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Mar 13, 2012

Intel’s New Xeon E5-2600 CPUs Power Boston’s 64 Core 2U Quatro Server

Now that Intel’s Xeon E5-series processors are finally out, Boston, one of the largest resellers and partners of SuperMicro, has announced the new Quattro 1264-T server which can pack no less than 64 processor cores inside its 2U chassis.

In order to build such a high-density solution, Boston went with SuperMicro’s 2U Twin^2 barebone server.

This integrates four dual-socket motherboards inside a compact 2U chassis which, when combined with Intel’s new octo-core Xeon E5-2600 server processors can deliver a total of 64 CPU cores. 

Each one of the four motherboards installed is equipped with eight DIMM sockets (four for each CPU) and, according to SuperMicro, can support as much as 256GB of memory when populated with 32GB DDR3 modules.

Boston enables its customers to pair these servers with various Intel Xeon E5 processors, topping out with the eight-core E5-2670 working at 2.6GHz (3.3GHz in Turbo mode).

Storage wise, the Quattro 1264-T server can be configured to feature as much as 12 Toshiba –built 2TB 7200rpm SAS hard drives, while for expansion purposes the servers are equipped with four PCI Express x16 Gen 3.0 slots. 

For networking duties, Boston went with four of Intel’s i350 controller, which provide two Gigabit Ethernet ports each, as well as with quad Mellanox Connect-X3 FDR Infiniband adapters, according to AnandTech.

All these are powered by dual redundant PSUs that can deliver a maximum of 1650 Watts. The operating system of choice is Windows 2008 R2 Standard x64.

The pricing of the Quattro 1264-T 2U server starts at approximately £20,000 (about $31,363). So far, Dell is the only other company that announced a similar quad-motherboard solution, the PowerEdge C6220, but no pricing info has been released yet.

Lenovo IdeaTab S2109 Tablet with iPad-Like 4:3 Aspect Ratio Display Visits the FCC

Lenovo has already showcased a wide number of Android-powered smartphones and tablets this year, but it now seems like the company has yet another Google-powered slate in the works which is dubbed the IdeaTab S2109.

The device made its appearance in FCC’s product database, where it was spotted by engadget earlier today.

So far, little is known about this illusive IdeaTab tablet, but engadget’s sources suggest that this will pack a 9.7-inches IPS display with a 4:3 aspect ratio (supplied by Chi Mei), a configuration similar to that utilized by Apple for its first- and second-gen iPad slates.

The form factor of the tablet seems to confirm these claims, so it will be interesting to see whether the 4:3 display will be a hit among Android tablet users.

As far as the other specs of the Lenovo IdeaTab S2109 are concerned, the device will pack WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and FM Radio thanks to the inclusion of a TI WiLink WL1281 wireless module which could also be joined by a TI OMAP processor.

The above diagram also suggests that the slate has a microSD card slot, while the operating system of choice is rumored to be Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich.

No detail regarding pricing is available at this time, but FCC’s documents reveal that the slate will become available in Germany, Canada, US, India, Russia, Turkmenistan, Mexico, Chile, Japan and China.

When it goes on sale, the table will most likely be part of the Lenovo IdeaTab S2 product family. 

Introduced in January of this year, the IdeaTab S2 range also includes a series of 5-, 7-, and 10-inch tablet models running the Android 4.0 operating system and powered by Qualcomm processors.

Linux Kernel 3.2.11 Is Available for Download

Just one day after the release of Linux kernel 3.2.10 on March 12th, Greg Kroah-Hartman announced yet another maintenance release of the Linux 3.2 kernel series, this time fixing a single issue. 

Linux kernel 3.2.11 is here to fix a single build error in the Linux kernel 3.2.10 release, courtesy of Ben Guthro.

"I'm announcing the release of the 3.2.11 kernel. It fixes a single build error in the 3.2.10 release. If you had no problems building that release, no need for you to update to this one."

"Many thanks to Ben Guthro for pointing out the problem with 3.2.10, it wasn't triggered by my test .configurations here." - said Greg Kroah-Hartman in the email announcement.

It is up to you if you want to upgrade to this release or not!

Download Linux kernel 3.2.11 right now here (linux-3.2.11.tar.bz2).

RIM Launches BlackBerry Mini Keyboard for the BlackBerry PlayBook

Today, Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion made a mini keyboard for the BlackBerry PlayBook official, so that its users could benefit from more input capabilities than before. 

The new BlackBerry Mini Keyboard comes with a convertible case and can provide users with a great productivity boost. It is available now for $119.99 (shipping will start on March 23rd, RIM notes).

The keyboard will enable users to take advantage of additional space on the tablet’s screen, while also functioning as a stand for the BlackBerry PlayBook.
The BlackBerry Mini Keyboard can enable  multiple uses (via the Citrix Receiver for BlackBerry PlayBook tablet), and those who would like to learn more on it and on what it has to offer should have a look at the video embedded below. 

The keyboard comes with a touchpad for users to easily navigate on their tablet PC. When tapping the touchpad, users simulate a mouse click. Moreover, the device offers support for multi-touch, and tapping it with two fingers at the same time will simulate a right click. 

Moreover, users can “scroll vertically using a two-finger up or down swipe.” With support for these gestures, people can easily enjoy increased usability on the mobile device.

Additionally, the BlackBerry Mini Keyboard arrives with increased portability, so that users could enjoy the convenience of a mobile computer solution that is easy to carry around. 

“The portability of the BlackBerry Mini Keyboard with the convertible case provides a mobile computer solution that’s easy to take with you. An added benefit is the screen real estate available to you when using the BlackBerry Mini Keyboard with your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet,” RIM notes. 

The BlackBerry Mini Keyboard will connect with the tablet via Bluetooth, and sports 128-bit encryption so that the connection remains secure. 

The keyboard can be charged through the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet charger, which eliminates the need for more wires. The best part, however, is that the keyboard can offer up to 30 days of battery juice, depending on the usage. 

“The BlackBerry Mini Keyboard is now available at ShopBlackBerry.com for select locations worldwide, and for pre-order in Canada exclusively at The Source. Citrix Receiver for BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is available from the BlackBerry App World storefront,” RIM also announced.

Shuttle Readies X50V3 Fanless All-in-One PC with Intel Atom Cedar Trail CPUs

Besides its XPC range of small-form factor desktop systems, Shuttle also builds a series of all-in-one PC solutions based on Intel’s Atom processors, such as the X50V3 Cedar Trail fanless AIO that the company is getting ready to launch. 

The system, which was uncovered by FanlessTech, is built around a 15.6-inch touchscreen with a 1366x768 pixels resolution and weighs just under 3kg (roughly 6.6 pounds).

Its computing power is provided by one of Intel’s new Atom processors based on the Cedarview architecture, the Atom D2700 to be more precise, that packs dual processing cores with Hyper-Threading support working at 2.13GHz.

Since the Shuttle X50V3 is a barebone system, users have to provide their own memory and hard drives, so the AIO comes fitted with two SODIMM DDR3 slots supporting up to 4GB of system RAM and with a single 2.5-inch drive bay for an HDD or SSD.

As far as connectivity is concerned, users get four USB 2.0 ports, a 4-in-1 card reader, Gigabit Ethernet, wireless b/g/n (150Mbps), as well as D-Sub and HDMI video outputs. A 2MP webcam is also provided.

No details regarding the pricing, or the release date, of the Shuttle X50V3 all-in-one are available at this point in time.

As many of you surely know by now, Intel’s Cedar Tail platform comprises the Cedarview processors and the NM10 chipset.

Unlike its processors, the CPUs used by Cedar Trail are built using the 32nm fabrication process and feature a unified architecture that packs the processing cores, memory controller and the GPU on the same die.

The latter is actually based on a PowerVR design and features hardware decoding capabilities for a wide number of HD formats including MPEG2, VC1, AVC, H.264 and Blu-ray 2.0 making it much better suited for playing back HD content.

Enjoy Voice Navigation in Nokia Maps for Android and iOS

Nokia’s renowned Maps service is available for the owners of Android and iOS devices as well, courtesy of an HTML5 flavor that Nokia made available for them last year. 

Until then, Nokia Maps was available exclusively on handsets running under the Symbian platform. Today, it is also loaded on Windows Phone devices. 

However, while Symbian and Windows Phone users can enjoy dedicated applications for Nokia Maps, the HTML5 web version of the Maps will have to do for Android and iOS users.

The web app arrives on these devices with both Mapping and Navigation features, and is now offering voice navigation as well.

To take advantage of the routing capabilities of the application, users will have to accept the sharing of their location with the Nokia Maps. 

“Once you’ve loaded up the Nokia Maps page, your device will ask if it’s OK to access your location. If it’s precise mapping and routing you’re after, then you’ll need to accept this. But don’t worry, this is only used for routing purposes,” a post on Nokia Conversations notes. 

At the top of the page, there is a search bar that enables users to easily find places and addresses. With a couple of clicks, you can have Nokia Maps pointing you to the specific location. 

Those who would like to take advantage of the aforementioned voice navigation capabilities in Nokia Maps, will have to load an audio file that is nearly 2MB large. 

“When you’re ready to start walking, just tap the route icon. Nokia Maps will now ask you if you want to use audio directions for your journey by loading an audio file of nearly 2MB,” the aforementioned post reads. 

Android and iOS owners interested in voice navigation with Nokia’s Map web app should also consider using headsets while walking, so that they don’t miss any instruction. 

“At the moment, the voice navigation only works for journeys where you’re on foot. And to make sure you’re planning a journey that way, the three icons at the top of the page will show you how you’re planning to travel. The image of the person walking is for walking journeys, obviously,” the blog entry explains.

The application also comes with support for driving routes and public transport. Moreover, it offers Map view (default); Satellite view, Public transport view; and Live traffic view.

All of these are available through the default browser on Android and iOS devices. All that users need to do to access them is to head to m.maps.nokia.com on the phone / tablet.

OS 5.1 Unlock Released on Cydia (Untested)

A developer going by the internet handle “zmaster” has rolled out an “ultrasn0w fixer for iOS 5.1” which promises to work around the issues caused by the real ultrasn0w unlocking application.

According to Cydia Help, ultrasn0w fixer for iOS 5.1 is not a public release yet, but interested parties can find it in the developer’s repository.

The tool reportedly supports only 01.59.00, 04.26.08, 05.11.07, 05.13.01, 05.12.01, 06.15.00 basebands.

Users will be required to jailbreak first, and then use the tool to unlock their iPhone for expanded carrier support. The tool can allegedly be used on iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS handsets.

We haven’t tested the app, so make sure you get all the details surrounding this unlock before proceeding with its installation.

Script: The Pacer Edition CMS

The Pacer Edition CMS is the result of years of development from a dedicated team of PHP experts. Beautifully crafted, it surely stands out from other similar solutions when accessing the backend for the first time.

The Pacer Edition isn't the perfect tool for running tens of blogs from the same server as WordPress, it doesn't benefit from thousands of modules like Drupal and it certainly does not have the reputation of Joomla.

Nevertheless, it doesn't lack one of the features found in those CMSs, strongly proposing itself as the perfect alternative when needing a smaller project done fast and simple.

Some of The Pacer Edition CMS' most important features are its plugin system, the graphic installer, cron scheduler utility, WYSIWYG content editing, i18n-readiness, page/user/menu manager, mass mailer, template system and many more.

Download The Pacer Edition CMS from our Scripts section here.

Firefox 11 Available for Download

Johnathan Nightingale, senior director of Firefox Engineering, announced that the update for Firefox 11 would not be released as scheduled, this Tuesday. He provided Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday and security issues as the reasons governing the decision.

However, Mozilla may roll out Firefox 11 officially today, but not at their usual time (8 AM PDT), and not through the background update mechanism. That’s because last minute changes may cause problems for some users.

As such, pushing the new update to the users may start on Thursday or Friday. You will be able to install the new release manually, though.

You can download Firefox for Windows, Firefox for Mac, Firefox for Linux, also Firefox for Android on this Mozilla official page.

Samsung Series 9 Notebook Line Expanded in South Korea

We can't say that Samsung's Series 9 collection of mobile personal computers was getting outdated but, even fresh as it is, the company decided it was time for some new blood. 

Series 9 is a brand that many products in Samsung's portfolio bear, be they laptops or all-in-ones or whatever else. 

The notebook line is the one getting expanded this time, reports say, though not quite completely. 

What this means is that the list of available mobile computers is not growing worldwide, but only in South Korea. 

Then again, that is the company's home market, so it isn't impossible that the newcomers will eventually cross the border. 

Either way, there are new 13-inch and 15-inch versions, powered by Core i5 and/or Core i7 central processing units (CPUs) from Intel. 

The 13-inch variant has a Core i5 CPU and a solid state drive of 128 GB now, plus up to 8 GB of RAM (random access memory). 

The CPU has its own integrated graphics (Intel GMA HD 3000), and with no discrete GPU included, owners will have to make do with it. 

The other notebook, with a screen of 15 inches, has the Max Screen technology, which lets a 15-inch panel be used with a 14-inch case. 

Speaking of which, this screen is a Super Bright Plus HD type, which means the brightness is of 400 nits and the resolution of 1,600 x 900 pixels. 

Core i5 and Core i7 CPU options exist, along with similar specs as above, plus the possibility for a 256 SSD instead of a 128 GB one. 

As soon as they show up online, whenever that happens, the new Series 9 will cost 2.28m won / $2,033 / 1,551 Euro (13-inch, Core i5), 2.32m won / $2,069 / 1,579 Euro (15-inch, Core i7), and 2.97m won / $2,648 / 2,020 Euro (15-inch, Core i7).

Galaxy S III’s Rado-Style Ceramic Design Completed

Samsung is getting ready for the release of a successor for its Galaxy S II smartphone, one that might land on shelves as the quad-core Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone. 

The company has yet to unveil specific info on the handset, yet it appears that things are nearing the official launch. 

Rumor has it that the smartphone will pack a ceramic case, Redo-inspired, and that the work on it has already been completed. 

Instead of going for the plastic casing that was included with the previous Galaxy smartphones, Samsung reportedly opted for an outer case more akin to Rado watches to go with the Galaxy S III.

The smartphone was already confirmed to go official in the first half of the year, and some even suggest that it might be launched this week.

NVIDIA GPU-Based HPC Development Center Announced

NVIDIA has been doing quite well on the supercomputing market, but getting the HPC Advisory Council to start a new center specially made for testing applications on GPUs has to be its greatest success yet. 

The HPC Advisory Council, as a major organization for high-performance computing (HPC) research, has a lot of say regarding the direction supercomputers around the world can take. 

Considering its latest action, there seems to be no doubt that GPU compute accelerators are going to be an intrinsic part of such HPC installations in the future. 

After all, it would not inaugurate an NVIDIA GPU-based HPC development center otherwise. 

The HPC Advisory Council’s High Performance Center has a website here and will let developers test their programs on NVIDIA Tesla M2090 graphics processing units (GPUs). 

“Researchers need an easy way to benchmark their models on the growing number of GPU-accelerated applications before making a buying decision,” said Sumit Gupta, director of Tesla business at NVIDIA. 

“The new Center provides a valuable resource to help developers optimize their codes for GPUs, and ensure that applications will perform precisely as advertised.” 

For those who don't already know, the NVIDIA Tesla M2090 GPU has 512 CUDA cores and 665 gigaflops of peak performance. 

Naturally, the new center will include future accelerators in its activities when the time comes. 

“The new Center will enhance the HPC Advisory Council’s activities, and we’re grateful to NVIDIA for their support and collaboration in making this possible,” said Gilad Shainer, chairman of the HPC Advisory Council. 

“The new Center will enable free remote access to application developers, benchmarking, and various research activities based on the world-leading HPC processor.” 

For those interested in things that affect them more directly, NVIDIA has released its latest graphics driver, complete with WHQL certification, and even made a package for Windows 8.

Ivy Bridge Powered Asus UX32 Ultrabook Available for Pre-Order in Europe

Uncovered just yesterday, Asus’ UX32Vd Ultrabook with Intel Ivy Bridge processors and Nvidia GeForce discrete graphics has just been made available for pre-order by an European online retailer that listed the Zenbook at 1,149 EUR ($1,506 USD).

This is a great deal more than the $1,100 (about 836 EUR) price that The Verge reported yesterday

We can’t however say that this news comes as a huge surprise to us, since European users quite often have to pay much more for computer hardware than their US counterparts.

That being said, the UX32Vd Ultrabook that was listed by the Italian retailer is the most powerful of Asus’ Zenbooks and comes equipped not just with an Ivy Bridge processor, but also with a discrete GPU.

The graphics card in question is the Nvidia GeForce GT 620M, which in the model listed online is paired with an Intel Core i7-3517U CPU.

Clocked at 1.9GHz (3GHz maximum Turbo), the dual-core ultra-low power Intel processor is seconded by 4GB of system memory.

For storage duties, Asus has chosen to rely on a 500GB hard drive which is paired with a 32GB SSD that acts as a fast cache for the HDD.

As far as the display is concerned, the 13.3-inch UX32Vd comes equipped with a 1920x1080 Full HD panel.

Other features include between six and seven hours of battery life, support for Intel's Wireless Display (WiDi) technology and a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port. The Ultrabook runs the Windows 7 Professional operating system.

According to Notebook Italia, the online store that listed the Asus UX32Vd Zenbook says that it will start shipping the device on May 18, 2012.

In addition to the UX32Vd, Asus will also release the UX32A Ultrabook which also packs a 13.3-icnh display, but drops the discrete GPU installed in its older brother.

New Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 Pictures Reach the Web

Rumored to launch in a little bit more than a week, Nvidia’s upcoming GeForce GTX 680 graphics card, based on the Kepler GK104 core, starred in a new series of pictures that show the card in greater detail than before.

The pictures came our way courtesy of Chip Hell, the same Chinese website that uncovered some of the first images of the GTX 680.

At a first look, Nvidia’s reference design for the GeForce GTX 680 doesn’t seem to differ all that much from the previous-generation GTX 570/GTX 580, outside of the stacked PCIe power connectors found at the rear of the card.

The pictures also reveal that Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 680 will be compatible with 4-way SLI setups, while the rear video connector configuration includes HDMI, DisplayPort and dual DVI outputs.

No detail regarding the specs of the GTX 680 has been revealed, but previous reports indicate that the GK104 graphics core this is based upon includes 1,536 CUDA cores and a 256-bit memory interface, coupled with either 2GB or 4GB of GDDR5 memory running at 1,500MHz (6,000MHz data rate).

With the GK104 GPU, Nvidia is also rumored to introduce a new technology called Dynamic Clock Adjustment.

Apparently, this works similarly to Intel’s Turbo Boost technology to automatically increase the graphics core frequency with 5 to 7 percent when the video card works bellow its rated TDP.

The GTX 680 is said to have a 190W TDP and Heise.de revealed at the end of last week that it should be about 10% faster than the Radeon HD 7970 in Battlefield 3, while in 3DMark 11 it falls behind AMD’s creation.

The GeForce GTX 680 is expected to be launched next week, on March 22, and is rumored to carry a $549 (about 417 EUR) price tag.

NVIDIA Dual-GK104 Kepler Card Set for May, 2012

Just as people think NVIDIA was all set to leave everyone slack-jawed, we stumble upon a tidbit of information that may make it hard for them to pick those jaws from the floor. 

If what 3DCenter.org says is true, the Santa Clara, California-based company is getting ready to launch not just a high-end Kepler board, but also a dual-GPU one. 

More precisely, while the company is getting set to introduce the GeForce GTX 680 this month, it also has a dual-GPU model scheduled for May 2012. 

There isn't much info on that monster of a video controller, beyond the name (Geforce GTX 680) and the fact that it, too, will rely on the GK104. 

It definitely seems like NVIDIA is saving the GK100 for later, when Advanced Micro Devices unleashes the successors to the Radeon HD 7000 collection. 

We can only wonder what sort of things that top Kepler GPU will be able to do, not to mention if NVIDIA makes a dual-chip board out of that one as well. 

We don't know what the next-generation GPUs from AMD will be able to do either, but it is sure enough at this point that the Sunnyvale, California IT player will need to seriously overcome the GK104 if it wants to put on a good show on the high-end front. 

That is neither here nor there, though. After all, the GK100 and AMD's rival products won't appear until later this year. 

Right now, we are more focused on the aforementioned GTX 680 and all the info that leaks and rumors were able to uncover, which is most of it. 

We've seen the first pictures of the Kepler add-in card, the time of arrival (March 23), the new GeForce logo and much more. 

We are pretty sure that leaks about the dual-GK104 will somehow reach the web in a similar fashion, so keep an eye out.

ASUS UX32A and UX32Vd Zenbooks in the Works

It looks like ASUS is planning more for the ultrabook market than the replacement of soon-to-be-outdated models, or so the murmurs on the Internet say.  

Going by what The Verge has reported, there are two all-new Zenbooks on the way, though it is unclear when the official launch will be. 

On the other hand, the prices of the ultrabooks are known, so we can at least make an opinion regarding their appeal. 

The UX32A and UX32Vd will cost between $800 and $1,100, which corresponds to 608 Euro and 836 Euro. 

In other words, the cost range is more or less similar to that of the UX31A and UX21A: $1,050 and $1,100, respectively (800.42 Euro / 838.54 Euro). 

That said, the Zenbooks will use Intel's Ivy Bridge central processing units and screens of 13.3 inches in diagonal. 

The CPU list includes the Core i3-3217U, i5-3317U and i7-3517U. 

Also, graphics prowess will be provided by an NVIDIA GeForce GT260M discrete graphics card, with 1 GB of memory. 

That only goes for the UX32Vd, unfortunately. The UX32A will still have to make do with the integrated GMA HD in the CPU. 

Moving on, the screens have matte IPS displays with a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (Full HD). There will be less impressive options though. 

Furthermore, ASUS gave the ultrabooks 2 GB or 4GB of RAM (random access memory), plus hybrid storage units (500 GB with 24 GB SSDs cache) and the optional Intel Wireless Display streaming technology (WiDi). 

Finally, since Intel won't launch the Ivy Bridge CPUs until months from now, ASUS will ship the UX32A and UX32Vd with Sandy Bridge central processing units for a while. We aren't sure how many people will hurry up to buy them instead of waiting for the better processors, so we'll leave that to time to sort out.

ASUS 1025C Cedar Trail Netbook Now Selling

We spotted the Eee PC 1025C netbook back in January (2012), when the first info about ASUS's Cedar Trail netbook cropped up on the Internet. 

Now, though, the item is finally up for sale, not just pre-order. The price is of $299, which translates into 227 Euro, give or take. 

That sum of money will get you a 10.1-inch LED-backlit LCD (1,024 x 600 pixels), the Atom N2600 or 2800 CPU, USB 3.0, a 500 GB HDD, HDMI, Bluetooth, WiFi and a 6-cell battery. 

The whole thing can run for up to 12 hours of constant use and 21 days if left on standby. 

All in all, this thing isn't a bad deal at all. Go here (the actual order page) if you want to get an Eee PC 1025C or just learn more about it.

Nokia Confirms Windows Phones for China on March 28th

Chinese mobile phone users will soon be able to purchase Windows Phone devices coming from Nokia. 

The Finnish handset vendor is set to make its first such devices official for the local market as soon as March 28th, the latest news on the matter suggest. 

Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop reportedly confirmed the move, but he did not offer info on which devices were set to make an official appearance on the Chinese market. 

However, some of the latest reports on the matter suggested that both Nokia Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 would be released in the country (there will be specially crafted versions of these devices). 

Rumor has it that Nokia has partnered with China Telecom and China Unicom for the launch. For those out of the loop, we should note that China Mobile also confirmed plans to release a 3G-capable Windows Phone in the near future.

Sony Alpha A57 Translucent Mirror Camera Debuts

About a year and a half after introducing the Alpha A55 translucent mirror camera, Sony is replacing this DSLR with a new Alpha A57 model that upgrades most of the features of its predecessor.

At the heart of the A57 stands the same 16-megapixel APS HD CMOS sensor used in the A55, but this time Sony has paired it with a new Bionz image engine and AF system.

The addition of this latest generation processor enabled Sony to boost the maximum ISO setting to 16,000 as well as the shooting rate from 10 frames per second to 12fps.

Furthermore, the camera’s video recording capabilities were also upgraded so it can now record 1920 x 1080 resolution clips at 60p, 60i and 24p/25p, while the new AF system provides users with enhanced object-tracking and quick AF in the Full HD movie mode. 

The rest of the specifications list includes a tilting 921,600-dot LCD, a 100% field of view electronic viewfinder, as well as Sony’s new Auto Portrait Framing (that uses the rule of thirds and face detection to aid the user in shooting portraits) and Clear Image Zoom technologies. 

"Today's DSLR consumer is looking for a higher level of control and flexibility in their camera," said Mike Kahn, director of the Alpha camera business group for Sony Electronics. 

"With the introduction of the newA57, we're bringing blazing fast response rates, enhanced artistic capabilities and other advanced features to the mainstream DSLR marketplace, offering professional-grade performance at affordable prices," concluded the company’s rep.

The new A57 will be available this April with an 18-55mm kit zoom lens for $800 (roughly 608 EUR). Those of you who already own Sony camera lenses can go for the body-only version that will hit retail for $700 (about 532 EUR).

Ice Cream Sandwich Now Available for Galaxy S II

Today, South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics announced the availability of the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update for its Galaxy S II smartphone. 

The company promised this update ever since Google made the new platform version official, but did not deliver specific info on when it might be released. 

Today, however, the company started to roll out the update and also made the official announcement on its availability. 

Starting today, the update will be delivered to Galaxy S II users in a series of European countries and in the company’s homeland. 

According to Samsung, the countries to receive the new software update at the moment include Poland, Hungary and Sweden in Europe, and South Korea in Asia. 

However, the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich software update is expected to be released in more markets around the world as well, as part of the gradual worldwide roll-out that Samsung kicked off today. 

Additionally, the leading mobile phone maker announced plans to offer the update to GALAXY Note, GALAXY SII LTE, GALAXY Tab 8.9 and GALAXY Tab 10.1 devices soon, but did not offer a specific timeframe. 

“Samsung Electronics has completed upgrading the GALAXY devices to Gingerbread last year by providing software upgrades to both Froyo and Gingerbread. With the ICS upgrade, Samsung Electronics has solidified its position as the leader of Android devices,” the company stated. 

The handset vendor also unveiled plans to deliver Android 2.3 Gingerbread upgrades to the owners of GALAXY S, GALAXY Tab 7”, GALAXY S Plus, GALAXY S SCL (Super Clear LCD), and GALAXY W phones starting with the end of March. 

There will be new features added into the mix, such as Face Unlock, Snapshot, Photo Editor and others for the GALAXY S devices. 

“The availability and scheduling of the software update and specific models upgradable to Android 4.0 will vary by market and wireless carriers’ requirements,” the phone maker concluded.

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