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Jan 5, 2012

eFun 9.7-Inch Tablet Will Run Android 4.0 for $250 (€195)

Tablet makers surely have a lot of love for Android 4.0 and the above pictured eFun Nextbook Elite 10 slate is just another example of this fact.

Coming from the same company that also developed the Nextbook Premium 9 Gingerbread tablet, this new device will make its arrival at CES 2012 sporting Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

Google’s OS will be run by a Broadcom dual-core 1.1GHz SoC that will stand behind a 9.7-inch display with a 1024x768 resolution.

The rest of the specs list is largely unknown, but engadget has somehow managed to find out that a 2MP front-facing camera will also be part of the package, while additional apps can be downloaded from the SlideME app market.

Access to Google’s Market place would have been a lot nicer if you ask me, but since this will sell for somewhere between $250 and $280 (195 to 218 EUR), I guess that we can look past this (now) minor flaw.

Intel to Update Atom Cedar Trail Lineup with D2550, N2650, and N2850 CPUs

Even though only a little over a week has passed since Intel has started shipping its first Atom processors based on the Cedar Trail architecture, the chip maker is already working on releasing a refreshed version of these CPUs.

As CPU-World has uncovered, the new Cedar Trail Atom processor range will include three models that will be known as the D2550, N2650, and N2850.

The first one of these, the Atom D2550, is actually an older acquaintance of ours as it first made its appearance back in December of 2011 in a leaked Intel CPU roadmap.

Clocked at the same 1.86GHz frequency as the D2500, this dual-core Atom processor brings a couple of improvements to the specifications list of its predecessor, including a higher 640MHz GPU frequency (up from 400MHz) and support for Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology.

The changes brought by Intel to this chip haven’t increased its TDP which is rated at the same 10W as that of the Atom D2500.

The two other CPUs in the Atom line, which will be launched together with the D2550, both come with better specs than the chips they are meant to replace and also sport a 0.1 Watt higher power consumption.

Their clock speeds will be set at 1.7GHz for the Atom N2650 and a round 2GHz for the N2850, and they include dual processing cores with Hyper-Threading support, 1MB of L2 cache memory, and integrated graphics.

In the Atom N2650 however, the built-in GPU is clocked at just 400MHz, so those of you looking for Blu-Ray 2.0 playback should be better served by the N2850 and its 640MHz clocked GPU.

No information regarding the release date or the pricing of these new Atom Cedar Trail chips is available at this point in time.

Canon PowerShot G1X Camera Sports Child-Detector for $799 (€622)

Canon’s upcoming PowerShot G1X has joined the ranks of the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 as the digital cam was prematurely detailed before its CES 2012 debut.

Leaked by the same Website as Fujitsu’s creation, the G1X is targeting “advanced amateurs” and packs a 4x (28-112mm) optical zoom lens with an F/2.5-16 aperture.

Behind it stands a 1.5-inch CMOS sensor that is paired together with one of Canon’s DIGIC 5 image processors to offer a 4.5fps burst rate at the cam’s full 14.3MP resolution and 14-bit RAW file support.

Other features include multi-area white balance adjustment as well as a new Smart Auto mode, a “child-weighted” face detection system and a new HDR mode.

The PowerShot G1X can also record Full HD 1080p video and sports a 720p “Movie Digest” mode which automatically builds a video log out of stills captured by the camera. All these can be yours in a few weeks’ time (read that February) for $799 (622 EUR).

Nikon Full-Frame D4 Pro DSLR to Arrive in February for $6,000 (€4,664)

Nikon is expected to unveil the D4 professional DSLR at the end of this week and recent rumors suggest that the camera will reach retail a month later with a suggested price tag of $6,000, or roughly 4,664 EUR.

Nikon Rumors has spotted this info on Wells Fargo's website, the same publication that also has some details regarding the soon to be unveiled Fujifilm X-Pro1 digital camera.

As expected, the Nikon D4 offers quite some nice features for its $6,000 US retail price tag including a 16.2MP full-frame sensor with a native ISO range spanning 100-12,800.

Those that need higher light sensitivity have also the ability of activating the expanded mode which increase the ISO range to 50- 204,800.

According to the specifications published by Nikon Rumors, the D4 will be able to capture up to 11 frames per second in burst mode at full resolution and will use an improved AF system featuring 51 points, just as in the current D3s.

Furthermore, the DSLR will also receive a new face detection/recognition function that will be working in the viewfinder and will gain the option of using XQD memory card in addition to the usual CompactFlash.

The video recording capabilities of the Nikon D4 will also be improved, and the camera will also get integrated Ethernet, 9 cross-type AF sensors operational up to f/8, improved AF detection range (goes down to EV-2.0), and support for Nikon’s WT-5 wireless transmitter.

D4 users will also be able to send out uncompressed video through the HDMI port and can configure two of the front buttons for controlling aperture during video recording.

Together with the D4 DSLR, Nikon is also said to launch a new Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.8G prime lens which will be retailed for around $500 (387 EUR).

BlackBerry Bold 9900 ‘No Sound’ Issue Gets Fix

There are many BlackBerry fans who purchased one of the latest BlackBerry 7 smartphones unveiled by Research In Motion (RIM) last year, namely the Bold 9900. Some of them experience problems with the phone, which renders the device unusable for phone calls. 

If you are one of those who have bought a BlackBerry Bold 9900 and noticed that your phone has suddenly went “silent,” then you might want to read ahead for the solution to this problem.

Apparently, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 likes to go “quiet” even if the profile is set to “Normal” or “Loud.” Basically, you won’t be able to hear your phone ring, and certainly you won’t be able to hear anyone talking when someone calls you or when you call someone.

Usually, when something like this happens and restarting the device doesn’t fix it, BlackBerry users simply pull out the battery, then put it back in, and switch on the smartphone. This will certainly fix the issue, but only temporarily.

The “no sound” issue only affects some BlackBerry Bold 9900 users, which means this is not a general problem. Those who replaced their units got rid of the issue, at least for a time if not forever.

Well, it appears that this is not a hardware issue after all. The folks over at CrackBerry solved the puzzle and offered a simple solution to this problem. Simply uninstall a third party application called “One Touch Flashlight” and the problem will be fixed.

There’s also another application that might screw your BlackBerry Bold 9900, "Flashlight: 2 for 1" that can be downloaded for free via App World.

It seems that after running one of these apps you will lose all sound and notifications vibration. The applications activate the video recorder to have the led on and screws the phone’s sound entirely.

However, it appears that both applications have been updated with bug fixes, so if you still want to give them a try make sure you download the newest versions.

Check Out Mozilla's Mobile OS Boot to Gecko in Action

For many Mozilla equals Firefox, but the organization is working on a lot more. One of the most ambitious projects is Boot 2 Gecko, which is still in the early stages, an operating system based on the Gecko rendering and layout engine used by Firefox, Thunderbird and all Mozilla-related projects.

Saying that making a new operating system, especially a mobile one, is hard is somewhat of an understatement, so it's going to be a while before Mozilla has anything that can appeal to regular users. That is, if it manages to do it at all.

But it's working on it and it already has some things to show off. The team demoed their work so far at a MozCamp Asia and you can check out a rather blurry video of that demo, courtesy of Mozilla Tunisia.

Fujifilm X-Pro 1 Leaked, Packs 16MP Sensor and Hybrid EVF

If you had the feeling that something is missing from Fujifilm’s gush of digital cameras from this early morning, you are definitely right as the long awaited X-Pro 1 was nowhere on that list.

Since then however, the successor of the X100 has come out of its hiding thanks to a prematurely posted press release that was uncovered by SlashGear.

While nowhere as informative as we would have liked, the document does reveal quite a bit of info about the X-Pro 1 including the fact that is sports a custom 16MP APS-CMOS sensor with a new filter array and proprietary EXR processor as well as a hybrid EVF.

Together with the camera, three Fujinon prime lenses will also become available consisting of an 18mm (27mm equivalent) f/2.0, a 35mm (53mm equivalent) f/1.4 and a 60mm (90mm equivalent) f/2.4.

Pricing for the all metal Fujifilm X-Pro 1 will be apparently set at €1,300 ($1,667) for the X-Pro 1 and the 35mm lens, while the other two lenses will retail at €600 ($770) wach.

RIM to Reveal BlackBerry OS 10 at 2012 Mobile World Congress and Planning to License BlackBerry 10 to Other Handset Makers

Although the recent rumors suggest that Research In Motion plans to license its Blackberry 10 operating system to other handset manufacturer, such as Samsung or HTC, it appears that company plans to announce it next month at MWC 2012.
The folks over at Pocketlint were told by a RIM spokesman that BlackBerry 10 operating system will be revealed next month at the 2012 Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona.

“2012 will be the year of BlackBerry 10 so we’ll be showcasing the capabilities of our future operating system as well demonstrating the power of BlackBerry 7, with a particular focus on NFC and BBM connected apps.”

However, given the fact that RIM said recently that the first BlackBerry 10 OS devices will be launched on the market later this year, it will be interesting to see if the company will be able to showcase a handset capable of running the upcoming platform.

RIM Planning to License BlackBerry 10 to Other Handset Makers

Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion might be determined to start licensing the upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system to other handset vendors around the world.

Moreover, the company is expected to rethink its strategy for the smartphone segment, and to start new partnerships that would eventually help it gain market share. 

RIM’s co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie might soon lose their chairman positions and the changes in the company’s approach towards the mobile market could start from here. 

A recent article on the Financial Post claims that RIM is moving towards removing its co-founders from the board seats. The news site also suggests that Barbara Stymiest could take their position. She has been a member of RIM’s board of directors since 2007.

If this happens, Barbara Stymiest could start reviewing the company’s strategy in an attempt to make it more profitable. 

Thus, changes that would involve cutting costs on hardware or the signing of new partnerships would happen, Jefferies & Co.’s Peter Misek suggests, according to Barron's

Misek also notes that the Canadian mobile phone maker has already made steps in this direction, through agreeing to license the upcoming BlackBerry 10 OS to various handset vendors. 

“We think some of this has already been started with RIM likely agreeing to license Blackberry 10 to Samsung, HTC, and possibly others,” Misek reportedly stated. 

“This would help create a critical mass for the ecosystem and maintain RIM’s monthly service revenue; however, it puts more pressure on the hardware business in the short term. 

“Longer term, it possibly gets people hooked on the RIM ecosystem and may in fact allow them to sell more BB 10 handsets (if they are able to create compelling handsets).”

Samsung and HTC are currently greatly involved with Google’s Android operating system, while also having Windows Phone devices included in their roadmaps. 

Coming up with handsets powered by BlackBerry would certainly be something new for them, though it remains to be seen whether they would actually make this step. After all, the OS has been losing significant market share lately.

Lenovo Unveils ThinkPad X1 Hybrid Laptop Packing Secondary ARM SoC

Earlier today, Lenovo has announced the new ThinkPad X1 Hybrid laptop that was designed to sport a secondary operating system and an ARM-based Qualcomm SoC in order to deliver up to 10 hours of battery life to its users. 

This system is called the Instant Media Mode, IMM for short, by Lenovo and runs a Linux-based OS that can be activated by simply clicking an icon on the laptop's home screen.

Powered by a dual-core Qualcomm chip and featuring up to 16GB of memory, the OS can be used to watch videos, view photos, listen to music and browse the web while preserving precious battery life.

In the 13.3-inch ThinkPad X1 Hybrid, the special IMM hardware can be paired together with Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors and the Windows 7 operating system.

Other features include optional mobile broadband, a high definition display with Corning Gorilla Glass (the exact resolution isn’t mentioned), a HD webcam, a fingerprint reader as well as support for Intel’s vPro technology.

In addition, Lenovo has also introduced Dolby Home Theater v4 sound, an HDMI port and Intel Wireless Display technology to connect and stream 1080p video wirelessly to a TV or projector.

Support for Lenovo’s Rapid Charge is also included, so the battery can be charged up to 80 percent in just 30 minutes.

"The ThinkPad X1 Hybrid and T430u Ultrabook represent the next generation in thin and light computing," said Dilip Bhatia, vice president, ThinkPad Business Unit, Lenovo. 

"From small businesses that literally live their life on the road to corporate professionals working in a managed environment, these new crossover laptops fundamentally change the way people think about mobile computing technology."

According to Lenovo, the ThinkPad X1 Hybrid laptop will be available starting with Q2 2012, while pricing is expected to begin at £545 ($845 US).

Asus' 7-Inch Tablet Pictured Yet Again

After a couple of days ago we brought you the first picture of an upcoming 7-inch Asus tablet that is expected to make its debut at CES 2012, now a new image of this slate has reached the Web.

The picture shows the back of the 7-incher which from what we can tell includes at least a camera, a pair of speakers and a couple of physical buttons.

We don’t know what these buttons are for, but Notebook Italia believes that the rear snapper has a resolution of 5MP.

More details should be unveiled at CES, when we should also find out the name of this Asus tablet as currently some reports refer to it as the Memo Pad, while others call it the Transformer Mini.

New LG Windows Phone Emerges Ahead of CES 2012

Next week, South Korean mobile phone maker LG Electronics is expected to unveil to the world a new smartphone that would run under Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system. 

The new handset appears to be different from the LG Fantasy smartphone that emerged last year, and should make an official appearance during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. 

The photos attached to this article show a device that appears to be only an engineering sample, and not the final product. 

When made commercially available, the smartphone should feature more polished buttons, though they would still be capacitive. The LG Windows Phone will be thin and should feature rough edges. 

According to Pocketnow, the specs list of this device should also include a front-facing webcam, as well as a proximity sensor and light sensor.

Windows 8 Reset and Refresh Features Get Detailed

One of the features that Windows 8 will arrive on the market with will be the possibility to reset it either to the original settings, or to a previously working configuration. 

In other words, users will be able to revert the PC to a factory state, or to go back to a good configuration that worked for them. 

Users who will purchase a computer running under Windows 8 right from the start will certainly grow to appreciate both these options, since they are meant to eliminate the need of performing a clean install of the platform.

Of course, tools to enable you to get the PC back to a previous state are already available, though not all of them might be seen as efficient as needed, especially to users who don’t have too much experience in the area. 

Desmond Lee, program manager on the Fundamentals team, explains in a blog post that Windows 8 is meant to ease this for users, in a variety of manners. The platform will offer features like:

  • Provide a consistent experience to get the software on any Windows 8 PC back to a good and predictable state.
  • Streamline the process so that getting a PC back to a good state with all the things customers care about can be done quickly instead of taking up the whole day.
  • Make sure that customers don’t lose their data in the process.
  • Provide a fully customizable approach for technical enthusiasts to do things their own way.

In the upcoming Windows 8 release, users will be able to make their PCs functional again with the simple push of a button, Lee explains. 

Resetting and Refreshing your PC

Two features will be available for users, namely Reset your PC and Refresh your PC. The former will remove all personal data, apps, and settings from the PC, and put a fresh copy of Windows on it. The latter will leave personal data, Metro style apps, and important settings intact, while reinstalling Windows.

When you chose the Reset your PC feature, the computer will boot into the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE), erase and format all hard drive partitions that have Windows and personal data on them, reinstall the platform, and then restart into the new copy of Windows.

Windows 8 will also come with an option to erase data more thoroughly, so that no sensitive files would be recoverable afterwards. This feature is meant to ensure increased security of users’ data. 

If they only want to have Windows installed, while the personal files are left intact, users can choose the Refreshing your PC option. 

When opting for this, the PC will boot into Windows RE, which will scan for data, settings, and apps, and put them aside, then will reinstall Windows and restore the saved files and settings. The great part when refreshing the PC is that you will not have to use an external hard drive to back up your data. 

“Unlike manually reinstalling Windows, you don’t have to go through the Windows Welcome screens again and reconfigure all the initial settings, as your user accounts and those settings are all preserved,” Lee explains. 

“You can sign in with the same account and password, and all of your documents and data are preserved in the same locations they were before.

“To accomplish this, we actually use the same imaging and migration technologies behind Windows Setup. In fact, the underlying setup engine is used to perform both Reset and Refresh, which also benefit from the performance and reliability improvements we added to setup for Windows 8.”

In Windows 8 Beta, these options will look as in the screenshots attached to this article. The OS flavor will be able to preserve settings that include: Wireless network and Mobile broadband connections, BitLocker and BitLocker To Go settings, Drive letter assignments, Personalization settings (lock screen background and desktop wallpaper).

However, File type associations, Display settings and Windows Firewall settings will not be preserved.

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