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Mar 1, 2012

MWC 2012: Fujitsu Arrows F-07D “World’s Slimmest Smartphone” Hands-On

Fujitsu announced world’s slimmest smartphone back in November, shortly after Motorola RAZR was introduced on the market.

At only 6.7mm thickness, Fujitsu Arrows F-07D is 0.4mm thinner than Motorola RAZR. The smartphone measures 127 x 64mm and weighs only 105g (battery included).

Showcased at this year’s Mobile World Congress 2012 exhibition, the smartphone packs a highly-resistant 4.0-inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display which features Corning Gorilla Glass coating.

The back cover is also coated with peel-resistant and scratch-resistant “ultra tough guard,” which makes this smartphone almost unbreakable.

On the inside, the phone is equipped with a 1.4 GHz single-core processor and packs 2GB of ROM, 1GB of RAM, as well as microSD card slot for memory expansion. There’s also a 5-megapixel camera on the back and a 1400 mAh battery.

Intel Confirms 22nm Ivy Bridge CPU Specifications

In a surprising turn of events, Intel decided to unveil the specifications of its upcoming third generation Core processors based on the 22nm Ivy Bridge architecture almost two months before the official launch date of these CPUs.

The specs of the Ivy Bridge processors were listed inside an Intel document that was spotted by SweClockers and published online a short while ago.

This includes details regarding the desktop Core i7, Core i5 processor models, notebook Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 chips, as well as information regarding the corresponding ULV variants of the latter.

As you can see from the tables attached to this article, Intel covered most of the specs of its upcoming CPUs, which are basically slightly higher clocked versions of the current Sandy Bridge processors, but featuring lower TDPs.

This was possible since Ivy Bridge SKUs are built using Intel’s new 22nm Tri-Gate fabrication process.

By using this advanced manufacturing technology, Intel claims that it can build chips that require as much as 50% less voltage to operate as the same frequencies as their 32nm predecessors, thus reducing the overall power consumption of these CPUs.

Together with the increased operating speeds, Intel’s new Ivy Bridge processors also include a more powerful on-board GPU.

This is derived from the graphics core introduced by Intel with its 2011 Sandy Bridge processors, but the top part (dubbed Intel HD 4000) adds 30% more EUs while also supporting DirectX 11.

Another important addition brought to mobile Ivy Bridge processors in the U-series is the inclusion of a configurable TDP that allows the chip to greatly surpass its TDP when extra cooling is used (i.e. when a notebook stand is used).

According to some previous report, published by the same publication, Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors will be released on April 29, with retail availability expected in the weeks following this launch.

Nvidia’s Upcoming GTX 560 SE Goes Head to Head with AMD’s Radeon HD 7770

Expected to arrive in just a few weeks from now, Nvidia’s GTX 560 SE graphics card was just benchmarked by a Chinese publication who wanted to see how this upcoming creation will stack up against AMD’s recent Radeon HD 7770.

As many of you already know, the GTX 560 SE is based on the same GF114 core as the other graphics cards in the GTX 500-series product family.

However, the GTX 560 SE is built using a slower version of this GPU that comes with two of its SMs disabled, to pack only 288 stream processors and 48 texture units versus 384 SPs and 64 TMUs in the GTX 560 Ti.

The memory interface was also downgraded to a 192-bit wide bus which can access 1GB of GDDR5 video buffer, while the ROP units count was reduced from 32 to 24.

As far as the operating frequencies of the GTX 560 SE are concerned, HKEPC reports that Nvidia’s new creation was designed to run at 736MHz, while the GDDR5 memory is clocked at 957MHz (3828MHz data rate).

The same publication also conducted a series of benchmarks on Nvidia’s upcoming GPU and found that in most tests this delivers about the same performance as AMD’s recently unveiled Radeon HD 7770 while requiring up to 48% more power since it’s fabricated using the older 40nm production process.

Price wise, the GeForce GTX 560 SE is expected to hit retail for about $150 US (roughly 112 EUR), while availability is scheduled for the coming weeks.

According to some reports, the GeForce GTX 560 SE should be the last Nvidia graphics card based on the Fermi architecture to be launched before the introduction of the next-gen series of 28nm GeForce GPUs code named “Kepler”.

MWC 2012: Fujitsu Arrows X LTE Hands-On

Japanese handset maker Fujitsu is one of the few that won’t be entering the European smartphone market this year. 

Even though the company showcased most of its lineup of waterproof smartphones and tablets at this year’s Mobile World Congress 2012, these are all targeting the Japanese market.

For example, this Fujitsu Arrows X LTE, which is sleek Android 2.3 Gingerbread device, is now available for purchase in Japan via NTT Docomo carrier.

The smartphone is only 9.9mm thin and sports LTE support along with a 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP4330 processor and 4.3-inch HD (720 x 1280 pixels resolution) capacitive touchscreen display.

The smartphone packs 8GB of ROM, 1GB of RAM, microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB), 13.1-megapixel rear camera, as well as 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video-calls.

Asus Transformer Pad TF300T Nvidia Tegra 3 Tablet Hits the FCC

Unveiled just a few days earlier in Barcelona, Spain during the 2012 edition of the Mobile World Congress, Asus’ Transformer Pad TF300T Android tablet has just visited the FCC offices in order to get approval for its WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities.

According to Wireless Goodness, the 300 Series Transformer Pad passed the FCC tests with flying colors, which means that Asus is one step closer to releasing this slate in the US.

Sadly, a definitive release date hasn’t been provided, but if we were to guess we would say that an early Q2 launch seems highly plausible.

No other information accompanied Asus’ FCC submission, but we already know most of the Transformer Pad 300 Series specs from the company's MWC 2012 conference that we attended earlier this week.

For those of you in need of a quick reminder, the 300 Series tablet comes as a cheaper alternative to the Transformer Prime, while featuring most of the specs of its older brother including its quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC.

In order to keep costs down, Asus has however dropped the aluminum chassis of the Prime with a similarly styled plastic body.

This is available in three colors, red, white, navy, and has the advantage of not only decreasing the weight and thickness of the tablet, but it should also help improve its WiFi reception.

When it reaches retail, the Transformer Pad 300 Series will also be available with 4G/LTE support thanks to the addition of a discrete LTE baseband.

The rest of the specs list of this 10.1-inch tablet includes a 1280x800 resolution IPS screen (the Prime is IPS+), 1GB of RAM memory, 16GB of internal storage, dual-webcams (1.2 MP front, 8MP at the back), and Bluetooth 3.0 support.

In the US, pricing for the Transformer Pad 300 Series is set at $399 (about 299 EUR), which makes it significantly cheaper than the $499 Transformer Prime.

ADATA's 8GB CL9 1600 DDR3 Quad-Channel Gaming Memory

After releasing new solid state drives and USB 3.0 hard drive units, ADATA is now offering a new dynamic random access memory (DRAM) kit as well. 

ADATA has issued an official press release in which it talks about the XPG Gaming V 2.0 1600G 8 GB single and 16GB dual kit memory modules. 

Like so many other products  of their kin, these two have names that do a good job of exposing their primary capabilities. 

The base clock frequency is of 1,600 MHz, which should be more than enough for any game, especially on new Intel X79 motherboards. The latency of 9-11-9-27 is rather good too. 

The products are meant for gamers who want a decent but not absurd amount of RAM gigabytes, although it is perfectly possible for huge capacities to be implemented as well. 

After all, the modules have support for quad-channel configurations, putting the upper limit at 64 GB. 

Furthermore, the ADATA XPG Gaming V 2.0 1600G come with special heatsinks and even use high quality, double copper 8-layer circuit boards. 

“In recent years, gamers and overclockers care about more than just the pursuit of extreme performance. Energy consumption has become a major consideration when purchasing electronic,” said ADATA's Product Planning Department DRAM Project Manager, Alex Wu. 

“The new XPG Gaming V 2.0 1600G 8 GB single and 16GB dual kit memory modules use voltage of only 1.35V, with 9-11-9-27 timing, and are compatible with the latest X79 four-channel platform. They provide gamers with the opportunity to significantly upgrade their RAM all the way to 64 GB, in order to experience faster operation and performance of desktop computers.” 

It is obvious that ADATA wants these things to be bought by people eager to acquire a system based on the Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs. Unfortunately, with said central processors scattered all over the place, chronology-wise, it may find the popularity of the memory lacking for a few months still.

How to Install Windows 8 Consumer Preview from USB Drives

The new Windows 8 Consumer Preview can be easily downloaded and installed on a variety of supported devices, including desktop PCs that currently run under Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 Developer Preview. 

There are several ways to get the new Windows 8 Consumer Preview up and running on your personal computer. 

For instance, you can use the Windows 8 Consumer Preview setup tool offered by Microsoft to put things in motion. 

You’ll simply need to download it (you’ll find it via the link below), hit run and let it do its work. It will check to see whether the PC can run the new OS flavor, and will also check the compatibility with the already installed applications. 

There is also the option to download the ISO file that Microsoft released yesterday (either the x86 or x64 version) and burn it on a DVD to perform the installation. 

You can use the Windows Disc Image Burner for that if you run Windows 7 on your PC, or a third-party program for creating a bootable Windows 8 Consumer Preview disk in Windows XP or Windows Vista. 

Additionally, the ISO file can be used for creating a bootable USB drive from which you can then install the new Windows 8 Consumer Preview. 

For that, you will need to download this Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool (which is, in fact, compatible with Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista, or Windows 7, both 32-bit and 64-bit). 

The aforementioned Windows 8 Consumer Preview Setup will also offer you the possibility to create a DVD or USB flash drive from an ISO file.

As soon as the Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool has been installed on your PC, things are pretty straightforward. You will have to select the ISO file from where it has been downloaded on your hard drive, and let the tool put in on the USB drive.

Then, navigate to the flash drive’s root folder, and hit the setup.exe file there, which will kick off the installation process. 

During the setup, Windows 8 Consumer Preview will check to see whether the PC can support the new OS, and will allow you to opt for keeping your settings, personal files, and the like. You will also need to enter the product key that Microsoft is offering for free. 

In case there are applications that are not compatible with the new platform, you will be offered the possibility to uninstall them during the setup process. 

Make sure that you make all the necessary preparations before hitting the install button. After that, you won’t be able to use your PC. Have a look at the screenshot gallery below to learn more on the matter. 

(the aforementioned Setup tool is included as a separate download link there)


Option Releases the Smallest 3G Wi-Fi Hotspot

Option's XYFI is a wireless hotpot that combines regular WiFi connectivity with 3G broadband support.

It uses the USB interface to draw power and can maintain connection with up to eight devices at the same time.

As such, in addition to connecting their own wireless devices, users can share the broadband with other people whenever they wish and wherever they happen to be.

"XYFI's easy 'out-of-box' set-up brings instant connectivity to everyone, without the need to install any software or drivers," said Jerome Nadel, chief experience officer at Option.

“It can be powered in many different ways, making it ideal for use on the move anywhere that a user has 3G or WiFi coverage, a USB slot and power. The intuitive web pages are optimized for use on mobile devices and guarantee users the best possible connectivity experience."

The XYFI will work no matter what USB power source it is plugged into: wall and car plugs, PCs, extended battery packs, etc. No price mentioned though.

Download the First Windows 8 Theme: Nightfall and Starlight

Only a few hours after making the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 available for download, Microsoft also released the first theme designed specifically for it, Nightfall and Starlight. 

The new theme will offer you the possibility to enjoy distant galaxies and serene seas straight on the desktop of your Windows 8 computer. 

Moreover, if you have two monitors, you will enjoy a panoramic view of these stunning, wide-angle images. All that is required is that both monitors feature the same size and resolution.

“Designed to extend seamlessly across dual monitors with identical resolution settings, this dramatic free theme for your Windows 8 Consumer Preview desktop also shifts your glass color to match each stunning, wide-angle image,” Microsoft notes. 

“Explore distant galaxies, verdant meadows, steep mountains, and serene seas without ever leaving your chair.”

To enjoy the high-resolution imagery included in this theme you will also have to have Windows 8 Consumer Preview or Windows Developer Preview installed on your desktop PC. 

Provided that you have a dual-monitor setup with both monitors of the same size and featuring the same resolution, these panoramic images will automatically extend across both displays. 

However, if these displays are different, a different image will appear on each of them. Have a look at the screenshots embedded below to learn more on this. When viewed on single monitors, only the center part of these panoramic images will appear.

With the release of the new theme, Microsoft is expanding the personalization features that those who installed Windows 8 Consumer Preview or Developer Preview on their devices can benefit from. 

The latest Windows 8 release did include a series of high-resolution wallpapers, along with the option to change the color of Start screen’s background, but the theme brings more into the mix. Themes previously released for the Windows 7 platform can be installed on Windows 8 Consumer Preview as well. 

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