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Jan 25, 2012

Microsoft to Unveil Windows Phone 8 at MWC

The next version of Windows Phone is expected to make an official appearance at the Mobile World Congress next month, some of the latest reports on the matter suggest. 

Microsoft is expected to present the platform at the event, and should refer to it as Windows Phone 8, in line with the upcoming Windows 8 desktop client. 

The Redmond-based software giant has been mum so far on the upcoming platform release, but some details on it did slip out via unofficial channels. 

The upcoming OS version is reportedly codenamed Apollo, and is expected to arrive on devices in fall this year. However, Microsoft should start detailing it as soon as next month, ZDNet’s Mary-Jo Foley suggests. 

One of the main changes that it will bring along would be the tight relation with the upcoming Windows 8 platform, also slated for a fall launch. 

The two have been long rumored to be closely connected, and it appears that it will all pan out soon. Microsoft has designed them on the same core, and this is exactly what will be unveiled at the MWC Show. 

A recent post on a Russian forum suggests that Windows Phone ‘Apollo’ uses the Core System from Windows 8. 

This is a clear suggestion that the two OS flavors are paired, though it is yet uncertain to what extent. 

Windows 8 has been designed with mobility in mind, but mainly with a focus on Tablet PCs. However, it is possible that Microsoft used the same kernel to build the platform for smartphones.

After all, Windows Phone 8 is suggested to resemble more with Windows 8 than it would resemble Windows Phone 7.5, the latest mobile platform release from Microsoft. 

This is not the first time such speculation emerges. Microsoft too hinted at plans to offer a “consistent experience” on PCs and smartphones alike. 

Nothing has been officially confirmed on the matter for the time being, but it would not come too much of a surprise if these rumors panned out.

Rumor: Nokia Lumia 910 with 12MP Camera Coming to Europe in May

Although rumors on a possible European release of the Nokia Lumia 900 have come and gone, there’s no official confirmation for it yet. 

Nokia already stated that the Lumia 900 was especially designed for the North American smartphone market, but Europeans cannot accept that such a high-end Windows Phone device won’t be available for them.

This was probably one of the reasons that made UK-based retailer Carphone Warehouse add the Lumia 900 to its online store with the “Coming Soon” tag, no later than yesterday.

Unfortunately, a few hours after all the media jumped to the conclusion that Nokia Lumia 900 would finally reach European shores, the retailer removed the landing page of the smartphone without giving any explanations.

This means that either it’s too early for a “Coming Soon” page, or the phone won’t make it to Europe at all. Currently, no other European retailer lists the Nokia Lumia 900 as ‘Coming Soon.’

Still, things might not be as bad as they look, according to Eldar Murtazin, the main source of Nokia rumors. According to him, Nokia plans to launch the Lumia 900 in Europe in June 2012.

However, this is not all, as the Finnish handset maker has another ace up its sleeve, which is called Nokia Lumia 910. The smartphone is expected to arrive in Europe in May 2012, Murtazin claims.

Details on the smartphone’s specs sheet are scarce at the moment, but Murtazin mentions in its tweet that the Lumia 910 will be available on the market with an impressive 12-megapixel rear camera.

If rumors prove to be accurate, this seems to be a big marketing mistake, but such weird moves coming from Nokia have become usual. If Nokia launches the Lumia 900 in Europe, one month after they release the improved Lumia 910, it will definitely kill the former’s sales.

RIM’s 2012 Roadmap: Two BlackBerry 10s, Two Curves, One PlayBook

After getting a new Chief Executive Officer, Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion is looking forth to release some appealing new devices in 2012. 

Rumor has it that the first BlackBerry 10-powered handsets from the company will arrive on shelves in the second half of the current year, and that they will be preceded by handsets in the Curve family. 

Moreover, the company will make available a new PlayBook model, packing better hardware specs and more features than the original. 

First in the line would be the said two new Curve handsets. Dubbed BlackBerry Curve 9230 and BlackBerry Curve 9320, they are said to be on their way to the market in the next couple of months. 

The Curve 9230 device will feature EDGE capabilities when made available for purchase, while the Curve 9320 is expected to be an HSPA smartphone, BGR reports. 

The next-gen PlayBook model will follow, and it should pack a 1.5GHz application processor inside, along with support for NFC (Near Field Communications). 

The tablet PC should hit the market sometime in May or June, featuring built-in support for HSPA+ 42Mbps networks. 

In fall, RIM should bring to the market its first BlackBerry 10-powered smartphones. One of them was previously potted on the web as BlackBerry London, set to hit the market in September. 

The second BlackBerry 10 smartphone from the company might be included in the Bold family. It will feature the renowned Bold design, while packing a touchscreen display, similarly with the latest devices in the series. 

Apparently, there might also be a QWERTY slider en-route to the market with the BlackBerry 10 OS on board, but it will not arrive before the first quarter next year. 

RIM might also plan the release of minor upgrades in the Curve series, but there should not be too many changes from the currently leaked roadmap.

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Will Have Next-Gen Menus

Mark Shuttleworth announced a few minutes ago, January 24th, on his blog that the next version of the Ubuntu operating system, Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin), will feature a HUD (head-up display) system, replacing the old menus. 

"Say hello to the Head-Up Display, or HUD, which will ultimately replace menus in Unity applications." - said Mark Shuttleworth in the blog announcement.

Developed in-house during the last 18 months, the next-generation menu system will definitely revolutionize both the Linux and Windows desktops.

The old menus (yes, the ones that are now designed like in Mac OS) will be replaced by the new HUD system developed by Canonical.

Take a look at the video above to see how the HUD feature works and how it will help us do our daily tasks better.

We now understand why the Unity interface was developed!

Nvidia GK104 Kepler GPU May Be Priced at $299 (€230)

Rumors regarding Nvidia’s next-gen graphics cards, code named Kepler, keep on arriving at a frantic pace, the latest of these claiming that the solutions based on the GK104 GPU will be priced at $299 (about 230 EUR).

The $299 price tag was suggested by SemiAccurate, which apparently learned about it from various Nvidia AIB partners.

From what we can tell this is only a preliminary price so Nvidia could change it a slightly until the final GK104 parts are shipped depending on chip volume and yields.

No specifications were provided with this price, but last week a Chinese publication claimed that the upcoming GK104 core would feature a 256-bit wide memory bus, which would be connected to 2GB of video buffer.

While the shader count and operating clocks were not provided, the Thermal Design Power (TDP) of GK1104 cards seems to be set at 225W, which is pretty much similar to that of the GTX 570 (219W).

Judging by the designation used by Nvidia for this core, we expect the GK104 to come as a replacement for the graphics cards in the popular GeForce GTX 560 (GF114) and GTX 460 (GF104) product families.

Just like AMD has done for the Radeon HD 7900-series, Nvidia’s Kepler GPUs will also be manufactured using TSMC's high-K metal gate (HKMG) 28nm fabrication process.

The new graphics core is expected to be more flexible in terms of programmability than the current Fermi architecture.

In the second half of 2010, Nvidia promised that Kepler, and its successor Maxwell, will include virtual memory space (allowing both the CPU and the GPU to use a unified virtual memory) and pre-emption support, as well as a series of other technologies meant to improve the GPU's ability to process data without the help of the system's processor.

The release date of the Kepler graphics cores is not yet known, but an Nvidia official suggested during CES 2012 that the company’s first such parts would be launched in late Q2 or early Q3 2012.

Alienware 2012 Notebook Lineup Reportedly Revealed

Later this year, Alienware plans to refresh three of its most popular gaming notebooks out there, the M14x, M17x and M18x, to sport Intel’s new Ivy Bridge processors as well as discrete graphics cards from the AMD Radeon HD 7900 and Nvidia GTX 600 series.

Making our way from top to bottom, the first notebook that we encounter is the massive 18.4-inch Alienware M18x, that has been introduced by Dell in the first half of 2012.

While the info available about the specs of this laptop is rather limited at this point in time, we do know that the M18X R2 will arrive in both red and black, and that it will include support for dual-GPU configurations.

Moving down a notch in Alienware’s lineup, we find the fourth revision of the M17X, a high-end 17-inch notebook that was Dell’s most powerful mobile gaming solution until the arrival of the M18x.

Unlike the specs of the M18X R2, Dell Lab has managed to dig out more info about this notebook, which suggests that it will be available with at least three different GPU options, namely the AMD Radeon 7970M, Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M and the GeForce GTX 675M.

Finally, the last model to be uncovered is the M14X R2, which will feature the same two colorways as the M18x.

Graphics card options will include various models from both AMD and Nvidia equipped with either 1GB or 2GB of video buffer, but unlike its older siblings, these GPUs will be embedded right in the motherboard.

No details regarding the release date, or the pricing, of the three Alienware notebooks were provided, but since they all use Intel Ivy Bridge processors, Dell has to wait for these CPUs to be launched before it can come out with its gaming systems.

Nokia Lumia 900 Coming Soon to Singapore, Czech Republic Gets It Too

Rumor has it that the Nokia Lumia 900 might be arriving in Europe no earlier than June. Nokia already confirmed that the smartphone was specially designed for the United States smartphone market, thus it will be unlikely to find this one outside the country.

However, it appears that the folks over at UnwiredView have learned that the Lumia 900 is already available for purchase in Czech Republic for $765 (590 EUR) outright.

In addition, a third-party retailer from Singapore also listed the Nokia Lumia 900 as ‘Coming Soon,’ but has yet to unveil any pricing options.

In other news, UK-based retailer Carphone Warehouse has just issued an official statement confirming that the Lumia 900 will not be available in its stores anytime soon. 

No later than yesterday, the retailer listed the smartphone on its webstore with the ‘Coming Soon’ tag attached to it.

Asus 27-Inch ET2700 AIOs to Arrive in Europe Next Month

One month after making its North American debut, Asus’ large screen ET2700 all-in-one desktop is set to make its entrance in the European market, where it will battle it out with the 27-inch Apple iMac for the title of the ultimate AIO computer.

Scheduled to arrive in Europe next month, the Asus ET2700 all-in-one series will be available in three versions, two of these coming with 10-point multi-touch support while the third model loses this ability.

Touch compatible or not, the LED backlit panels used for these AIOs sport a native 1920x1080 pixel resolution and use the MVA (Multi-Domain Vertical Alignment) technology which enables them to eliminate color shift and deliver 178 degree viewing angles.

On the inside, users are given the option of choosing between various Intel Sandy Bridge processors including the Core i3-2120, Core i5-2400S and Core i7-2600S, which can be backed by up to 8GB of system memory.

Storage wise, the ET2700 series all-in-ones can be equipped with hard drives delivering up to 2TB of storage space, while graphics is handled by the built-in Intel HD 3000 GPU which in select models is also paired together with an Nvidia GT 540M core.

The rest of the configurations list includes Gigabit Ethernet networking, 802.11 b/g/n wireless, a multi-format card reader, a 2MP webcam, a pair of 3.5W stereo speakers with Asus' SonicMaster technology and a Blu-ray combo drive. 

Connectivity is represented by two USB 3.0 ports and an eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port, but there are also a series of video inputs available, including one VGA and one HDMI port.

All the system will be bundled together with a wireless keyboard, a mouse and a remote control and the starting price is set at 1,399 EUR, according to TechPowerUp, which is significantly more than what Asus US asks for them ($1,499 US or 1,148 EUR).

Nokia Releases MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan for N950, Detailed Changelog Included

No later than last week Nokia hinted to an upcoming release of an important update for Nokia N950 developer device, MeeGo PR1.2 beta.

However, the Finnish company did not disclose any details regarding the update’s changelog. Although the update that is now available for download only for the N950, the final release will also be pushed to Nokia N9 units.

MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan beta for N950 is available for download as OCF (One Click Flasher) and includes, but is not limited to, the following improvements:

  • Software update notifications for content in Nokia Store;
  • Face recognition for gallery and face tags for Facebook;
  • Support for folders in the application view;
  • Mail for Exchange global address book lookup;
  • Mail thread support in the Email client;
  • Extended copy-paste support;
  • Media sharing with DLNA compatible devices;
  • Improved browser history view;
  • Compass support in Maps;
  • QtWebKit update to version 2.2;
  • New font taken into use;
  • Front camera support;
  • Video editing support in the Gallery application.

In addition, Nokia introduced new languages, such as Persian, Hebrew, Kazakh, Thai and Vietnamese. Nokia’s developers also mention that approximately 122 public bugs have been fixed in this release.

Among the numerous bug fixes some of them are related to the implementation of new features, and are mostly meant to improve the overall user experience and reliability of the MeeGo-based smartphone.

New features have been added to the music player as well, such as audiobook and podcast support, as well as the possibility to create playlists and delete music files from music player library views via object menu.

Camera has been improved as well with Self Timer support and composition grid + on/off control. For more details on the MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan beta build for Nokia N950 and the complete changelog of the update head over to Nokia Developer site.

Canon EOS C300 to Arrive in Japanese Stores on Jan 31, PL Version in March

Canon Japan has recently announced that the Canon EOS C300 cinema camera, which was unveiled in November last year, will reach Japanese stores by January 31st sporting a yet undisclosed price tag.

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 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 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 other one will use the PL lens mount. 

Only the former model will become available at the end of the month, while the PL version is scheduled to make its appearance in March this year, according to engadget.

In the US, the EOS C300 was listed for pre-order by BH Photo Video at $15,999.00 (12,537 EUR), but shipments will most probably begin only after the camera is released in Japan.

Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G Specs Spotted in UAProf

One of the Samsung handsets that will soon hit the shelves in the United States on the airwaves of T-Mobile is the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G, a device made official several weeks ago. 

The handset wasn’t detailed at that time, but more info on it is now available via a UAProf file, including the fact that it will pack a 720p Super AMOLED touchscreen display.

The upcoming mobile phone is also expected to feature a dual-core 1.5GHz application processor when made available for purchase. Moreover, it should offer support for the wireless carrier’s 42Mbps HSPA+ network. 

For the time being, these are the only specs that emerged on the new device. However, more should become available as its release date approaches. Something that should happen "later this year," as T-Mobile officially announced.

$25 Raspberry Pi Trounces NVIDIA Tegra 2 and iPhone 4S Graphics

We've been keeping an eye out for the Raspberry Pi credit card-sized computer for a while now, and it looks like the small critter is not out to disappoint anyone. 

One might argue that “critter” is definitely a demeaning word now that we know what the thing can do. According to reports, the device has a more than decent computing and graphics prowess, enough to blow the iPhone 4S and even NVIDIA's Tegra 2 platform out of the water. 

The BCM2835 GPU is the reason for this latest bout of praise. 

"What's really striking is how badly Tegra 2 performs relative even to simple APs using licensed Imagination Technologies (TI and Apple) or ARM Mali (Samsung) graphics,” says executive director (and Broadcom SoC architect) Eben Upton. 

“To summarise, BCM2835 has a tile mode architecture - so it kills immediate-mode devices like Tegra on fill-rate - and we've chosen to configure it with a very large amount of shader performance, so it does very well on compute-intensive benchmarks, and should double iPhone 4S performance across a range of content.” 

At the price of $25 /19.31 Euro, there is little doubt that the Raspberry Pi can easily become the new star among home entertainment systems. 

After all, not only is the Pi so cheap, it is also incredibly small, meaning that it can be taken anywhere at any time. 

Furthermore, it bears noting that certain games, like Quake III for example, run on it just fine, not just Full HD video, meaning that certain game consoles should beware as well. 

“All the media features are to some extent a bonus, but they've been a part of our thinking ever since I joined Broadcom five years ago (having spent a year trying to build a $25 PC out of openly-available parts like Atmel microcontrollers),” Upton explains. 

“I think there's a lot to be said for a device which is useful for something other than programming. The media features provide a 'hook' to draw people to the platform; once we have them hooked, we can trick them into becoming programmers!”

Antec Kuhler H2O 920/620 Owners Get Free LGA2011 Brackets

Contacting a company about one of their products isn't something people usually relish, but the situation is different for Antec and its Kuhler H2O 920 and 620 CPU cooler.

Owners of the Kuhler H2O or 920 or 620 that bought an LGA2011 motherboard after they got one of the cooler themselves might want to send an e-mail to Kuhler.eu@antec.com with a proof of purchase and shipping address.

After all, there is no reason not to take advantage of Antec's offer to hand out free brackets for the LGA2011 socket.

Understandably enough, Antec will ship the bracket with all Kuhler H2O 920 and Kuhler H2O 620 models once supply is ready, which will be at some point in February.

If nothing else, getting the bracket will boost the reseller value of the closed-loop CPU water coolers.

Windows 8’s Sensor Support Explained

Windows 8 was meant to be used on mobile devices too, which means that support for sensors will also be included in it. 

In fact, it appears that Microsoft has been keen on packing the functionality inside its upcoming platform, and that this was a focus from day one. Now, the company has provided some more info on what the support for these sensors involves. 

“The first thing we explored about sensors was how Windows 8 should use them at the system level, to adapt the PC to the environment while preserving battery life,” Gavin Gear, PM on the Device Connectivity team, explains in a recent blog post

Windows 8 will arrive with automatic display brightness control, a feature that was first introduced in Windows 7 via ambient light sensors (ALS). 

This is one of the most important features packed in modern platforms, since newer displays can deliver up to twice the brightness that was available a few years ago. 

“By dynamically controlling screen brightness based on changing ambient light conditions, we can optimize the level of reading comfort, and save battery life when the screen is dimmed in darker environments,” Gear explains. 

Another feature that tablet PCs feature today, and which will be included in Windows 8 as well, is automatic screen rotation. Smartphones and other mobile devices sport it as well. 

“When you rotate the device, the graphic display will also rotate and adapt to the new orientation (including adapting to aspect ratio changes),” Gavin Gear notes. 

“Data from an accelerometer allows the device to determine its basic orientation. By automatically rotating the screen, people can use their devices (primarily slates and convertibles) in a more natural and intuitive way, without needing to manually rotate the screen with software controls or hardware buttons.”

While these are the benefits that users will receive from the sensors included in Windows 8, there are also some capabilities that developers will be able to take advantage of when building apps for the platform. 

Applications designed for the upcoming operating system will understand motion and screen rotation, Microsoft notes. 

Some of the sensors that could fill the needs of specific games and applications would include accelerometer, compass, 3D magnetometer, and gyro. 

Since each of these has its flaws, Microsoft decided to test them together, and discovered that they could easily complement one another. Thus, they combined their features inside a single process called sensor fusion.

“Essentially, sensor fusion is a case where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. A typical sensor fusion system uses a 3D accelerometer, a 3D magnetometer, and a 3D gyro to create a combined ‘9-axis sensor fusion’ system,” Gavin Gear explains. 

“By integrating a sensor fusion solution, Windows 8 provides a complete solution for the full range of applications. Sensor fusion in Windows solves the problems of jittery movement and jerky transitions, reduces data integrity issues, and provides data that allows a seamless representation of full device motion in 3D space (without any awkward transitions).”

The sensor fusion system was demoed in September at BUILD, and is now available for purchase from ST Microelectronics. Called “ST Microelectronics eMotion Development Board for Windows 8” (model # STEVAL-MKI119V1), it can be attached to a PC via USB, and developers can already start designing Windows 8 apps that take advantage of it.

Evi Is No Match for Siri, Initial Tests Show

Yesterday we gave you the heads up on a new service that replicates Siri functionality on old-generation devices, including the iPhone 3G. Evi, as the app is called, is not up to the task, our experience has shown.

Asking the most simple questions puts Evi in an awkward position where she has to say "I'm having trouble getting a response from my servers. You might want to try again in a minute."

Sure you can get your answer on the third or fourth try, but that won’t cut it for a paid app that got downloaded by thousands of people yesterday after news broke out that it puts Siri on your non-4S iPhone.

The culprit might by the flurry of requests hitting the True Knowledge servers, because when we gave the app a go the other day it worked just fine. Today, however, it’s a different story altogether.

And while we don’t mind being patient until True Knowledge irons out all the bugs (after all, Apple went through the same ordeal with Siri), others seem to be a lot more determined to make the developers walk the plank.

A review from the iTunes App Store reads (excerpt): 

"I understand that this is a new product and there may be some kinks, but why would you bother releasing it if the major kink is that is [sic] does not work at all? I will give it a chance and try again later and then tomorrow. If it's still not working by then, I will consider this app fraud and seek my money back. I will update my post with the results."

One of our readers who also bought the 1 dollar app said: "Bought it for my iPod Touch current generation 18 hours ago. Tried 60 or more queries and only ONE has returned an answer. Every other try results in 'cannot contact server" or some such message. Glad it was only $1. :-("

Another chimed in to say: "loaded on my iPod touch. could not answer any of 10 questions, not even post offices near by. worth a dollar? maybe not."

Your move True Knowledge! You got the press coverage, now all you need to do is pull your act together and deliver. Evi is by no means something that should end up as a failed attempt to deliver Siri functionality to those who are stuck on the other side of the fence.

Sony Alpha NEX-7 Availability Scheduled for Late February

Sony sure had a lot of problems getting the NEX-7 to market, but fortunately for the outfit the camera is now on track to become available at the end of February.

Going for Sony’s flagship interchangeable lens camera will set you back $1,350 (1,043 EUR) for the 18-55mm kit version, while for another $1,300 you could also get the 24mm F.1.8 prime lens made by Carl Zeiss.

Pocket Lint uncovered that Amazon would also carry the kit along with a small discount, but you’ll have to wait a few more days to get it as the retailer won’t start shipping it until March 16.

As many of you know, the NEX-7 has a 24.3-megapixel sensor, can shoot AVCHD video, and can also capture up to 10fps in burst mode, making it one of the most powerful ILC cameras around.

AMD Radeon HD 7950 Overclocked and Tested Against the HD 7970

It might not be AMD’s fastest graphics card in the Radeon HD 7900-series, but the HD 7950 can do more than just hold its own against its more powerful sibling when overclocked.

Doanim Haber has put this not yet released AMD graphics card to the test, both running at its default frequencies and overclocked to HD 7970 clocks, and the results are rather impressive.

As you can see from the graphs enclosed in the gallery bellow this post, the HD 7950, which has more than enough power to take on the GTX 580 at stock speeds, can be turned into a “best” by simply raising the core to 925MHz and the memory to 1375MHz (5.50GHz effective).

In this latter mode, AMD’s upcoming graphics card lags just 4% behind its older brother, while pricing is expected to be on average US $100-150 (77 to 116 EUR) lower than that of the HD 7970. Quite a nice deal if you ask us. 

Windows NT at the Core of Windows Phone 8

Codenamed Apollo, Windows Phone 8 will arrive on shelves as the next–generation mobile OS from Microsoft.

The platform is said to be based on the same code as the Windows 8 desktop client, which was unveiled to the world in September last year. 

Microsoft is said to plan the release of both new OS versions in fall. Nothing has been officially confirmed on this, nor have details been made available on Windows Phone 8. 

However, recent rumors suggest that Windows Phone 8 will be based on Windows NT, which is also at the core of Windows 8. This means shared functionality, and possible similar device capabilities. 

Given the fact that Microsoft is targeting Windows 8 mainly at the tablet PC area, it does make sense for it to have the two clients resemble (smartphones and tablet PCs are getting closer to one another these days). 

Windows Phone 8 is also said to arrive with support for x86 configurations, another hint at its close relation with Windows 8. Not to mention that Microsoft has recently added ARM support to the latter.

The Metro UI will be the same on both of them, but Windows Phone 8 will keep the People hub, Office apps and other hubs from Windows Phone 7. It will also offer support for applications built for this platform. 

Handsets running under Apollo will feature an eMMC card inside, and might also sport microSD cards, a feature that was not present in the previous OS flavors. However, while the eMMC will support the NTFS file system, the cards will support only FAT/exFAT.

Vendors will be able to make partitions on the built-in eMMC, and some of these will be read only.

Other features expected to make it inside Windows Phone 8 would also include Near Field Communication and support for the same series of sensors as Windows Phone 7.5 Mango.

The same as with Windows Phone 7, there will be nonnative code available for devs. Instead, they will have to build apps using .NET APIs. 

With Windows 8 packing a large set of mobile features and Windows Phone 8 set to include desktop-like capabilities, it becomes clearer and clearer that Microsoft is working on twin platforms this year, though nothing has been confirmed. 

Windows 8 Beta is set to become official in late February, which points at a possible appearance at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the same place where Microsoft is expected to make Windows Phone 8 official.

0RChard Toughlet Rugged Tablet Marries Pixel Qi and Gorrila Glass

0RChard decided to make its own attempt at securing a spot on the tablet market, though it did not so much focus on multimedia support and convenience as it did on endurance. 

Basically, instead of targeting consumers like most everyone else, 0RChard decided to offer something to enterprises, commercial companies and construction venues. 

The result of its research and development efforts was a 7-inch slate going by the name of Toughlet and featuring a very hardy design. 

The Gorilla Glass alone is enough of an indication that this thing isn't going to break very easily. 

While the display itself is a Pixel Qi panel (impressive on its own thanks to its light absorption capabilities and readability under sunlight), it is covered by a layer of strong glass. 

Also, 0RChard chose a titanium-aluminum alloy casing and even sealed it with weatherLox technology, for protection against moisture and dust. 

Furthermore, extra protection and easy grip is assured by the Rhino Liner on the back (spray-on liner used in pickup truck beds, of all things). 

All in all, it is easy to see that this isn't something that the company wants consumers to buy. Instead, it expects enterprises, commercial customers, delivery services and even construction crews to be more interested in it. 

That said, the hardware inside the rugged exterior revolves around a dual-core Cortex A8 ARM processor, whose clock speed is of 1.2 GHz. 

1 GB of RAM is present, as is internal storage (unspecified capacity) and a pair of SDXC memory card slots. 

SDXC are, basically, some of, if not the most capacious memory cards currently on the market, so the existence of not one, but two slots is no small matter (provide up to 160 GB total storage on their own). 

Other specs include USB, FireWire, an 8 MP camera with dual-LED flash (on the back) and an integrated flashlight. 

0RChard is reportedly working on adding a camera on the front and should start shipping in the third quarter, running Android and, eventually, Windows 8 (maybe). The starting price will be $550 (423.50 Euro).

DosPara Galleria QF580 Gaming Notebook Packs Nvidia GTX 580M Graphics

DosPara, a Japanese PC maker specialized in high-end gaming desktop and notebooks, has just updated its laptop lineup with a new model, dubbed the Prime Note Galleria QF580 which is powered by Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 580M GPU.

The new notebook is housed inside a sober black chassis with an angular design that somewhat resembles a stealth fighter.

Moving past the design of the Prime Note Galleria QF580 and taking a look at the specifications of this laptop, the first thing one notices is the Core i7-2860QM processor installed, which includes no less than four processing cores with Hyper-Threading support clocked at 2.5GHz.

The fast Intel Sandy Bridge CPU is paired together with up to 16GB of system memory, as well as with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 580M graphics core, which is seconded by 2GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM.

In DosPara’s creation, this GPU is responsible for driving a 1920x1080 Full HD resolution display that measures 15.6-inch in diagonal.

The rest of the configuration list is fairly standard for a gaming notebook and includes a 128 GB Crucial M4 SATA 6Gbps solid state drive, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Gigabit LAN and Bluetooth connectivity, an HD webcam, a Blu-ray combo optical drive, as well as 2.1-channel audio with THX certification.

Along the sides of the QF580, users will find all the usual ports and connectors, including a multi-format card reader, HDMI and VGA video outputs as well as eSATA and USB 3.0 storage ports.

When configured together with the standard Li-ion 9-cell battery pack, the Prime Note Galleria QF580 tips the scales at just over 3.5Kg (almost 8 pounds).

The Prime Note Galleria QF580 is priced at 225,980 JPY (about $2,900 US or 2,200 EUR), according to TechPowerUp. So far, we don’t know if DosPara plans to release this gaming notebook in other parts of the world.

Samsung Galaxy S III Specs and Launch Date Leaked

Samsung’s Galaxy S family of devices has already made a name for itself, through phones like the Galaxy S and Galaxy S II, and might soon climb to new heights. 

Rumor has it that the South Korean mobile phone maker is already working on the next member of the family, the Galaxy S III, and that it will launch it sometime in April. 

This means that we might see the device made official next month during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. For the time being, however, we’ll take the info with a grain of salt. But, since rumored specs of this device look so great, we’ll have a look at them. 

The new mobile phone should arrive on shelves with an HD touchscreen display, though it will not be a 3D one. Although its actual size is not known, Samsung is expected to use the Super AMOLED Plus technology for it. 

Moreover, the new device is expected to arrive on shelves with a 1.5GHz dual-core application processor inside. Rumor has it that it might be a quad-core device after all, or that Samsung is planning the release of both dual-core and quad-core handsets in the Galaxy S III line. 

The smartphone is also expected to feature a 12-megapixel photo snapper on the back. Smartphones featuring 12MP cameras are already available for purchase, and Samsung’s flagship handsets might soon join their ranks. 

The smartphone will run under Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the leaked specs, which emerged on Twitter via Eldar Murtazin, show. Since Samsung already launched ICS handsets, this does not come too much of a surprise, that’s for sure. 

Galaxy S III is also said to arrive on shelves with a better battery inside, something that should be common to other future Samsung handsets as well. 

Moreover, it is expected to sport a range of software tweaks to make it stand up in the crowd. Android 4.0 allows for manufacturer customizations, and the TouchWiz UI from Samsung might be loaded on Galaxy S III.

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