokiaBlog, the short clip was shot with the Nokia N8, another high-end smartphone from the Finnish company.

The video also shows that the Nokia N8 can shoot great videos through its 12-megapixel photo snapper.

Watch the New Microsoft Homework 2.0 Video Ad




A new TV commercial from Microsoft, dubbed “Homework 2.0,” offers a funny view over how a less than stellar PowerPoint presentation can be taken to the next level. 

The ad belongs to the Redmond company’s latest series of advertisements, focused on traditional technologies, such as Windows and Office, but also new products, including Windows Phone.

“A father and son swap their Windows 7 laptop PCs so dad can help out with a difficult homework assignment. But dad is surprised and impressed to see how his son returns the favor. It's a great time to be a family,” reads the message from Microsoft accompanying the new ad.

The previous ad that the software giant shared with the world was focused on the evolution of the good old family grocery list.

Leaked Windows 8 Pre-Beta Screenshots Reveal New Customization Capabilities




Windows 8 Beta will deliver a more complete core user experience than the Developer Preview releases, which was focused on developers, and new leaked screenshots of a post-Build 8102 development milestone seem to confirm this. 

When it made available the first public preview of Windows 8, Microsoft stressed that there was still a lot of work to be done on the operating system.

In particular, the company pointed out that Windows 8 Beta would bring to the table new features, capabilities, options, etc. on top of what was introduced with the Developer Preview.

The two screenshots, included bellow, courtesy of Winunleaked, depict new customization functionality in a post-Milestone 3 release of Windows 8, as the software giant makes its way to the first Beta of the OS.

Essentially, options have now been added to the Metro style Control Panel to let early adopters personalize the colors of the Windows 8 Start Screen.

Testers running Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 M3 know by now that they’re pretty much stuck with the green color scheme on the Start Screen, which cannot be changed using this particular version release.

It appears that colors can be changed by editing the following registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Accent.

Users need to alter the value of ColorSet »=dword:00000000, to a number such as 1 or 2, and so on, and the color set of the Start Screen will be modified accordingly.

Additional enhancements over the Windows 8 Developer Preview are related to options to further customize the Start Screen, by grouping Tiles in specific clusters, using semantic zoom to get an overall view of all items available, as well as new search functionality.

In all fairness, Microsoft noted on a few occasions that it would introduce these improvements in Windows 8 Beta, wrapping up the now still incomplete core user experience.

Additional enhancements also include the re-introduction of Windows Media Center for example, which is also missing from the Developer Preview, but that will be in Windows 8 Beta.

There’s no specific release date for Windows 8 Beta as of yet, but speculation points out that Microsoft might launch the new development milestone in early January 2012, although it would sign it off sometime by the end of 2011.





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

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