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Jan 18, 2012

AMD Trinity Pushed Back to Mid-2012, May Be Faster than Initially Thought

AMD seems to have a lot of confidence in the performance of its upcoming Trinity APUs as reportedly the company has increased the projected speed expectations for these chips when compared to previous Llano parts. 

According to the chip makers own internal tests, a 35W Trinity notebook APU is expected to provide 25% better computing performance compared to a similar Llano APU, while on the graphics side Trinity may extend that lead to 50%.

The sad news however is despite the increased in performance, AMD’s Trinity chips won’t see the light of day until mid-2012.

"We are indeed on track with Trinity for mid-2012," said Chris Hook, and AMD spokesman to Xbit Labs, without going into any more details.

Previously, the company’s reps have said that AMD will launch in early 2012, even though no specific dates were given.

“One of the first products we launch will be Trinity. And we have not released an official launch date yet but it will happen early in the year,” said Thomas Seifert, senior vice president and chief financial officer of AMD at the end of October 2011.

According to some documents seen by Xbit Labs, 65W Trinity desktop parts will enter mass production in March of this year, while sometime in May the 100W parts will also enter volume production.

At this year’s CES fair, AMD has already showcased a Trinity APU that is expected to power ultra-thin mobile computers.

The demo was run on a 17W Trinity processor connected to three displays at the same time, one running Dirt 3 live in DirectX 11, another showing Arcsoft’s Media Converter being used for converting a video, while the third one was playing back an HD movie.

Fujitsu m532 Tegra 3 Tablet Will Arrive in May Running Android 4.0

Fujitsu isn’t that big of a name in the mobile space, but the Japanese company is looking to change that in the near future with the introduction of a new tablet, called the Stylistic m532, rocking Nvidia’s Tegra 3 quad-core SoC.

Ignoring the high-res screen trend imposed by Acer’s Iconia Tab A700 and the Asus Transformer TF700, the m532 is built around a 10.1-inch screen capable of pushing a “mere” 1280x800 pixels.

Pop the display out, and inside you will find Nvidia’s Tegra 3 SoC placed alongside 16GB of Flash storage, which should be enough for many users.

If this however doesn’t satisfy your needs, you can also expand the storage space available by installing a microSD card.

The slot required by this sort of cards is placed on the side of the tablet, right near a SIM card slot, a mini-HDMI output and a micro-USB port, the latter being used for charging and/or connecting the tablet to a computer.

An interesting addition is the presence of a bottom dock connector, but so far we don’t know if the Stylistic m532 will use a regular charging dock or something along the lines of the optional keyboard/docking station available for the Asus Transformer Prime.

Fujitsu’s Stylistic m532 also includes two cameras, one front webcam sporting a 3MP resolution and a rear 8MP snapper with flash.

From the video provided by TechFokus, one gets to see that the m532 sports quite a thin profile, while the back uses a nice black matte finish with a rubber feel to it.

Fujitsu’s tablet is expected to arrive in May of this year featuring a €499 (around $630) price tag. Right now, the demo unit was running Android 3.2 Honeycomb, but the final version will arrive with Android 4.0 pre-installed.

Intel Intros Overclocking Warranty for K & X-Series CPUs

Intel has just announced the introduction of new program called the Performance Tuning Protection Plan (PTPP) which allows K- and X-series processors owners to purchase an additional warranty for their CPU, enabling them to get a replacement in case the old one is killed thorough overclocking. 

This new plan is an addition to the standard 3 year warranty covering all Intel processors, which means that it will go into effect only if the CPU is damaged when running beyond its reference specs, otherwise the standard warranty applies.

The only catch right now is that the so called PTPP program will be launched as a test that will last six months, and afterwards Intel will decide if it will continue with its new plan.

“Intel is pleased to announce the introduction of a new pilot plan targeted at the enthusiast community,” reads Intel’s official statement announcing the introduction of the PTPP plan, published by Legit Review.

“In this spirit, Intel is announcing a new pilot service plan for “K”, “X”, and LGA2011-socketed boxed processors called the Performance Tuning Protection Plan. 

“This Plan will provide certain out-of-warranty service offerings in the event of damage caused by over-clocking or over-voltaging by the user. 

“By purchasing this Plan and meeting the Plan’s criteria, the user can receive a one-time replacement processor if the user’s over-voltaging or over-clocking causes the original processor to fail.”

Five processors are so far covered by the Performance Tuning Protection Plan, the Core i5-2500K, Core i7-2600K, Core i7-2700K, Core i7-3930K, and Core i7-3960X, and prices range between $20 and $35 (15.5 to 27 EUR).

In this first phase, the overclocking protection plan can be purchased from CyberPower, Canada Computers and Electronics, Scan Computers, and Altech Computers or directly from Intel by using PayPal.

NFC Mobile Payments with BlackBerry Bold 9900 Now Possible in Turkey

Touted world’s first SIM-based smartphones to receive MasterCrad PayPass handset certifications for NFC mobile payments, BlackBerry Bold 9900 and BlackBerry Curve 9360 were also the first to run RIM’s BlackBerry 7 operating system. 

To capitalize on NFC (Near Field Communications) technology, major carrier Turkcell and Research In Motion (RIM) have just introduced the NFC mobile wallet application for BlackBerry Bold 9900 smartphone users in Turkey.

Turkcell’s application combined with the powerful features of the BlackBerry Bold 9900 will allow the carrier’s customers to make secure mobile payments by simply tapping their smartphones against a MasterCard PayPass reader.

These readers can be found in shops, retail outlets, cafes and restaurants across Turkey. Furthermore, Turkcell subscribers who own the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and travel outside the country will be able to make mobile payments as well, following the same procedure.   

"We are pleased to partner with Turkcell to launch the first commercially available NFC mobile wallet for BlackBerry smartphone customers in Turkey. RIM is committed to supporting the advancement of NFC technology and today’s launch marks an exciting milestone for the future of mobile commerce", said Alexandra Zagury, managing director, Turkey, RIM.

BlackBerry Bold 9900 owners who want to take advantage of this new feature can apply for the Turkcell Cep-T Cüzdan service starting today.

As soon as they have received the new NFC-enabled SIM and install de NFC Mobile Wallet application, they will be able to start making mobile payments.

According to Turkcell, payments of up to 35 TL per transaction are allowed without having to insert the pin or signature, but for payments over 35 TL, pin or signature support is required.

"The Turkcell Cep-T Cüzdan application for the BlackBerry Bold 9900 opens up  a new era of shopping, enabling simple, secure and convenient mobile payments at approximately 60000 contactless points of sale across Turkey", concluded Cenk Bayrakdar,  Turkcell deputy general manager, Turkcell.

Matrox Licenses M-Series Multi-Display Drive Source Code

Matrox Graphics Inc. is not dead yet and, as it happens, it has decided to make the source code of its M-Series drivers available for licensing by OEMs.

Matrox' G450, G450 Low Profile and G450 PCI graphics cards already have open-source drivers for Linux 32 and 64-bit operating systems.

Now, Matrox has made it possible for OEMs to contact them and collaborate on the development of software for multi-display desktop management.

The company claims that it can render images of 8 megapixels across multiple screens easily.

Also, the drivers can combine multiple cards in a single system, for better performance, versatility and quality of service.

Once a licensing agreement is reached, OEMs get access to tools, resources and the suitable Matrox programmer's guide.

Avionics, military, transportation, governmental agencies and process control applications should benefit.

HTC’s Quad-Core Edge to Be Renamed HTC Endeavor

Taiwanese mobile phone maker HTC Corporation is expected to unveil to the world its first quad-core smartphones as soon as next month. 

Among these devices, we should see an HTC Edge smartphone, some of the previous rumors on the matter suggested. 

We all knew that “Edge” was only a codename for the handset, and confirmation on the matter has just emerged. 

According to a recent article on Pocketnow, the new mobile phone will be rebranded HTC Endeavor, though it appears that this is still a codename for it. 

For those out of the loop, we should note that HTC usually uses an internal codename for its devices long before and after they are launched. However, the codename is different from the market moniker these devices receive. 

HTC smartphones might arrive on shelves with different names in various markets around the world, but their codenames do not change. 

Basically, this is the first time we learn that the handset vendor would have plans for modifying the codename of its devices. 

The Edge/Endeavor might be unveiled to the world as the first quad-core smartphone from HTC. The handset is expected to make an official appearance no later than next month. 

HTC might bring it to Barcelona to unveil it to the world during the Mobile World Congress in late February, yet confirmation on this has to emerge. 

Rumor has it that this mobile phone will pack an Nvidia quad-core Tegra 3 application processor inside, the kind that was put inside newly launched tablet PCs running Android. 

Another of the rumored hardware specs for this device is a next-generation ‘optically-laminated’ 720p display. 

Obviously, it is expected to run under Google’s Android mobile operating system, though it remains to be seen whether it will sport Ice Cream Sandwich or not. 

The yet unannounced handset is rumored to hit shelves sometime in early spring, and is expected to sport the name of “Supreme” when made available.

Samsung to Deliver Smartphones with Better Battery Life This Year

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung is getting ready for the release of new, highly appealing mobile phones this year and promises better battery life for them as well.

Today’s always-connected smartphones offer multitasking and fast data transfer speeds, while also packing large touchscreen displays.

All these result in the phone’s battery being drained fast, which means that you’ll need to be close to a power outlet at least once a day, if not more often.

Samsung says that their devices will be able to fare better this year, and that users will enjoy prolonged battery life with new handsets. 

"When you wake up to when you go to bed, we don't want you feeling anxiety about your battery life," Kevin Packingham, vice president of product innovation at Samsung, said in an interview at CES, CNet reports. 

Samsung’s users are not the only ones to suffer from such issues. Handsets from companies like Motorola are also delivering shorter usage times than they used to.

Thus, the mobile phone maker is considering the possibility of including a larger battery inside its devices, although this would make them bulkier than before. 

At the same time, Samsung will work on improving some of the handset’s capabilities, in order to make them less power consuming. 

For example, it will change the manner in which its devices handle Wi-Fi connections, or how they connect to 4G LTE. Future devices won’t be constantly searching for the LTE network, which will further reduce power consumption. 

Power drain will always be an issue when it comes to mobile phones, even with constant improvements brought to batteries and with optimizations packed inside devices. 

Last year was a good year for the company, but 2012 is expected to be better. New handsets will offer both impressive designs and better performance capabilities, Samsung suggests. Keep an eye on this space for more on this.

Nokia Belle Update Confirmed for Next Week

Nokia issued an official statement last month detailing the Nokia Belle (previously Symbian Belle) update, as well as the roadmap and the devices that will get it. 

The Finnish company launched only three smartphones that run Nokia Belle, the 701, 700 and 603. However, based on users’ positive feedback it decided to bring the update to more devices launched on the market with previous versions of Symbian OS.

Initially, Nokia confirmed the following models would receive the Nokia Belle update in early 2012: Nokia N8, Nokia E7, Nokia E6, Nokia X7, Nokia C6-01, Nokia C7, and Nokia Oro.

In addition, the handset maker announced that the update would be rolled out starting in February, though no exact release date was revealed at that time.

Several days after the original announcement the Finnish company added Nokia 500 to the list of smartphones slated for a Nokia Belle upgrade.

Today, Nokia confirmed once again that Nokia 500 would receive the Nokia Belle update, but the good news is that the company plans to roll out the update starting from next week.

"Nokia Belle will be on the way from next week", replied Nokia via Twitter to a fan who was asking for details on the upcoming Belle update for the Nokia 500 smartphone.

Those who did not have the chance to check out the new features introduced with Nokia Belle should know that the latest version of the operating system brings three additional home screens, while the widgets that can be placed on these home screens have been improved and are now more functional.

The status bar has been improved as well and includes common settings and notifications of incoming messages, along with missed calls and other.

New business applications are included with Nokia Belle, such as Lync, Sharepoint, OneNote, Exchange ActiveSync and PowerPoint Broadcaster.

We will update the information with more details as soon as we receive word on the upcoming availability of the Nokia Belle upgrade.

Sony's 2012 Android Roadmap Leaks with Full Prices and Release Dates

Sony has big plans for 2012 and the Japanese company started full force with two new amazing handsets that were announced last week at the International Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas, the Sony Xperia S and Xperia ion. 

In addition, Sony announced the Xperia NX and acro HD, which were especially designed for the Japanese market. However, while the Xperia NX is just the Japanese version of the Xperia S, the acro HD is a completely new device.

Even though Sony Xperia S is rumored to hit shelves at the end of January at the earliest, Sony plans to keep launching quite a range of Android devices in Q2 and Q3.

In this regard, it looks like the folks over at GSMArena have just received news on the complete Sony 2012 Android roadmap, along with full prices and approximate release dates.

According to them, this information comes directly through Sony India’s sales channels, which means that all prices and release dates are for the Indian market.

Keep in mind that we might see some of the unannounced Sony smartphones at the Mobile World Congress 2012, which is set to kick off on February 27.

As reported by GSMArena, Sony plans to launch three new Android phones in April: Sony ST25i Kumquat, Sony LT22i Nypon and Sony M27i Pepper. All three devices have been leaked recently, so it appears that the information is pretty accurate.

Next in line is Sony Olive which is slated for a June release, while Sony Hayabusa and Tapioca will be launched in July.

In August, Sony is expected to announce the Tapioca DS and Lotus, while in September three more Sony smartphones will make it to the market, Atlas, Mint and AFFM (?).

The prices of the unannounced devices range between 146 EUR and 562 EUR, but the original prices leaked are in INR, so they might be different at the time of their launch on the market. Check out GSMArena’s document for each Sony smartphone’s price.

Windows 8’s ReFS Won’t Initially Support Boot

Windows 8, the new platform version from Microsoft, is bound to arrive on devices this year with a series of appealing new features inside, including a new file system, called ReFS. 

The Resilient File System is a newly developed feature that will arrive in both Windows Server 8 and in the Windows 8 client. 

Based on NTFS, it should deliver increased reliability, support for large volume, file and directory sizes, better security and the like. 

Moreover, it will go along nicely with Storage Spaces, another feature new to Windows 8. Storage pooling and virtualization are supported by both of them. 

One thing that it will not offer in the beginning will be support for boot. Surendra Verma, development manager on the Storage and File System team, explains that only storage will be supported when the new file system debuts in Windows 8. 

“With this in mind, we will implement ReFS in a staged evolution of the feature: first as a storage system for Windows Server, then as storage for clients, and then ultimately as a boot volume,” he says.

“This is the same approach we have used with new file systems in the past,” Surendra Verma also notes. He also says that ReFS is one of the features of Windows 8 that needed a conservative approach to initial deployment and testing.

The initial focus will be on running ReFS as a file server. “We expect customers to benefit from using it as a file server, especially on a mirrored Storage Space. We also plan to work with our storage partners to integrate it with their storage solutions,” he says. 

Apparently, initial tests have showed encouraging results. ReFS has been tested using the tens of thousands of tests developed for NTFS, Verma explains.

“These tests simulate and exceed the requirements of the deployments we expect in terms of stress on the system, failures such as power loss, scalability, and performance,” he says. 

“We do not characterize ReFS in Windows 8 as a ‘beta’ feature. It will be a production-ready release when Windows 8 comes out of beta, with the caveat that nothing is more important than the reliability of data.”

This is the first version of a new major file system, which means that caution is necessary. However, Microsoft expects ReFS – along with Storage Spaces - to become the foundation of storage on Windows for the next several years or decades. 

“Together, Storage Spaces and ReFS have been architected with headroom to innovate further, and we expect that we will see ReFS as the next massively deployed file system,” Surendra Verma concludes.

iPhone 5 with Dual Home Buttons on Steel Rim Might Just Work [Video]

An iPhone 5 concept by Kris Groen shows what is possible with dual home buttons on each side of the phone’s steel frame, including fast app switching and clean navigation through your icon-filled springboard.

The next iPhone is expected to have a bigger display, which, according to many people in the Apple blogosphere, might just force the company to eliminate the traditional home button altogether.

Kris Groen, an AppAdvice reader, believes this theory holds water. He created this mockup (video embedded below) to show just how cool it would be to have two physical ‘home’ buttons on each side of the device.

He believes it would be completely normal to use the phone this way, as this is the natural holding position of any smartphone.

“‘Squeezing’ the two new buttons together activates the home function,” he explains. “Your fingers are instinctively in this position already.”

Basically, you wouldn’t even need your second hand to switch through your apps, whether in the Home screen, or in an app.

“This also allows for true stereo output since we now have two speakers on the bottom of the phone,” he adds.

And there’s a new (and potentially improved) microphone where the old home button used to be, according to the concept by Groen.

The two new home buttons can also be used to skip through songs, videos, emails, calendars, photos, and much more, according to the author of the concept.

However, a home button should not undergo this level of programmability, otherwise the user might get confused. In the end, you still need the home button to perform its basic function - that being always returning you to the home screen.

Groen concludes his demo with an Apple-inspired tagline:

iPhone 5
The phone is just the start
With a 4 inch Retina Display, 10MP large sensor camera, desktop quality apps and games, push email and full featured web browser - it's the "phone" you've been waiting for.

Canon EOS 300 Cinema Cam Available for Pre-Order, Ships at the End of January

Introduced back in November of 2011 in front of the film industry’s elite, Canon’s EOS 300 cinema camera is now available for pre-order with shipments starting at the end of this month.

Designed by Canon to come as an alternative to the RED cameras used by many in Hollywood, the EOS 300 draws its power from a Super 35mm CMOS sensor capable of supporting up to 4K resolutions.

The sensor reads Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) video signals for each of the three RGB primary colors, a feature that Canon promises it will decrease the incidence of moiré while realizing high resolution with 1,000 horizontal TV lines.

Furthermore, the C300 sensor was also built in order to reduce rolling shutter skew, while its association with a DIGIC DV III image processor facilitates high-precision gamma processing and smooth gradation expression.

In addition to MPEG-2 Full HD compression, the processor also supports 4:2:2 color sampling and can sustain video bitrates up to 50Mbps.

All the content being recorded can be stored on a pair of CF card slots, but an HD-SDI output is also available for storing the video captured on an external device.

Canon will make the C300 available in two versions, one with an EF lens mount for compatibility with Canon's current EF lenses for EOS SLRs and EF Cinema lenses, while the latter use the PL lens mount for use with PL lenses.

Right now the EF-version of the C300 (body only) has been listed by BH Photo Video on its website (thanks go out to engadget for spotting it) for a cool $15,999.00, which translates into about 12,537 EUR.

Shipments are expected to start on January 30, so in little less than two week from now you will have the C300 on your doorstep.

RIM to Be Putting Itself up for Sale

Rumor has it that the Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion plans on putting itself up for grabs, and that it has already kicked off the process. 

Apparently, the leading handset vendor hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to look into various strategic options. 

The BlackBerry maker has been long rumored to plan putting itself up for sale, but nothing has happened so far. 

However, it appears that there are not too many options left for the handset vendor, following a series of quarters during which it lost market share and saw its profits drop. 

Clearly, RIM needs to rethink its strategy for the smartphone market, and a sale could be one of the options. Other reports suggested that the company was considering the possible licensing of its upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform, but nothing has been confirmed on this for now. 

According to analysts, it’s rather unlikely for RIM to put itself up for sale, since there are not too many companies that might actually afford to buy it. 

"It's up on Goldman, but I wouldn't put too much on that," one trader stated, a recent article on foxbusiness reads. 

At the moment, RIM’s BlackBerry OS is lagging behind Google’s Android platform and Apple’s iOS. However, the OS is expected to lose market share and to fall from top three in favor of Microsoft’s Windows Phone. 

The Redmond-based company is one of the potential buyers for RIM, rumor has it. Last year, Microsoft said it had no plans to enter the hardware market on smartphones. However, since Apple already makes handsets and Google is in the process of acquiring Motorola, the company might have changed its mind. 

Previously, Amazon was said to be interested in the purchase of RIM too. Now, RIM is said to have hired the said investment bank, but no new details on possible bidders have emerged. 

Blackberry maker’s stocks went up 4 percent last week following the new speculations on it being up for grabs.

Samsung to Be Interested in Buying Parts of RIM, Licensing BlackBerry

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung is reportedly interested in purchasing parts of Canadian smartphone designer Research In Motion. 

The maker of BlackBerry has been long rumored to plan selling its assets due to falling stocks and slimmer market share. 

Nothing has been officially confirmed for the time being, but the company is said to have already kicked off the process, through hiring investment bank Goldman Sachs to seek strategic options. 

We heard that Microsoft and Amazon were among the possible bidders, and it seems that there are even more companies interested in the acquisition of RIM. 

Samsung is one of these companies, and rumors emerged that it would be planning the purchase of parts of RIM. 

The initial hearsay suggested that Samsung was actually planning to overtake RIM, but the South Korean handset vendor stepped up and denied these allegations. 

What the company did not say was whether it had any plans to acquire parts of RIM or to license its BlackBerry operating system. 

To prevent its platform from losing even more market share, RIM was expected to announce intentions to allow other handset vendor to license it. 

All is supposed to start as soon as the new BlackBerry OS 10 software was released, yet no formal confirmation on the matter has emerged so far. 

Samsung already offers handsets running under Android, its own platform bada, and Windows Phone. The availability of BlackBerry-powered devices will certainly help it gain some more share on the smartphone market. 

If so, Samsung would also be able to better differentiate itself in a market currently flooded with Android-based smartphones. 

According to BGR, RIM and Samsung are currently negotiating either the purchase of assets or the licensing of software. A source close with the matter confirmed this. 

RIM is also said to ask for more than $10 billion for the entire company, or around $22.90 and $28.60 per share. However, some analysts suggest that RIM would actually worth around $8.5 billion.

Windows 8 Demoed on LTE-Capable Snapdragon S4 Tablet

The first tablet PCs to arrive on shelves running Windows 8 have started to trickle in, unveiling great capabilities and features. 

Some of these would be powered by Qualcomm processors, and the chipmaker took its time to showcase devices at the recently ended 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. 

Microsoft and Qualcomm are working together on putting Windows 8 on devices based on Snapdragon processors, and the video embedded at the bottom of this article will offer you a glimpse at one of these devices. 

The tablet PC that can be seen there features support for AT&T’s LTE network, something that was suggested even before CES kicked off. 

“Qualcomm and Microsoft showed the results of their continued collaboration last week at CES 2012 with a demonstration of pre-release Windows 8 on Snapdragon S4 processors with LTE connectivity support,” Qualcomm notes about this video. 

In the video, you will see Stefan Kinnestrand, director of product management for the Windows Division at Microsoft, sharing some details on the new platform, as well as on what the Snapdragon S4 CPU inside it can deliver. 

He “discusses the unveiling of Windows 8 powered by Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 processors with LTE and 3G/4G wireless support, demonstrated on the AT&T 4G LTE network for the first time at CES 2012,” Qualcomm explains. 

“Qualcomm and Microsoft's collaboration enables the connected standby experience with high-speed mobile broadband, lower power consumption and advanced connectivity solutions to help enable faster, more productive, more mobile computing for users worldwide.”

Tablet PCs running Windows 8 will pack both ARM and Intel/AMD chips, but features are expected to differ from one type of devices to another. 

On x86 architecture, for example, Windows 8 is expected to offer support for legacy applications, something that might not be available for ARM-powered devices. 

Windows 8 is rumored to land on shelves in fall this year, and additional info on this will become available at that time. Hopefully, Microsoft will unveil more on this as soon as next month, when the beta version of Windows 8 arrives.

The Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 M3 is available for download, via this link.

iPad 3 Launch Event in February, Says Asian Supplier

A new report from Japan claims Apple has scheduled a special event for early February to launch its next-generation iPad 3, while another, from Taiwan, says the company will continue to sell the iPad 2 at a cheaper price.

The sources cited by Japan’s Macotakara have been reliable in the past, so there is some reason to consider the accuracy of this report that claims there will be a special Apple event in February focused on the iPad 3 launch.

The Asian supplier, presumably a partner of Apple Inc., reportedly told the blog that since the factory workers would be on holiday around that time, Apple’s iPad 3 would be shipped around March.

The blog points out that Apple held its iPad 2 launch even in early March 2011 and then shipped the tablet in The States just a week later. Later that month, the product was shipped worldwide.

With the Japanese report out of the way, we’ll kindly point your attention to this Digitimes report stemming from Taiwan, where “supply chain makers” are reporting that “shipments of […] high-resolution panels began in the fourth quarter of 2011 and will exceed those of XGA panels used in iPad 2 in the second quarter of 2012.”

Contrary to previous reports, the sources say Apple has selected both LG Display and Sharp “as the suppliers of 9.7-inch QXGA (2,048 x 1,536) panels for use in a new version of the iPad.” The latest chatter in Taiwan earlier said that Sharp had been canned as a display supplier for the iPad 3.

Perhaps more interestingly, the same sources pointed out that shipment volumes of iPad 2 screens would fall from 48 million units in 2011 to around 25 million in 2012.

In other words, Apple plans to continue selling the iPad 2 at a discount, alongside the new iPad 3. This falls in line superbly with analyst reports saying the exact same thing.

And Apple does need a $299 entry-level for the iPad 2 if it wants to compete with the Amazon Kindle Fire. Not that the iPad is in any danger of falling behind the trends, but why not grab as much of the market as possible, right?

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