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Dec 30, 2012

Sharp SH-04E for NTT DoCoMo Receives Wi-Fi Certification

A new Android-based smartphone from Sharp has received the necessary approvals from the Wi-Fi Alliance, namely the Sharp SH-04E, which is expected to land on shelves in Japan via NTT DoCoMo.

The device has previously emerged over at the FCC, with a 4.6-inch touchscreen display on the front, a 2000mAh battery packed inside, and GSM / WCDMA / LTE connectivity. The mobile phone is also said to pack wireless charging capabilities, and to be Qi compliant. The Sharp SH-04E handset was approved with Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11b / g / n capabilities packed inside, on the 2.4 GHz band, as can be seen in this listing on the Wi-Fi Alliance website.

A photo of the device also emerged online a while ago, yet NTT DoCoMo is expected to officially launch the smartphone only in spring next year.

Sharp SH-04E for NTT DoCoMo
Image credits to rbmen.blogspot.ro

Sharp SH-04E for NTT DoCoMo Wi-Fi Certification
Image credits to Wi-Fi.org

MacBook Air to Have a New Type of CPU in 2013

A report by the hit-and-miss publication DigiTimes has caught the eye of the Apple blogosphere thanks to a claim relating to the processor architecture employed by Apple’s upcoming MacBook Air notebooks.

Currently starting at $999 / €1.049,00 with a 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, Apple’s MacBook Air is said to be undergoing some changes next year. The refresh will not involve a remodeling of the enclosure, but it will change the CPU architecture inside, according to industry sources. Cited by the aforementioned Taiwanese publication, DigiTimes reports pointed out that “the MacBook Air for 2013 will feature a new processor platform, but its industrial design will not see any major changes.”

Apple has been rumored to invest its own CPU fab but such plans aren’t likely to materialize any time soon. It remains to be seen whether or not these claims hold any water. The MacBook Air refresh is said to occur in June 2013.

MacBook Air
Image credits to cultofmac.com

Sony Xperia X (“Odin” C650X) Design Info Leaks

Sony’s long rumored Odin and Yuga handsets have been said for quite some time to be different flavors of the same device, aimed at different markets around the world, yet it seems that they might resemble each other even less than initially thought.

A new rumor, coming from Vietnamese website SE-CafĂ©, suggests that Odin (expected to be unveiled as Xperia X) would actually be thicker and heavier than Yuga (said to land on shelves as Xperia Z). Furthermore, it will also sport a rough, textured, even striped pattern, back plate (Yuga will sport a sleek, plastic mirror one) and will allow for hot swapping of SIM and microSD cards.

Xperia X is also said to sport the front camera at the bottom, aligned to the right, with the light sensor placed in the upper right corner on the phone’s front.

Sony logo
Image credits to Sony

AMD Kabini, 10% Faster Than Bobcat APUs [Video]

AMD has Bobcat APUs based on the 40nm manufacturing process technology, but it also offers some made on the 28nm process. The latter have been compared to the upcoming Kabini units.

Long story short, Kabini accelerated processing units will be around 10% faster than Bobcat. Some chips may even perform 15% better. The fastest 40nm Bobcat processor, E2-1800, has a clock speed of 1.7 GHz and no Turbo Core. 28nm Bobcat units are even faster, and a Q&A video involving Jeff Rupley compares them to Kabini, not the others.

That would imply that Kabini chips work at more than 1.9 GHz. Add to that support for Turbo Core dynamic overclocking and there is even a chance for 2.4 GHz. Either way, we still have to wait for the frequencies to become public knowledge.

Session 1, Hot Chips 24 (2012), Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
Architecture and power management of the third generation Intel Core micro architecture
Sanjeev Jahagirdar, Intel
AMD's "Jaguar": A next-generation, low power x86 core
Jeff Rupley, AMD
proAptiv: Efficient Performance on a Fully-Synthesizable Core
Ranganathan Sudhakar, MIPS
Video credits to hotchipsvideos

AMD Kabini X4 5110, The Entry-Level APU

Since we've taken a look at the high-end A10-6800K accelerated processing unit, AMD's top Richland APU, we may as well check out the entry-level chip too, now that we have the data.

Fudzilla has provided some information which, it claims, describes the capabilities of a certain Kabini X4 5110 processor. This is actually the strongest of the entry-level chips expected to arrive in 2013, and should be ready for mass production by March 2013. That's the same time frame as the ETA (estimated time of arrival) for the aforementioned high-end quad-core processor. Speaking of core number, the X4 5110 has four (the X4 was a clear enough indicator of that). Somehow, though, it still makes do with a TDP (thermal design power) of 25W. That's not really low enough for tablets, definitely not even close to the 4.5W of the Z-60, but it should be more than suitable for ultrathin laptops. We would use the term ultrabook, but Intel has trademarked it and, thus, AMD and its laptop-manufacturing partners can't.

Then again, AMD did tell us at IFA that it didn't feel the need for a counter-brand. Ultrathin works just fine, the company felt. At any rate, the X4 5110 has Jaguar cores, a DirectX 11.1 graphics processing unit, the FT3 BGA infrastructure, a DDR3-1866 memory controller and Turbo Core technology (dynamic overclocking based on application requirements). Full volume production and availability will ramp up in June, even if manufacturing begins in March.

As a side note, the 28nm-based Kabini APU series will include several other X-series chips and E-series models, with TDPs of as low as 18W. Unfortunately, no clock speeds have been released or exposed through leaks yet. Intel's Haswell Y series of chips will be the main competitors, with their much lower TDPs but significantly weaker graphics.

AMD logo
Image credits to AMD

Intel “Redhookbay” Spotted in Benchmarks with Android 4.2.1, Dual-Core CPU

Chip maker Intel appears set to assault the smartphone market with a new processor, one that was leaked not too long ago as the dual-core Merrifield, a successor to the Medfield Atom processor that failed to impress too much.

The new mobile processor is expected to be officially introduced at the 2013 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, and should deliver far better performance levels than the current chip, rumor has it. While nothing has been officially confirmed on the matter for the time being, the processor has already made an appearance online, courtesy of benchmarking results for a certain Redhookbay device from Intel. Spotted in NenaMark, Redhookbay managed to score 58.30, and unveiled some of the possible specs of the aforementioned Intel processor. Thus, the dual-core CPU should operate at a frequency of between 1.6GHZ and 2.0GHz, while featuring a PowerVR SGX 544MP GPU attached to it. Furthermore, the Merrifield chip is said to provide users with 4G LTE connectivity right from the start, something that Medfield did not offer.

Redhookbay also made an appearance in AnTuTu, where it managed to score quite high at 31,612, with Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean loaded on it. For the time being, Redhookbay might be nothing more than a developer board, and not an actual phone, yet the benchmarking scores it has managed to obtain are still impressive. According to rumors, Intel might not plan the launch of its own smartphones powered by this processor, but it might partner with various handset vendors out there for the inclusion of its chip inside their devices. What remains to be seen is which markets Intel would target with the new processor. Some other reports, however, suggest that the company might have it packed inside entry-level smartphones for countries such as China, India and other emerging markets. Stay tuned to learn more on this.

Intel “Redhookbay” in AnTuTu benchmarks
Image credits to AnTuTu

Intel “Redhookbay” in NenaMark2 benchmarks
Image credits to Nenamark2

AMD A10-6800K, Top 28nm Richland APU

Just like NVIDIA's GeForce 700 series graphics cards and Intel's Haswell CPU collection, AMD's Richland line of upcoming accelerated processing units is turning heads whenever it makes a sound.

This time around we are getting acquainted with the mightiest Richland APU, called A10-6800K and set for mass production in late March 2013. The manufacturing ETA (estimated time of arrival) doesn't mean it will ship that soon though. In fact, AMD doesn't expect to officially launch the processor before June. That's no problem though. It will give the existing series of accelerated processing units a decent market lifetime. But we digress. The Richland A10-6800K is based on the 28nm manufacturing process technology, the same one used for AMD's Radeon GPUs and NVIDIA's own chips. There are four x86 cores, plus a Radeon HD 8000 series graphics processing unit, all packed inside a package compatible with FM2 socket motherboards. Obviously, the Turbo Core technology is supported, allowing the clock frequency of one or all cores to go higher than normal when applications demand it.

Unfortunately, despite the rest of the details being more or less known, the actual performance numbers haven't been disclosed, so we have to wait for another leak to expose the clock speeds and such. That said, samples of the Richland chip might have already been completed, although they might only be released in January. March, as we said, will only be the start of mass production, while June is when people will actually be allowed to buy it. By then, Windows 8 should have reached its full stride, so the PC market may finally see that sales rebound everyone has been hoping for. In addition to AMD’s A10-6800K, there will be three more quad-core units and a couple of dual-core processors. Their specs are just as unknown as those of the flagship product.

AMD A-Series
Image credits to AMD

Samsung Galaxy S IV is to Unify Samsung Galaxy S and Note Series

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics has been long rumored to plan the launch of a successor of its Galaxy S III smartphone next year, and some more info on the device has emerged.

Referred to as Galaxy S IV, the handset is now rumored to be launched with features that will allow it to fit both into Samsung’s Galaxy S series, and into the company’s Galaxy Note family of devices. Basically, the upcoming flagship smartphone is expected to unify the two lineups when launched in April next year. This is not the first time we hear that Samsung might put the phone on shelves in the second quarter of the next year, after having it finalized by March. However, it seems that we won’t be seeing the phone at CES 2013 in January, and that it remains to be seen whether Samsung will indeed unveil it at MWC in Barcelona in February, as previously rumored. Galaxy S IV will be unveiled with S Pen capabilities, as well as with the accompanying apps and functionality, just as the Note series devices were launched with. The move has been allegedly confirmed through an official comment from Samsung.

The upcoming device has also been rumored to sport a 5-inch 1080p AMOLED display, which makes sense given the above rumor. The phone is also said to sport a quad-core Exynos 5440 processor inside, supposedly manufactured using 28nm high-K metal gate technology. On the back, the phone will sport a 13-megapixel photo snapper with auto-focus, full HD video recording and high-end capabilities. Galaxy S IV is said to feature a 9.2mm body, yet nothing has been confirmed so far on its specs. Recent rumors suggested that Samsung might not launch the phone under the Galaxy S IV name, given that number four is considered bad luck in South Korea, and it remains to be seen whether the company will choose a hybrid name between the Galaxy S and the Galaxy Note series.

Samsung logo
Image credits to Samsung

Dec 27, 2012

Sony Xperia Odin to Be Launched as Sony Xperia X L35h

Japanese mobile phone maker Sony Mobile is expected to make its long rumored Odin smartphone available for purchase in early 2013 as Xperia X (model number L35h), the latest reports on the matter suggest.

The handset will accompany another device from the manufacturer, codenamed Yuga and said to hit shelves as Xperia Z. However, while Xperia Z is expected only in China and Taiwan (rumored to arrive on shelves in mid-January), in addition to Japan, Xperia X should be released on the international market, rumor has it.

It will sport a 5-inch 1080p Full HD IPS display, a quad-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, 2GB of RAM and a 13-megapixel camera on the back, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on top. What is uncertain at the moment is whether the two smartphones will be launched simultaneously or not. Stay tuned for more on this.

Sony to launch Odin as Xperia X
Image credits to ePrice

Oppo Ulike 2 Features 5MP Front Camera Arrives in China for $370/€280

We reported about a month ago on the upcoming availability of the first smartphone to feature a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, the Oppo Ulike 2.

It looks like, after four weeks, the handset went on sale in China for only $370 (€280) outright. According to Engadget, the smartphone ships with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system out of the box. Aimed at women, Oppo Ulike 2 sports a 5-megapixel front-facing camera and is powered by a dual-core processor.

It also packs 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory, which cannot be further expanded as the device lacks microSD card slot. The Ulike 2 features a more than decent 4.5-inch qHD capacitive touchscreen display that supports 960 x 540 pixels resolution, along with various personalization features that makes it more tempting to women.

Oppo Ulike 2
Image credits to Engadget

ZTE Nubia Z5 Now Official, Arrives in China for $554/€418

Chinese mobile phone maker ZTE has finally made its Nubia Z5 high-end smartphone official, with its 5-inch 1080p touchscreen (1920 x 1080 pixels resolution) that can deliver a 443ppi pixel density.

The new device was launched in China alone for the time being, with a price tag of 3,456 yuan (around $554 / €418). The phone can be seen on this page on ZTE's official Nubia website. In addition to the high-end display, the smartphone also features powerful hardware inside, including a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, which is complemented by 2GB of RAM. Furthermore, ZTE packed the new handset with 32GB of internal memory, as well as with Dolby sound technology, and free backup of data on a private cloud service. On the back, the new mobile phone features a 13-megapixel photo snapper, with LED flash, support for full HD video recording and with other high-end imaging capabilities (such as panoramic and continuous shooting). At the same time, the handset sports a 2-megapixel camera on the front, which should prove a great option when it comes to making video calls while on the go.

The smartphone also comes to the market with a 2,300 mAh battery inside, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Magnetometer and other sensors, while also packing a wide range of management and security features coming from ZTE themselves. ZTE Nubia Z5 measures 138mm x 68.8mm x 7.6mm (5.43 x 2.71 x 0.3 inches) and weighs 126 grams (4.44 ounces), making it one of the slimmest 5-inch devices in the world. Announced as ZTE’s flagship handset for the season, the Nubia Z5 arrives on the market with Google’s Android 4.1 Jelly Bean platform loaded on top. Unfortunately, ZTE did not unveil plans to make the phone available for purchase in other markets around the world in addition to China, and it might never bring it to shelves in the United States, although previous rumors suggested it might do so.

ZTE Nubia Z5
Images credits to ZTE

Rumor: Samsung Plan New GT-I9500 Flagship Device

Following the release of a nice range of high-end devices this year, Samsung is rumored to plan the launch of new such smartphones in 2013, some of which might be based on the Tizen OS, in addition to running under Google’s Android platform.

One such smartphone is said to feature the model number GT-I9500, and to be accompanied by a GT-I9505 variant, which might sport 4G LTE connectivity. Samsung i9500 is the developer model that the handset vendor has made available with Tizen on board, and it seems that it might become commercially available soon.

According to SamMobile, there is also the possibility that Samsung will load Android on this new phone, and that it might release it as a successor for its Galaxy S III handset (which might not be launched as Galaxy S IV, it seems).

Samsung logo
Image credits to Samsung

BlackBerry Remember, The BlackBerry 10 Task Manager

BlackBerry 10, the next major mobile operating system release from Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion, is expected to arrive on devices with a new task manager packed inside, called BlackBerry “Remember.”

It will provide users with the possibility to easily capture and organize their content, so that they would be able to choose what to do next in no time. The task manager will provide users with the possibility to set tasks and goals from anywhere on the device, and to easily track them to completion. Furthermore, it will also provide syncing of tasks with Microsoft Outlook calendar.

Previously, the app was also said to arrive on devices with deep integration with Evernote, yet the leaked screenshot above – available courtesy of CrackBerry’s forums (via berryreview) – does not mention it. Keep an eye on this space for more on the matter.

BlackBerry 10 Remember Task Manager
Image credits to CrackBerry via BerryReview

BlackBerry 10 Confirmed to Sport BBM Video Capabilities

One of the new features that Research In Motion’s BlackBerry 10 operating system will arrive on devices with will be support for video chatting in BlackBerry Messenger, it seems.

The feature was rumored not too long ago, and has been recently confirmed in a leaked internal doc that emerged over at CrackBerry. Users will be able switch to a video call while chatting with their friends in the BBM list, for “improved collaboration and share a presentation or spreadsheet instantly to help get the message across more clearly,” said document unveiled.

Those who had the chance to take the BBM Voice feature in the new BBM 7 for a spin will enjoy a similar experience when BBM Video will be available, it seems. All the necessary info on this should become official on January 30, 2013, when BlackBerry 10 is launched, so stay tuned to learn more on it.

Blackberry 10
Image credits to RIM

Dec 26, 2012

Windows 9 Won’t Bring Back the Start Button, to Feature an Upgraded Start Screen

Redmond insiders have previously hinted that Microsoft may launch the next Windows iteration as soon as the next summer to offer it either as free or as a very affordable upgrade.

More rumors on the matter suggest that a new version of Windows has already reached the alpha development stage, so the launch could indeed take place next year. One of the registered users of a Taiwanese forum claims he is already running Windows 9 alpha build 9622, indicating that the upcoming Windows refresh could stick to the Metro UI and the Start Screen introduced by Windows 8. Even though he calls the new Windows release “Windows 9,” the user may actually refer to Windows Blue, the first major upgrade for the new Microsoft operating system launch in October this year. Neowin.net writes that the desktop will remain the main working environment for the PC version of the new Windows version, but it’ll feature several improvements, some aimed at the Taskbar.

The Metro/Modern UI and the Start Screen will continue to be offered, which means that Microsoft doesn’t plan to reintroduce the Start button and the Start Menu in the next Windows version. Microsoft also plans to make the move to kernel version 6.3, so several other enhancements are also expected. Of course, Microsoft is yet to comment on this subject, but given the fact that we’re talking about the next Windows version, the company is very likely to remain tight-lipped for the time being. The Redmond-based technology company, however, seems to stick to the newly-introduced Start Screen that replaces the fairly popular Start Menu. The problem is that plenty of Windows 8 adopters find the Start Screen rather confusing and many have already turned to third-party software solutions designed to bring back the Start button in the new OS.

The Start Screen is one of the most controversial features of the new Windows 8
Image credits to dannzfay

Dec 25, 2012

Sony Yuga C660X Confirmed as Sony Xperia Z L36i/L36h/L36a

Japanese mobile phone maker Sony has reportedly confirmed that its previously leaked Yuga C660X flagship handset will be officially launched at CES 2013 in January as Xperia Z L36i/L36h/L36a (the letter in the model number will change depending on market).

According to ePrice, the phone will sport the hardware specifications already rumored for it, starting with the full HD 5-inch 440ppi touchscreen display, and the 1.5 GHz Qualcomm S4 Pro quad-core processor complemented by 2GB of RAM. The flagship smartphone is also said to include 16GB of internal memory, microSDXC card to expand it, 4G LTE connectivity, WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities, GPS receiver, and Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean loaded on top.

The phone will also sport a 13-megapixel photo snapper on the back, with Exmor RS Camera sensor, HDR video recording, and a front. NTT Docomo in Japan will launch it first, followed by US and Hong Kong and global availability in April.

Sony Xperia Z (Yuga)
Image credits to Mobile-Review

Nokia to Launch 10.1’’ Windows RT Tablet with Surface-Like Cover

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is reportedly gearing up for the launch of a 10.1-inch tablet PC that will rival Microsoft’s own Surface slate.

In fact, the company is said to plan packing the device with a cover similar to the one Microsoft used for Surface, and to include HDMI and USB ports on it. The cover will include not only a keyboard, two USB ports and a kickstand for the tablet, but also a battery that will further extend the usage time of the device.

Also featuring cellular connectivity inside, the device is expected to make an official debut at AT&T in the United States, The Verge reports. Nokia’s Windows RT tablet PC is expected to boast a 10-hour capacity. Apparently, the handset vendor is planning to manufacture only a small number of this device, but is also looking at the launch of a Windows 8-based slate at a later date.

Windows 8/RT Start Screen
Image credits to dannzfay

RIM BlackBerry L-, Z- and N-Series Devices Get Photographed Together

What would reportedly become the first BlackBerry 10 smartphones from Canadian mobile maker Research In Motion have emerged in a group photo, offering us a glimpse at what the company has in store for its users for the next year.

The handsets can be seen in the photo above (via crackberry), and appear to be accompanied by a device than might prove to be none other than BlackBerry Dev Alpha C phone that RIM has announced a few months ago. The L-Series smartphone, which can be seen in the middle, is said to land on shelves as BlackBerry Z10, and will sport a full-touch display.

As for the N-Series phone, it has emerged in another photo as well today (via CNBeta), one that shows its front entirely, and which can be seen embedded below. Rumor has it that it will be released as BlackBerry X10.

RIM BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry X10
Image credits to 4chan via crackberry

BlackBerry X10
Image credits to cnbeta via crackberry

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (GT-N5100) GLBenchmark Result Emerges

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics has been long rumored to plan the launch of a 7-inch tablet PC in the Galaxy Note lineup, and some more info on it is now available.

The slate has made an appearance over at the GLBenchmark, where it showed model number Samsung GT-N5100 and Google’s Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean platform loaded on top. The new device is reportedly en-route to shelves with a 7.7-inch touchscreen display that can deliver a 1280 x 800 pixels resolution.

Furthermore, it is expected to sport a 1.6GHz processor inside (most probably the same quad-core CPU that powers Galaxy Note II), along with 3G connectivity. No official confirmation on this device has emerged so far, but sammobile suggests that Samsung might plan unveiling it to the world in early 2013, either at CES in January, or at MWC in February.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (GT-N5100)
Image credits to GLBenchmark

Native BBM for BlackBerry PlayBook Leaked Screenshots

One appealing feature that the owners of BlackBerry PlayBook tablet PCs will soon be able to enjoy on their devices is a native BlackBerry Messenger, which should look as shown in the screenshots attached to this post.

The leaked shots have emerged over at BBOTA.cn and allegedly show a finished application, ready to arrive on Research In Motion's tablet PC. The native BBM client was rumored a while ago, but no specific info on how it might look like has emerged until now.

The app is said to be ready for deployment, and to work great over WiFi networks, even without BIS or a SIM inside the tablet. According to BBin.in, the PlayBook BBM will be available next month, and will also include BBM Voice & BBM Video features. Stay tuned for more.

Native BBM for BlackBerry PlayBook
Image credits to BBOTA.cn via BBin.in

New BlackBerry 10 OS Screenshots Available

BlackBerry 10, the next-generation mobile operating system from Canadian handset vendor Research In Motion, is set to make its official debut on January 30, 2013, but some more info on what it will have to offer to users has emerged online.

We have already had the chance to have a look at some of the core applications of the platform, courtesy of leaked screenshots that emerged online last week, and some more of them are now available for your viewing pleasure, courtesy of CrackBerry.

They show the initial set-up process of BlackBerry 10 devices, along with apps such as Adobe Reader and Story Maker, along with other applications that handsets will have loaded on them right from the start. All on the new operating system will become official in a bit more than a month, so stay tuned to learn specifics on it.

BlackBerry 10 screenshots
Images credits to Crackberry

BlackBerry X10 First Live Picture Leaks

While we know quite a lot about the upcoming BlackBerry Z10 smartphone, little is known about the X10. Part of the N-Series of BlackBerry 10 devices, the X10 will be officially unveiled in a bit more than a month, on January 30, 2013.

The folks at NerdBerry have just leaked what appears to be the first live picture of the BlackBerry N10 smartphone. Sadly, just one image of the device is available for the moment and it only shows the back of the device. For the time being, details on the BlackBerry X10 specs sheet has been rather scarce, though the Z10 has had its share of leaks.

The only thing we know for sure is the fact that the X10 will ship with a full QWERTY keyboard and touchscreen display. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

BlackBerry X10
Image credits to NerdBerry

Dec 20, 2012

Huawei Honor 2 U9508 White Flavor Hit Market

A new version of the Huawei Honor 2 U9508 smartphone is now available for purchase in China, all dressed up in white, and with a price tag of RMB 1,888 (around $300 / €230) attached to it.

However, although the phone changed its color, the internal specifications remained unchanged, which means that users will be able to take advantage of the same 1.4GHz K3V2 quad-core processor that was included in the black version, while also enjoying its 2GB of RAM. Furthermore, the smartphone provides users with a 4.5-inch 720p HD IPS display, while featuring an 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back.

Huawei Honor 2 U9508 is powered by a 2230mAh battery and runs under Google’s Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system. According to GSM Insider, the white flavor of the handset is in limited supply, and those who would like to purchase it should hurry up.

Huawei Honor 2 U9508
Image credits to CNMO

TCL S850, Only 6.45mm Thick, the Thinnest Smartphone to Date

A new Android-based handset appears set to grab the title of the world thinnest smartphone, namely the TCL S850.

Coming from a Chinese maker, the device is said to measure only 6.45mm thick, though it sports a 4.7-inch AMOLED display that can deliver a 720p HD resolution. According to CNMO, the phone’s specifications list also includes a dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, as well as 16GB of internal memory. The smartphone also features an 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back, complemented by a 1.3MP front camera, and runs under Google’s Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system.

Unfortunately, the handset vendor did not offer specific info on when the handset might arrive on shelves, nor on the price tag that it would feature when released. Check back on this space for more on the matter.

TCL S850
Image credits to CNMO

Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 XT with Boost

Sapphire may not have tweaked the performance of the Radeon HD 7870 much when it made the HD 7870 XT with Boost, but it did put its personal touch on the graphics adapter.

For those who think the Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 XT with Boost is a custom version of the AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition, that is incorrect. The new video board is actually a custom-made version of the regular HD 7870, with a clock speed of 925 MHz in base setting and 975 MHz when the GPU goes into PowerTune Boost mode, “AMDs dynamic performance enhancement for games.” Even that much should be more than enough for games though, with or without EyeFinity multi-monitor setups. After all, the chip has 1,280 stream processors and 80 texture units. Speaking of which, HD 7870 XT with Boost has an HDMI output, two mini-DisplayPort connectors and a dual-link DVI port. VGA monitors and HDTVs are supported as well, thankfully, via a bundled adapter dongle.

Spec-wise, the new graphics adapter runs the 2 GB of GDDR5 VRAM at 1.5 GHz, or 6 GHz effective frequency. That leaves just the cooler, and it is definitely better than the reference model, even if not necessarily mind-blowing. Then again, there wouldn't have been much point to it if the cooler hadn't been better and quieter than the original contraption. That said, the Dual-X cooler has graduated heatpipes and two aerofoil fans with dust repelling bearings deeper silence and better cooling efficiency. The improved HDMI 1.4a performance will make 3D easier on the eyes, thanks to enhanced 60 Hz per eye. 4K displays should be driven well by the interface as well, or DisplayPort 1.2 HBR2.

Sapphire didn't say what price people would have to pay in exchange for a Radeon HD 7870 XT graphics card, but we imagine that the tag will be around $250 / 250 Euro, give or take.

Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 XT with Boost
Image credits to Sapphire

Windows Phone 8-Based Nokia Lumia 922 Allegedly Leaks

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is reportedly gearing up for the unveiling of a Nokia Lumia 922 smartphone at the Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona next year.

Rumor has it that this device would be set to arrive on shelves in the United States at wireless carrier Verizon, with features similar to those included in the company’s Lumia 920 handset. However, Nokia is expected to launch Lumia 922 as its next flagship handset, set to hit shelves in the first half of the next year, as soon as AT&T’s exclusivity period on Lumia 920 ends.

This also means that the new device will pack better hardware specifications than the existing smartphone. Unfortunately, no specific details on the matter have been provided as of now. We’ll take this with a grain of salt for now, but stay tuned for more on the matter.

Nokia Lumia 920
Image credits to Nokia

ZTE Unveils 5-Inch U887 Phablet

A new 5-inch phablet is now official, coming from ZTE on the trail of Samsung’s recently announced Galaxy Grand handset, namely the ZTE U887.

The device has already received the necessary certification in China, it seems, and is expected to arrive on shelves as a mid-level device. The phone’s specs list shows a 5-inch screen that can deliver only an 800 x 480 pixels resolution, along with a dual-core 1.2GHz MT6577 processor packed inside. Furthermore, ZTE included only 512MB of RAM inside this smartphone, along with support for TD-SCDMA and GSM networks, and a 5-megapixel photo snapper on the back. It also sports some of the looks of ZTE’s Nubia Z5 smartphone.

No specific info on when the 5-inch device might arrive on shelves has been provided as of now, but more should emerge soon, so stay tuned.

5-inch ZTE U887
Image crtedits to Engadget

Dec 19, 2012

Samsung to Showcase 5.5" Flexible Display at CES 2013

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung is once again said to plan the unveiling of a 5.5-inch flexible display at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The new screen is meant for future devices that will deliver a 1280×720 HD resolution and can be bent, but it seems that it cannot be rolled up completely. Samsung has been working on bendable displays for quite some time now, but it has showed only smaller ones so far, measuring 4.5 inches and capable of delivering WVGA resolutions.

Some of the previous reports on Samsung’s plans for the smartphone market suggested that the company was planning on including a flexible touchscreen in its next flagship Android smartphone, dubbed Galaxy S IV and expected to become official before the end of the first quarter of 2013.

Samsung to showcase 5.5-inch flexible display at CES 2013
Image credits to CNET

Samsung Galaxy Note II Developer Edition Coming to Verizon

Verizon was among the last US-based carrriers to launch the Samsung Galaxy Note II. The smartphone is currently available for purchase at Big Red for $300/€225 with new two-year agreements.

Given the fact that Verizon always releases smartphones with locked encrypted bootloaders, it was to be expected to launch a developer edition of Galaxy Note II. Today, Samsung confirmed the Galaxy Note II Developer Edition is on its way to Verizon Wireless. For the time being, there are no details on the phone's availability and pricing options, but we know it will have the same specs as the locked version.

Keep in mind that only the 16GB Developer Edition model will be available for purchase at Verizon. Check out the smartphone on Samsung's site and stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Samsung Galaxy Note II Developer Edition
Image credits to Samsung

Nokia Lumia 920T Almost for Free on China Mobile Contract

Nokia’s Lumia 920T smartphone will be available for purchase in China at a significantly discounted price tag if purchased with a contract at China Mobile.

The handset is already available for pre-order through the wireless carrier, featuring a price tag of 4,599 yuan ($738 / €560) contract-free, but it can also be acquired with the signing of an agreement with the carrier. Those who opt for this deal will be able to grab the phone at only 1 yuan on the carrier’s 388 yuan (around $60) per month contract, winp.cn reports.

Other contract deals are also available for China Mobile’s users should they want to take advantage of the carrier’s service. As mentioned above, the phone has already been put up for reservations, yet it is expected to hit shelves only next year.

Nokia Lumia 920
Image credits to Nokia

Meizu MX2 is Now Available for Purchase

Today, Meizu MX2 has arrived on shelves in three countries around the world, namely China, Hong Kong and Russia.

Made official several weeks ago, the smartphone packs a 4.4-inch 1280x800 WXGA touchscreen, a 1.6 GHz quad-core processor, 2GB LPDDR2 of RAM, and 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of internal memory. The Android handset also sports an 8-megapixels photo snapper on the back with full HD video recording capabilities, as well as a front camera for making video calls. In China, the phone has gone up for sale at RMB 2,499 ($400 / €300) and RMB 2,999 ($480 / €360) with 16GB and 32GB of internal memory, respectively.

The phone has been launched in Hong Kong at HK$2999 ($386 / €291) and HK$3299 ($425 / €320), respectively, while being available in Russia at 17997 rubles ($587 / €440) and 19997 rubles ($650 / €490), which makes it much more expensive than elsewhere.

Meizu MX2
Image credits to Meizu

ZTE Nubia Z5 with 5-Inch Full HD Display Arriving on December 21

Chinese handset maker ZTE is about to debut its Nubia Z5 superphone this weekend. Rumors on the upcoming device emerged a few weeks ago fueled by ZTE itself.

After revealing the ZTE Nubia Z5’s packaging a few days ago, the Chinese company has just revealed on Weibo that the smartphone is set for release on December 21, the folks at Techkiddy report. The smartphone will ship with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean platform out of the box and it will be packed with a powerful 1.5 GHz quad-core processor. Another strong point of the smartphone is the 5-inch full HD capacitive touchscreen display with 440ppi.

Designed by Stefano Giovannoni, the Nubia Z5 boasts an impressive 13-megapixel photo snapper with autofocus, LED flash and full HD (1080p) video recording. There’s also a secondary 2-megapixel front-facing camera for video calls.

ZTE Nubia Z5
Image credits to ZTE

Intel Core i7 Haswell M Notebook CPUs Specifications

We'll cut right to the chase: VR-Zone has provided the specifications of the Intel Core i7 M-series Haswell central processing units.

Set to be released in April 2013, there are three central processing units in the series. All of them have low thermal design power ratings. Thus, they are a good fit for ultrabooks and mainstream notebooks. The Core i7-4930MX Extreme Edition is the strongest in the list, with four cores (8 threads), 3.0/3.9 GHz clock speeds (base/ Turbo Boost), integrated HD 4600 graphics (400 MHz), 8 MB L3 cache memory and a TDP of 57W. The all-core Turbo Boost performance is 3.7 GHz.

The second processor, Core i7-4900MQ, is similar to the chip above, but has 2.8/3.8 GHz clock speeds (3.6 GHz all-core Turbo) and a TDP of 47W. Finally, the Core i7-4800MQ runs at 2.7/3.7 GHz (3.5 GHz all-core), has a cache memory of just 6 MB and has a TDP of 47W.

Intel Haswell mobile CPUs
image credits to Chinese VR-Zone

Project Azalea – Apple Top Secret Chip Fab Potentially Confirmed

Apple has been heavily rumored to build factories to make its own chips and now chatter in Oregon, USA apparently confirms these plans, amid speculation of Apple reducing its chip orders with Samsung.

It was previously though that Apple would deploy this chip fab somewhere in or around the state of New York. However, Oregon’s economic development agency, Business Oregon, confirms that it’s “recruiting a company that goes by the codename ‘Azalea,’” according to The Oregonian. The details are scarce, as the firm has a non-disclosure agreement with its employer, which is believed to be Apple. This belief stems primarily from the money involved with this top secret project, which is said to be “in the billions of dollars.” High profile figures within the chip industry speculate that “the fab would be a contract facility to build microprocessors for Apple’s mobile devices, the iPhone and iPad,” according to the report. Why stop at iPhone and iPad? If there’s anything we know about Apple is that the company loves to take control of its own destiny, both in hardware, and in software. But especially in hardware.

While Apple will almost certainly break away from Samsung – the sole A-series chip maker – in the near future, the company may also use its rumored fab to create custom x86 processors for Macintosh computers. A pull from Intel has also been speculated, though it’s not very likely that Apple will start producing all its computer chips at once. At the rate Apple’s devices sell with each passing generation, it will be next to impossible for a single fab to handle the processor making for iPhone, iPad, MacBook Pro, iMac, etc. And, of course, there’s also the possibility that the oddly-dubbed Project Azelea isn’t even Apple’s. After all, the Cupertino giant isn’t the only company capable of throwing around a few billions, is it?

The new iPad A6X chip
Image credits to technoholik.com

Dec 18, 2012

Nokia Lumia 620 Receives GCF Approvals

Lumia 620, the latest Windows Phone 8 device from Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia, has received the necessary approvals from the Global Certification Forum.

The smartphone features 1900/1800/900/850 MHz (I) / 1900 (II) / 900 (VIII) / 850 (V) MHz, GSM W-CDMA 2100 connectivity options, and should arrive on shelves in January next year. Lumia 620 also received the Bluetooth certification last week, after being officially unveiled to the world in the beginning of the month.

Although a Windows Phone 8 device, the new handset will hit shelves as an entry-level smartphone, destined mainly for budget-conscious users in emerging markets. It sports a 3.8-inch touchscreen, 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of internal memory, 5-megapixel camera, NFC, Wi-Fi, MicroSD memory card slot, and front-facing camera for making video calls.

Nokia Lumia 620
Image credits to Nokia

Lenovo LePhone K860i Official in China with 5’’ HD Screen

Today, mobile phone maker Lenovo made official a new Android-based device in China, namely the LePhone K860i, which comes as an upgraded flavor of the LePhone K860 device, Engadget China reports.

The new smartphone features a 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos 4412 processor inside, as well as 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal memory, and a 2,250 mAh battery inside. The phone packs a 5-inch touchscreen display that can deliver a 720p resolution and a 450 lumen brightness, and 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back, with support for full HD video recording, as well as a 2MP camera on the front for making video calls.

The phone also sports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, support for 3G networks, and Google’s Android 4.1 Jelly Bean platform on top. The handset should land in China on December 21.

Lenovo LePhone K860i
Image credits to Engadget China

CyanogenMod 10.1 on Galaxy S III [Video]

Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone is one of the first devices to get a taste of the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system in an unofficial manner, courtesy of CyanogenMod 10.1 builds.

Based on the latest flavor of the mobile operating system, these builds bring along some of the features and capabilities of the platform, along with custom enhancements coming from the CM team itself. Since there are no Samsung customizations, the build will not offer the apps and gestures that users might expect from it, but one thing is said to be much faster than before, namely the browser.

The CyanogenMod 10 builds available for the device are only nightly releases for the time being, yet more stable ROMs should emerge soon. To learn more on how the device goes along with the software, have a look at the video above, available courtesy of Pocketnow.

For helpful links & to comment: http://pocketnow.com/2012/12/18/cm10-1-on-samsung-gs3
Watch as we run through the first nightly of CM10.1 for the Samsung Galaxy S III, and see if it's good enough to use as your daily driver.
Video credits to pocketnowvideo

PR1.1 Update Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 Available via NaviFirm

We reported yesterday on the next software update for Nokia Lumia 920, but now it looks like the update will be pushed to Lumia 820 devices as well.

The folks over at NokiaPowerUser report the highly-anticipated PR1.1 software update for AT&T Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 has just appeared on NaviFirm. Although the update has yet to be announced by Nokia and Microsoft, we expect it to become available within the next few days. This leak comes in line with the latest details coming from various channels, including Nokia Care, that Nokia Lumia 920 will receive a software update this month.

According to Nokia, the PR1.1 update will fix some of the issues with the Lumia 920's powerful PureView camera, which seems to suffer from fuzziness. It also promises to improve the camera's daylight performance.

PR1.1 update for Lumia 920
Image credits to Engadget

LibreOffice for Raspberry Pi

The LibreOffice free office suite is now available for the credit card sized single-board computer developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation and The Document Foundation have announced that a complete version of LibreOffice is now available for Raspberry Pi, the credit-card sized computer created with the intention of stimulating the teaching of basic computer science in schools. Raspberry PC is a mini PC that is capable of connecting a TV and a keyboard, which can be used for many important tasks, such as spreadsheets, word-processing and games. “The availability of LibreOffice, the best free office suite ever, on the Raspberry Pi – the most affordable PC ever, targeted to hardware and software enthusiasts, and schools – is extremely important for The Document Foundation, because it will contribute to the growth of the brand awareness in key market segments,” comments Bjoern Michaelsen, a Canonical developer and a deputy member of the Board of Directors of The Document Foundation.

LibreOffice is the first complete office that can run on a 40 dollar credit card sized PC, without any compromise on features and performances. The LibreOffice package has been ported to ARM by multiple contributors from Canonical, Debian and RedHat, and was packaged for the Raspberry Pi by Rene Engelhard as a part of his work as the Debian maintainer for LibreOffice. “I’m very impressed that the LibreOffice team didn’t have to make any changes to the code in order for it to compile and smoothly run on Raspberry Pi”, said Eben Upton from the Raspberry Pi Foundation. “It’s also great to have a comprehensive office suite available in the Pi Store at launch, making people even more aware of the potential of this device,” he continued.

LibreOffice for Raspbery Pi can be download from the official Pi Store and users can find comprehensive installing instructions there.

LibreOffice installation
Image credits to Libre Office

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