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Sep 30, 2012

Open webOS Ported to Galaxy Nexus

HP has made the final version of its Open webOS platform available yesterday, and a port for Galaxy Nexus is already making it to headlines.

The availability of this platform on the latest Google phone out there is the result of a few months of development, though it seems that a lot of improvements need to be made to it. While the OS does run on the handset, and can even access the WiFi, support for phone functions is not ready just yet, and it might take a while before it is provided.

The port also needs hardware acceleration, as the software is almost unusable at the moment. However, the first steps in bringing the Open webOS to the smartphone have been taken, and things could evolve in the right direction soon. More info on the software can be found on webOS ports.

first video of Open Webos 1.0 on Google Nexus By Morphis (and WebOS Ports) 
Video credits to WebOS Ports

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 Overclock Edition 4GB, Triple-Slot GeForce GTX 680 Graphics Card with 4GB Memory

The world of high-end graphics adapters has become a bit larger now that Gigabyte has finished its latest and arguably greatest GeForce GTX 680 board, with WindForce 3X cooling and more memory than all the others in its collection.

We suspect that prospective buyers will be torn between considering this the best of Gigabyte's GeForce GTX 680 cards or going with the GeForce GTX 680 WindForce 5X. For what it's worth, we think that the GTX 680 Overclock Edition 4GB (GA-N680OC-4GD) is the better choice, for several reasons. The first is that the price of $800 / 622-800 Euro (as revealed by some buyers through Chinese forums) is lower than the $870 / 670-870 Euro of the five-fan monstrosity. The second is that the three fans of the newcomer (as many as the copper heatpipes) make for a lower level of noise. While the WindForce 5X did not add to the decibels, it did not reduce the volume either, so the board still produces 40dB or so, while the GTX 680 Overclock Edition 4GB runs at 28.3 dB under the Furmark test.

The third point is the following: this is the very first of Gigabyte's Geforce GTX 680 adapters to boast 4 GB of GDDR5 VRAM instead of two (though not the first such item in the market). Coupled with the clock speeds of the GPU and the memory itself, the performance should be more than a match for that of the WindForce 5X. To elaborate, the 5X features a base speed of 1,137 MHz and can rise to 1202 MHz via GPU Boost. WindForce 3X is just 66 / 65 MHz behind, but the extra 2 GB of memory (256-bit interface, speed left at the normal 6 GHz) will give it an edge in multi-monitor setups. As a bonus, Gigabyte's creation supports OpenGL 4.2 (NVIDIA's original card supports 4.1), Ultra Durable VGA technology (5-10% cooler GPU, 10-30% better overclocking, improved power switching), the OC Guru II and a gold-plated HDMI output.

Gigabyte has added the high-grade adapter to its website, but has yet to officially announce availability and the price. We have only learned the tag, and that shipments are already being carried out, thanks to Chinese buyers that took to online forums.

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 Overclock Edition 4GB
Image credits to Gigabyte

TP-Link N600 Wireless Dual Band Router

IT companies have begun straight-up choosing rivals, with TP-Link being locked in a contest with Netgear for who makes the best and most affordable routers.

TP-Link is the one releasing a product this time around, called N600 Wireless Dual Band Router, and the core of its marketing strategy is “Netgear's product is more expensive than ours.” To elaborate, the press release points out that Netgear's N600 WNDR3400 ships for $79.00 in the USA, or 61-79 Euro, give or take. The TP-Link N600 Wireless Dual Band Router TL-WDR3500 is sold for $47, or 40% less. That's around 36.44-47 Euro. "This router provides cost-conscious consumers a chance to experience the advantages of dual band technology that they otherwise may not have been able to invest in," says Lewis Wu, director of Sales at TP-LINK USA. "No other competitor can beat our combination of the latest technology for the lowest everyday price."

N600 communicates over the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bandz, making it compatible with more or less every 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi device out there. It also has four 10/100 Mbps Ethernet ports, one USB port, two external antennas and a wireless On/Off button, letting it behave like a regular switch. For older computers that lack Wi-Fi, TP-Link has the N600 Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter, TL-WDN3200, “a simple and affordable add-on.” We're not quite sure how $31.06 / 17.90 Euro / £19.99 qualifies as affordable though (the prices were taken from online retailers at the time of this article's writing). At any rate, there is one final asset of the TL-WDR3500 router, not the adapter, that we have to specify: the One Button Security Setup, which establishes a secure connection at a single press of the WPS button (Wi-Fi Protected Setup).

All in all, assuming that no adapter is needed, TP-Link's router is a more convenient buy than TRENDnet's TEW-712BR.

TP-Link N600 Wireless Dual Band Router
Image credits to TP-Link

$99 (€76) Supercomputer Running Ubuntu OS

Adapteva, a company that designs and sells low-power multicore microprocessor, wants to sell a supercomputer running an Ubuntu operating system.

The Parallella project will try to build an affordable supercomputer aimed at regular consumers. It will make use of Epiphany multicore chips, built by Adapteva. The supercomputer is trying to get some traction with the help of a Kickstater project. Adapteva is trying to raise enough money to make this computer a reality.

The components that will be used to build the Parallella supercomputer are: a dual-core ARM A9 CPU, Epiphany Multicore Accelerator (with 16 or 64 cores), 1GB RAM, 1 MicroSD Card, two USB 2.0 slots, two general purpose expansion connectors, gigabyte Ethernet port, HDMI connection, and Ubunu OS. If you are interested in the project and you want to participate, check out the official Kickstarter project.

Parallella scheme
Image credits to Kickstarter.com

Sep 27, 2012

Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 Launched in Australia

On Thursday, Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia unveiled plans to have its newly announced Windows Phone 8-based Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 available for purchase in Australia through various wireless carriers and retailers in the country.

The company confirmed that the flagship Lumia 920 would be released on Telstra’s network, and that Vodafone and Optus would add the new Lumia 820 to their offerings. Both Windows Phone 8 handsets would be made available for purchase through various retailers in the country, the handset vendor also announced. "Operators and retailers are throwing their weight behind our new Nokia Lumia smartphones and we appreciate their continued support,” Nokia Australia's Managing Director, Steve Lewis, said. "So many consumers and businesses have already made the switch to Nokia Lumia and with the new range, we believe many more will follow suit. The industry tide is turning and that's good news for us, Microsoft and our partners.” Telstra’s users will be able to enjoy the capabilities of Lumia 920 on the wireless carrier’s 4G LTE network. They will benefit from leading camera capabilities, along with great performance levels, courtesy of the included 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor.

“The camera takes in five times more light than competing smartphones without using flash so the user can capture clear, bright pictures and video indoors and at night. It also compensates for hand movement while the photo is being taken,” Nokia explains. The handset also sports a large touchscreen display, as well as powerful mapping and navigation capabilities, courtesy of applications such as Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive and Nokia City Lens. Vodafone and Optus users will enjoy the functionality of Lumia 820, a powerful mid-range device that sports a compact design and enhanced personalization options via exchangeable shells. “Exchangeable shells not only make it possible to select from a range of colours, but also to add wireless charging. Beneath the shell is room to insert a micro SD memory card,” Nokia explains.

Both smartphones are 4G-capable and will be released in color flavors such as yellow, red, grey, white and black. No pricing has been provided as of yet, nor specific info on when they are set to land on shelves, but Nokia promised these details for the end of October.

Nokia Lumia 920
Image credits to Nokia

Nokia Lumia 820
Image credits to Nokia

Acrosser AMB-QM77T1, Mini-ITX Motherboard with Intel Ivy Bridge Support

Acrosser Technology had a very specific skill set in mind when it designed the AMB-QM77T1, so it chose the QM77 Intel Express chipset and the FCPGA 988 socket.

FCPGA, short for flip-chip pin grid array, is a type of pin grid array integrated circuit packaging that has the die facing downwards on the top of the substrate and its back exposed. This lets the die have direct contact with whatever heatsink or waterblock happens to be present, thus maximizing the cooling efficiency. Intel's Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 central processors, as well as its Celeron processors, all feature this packaging. This is why Acrosser chose the Intel QM77 chipset and FCPGA 988 socket, even though its AMB-QM77T1 is not a consumer motherboard, but a platform intended for industrial automation, ARM machines, digital signage, kiosks and medical applications. Speaking of which, the AMB-QM77T1 supports up to 3 independent displays at once, in any combination of HDMI, LVDS, VGA and DVI outputs.

The integrated GPU found in the third-generation Ivy Bridge mobile processors can run multimedia, gaming and business/industrial programs with even DirectX 11, OpenGL 4.0 and OpenCL 1.1 graphics features. Acroser's motherboard just takes advantage of that. The rest of the feature set is similar to what we've grown to expect, though the two DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM slots can handle laptop memory, not desktop DIMMs (up to 16 GB). Dual PCI Express Gigabit LAN support, eight USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, five SATA ports (three SATA 2 and two SATA III), one PCI Express x16 slot, one mini PCI Express slot and a CFast socket round up the spec list. Unfortunately, Acroser did not specify the price of this mini-ITX motherboard with laptop CPU support. Then again, only clients from the aforementioned industries will be interested in it, and they can place an inquiry with the company here.

Acrosser AMB-QM77T1
Image credits to Acrosser

VIA New ETX Module with a Dual-Core CPU

Having established itself as the primary provider on the niche market, though not one bereft of troubles, of embedded hardware, VIA has announced the latest computing module, bearing the name of VIA ETX-8X90.

VIA's computing modules, similar to small board PCs really, are made in such a way that they can take any role assigned to them, while also wasting as little energy as possible. The ETX-8X90 is no exception, featuring not only the 1.2 GHz VIA Nano X2 E-Series dual core processor, but also the VIA VX900 media system processor. Alongside them, packed inside the 114 x 95 mm package (4.48 x 3.74 inches), are two memory slots (up to 4 GB of DDR3 RAM supported), a pair of PCI buses, an ISA bus, one SATA port (for storage), one IDE slot (also for storage) and a pair of COM ports. In addition to that, VIA implemented 18/24-bit dual-channel LVDS, a VGA port (resolution of up to 2560 x 1600 pixels), four USB 2.0 ports and a pair of mini USB connectors. Finally, since no self-respecting computing system, even a small one such as this, is complete without network connectivity, the VIA ETX-8X90 got 10/100 Ethernet as well.

"We continue to broaden the range of our Computer-on-Module portfolio with the addition of the ETX legacy form factor," said Epan Wu, head of the VIA embedded platform division, VIA Technologies, Inc. "The VIA ETX-8X90 module provides industry leading processing performance in the shape of the VIA Nano X2 E processor allowing existing ETX customers to quickly scale to today's requirements." VIA ETX-8X90 features hardware acceleration for the VC1, WMV9, MPEG-2 and H.264 video formats, and works under a wide range of Windows and Linux systems. A proprietary start-up kit including a multi-I/O baseboard reference can help customers set up whatever system they have in mind. The product page located here has more information.

Images credits to VIA

AMD Silently Releases Two Ultra-Low Voltage Trinity APUs

All eyes are on the impending launch of AMD's desktop Trinity accelerated processing units (APUs), but that shouldn't be enough reason to miss out on the release of new laptop parts.

Then again, Advanced Micro Devices isn't making it easy for us. There was no press release or even a short announcement about the arrival of the A4-4355M and A8-4555M, its two newest ultra-low voltage APUs. The chips did make it on the product specifications page though, along with a new chip in the C-Series, based on the Bobcat architecture: C-70. We'll get the C-70 out of the way first. It is a rather odd piece of work, simply because there seems to be no difference between it and the C-60. The two cores run at 1/1.33 GHz, the integrated GPU (80 cores) is a 276/400 MHz part, the memory controller supports DDR3-1066, the cache memory is 1 MB and the TDP (thermal design power) is of 9W. The A8-4555M quad-core APU has 4 MB L2 cache, a speed of 1.6 GHz (2.4 GHz in Turbo Core), integrated graphics (AMD Radeon HD 7600G, 384 Cores) at 320/424 MHz and a TDP of 19W. It is the sort of chip that HP Sleekbooks and other ultrathins will appreciate.

As for the A6-4455M, it is a dual-core model with an IGP (AMD Radeon HD 7400G) of 327/424 MHz (192 cores), a clock frequency of 1.9 GHz (2.4 GHz in Turbo Core) and 1 MB of L2 cache (a bit low really). The TDP is 17W, again good for ultrahins. The next few months should see the arrival of cheaper system configurations based on these BGA package APUs. We wouldn't be surprised if a nice “war” started between them and all the pre-Haswell ultrabooks, especially since the average price of the latter will be of $750 around the holidays, not the coveted $699.

AMD Trinity APU
Image credits to AMD

Two New Samsung Galaxy S III Ads Released, To Mock Apple Device

Samsung is already known for its video ads for the Galaxy smartphones, as they are usually intended to pick on Apple’s iPhone.

The last two videos released by the South Korean handset vendor do exactly the same, touting some of the features that Galaxy S III comes with and which are not available on the iPhone, as can be seen in the clip above. In fact, both these videos are parts of the longer ad that Samsung released for the smartphone a few weeks back, with some new lines added to them, so as to mock Apple’s device even more.

In the clip embedded below, the mockery turns to a different direction through showing a Galaxy S III owner saving a spot for his parents, who want to grab the new iPhone model.

Videos credits to SamsungMobileUSA

Sep 26, 2012

Qualcomm SnapDragon S2 Humiliates Intel Medfield [Video]

In an interesting development, Qualcomm has decided to leave being its noble and non-combative attitude towards Intel or other competitors. The company has just posted a video where they compare a two-year-old SnapDragon S2 to a 2012 Atom Medfield.

While synthetic benchmarks portray Medfield as a valid competitor for last year’s top performing ARM gang, the real-life experience proves that the performance is considerably inferior to a Qualcomm SoC that was launched two years ago. The video compares the Sony Xperia smartphone to the unpopular Lava XOLO that has an Intel Atom Z2460 SoC inside. The Medfield SoC looks pretty much OK in benchmarks. It’s definitely not comparable with this year’s top performing ARM processors, but it’s hanging tight with the 2011 pack.

Moreover, Intel’s Medfield excels in Java where, up until Apple’s iPhone 5, it was able to deliver the best results, surpassing any other mobile processor out on the market at the moment. When moving beyond benchmarks and into real-life performance, Intel’s Atom is far behind a 2010 SnapDragon S2 that’s a 45nm chip that integrates an Adreno 205 iGPU. The Medfield performance is disturbingly slow and quite uncomfortable for the eye as there is a lot of jittering and stuttering while Medfield gaming is deemed irrelevant by the guys making the video.

With so many devices launched every day, what claims to be new may not always be up to speed with current technology. In this video, you'll see how a Qualcomm Snapdragon processors compare to the competition's latest processor.
Video credits to QualcommVlog

Transcend 128 GB JetFlash 760 USB 3.0 Flash Drives

Well-known computer memory and storage manufacturer Transcend has just launched two new flash drive series that feature impressive capacities and high transfer rates. The new thumb drives are using the new USB 3.0 connection technology and thus are able to deliver high speeds.

The official names for the two series are Transcend JetFlash 760 and JetFlash 600. The company also touts high transfer rates even on the standard USB 2.0 ports as the internal layout of the NAND chips is a dual-channel one. The company further offers the free download of the exclusive Transcend Elite data management software, which features intelligent backup scheduling and the often required 256-bit AES file encryption capability.

The USB sticks are backed by a welcomed Lifetime-warranty and the 128 GB JetFlash 760 will be available for $200 (155 EUR).

Transcend New USB 3.0 Flash Drives
Images credits to Transcend

Windows Phone 8 Emulator and SDK Video Walkthrough Emerges

Microsoft is still a few weeks away from officially launching the Windows Phone 8 platform, yet some more info on what it would have to offer to its users is now available, courtesy of the pre-release SDK that was provided to some developers not too long ago.

A video walkthrough with the SDK and the included emulator has emerged over at WPCentral, though the entire platform is now yet visible to the public. Apparently, Microsoft has locked down a few areas of the SDK, so as to make sure that yet unannounced features won’t leak online. However, a few details on what to expect are still available in the video.

Windows Phone 8 has been long rumored to be planned for a late October launch, which means that it won’t be long before users will be able to enjoy it first hand, so stay tuned for more.

We got our hands on the near-finalized SDK for Windows Phone 8 and were able to take a look at the emulator, including a few new OS functions.
Video credits to WMExperts

BlackBerry 10 Native SDK Beta 3 Available for Download

Following the unveiling of new features and capabilities of the upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform, Canadian handset vendor Research In Motion also announced the availability of updated developer tools for those interested in building applications for the OS.

Among them, we can count the third beta flavor of the BlackBerry 10 Native SDK, which provides a nice range of enhancements over the previous releases, and which takes one step closer to the final flavor of the development kit. “Our APIs have evolved to a point where they are stable and functional enough to advertise backwards compatibility,” RIM notes in a blog post. “We also support a full feature set of APIs in the Native SDK – from connectivity APIs such as email and calendar to APIs that support deeper integration such as invocation to social APIs such as BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).” Called cards, one of the new features in the BlackBerry 10 platform relies on deep integration, enabling developers to connect some functionality with other apps.

There is an invocation framework that developers can register applications with so as to integrate functionality from other apps or to allow other apps to access features from theirs, such as the possibility to preview a photo. “Visually, a card typically appears as a previewer that takes up most of the screen. However, it appears as part of the application on which it is stacked. Essentially, you can use a gesture to slide the card in, partially or fully into your app,” RIM explains. “A Card is considered part of the application that invokes it and does not appear as a separate entity in the running applications grid. In addition, when the card’s function is complete, the user is automatically returned to its parent. In this way, a card ‘feels’ like part of the application.”

Additionally, there are BBM Social Platform APIs that developers can take advantage of when building applications, such as the Message Center APIs that can be used to launch the unified inbox, send emails, or receive notifications. RIM also included its powerful Push framework in the NDK, so that developers can design apps that can receive push data. The new development tools also come with an Advertising Service included, as well as with the APIs developers need to benefit from it. Other new features in the Native SDK include a Bluetooth API, APIs for Holster detection, a WallPaper API in the Cascades layer, APIs for sensors (rotation, orientation, magnetometer, gyroscope and accelerometer), geocoding API, and more. For a complete list of changes in this release, developers should head over to RIM’s website.

BlackBerry 10
Image credits to CrackBerry

Negative Pressure Liquid Cooling System

Most people don't have a reason to care about data centers, the so-called “server farms” responsible for the continued availability of all the world's websites, but that shouldn't stop them from taking a look at the new cooling technology designed for them.

Cooling is one of the things that consume the most power in a data center or server. Knowing that such clusters waste around 90% of all the power they eat, coming up with better solutions is a priority. The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (CALIT2) at the University of California San Diego is demonstrating one such solution: the negative-pressure liquid cooling system. A rack-based, direct-to-the-chip, leak-free technology, it can be tailored to any server and is driven by both a pump and natural circulation. One of the key benefits is that the lower than atmospheric pressure minimizes the effects of leaks. Instead of coolant escaping, the outside air will try to get in instead. Maintenance is easy as well. When a server or two need to be removed or changed, there is no need to shut down the whole system.

Flometrics, the developer of the cooling technology, made sure that the Cool-Flo pumps, derived from rocket engine-cooling technology (NASA-approved), had a no-drip hot swap connector. "Not only is there an advantage of power reduction by 25 to 35 percent, but you are lowering existing CPU temperatures by 30 degrees Celsius, resulting in practically unlimited density," explained CEO of Flometrics, Steve Harrington. "Cool-Flo is a good fit for Calit2’s server needs given the institute’s commitment to reducing the energy intensity of campus IT and improving energy efficiency." By reducing the air conditioning requirements, the system power needs are cut down compared to conventional cooling solutions. The lower power needed to run the servers, as a result of the minimized CPU energy loss to heat, helps achieve that.

Flometrics Cool-Flo
Image credits to CALIT2

Videos Credits to Flometrics

Maingear Alpha 24 Super Stock, All-in-One with Ivy Bridge CPU and NVIDIA Graphics

The Alpha 24 Super Stock all-in-one personal computer is described by Maingear's CEO Wallace Santos as the proof that people don't need to sacrifice anything when choosing an all-in-one over a standard desktop PC.

The so-called disadvantages that all-in-one systems have compared to desktops are multiple: lack of upgradeability, lower top performance potential, little overclocking support (if any) and, of course, a higher price. Maingear decided to eliminate these drawbacks, or at least offer enough to completely counterbalance them. The overclocking issue is easy: people who consider buying an AiO aren't thinking of tweaking the clock by default. The lack of upgradeability and performance issues were solved in a single move: Maingear equipped the Alpha 24 Super Stock with high-end components that won't actually need changing for months, years even. That leaves the price, and we dare say that the number achieved by the custom system maker, $1,349 / 1049 – 1,349 Euro, is more than decent when taking into account just what Alpha 24 Super Stock can do.

The Core i3-3240 Ivy Bridge CPU (3.4 GHz) is the base processor option, but a Core i7 can be chosen instead. Up to 16GB of RAM back up the unit. For graphics, Maingear selected an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 GPU, but has the GeForce GTX 680 in reserve, just in case. Moving on, a hard drive supplies the configuration with as much as 3TB of storage space, though an SSD can be employed instead, with a top capacity of 256 GB but faster data rates. Everything else follows the standard blueprint: HDMI, USB ports (2.0 only for some reason), mic/headphone jacks, ODD, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and an ODD (DVD or Blu-ray).

"In this day and age, there shouldn't be a reason anyone would need to compromise for an all-in-one performance PC," says Wallace Santos, CEO and founder of MAINGEAR. "Other all-in-one PC solutions pale in comparison to the ALPHA 24 and can be summed up with just a few words: 1080p gaming set to Ultra, maxed anti-aliasing and tessellation."

Maingear Alpha 24 Super Stock
Image credits to Maingear

JEDEC: DDR4 Memory Standard Is Now Official

JEDEC is an international organization that encompasses many memory chip manufacturers, module manufacturers and other technology companies.

The organization develops and sets the standard specification in the DRAM memory field, and now it has officially launched the DDR4 standard. This means that now DDR4 mainboards and memory modules will start appearing from various manufacturers as there currently is a standard that will ensure compatibility between the different devices. Many believe that DDR4 will not be too popular during the next 12 months as DDR3 has greatly surpassed its specifications, and this will make initial DDR4 implementation look less impressive than DDR3-based ones. Also, just like any new technology, DDR4 modules will initially be quite expensive when compared with DDR3 DIMMs so there will be yet another factor working against widespread DDR4 use. Even so, many difference companies are hard at work developing DDR4-based technologies and we’ve already reported here about Cadence’s first DDR4 memory controller that’s manufactured in TSMC’s 28nm technology.

Intel is also preparing its own DDR4 memory controller that will likely be integrated in future Haswell processors, but even Intel is not gearing for a 2013 launch. The Haswell DDR4 version will likely land on the market in 2014 with an LGA2011 implementation or something similar. DDR3 memory was officially standardized back in 2007, but work on DDR4 started way back in 2005 while being initially projected for a 2008 launch. The roadmap and development plan has been changed in 2010 and only in 2011 did we start to see the first samples of DDR4 technology.

DDR4 DIMMs will have 284 pins while DDR3 standard modules only have 240 pins. The SO-DIMM version will feature 256 pins while the DDR3 SO-DIMMs have only 204 pins. On the power consumption side, DDR4 DIMMs will need 1.2 volts while standard DDR3 modules use 1.5 volts. High-density modules using 3D chips manufactured using TSV technology will also make an appearance in 2014, but one of the most important aspects is the point to point nature of the standard. This means that a single module will likely be directly connected to a single memory channel.

Samsung 16 GB DDR4 RDIMM Memory Module
Image credits to Samsung

Sep 25, 2012

AOKP Jelly Bean Build 3 Now Available for Download

A new Android 4.1 Jelly Bean-based release is now available from the Android Open Kang Project team, namely build 3, which comes only one week after the second build was made available.

The new custom ROM flavor comes with a nice range of features packed inside, including improvements for those with SMS QuickReply, IME Switcher & Vib/Ring toggle as NavRing target, as well as various fixes for bugs discovered in the previous release. Stopwatch & Countdown in the Clock app (CM), and Expert Calculator functions (Graph, Matrices, etc.) (CM) were also included in this release.

Moreover, the ROM now offers expanded support for devices, and can be installed on Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S 4G at Sprint, as well as on Galaxy S II i9100 and i9100g, and Samsung Galaxy S III i9300. More info on the new build can be found on the AOKP website. Download links are available there too.

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean logo
Image credits to Google

PNY ThinkSafe, Portable Laptop Locking Systems

Password protection is great, and there are even biometric security systems all in laptops nowadays, but there is something comforting, for some people anyway, in knowing that no one but them can lift the lid.

PNY has introduced a trio of locking systems that ensures precisely that: ThinkSafe Portable Laptop Locking Systems. Three in number, they bear the fairly self-explanatory names of ThinkSafe Portable Laptop Locking System, ThinkSafe Portable MacBook Locking System and PNY ThinkSafe Portable Security Clamp.

The first two have numeric keypads that need a special combination to be inserted before allowing access. The third is basically a vise that keeps the laptop firmly shut. The Locking Systems are priced at $39.99 / €39.99, while the Clamp ships for $29.99 / €29.99. Go here to learn more.

PNY ThinkSafe
Images credits to PNY

Apple SVP Phil Schiller: iPhone 5 Scratches Are “Normal”

Early iPhone 5 adopters are becoming concerned about the "scuffability" of the iPhone 5, following widespread reports that the aluminum chassis housing the phone’s electronics is prone to getting easily scratched.

So one customer decided to take matters up with the black suits at Apple. Alex decided he’d email Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice pre… Apple’s sales guy, in short. He asked if the company had any plans to address an issue that hasn’t even been confirmed as an issue – “scuffgate.” Hit the link, if you’ve been away from your RSS feed lately. “Any aluminum product may scratch or chip with use, exposing its natural silver color,” reads the email reply from Apple SVP of Product Marketing, Philip Schiller. “That is normal,” he said, indicating that Apple isn’t planning to do anything about the so-called “scuffgate” issue.

What’s interesting to see is that no matter what material Apple uses, and no matter what advantages one poses over the other, the media is always up in arms over the likelihood of damage. As if the rest of the industry has bulletproof offerings, or something.

It's less than 24 hours after our iPhone 5 Teardown and we have received a lot of questions about it. It's come to our attention that a lot of you are concerned about the scuffability of the iPhone 5's aluminum rear case, so much so that there's already a scandal brewing around it, which the Internet is calling "scuff-gate." We set out to find out just how much truth there is to the latest scandal surrounding a Apple product release, and have a little fun while we were at it.
Video Credits to iFixitYourself

TP-Link TL-WN823N, 300Mbps Mini-Wireless N USB Adapter

TP-Link has chosen to advertise its newest product, N300 TL-WN823N, as a direct competitor to an item from Netgear, one that is more expensive while not noticeably superior to it.

The device that TP-Link aims to steal customers from is the Netgear N300 WNA3100M, priced at $36.99 / 29-36.99 Euro. Basically, both Netgear's small stick and TP-Link's 300Mbps Mini-Wireless N USB Adapter establish a strong wireless connection when plugged inside a USB port. "Our customers tell us they need a portable wireless adapter that has the power to provide fast connection speeds to their laptop, smart phone and tablet at times when only one wired connection is available," says Lewis Wu, director of sales at TP-LINK USA. "This adapter solves the single Internet connection challenge while still being easy to carry." Normally, wireless connections are provided by a router. We know of many such routers, some quite powerful and capable of broadcasting over a wide range.

Alas, there are many areas where the signal is low, and using wired LAN is just so much easier. Unfortunately, wired connections are few, and not something that phones and tablets can take advantage of, due to the absence of compatible ports. That is where the TP-Link N300 TL-WN823N comes in. Once connected, it automatically turns the LAN of a PC into an 802.11 b/g/n network. All this for the price of $21.99 / 17-21.99 Euro. The SoftAP Mode of operation is the one responsible for this seamless transition between LAN and Wi-Fi, but it isn't the only asset of the new gadget. A second element deserves mention as well: One Button Security Setup, which establishes a secure connection at a single press of the WPS button (Wi-Fi protected Setup).

Those who would like to read everything on the new product will find the page of the TP-Link TL-WN823N right here.

TP-Link TL-WN823N
Image credits to TP-Link

Lytro Light Field Camera Reaches US Market

The Lytro camera, reputed for being capable of capturing the entire field of light and, thus, allowing a photo to be focused after it has been taken, is making the headlines again.

We don't have any new tech breakthrough to talk about this time. Instead, we are here to inform you that, if you live in the US, the product will be available online from stores like Amazon, Target and BestBuy from October 9, 2012 onwards. After that, in November, Target's CityTarget brick-and-mortar stores in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Westwood, Seattle, and Chicago will have it up for sale too.

Unfortunately, the same doesn't go for the rest of the world, which is really what we are hoping for, since Lytro has been selling the camera, in the US, through its website for months. Granted, Canada's Future Shop will get it on October 9 too, and Australia on October 10, but Hong Kong and Singapore will only get it “starting mid-October.” As if the ambiguity weren't enough, there seems to be no intention on Lytro's part to start accepting international orders through its website.

Lytro light field camera
Image credits to Lytro

Kingston ValueRAM Capable of 2,400 MHz Is Incredibly Cheap

One would think that a memory module capable of working well in excess of 2,000 MHz would cost more than average, but Kingston has shown that there are exceptions even to that rule.

The company didn't actually make any announcement about it, but that didn't stop some people from having the epiphany by accident. It turns out that a 4 GB Kingston value RAM memory module ships for only $18.99, or 14.70-18.99 Euro on European retailers. Obviously, the 1,600 MHz frequency and the latency of 11-11-11-28, all on 1.5 Volts, makes that tag seem like a logical choice. Sure, it is low, but only due to how poorly memory has been selling over the past year. The price is also “owed” to the lack of Intel CMP certification and the distinct absence of heatsinks.

However, when using the module in overclocking, the 4GB Kingston ValueRam becomes a 2,400 MHz device with a latency of CL10. Considering that even 1,600 MHz is enough to eliminate bottlenecks on Intel and AMD motherboards, this is a considerable accomplishment.

Kingston ValueRam overclocked to 2,400 MHz
Images credits to VR-Zone

BlackBerry 10 New Screenshots Emerge (Again)

Research In Motion is still tight-lipped on what its upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system will have to offer to users, yet info on the matter is slowly emerging online, via various leaks.

New screenshots with the platform are now available for your viewing pleasure, confirming that there will be a Maps application available in the OS, and that users will also benefit from NFC support. Moreover, a Mobile HotSpot application with support for up to 8 Wi-Fi-enabled devices will also be included in the platform, a nice enhancement over the feature present in BlackBerry 7 OS.

The upcoming platform version will also come with an HTML5 browser, which should deliver great performance levels, at least this is what one of the screenshots that BlackBerryItalia.it brought online shows. The first BlackBerry 10 devices are set to arrive on shelves in early 2013, which means that additional info on the platform will emerge soon, so stay tuned.

BlackBerry 10 Screenshots
Images credits to BlackBerryItalia.it

Nokia to Sue HTC over Polycarbonate Design of HTC Windows Phone 8X

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is reportedly considering filing a lawsuit against Taiwanese maker HTC, seeking a ban on its newly unveiled Windows Phone 8X smartphone.

The handset, unveiled to the world last week, features the same polycarbonate body that Nokia has been using for about one year for its Windows Phone devices, and resembles a lot the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 smartphones that were unveiled in early September. HTC’s new smartphone indeed looks a lot like the Lumia handsets, especially when put side by side with the Lumia 820, Nokia’s mid-range device. Nokia hasn’t made an official announcement regarding its plans, but PC-Tablet.com cites trusted sources claiming that the company is indeed considering a possible lawsuit against HTC. “The reports are saying Nokia is preparing to get HTC 8X banned in various parts of the world from going on sale when it will launch in November. Nokia has said in reports that the front-face of HTC 8X looks identically same as of the Lumia 820 followed by side-curves of the phone body,” said sources said.

Of course, there are a wide range of hardware and feature differences between the Lumia smartphones and HTC’s new Windows Phone 8 devices, but that doesn’t change the fact that they sport a similar outer design and color flavors. Both Nokia and HTC are expected to bring their WP8 handsets to shelves in November, and they should make them available in a wide range of markets around the world. Lawsuits over resembling phone designs are rather common, and it wouldn’t come too much as a surprise if Nokia indeed pursued this in court. However, with Windows Phone struggling to gain some market share, a ban on HTC’s 8X would likely hurt sales, and we’re almost certain that Microsoft does not want that. If so, the Redmond-based company might intervene and try to determine its partners to settle the conflict, provided that Nokia indeed sees one here, outside the court. Stay tuned for more on this.

Windows Phone 8X by HTC
Image credits to HTC

Nokia Lumia 820
Image credits to Nokia

Sep 24, 2012

Casio Elixim EX-H50 16.1MP 24x Digital Photo Camera

Japanese watch maker Casio has just launched a new compact mega-zoom digital photo camera that comes with various useful features to make a tourist’s life easier. The new model can also film HD movies in 720p mode and sports sensor-shift image stabilizationn.

The official denomination of the new model is Casio Elixim EX-H50 and it features a 1/2.3” CCD sensor. We’d really like all compact cameras to move away from 1 / 2.x” type of sensors and to stick to 1 / 1.1x sensors, but it seems that pennies matter much more than quality or user satisfaction these days.

The new camera can’t film in FullHD, but it features an impressive 24x optical zoom and this is quite an achievement in such a small body and brings some competition to Panasonic’s famous TZ line.

Casio Elixim EX-H50 16.1MP 24x Digital Photo Camera
Images credits to Casio

ASUS F2A85-V Pro FM2 AMD Motherboard

World’s largest motherboard manufacturer, Taiwanese company ASUS has just announced its new F2A85 mainboard series that offer support for AMD’s FM2 Trinity processors. The new boards come with high quality components and a rich bundle of hardware and software technologies.

The “Dual Intelligent Processors 3” and “DIGI+ Power Control” technologies offer significant power consumption reductions while the latter also brings a possible 68% CPU frequency boost along with increased RAM overclocking capability. One important addition is the USB 3.0 Boost that is actually UASP driver support and, besides the marketing talk, this brings real performance and stability improvements to the USB 3.0 system of the mainboard.

The most powerful version is the ASUS F2A85-V PRO that features no less than three PCI-Express x16 slots along with two PCI-Express x1 slots and two classic PCI 32-bit slots. The first two PCIe x16 slots can operate in dual x8 mode, while the third PCIe x16 slot can only have an x4 bandwidth. SATA3, eSATA and USB 3.0 support come on all the motherboards in the F2A85 series, so we can definitely say that ASUS is ready for the Trinity launch coming this October.

ASUS F2A85-V Pro FM2 AMD Motherboard
Images credits to ASUS

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