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Oct 31, 2012

ZTE U950, an Affordable Quad-Core Smartphone at Only $160

Chinese mobile phone maker ZTE appears set to ensure that it does remain strong on its fourth position on the mobile market, and the newly announced U950 smartphone should help it do so.

Packing a 1.3GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor inside, the new handset was announced for China at only 999 yuan (around $160 / €123), with Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich platform loaded on it. The smartphone also comes with a 4.3-inch touchscreen display, 1GB of RAM inside, 4GB of internal memory, a 5-megapixel photo snapper on the back, and a front camera for making video calls while on the go.

The phone is 9mm thick, sports a 2,000 mAh battery inside, and is expected to arrive on shelves on November 11. No details on its international availability have been provided for the time being.

ZTE U950
Images credits to News.Mydrivers.com

Nokia Lumia 510 Listed as Available in India

Nokia’s Windows Phone 7.5-based Lumia 510, a smartphone made official only last week, is now available for purchase for mobile phone users in India.

The handset is listed on the website of online retailer FlipKart with a price tag of INR 9,999 attached to it. Initially said to be delivered in 6-8 business days, the smartphone is now listed as out of stock. Lumia 510 is an entry-level device, featuring a 4-inch TFT capacitive touchscreen and an 800MHz single-core processor inside, complemented by 256MB of RAM.

The phone’s specs list also includes a 5-megapixel camera on the back, 4G of internal memory, 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, built-in GPS receiver, and a 1,300 mAh battery. The downside is that the new device will not get a taste of Windows Phone 8, although it will most probably be upgraded to Windows Phone 7.8 when it arrives.

Nokia Lumia 510 listed on Flipkart
Image credits to Flipkart

ECS New LGA 1155 Micro-ATX Motherboard

Even though PC sales aren't expected to rise all that much, Windows 8 or no, motherboard makers continue to sell all kinds of platforms. In this particular instance, Elitegroup Computer Systems is presenting one.

The mainboard has the micro-ATX form factor and bears the name of H61H2-MV, which does a good job of revealing which chipset is used as the basis. Contrary to what its name might suggest, the Intel H61 Express chipset is actually the low-end core logic for LGA 1155 central processing units (Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge). The socket is powered by a 3+1+1 phase VRM and is wired to a pair of memory slots (DDR3-1600 DIMM), for a maximum capacity of 16 GB. Two expansion slots are available as well. One of them is a PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot, while the other is a PCI Express 2.0 x16 for graphics cards.

Furthermore, ECS included four SATA 3.0 Gbps ports (all wired to the PCH, like the PCIe slots), but no SATA 6.0 Gbps. Other features include 6-channel HD audio, DVI, HDMI, UEFI BIOS and a D-Sub output, making the H61H2-MV very shrewd for something of its size. We may have said that this is a micro-ATX motherboard and, indeed, ECS has labeled it as such, but the reality is a bit different. Even with two PCIe slots, the platform is small enough that it might just fit in mini-ITX-compatible cases. As for the looks, ECS decided on an all-black PCB.

All in all, the motherboard might be a good fit for those who want to put together a strong HTPC or LAN Party gaming rig, although the lack of SATA III storage (SATA 6.0 Gbps) could be a bit off-putting. The price will be of much less than $100, or 76-100 Euro according to exchange rates.

ECS LGA 1155 Micro-ATX Motherboard
Images credits to ECS

Sony C2105 (Unannounced) Emerges in GLBenchmarks

Japanese mobile phone maker Sony appears set to bring to the market a nice range of new devices next year, one of which is said to sport the model number of Sony C2105.

The handset has just emerged in GLBenchmark with a FWVGA screen resolution and with on-screen virtual buttons, which makes it the first of the kind from Sony, XperiaBlog notes. Moreover, the handset was listed with a 1GHz CPU inside, most probably single-core, but with Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean loaded on it (firmware version 15.0.A.0.8).

The phone is expected to land on shelves next year as an entry- to mid-level device, similar to this year’s Xperia J handset, but situated a bit higher than the recently spotted Xperia E (C150X) and Xperia E Dual (C160X), yet no official info on it has been provided as of now.

Sony C2105 Emerges in GLBenchmarks
Image credits to XperiaBlog

VIA ARTiGO A1250, World's Smallest Quad-Core PC

Showing that Intel's dismissive attitude towards it and ARM doesn't really matter, VIA Technologies has introduced the arguably smallest quad-core x86 system ever designed: VIA ARTiGO A1250.

The VIA ARTiGO A1250 is about as large as one of those old mobile phones that barely anyone uses these days. For that matter, smartphones are thinner and smaller than it is, but not by a large margin. Basically, the new PC is as large as a deck of playing cards, a size which belies its performance, to say the least. Thanks to the 1.0 GHz VIA quad-core central processing unit and the VIA VX11H MSP (media system processor), all sorts of media can be played, up to and including stereoscopic 3D. Thus, the ARTiGO A1250 can act as a standard PC or home server, maybe even as a means to turn an HDTV into a Smart TV, provided the display has a VESA mount at the back, where the PC can be placed.

Hotels might buy a few of these units for management purposes too, while digital signage and surveillance applications could benefit just as much. Home automation is yet another potential venue. "By leveraging the ultra compact Pico-ITX form factor, the VIA ARTiGO A1250 is able to deliver a powerful x86 quad core computing experience in the smallest system design on the market," said Epan Wu, head of the VIA embedded platform division, VIA Technologies, Inc. "The VIA ARTiGO A1250 boasts the latest technology with 3D stereoscopic display and USB 3.0 support for an unparalleled ultra compact computing experience, making small truly beautiful."

The power draw of the new system is 32W, which is much less than a normal light bulb, despite the presence of one 2.5" SATA HDD or Flash SSD, up to 8 GB RAM and a bunch of ports (VGA, 2 x USB 3.0, Gigabit LAN, audio/mic). Finally, as a bonus, VIA provides customers with Windows Embedded Standard 7 (WES), WES2009 & Linux operating systems, plus third-party software security.

Image credits to VIA

MSI Debuts Its 27-Inch All-in-One PC

Micro-Star International released several all-in-one PCs over the past few weeks, but it isn't ready to stop. Not yet. The AE2712G is proof of that.

Measuring 27 inches in diagonal, the AE2712 has a Full HD display (1920 x 1080 pixels) with 10-point multitouch support.It has an Intel Core i5 CPU acting as the heart, while customizable storage and RAM back it up. The AE2712G has an NVIDIA GeForce GT630M graphics card as well. Needless to say, both run Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system.

Sales will begin in the first week of November 2012 (this one, as it were), but we do not know the prices. They probably won't be as low as some may like, since MSI decided to implement Military Class II components and the MSI Instant Display Technology (activates the display without needing to press the power button if an HDMI cable is connected).

MSI Wind Top AE2712/AE2712G
Images credits to MSI

Galaxy Nexus Gets Unofficial Android 4.2 Camera and Gallery

On Monday, Google made official its latest flavor of Android, with various enhancements packed inside, including new camera and gallery app.

Today, the software is available for Galaxy Nexus, the Android 4.1.2-powered Google phone that was made official last year. This is not an official release for the device, but some enthusiasts have already managed to port the new camera software to the older handset, so that users can already take advantage of the Photo Sphere feature packed inside it.

However, it seems that the port is not fully operational, and that some issues might still emerge when loading the new camera app on a Galaxy Nexus. Those who would like to give it a try should know that it does require tweaking the device. Some additional info on the matter is available through the Android Central Forums.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Image credits to Google

HP ElitePad 900 Windows 8 Tablet Got FCC Approval

HP revealed the ElitePad 900 tablet at the start of this month (October 2012), but that did not mean that shipments could start.

Indeed, the tablet wasn't even approved by the Federal Communications Commission yet. The approval has finally been passed though, for the 3G model at least. The 850MHz, 1,700MHz and 1,900MHz bands are supported. Dual-band 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless support is confirmed by the filing as well, as is the existence of NFC (near field communications).

Since sales won't start until January 2013, the cost was kept under wraps. If the other Windows 8 devices on the market are anything to go by, the tag of the HP ElitePad 900 probably won't be very appealing. We can still hope though.

HP ElitePad 900
Image credits to Anandtech

Oct 30, 2012

Samsung ATIV S Video Ad

ATIV S is the first Windows Phone 8-based smartphone Samsung will bring to the market before the end of this year, and will be released on the networks of various wireless carriers around the world.

This is only one of the devices that will hit the market with Microsoft’s new mobile OS on board and should deliver a great experience to all users, especially when coupled with Windows 8 devices. In fact, Samsung’s commercial for the smartphone, which can be seen embedded above, stresses on the features and capabilities that all of its newest Windows products, including the ATIV S, have to offer.

The company notes that it is committed to delivering more appealing devices powered by Windows Phone 8 in the not too distant future. The already announced ATIV Odyssey for Verizon will be one of them.

With the introduction of Microsoft's Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 operating systems, Samsung debuts "ATIV", the new brand for its Windows-based devices which includes the ATIV SMART PC, ATIV Smart PC Pro, ATIV Tab, and ATIV S. 
Samsung is one of very few companies that is capable of offering such a diverse product lineup and is committed to offering more choices based on the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 platforms for consumers.
Samsung's ATIV devices are simple, powerful, and beautiful. Together, Samsung and Microsoft will provide users with an advanced, productive and creative experience with its ATIV devices. Its full lineup is designed for a simple user experience to share your work and ideas, as well as enjoy consuming content.
Video credits to SAMSUNGmobile

Meet Steve. Meet his New Windows Phone, First Windows Phone 8 Ad

Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer is actively involved in the marketing of Windows Phone 8, and he is present in the very first video ad with the platform.

According to the Redmond-based software giant, Windows Phone 8 has been designed as the most personal mobile operating system out there, and said commercial, available above, comes as a proof of that. The video presents Steve Ballmer’s own Windows Phone 8 device, with CEO’s own voice heard in the background.

His phone is different from the smartphone of another Windows Phone user, and Ballmer stressed on this yesterday in San Francisco when he mentioned Joe Belfiore’s and Jessica Alba’s Windows Phones in addition to his. With the possibility to change not only what’s being displayed on the screen, but also the color of the device (through shells as those available for Lumia 820), a Windows Phone can indeed become highly personal.

What makes Windows Phone, Steve's phone? Find out from Steve Ballmer and check out the Live Apps he uses most on his Start screen.

Meet yours: http://newwp.it/aP85hI
Video credits to WindowsPhone

Crucial DDR3L 8GB and 16 GB Server RAM

While desktop memory modules do not come in 16 GB capacities yet, server modules do, even in low-voltage configuration.

Crucial's new DDR3L registered DIMMs are the latest evidence to that effect. Created specifically for Intel's Xeon-based servers, as part of the Intel Demo Depot Program, the modules offer 8 GB to 16 GB capacities. So far, Intel Demo Depot Program consists of more than 200 servers. Essentially, it is an initiative that lets prospective Xeon server buyers loan a server for testing before they actually buy it.

Crucial, being a sub-division of Micron, submits its modules to Micron's Systems Compatibility Group qualification, validation, and testing procedures. In layman terms, Intel is lending servers to possible buyers and Crucial is using the chance as an opportunity to advertise its random access memory.

Crucial DDR3L DIMM modules
Image credits to Crucial

Lenovo Thinkpad Helix Convertible Ultrabook

The “ultrabook convertible” product type got introduced just a few days ago, but it is really more of a retroactive baptism for all the convertible ultrabooks that existed before.

One of the ultrabooks with the ability to become a tablet is called ThinkPad Helix and was invented by Lenovo. Unfortunately, this particular device is not available worldwide. In fact, it was supposed to only be sold in China, Lenovo's home market. New information suggests that the laptop will be sold in Israel as well, meaning that the rest of the world should receive it too, sooner or later.

ThinkPad Helix is an 11.6-inch ultrabook (1920 x 1080 pixels) with a detachable IPS touchscreen and 10-hour battery life. It runs on a Core i7 Intel CPU, features 3G, a stylus, and near field communication (NFC).

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
Image credits to Lenovo Israel

Google Nexus 10 Tablet Launched, Brings 2560 x 1600 Display

It turns out that we spoke too soon when we said, yesterday (October 29, 2012), that Google would not be selling the Samsung-manufactured Nexus 10 tablet as planned.

Although Hurricane Sandy really did force the company to cancel its launch event, Google decided to just make the announcement on the Internet and be done with it. This is the fabled ultra-high resolution slate that iPad lovers might want to watch out for. The 10.055-inch Super AMOLED screen is a 2560 x 1600 panel (300 pixels per inch / ppi). Since we are on the subject, we may as well say what other important components are part of this slate. The Samsung Exynos 5250 is the so-called heart. It is the first Cortex A15-based processor to hit the market and runs at 1.7 GHz. 2 GB of RAM are present as well, along with a Mali-T604 GPU (graphics processing unit) and 16 GB or 32 GB of NAND Flash storage.

Curiously enough, there is no microSD card slot here, so buyers won't be able to extend the capacity, unlike on most other tablets of today. Finally, the tablet is equipped with NFC (near field communication), Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. As for software, the Android 4.2 operating system is installed (Jelly Bean with a minor update), complete with multi-user functionality. What that means is that multiple user accounts can be set up, like in Microsoft Windows, with their own passwords, file access settings, game high score charts, home screens, music, etc. Finally, the battery can last for up to nine hours of video playback, or 500 hours of standby.

Google will be selling the Nexus 10 from November 13, 2012 onwards, through Walmart and the Google Play store, in U.S., U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Canada and Japan. The price is of $399 / 399 Euro for the 16 GB slate and $499 / 499 Euro for the 32 GB tablet.

Google Nexus 10 Tablet
Image credits to Google

Nokia Calendar Fix for Belle Refresh Devices

Nokia might be focused on the launch of its new Windows Phone 8 devices, but it seems that the company isn’t forgetting about those owning Symbian devices either.

The company has just started to push out a Calendar fix for the owners of Nokia N8 handsets running under the Belle Refresh operating system, in an attempt to resolve some issues that the app was found to be affected by. Following the update, users should see the Symbian Calendar app brought up to version 10.6, the guys over at All About Symbian note.

Users should receive a notification on the availability of this update, but they can also perform manual checks to see whether it has arrived or not, by firing up SW Update. The new firmware requires for the handset to be restarted.

Nokia releases calendar fix for Nokia Belle Refresh
Image credits to All About Symbian

Eurocom Reveals Powerful Mobile Workstations Featuring NVIDIA Quadro K Graphics

After launching several gaming notebooks, Eurocom is more than ready to expand its collection of professional mobile workstations, which is precisely what it has just done.

The company has introduced the Eurocom Scorpius, Neptune 2.0 and Racer 2.0 high-end mobile computers. All of them have made the news for one reason or other at least once before, but only now have they been formally put up for sale, in their professional configurations at least. The Scorpius and Neptune 2.0 both measure 17.3 inches in diagonal (1920 x 1080 pixels displays, of course), but the Racer 2.0 is smaller, at 15.6 inches (the same resolution though). All of them allow buyers to choose between NVIDIA Quadro K5000M and K3000M-series graphics cards. That isn't where the customizability ends though. In fact, prospective buyers will get the option of choosing from among several CPUs (all of them Intel Ivy Bridge though), DDR3 memory configurations (up to 32 GB) and storage drives (up to four HDDs/SSDs on Scorpius, three on Neptune 2.0 and two on Racer 2.0).

"The stability of our systems during CAD operations comes from a lot of work from our technical team in terms of testing drivers and testing applications to make sure things work perfectly," explains Mark Bialic, Eurocom president. Eurocom promises that its workstations can run any sort of software with ease, which makes sense given the hardware. Dassault Systemes Solidworks, Siemens Solid Edge, Creo Elements Pro, CATIA and Autodesk Inventor all operate to full specification, although the performance will vary according to specs. And now we might as well give a short description of NVIDIA's Quadro adapters. The K5000M has a 28nm-based Kepler GPU and 4 GB of GDDR5 VRAM on 256 bit bandwidth. The K3000M is a bit slower and has 2 GB memory.

Eurocom reveals mobile workstations with NVIDIA Quadro graphics
Image credits to Eurocom

Oct 29, 2012

How Remove Your iOS Stock Apps with PassHack

Ever wanted to remove the standard iOS apps that you never use on your iPhone? Now you can, thanks to a nifty little hack from RageMasta & macmixing called PassHack.

PassHack uses Passbook to remove stock iOS apps that many people never use on their iPhone, such as GameCenter and Stocks. To install the Passbook shortcut, users must simply visit www.cydiahacks.com via Safari on their iOS device (yes, apparently iPod touch and iPad are supported too), tap “Get PassHack,” then tap “Add to Passbook.” When the pass gets downloaded, tap “Add” to save it.

The video above details the process and shows you how you can get it done yourself on your own iPhone. Best of all, it doesn’t require a jailbreak, according to its developers. AppAdvice also has a nice tutorial on hand. If you ever wanted to eliminate that pesky Game Center icon from your iPhone’s home screen, now’s the time to do it.

Video credits to macmixing

Windows Phone 8 Handsets to Arrive in Europe This Weekend

In addition to making more features of the Windows Phone 8 platform official, Microsoft also announced details regarding the availability of new devices around the world.

Windows Phone 8 handsets from Nokia, HTC and Samsung will become available for purchase in Europe starting with this weekend, Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer said on stage at the company’s event in San Francisco. He also announced that these devices will continue to roll out around the world in November, and that new devices will be made available in various markets.

In the United States, Windows Phone 8 devices will land on shelves at wireless carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, Ballmer also said. "The global launch of Windows Phone 8 is just starting," Microsoft’s CEO also said at the aforementioned event.

Windows Phone 8 devices arrive in Europe this weekend
Image credits to Microsoft

Samsung Galaxy S IV to be Packed with Exynos 5450 CPU

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics is expected to make the successor of its Galaxy S III smartphone official in the first half of the next year, some of the latest reports on the matter suggest.

The company is also said to plan packing the upcoming handset with an Exynos 5450 processor inside, although no official announcement on the matter has been made so far. Galaxy S III, this year’s flagship device, has been launched with an Exynos 4412 SoC inside, a quad-core processor clocked in at 1.4GHz (based on Cortex – A9 architecture). Next year’s Android flagship should prove even faster than this device, and the aforementioned Exynos 5450 CPU would be the main reason for that, a recent article on DDaily reads. The SoC will arrive as a 2.0GHz quad-core processor (based on Cortex – A15 architecture), and should deliver better performance capabilities when compared to the Exynos 5250 chip that Samsung is said to have initially planned for the device. Apparently, the upcoming Galaxy S IV smartphone will prove to be a real game changer, at least this is what initial reports on it suggest.

In addition to the fast processor inside, the smartphone is also expected to arrive on shelves with a large 5-inch touchscreen display, capable of delivering a full HD resolution. The latest flagship Android handsets from LG are expected to prove worthy rivals to Samsung’s own devices, which would determine the company to also increase the build quality of these smartphones, to strengthen its leading position on the market. Unfortunately, with no official confirmation on this, the news on Samsung’s plans for the next year are merely rumors and should be treated as such until a formal announcement is made. However, there is also the possibility that these details will pan out, and that the successor of Galaxy S III will indeed prove to be a highly appealing device, just as any enthusiasts is expecting.

Samsung Exynos 5250
Image credits to SamMobile

Windows Phone 8 to Bring Live Wallpapers on the Lockscreen

One of the appealing features that Windows Phone 8 might arrive on shelves with is support for live wallpapers on the lockscreen.

Microsoft has already promised a wide range of new features inside Windows Phone 8, but it hasn’t detailed all of them as of now, though it might not be too long before it does that. In the meantime, a series of new photos with Windows Phone 8, available courtesy of Nokia Innovation, show that the platform will bring live wallpapers to the lockscreen.

Various notifications from applications will also be displayed on the screen when the device is locked, and there will also be Bing search changing wallpapers available for users to opt for, it seems. Hopefully, all there is to say on the matter will be unveiled during the event that Microsoft preps for tonight, so keep an eye on this space for more.

Live wallpapers on Windows Phone 8 lockscreen
Image credits to Nokia Innovation

LG Nexus 4 in Hands-On Video, Uses Wireless Charging

LG’s first Nexus smartphone is expected to become available for purchase with a nice range of appealing features packed inside, including support for wireless charging, and a newly leaked manual for the device confirms that.

Spotted in a wide range of leaked photos and marketing materials lately, the device can be seen once again in a hands-on video that offers a quick look at its outer design and main features. From what can be seen there, the device is moving quite fast, most probably due not only to the new flavor of Android it is expected to arrive on shelves with, but also courtesy of its high-end hardware specifications.

The phone was expected to become official today, but Google postponed the event, and we should sit tight and wait for it to be rescheduled.

LG Nexus 4
Images credits to Youtube

LG Nexus 4 Official to Arrive on November 13

Although today’s Android event set for New York City has been cancelled, Google has still made the new Nexus devices official, and the LG Nexus 4 was one of them.

The handset was built as a collaboration between Google and LG, and comes with a host of top-of-the-line capabilities, just as previously speculated. For starters, we should note that the new device hits shelves with a large 4.7-inch 1280 x 768 IPS display, as well as with a powerful 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor packed inside. The feature list of the new device also includes an 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back, with support for full HD video recording, as well as a 1.3MP camera on the front for making video calls. “LG is proud and excited to play this role in helping build the latest Nexus smart-phone,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, President and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “Users will be delighted by the perfectly balanced combination of form and function with the latest generation of Android.”

Nexus 4 is the first Google phone to have been built courtesy of a collaboration between Google and LG, yet it should provide users with all the features and capabilities that they were looking for in a device included in the popular Nexus series. “This is the first time we collaborated with LG to build a Nexus device,” said Andy Ru-bin, senior vice president of mobile and digital content at Google. “They brought an extraordinary amount of talent to the project, and the result is a feature-packed device that feels great in your hand, and blazingly fast under the hood.” Some of the main features of the new device include scratch resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 2 coating on top of the 320ppi screen, to offer extra protection, along with support for 3D graphics and gameplay, and the latest Google apps packed inside.

The new device also features 2GB of RAM for increased performance capabilities, 8GB / 16GB of internal memory, a 2,100mAh Li-Polymer battery inside, and the new Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system loaded on top. LG also packed Nexus 4 with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, GSM/HSPA+ compatibility, Wireless charging, NFC capabilities, and the like. The new smartphone is expected to become available for purchase starting with November 13 in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Spain and Australia. It will be sold unlocked through Google Play and will reach other markets in Europe, Central/South Americas, Asia, CIS and the Middle East.

The smartphone will feature a price tag of $299 for the 8GB flavor, or $349 for the 16GB model. T-Mobile USA will carry an unlocked flavor for $199 on a two-year contract.

LG Nexus 4
Image credits to AndroidGuys

Samsung Readying Smaller Galaxy Note GT-N5100

It looks like Samsung is not fully content on how well the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet fares on the market and plans to release a smaller version of its S-Pen-featured slate.

AndroidSlash reports a certain Samsung GT-N5100 recently appeared in DLNA certification filings. These documents indicate Samsung filed this device on October 16, which means we could expect the next Galaxy Note tablet in early 2013. Given the fact that Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is also known as GT-N8000 and the Galaxy Note II’s codename is GT-N7100, it stands to reason the GT-N5100 would be the next devices in the Note series.

No further details on the Samsung GT-N5100 are available for the moment, but there’s clear indication the South Korean company plans to launch a 7-inch, 7.7-inch or a slightly larger Galaxy Note tablet in the following months. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Samsung GT-N5100 DLNA filings
Image credits to AndroidSlash

ECS HDC-I2/E-350D2 Mini-ITX Motherboard

The number of AMD-powered and compatible motherboards has really been on the rise lately. While ASRock is the greatest contributor, ECS is doing its part as well.

What Elitegroup Computer Systems did was release the HDC-I2/E-350D2. A mini-ITX motherboard, it runs the AMD E-350D APU (accelerated processing unit) and boasts two memory slots (DDR3-1066 MHz), a legacy PCI slot, some video outputs (DVI and HDMI), 6-channel HD audio, Gigabit Ethernet, and two SATA II ports (SATA 3.0 Gbps). The whole thing gets energy from a 24-bit power connector, so the power supply needn't be all that strong.

ECS expects the HDC-I2/E-350D2 to be employed as the basis for nettops (low-end desktop PCs) and HTPCs (home-theater personal computers). Sales should start soon, for under $100 / 77-100 Euro. Included in the price are coupons to Cyberlink MediaExpresso 5.1 LE and MediaShow 5.1 LE.

ECS HDC-I2/E-350D2 mini-ITX motherboard
Image credits to ECS

Oct 28, 2012

Apple 12W USB Power Adapter Is Cheaper

Apple’s legacy iPad 10W USB power adapter sells for $29 / €29 but there’s a newer 12 Watt version now that actually retails for less, despite charging your iDevice faster. And here’s why.

After unboxing the new 12W USB Power Adapter from Apple, iLounge confirmed that the $19 / €19 price tag is justified by the lack of a Dock Connector to USB Cable and a longer extension cord. That’s right, “this version is merely a cube with wall blades,” notes iLounge, which puts a big emphasis on accessories and add-ons for Apple products. As the source confirms, the only benefit that comes with the purchase of Apple’s new wall charger is the increased wattage.

While the iPhone and iPod touch charge relatively fast no matter where you plug them, this new charger is godsent for iPad users, especially owners of the third-generation model with Retina display. That thing takes a whole night to charge its huge battery.

Apple's new 12 Watt Power Adapter unboxed
Image crdits to iLounge

Intel-Based XOLO X700 Goes on Sale in India for $260 (€200)

Lava Mobile and Intel have teamed up earlier this year to bring Indian customers the first Intel-based Android smartphone, the Xolo X900.

Although the smartphone was powered by Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system at launch, Lava Mobile recently released the long-awaited Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade. Well, it looks like Lava Mobile and Intel decided to bring another Android phone powered by an Intel processor in India, the XOLO X700. The smartphone is now listed at HomeShop18 retailer for Rs 14000 (260 USD or 200 EUR), though it appears to be Out of Stock. We suspect the XOLO X700 has yet to make its entrance on the Indian market, so we suggest those who wish to grab one to keep an eye out on this page.

Unlike its XOLO X900 predecessor, the X700 comes with dual-SIM capability and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system out of the box. However, the XOLO X700 is equipped with a less powerful 1.2 GHz single core Intel Atom processor, whereas the X900 packs a much better 1.6 GHz Intel Atom CPU. Unfortunately, there's no word on the amount of storage and RAM, but it's been confirmed the X700 comes with microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB). Furthermore, the XOLO X700 sports a pretty decent 4.3-inch qHD capacitive touchscreen display that supports 540 x 960 pixels resolution and 16 million colors.

There's also a 5-megapixel rear photo snapper, and possibly a front facing camera for video calls, though the latter has yet to be confirmed. Last but not least, XOLO X700 drains energy from a 2000 mAh Li-Ion battery, which is rated by the manufacturer for up to 450 hours of standby time or up to 13 hours of talk time. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Image credits to 

ASRock Z77 Extreme6/TB4 Thunderbolt Motherboard

After launching several AMD-compatible motherboards in quick succession, ASRock is back in business on Intel's side of the field, having released the Z77 Extreme6/TB4 motherboard.

ASRock dwells on the existence of Thunderbolt support quite a bit, describing it as the most relevant feature of the new mainboard. Whether or not that is true is debatable. On the one hand, the 10 Gbps transfer speed is considerable, twice as fast as USB 3.0. On the other hand, there aren't many Thunderbolt-equipped devices (monitors, external storage units, etc.), and the majority of those that do exist are designed for Apple PCs, not normal desktops. Still, ASRock is behaving as though it believes TB will become more widespread soon enough. “Thunderbolt technology is unquestionably the great finale of year 2012,” its announcement says. The company chose the full-size ATX form factor and the Intel Z77 chipset when designing the newcomer. Two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots are present, along with a pair of PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots and four DDR3-2800+ memory slots. 7.1-channel HD audio is part of the feature set as well, along with Gigabit LAN, six USB 3.0 ports, right USB 2.0 connectors and the Lucid Virtu MVP technology (switches between the HD 4000 integrated graphics and whatever add-in video board is present).

Furthermore, the company figured it would be useful to ensure the Z77 Extreme6/TB4 didn't burn or melt at the first sign of clock tweaking. As such, premium gold caps were used in the manufacturing. The other relevant perks are UEFI BIOS, Instant Flash boot-up, THX TruStudio audio technology and a dehumidifier.  Sadly, ASRock did not say what price the Z77 Extreme6/TB4 Thunderbolt-equipped motherboard has. Then again, if Thunderbolt lovers will want to use those two ports to the fullest, they will want to buy 12 external storage units (six per each port, daisy-chained, 6TB capacity per set), and that will cost more than what the mainboard itself ever could.

ASRock Z77 Extreme6/TB4 Thunderbolt motherboard
Images credits to ASRock

Nexus 10 Photos and Specs Leaked

If Apple's ship's been a bit leaky lately, Google's looks more like a sieve. We know everything Google has planned for the October 29 event; we've even had specs for all the devices that will be unveiled and even photos.

It wouldn't be too surprising if the script for what all the execs are going to say on stage was published ahead of time. Now, the Nexus 10, the big (literally) Google/Samsung tablet that's finally supposed to take on the iPad, has been fully revealed. The first definite hints of the tablet came from none other than Google+ boss Vic Gundotra, who's been posting vacation photos, on the aforementioned social network, shot with the yet to be unveiled Nexus 10 tablet. There's a been a leaked manual for the device that made it online and now, BriefMobile has managed to get ahold of one ahead of everyone else and put some photos of it online. The site is actually down due to all the traffic this generated, but it was enough for all the interesting details to come out.

The Nexus 10 looks fairly tame, a black slab with rounded corners, though not "rounded" like Apple's iPad or Samsung would get sued again. If the Nexus 7 build quality is anything to go by, it should be up there with the best of Android tablets in this respect. If the Samsung build quality is anything to go by, it should be entirely made of plastic and it will show it. The back could be aluminum, but it's probably brushed plastic judging from the photo. We'll find out soon enough. What's inside is much more interesting though. The tablet is sporting the new Samsung Exynos 5250, the first Cortex A15-based processor to hit the market, clocked at 1.7 GHz. The processor made its debut in the newly launched $249 Chromebook, so the choice is obvious.

A Mali-T604 GPU completes the computing package, there's 2 GB of RAM, which is the norm these days for high-end devices, 16 GB of storage and no microSD card, again the norm for Nexus devices these days, a 5 megapixel front camera, NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0. The eye catcher though, again literally, is the uber high DPI 2,560 x 1,600 pixel Super AMOLED screen, which actually trumps the new Retina iPad in pixel density, with 298.9 pixels per inch. The iPad has "just" 264 ppi. All of this is running Android 4.2, which is still Jelly Bean; it's only a minor update not worthy of a name, though it has been called Key Lime Pie for a while.

Android 4.2 will also be powering the LG Nexus 4 phone also launching on Monday and presumably the new 32 GB Nexus 7 as well. You can also expect all Nexus devices that have Jelly Bean to get upgraded too.

Nexus 10
Images credits to BriefMobile

ASUS RT-N12HP High-power Wireless-N300 Router

Wi-Fi networks that need to be reached by many people usually use range extenders and signal boosters, but ASUS has decided to merge the concepts together.

The RT-N12HP high-power wireless-N300 router was the result. A merger between a router and range extender (by virtue of the huge 9dBi antennas), it also acts as an access point (adds Wi-Fi to an existing wired-only modem/router). To change between these three modes of operation, all it takes is to launch the EX Switch software on a PC and select standard router usage, access point mode or range extender mode. The Wi-Fi range should be 300% that of normal routers, while the signal strength stays consistent and stable because of the inner parts.

A final advantage is the support for four distinct networks, or SSIDs, at once. This allows for very specific access and control settings depending on who is allowed to use the internet/network at any given time. Guest SSIDs can have controlled bandwidth and access, even individual passwords. ASUS did not specify the price of the RT-N12HP, unfortunately.

ASUS RT-N12HP high-power wireless-N300 router
Image credits to ASUS

MSI Wind Top AE2282/AE2282G 21.5-Inch All-in-One PC

There was no way that Micro-Star International would let the launch of Windows 8 pass by without some new all-in-one systems, so the Wind Top series is bracing itself to receive a new member.

Contrary to what people may have come to expect, after all the high-end hardware revealed the past couple of months, this isn't some sort of super PC. In fact, MSI seems to have decided that it was time for a mid-range all-in-one to make an appearance. We do not know what price it will have, but we suspect it will be more than reasonable, unless MSI takes a cue from all other Windows 8 devices and sets the bar higher for some reason. At any rate, the name of the newcomer is Wind Top AE2282/AE2282G. Measuring 21.5 inches in diagonal, the computer pairs an Intel Core i3 or Core i5 CPU with 4 GB or 8 GB of RAM (DDR3-1333) and an NVIDIA GeForce GT630M graphics card (2 GB DDR3 memory).

A hard disk drive of 1 TB provides storage (SATA III / 6.0 Gbps speed). There is a DVD drive on the specifications sheet too. Everything else is the same as on any other computer: Wi-Fi, Ethernet, a card reader, US 3.0 (two ports, one with SuperCharger technology for faster device battery recovery), USB 2.0 (four ports), HDMI, audio/mic jacks, etc. As for the screen itself, the 21.5-inch LCD uses LED backlighting and an optional multi-touch panel. The native resolution is, naturally, 1920 x 1080 pixels (Full HD). There is something strange though. The specifications sheet we've seen says that a non-touch panel is available on both Windows 8 and Windows 7, while the multi-touch screen is only sold with Windows 7. This doesn't really make sense, since the new UI in Windows 8 is the one that made PC and monitor makers start adding touch support to everything, so it is probably a typo.

MSI Wind Top AE2282/AE2282G
Image credits to MSI

Oct 24, 2012

Xiaomi Mi-Two Probably Selling in Under 5 Minutes at Launching on October 26

Xiaomi, one of the most popular Chinese handset makers has just announced its MI-Two Android smartphone will go on sale on October 26.

Obviously, the device will only be available in China, so those Android enthusiasts in other countries won’t be able to purchase it online. Given the fact that the Chinese handset maker has a special way of selling its products, we expect the Mi-Two smartphone to be sold out in under 5 minutes. This is based on previous experiences when Xiaomi managed to sell each stock of 200-300k units in a bit more than 4 minutes. GSMArena reports that the first 200,000 Xiaomi Mi-One S were sold in about 30 minutes, but then the second stock of 300,000 units went in under 5 minutes.

The same happened with the Mi-One S Young Edition, but this time Xiaomi sold 350,000 units in only 4 minutes and 15 seconds. There’s a high chance the same will happen with the upcoming Xiaomi Mi-Two superphone, which is currently priced at only $315 USD (225 EUR). For the time being, we don’t have any info regarding the first batch of Mi-Two devices, so we must assume it will be around 300-350k for the start. If the batch sells in a few minutes, Chinese customers will have to wait several weeks until Xiaomi builds up another batch of Mi-Two smartphones. For those unfamiliar with this device, Xiaomi Mi-Two will ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean platform out of the box. It will be equipped with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor clocked at 1.5 GHz and 16GB of internal memory.

Xiaomi Mi-Two sports a 4.3-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen display that supports HD (720p) resolution. The phone is powered by a 2000 mAh Li-Ion battery, which has yet to be rated by the manufacturer.

Xiaomi Mi-Two ad
Image credits to Xiaomi

Android 4.1-Based HTC PJ40xxx (Could Be One S) Emerges at Bluetooth SIG Certification Page

A new HTC smartphone has received the necessary certification with Bluetooth 4.0 packed inside, namely the HTC PJ40xxx_Android 4.1.

The phone’s model number suggests that it might be HTC One S, and that the handset vendor is making sure that it is fully compatible with all communication standards even after being upgraded to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It also points to a possible near release of the OS upgrade for the mobile phone, which should reach devices before the end of October, just as HTC announced officially several weeks ago.

For the time being, however, no specific info on what the new device might be all about has emerged, so stay tuned to learn more on it. You can see it on Bluetooth SIG’s website on this page.

Android 4.1-Based HTC PJ40xxx at Bluetooth SIG
Image credits to Bluetooth SIG

Nokia Lumia 920 Phone’s Internals Unveiled via Service Manual

Nokia Lumia 920 is a highly appealing device on the outside, but it also comes with powerful hardware packed inside.

Those of you who would like to learn some more info on the phone’s internal circuitry can now do so, courtesy of a series of images that emerged over at WindowsPhoneMania.pl. A service manual is available through the forum, along with photos of a disassembled Lumia 920, offering us a glimpse at the device’s wireless charging module as well.

As WMPoweruser notes, the module appears to be a thick one, which most probably means that it is also heavy, thus explaining why the entire device is thicker and heavier than other similar smartphones on the market today. All of the Lumia 920’s internals have been brought to light in the aforementioned photos, and you can have a look at them below.

Nokia Lumia 920
Images credits to WindowsPhoneMania.pl

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