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Feb 17, 2012

Photos and Details of Motorola ATRIX 3 Emerge

Mobile phone maker Motorola is gearing up for the release of a new high-end smartphone running under Google’s Android operating system and included in the ATRIX family. 

We’re referring here to the Motorola ATRIX 3 smartphone, which made it online in a set of images over at Blog of Mobile

The handset appears to resemble a lot the latest Nexus smartphones out there, though it comes from Motorola, and not Samsung. 

The outer design also borrows some of the lines that ATRIX 2 owners enjoy on their devices, which should confirm that it will be included in the ATRIX family of devices. 

In addition to these images, a series of details on the phone’s hardware also made it online, unveiling the fact that it will be one of the handsets set to hit shelves with a quad-core nVidia Tegra 3 SoC inside. 

The first quad-core smartphones packing Nvidia’s application processor will become official before the end of this month at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. 

For the time being, however, no info that Motorola might aim at bringing the ATRIX 3 to the event has emerged. 

In addition to the powerful application processor, the new mobile phone is also said to arrive on shelves with a 4.3-inch HD display that can deliver a 720 x 1280 pixels resolution. 

The specs list of this device is also rumored to include 2GB of RAM and a 10MP camera on the back. It should arrive on shelves with a 3,300mAh battery (though this sounds a bit too god to be true). 

The upcoming mobile phone runs under Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. What has not been mentioned so far is whether it would include Motorola’s own user interface on top of ICS. 

One way or the other, it should not be too long before Motorola makes the new phone official, so stay tuned for more on the matter.

NZXT Builds Switch 810 Hybrid PC Case for Hardcore Buyers

There is a new high-end case for sale, one that has a fair chance of overshadowing most others, even rival high-end ones, through its price alone if nothing else.

The NZXT Switch 810 is definitely not the sort of personal computing product that more than a handful of people in the whole world will afford.

After all, there aren't many who would spend $169.99, or 129.20 Euro, on just the case of a desktop PC, no matter how fancy.

Nevertheless, that is exactly what the NZXT Switch 810 is listed for on Newegg and Amazon (admittedly, the latter offers it for slightly less).

That amount of cash will net buyers a large tower case with enough room on the inside for most motherboards and CPUs.

Likewise, it is possible to install even the biggest CPU coolers, thanks to a large cutout on the motherboard tray that lets such things be installed without removing the platform.

Moving on, up to seven HDDs or SSDs can be held by the internal HDD pull-out cages.

Furthermore, the various 5.25-inch and 2.5-inch drive bays permit tool-free installation of storage devices.

"Since its debut in January, Switch 810 has received a windfall of overwhelmingly positive feedback and awards from the enthusiast community" said Johnny Hou, founder of NZXT. 

"We are confident that Switch 810 will become a mainstay in the DIY realm as the most feature-rich, innovative, and value-packed option on the market."

One of the so-called “value” options is the support for high-tier water cooling: 90 mm of internal top space with top 360/420 mm and bottom 140/240 mm radiator support.

Other assets are nine expansion slots, an acrylic side window, cable management via ten cutout holes, dual high-speed USB 3.0 and a hard drive dock along with a SD card reader, plus up to ten 120/140mm fans.

Samsung SGH-T999, SGH-I535 and SPH-L710 Receive Wi-Fi Certification

Even though Samsung confirmed it won’t launch the next-generation Galaxy S III during this year’s Mobile World Congress, which is set to kick off in about ten days, the handset maker will still unveil several handsets.

Rumor has it that Samsung Galaxy S III will pack a dual core processor clocked at 1.8 GHz, which might be the reason the Korean company decided to delay the official announcement.

It’s almost certain that HTC and Huawei will announce their first quad-core smartphone on February 26, at the Mobile World Congress. It’s unclear if Samsung changed its mind and decided to switch to a quad-core chipset as well.

Competition on the smartphone market is fierce and whoever manages to release a quad-core smartphone first will probably have the upper hand over its rivals. 

Anyway, three new mysterious handsets have just been spotted by Japanese tech site Ameblo. Samsung SGH-T999, SGH-I535 and SPH-L710 have just gotten their Wi-Fi certification, though few things are known about their specs sheet.

No clue whether or not these phones will be unveiled at the end of the month, during MWC 201, but they’re likely to make their debut in the United States rather than hitting shelves in Europe.

Samsung SGH-T999 should designate a high-end smartphone, while the letter “T” probably comes from the fact that the device is headed to T-Mobile USA. Rumors claim SGH-T999 comes with an HD capacitive touchscreen display that supports 1280 x 720 pixels resolution.

The second device leaked is dubbed SGH-I535 and is probably a going to be offered by Verizon Wireless. This one comes with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on board.

Last but not least, Samsung SPH-L710 is likely to make its debut at Sprint, though there are no other details regarding its specs. Hopefully, more information on these trio of Samsung smartphones will be revealed by the time MWC 2012 kicks-off.

These Macs Don’t Support OS X Mountain Lion

For those of you planning to get your Mountain Lion on this summer, you’d better make sure you have the brawn to meet the OS’s system requirements.

Although many would have assumed Mountain Lion was going to work on all the machines currently supported by OS X 10.7 (Lion), the system requirements listed by Apple reveal that some Macintosh models, including notebooks, won’t be able to handle the new cat.

Specifically, any Intel Core 2 Duo MacBook shipped between late 2007 and late 2008 (Model Numbers: MB061*/B, MB062*/B, MB063*/B, MB402*/A MB403*/A MB404*/A, MB402*/B) will not run OS X 10.8.

The Mid-2007 Mac mini (Model Numbers: MB138*/A, MB139*/A) is also a no-no, as is the late 2006 polycarbonate iMac (Model Number: MA710xx/A). Finally, OS X 10.8 also doesn’t install on the original MacBook Air (Model Number: MB003LL/A).

(Models numbers via Cultofmac)

Renesas Unveils MP5232 Smartphone Platform with 1.5GHz Dual-Core CPU and LTE

Renesas’ latest MP5232 single-chip smartphone platform is aimed at the US$150-300 range device market. Given the low cost of the chip, the MP5232 platform is expected to accelerate the production of LTE/HSPA+ capable smartphones, tablets and mobile Internet devices.

The MP5232 platform comes with a dual-core processor clocked at 1.5 GHz, which is packed with the latest graphics, video and imaging capabilities. 

In addition, the platform supports differentiating features such as multi-camera and multi-display support, along with full HD (1080p) multi-format video encoding/decoding, stereoscopic 3D (S3D) video and advanced graphics.

According to Renesas, the first samples of the MP5232 platform should be available by the end of this quarter in the form of reference designs together with supporting documentation, software and hardware. No price has been given for the moment, but this will be available on request.

New 4.0.2.A.0.69 Firmware for Xperia arc and Xperia arc S Get Certified

Sony Ericsson Xperia arc and Xperia arc S are about to receive a firmware update. For the time being, the firmware has been certified by the PTCRB.

The folks at XperiaBlog have just spotted the firmware updates, but there is no clue on whether or not these will make any substantial changes to the phones’ software.

The new firmware version number 4.0.2.A.0.69 that has just been certified by the PTCRB will probably bring several bug fixes to both Xperia arc and Xperia arc S, but no other details are available for the moment.

In the same news, PTCRB also certified a new firmware update for the upcoming Sony Xperia S. It will be interesting to see if the smartphone will make its debut on the market with the new 6.0.A.3.62 firmware pre-installed or users will have to manually update their devices.

Windows 8 Ultrabooks Considering Touchscreens, Convertible Designs

Ultrabooks started off as the same old type of notebook everyone is familiar with, only much thinner, but their makers are now considering new design elements.

People may or may not remember the IdeaPad Yoga, the Lenovo ultrabook that is not really an ultrabook, not in the strictest sense anyway.

Rather that sticking to the standard design concept, the item added a special hinge design which lets its display open at 360-degrees.

That way, it practically switches between a laptop and tablet form factor at will.

It is now reported that there are more and more companies willing, even eager, to integrate this sort of capability into their products.

That is not to say that all of them will have 360-degree hinges, but that there will be some sort of means for changing between laptop and slate roles (rotating/folding screens, sliders, etc.).

In addition to the craving for experimentation, there is another, more important factor behind this newest trend: the operating system.

Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system is just about ready to rumble so, naturally, Ultrabooks will use it. One of the key improvements in this OS is the better support for touch input.

As such, companies on the same page as Lenovo want to give owners a reason and means to use that capability.

Granted, they do risk blurring the line between slates and laptops a bit too severely, since there is a point past which a mobile PC can no longer be called an ultrabook, notebook or netbook, but a convertible tablet.

The source of this latest rumor is said to be the community of notebook hinge makers, who imply that Lenovo, ASUS and Acer all want more transforming ultrabooks out.

One thing is for sure: this trend will make life easy for manufacturers of touch panels as well, not just hinge producers.

New Official Android 4.0.3 ROM for Samsung Galaxy S II Leaks

About two weeks ago an official Ice Cream Sandwich ROM for the Galaxy S II leaked online, but it wasn’t that stable and the power draining was outrageous.

Today, a fresh new ROM for Samsung’s popular Galaxy S II smartphone has just popped-up at SamMobile. I9100XXLPH has an updated build date attached on it, February 9. 

This is an Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich ROM for Galaxy S II, which included Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface.

The new ROM has been improved and seems to be the last testing release before the official launch of the final version, which is expected to go live on March 1.

Apparently, the battery lasts much longer now, which means energy management has been optimized. Unfortunately, the touch features are a bit worse than on previous version of the ROM.

However, the general conclusion seems to be that this is definitely better than LPB. For more details on how to download and install this ROM head over to SamMobile’s site.

Experts: Anonymous Attacks on Root DNS Servers Not Plausible

Anonymous revealed its plans to go after the 13 root DNS servers of the Internet, on March 31, with the purpose of causing a global blackout. However, experts say that this is not so easy to achieve and provide several arguments to sustain their beliefs.

Errata Security’s Robert David Graham provides 6 sound reasons why the attack is unlikely to be successful and his claims are backed up by other veterans of the industry such as Mikko Hypponen and Dan Kaminsky.

What does Anonymous plan to do?

They want to launch a Reflective DNS Amplification DDOS attack on the 13 root servers of the Internet, hosted by organizations such as the Pentagon, ICANN, NASA, US Army Research Lab, ISC, Verisign, University of Maryland, and others.

In theory, these servers basically translate each websites name into the IP addresses assigned to it. For instance, when a user writes www.google.com in the browser’s address bar, the DNS servers translate this into (or whichever is the IP address of nearest server).

The global blackout comes from the fact that if these servers are down, names are not resolved and we won’t be able to access a large number of important websites.

What do experts say?

While in theory it’s true that each time we type in a website’s name in the browser’s address bar the DNS servers are queried, in reality, the requests go through our Internet service provider (ISP) which uses a technology known as caching. 

This means that the DNS servers are not sent requests each time when we want to access a site. Instead, the ISP remembers the response from the first lookup and stores it for a period of a few days. 

Even if Anonymous could take down the servers, they would have to keep them down for several days until anyone would notice.

Moreover, the administrators of these servers are treating DDOS attacks seriously and they’re always prepared to respond to attacks. By determining the origin of the large number of packets, they can easily block them.

Anycasting, which means that not only one DNS server has a certain IP address, also prevents these attacks. If 20 machines spread throughout the globe have the same IP, the “shock” is absorbed better.

On the other hand, root DNS servers are designed for millions of requests, not to mention that they’re aided by gTLD servers that take upon themselves part of the workload.

Finally, experts claim that a successful DDOS attack on the root DNS serves is possible, but it’s not only hard to achieve, but the results wouldn’t be felt by regular Internet users.

Also, F-Secure’s Mikko Hypponen pointed to a 2007 article from ICANN in which it’s clearly stated that in reality there are not only 13 root servers as the myth says, but over 130 physical locations spread out in many countries of the world.

Three New AMD FX CPUs Will Arrive This Month or the Next

Even though people are looking forward towards the second generation AMD FX chips, assuming they aren't too distracted by the delayed (or not) Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs, there are some other units on the way. 

There are three new central processing units from Advanced Micro Devices closing in on retail stores, according to a leaked slide

Before anyone gets too excited, though, the units in question aren't exactly revolutionary, being part of the first-generation instead of the upcoming second one. 

In other words, before the Sunnyvale, California-based CPU, GPU and APU maker gets around to launching the Vishera FX models, at least three more Zambezi will appear. 

They are called FX-8140, FX-6120 and FX-4150 and will probably be launched in March, 2012 (next month). 

The prices, unfortunately, have not been disclosed, but the specs, at least, managed to surface. Well, the most relevant of them anyway. 

FX-4150, as the weakest of the trio, features four cores, each working at a base frequency of 3.9 GHz and a Turbo Core rating of 4.1 GHz. 

The second unit, FX-6120, can reach the same Turbo Core level as above, even though its six cores function at 3.5 GHz normally. 

As for the FX-8140, it is a strong, 8-core central processor (4 modules) whose base frequency is of 3.2 GHz and whose maximum Turbo Core performance is of, again, 4.1 GHz. 

All three newcomers draw 95W of energy, though it may be possible for the 8-core to come in a 125W variant as well. 

If anything, this shows that AMD is not about to back out of the processor segment, even if it has stopped bothering with trying to outmatch Intel on the high-end front. 

Finally, the FX-4150 boasts 12 MB of cache memory, while the FX-6120 comes with 14 MB and the FX-8140 has 16 MB.

10.1-Inch ASUS Tablet TF300T Exposed and Detailed

There will soon be a new ASUS tablet in town, one that will boast NVIDIA's latest ARM-based Tegra mobile platform.

ASUS has a certain tablet known as TF300T in the works, one whose existence has been revealed for weeks, but whose specs have been kept under wraps thus far.

Fortunately, even if ASUS probably did not intend for info on it to leak out just yet, a report emerged anyway.

Polish blog TabletOWO was able to somehow acquire the official comparison sheet of all tablets from the Transformer series.

Needless to say, the TF300T was included in that table, hence the exposure of the essential components and software.

The tablet runs Google's Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, something that was easy enough to guess even without leaks.

Meanwhile, the screen size is of 10.1 inches (the panel is an IPS LCD).

Furthermore, in order to enable the highest processing and video performance, ASUS chose NVIDIA's Tegra 3 SoC, otherwise known as Kal-El.

As for the rest, users will find 1GB of RAM (random access memory) and an 8-megapixel rear camera, plus a 1.2-megapixel camera on the front.

Finally, there are 16GB of built-in flash memory, but ASUS will probably provide a 32GB version as well. Either way, an SD card slot will make it easy to expand that capacity.

The company may or may not make the official introduction of this consumer electronics device at the upcoming Mobile World Congress (MWC 2012).

We should still say, though, that the sheet could be fake or wrong on some points: the TF700T, a different Transformer, is listed with Qualcomm's 1.5 GHz APQ8060A Snapdragon instead of the Tegra 3 mentioned at CES. ASUS may have chosen to swap SoCs, but there are no guarantees.

For those unaware, MWC 2012 will be held in Barcelona, Spain, between February 27 and March 1.

More Info on HTC One X (Endeavor) Emerges

In two weeks’ time, HTC One X, supposedly the first quad-core smartphone from Taiwanese mobile phone maker HTC Corporation, will make an official debut at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. 

The handset has previously made it to the headlines as the HTC Edge and Endeavor, but should hit the shelves as part of HTC’s new “One” family.

The guys over at MoDaCo have just unveiled some more info on the phone’s specs, such as the fact that it would sport an nVidia AP33 1.5GHz / XMM6260 processor, complemented by 1GB of RAM. 

It will also include a 4.7" Super LCD HD 720p screen, as well as 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi (2.4GHz/5GHz), Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, NFC, motion sensor, digital compass, proximity sensor, light sensor, FM radio, and HSDPA 3GPP Release 7 (21Mbps) and HSUPA 5.76Mbps. 

The phone packs an 8 Megapixel camera on the back, with LED flash and 1080P recording, along with a 1.3MP front facing camera. The handset runs under Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3, but should taste 4.0.5 before launch.

Samsung Galaxy S II v2 Emerges Online

A new handset in Samsung’s Galaxy family has just made an appearance online, in the form of the Android-based Galaxy S II v2. 

The new Galaxy S II v2 appears to sport exactly the same specs as the original device, except for the fact that it has a Texas Instruments application processor inside. The CPU is a dual-core one and runs at 1.2GHz, the same as the original. 

The Galaxy S II v2 has made an appearance on the German retailer’s website, where it is listed with the price tag of €469.90 ($616) attached to it. 

The mobile phone also comes with a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus touchscreen display that can deliver a 480 x 800-pixels resolution.

Moreover, the Android 2.3 Gingerbread-powered handset arrives on shelves with 16GB of internal memory, along with a microSD memory card slot with support for up to 32GB of additional storage space. 

On the back, the new Galaxy S II v2 packs an 8-megapixel photo snapper, with support for HD video recording. There is also a front camera, great for making video calls. 

The specifications list of this mobile phone also includes support for HSPA+ connectivity, along with WLAN 802.11n and Bluetooth 3.0. Its users will also enjoy a built-in GPS receiver, as well as a thin profile. 

The Samsung Galaxy S II v2 is currently listed as available for pre-order at said German online retailer, cyberport. Those users who will reserve one unit will receive it starting with March 15th. 

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics has been long rumored to plan the release of a successor for its highly popular Galaxy S II, yet the new v2 device cannot be considered such a phone. 

Previous rumors indicated that the vendor might have been working on the release of a Galaxy S II Plus device to continue the line, as well as a Galaxy S III, most probably Samsung's next Android flagship.

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