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Dec 26, 2011

Nokia Lumia 800 Spotted at the FCC, Torn to Pieces




Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is gearing up for pushing the recently launched Lumia 800 smartphone to more markets than those which got a taste of it back in November. Thus, the company got the handset through FCC testing, and the results already came out. 

The Windows Phone device has been torn to pieces by the Federal Communication Commission, and all of its internals brought to light for us to have a look at. 

The mobile phone has just received the necessary approvals from the feds, though this does not confirm a near release in the United States. 

However, it does bring it closer to the North American market, which certainly sounds great for enthusiasts. 

The FCC also unveiled the user manual for Nokia’s Lumia 800, along with the aforementioned photos with its internals.

These documents show that Lumia 800 might arrive on shelves with support for 850 and 1900MHz 3G bands, which would make it compatible with the airwaves of AT&T. 

Some of the previous rumors on this device suggested that the wireless carrier might indeed launch a Nokia Lumia smartphone in the first quarter of the next year, and that LTE connectivity might also be included. 

In January, T-Mobile’s customers will be able to purchase another Windows Phone from Nokia, namely the Lumia 710, a move made official only recently. 

Nokia has yet to announce any plans for bringing the Lumia 800 smartphone to the US market, though it might not be too long before that happens, provided that previous rumors will pan out. 

Specs wise, we might expect Nokia Lumia 800 to arrive in the United States with the same capabilities as the international device, including the 3.7-inch touchscreen display, or the 1.4GHz application processor. 

The smartphone also includes 16GB of internal memory, along with an 8-megpixel photo snapper on the back, with support for HD video recording.


Unannounced Nokia Phone Spotted in Microsoft Video Ad




Windows Phone comes with a series of integrated Microsoft services, and making use of them is easy. 

The Redmond-based software giant seems determined to underline that as often as it can, and has put up a video to show how Windows Live can be easily accessed straight from a Windows Phone. 

The demo, however, is made on a Nokia device that apparently differs from the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 devices that have been already released. 

No specific info on what this device would be emerged, but some suggest that it might actually be the Lumia 900 that has been long rumored before. 

You can see specific Nokia apps listed on the device at a specific point in the video embedded above, clearly showing a handset from the Finnish company. 

A glimpse at the phone's back shows similarities with Lumia 800, further suggesting that Nokia's upcoming phone was featured in this ad, though no confirmation on this has emerged so far.

Intel Medfield SoC Includes Special Hardware Tweaks for the Android OS




Intel’s collaboration with Google seems to have led to more than just an x86 port of the Android operating system, as the chip maker has recently confirmed that its upcoming Medfield SoC will include a series of hardware optimizations specifically designed for this mobile OS.

In a meeting with the Technology Review website, where Intel has presented to the publication a Medfield-running tablet and smartphone, the chip maker also talked a little bit about the SoC’s Android optimizations.

The most important of these cover Web browsing and a series of Android apps, but some dedicated imaging processing circuits were also thrown into the mix.

These come in part from a Dutch image-processing company called Silicon Hive, which Intel has acquired earlier this year, and are paired together with some dedicated software tweaks.

The end result, as Technology Review reports, is a camera that can capture 10 full-size eight-megapixel images at a rate of 15 per second, as proved by the Medfield reference smartphone demoed by Intel.

Needless to say, this kind of hardware could come as a great help to augmented reality apps and other similar software.

Medfield is a major step forward in the mobile space for Intel as this will become the company’s first single piece of silicon to incorporate all the hardware logic that is found inside the CPU and chipset of a traditional computer. 

As far as its performance is concerned, Medfield seems to be able to hold its own against many of the ARM-based SoC used in today’s smartphones, both in terms of power consumption and speed. 

Intel is expected to bring quite a few devices running the Medfield SoC at the upcoming CES 2012 fair, some of which will announced in the first half of 2012.



Nokia Lumia 800 Battery Update to Arrive on January 18th




Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is gearing up for the release of a software update for its Lumia 800 devices to fix a series of issues with the model's battery, and it appears that it will push it out on January 18th. 

The company already confirmed plans to deliver the software update to its users, but did not offer specific info on when that might happen until now. 

However, a recent post on plaffo suggests that Nokia has already started to inform users on the availability of this update starting with the said date. 

This means that Nokia Lumia 800 users will still have to wait for about four more weeks before being able to benefit from the said enhancement. Even so, the good news is that it is coming, and that it will deliver the battery performance enhancements that users are waiting for.



Android Is Finally Coming Back to Linux Kernel




Tim Bird in collaboration with many Linaro and individual developers, including Linux kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman, announced the beginning of the Android Mainlining Project, to include Android's patches and features into the mainline Linux kernel. 

As many of you know, the Android drivers were no longer accepted in the mainline Linux kernel, starting with Linux kernel 2.6.33, as announced by Greg Kroah-Hartman back in spring 2010.

However, it appears that Greg Kroah-Hartman himself will include the Android drivers into his development branch for the upcoming Linux kernel 3.3, making it boot on Android devices without being patched.

"At the recent kernel summit in Prague, there was a discussion about re-evaluating some of the Android-specific features that are found in Google's android kernel, and looking at whether and how to incorporate them into the mainline (kernel.org) kernel."- said Tim Bird, Architecture Group Chair, CE Workgroup of the Linux Foundation and Senior Staff Engineer at Sony Network Entertainment, in the email.

For more information or if you want to join this effort, please visit the wiki page or follow the discussions on the designated mailing list.


AMD May Prepare 8-Core Phenom II X8 Processors




It seems like AMD’s Phenom brand is not yet ready to pass into oblivion, as it now seems like the chip maker is preparing a new series of eight-core CPUs that will use this moniker.

The chips have popped up in the support list of some Jetway and ECS motherboards , and according to Xbit Labs these will be based on the Bulldozer architecture.

Four models are mentioned in the documents provided by the two mobo makers, three featuring a 95W TDP while the fourth fits inside a 125W thermal envelope.

Clock speeds vary between 2.4GHz and 3.0GHz, but there’s no mention of Turbo Core or other AMD technologies that will be supported by these CPUs.

Keeping the Phenom around is definitely good news for all the nostalgics out there, but what I would like to see now from AMD is some kind of performance boost that will make Bulldozer a contender to Intel’s Core i7 CPUs.


Firmware 4.0.2.A.0.62 Now Ready for Xperia Handsets




Sony Ericsson's Xperia devices should soon get a taste of a software update, and it appears that the build is already prepared for shipping. 

A new firmware is ready for Xperia handsets, namely software version number 4.0.2.A.0.62, the PTCRB site unveils. 

Unfortunately, this is not the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich platform update that users might have been waiting for. 

Instead, it is only a maintenance update, aimed at delivering a series of bug fixes for Sony Ericsson Xperia arc and arc S, Xperia neo and neo V, and Xperia PLAY handsets.

The software is expected to be pushed to all devices in the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region, but no specific info on when it will start to emerge has been unveiled so far. According to some reports, Sony Ericsson might have already begun to deliver the software.


Samsung Galaxy S III Concept Device Emerges




Samsung already has two successful Galaxy S devices available on shelves, and the company is expected to launch new ones as soon as next year. 

Following Galaxy S and Galaxy S II, the next flagship Android model from the handset vendor is expected to be the Samsung Galaxy S III. 

The phone was rumored before, but no specific info on it has emerged to date. However, we can now make an idea of what the handset might look like when released, courtesy of a series of images coming from “Samsung Phones Owners’ Club” group on VKontakte.ru. 

Make no mistake about it, the device in these images is not the real Galaxy S III, but merely the result of an enthusiast's imagination. 

Nevertheless, this does not mean that the smartphone could not look like this when made official sometime in the coming months. 

Called Samsung GT-I9500 Universal, the concept device includes all that users would like to see packed with the next flagship model from Samsung. 

For example, there should be a 1.5GHz quad core Samsung Exynos 4412 application processor inside the handset. It will be powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, with TouchWiz 5 loaded on top of it. 

The smartphone was also imagined with a 5-inch touchscreen display on the front, featuring HD Super AMOLED technology and capable of delivering a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution. 

On the back, the mobile phone would feature a 12-megapixel photo snapper, with LED and Xenon flash and HD video recording capabilities. A 2-megapixel photo snapper on the front will offer video calling capabilities.

Support for 4G LTE networks should also be included inside the new mobile phone, along with the usual 3G, WiFi and Bluetooth features, as well as NFC and USB 3.0.

All in all, this device would certainly prove a hit, provided that Samsung will actually consider bringing it to the market. 

For the time being, however, it remains nothing more than a concept, which was initially posted in the “Imagined Phones” section of “Samsung Phones Owners’ Club” group on VKontakte.ru.



Nokia N9 UI Tweak Enables Landscape Mode




Nokia N9 can easily prove a great device, even if it has some drawbacks. One of them is the inability to show its three screens in landscape mode. 

Luckily, a N9Tweak application that resolves this issue has just emerged, and the MeeGo-based handset can now deliver its appealing capabilities in more ways than before. 

Not only would the tweak turn the three screens to landscape mode, but it will also enable users to easily switch from one to another via horizontal swipes. 

To benefit from these features, you will have to download the aforementioned N9Tweak, launch it and activate landscape through typing in L, and then enter the “rootme” password. You can find more info on the application on maemo.org.

You can have a look at the manner in which landscape mode works on Nokia N9 via the video embedded above.

Samsung Galaxy S II DUOS Announced in China





Shortly after announcing two new Galaxy family smartphones with dual-SIM support, the Galaxy Y DUOS and Galaxy Y Pro DUOS, Samsung officially introduce a new dual-SIM smartphone, the Galaxy S II DUOS.

However, Samsung Galaxy S II DUOS will be launched in China with support for CDMA2000 and GSM bands. For the time being, it’s unclear if the smartphone will be released in other countries as well.

Anyway, the Galaxy S II DUOS is equipped with a 4.52-inch WVGA Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen and a dual core 1.2 GHz Exynos processor. There’s also an 8-megapixel camera on back, which features LED flash and full HD (1080p) video recording.

Other highlights of the phone include 16GB onboard memory, microSD card slot for memory expansion, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, as well as 1800 mAh Li-Ion battery. The phone is powered by Google’s Android 2.3 Gingerbread platform.







8-Core Sandy Bridge-E Performance Leaked by Intel




The first quarter of 2012 will mark the transition of the Sandy Bridge-E architecture into the server space in the form of the Xeon E5 series of CPUs, and a recent series of leaked Intel slides have come to detail the performance of this platform in comparison with Westmere-EP.

The new Xeon E5 chips are also known under the code name of Sandy Bridge-EP and feature a series of changes when compared with the desktop version of these CPUs.

These include support for up to eight processing cores, which can run a maximum of sixteen threads thanks to Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology, up to 20 MB of L3 cache memory, as well as the presence of dual QuickPath Interconnect (QPI) links.

The latter feature was added to the specs list in order to enable multi-socket system support, as it provides the chips with a high-bandwidth inter-socket communication interface.

Just like their desktop counterparts, the Xeon E5 CPUs also feature a quad-channel DDR3 built-in controller, but this time the maximum amount of memory that can be addressed by each processor was increased to 384GB, providing a total of 768GB of memory for dual-socket systems.

Together with the details regarding the Xeon E5-series chips, the slides, which have come into the possession of TechPowerUp website, also show some performance estimates for these chips when compared to the Xeon X5690.

Depending on the task run, the performance boost offered by the upcoming Xeon E5-2600 series CPUs varies between 50 and a whopping 120 percent in comparison with that of the Westmere-EP chip.

A firm release date for these chips hasn't been mentioned, but Intel said recently that it has already starting sampling Xeon E5 chips to select number of cloud and HPC computer vendors, with mass availability expected in Q1 of 2012.






iPhone 5: More Storage, Battery Life, Speed Thanks to Anobit




Apple’s $500 million acquisition of NAND Flash designer Anobit will translate into a number of key improvements for the next generation of iPhones, including increased storage capacity, faster access of music and video, a slimmer design, and perhaps even a slimmer price tag.

All this according to an analysis by InventHelp, whose technology publication churned up a piece that looks at five key improvements that we can expect to see in the iPhone 5, thanks to Apple’s acquisition of Israeli tech firm, Anobit.

The first bullet point is battery life. This will be improved, says InventHelp, mostly because “Anobit’s core speciality is increasing multi-level flash cell performance [and] both single-level and multi-level flash memory are efficient compared to DRAM storage which requires constant power.”

Storage capacity will be improved because Anobit also specializes in Memory Signal Processing, “which makes flash memory more reliable and efficient.”

And it’s not only the next iPhone that will benefit from the extra oomph, but also devices like the MacBook Air.

The Anobit acquisition is likely to yield a slimmer form factor as well. It is not specified how exactly, but improved Flash storage will most likely allow for better space preservation around the chassis.

InventHelp also opines that “Apple did not update the design of the iPhone 4S probably because it is working on flash technology that would allow for a reliable slim iPhone 5.”

Finally, the next iPhone may also be cheaper to produce, again, thanks to the new technologies stemming from Anobit.

While that may not translate into a lower retail price, Apple’s bill of materials may be reduced by a few percentage points, because it has NAND Flash technology which it doesn’t have to share “with the onslaught of Android competition.”


Bricked Nexus S with Ice Cream Sandwich Can Now Be Recovered




A few days ago, Google started to push out the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS to its Nexus S users, causing a lot of issues on many devices, including rendering some of them unusable. 

Those who have tried to install the new OS flavor and ended up with a bricked Nexus S instead, have now the possibility to fix their devices, and get them back online. 

An unofficial tool for that is available for download, courtesy of XDA-Developers member AdamOutler. 

Called Unbreakable Resurrector, the application has just been upgraded with support for Nexus S devices that have been affected by the recent roll-out. 

The major drawback here is that you will need to run the tool on Linux, preferably on Ubuntu. The said recovery tool, along with instructions on what you need to do to use it, is available on this thread over on the XDA-Developers forum.


Nokia Answers Symbian Belle Questions, Explains Name Change




It appears that Nokia received overwhelming feedback after the official announcement that confirmed Symbian Belle update will be released in February 2012. 

For this reason and others, the company came forward with some explanations for why the company decided to swap the name of the operating system and the reason behind its delay.

Vesa Jutila, head of Symbian Product Marketing at Nokia, is the person that explains why the Finnish handset maker decided to name its latest version of Symbian, Nokia Belle:

“We are still using Symbian Belle with some audiences like developers but now we also have the flexibility of using Nokia Belle when referring to our greatest and latest Symbian software update. We are really looking forward to making Belle available to people as it will truly bring a new experience to everybody.”

Basically, both Symbian Belle and Nokia Belle brands will continue to be used, but Nokia prefers end-users to refer to its proprietary mobile platform as Nokia Belle, rather than Symbian Belle.

Given the fact that Nokia Belle was scheduled to be released in January 2012 and the company has just announced it moved the launch to February 2012, Nokia took the time to explain its fans why they need to wait one more month for the update.

“Nokia Belle will make such a big difference in the user experience, and it is a major software update. We are progressing well in bringing Belle with a new look and feel to millions people across the markets at the same time, and are anxiously looking forward to delighting our consumers with Nokia Belle.”

It appears that Nokia wants to make sure that Symbian users will not be disappointed with Nokia Belle, so the company decided to take more time to include as many new features as possible.

In the same news, those wondering why Nokia 500 was not listed among the smartphones eligible for Nokia Belle have just received the answer.

“I am happy to say that Nokia 500 will also be one of those devices receiving Nokia Belle along with Nokia N8, Nokia E7, Nokia E6, Nokia X7, Nokia C6-01,Nokia C7, and Nokia Oro.”

Probably based on users’ feedback, the company decided to put the Nokia 500 on the list of smartphones that will receive the Nokia Belle update in February 2012.


Zalman Outs CNPS10X Optoma Multi-Platform CPU Cooler




Cooling specialist Zalman has just announced the introduction of a new CPU cooler, dubbed the CNPS10X Optoma, featuring direct touch heatpipes and support for a wide range of processors from both AMD’s and Intel’s camps.

The cooler itself is designed as a pretty standard tower heatsink, with four U-shaped copper heatpipes that are destined to draw the heat away from the CPU and into a large aluminum fin array, topped by a 120mm fan.

Like most other fans used for today's coolers, this one also is PWM controlled and its speed varies between 1000 and 1700 RPM, depending on the CPU temperature.

According to Zalman, the noise level should never go above 28dBA, while, at the minimum rotation speed supported, this generates only 17dBA of noise, in part thanks to its Shark Fin blade design.

To further improve the cooler's performance when paired with low-speed fans, the CNPS10X Optoma sports a specially designed base featuring the DTH technology which places the four heatpipes included in direct contact with the CPU’s heatspreader.

Performance freaks should be glad to know that Zalman’s latest creation can also be fitted with a secondary 120mm in a push-pull configuration.

Outside of the 120mm fan, the CNPS10X Optoma is also shipped together with a tube of high-performance Zalman ZM-STG2M thermal grease and with the required AMD and Intel CPU mounting clips. 

Speaking of the mounting clips, these are compatible with FM1, AM2/AM2+, and AM3/AM3+ AMD sockets as well as with Intel’s LGA 1155/1156, 1366 and 775 processors.

According to Zalman, pricing for the CNPS10X Optoma cooler is set at 27.50 EUR (including VAT, which translates into approximately $36 US. Availability is scheduled for the end of January, but no specific date was mentioned.


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