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Jan 15, 2012

Samsung Confirms Plans to Merge Bada OS with Tizen

Shortly after the first screenshots of the Linux-based Tizen operating system for mobile phones, Samsung made a surprising move and announced plans to merge its proprietary bada OS with Tizen.

Tizen is the true successor of the MeeGo platform. Developed by Samsung, Intel and a number of MeeGo developers, Tizen is expected to go live next month at the Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona.

However, starting this year Samsung's bada OS will cease to exist on its own, while its SDK and all apps will be compatible with Tizen platform, claim the folks over at The Verge

Although Samsung confirmed it will launch one or two Tizen smartphone this year, the handset maker did not say when exactly they will be announced, but all rumors point to a possible MWC 2012 release.

For the time being, Samsung did not mention anything about the current bada smartphones, so there's no telling whether or not some of them will be updated to Tizen OS.

New High Resolution Satellite Imagery in Google Maps for Over 120 Countries

Google is constantly updating the satellite imagery used in Google Maps and Google Earth. However, new imagery is published in batches every several weeks. In the latest update, Google has unveiled high resolution satellite imagery as well as aerial imagery for many, many locations around the world.

New aerial imagery is available for several cities in the US. The Austrian cities of Innsbruck and Linz as well as the German towns of Augsburg and Mannheim are part of the update as well.

At the same time, some 120 countries have received new satellite images. The more up to date images should give a more accurate picture of the places they cover which may have changed since the last update. The full list of countries with updated data as well as some of the more notable locations are available in Google's announcement.

CES 2012: Windows 8 Demoed on Texas Instruments Tablet

Windows 8 will arrive with support for far more processor types than its predecessors. Microsoft said that before, and came to CES 2012 in Las Vegas with its pockets full of devices capable of proving so. 

The 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show offered Microsoft the possibility to show some of the capabilities of its upcoming OS, as well as the fact that it will get along nicely with tablet PCs. 

Whether powered by Intel, AMD or ARM processors, these devices will run Windows 8, and will run it pretty well. 

One of the demoes at CES came from Texas Instruments, which will have its processors powering Windows 8 tablets. 

TI brought a Windows 8 tablet at CES, with its new OMAP4470 ARM processor inside, and CNet managed to get a glimpse at it. 

Apparently, things are looking more than encouraging. The tablet was capable of connecting to the Internet, and showed smooth scrolling on a CNN news site. 

This proves that Windows 8 will be able to deliver great performance on ARM, although many are skeptical about the success of the pair. 

In the end, there is the possibility that Windows 8 on ARM will not offer support for legacy applications, that there will be no “desktop mode” available for users to take advantage of, and that new software will have to be created for Windows 8 tablets. 

However, TI’s demonstration might put some of these concerns to rest. The company’s OMAP4470 processor, clocked in at 1.8GHz, appears to be capable of delivering the performance users are seeking in a tablet PC. It is 20 percent faster than TI’s OMAP4460 and also features a faster PowerVR SGX544 GPU. 

Windows 8 is expected to hit the shelves on Intel architectures this year, while making it inside ARM devices in 2013. Analysts suggested that Windows 8 on ARM might be too late to the party, but things might turn out differently in the end. 

"Combining the OMAP 4 platform's unique capabilities with Microsoft's seamless interaction of touch, mouse and keyboard via Windows 8 will deliver a streamlined, fast and fluid experience," Deepu Talla, general manager, OMAP mobile computing, wireless business unit, TI, stated. 

"Reimagined, Windows 8 is a fast and fluid, touch-first OS that brings a new range of capabilities without compromise," said Aidan Marcuss, senior director of Windows Core Marketing & Ecosystem, Microsoft Corp.

CES 2012: Skytex Unveils X-Series Windows 7 Tablet

Even though CES 2012 saw many Android tablets, most of them based on an ARM chip of some sort, Skytex brought forth the X-Series Windows 7 tablet.

The X-Series is powered by an Intel Aton N2600 CPU whose clock speed is 1.6 GHz.

The chip is backed by 2GB of DDR3 RAM and a solid state drive of 60 GB.

Also, the display of the slate measures 10.1 inches in diagonal and boasts a native resolution of 1,200 x 800 pixels.

Other specifications include capacitive touch support (5-point), built-in WiFi, Ethernet, an optional 3G dongle adapter, Bluetooth, USB 3.0 (two ports) and two webcams.

The 1.3-megapixel camera on the front is mainly used for video chats, while the rear-placed 5-megapixel camera serves for photos.

Finally, Windows 7 is loaded onto the device but, alas, no price has been given (sales will only start in a few months).

Motorola Lets Slip DROID RAZR MAXX Release Date: January 26th

At CES 2012 in Las Vegas, mobile phone maker Motorola Mobility announced the release of a successor for its DROID RAZR smartphone, namely the DROID RAZR MAXX. 

The handset was unveiled with support for Verizon Wireless’ network, but no specific info on when it might arrive on shelves emerged at that time. 

However, it appears that Motorola let slip on its website that the device would be launched on January 26th, and that it would be available from both Motorola and Verizon. 

The release date has been since taken off the company’s website, but some lucky people managed to take a shot of the announcement. Currently, the website says that DROID RAZR MAXX is “coming soon.”

When released, the new mobile phone should feature a price tag of $300 on-contract, at least this is what a recently leaked Verizon MAP showed.

CES 2012: Some iPad 3 Specs Get Leaked

A major accessory manufacturer allegedly working with real iPad 3 specifications to craft protective cases has told Cult of Mac that, contrary to recent industry chatter, the next Apple tablet will actually be thinner than the current one.

Recent iPad 3 rumors said Apple was planning to enhance the backlighting for the tablet’s Retina display. Because of the extra light-emitting hardware, the tablet would emerge thicker than the current generation iPad, the rumors said.

However, that will not be the case, according to the aforementioned accessory manufacturer, who told the Cult that “the upcoming device is measurably more svelte than the iPad 2.”

The source did not provide an explanation as to what exactly allows Apple to achieve such a thin profile with its third-generation iPad. Also noteworthy is that the iPad 2 is currently the thinnest iOS device in Apple’s portfolio.

One piece of hardware that would allow Apple to make the iPad 3 at least as thin as the current one is the display. An IGZO display uses technologies that allow the panel to take up very little space in terms of depth.

The benefits of using IGZO panels also include lower cost of manufacturing, increased aperture ratio for improved light transmittance, and higher resolution, to name only a few.

But there’s a problem. The only company making these killer displays for Apple was Sharp, and the manufacturer has been reportedly kicked out of the iPad 3 supply chain for failing to meet Apple’s demands for mass production.

Of course, none of this is confirmed, and the rumors will keep on contradicting each other until the Cupertino, California giant finally unveils the thing (and people like iFixit perform a comprehensive teardown to see where every part comes from).

And there’s always the matter of practicality. After all, how thin can the iPad get before it gets too fragile to manipulate? How about adding new features instead of reducing the size of the device? What do you guys think?

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