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Jan 20, 2012

Nokia Lumia 800 Gets New Software Update Over the Next Two Weeks

Unveiled back in October at Nokia World 2011, Lumia 800 has been plagued by some charging and battery issues. It appears that owners of the smartphone were unable to access the full battery capacity of the Nokia Lumia 800, which greatly reduced the autonomy of the phone. 

Although the Finnish company recognized the battery problem, along with other minor stability and performance problems, it took a few weeks until a software update was rolled out.

Unfortunately, not all the problems reported by Nokia Lumia 800 owners, and confirmed by the handset maker, were corrected with the software update released last month.

The latest software release for Nokia Lumia is 1600.2479.7740.11451 and brings a number of performance and usability enhancements, such as: charging improvements, voicemail notification improvement, replying to mail improved for Microsoft Exchange 2003 user, and improved audio quality.

The update was initially rolled out in several countries over the course of two weeks and gradually spread to all regions where the handset manufacturer introduced the Nokia Lumia 800.

However, Nokia confirmed that a further update for Lumia 800 would be delivered in early 2012, which should add more improvements to the phone’s software and solve some of the problems that were not corrected by the first software update.

True to its promise, Nokia announced via Twitter that the second Lumia 800 software update would roll out over the next two weeks. This update is meant to resolve a critical issue on Nokia’s Windows Phone device, which does not let users access the full battery capacity.

Even though Nokia encouraged Nokia Lumia 800 owners who experienced that issue to turn their units for replacement, it appears that there’s still quite a high number of Lumia 800 devices that are plagued by this battery problem.

As usual, the update is only available via Microsoft Zune desktop software. For more details on how to update the Nokia Lumia 800 check out the video below.

Haier 55-inch 3DTV Uses Wireless Energy Transfer

The TV that Haier recently unveiled is one of those items that stands out through more than one perk, although it is the total lack of cables that truly earned attention.

Haier recently showcased a 3DTV with a diagonal of 55 inches and featuring the Wireless Home Digital Interface (WHDI) technology.

The company did not focus too much on spelling out each and every specification, according to a TechOn report.

Instead, it has focused on the WHDI technology and the implications it has in the long run.

The WHDI technology does two things, one of which is the streaming of video content.

The other role is to power the TV wirelessly, meaning that the newcomer does not need to be plugged into anything to work.

In fact, it totally lacks any and all sorts of cables, relying completely on magnetic resonance generated by a power-receiving coil.

The stand below the TV holds the power-transmitting device, though the power-receiving coil needs to rest very close to the bottom of the TV as well.

While the magnetic resonance works well enough, it needs the device to be within 8 inches of the display's bottom.

This rather defeats the purpose of the wireless design, since a cable still needs to connect the power transmitter to an outlet on the wall.

Then again, even though Haier demoed the 55-inch 3D panel at CES, it did it more as proof of concept.

The company has every intention of selling such TVs eventually, but not soon. Unfortunately, no sort of price was specified for it, and the availability date was withheld as well.

Fortunately, CES 2012 was not short of LCDs and even saw 55-inch OLEDs being unleashed by Samsung and LG.

If anything, the world won't suffer from any sort of display shortage in 2012, so Haier can afford to take its time.

AMD Radeon HD 7950 Clock Speeds Reportedly Revealed

At the end of this month, AMD is expected to let loose upon the gaming world the second graphics card from its Radeon HD 7900 series, and while no official specifications were made public so far by AMD, a report has come out recently to detail the clocks speeds of this upcoming 28nm GCN graphics core.

Citing “reliable” sources with close knowledge of AMD’s plans, Donanim Haber reports that the upcoming HD 7950 will have a reference GPU clock speed of 800MHz, while the memory will work at 1250MHz (5GHz data rate).

While this last figure seems to pretty much confirm all the rumors that have been spreading around about the HD 7950, the 800MHz graphics core frequency is 100MHz lower than the value touted previously.

Furthermore, this also comes to contradict the specs of a recently leaked Sapphire HD 7950 graphics card, so Donanim Haber’s report should definitely be taken with a grain of salt.

As far as the rest of the Radeon HD 7950 specs are concerned, we know that the graphics card is based on the same Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture and Tahiti GPU as that used for the HD 7970, but this comes with four of the core’s Compute Units disabled to turn it into the Tahiti Pro.

The end result is a GPU that includes a total of 1792 stream processors (vs. 2048 in the HD 7970), 112 texture units, 32 ROP units and the same 384-bit wide bus of its elder brother.

The amount of memory installed also wasn’t modified so we are talking about the same 3GB of GDDR5 video buffer.

AMD hasn’t disclosed so far the release date of the Radeon HD 7950, but some rumors suggest this will arrive on January 31. The HD 7950 is expected to be on average US $100-150 (77 to 116 EUR) cheaper than the HD 7970.

iPhone 5 May Boast 4-Inch Dot LED Screen, Business Report Says

Lately there has been little talk about a 4-inch display on the next-generation iPhone, but that’s not stopping Wall Street from dreaming. In fact, an analyst with Susquehanna Financial believes Apple will unveil just that, later this year.

"With respect to iPhone 5, we continue to estimate production to begin around June 2012 and believe this phone will feature a larger 4" screen," Susquehanna Financial analyst Chris Caso wrote in a note to clients.

Taking this aspect into account, the analyst has increased his production forecast for calendar first quarter to 36.5 million iPhones, and he also expects between 10 and 14 million iPads to be produced in the first quarter of 2012, according to the IB Times.

The report says Apple’s next iPhone may boast Quantum Dot LED curved glass with an edge-to-edge display, and that such rumors are "rife" — which they aren't. It also dishes out some very speculative system specs that may never see the light of day in the upcoming iPhone 5.

Image of Quad-Core-Powered LG X3 Emerges

South Korean mobile phone maker LG Electronics was the first handset vendor in the world to launch a smartphone powered by a dual-core application processor. Apparently, it is also set to be one of the first to release quad-core handsets, and the first of these has just emerged. 

2012 is expected to prove the year of quad-core devices, and LG’s X3 smartphone, which can be seen in the photo to the left (available courtesy of Pocketnow), should be one of them. 

Rumor has it that the new mobile phone will run under Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, and that it will feature physical capacitive buttons, the same as many of the devices set to hit the market this year with ICS from the start. 

The specs list of LG X3 will reportedly include a large touchscreen display, measuring 4.7 inches diagonally and capable of delivering a 1280 x 720 pixels resolution.

Additionally, the smartphone will feature an Nvidia Tegra 3 application processor and will be very slim at less than 9 millimeters. 

On the back, the new device will sport an 8-megapixel photo snapper with support for HD video recording, complemented by a 1.3-megapixel photo snapper on the front, suitable for video calling. 

The upcoming mobile phone is expected to sport 16GB of internal memory, complemented by support for additional storage space through a microSD memory card. 

The LG X3 smartphone will supposedly pack 21Mbps HSPA connectivity capabilities, along with LTE capabilities in certain markets. The handset will also sport 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, along with Bluetooth 4.0. NFC connectivity should also be included into the mix. 

Moreover, the new smartphone is said to be powered by a 2000mAh, which should offer it enough usage time, although it packs the said powerful application processor. 

The mobile phone should arrive on shelves only sometime in late spring or early summer, though we might see it being unveiled next month at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Stay tuned for more on it.

Intel Bets Quite a Bit on Ice Cream Sandwich

Now that Intel finally has chips that are both powerful and energy efficient enough to put on a good show on the tablet and smartphone front, the company is seriously considering what operating systems to focus on. 

We have already mentioned that the Santa Clara, California-based company had Windows 8 slates queued up for production. 

That said, it bears noting that Intel is still more confident in Google's Android 4.0 operating system, otherwise known as Ice Cream Sandwich. 

According to the CPU giant, since tablets are more about software than hardware, the operating system is very important. 

As such, Intel needs to plan its moves well if it is to actually become successful in this field. 

"With the silicon integration capability we have to be able to drive the bill of materials cost down and integration up in the tablet space, which I think is going to be a sweet spot for Intel," says Intel's CEO Paul Otellini. 

On the subject of ICS, Intel more or less clearly said that it did not expect anything to pose much of a threat to Apple's iPad without it. 

While Windows 8 might prove impressive and versatile, it won't arrive for a while and, even when it does, it will be behind Android in terms of apps and popularity, meaning that Android 4.0 is really the only way to go right now. 

“Tablets are a little bit about hardware and an awful lot about software. Until you get to Ice Cream Sandwich, the offering isn't as powerful as with what's out there with Apple,” Otellini says

“As Ice Cream Sandwich tablets start shipping I think you'll start seeing a little bit better receptivity, you know Google just added the Music Store, the videos are better, everything got a little bit better with ICS. […] I don't know that the whole tablet thing is settled down by any stretch. [...] The jury is out on, I think, the long-term segmentation by form factor, but I do think you'll see more progress on the Android side as a result of ICS.”

Canon EOS 5D MK III May Arrive in March with 20MP Sensor

In March of this year, Canon fans everywhere might finally have the chance to go face to face with the long-awaited 5D MK III DSLR, if we are to believe the latest 5D MK III rumors to arrive.

According to techradar, Canon plans to release make official the camera right after Japan’s CP+ show, which could make some sense considering that Nikon is also expected to launch the D800 in the next few weeks.

While nothing is certain at this point, the rumored specs seem to imply that the Canon 5D MK III will feature a 20MP-something sensor, GPS tagging, a DIGIC 5 processor, 19 AF points and 5fps continuous shooting.

Furthermore, all these could be joined by an eye-controlled autofocus feature, which definitely sound cool to us if it turns out to be true.

As always, no info regarding pricing is available, but you shouldn’t expect the 5D MK III to come cheap.

Windows 8 Tablets in the Pipeline, Intel CEO Confirms

Windows 8, Microsoft’s next-generation platform, is expected to become commercially available this fall, and devices to run under it are already being developed. 

We’re referring here to tablet PCs, of course, since Windows 8 is the first Microsoft client to feature optimizations for this type of devices. 

We already assumed that Microsoft and its partners were working on tablet PCs to be launched when Windows 8 was made available, but no specific confirmation on this has emerged before. 

On Wednesday, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said that Windows 8 tablet PCs were already in the pipeline, PCMag reports. However, he did not offer specific details on when these devices might be launched. 

Currently, the tablet PCs market is dominated by Android devices and Apple’s iPad, but Windows 8 is coming in strong, and Microsoft has high hopes for it. 

Apparently, Intel too places its bets on Windows 8, while also working on packing its processors inside devices running under Google’s Android operating system. 

The company expects the next gen Android devices, running under Ice Cream Sandwich, to perform better this year than in the past. 

“And so, I think the better test is year two here, in terms of, is there anybody who can compete with the iPad. And the other part of that test of course is the Windows 8 tablets that are being queued up for production,” Otellini said.

Intel-powered Windows 8 tablet PCs could arrive on shelves in the fourth quarter of the current year, soon after the platform is commercially launched in October. 

In addition to the new Metro UI, these devices will also offer support for legacy applications, which means that users will be able to continue using apps they are already accustomed to, even after the new platform arrives. 

What remains to be seen is how these devices will impact the PC market, as they will offer the same capabilities and features as today’s notebooks, netbooks and laptops.

Phase Change Cooling Overclocks Nvidia’s GTX 580 Past 1GHz

Finding new and innovative ways to cool down hardware has always been a hobby for computer enthusiasts and recently a company that is known as PowerQuest showcased a phase change cooler that enabled it to overclock an Nvidia GTX 580 GPU past the 1GHz mark.

Popular among enthusiasts a few years back, phase change cooling relies on a compressor that liquefies a gas loaded in the cooling system, which is then used to cool the CPU (the liquid evaporates basically changing its phase).

While this type of cooling has the advantage of keeping the components at freezing temperatures, usually under 0 degrees Celsius, one of its downsides is that the compressor used is particularly noisy for day to day operation.

This is however were PowerQuest LLC enters the stage, as the company has developed a near-silent phase change cooling solution for both CPUs and GPUs.

Patrick Zulli, co-founder and CTO of the company, explained to VR-Zone that the company is enjoying a “meteoric rise” in the workstation and server market, the US Army being one of its most important clients.

To showcase the power of its phase change cooling systems, at this year’s CES fair CompuCold has demonstrated a system that was running a 5.2GHz overclocked Intel Core i7-2600K processor paired together with an Nvidia GTX 580 graphics card featuring a shader clock of 2,016MHz (1GHz GPU).

Despite the high overclock, the GPU temperature seemed to settle at just 16 degrees Celsius while the system was running the PCMark Vantage benchmark.

To put things in perspective, Nvidia recommended GPU frequency for the GTX 580 is set at 772MHz (1,544MHz shaders).

PowerQuest hasn’t said if it has any plans to release its near-silent phase change cooling solution in the retail market anytime soon, and for now it seems to concentrate its efforts on the server space.

Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 7950 Card Info Leaked

Sapphire, being one of AMD's partners on the video card market, is naturally preparing its own Radeon HD 7900 cards, one of which has become the subject of a recent information leak. 

Yet again, information on an unannounced product has found its way to the Internet, whether its maker likes it or not. 

As it turns out, Sapphire is working on an item called HD7950 3G GDDR5 PCI-E HDMI/DVI-I/DUAL MINI DP OC VERSION. 

Essentially, this is a Radeon HD 7950 board that steps away from the reference design even though it retains the stock clock speeds. 

The dual-fan cooler takes up two slots, not too little but definitely not too much space either. 

After all, it does not even get close to the amount of room that Yeston's upcoming Radeon HD 7970 will need. 

For those unaware, Yeston is preparing a high-end Radeon board with a humongous quad-slot cooler

Back to Sapphire device, the card has 3 GB of GDDR5 VRAM, a memory interface of 284 bits and 1,792 stream processors. 

Furthermore, buyers will find a dual-link DVI connector, two Mini-Displayport outputs and an HDMI port, plus DisplayPort 1.2. 

As for the operational frequencies themselves, the clock speed of the GPU (graphics processing unit) is 900 MHz, while the VRAM operates at 5,000 MHz. 

All in all, this is a video board which, though lacking factory overclocking, has what it needs to cope with whatever clock tweaks owners will lean towards. 

As always, it falls to buyers to temper their own enthusiasm. While cards have safety features and usually cause a PC restart when overheating, there is still every possibility of failure if overclockers go too far. Fortunately, the cooler does not look like a slouch. 

Unfortunately, as is often the case with pre-release reports, there is, at this time, no word on availability or pricing.

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