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Nov 20, 2011

Download Twitter for Windows Phone 1.3.0.0




A new flavor of the official Twitter client for devices running under Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system is now available for download, namely version 1.3.0.0. 

The new release was made available only a few days after the availability of the 1.2.0.0 iteration of the app, which brought along support for the newer Windows Phone 7.5 Mango OS flavor.

No specific info on what was packed inside the new app release emerged for the time being, but chances are that users who will install it will benefit from bug fixes and various performance enhancements.

Unfortunately, the official Twitter client for Windows Phone still won't offer the possibility to pin mentions or direct messages to the Start Screen of the phone, nor does it bring a Live Tile along.

The new Twitter for Windows Phone 1.3.0.0 is available for download via the Windows Phone Marketplace here.






USB 3.0 Will Let Processors Communicate with Each Other




The Universal Serial Bus 3.0 SuperSpeed interface is about to gain a new role, one that will be different from enabling communications between storage units and host products.

Not too different, though, since intercommunication is still what it will accomplish, only between the processors of a single device.

USB-IF and the MIPI Appliance have partnered to make the SSIC (Super Speed Inter-Chip) interface.

Chip interconnects have already started to limit what smartphones and tablets can do, since the various chipsets have to settle for GPIO, HSIC, etc.

Needless to say, their capabilities aren't even close to what, say, the PCI Express of a PC can do.

USB 3.0 will be used for very short PCB traces and should be power efficient enough and easier to implement than PCI Express.

It will have x1, x2 and x4 lanes, but it isn't clear what bandwidth each of those lanes will have.

AMD Radeon HD 7900 Release Dates and Pricing Leaked




We have known for quite some time now that the start of 2012 will mark the introduction of AMD's Radeon HD 7900-series of GPUs based on the Next-Generation Core (NGC) architecture, but recently a leak has come to unveil the approximate release dates and prices of these graphics cards.

The report comes from the SemiAccurate website and doesn't name its source so it must be taken with a grain of salt, but the release schedule provided seems quite plausible if you were to ask us.

According to this info, the first Radeon HD 7000 part to arrive will the be the Tahiti XT graphics core, AMD's most powerful single-GPU solution in this series, which is expected to make its entrance in January of next year.

Tahiti Pro will follow the next month, while in March and respectively April, AMD will launch the Pitcairn XT and Pro graphics cores, two GPUs that we haven't seen mentioned before.

Pricing is set at roughly $500 (368 EUR) for the high-end Tahiti XP part, while the Pro version comes $100 (73.6 EUR) cheaper. Pitcairn cards will retail at $300 (221 EUR) and respectively $200 (147 EUR).

All the graphics cards are fabricated using TSMC’s 28nm process and use the Next Generation Core (NGC) architecture the company detailed at its Fusion summit and that was designed to offer improved performance and functionality in GPGPU environments.

In addition, all Radeon HD 7900 reference designs will come with an improved cooling system that replaces the traditional vapor chamber technology used for high-end parts with a liquid chamber.

No other information regarding the AMD Tahiti and Pitcairn GPUs is available at this time, apart from the fact that the former should include a 384-bit wide memory interface, but more leaks should appear in the near future.

Sony Ericsson's vscreens.com for Easier Sharing of Photos on Big Screens




Sony Ericsson launched some appealing Android-based mobile phones during the ongoing year, and the company seems determined to make them even better. 

Following the release of the new Android 2.3.4 OS for these smartphones, the company put in place vscreens.com, offering an easier way for users to share photos on big screens.

When in need of putting images or presentations from the Xperia device on the bigger screen of a computer or TV, the aforementioned service, along with the mobile application associated with it (available in the Android Market here) can prove a great solution at all times.

All that users will need to do is to download the aforementioned app on the device, install it, and head over to vscreens.com in a browser on the targeted device. Of course, that implies that the screen you want to share a photo on must have Internet access and a browser.

Sony Ericsson explains that vscreens.com is “a cloud service that allows you to make any big screen with a browser, like a PC, Google TV, PlayStation3 or Internet enabled screens, display your content within seconds.”

When accessing vscreens.com, you will see a QRcode that has to be scanned with the mobile phone. As soon as this has been done, the handset and the screen are connected.


“With vscreens.com, you only need to download the app from Android Market, then set your browser on the big screen to vscreens.com and hold your phone up so the app reads the QRcode in the screen, and that’s it,” Sony Ericsson.

“You can start showing off the great pictures you took on your latest trips to your friends and family, without the need of cables, bluetooth pairing or setting up things like DNLA or SMB servers.”

The best deal of all is that the service and the associated application are not exclusive to the Xperia handsets. They will work on any device running under Android 2.1 or higher.

You can learn a few more details on the new service through the video embedded below.









Alleged Nokia Lumia 601 Leaks




Nokia's foray into the Windows Phone space is expected to extend both to the higher-end of the market and to the lower segment, and one handset that would fall in the latter category seems to have just leaked into the wild, namely the Nokia Lumia 601.

Following the release of Nokia Lumia 800, anything that would come out of Espoo seems to be of great interest, since it could offer us a glimpse at how the company plans on keeping their promise of great
Windows Phone devices coming our way.

The phone that can be seen in the photo attached to this article courtesy of Pocketnow has been spotted into the wild earlier this week in an official video ad from Nokia that was removed and edited soon after making it online.

We supposed that the handset in the video was the Nokia 900, but it seems that, instead, it was a lower spec'd Windows Phone handset from the Finnish mobile phone maker.

However, no specific info on the hardware specifications that this device would sport when made available emerged, though one should not expect them to be mind blowing.

Just as its name suggests, the Nokia Lumia 601 is expected to arrive on shelves as a lower version of the Lumia 710, which means that it should also be cheaper than this device, so as to enable the company reach a wider range of users at the same time.

In all fairness, Nokia did say that they were planning to bring Windows Phone to more market segments, and that new devices will feature even lower price points, but many were expecting for the company to focus more on the high-end of the market in the beginning.

On the other hand, there are no Windows Phone devices to address the mid to lower segment of the market at the moment, and Nokia Lumia 601 might prove just the phone for that.

While there are only few details on the new Windows Phone to go with at the moment, such as the fact that it appears to pack the same 8MP camera as the Nokia C7 before it, more should emerge soon, as Nokia preps the device for take off, so stay tuned to learn the news.

Thicker iPad 3 in March, Metal iPhone 5 Next Summer - Report




A person with alleged knowledge of Apple’s forthcoming product lineup claims that 2012 will see the release of a thicker iPad, the iPhone 5 with a metal chassis, and a complete redesign of the MacBook Pro line of laptops.

iLounge calls its source ‘most reliable’ and reports that Apple has a thicker iPad on track to be released next March. It’s about 0.7 mm thicker because it needs to accommodate the twin light bar system needed for the higher resolution display (think Retina).

Apple could unveil the tablet as early as January, the report says.

Other rumors have said that Apple is also preparing a 7-inch version of the tablet, though it’s very unlikely that Cupertino will try to fight off rival Amazon with an identical offering.

Moving on to the next-generation iPhone, the source said that it will not look like the rumored teardrop-shaped model. However, it will have a metal enclosure and it’s slated to launch in summer 2012.

The phone is still in engineering phase, not even early production said the source. It is believed it will be an LTE phone (capable of 4G networking speeds).

Last but not least, the MacBook Pro line is getting a makeover, said the source. This is not at all new and, in fact, it’s pretty logical that Apple will streamline the MacBook family to have them all look like the pretty Air.

The Mac maker is also doing everything in its power to ditch optical drives. So, in all senses, the MacBook Pro can’t get any fatter.

If the information scooped up by iLounge is true, then 2012 is sure to be the year that marks a new historical step in Apple’s evolution, now with Tim Cook running the show.


Nokia Lumia 800 Packs Great XBOX Integration Too




The new Nokia Lumia 800 smartphone from Nokia is not capable only to keep you connected at all time to Facebook, or to offer fast access to documents via Office. It will also keep you entertained both when on the go and when at home, courtesy of great gaming capabilities and integration with Xbox LIVE. 

To make a better idea on the extent to which Nokia Lumia 800 can communicate to XBOX 360 Kinect, for example, you should have a look at the video above.

Games that are being played on the small screen of the device can be easily transferred to a larger screen, so that users can benefit from a better experience when they have some free time to spend playing a game.

“In this film, we look at XBOX integration and demonstrate the connectivity between the Nokia Lumia 800 XBOX gaming service and the XBOX 360 Kinect,” the clip's description reads.

Intel Rev. D Sandy Bridge-E Desktop CPUs to Feature 8-Core Design - Report




Many enthusiasts were disappointed when Intel announced that the desktop version of its Sandy Bridge-E processors will include just six computing cores, but Intel is reportedly now working on a new stepping that will enable all of the eight cores in this architecture.

According to VR-Zone, this new CPU stepping will make its entrance in the second quarter of next year.

Intel decided against enabling all the eight cores available in the Sandy Bridge-E arch for the desktop version of these chips as this would have increase the TDP of the CPUs above the current 130W.

However, a series of tweaks and manufacturing improvements which should be available until then should help the chip maker enable these two extra cores while retaining the current CPU power envelope.

If you want to know more about Intel's new Sandy Bridge-E processors make sure to check out our review of the Core i7-3960X.

BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) v6.1 Beta Now Available for Download




Canadian mobile phone maker RIM has just announced the availability of a new flavor of its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) application, namely 6.1 Beta. 

The new application release has been made available for download via the BlackBerry Beta Zone, with a new set of personalization options for message, so that users would have even more fun than before when chatting with friends.

The new BBM v6.1 Beta comes with animated avatars, fun new emoticons, as well as with increased character count for personal messages, and with customized colored chat bubbles and display picture
integration.

There are three new animated avatars available for users who will choose to install the new BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) v6.1 Beta, including “smile,” “laughter” and “in love.”

“We’re planning to add a larger selection of animated avatars after the beta trial is completed. You can access these avatars when changing your display picture within the Avatars folder. (Note: Animated avatars are only supported on BlackBerry smartphone OS 5.0 and higher.),” RIM notes in a blog post.

At the same time, the BBM emoticons have been updated with 12 new entries, so that users can enjoy new ways of expressing themselves.

“These new emoticons were created based on suggestions from customers participating in beta trials – look for more to come in future releases,” RIM notes.

The new app flavor also comes with increased character count for personal messages, offering users the possibility to enjoy 160 characters now, more than double than before.

Moreover, BBM 6.1 beta brings along the possibility to customize the color of chat bubbles for contacts, with a number of 10 colors for users to choose from.

“This feature is great for organizing the many BBM contacts you have and makes it easier to recognize types of conversations (I’m assigning colors to work, friends, and family. My boss is blue, my family is yellow, and colleagues and friends will get their own color-coding, too.),” RIM continues.

Another enhancement in the new flavor of BBM is Camera/Display Picture Integration, which enables users to snap a picture and have it displayed immediately.


Firefox 8.0.1 Deleted from Mozilla Servers




There is a reason Mozilla announces the release of a product days after uploading it to their servers. And that reason is that testing is still performed and that finding a serious issue would force the company from shipping the product to end-users (these can be viewed as release candidates).

And this is exactly what happened in the case of Firefox 8.0.1. The build was available for download from Mozilla’s FTP up until today, when it was deleted because of RoboForm-related issues.

One of the problems the development team was working in order to ready a Firefox 8.1.0 update was gathering information for blocklisting RoboForm DLL. It looks like trouble ran much deeper than that and a second build is now required.

Nokia N9 to Get Bigger Fonts Soon via Software Update




Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is gearing up for the release of a new software update for its high-end Nokia N9 smartphone that was launched only recently with the MeeGo OS on board, and plans on making some changes to the fonts on the mobile phone. 

At the moment, Nokia N9 users the default font “Nokia Pure Text,” but that will change in the future, and the move might affect a series of applications user interfaces. 

Basically, the change will affect only the font metrics, but not the typeface of Nokia Pure Text as well. 

“The most significant change is that by default, the text will take approximately 20% more space vertically, i.e. the height of the 'bounding box' of text items will increase,” a recent post on Nokia Developer explains. 

“The current height of the font is actually a bit too small. E.g., some of the diacritic/accent marks or descenders do not fit to the bounding box. Fixing this is important especially for non-european languages using non-latin script.”

You can have a look at the photo attached to the left to learn some more info on how the text in the two different software releases would look like (the current PR1.0/PR1.1 is on the left). 

Depending on the manner in which the application has been built, the new change will impact it or not, Nokia notes. In most cases, applications built for the N9 should not be impacted by the change. Some examples include:

  • Short text labels centered on top of other graphical items (like buttons)
  • Lists and other pannable areas where the size anyway varies.
  • By using margins and other buffer, you have anyway prepared for changes in the size of the text items e.g. for localization purposes.
However, when the layout directly depends on the height of the bounding box of the text items, things might become a bit complicated. 

The company recommends the designing of the application UI so that the size of the text could vary both horizontally and vertically, something that should have been already implemented in the app when offering localizations for different languages.

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