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Feb 16, 2012

Radeon HD 7970 Overclocked to 1.3GHz Using Only Air Cooling

After being overclocked to 1.7GHz using liquid nitrogen at the beginning of this year, AMD’s Radeon HD 7970 graphics card has now reached a just as impressive 1.3GHz core frequency using only air cooling.

This feat was recently achieved by a Chinese enthusiast during a local overclocking contest, which took place earlier this week, reports Hardcore Hardware.

In order to reach this high frequency, the graphics card, which was provided by HIS, was stripped of its regular cooler and paired together with the Deep Cool Dracula VGA heatsink.

The GPU voltage was also increased, which allowed the card to be clocked at an impressive 1.319MHz, while the memory was pushed to 1,822MHz (equivalent to 7,288MHz). 

Using these settings, the card was put through a series of 3DMark 11 runs where it managed to score an impressive P11462 using the Performance preset.

To put things in perspective, in the stock Radeon HD 7970, the graphics core is clocked at 925MHz, while the 3GB of GDDR5 video buffer memory runs at 1.375GHz (5.5GHz effective).

Besides the HIS Radeon HD 7970 graphics card, the rest of the system used for this overclock comprised an AMD FX-8150 processor, a Gigabyte AM3+ motherboard and a Corsair AX1200 PSU.

AMD’s Radeon HD 7970 was introduced by AMD in December last year and is based on the company’s Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture.

At its heart there stands the Tahiti XT core, which includes 32 Compute Units for a total of 2048 stream processors that are joined by 128 texture units, 32 ROP units and a 384-bit wide memory bus.

All the hardware logic that AMD had to cram into this GPU, makes Tahiti XT the largest graphics core ever built, since it features no less than 4.31 billion transistors packed inside a 365mm2 die fabricated using TSMC’s 28nm High-K process.

AMD Radeon HD 7800 Pitcairn GPUs to Arrive in March – Report

In the first part of March, AMD is expected to expand its lineup of Radeon HD 7000 graphics cards based on the Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture with a couple of new GPUs known by the code name of Pitcairn.

The two cores will stand at the heart of the Radeon HD 7870 and HD 7850 video cards, which DigiTimes says will be introduced in the first half of March.

While no information regarding the specs of these two GPUs was provided by the source, some previous leaks have suggested that AMD’s Radeon HD 7800 models will come equipped with 2GB of GDDR5 video memory buffer.

In the more powerful HD 7870, this will be accompanied by the Pitcairn XT GPU which includes 1408 streaming processors, 88 texture units and 24 ROP units that will all be connected to the memory via a 256-bit wide bus.

Thanks to the 1,375MHz (5.5GHz data rate) VRAM operating clock, this configuration should be able to deliver 176GB/s worth of memory bandwidth.

As far as the GPU is concerned, this will work at 950MHz, making it the second highest clocked graphics core in the Radeon HD 7000-series after the HD 7770.

For the Radeon HD 7850, AMD will decrease this frequency to 900MHz, while the memory will also be downclocked from 1,375MHz to 1,250MHz (5GHz data rate). This drops the memory bandwidth available to the GPU to 160GB/s. 

Other changes brought to the Pitcairn Pro core include a reduction in stream processors count, from 1408 to 1280, the number of texture units available also being lowered to 80 from 88 in the Pitcairn XT.

According to a report published last month, the Radeon HD 7870 and HD 7850 will be priced at $299 and $249 (227 and 189 EUR), respectively.

Japan’s First Two V-High Multimedia Devices with Android Launching in March/April

Japan, probably the most technologically advanced country in the world, continues to amaze tech-savvy and alike with new gadgets that can easily make any geek drool. 

It appears that major carrier NTT Docomo is readying Japan’s first two devices for V-High multimedia broadcasting services. Both devices are powered by Android platforms, though there are no details on which version of Google’s operating system they will run at launch.

The two Android-based mobile devices, the “docomo NEXT series AQUOS PHONE SH-06D” smartphone and the “docomo Tablet MEDIAS TAB N-06D,” will available for purchase in Japan sometime in March and April, respectively.

There’s no word on the pricing options yet, but there’s no chance that either of these two devices will be available outside the country. These were specifically designed to work with a service that will only be available in Japan.

In this regard, the carrier also confirmed customers who purchase any of the two devices will be able to watch mmbi, Inc.’s “NOTTV.” This is a mobile multimedia broadcasting station, which is supposed to be operational starting April 1.

Obviously, both devices are waterproof and compatible with both NTT Docomo’s Osaifu-Keitai mobile wallet and with one-seg mobile TV services.

The SH-06D Android phone boasts a large a 4.5-inch HD capacitive touchscreen display with 3D capabilities. 

It is equipped with a powerful dual-core processor clocked at 1.2 GHz and is delivered with a tabletop holder with built-in antenna, in the sales package. This holder enables users to view multimedia broadcasts while the smartphone is charging. 

Dubbed the world’s thinnest (9.9 mm) waterproof tablet, the N-06D comes with support for DOCOMO’s “Xi” LTE service (Japanese version of LTE). 

Furthermore, the tablet sports a 7-inch WXGA capacitive touchscreen display with HD resolution, and high-quality audio speakers. It is powered by the same 1.2 GHz dual core CPU.

Dota 2 Has LAN and Mod Support, Valve Confirms

Valve has just revealed that its upcoming Dota 2 game will have support for user-generated mods, as well as for multiplayer over the local area network (LAN).

The original Dota (Defense of the Ancients) title burst onto the scene many years ago and, since then, has spawned its own genre called Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. 

After lots of titles that tried to refine the original formula were launched, including the pretty popular League of Legends, Valve is now trying to build a full-fledged sequel to the original game.

Dota 2 is set to bring a lot of improvements over its predecessor, with new heroes, enhanced gameplay and better graphics, as expected from a game that’s being released by Valve.

Even if the title has been in a closed beta stage for quite some time, not a lot is known about its actual features. Thankfully, Valve shed some light on two special systems it would implement in the final version of the game.

According to Dota 2 project boss Erik Johnson, the game will have support for a LAN mode as well as for user-generated mods.

"There are some systems that LAN mode requires that we haven't finished yet, mainly because we've been focused on matchmaking. We know how important this feature is for the community," he told Join Dota about the local multiplayer mode.

What’s more, Johnson also confirmed that the game would support mods, thereby honoring its predecessor, which was first released as a mod for Warcraft III many years ago.

"We have a long history supporting the mod community around our own games, so we'd like to continue that with Dota 2."

Without a doubt this mod support will incorporate the Steam Workshop system, which has become extremely popular after Bethesda decided to use it in order to deliver mods for its The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim role playing game.

Expect more details about Dota 2 and its features in the near future.

Motorola ATRIX Android 2.3.6 Update Rolls Out Now

The latest software update v4.5.141 for Motorola ATRIX leaked online several days ago, along with an unofficial changelog. Today, the US-based handset maker announces that a new update is available for its Android-based smartphone.

It is exactly the same update that we reported last week, but the changelog is a bit larger, which means it contains more changes that were not highlighted in the unofficial version.

According to Motorola, software update v4.5.141 is being pushed OTA (over the air) starting today, so ATRIX owners who want to update to the latest version of Android should connect to a reliable Wi-Fi network and have their phone’s battery charged for at least 50%.

On the other hand, those who already rooted their Motorola ATRIX units should know that this update will unroot the device, so they will need to reverse the process after the update is applied.

Obviously, Motorola ATRIX owners will need to have an active SIM card inserted in the phone for a successful installation. 

Presumably they have received a notifications message for this upgrade, ATRIX owners should simply select “Download” and follow the steps provided by the phone to upgrade to Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread.

However, those who have not received the notification message can manually search for the update by going to Settings / About phone / System updates. As soon as the update is located simply select “Download” and the software will be downloaded.

The latest maintenance update for Motorola ATRIX brings the latest Google Android security fixes among others. 

Stability improvements have been included as well, such as enhancements to memory function as it relates to media apps and ability to prevent need for rebooting when phone is prone to heavy loading or/and high temperatures.

Aside from bringing the phone’s firmware to version 2.3.6 Gingerbread, the following changes have been added:

  • Bluetooth: Enhancement which allows you to launch voice command from bluetooth enabled headset when phone is asleep.
  • Wi-Fi: Improvements to Wi-Fi settings to deliver better overall consumer experience as well as to make it easier to use Mobile Hotspot with your phone.
  • Messaging: Improvements to text messaging capability to deliver better user experience.
  • Contacts: Improvements are made to maintain all phone book contacts after the OTA upgrade.

Intel Atom Roadmap Provides Price Guidelines for Smartphones and Netbooks

Intel makes processors that many companies use in their products, but what it also does is propose, sometimes even impose, design conditions and price guidelines.

A recent report from Fudzilla states that, when it set up its roadmap for the next Atom series of central processing units, Intel also provided pricing guidelines for its product partners.

That is to say, it created a goal, of sorts, that device makers will have to try and meet, if not immediately then at least eventually.

According to the rumor, Intel wants Atom-powered smartphones to hover around the $199 mark, or 153.01 Euro.

Meanwhile, netbooks that use next-generation units from this line are supposed to cost around $299, a sum which translates into 230 Euro.

Alas, in absence of a successful track record for this sort of thing, we cannot help but be rather skeptical.

After all, the Santa Clara, California-based company tried this sort of thing before and it still hasn't worked out.

To elaborate, ultrabooks are supposed to be sold for $600-$700 (461-538 Euro), but notebook makers are having trouble even going below $1,000 (770 Euro).

Going back to Intel's reported roadmap, the chip giant gave guidelines for other items as well, such as tablets and hybrid devices.

The former should sell for $399 to $499, or 307-384 Euro, while the latter got landed with the $699 price tag as a desired starting point (537.48 Euro).

All in all, Intel's ideas are not unreasonable, especially since its competitors, ARM, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, already offer affordability.

Intel's Ultrabooks are expected to finally reach the price “sweet spot” this year, but it is not particularly heartening to realize that the products meant to reshape the PC market are taking more than half a year to achieve this.

If the rest of the Atom-based product line takes so long, chipzilla will have its work cut out for it.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (GT-P3113) Gets FCC Approval

It only took Samsung a few days after the official launch of Galaxy Tab 2 to receive FCC (Federal Communications Commission) approval. Although the tablet is expected to arrive in the UK in March, it won’t come as a surprise if the Galaxy Tab 2 hits shelves in the United States around the same timeframe.

The folks over at Engadget, who spotted the slate at FCC, also noticed that the illustration of Galaxy Tab 2 strongly resembled the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. However, it appears that the model number has been replaced to show that this is in fact the Galaxy Tab 2, also known as GT-P3113.

It is also worth mentioning that the tablet has been approved along with a Broadcom radio with Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0 support. Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 will probably be announced by one of US-based major carriers within the next several weeks.

Those unfamiliar with the Galaxy Tab 2 should know that this is a cheaper version of the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. However, this one comes with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but a slightly lower dual-core processor and front-facing camera.

The design of the slate has been changed to avoid any other Apple patent lawsuits, so expect this one to be a bit different from the rest of the Galaxy Tab devices now available on the market.

Hardware-wise, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 is equipped with a dual-core processor clocked at 1 GHz, unlike Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, which is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU.

The tablet sports a 7.0-inch PLS LCD capacitive touchscreen that supports 600 x 1024 pixels resolution, a 3-megapixel rear camera, as well as a secondary VGA camera.

Samsung will also offer an affordable 8GB Galaxy Tab 2, as well as two other models that will probably be slightly more expensive, a 16GB version and a 32GB model.

Watch a Video Preview of OS X "Mountain Lion"

Care to see how innovations from iPad inspire new features for the Mac? Look no further, as Apple has posted a four-minute-long video that details everything from Messages and Game Center to AirPlay Mirroring and Gatekeeper - all brand new stuff in Mountain Lion, the next major version of OS X launching this summer.

If you want to find out what’s coming this summer with OS X Mountain Lion but don’t wish to read through the lengthy documentation on Apple’s web site (though it’s a fabulous read, may we say), the company offers this short video (also embedded below) that takes you through all the major enhancements in the new operating system.

Features like Messages, Reminders, Notification Center, Twitter, and more - are all explained in typical Apple fashion with cool graphics and real-life scenarios. “You love them on iPad. Now you’ll love them on your Mac. And with iCloud, they all work better together,” says the company.

Announcing a developer preview of OS X Mountain Lion today, Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, remarked:

“The Mac is on a roll, growing faster than the PC for 23 straight quarters, and with Mountain Lion things get even better. The developer preview of Mountain Lion comes just seven months after the incredibly successful release of Lion and sets a rapid pace of development for the world’s most advanced personal computer operating system.”

Mac Developer Program members can grab the preview release of Mountain Lion as early as today while end-Mac users will be able to upgrade their OS X Lion machines to Mountain Lion using the Mac App Store this summer.

HTC One XL with Android 4.0 Possibly Coming to MWC 2012

HTC has big plans for this year’s Mobile World Congress trade fair. Word is that the Taiwanese handset maker is reshaping its lineup of Android phones and will be revealing a new series of smartphones.

We already learned from reliable enough sources that HTC will come up with at least three new smartphones, HTC One S, One X and One V. All three will be powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

However, the folks over at Pocket-lint claim that HTC might announce a fourth device in the One series, the HTC One XL. There are no details on the device’s specs, but it won’t come as a surprise if this one were a tablet and not a smartphone.

For the time being, only the name of the device has been confirmed by sources close to the matter, but we should have more info closer to MWC 2012 opening. The image used is an HTC Sensation XL and it's just for illustration purposes.

HTC One V Tipped for MWC 2012, Has Beats by Dr.Dre Audio

Shortly after details on the first two HTC devices expected to be announced at the Mobile World Congress 2012 emerged online, new info has just surfaced on another Android smartphone, which might be announced at the end of the month, in Barcelona.

The folks over at Pocket-lint claim, citing reliable sources, that HTC plans to launch additional handsets, aside from the already leaked HTC One X and One S.

One of the lower-end handset that will be part of HTC’s “One” lineup is simply dubbed HTC One V. This one will be among the cheapest in the series, as the handset maker will be targeting the mid-range market.

More importantly, HTC One V is allegedly packed with Beats Audio hardware and software, making it the perfect choice for customers who prefer music phones. Obviously, there are no details on pricing options, but HTC One V won’t be on the expensive side.

Pocket-lint suggests that the One V could be an improved variant of the HTC Rhyme, but this one will be aimed at men rather than women.

For the time being, it has been confirmed by sources close to the matter that HTC One V sports a 3.7-inch capacitive touchscreen display, a 5-megapixel camera with HD (720p) video recording, as well as 1 GB of RAM.

In addition, the phone will be equipped by a 1 GHz processor, though there are no details on whether this is a dual-core CPU or a standard single-core. It is also worth mentioning that HTC One V will run Google’s latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

In the same news, HTC plans to launch a fourth device, called HTC One XL. Unfortunately, other than its name, there are no additional details available for the moment.

Tegra 3-Based Smartphones to Start Shipping in Q1 2012

This year’s Mobile World Congress, set to kick off on February 27th in Barcelona, Spain, is expected to bring to the spotlight the first smartphones in the world to pack quad-core application processors. 

Rumors on what these devices would include in terms of hardware have already emerged. Official confirmation on their specs is pending. 

One thing that is certain, however, is that such handsets will make an appearance at the event. Nvidia has already sent out invitations to the launch, promising great devices powered by its Tegra 3 quad-core application processor. 

What remains to be seen, of course, is when these devices will start emerging on shelves, and what price tags they will feature. 

Apparently, we might not have to wait too long to see the first Tegra 3-based smartphones landing in user’s hands. 

In fact, Reuters suggests that they would be set to become commercially available within weeks of the official launch at MWC 2012, before the end of the first quarter of the current year.

This means that March is set to bring these quad-core smartphones to the market in a variety of countries around the world, though no details on this have been officially unveiled yet. 

Some of the Android smartphones that have already been rumored to be on their way to shelves with a Tegra 3 application processor inside include LG’s X3, along with HTC’s One X, and a Huawei device. 

Moreover, in its press release announcing the financial results for the last year, Nvidia mentions a Fujitsu smartphone that features the CPU and which runs under Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich."

Along with these smartphones, there will also be a series of quad-core enabled tablet PCs launched at MWC with Android on board. The first such devices have already been made official, and one of them, the Asus Transformer Prime, is already shipping to consumers.

ACTA: Netherlands and Bulgaria Take a Step Back

The list of European countries that delay the ratification of the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has two new additions: Bulgaria and Netherlands. 

According to The Guardian, in Bulgaria the massive protests are showing their first results, the country’s economy minister, Traicho Traikov, revealing that the agreement encourages Internet surveillance too much and barricades the freedom to download media content. 

The minister said that he would propose that the signing procedure is stopped, at least until the other members of the European Union come to an agreement regarding ACTA.

“Bulgarian society is not ready to accept mechanisms which raise suspicions of violation of the freedom of expression and freedom [on the] internet,” Traikov said.

A report from Radio Netherlands Worldwide states that the Dutch Lower House supports a motion initiated by the Green Left party which says that ACTA should not be signed until it’s thoroughly analyzed to determine exactly the extent of the dangers posed to the privacy of Internet users. 

With these announcements, Bulgaria and Netherlands join Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Latvia as countries that decided to act with caution when it comes to signing the accord.

After the large number of protests that took place across Europe and America in the past few days, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that some of ACTA’s supporters have taken a step back. 

While other European countries are expected to delay the pact’s ratification, the defenders of ACTA don’t show any signs of weakness, still trying to convince world leaders that the treaty is not as bad as everyone thinks.

In the meantime, protests continue all around the world, the map that centralizes the locations of these movements now counting around 300 locations spread out through all the countries of Europe, US, Canada and Mexico.

Google Might Launch Android 5.0 Jelly Bean in Q2 2012

It’s only a few months since Google announced its latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system and the search giant is already thinking to launch the next version of its mobile platform which is known as “Jelly Bean.”

According to Digitimes, Google is trying to stave off competition by releasing Android 5.0, an operating system fully optimized for tablet PCs.

Due to the fact that Android 4.0 did not have the success Google expected, the company has decided to speed up development of Android 5.0 Jelly Bean, in order to come out as early as Q2 2012.

Another reason that compels Google to come out with something new within the next few months is the fact that Microsoft is expected to launch Windows 8 this summer.

If Google wants to achieve something, it will need to beat Microsoft to that or at least come out with Android 5.0 around the same timeframe.

Aside from the fact that Android 5.0 Jelly Bean will be fully optimized for tablet PCs, rumor has it that Google will integrate its Chrome system in such a way that users will be able to dual-boot from a Windows 8 device.

This means that brand vendors will be able to choose from either getting only Google’s Android 5.0 or add Jelly Bean to their Windows 8 devices with the ability to switch between the two mobile platforms while on the go.

More importantly, customers who choose a dual-booting device will be able to switch among them without the need to power it off.

Google is desperately trying to enter the notebook and netbook market with Android 5.0 Jelly Bean, though the company’s downstream partners are a bit reluctant about the next version of Android, given the fact that Ice Cream Sandwich’s adoption is still under expectations.

Jelly Beans

Android 4.0 Leaks for Galaxy Note GT-I9220

Last year, South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung promised the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS upgrade for some of its Galaxy devices. 

The company did not offer a specific release date for the update, but handsets such as Galaxy S II and Galaxy Note are expected to receive it in the next several weeks. 

Before the official update arrives, however, some users can download a leaked ICS ROM for Galaxy Note. 

The software has made an appearance in China and is available for the Chinese flavor of the large Android smartphone (which features model number GT-I9220).

The owners of Galaxy Note GT-N7000 are advised to steer clear of this leaked ROM, as it might damage their devices. It should also be noted that this is only an early Android 4.0 build for the smartphone.

Nvidia 28nm Kepler GPUs Will Arrive in April, Says Report

The launch date of Nvidia’s next-gen 28nm Kepler GPUs has remained a mystery for quite some time now, but a recent report has come to unveil that the company’s GeForce 600-series graphics cards will be released in April this year.

The article, published earlier by DigiTimes, says that in an unprecedented move, Nvidia plans to launch all of its eight Kepler graphics card models in April 2012.

However, according to VR-Zone, this scenario wouldn’t make much sense for the Santa Clara-based chip maker. More likely, Nvidia’s April Kepler release will only include the GK104 GPU, which will be used for the GeForce GTX 660 series graphics cards.

As we have reported earlier this week, the GK104 core will be available in two versions, dubbed GK104-400 and GK104-335.

Both of these will actually be based on the same GPU, but the former comes as a fully working GK104 part, while the latter is a partially fused off version of the same chip.

The main difference between the two cores lies in the number of graphics processing clusters they will include, since the -400 is said to be an “8 group” device compared to the -335, which is described as a “7 group” GPU.

Nvidia has designed Kepler to be more flexible in terms of programmability than the current Fermi architecture and this is the company’s first GPU to be based on TSMC's high-K metal gate (HKMG) 28nm fabrication process (the same one used by AMD for the Radeon HD 7900 series cards). 

According to a previous report, Nvidia has already started sampling the GK104 to its AIB partners, which should mean that its first GTX 660 graphics cards should be ready in 4 to 6 weeks’ time.

Nokia Lumia 610 Already Receiving Certification

Nokia is expected to launch a new Windows Phone device later this month at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, none other than the Nokia Lumia 610 smartphone that will run under Windows Phone Tango

The handset appears to be more than just a rumor, especially now that it started receiving the necessary certifications around the world. 

The new device was spotted through a certification forum in Indonesia, where is appeared with support for GSM 900/1800 and WCDMA 2100 bands, as well as with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity capabilities. 

Running under Tango, the handset is expected to become official with 256 MB of RAM, and with a 5 megapixel photo snapper on the back. 

When made available for purchase, the new device should sport a very low price tag, most probably set at around $100.

Rumor: Intel Delays Ivy Bridge CPUs from April to June

For months, now, it has been known that Intel would formally launch the next-generation collection of central processing units in April this year, 2012, but this may not happen after all. 

This is one rumor that probably has less truth in it than most others, and we hope for it to be so, otherwise lots of people will find that their waiting has been for naught. 

According to Digitimes, the Santa Clara, California-based company has decided to delay mass availability of the chips. 

While it will still ship a small number of them in April, the majority will only be given a green light at some point in June. 

The motive behind this turn of events is the supply of Sandy Bridge CPU-based notebooks. 

Apparently, inventories of these mobile PCs continue to be high, as the weak economy led to fewer sales. 

As such, since it is obvious enough that no one will buy Sandy Bridge PCs when there are similarly priced Ivy Bridge machines out there, a delay in availability was warranted. 

We are not sure what to make of this and, as we have already said, we hope this isn't more than the byproduct of a misunderstanding. 

Nevertheless, the report says that first-tier notebook vendors have already begun to adjust their projects for Ivy Bridge models. 

Consequently, the PC replacement trend isn't likely to start in earnest before September, when Microsoft launches the Windows 8 operating system. 

On the bright side, since there always seems to be a bright side, makers of USB 3.0 controller chips, like Renesas, Etron and ASMedia, will get to sell their products for a few more months. 

After that, they will have to look to other creative outlets, since the Panther Point chipset finally integrates native support for the SuperSpeed standard. We'll do our best to keep an eye out for updates on this, so stay tuned.

Nokia Lumia 610 Photo & Specs Revealed, Runs WP Tango

Rumors on the Nokia Lumia 610 have come and gone, but nothing has been confirmed yet. Most speculations indicate that this would be the cheapest Windows Phone device available in the market, and the first to come with Microsoft’s Tango OS, the next version of WP.

Shortly after the folks at Pocketnow revealed Nokia’s lineup for the Mobile World Congress 2012, the first details on Lumia 610 specs sheet have started to emerge online.

Tech site Nok4Us claims they received a picture along with some of the specs of Lumia 610 from a Nokia employee who wishes to remain anonymous (obviously).

This is why the following should be taken with a grain of salt, at least until more information surfaces from other sources close to the matter.

Apparently, Nokia plans to make Lumia 610 the cheapest Windows Phone handset available in the market. However, the smartphone will also be the less featured from Lumia series. This Nokia employee claims that Lumia 610 will only pack 256 MB of RAM and a 5-megapixel rear camera with LED flash.

In addition, the smartphone will sport a 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen display, hopefully based on Nokia ClearBlack technology, though it’s less likely to see any premium features in this low-end Windows Phone device.

What’s really interesting is that the source of this information claims that Nokia Lumia 610 will be the Finnish company’s second smartphone to run Windows Phone Tango.

We all thought that this would be Nokia’s first Tango device, but apparently the handset maker will launch more Windows Phone handsets at the Mobile World Congress 2012. 

It remains to be seen if this was rather an unfortunate choice of words, or Nokia is indeed planning more Tango smartphones for the end of the month. 

Aside from Lumia 610, Nokia plans to unveil a global version of Lumia 900, the PureView 808, Asha 202, 203 and 302.

J&W Rolls Out Two Cedar Trail Mini-ITX Boards with USB 3.0 Support

Motherboard makers continue to launch new mini-ITX solutions based on Intel’s Cedar Trail platform, the latest company to do so being J&W, which has just introduced two new such boards designed for HTPC use.

Released into the company’s Minix line, the two J&W offerings, dubbed D2700-DC and D2500-DC, feature the same layout and specs but come configured with different processors.

Just as their names imply, the D2500-DC is built around a dual-core Intel Atom D2500 CPU running at 1.86GHz, while the more powerful Minix D2700-DC comes with a 2.13GHz clocked Atom D2700, also sporting a dual-core design.

No matter the CPU installed, this is cooled by a passive heatsink that covers most of the PCB space available on these mini-ITX boards.

This forced J&W to drop support for DIMM memory and go with the smaller SO-DIMM modules instead, which are usually found inside notebooks.

Two such slots are provided offering users the capability to install up to 8GB of system memory, while the rest of the expansion options include two SATA 3Gbps ports and a PCI Express x1 slot.

No mini-PCIe expansion slots were installed by J&W in its two Minix boards, but they do feature USB 3.0 support thanks to the inclusion of a Renesas controller, according to Fudzilla.

This third-party controller is connected to a pair of USB 3.0 ports placed in the back of the board, together with four regular USB 2.0 connectors, dual PS/2 ports, dual Gigabit LAN and 5.1 audio.

D-Sub and HDMI video outputs are also available together with a DC power input that can be used in order to power the system via an external AC/DC adapter.

No information regarding the price or the launch date of the J&W Minix D2700-DC and D2500-DC motherboards has been provided.

CyanogenMod 9 with Cornerstone and True Tablet Multitasking

CyanogenMod 9, the popular software that many Android users choose to replace their stock Android OS with, might soon arrive on devices with new multitasking capabilities than before. 

The CyanogenMod team has learned about Cornerstone, software coming from Onskreen and which enables users to enjoy more of their Android device, provided that it sports a larger touchscreen display.

Through it, users could interact with a multitude of applications at the same time, thus enjoying the true multitasking features that Android was supposed to include.

“Tablets with Cornerstone enable true multi-tasking, utilizing the screen real estate to let users choose which applications are open and active at any time,” Onskreen explains

CyanogenMod believes that the technology can be easily included in their software, especially since it is open source. 

In a recent post on Google+, CyanogenMod has confirmed that the team is considering adding this capability to the upcoming CM9 release, which is based on the new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich platform. 

“Well, it’s pretty impressive, and easy to apply to our sources. We will probably include this into CM9. It needs some polish, but the concept is just great,” CyanogenMod noted. 

However, this won’t be one of the dominant features in CM9, especially since it is only an experimental application. 

“We should clarify, this is experimental, and not guaranteed to be mainlined into CM. If it is done, it needs to be done right and not break apps all over the market or be a nightmare to upkeep down the line,” CyanogenMod continued. 

One way or the other, it appears that the owners of Android-powered tablet PCs might soon be able to enjoy more features on their devices when running one of the available CM9-based ROMs

Of course, these ROMs are not official software and their installation on a devices requires rooting – which voids warranty -, but the features that they can deliver are certainly highly appealing to all users.

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