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Feb 1, 2012

Image of BlackBerry 10-Based London Emerges

One of the smartphones that Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion has been long rumored to plan to bring to the market, with the upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system on board, was the BlackBerry London. 

The smartphone has surfaced once again in a leaked document over at Crackberry, offering us a glimpse at what the next generation devices from RIM will have to deliver. 

The outer design is completely different than what we’ve seen so far in the mobile phone maker’s lineup. 

Featuring a large touchscreen display, the handset also appears to be impressively slim. Overall, it should fit the previous description that suggested it would look like a smaller PlayBook. 

Specs-wise, it should be capable to impress as much, starting with the dual-core 1.5GHz application processor that RIM supposedly chose to pack it with. 

Apparently, the handset vendor has yet to decide on the chipset, and is currently testing both TI OMAP5 and Qualcomm products. 

This could mean that there would be both GSM and CDMA flavors of the handset headed for the market, which is not surprising at all, considering RIM’s track record of launching two flavors of each of its handsets. 

Provided that other BlackBerry 10 smartphones arrive on shelves with the same 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, users should benefit from great performance capabilities, that’s for sure. 

London is expected to arrive on shelves in the UK, and it should be pushed to other European markets as well. Rumor has is that there will also be two US-bound models, the “Laguna” and “Lisbon”, set to hit the airwaves of AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. 

Unfortunately, no specific info on when London and its siblings should hit the market has emerged for the time being. Previous reports suggested that RIM won’t have them on shelves before the fall, but the company hasn’t confirmed a release timeframe as of now. All they said was that BlackBerry 10 devices would arrive later this year.

AMD Llano A8-3870K APU Overclocked to 6067MHz

AMD’s launch of the multiplier unlocked A8-3870K and A6-3670K processors have enabled overclockers to push Llano APUs to higher frequencies than ever before, such a chip just surpassing the 6GHz barrier during a recent OC competition.

The processor in question is actually the A8-3870K APU which, with the help of liquid nitrogen (LN2), managed to achieve a core clock of 6,067.71MHz.

By using LN2 for cooling the APU, Christian Ney, the enthusiast responsible for reaching this record, was able to push no less than 2.0V through the chip, that was running at a 258.2MHz bus speed, with a 47x multiplier.

Besides the special cooling and the AMD APU, the rest of the system used for establishing this record was comprised out of a Gigabyte GA-A75-UD4H motherboard, a Vertex 2 SSD and a single GeIL Evo Corsa DDR3 memory module.

The latter was also overclocked to reach an impressive 3505MHz DDR3 speed, which is actually the highest memory frequency achieved by an AMD Llano APU and just 95MHz shy of the current world record.

The stock operating frequency of the quad-core AMD A8-3870K accelerated processing unit used for this overclock is set at 3GHz, while the rest of the chip specs include 4MB of Level 2 cache memory, an integrated dual-channel DDR3-1866MHz controller, and a built-in Radeon HD graphics core.

AMD’s K-Series Llano APUs were specially designed by the chip maker to enable enthusiasts to reach higher CPU overclock, since the integrated graphics core found inside the APU limited the maximum FSB that could be reached without losing stability.

However, going for an unlocked multiplier enables overclockers to avoid this FSB wall by increasing the multi until the desired frequency is reached. Right now, AMD’s quad-core A8-3870K processor is selling for $144.99 (about 110 EUR).

CDMA iPhone 4S Coming to China in February via China Telecom

Apple’s iPhone 4S has already been launched in China last month and is now available for purchase exclusively from China Unicom.

However, the China Unicom’s exclusivity over the iPhone 4S is about to end, as Apple it trying to boost the sales of its latest iOS smartphone in China, one of the biggest markets in the world.

Apple unveiled plans to sell around 40 million iPhone 4S units in China, by 2013. This is the main reason why the company is trying to accelerate the launch of the iPhone 4S at a second carrier.

Moreover, China Telecom seems to have a bigger share of the market when it comes to high-end smartphones, which might increase iPhone 4S sales and would make China the ideal market for Apple’s high-end handset.

The information is confirmed by China Daily, which reports that the launch of the CDMA iPhone 4S this month will considerably ramp up the pressure on the competition.

According to China Daily, carrier China Telecom has already started to prepare for the launch of the iPhone 4S, which is only a matter of time.

Although the operator confirmed that phone would be available “as early as February,” there’s no telling if the phone will indeed make it to the market this month.

In this regard, it’s worth stressing that Apple had a bad experience with the launch of the iPhone 4S last month, where crowds of Apple fans turned violent after the company decided to stop selling the device at its official stores.

Hopefully, Apple will avoid making the same mistakes and the CDMA iPhone 4S launch event at China Telecom will go smoothly.

On a side note, the latest stat numbers coming from research firm Gartner position Apple on 4th place among smartphone vendors in China. Gartner has also confirmed that Nokia, Samsung and Huawei are the first three most proficient smartphone manufacturers in China. 

Retailer Pulls Asus Transformer Prime, Stock and Reliability Issues Are to Blame

Clove, the first retailer to start selling the Transformer Prime in the UK, has just announced that it decided to pull the Asus quad-core tablet from its offer, due to availability problems and an outstanding number of technical issues.

The retailer made its decision public in a post on its official blog:

"Stock supply has been a real issue and good levels of stock are not expected until late February/March."

"However we have been able to obtain some stock sooner than expected; but because of complaints of faults with the model we took the decision to thoroughly test stock before fulfilling any orders."

"We are at this time not satisfied that all units we could provide you with are working correctly, and performing to the standard we expect of the unit."

"We have therefore taken the decision until further notice stop selling the Asus Transformer Prime."

As a result of this decision, Clove cancelled all Transformer Prime orders placed by its clients so far and won’t start selling Asus’ tablet again, until it considers that the situation has changed.

Ever since the quad-core tablet started selling, Asus struggled to deliver enough units to meet demand.

Furthermore, shortly after Asus shipped the first Primes to its customers, many started to complain about the dodgy GPS performance of the tablet, so the company decided to remove GPS functionally from the TF201 specs sheet in the US.

More recently, Transformer Prime owners trying to update to Android 4.0 ran into a new series of problems, which so far haven’t been resolved.

These range from a “serial number not found” error, that prevents the update from installing, to a series of random freezes which affect the Primes running the latest version of Android.

NTT DOCOMO and Disney Launch Two Android Handsets for Japan

Today, NTT DOCOMO, INC. and The Walt Disney Company (Japan) Ltd. announced the release of two phone models that would be marketed as part of the “Disney Mobile on docomo” brand, namely F-08D and P-05D. 

The “Disney Mobile on docomo F-08D” smartphone will hit shelves at the end of February, while the “Disney Mobile on docomo P-05D” handset is expected to become available for purchase in March. These models will be sold exclusively in Japan.

Both devices will arrive on the market with special services and content, offering unique Disney experiences.

Content loaded on these devices includes:

  • Access to Disney full-length animations, live actions and overseas dramas.
  • Digital content from Disney, such as puzzle and music game applications for children and family-entertainment.
  • Original Disney applications, live wallpapers and more.
  • Various customer benefits in cooperation with Tokyo Disney Resort.

Both F-08D and P-05D models run under Google’s Android operating system, and feature specific Disney elements incorporated in their outer designs, as well as packed in their interfaces. 

Moreover, these handsets are waterproof, and both of them offer support for popular DOCOMO services, including the Osaifu-Keitai mobile-wallet services.

“Users will enjoy free access (excluding packet-data charges) with their smartphones to movie services, original live wallpapers, puzzle and music game applications for children and family-entertainment,” the wireless carrier announced. 

Moreover, the company unveiled plans to kick off the pre-order availability for the “Disney Mobile on docomo F-08D” model via all docomo shops, on February 17th. Availability for the “Disney Mobile on docomo P-05D” model will be announced at a later date.

F-08D will be pushed to shelves as a luxury smartphone that will feature the sparkling silhouettes of Mickey and Minnie.

The handset sports 4.3-inch high-resolution HD display, along with a 1.2GHz dual-core application processor, which should offer great performance when it comes to playing dynamic Disney video content.

“Disney Mobile on docomo P-05D” arrives with a slim 7.8 mm body, while featuring a large 4.3-inch Organic EL display and two customizable Disney jackets. It is powered by a dual-core 1GHz application processor.

INFOBAR C01 with Gingerbread Launching in Japan via KDDI on February 3

It appears that KDDI has just resurrected its highly-acclaimed INFOBAR series of phones that managed to amaze customers through their design. Although the last INFOBAR handset that was launched on the market, the A01 had a unique “slab” design, it didn’t have the success forecasted by the manufacturer. 

All in all, KDDI decided to bring back the INFOBAR phones one more time in an attempt to attract customers with new designs and new features. Starting February 3, KDDI customers will be able to purchase the INFOBAR C01 smartphone.

At first glance, it becomes obvious that the phone’s selling point is the bar form factor combined with the elegant design. The phone is available in three distinctive colors, and each phone is aimed at different targets.

All three variants of the INFOBAR C01 have their own unique name, NISHIKIGOI, ICHIMATSU and KIIRO, and each of them is available in different combination of colors: monochrome, dual and three colors.

According to KDDI, the INFOBAR C01 was built by famous product designer Naoto Fukasawa who won numerous design awards in the last two years.

The smartphone features a classic Japanese ten-button keypad, which makes it easier to handle the handset with only one hand. INFOBAR C01 comes with a decent 3.2-inch FWVGA capacitive touchscreen display that supports 854 x 480 pixels resolution.

It is powered by Google’s Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system with the “iida UI,” which is also available on last year’s INFOBAR A01 smartphone.

Furthermore, the smartphone offers several Japanese specific features, such as IrDA connectivity, 1seg TV tuner, as well as Felica NFC wallet.

The INFOBAR C01 is equipped with a 1.4 GHz single core Qualcomm MSM8655 Snapdragon processor, an enhanced 8-megapixel rear camera with autofocus, LED flash and HD video recording, as well as dual-mode GSM / CDMA connectivity.

AMD Readies 2 New FX-Series Processors, Also Prepares FX-8150 WOX CPU

AMD is getting ready to update its FX-Series processor lineup based on the Bulldozer architecture with two new chips packing four and respectively six processing cores, which will also be joined by a new FX-8150 bundle.

This bundle was dubbed the FX-8150 (WOX) by the chip maker, the WOX suffix at the end of its name pointing out that the processor is shipped together with an AMD-branded water cooler.

Besides the new bundle, the CPU sports the same specs as the regular FX-8150, meaning that it includes four Bulldozer modules to deliver a total of eight cores. 

These have a base speed of 3.6 GHz and are joined by 8MB of Level 3 cache.

Pricing however is significantly higher than that of the regular FX-8150, CPU-World reporting that some online stores have listed it for pre-order at $398.29 (303 EUR).

Together with the FX-8150 (WOX), the retailer also listed the AMD FX-6200 processor that we learned about at the end of last year. This includes six computing cores running at a base frequency of 3.8GHz.

The CPU will be able to dynamically adjust its operating speed, according to the number of threads run, thanks to the inclusion of the Turbo Core 2.0 technology that enables it to reach a maximum speed of 4.1GHz.

The rest of its specs are rather standard for a six-core FX-Series chip, as it packs 6MB of L2 cache, as well as 8MB of Level 3 cache memory, but the TDP has been increased to 125W from the 95W of the current FX-6100.

The same TDP is also listed for the second AMD Bulldozer chip to make its appearance, the FX-4170.

When it reaches retail, this CPU will become the first production AMD processor with clock speed greater than 4GHz, since it will come clocked at 4.2GHz, with a maximum 4.3GHz Turbo speed.

The FX-6200 and FX-4170 are available for pre-order right as we speak with pricing being set at $188.48 and $153.27, respectively. The shipping dates of these processors were not revealed.

Nokia Carla Currently Under Testing at Nokia

Following the release of Symbian Anna and Belle last year (the latter was released as Nokia Belle), Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia has started to work on the next version of the mobile operating system. 

Called Carla, the new platform release is already under testing, at least this is what recent entries on the company’s developer blog show, MyNokiaBlog reports

No specific details on the features that Carla could sport have been unveiled, nor on when the new OS flavor might be released on devices, but it is clear that the upcoming platform version is currently under heavy testing in Nokia’s labs. 

Carla should be pushed out to all devices running under Belle at the moment (either released with it or upgraded from Anna). Following the release of Carla, Nokia should push Donna to its users, rumor has it.

New Kindle Fire Android 4.0 ROM Gets Custom Lock Screen, Bug Fixes

Android 4.0 has been running on the Kindle Fire for quite a while now, but lately the devs working on this port have made great progress with it.

While still under development, the port has now received a custom lock screen, which no longer has the camera option since the Kindle Fire doesn’t come with such an accessory, and a series of bug fixes.

These focus mainly on issues with screen rotation, Google Talk, and thumbnail previews of running apps.

Other major changes don’t seem to have made their way into this new build, so video still doesn’t work, which is definitely a major bummer.

The source code for this latest build of the Android 4.0 Kindle Fire port can be downloaded right now from the XDA-Developers Forums.

Detailed install instructions are available in the same thread, so if you are feeling adventurous, go ahead and try this on your Fire.

Samsung GT-P3100 and GT-P5100 Tablets in the Works

Leaks really have a tendency of cropping up when and where people least expect them, as proven by Samsung's GT-P3100 and GT-P5100 tablets. 

These two are products that Samsung hasn't even hinted at, but that didn't stop a completely different source from spilling the beans. 

It was in the database of the Wi-Fi Alliance that the codenames (first and second) were found, and that's pretty much all there was to find. 

Unfortunately, there's nothing more to say on the matter. There is nothing online about the internal hardware or the screen, except for the P3100's UserAgent Profile, that seems to suggest a resolution of 1,024 x 600 pixels. 

Just the fact that it was the Wi-Fi Alliance that leaked them shows that Wi-Fi is supported, but that went without saying anyway. 

At this point, waiting and seeing is all we can do. Oh, and watching the scuffle with Apple and the new investigation by the European Commission, that too.

Office 15 Won’t Sport the Metro UI on Windows 8

Yesterday, Microsoft announced the Technical Preview availability of its next-generation productivity suite, codenamed Office 15. 

The software is promised in a public beta flavor sometime in summer (only lucky few will get a taste of it now), and might hit the market later this year, most probably at the same time as Windows 8. 

In fact, it appears that Office 15 was built with support for Windows 8, and that it features a load of touch optimizations, such as a radial menu system. 

The only thing it is said to lack is the Metro UI, which would have made it a true Windows 8 application. 

A recent article on The Verge claims that the upcoming Office app from Microsoft will actually feature more white space, and that it will be f more ocused on content than previous versions were. 

Essentially, however, Office 15 compenents will be traditional Windows applications, which should make them remain highly usable on non-touch Windows devices. 

A source in the known is cited claiming that Office 15 on ARM will run in a restricted Windows 8 ARM desktop mode that should increase its power efficiency significantly. 

Apparently, Microsoft was planning the release of a Metro version of Office, but it had to postpone such plans, as the team behind it was supposed to overhaul the entire suite for that. 

There will be Metro style Windows 8 Office applications built using WinRT, namely OneNote and Lync, both of which should make an appearance in the upcoming Windows Store. 

We have already been expecting for some sort of Windows 8 integration in the upcoming version of Office, yet it seems that Microsoft is not yet ready to make this step. 

However, a Metro version of the entire Office suite might indeed arrive, since Microsoft has made a similar move with Office Mobile on Windows Phone. Until more on this emerges, we should expect additional details on Office 15 to be unveiled in summer, when the beta version of the app arrives.

This May Be Samsung's Windows 8 Tablet SoC, Exynos 5450

According to PhoneArena, Samsung is preparing more than the still unannounced Exynos 5250 System-on-Chip.

In fact, the company is building something called the Exynos 5450, a quad-core platform operating at 2GHz (the cores themselves are Cortex-A15).

The report also mentions the Mali-658 as the graphics processing unit.

It is quite possible, as the report speculates, that Samsung will use the Exynos 5450 in its Windows 8 tablets.

One can only wonder what capabilities those things will have, knowing that the Exynox 5250 already has what it takes to handle an 11.6-inch display, with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels.

It will also be interesting to see how this platform faces down the NVIDIA Tegra 3 and whatever other competitors decided to rear their heads by the time Microsoft's new OS is completed.

New Camera-Equipped iPod nano 7G Photos Emerge

Rumors of a camera-equipped iPod nano are being reignited by a Taiwanese site flashing around photos of a new prototype. The design doesn’t seem very convincing, but the imagery doesn’t seem to be fake either.

This is not the first time Apple.pro posts images of a new-generation iPod nano bearing a camera. In fact, this is not the first time said iPod nano appears metallic green either.

It’s basically the same rumor, only viewed from different angles - and with a few additional technicalities, such as the 1.3 megapixel resolution.

As the images show, the protruding camera would poke its head through the clip that allows users to wear the player on their clothes.

It’s not exactly what you’d expect from the company headquartered at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA in terms of form and function, which is why we’re not too quick to trust this leak.

This could be a prototype device, but it could also be a manufactured Apple rumor using nothing more than a tiny drill and a sourced camera component.

To be noted that Apple already refreshed the iPod nano line (introducing the sixth-gen nano) between the first time this rumor broke out and now. In other words, what’s keeping Cupertino from launching it already - production costs?

There is a patent application filed in 2009 by Apple that suggests the company at least considered the possibility of equipping the minuscule player with a camera. Then again, lots of Apple patents never see the light of day.

And to think just how awkward the nano would be as a camera device with its small form factor and the 1.5-inch square screen. To display a decent shot in landscape mode, half of the screen wouldn’t even be used.

All in all, it’s pretty hard to imagine Apple ever considering to equip the nano (in its current form factor) with a camera. What do you guys think?

Nikon Coolpix P310 Features f/1.8 Lens and 16.1MP BSI CMOS Sensor

Together with the new S-Series and L-810 Coolpix cameras, Nikon also introduced the P310 point-and-shoot, which comes as the company’s high-end pocketable snapper thanks to its improved features and specifications.

The most important of these improvements is the inclusion of a new 16.1MP back illuminated CMOS sensor, which should provide better low light performance than its counterparts.

The 4.2X 24-100mm f/1.8 (maximum) VR lens should also help in this regard, just as is the case with the high ISO sensitivity of Nikon’s latest creation (the standard ISO 100-3200 range can be expanded up to 6400).

This sensor can also be used for capturing movies in Full HD resolution (1920x1080) with stereo sound at 30 frames per second.

The content captured can be then viewed on the three-inch rear LCD screen with a resolution of 921,000 pixels. 

The rest of the features list includes a full range of conventional shooting functions (program/aperture-priority/shutter-priority/manual, support for various in-camera effects, backlight HDR mode, and 360° motion panorama.

Furthermore, two special night modes (Advanced Night Portrait and Night Landscape) are also available, both of these using the HDR features of the camera, for composing the shot using multiple images.

"With the new Coolpix P-series cameras, Nikon is raising the bar for performance and image quality to better accommodate the needs of advanced photographers looking for a compact companion," said Bo Kajiwara, director of marketing, Nikon Inc. 

"Both the Coolpix P510 and P310 combine Nikon's legendary Nikkor lenses and advanced features to challenge photographers creatively in environments that call for portability and easy access," concluded the company’s rep.

The Nikon Coolpix P310 point-and-shoot will hit retail later this month with a $329.95 (250 EUR) price tag and will be available in black only.

Samsung, Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic and Others Seek Bond with Olympus

After a debunked rumor about possibly acquiring Olympus' camera business, Samsung is reported to be seeking ties with the company for its other assets. 

In short, Samsung wants a partnership with Olympus, reportedly because of the latter's expertise in making medical equipment. 

It is not alone in that either. Fujifilm, Sony and Panasonic also want the same thing, according to Mainichi

A tie with either or all of the companies could be just what Olympus needs, knowing the $1.7 billion (1.29 billion Euro) accounting discrepancy it is faced with at the moment. 

These are all still closed rumors, though, and it is Sony, not Samsung, that is said to be the company most likely to secure a deal. 

Of course, there is no rule saying Olympus can't enter partnerships with all of them, unless they all impose some sort of exclusivity clause or whatnot.

New Episode in Itanium Saga Sees Oracle Lose in a Move Against HP

One wouldn't think that a server processor could cause such a big fuss, but the whole Itanium debacle has gotten very heated, leading to a direct clash between Oracle and HP, the latter having, apparently, gained the upper hand. 

This isn't a case of patent infringement, like the quarrel between Samsung and Apple that most recently got the former slapped with an antitrust investigation by the European Commission. 

What is going on between HP and Oracle is an argument that started last year, in March, when Oracle suddenly decided to stop supporting Itanium. 

What this means is that it announced that it was no longer going to develop software for the chips. 

HP, being the major supplier of Itanium servers, was not put at ease in the slightest. 

What followed was a back-and-forth in which Oracle and HP took turns at everything from formal statements to outright bashing. 

Eventually, HP sued Oracle and the latter decided to try to get out of its agreement to support the chips, by means of a fraud claim. 

Judge James P. Kleinberg of the Superior Court of California, Santa Clara County has now issued a ruling that debunks Oracle's claim. 

“The alleged fraud did not prevent Oracle from participating in the negotiations or deprive Oracle of the opportunity to negotiate,” he wrote in the 26-page ruling. 

The case is still ongoing: note that the judge said only that the fraud did not play a part in the negotiations, not that it had never occurred. 

Oracle basically ignored the fraud claim altogether and treated the decision as a victory, of sorts, focused on the fact that the judge denied HP's (albeit also its own) requests to seal documents that allegedly contained sensitive business information. 

“Oracle is delighted that the Superior Court of the State of California, Santa Clara County, has rejected HP's attempt to hide the truth about Itanium's certain end of life from its customers, partners and own employees,” it said

“We look forward to seeing all of the facts made public that demonstrate how HP has known for years that Itanium is end of life.”

HTC Sensation XE Confirmed to Get Android 4.0 ICS "Early This Year"

It looks like HTC feels the need to reiterate every month that the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade will be rolled out to most of its high-end devices, in the first half of the year. 

Rumors on HTC’s planner for the Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade have come and gone, but the company has yet to make any official announcements regarding the exact release dates for its lineup of Android smartphones.

Last month, HTC Turkey published on its official Facebook account an interesting table containing Ice Cream Sandwich release dates for no less than nine smartphones. However, the company quickly pulled the information, which probably means that most of the data was inaccurate.

Based on the information received from HTC over the last three months, it appears that the Taiwanese handset maker plans to deploy the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to the following smartphones: HTC Vivid, HTC Sensation, HTC Sensation XL and HTC Sensation XE, HTC Rezound, HTC EVO 3D, HTC EVO Design 4G and HTC Amaze 4G.

Today, HTC confirmed once again that it would push Ice Cream Sandwich to the Sensation XE “early this year.” In reply to a tweet coming from an HTC Sensation XE owner, the company said:

“Yup, ICS will be coming to the Sensation XE early this year, Dean! We'll let you know when we have a more specific release date.”

On a side note, HTC will probably upgrade more of Android devices to Ice Cream Sandwich, but none of them have been confirmed yet, though they have appeared on the HTC Turkey Facebook page: HTC Flyer, HTC Rhyme, HTC Incredible S, HTC Wildfire S, HTC Desire HD, HTC Desire, HTC Salsa, HTC ChaCha and HTC Desire Z.

There’s no telling exactly when HTC starts rolling out Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for any of its smartphone, but at least we know most of the devices confirmed will get it in Q1 2012.

Club3D Radeon HD 7950 Graphics Card Makes Its Debut

Club3D, a company specialized in developing graphics card based on AMD’s as well as Nvidia’s GPUs, announced the introduction of a new solution designed around AMD’s recently unveiled Radeon HD 7950.

Club3D graphics card doesn’t seem to differ in any way from AMD’s reference design for the HD 7950, which means that it uses a centrally placed fan to blow fresh air over the heatsink and PCB found underneath.

That being said, the reference cooler developed by AMD is quite capable, judging by the HD 7950 reviews that have popped us so far, as it manages to chill the card without producing too much noise.

Of course the 28nm fabrication process used for the Tahiti Pro GPU also helped in this regard, since it enabled AMD to build a much larger core, without having to increase the TDP over that of previous generation cards.

Made official yesterday, the Radeon HD 7950 uses the Tahiti Pro GPU, which 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 stock operating clocks of the video card are set at 800MHz for the GPU, while the GDDR5 memory is running at 1.25GHz.

Club3D’s solution follows these specifications to the letter, so those of you feeling the need for some extra performance will have to overclock the card on your own.

The rest of the specs are also identical with those of AMD’s reference HD 7950 design, meaning that it sports the same dual miniDP, HDMI and DVI-D video outputs, as well as 3GB of DDR5 memory.

Club3D hasn’t mentioned anything about the price of its Radeon HD 7950, but the company usually retails its graphics cards for slightly lower prices than its competitors.

Samsung Confirms Galaxy S III for the First Half of 2012

Samsung will not bring the successor of its highly popular Galaxy S II smartphone to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month. 

The company said so last week, when announcing the financial results for the last quarter of 2011, and has confirmed it once again. 

Moreover, the vendor also announced that it planned on hosting its own separate event for the launch of this mobile phone

According to Techradar, the South Korean mobile phone maker is still on track to launch the mobile phone in the first half of the year, and will officially unveil it closer to its market availability. 

“Samsung is looking forward to introducing and demonstrating exciting new mobile products at Mobile World Congress 2012,” the leading handset vendor reportedly stated. 

The company also noted that it was working on the release of a successor for the Galaxy S II. Even if no specific name for the device was mentioned, Galaxy S III appears to be a good guess. 

“The successor to the Galaxy S2 smartphone will be unveiled at a separate Samsung-hosted event in the first half of the year, closer to commercial availability of the product,” the South Korean vendor said. 

“Samsung stays committed to providing the best possible mobile experiences for customers around the world.”

Some of the previous reports on the matter suggested that Samsung was actually considering the release of a new variant of Galaxy S II, which should feature a “Plus” moniker. 

Moreover, the company is expected to bring to the market a successor to the Galaxy Note smartphone-tablet hybrid, one that would be called Note S. 

While nothing was officially confirmed on these devices, we know for sure that a successor to Galaxy S II will arrive in the coming months. Hopefully, the handset’s availability will kick off in the first half of the year as well.

4GB DDR3 Memory Modules Cost $16.5/12.65 Euro, Prices Stabilize

It appears that the memory industry may have finally gone past that stage where demand was so severely overshadowed by supply. 

According to the most recent findings of DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, the prices of memory modules and kits are stabilizing. 

That is to say, the supply of chips and modules is no longer so much higher than demand, as was the case throughout 2011 and part of 2010. 

At the moment, 4GB modules are priced, on average, at $16.5, which translates into 12.65 Euro. 

No matter how one looks at it, this is a very convenient price point, so if anyone was waiting for more cuts, they won't be coming, so one may as well go buy memory now. 

We actually wrote about how memory was the most convenient thing to buy, in terms of consumer technology, during the winter holidays. 

Things have changed since then, though, in large part due to production capacity cuts and high caution on the part of vendors when making orders. 

The prices of RAM chips haven't exactly started to go back up yet, but it is just a matter of time at this point. 

This is not really a bad thing, of course, even though buyers never really rejoice at hearing that prices are going up. 

Basically, this crisis was none too merciful on the companies that make the products, and it would have led to (more) job cuts and even the shutting down of some factories, if it had gone on much longer. 

For the short-term, prices are expected to stabilize, or stay flat in other words, like they mostly did in January. 

Low demand continues to be a concern, though, especially during the January-March period, traditionally considered the “weak” quarter of the year. 

Thus, it is hard to tell when the contract quotes will recover and allow modules and kits to regain the value they lost.

Nikon Coolpix S9300, S6300, S4300 and S3300 Point-and-Shoots Debut

Less than half a year after updating the S-series of point-and-shoot cameras, Nikon refreshed this product line yet again with some new models that offer slightly improved specs when compared to their predecessors.

Starting at the bottom end, the first new Coolpix model that we encounter is the S3300, which keeps things rather simple with its 16MP CCD sensor, 6x zoom lens and 720p video recording.

As expected, all these features arrive with a rather low price tag of $140 (107 EUR). Adding $30 (23 EUR) more will get you the S4300, which features pretty much the same entry-level specs, but adds a touchscreen to the mix.

If this isn’t enough, moving up to $200 (153 EUR) will get you an entirely new camera as the S6300 swaps the CCD sensor of the two previous models, with a 16MP sensor using CMOS technology.

In addition, the camera has also received a 10x zoom lens, a new Easy Panorama mode, as well as 1080p video recording.

Finally, the most advanced of the for point-and-shoots introed today by Nikon in the Coolpix line is the $350 (268 EUR) S9300, which features the same 16MP CMOS sensor as the S6300, but also adds GPS geo-tagging and an 18x zoom lens (26mm-156mm equivalent), with VR vibration reduction to the specs list.

"The new COOLPIX S-series cameras are super slim and easy to carry around for all of those special 'can't miss' moments that matter in a person's life," said Bo Kajiwara, director of marketing, Nikon Inc. 

"These cameras complement a personal style while providing amazing image and video quality easily," concluded the company’s rep.

According to Nikon, all the four cameras will be available in various colors later this month.

PowerColor Has a Pair of AMD Radeon HD 7950 Graphics Cards Too

Since Advanced Micro Devices finally made the official introduction of the Radeon HD 7950, PowerColor decided to reveal its own two cards. 

We have already seen the video controllers prepared by VTX3D and Micro-Star International (with and without Twin Frozr III cooling). 

Now, we are looking at PowerColor, otherwise known as TUL Corporation. 

The company has two cards to sell, dubbed PowerColor HD7950 series and PCS+ HD7950. 

They share the majority of specifications: 3GB of GDDR5 VRAM, an interface of 384 bits, support for DirectX 11.1 and a memory clock of 5GHz. 

What's more, the two adapters boast support for AMD Eyefinity 2.0 technology, HD3D and AMD PowerTune, plus AMD App Acceleration, which offloads tasks from the CPU to the GPU. 

What sets the two apart are the frequencies of the GPUs and the cooling technologies. 

While the “regular” PowerColor HD7950 has a single fan and a GPU frequency of 800 MHz, the PowerColor PCS+ HD7950 works at 880 MHz and uses a much stronger cooler. 

It is armed with two fans (92mm in diameter each), three 8mm heatpipes and a pure copper base that covers the whole GPU. 

The result is a temperature reduction of 15% and a much more silent operation (20%) compared to AMD's default solution. 

The AMD Radeon HD 7950 has a price of around $450 in the United States and 420 Euro in Europe, or so the word goes. 

The PowerColor PCS+ may go a bit higher than that, but not by too much, since it would not be able to compete with rival controllers otherwise. 

Then again, $450/ 420 Euro is already a bit expensive, even knowing that AMD's newcomer scored higher than NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 580 in benchmarks. 

As always, it falls to prospective buyers to weigh the pros and cons of each product when browsing through their options.

ADATA Intros 8GB DDR3-1600 Notebook and Desktop Memory Modules

Introduced back in October last year, ADATA’s Premier memory series has just received the addition of a new set of 8GB memory modules, working at 1600MHz speeds, that are available in both DIMM and SO-DIMM form factors.

Compared to standard memory, these new Premier series modules are built only with DRAM chips that go through an extensive burn-in process designed to eliminate the parts that have a tendency to fail.

Once this process is finished and the DRAM memory is installed in the DIMM modules, ADATA claims that the Premier Series goes through another series of tests.

According to the company, these cover a wide range of failure scenarios that were encountered through years of field application, and which are also designed to uncover possible compatibility issues.

These new 8GB DDR3 modules will join ADATA’s existing 2GB and 4GB DIMMs running at 1333MHz or 1600MHz speeds.

Even though no information regarding the timings of the new DDR3 modules was provided by ADATA, the company did say that its 8GB Premier memory DIMMs required 1.5V in order to operate, which should make them compatible with most desktops and notebooks out there.

The ADATA Premier Series DRAM modules should be available soon through selected distributors and resellers, but sadly no information regarding pricing was unveiled by ADATA.

Right now, pricing for a single 8GB SO-DIMM memory module starts at $77.99 (about 59 EUR), but most DDR3 makers are only offering 1333MHz sticks.

This could come as a great opportunity for ADATA as it would enable the company to keep this market segment all for itself if it manages to get these Premier memory modules out before its competitors have a similar product ready.

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