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Apr 2, 2012

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Gets New Dev Diary Video, Focuses on Freedom

A brand new video for the upcoming Transformers: Fall of Cybertron game has appeared, in which developers from High Moon Studios talk about the player’s freedom in terms of missions and gameplay.

Transformers games don’t exactly represent the pinnacle of interactive entertainment, especially the tie-ins to the Hollywood movies, but the more recent Transformers: War for Cybertron title has certainly improved lots of things, delivering an impressive experience.

With Fall of Cybertron, developer High Moon Studios wants to really showcase just how great a Transformers game can actually be.

After seeing the first gameplay video last week, the studio, together with publisher Activision, has released a developer diary, in which members of its team talk about the features of the upcoming game.

"When we did Transformers: War for Cybertron we really had something to prove in terms of, yes, Transformers games can be good. With Fall of Cybertron, it's not about trying to prove to you whether Transformers games can be good, it's really about showing you how great they can actually be,” said High Moon’s Game Director, Matt Tieger.

"If there were two kind of overarching principles that you'd see throughout the game, they're the epic-ness of scale and the variety of gameplay experiences."

The video then shows off the variety of ways in which a mission can be approached, since players can choose which character they want to control. They may go with a robot that can transform into a car or truck, or with one that can become a flying machine like a helicopter or plane (even both).

All the missions in the game, according to High Moon, are crafted in such a way that no matter their choices, players can complete them and have a great time.

You can check out the full video, as well as find out more about Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, below.

BlackBerry App World Achieves 70,000 Apps Milestone, Still Unimpressive

Last month Research In Motion reported BlackBerry App World, its own application store, had more than 60,000 apps and over 2 billion app downloads. 

In addition, the Canadian company confirmed its applications store had more than 174 million apps downloaded each month, with an average of 6 million apps downloaded per day.

One month after RIM’s statement, BlackBerry App World’s portfolio increased to more than 70,000 apps, but kept the same numbers: 2 billion app downloads to date, 177 million apps downloaded monthly, with the same average of 6 million apps downloaded per day.

Although the achievement is nowhere near as impressive as Apple’s App Store’s, that has nearly 600,000 apps, or Google Play store’s, with over 450,000 apps, it’s still nice to see developers are interested in creating BlackBerry apps.

Sony Launches NEX-FS700U 4K-Capable Cinema Camera

Sony has completed the development of the NEX-FS700U, known in Europe as the NEX-FS700E, a large-sensor camcorder with Super Slow Motion, among other things.

The NEX-FS700U/E is probably one of the most advanced camcorders of today, and we wouldn't be surprised if we saw it used for shooting Hollywood films.

Granted, in order for it to work well, it will need a compatible Sony recorder and probably a projector too, but we digress.

The newcomer will be capable of shooting video in a resolution of 4K bitstream (total 11.6 million pixels).

We say “will be” because the camcorder won't be able to do it right off the bat. Owners will have to wait for firmware upgrade.

That said, the product relies on a 4K "Exmor" Super 35 CMOS sensor and built-in ND filters, with a newly designed ND filter wheel that rotates across the sensor like a turret.

The wheel positions are Clear, 1/4 (2 Stop), 1/16 (4 Stop), and 1/64 (6 Stop).

Super Slow Motion can be recorded at 120 FPS in 16-second bursts, while 240 FPS are possible in 8-second bursts.

What's more, if film makers are willing to settle for an image quality below 1,080p, 480 FPS and 960 FPS recording is possible as well.

"This camera opens a new door to creative shooting," said Juan Martinez, senior product manager at Sony Electronics' Professional Solutions of America group. 

"You can record beautiful high speed full HD movies with the freedom of creative interchangeable lens choice. The NEX-FS700U, with its super slow motion mode, is ideal for promos, TV dramas, commercials and documentaries as well as sports and a variety of event shooting."

 The NEX-FS700U (body only) and NEX-FS700UK (with 18-200mm zoom E-mount interchangeable lens) will begin selling in June (2012) at a price of under $10,000 / 7 498 Euro. The price accounts for all the above, as well as 3G HD-SDI / HDMI connectors, the HXR-FMU128 flash memory unit and SD and Memory Stick card support, among other things.

FCC Tests Lenovo IdeaPad U310 and U410 Ultrabooks

Lenovo isn't ready to launch its two newest Ultrabooks yet, as that will only happen this May (2012). 

Still, the hardware is mostly ready, far enough along, in fact, that it was up for analysis by the Federal Communications Commission. 

All the tests and results are tallied here, in the FCC's regular, virtually bureaucratic manner. 

The IdeaPad U310 and U410 Ultrabooks measure 13 and 14 inches in diagonal, respectively, and will have prices of $700 / 525.60 Euro. 

Granted, the European price will probably be closer to 600 Euro or more, but that is still a long way from the $959 / 725 Euro that the IdeaPad U300e require. 

Lenovo's machines will no doubt use next-generation Intel CPUs, 4 GB of RAM, all the expected ports, one less-than-expected interface (maybe) and, of course, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Nokia 808 PureView Gets Previewed in China, Sample Pictures Show Impressive Details

Unveiled back in February at the Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona, Nokia 808 PureView has just been previewed in China.

The folks over at IT168 got their hands on Nokia’s new camera-phone flagship and took some sample pictures that show an impressive level of detail.

However, this shouldn’t be a surprise as the phone boasts a 41-megapixel rear camera with Carl Zeiss optics and Nokia’s new PureView technology.

Nokia’s innovative technology allows the 41-megapixels camera to take standard size pictures (5-megapixels or 8-megapixels), but with impressive details. 

The camera can use oversampling to combine up to 7 pixels into one and eliminates the visual noise that is usually found on other mobile phone cameras.

In addition, Nokia claims that users will be able to zoom up to 3X without losing any of the details in the picture. Check out the sample pictures taken by the guys over at IT168 here.

Nokia Pushes Lumia 710 Software Update, Adds Better Audio Quality and More

Nokia Lumia 710 has just received a new minor software update, which is currently being rolled out internationally. 

It will update Nokia Lumia 710 firmware to version 1600.3013.8107.11502. According to Nokia, this update is only available via Zune PC software.

Among the most important changes added by this update it is worth mentioning the better audio quality when using the built-in loudspeaker.

In addition, Nokia enhanced calling to service numbers containing the * and # characters, along with the usability with text messages (international characters, longer messages).

Initially launched in India and Singapore, the update is now pushed in other countries as well, including France, Malaysia and the UK.

Keep in mind that this also contains the Windows Phone 8107 update, which is said to fix the disappearing keyboard issue.

LTE iPad 3 Houses 19 Additional Chips for Cellular Networking

Silicon expert Chipworks has torn down the new Apple iPad with the main purpose of analyzing each and every piece of semiconducting material in it. They’ve confirmed that the 4G / LTE version has an additional logic board that houses a lot of extra chips.

The tech-savvy team at iFixit usually works hand in hand with the people at Chipworks to provide insight regarding the chips used inside Apple’s devices.

iFixit teardowns can be read by pretty much everyone. They’re not only written in a humorous manner, but they also explain technicalities with regular terms that everyone can relate to.

The same thing cannot be said about Chipworks’ teardowns, which focus more on the chips themselves and, in particular, what’s inside their silicon housings.

“The new iPad is Apple’s first device that uses 4G LTE and also supports multiband 3G. In fact, it supports 700 MHz and 2100 MHz LTE, UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA  at 850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz  (all 3G), and GSM/EDGE  at 850, 900, 1800, and 1900 MHz,” reads the latest Chipworks report on the new Apple iPad.

“That is seven different radio standards and six different frequencies! And of course, it also has a Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n) transceiver and Bluetooth,” says the Canadian firm.

“To do all of this takes a lot of silicon (and GaAs devices). In the 4G version of the new iPad, attached to the main board is a secondary board dedicated to the cellular radios,” reads the teardown analysis. “We counted 19 different major packages, 10 on one side and 9 on the other, and many that contain more than one die!”

From here on, the Chipworks report looks at each chip in particular, with thorough explanations and comprehensive (microscopic) graphics. Technically savvy readers are most welcomed at this here address.

Chipworks concluded that Apple and its partners would have a tough time simplifying the process of achieving a worldwide-compatible device in the near future, hinting at potential drawbacks with the next iPhone.

“With multiple standards for GSM, CDMA, and 3G, it is already complicated enough to manufacture worldwide compatible devices,” writes Chipworks, adding that “there are 16 UMTS channels used for 3G.”

“With LTE, this will become significantly more complex with up to 43 channels. As you can see, the quantity of chips needed to make this happen is incredible. With the specialist RF devices needed to optimize signal and power efficiency, it is going to be a very difficult task to simplify this process,” says the firm.

Samsung GALAXY Pocket Approved by FCC, Headed to AT&T

Samsung announced the Galaxy Pocket budget-friendly smartphone two months ago, but the handset has yet to make its entrance on the market.

Although the handset maker did not reveal that the smartphone might be slated for a North American release, the folks at Engadget have recently spotted the Galaxy Pocket at FCC (Federal Communications Commission).

It appears that the phone has just been approved with GSM 850 / 1900 bands, as well as UMTS Band V, which might be an indication that Galaxy Pocket is en-route to AT&T.

Samsung Galaxy Pocket is powered by Android 2.3 Gingerbread platform and packs a 832 MHz single core processor, 3GB of internal memory and microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB).

The phone comes with a decent 2.8-inch capacitive touchscreen display that supports a 240 x 320 pixels resolution, and a sub-par 2-megapixel rear camera with video recording.

Script: ArtSlide

ArtSlide is a simple content slider plugin for jQuery. It does exactly what it says, graciously sliding images/content panels with a side slide motion.

If you’re looking for an image slider, you might get inundated these days with lots of options and different solutions. ArtSlide is just one of them, but instead of using a complicated and pretty big animation engine, it just simply slides content panels from left to right.

It's surely not super attractive like some solutions such as Nivo Slider, but if you’re ever looking for something that puts emphasis on speed and fast load times, ArtSlide is a good plugin to take into account.

ArtSlide can rotate images and HTML content the same way, while offering slide pagination controls, along with caption support for images and side navigation buttons (side arrows).

Download ArtSlide here (zip) or here (tar).

AMD’s PS4 GPU to Be Powerful Enough to Run 4K Resolution Games

SONY probably hopes to raise interest for 4K high-definition TV sets that will likely sell in the following years. AMD promises the Japan TV maker a powerful GPU that will ensure playability at the likely standard of 30 frames per second.

For SONY, making 4K resolution a standard for the PlayStation 4, will be a wonderful money-making idea. They can thus sell very expensive 4K capable TV sets, re-master and resell old popular movies and sell those too, and, of course, re-master older popular games for some extra money.

When it comes to games, making them run on the new PS4 console might be a problem as it’s really hard to port customized software made for the Cell processor over to a new x86 architecture. 

But SONY might rely on the fact that most of the more popular console games are already available in x86 versions and will take way less time and resources to make them run on the new PS4.

The thing is that AMD’s x86 CPU will have to offer a really powerful single-threaded or low-threaded performance and that’s something AMD’s CPUs are lacking and have been lacking for more than half a decade. It may be that the touted x86 CPU might not be AMD’s after all, but that is not very likely.

AMD’s GPUs now are not capable of achieving a stable 30 frames per second even when playing at just 5760x1080 resolution. Driving a new game with a resolution of 4096 × 3112 would require a chip with much more than 200% the performance of today’s Tahiti.

4K resolution has 204% the number of pixels in 5760 x 1080. But a new generation of games will bring heavier and more demanding graphic engines so there are some high requirements for AMD’s future console GPU.

Report Puts iPhone 5 Release Date on June 15th

A highly speculative Monday feature by Dubai Media Incorporated claims Apple has provided all the clues that point to a June 15th unveiling of the next iPhone.

Citing “recent developments” and “a good amount of common sense,” Emirates24|7 says we should have every reason to believe “that it will be a summer release rather than a fall one.”

One of these recent developments include Tim Cook’s visit to China, where the Apple CEO met with Chinese government officials and paid a visit to Foxconn, the company’s longtime partner. Cook is also believed to have had talks with the country’s wireless operators to carry the upcoming iPhone.

This doesn’t necessarily indicate the potential launch date of the handset. After all, a CEO needs to plan his moves way ahead of a product’s launch. But there’s another recent “development” that needs to be taken into account, according to the report - Foxconn’s recent hiring spree for an iPhone plant.

The text reads: “Then of course there is this simultaneous buzz about Foxconn looking to recruit up to 20,000 workers for its plants – a clear sign that the manufacturing unit needs additional hands to churn out the extra devices that will be demanded by Apple’s ardent aficionados.”

Again, just like Apple needs be ahead of the curve, so does Foxconn. The Chinese mammoth’s decision to hire more people could simply mean the company has to produce iPhones as fast and as reliably as possible. Whether or not the phone is launching in summer or a couple of months later, Foxconn needs to be prepared. This may well be the common sense Emirates24|7 is after.

The report says WWDC 12 is the perfect time and place to launch the iPhone 5. To be noted that Apple hasn't yet announced the schedule for this year's developer event.

“Now, it’s a week-long conference (Monday to Friday), which Apple will initiate with a bang – the launch of the iOS 6 on Monday, June 11 – and would want to close with a bigger bang.”

Indeed, Apple has used its annual developer conference to introduce every new iPhone. That is until the iPhone 4S came out in fall 2011, breaking tradition. Numerous analysts now agree that this new refresh cycle is here to stay. In other words, iPhone 5 may well be introduced in autumn. iOS 6, on the other hand, will undoubtedly poke its head out during WWDC 12.

Citing Reuters, “the new iPhone is set to be launched around the second quarter,” the Arabian site states. “That further gives wings to the June-15-launch-date theory,” it adds, seemingly speculating this date out of thin air.

Finally, the business site claims that the impending summer launch is substantiated by rumors about Texas Instruments working on a slew of power management chips for the next iPhone.

Needless to point out, readers should take this “theory” with a grain of salt until more solid “developments” can be used as indications of an “impending” summer launch.

ZOTAC GTX 680 Extreme Edition Reaches 1.4 GHz

The mystery of the mini USB type-B connector has been solved: it’s likely to be a separate way that ZOTAC uses to have its overclocking software monitor the SMBUS components.

This is quite peculiar of ZOTAC as the SMBUS can usually be read by the means of the driver interface, but there’s still the fact that NVIDIA sometimes blocks access to some components they decide are too sensitive to let their partners meddle with.

This way ZOTAC’s Firestorm OC software has a more direct way to monitor the video card.

ZOTAC is touting the possibility that their Extreme Edition of GeForce GTX 680 will reach even 2 GHz, but that will probably happen only if lots of conditions concur: you get lucky and stumble upon an extremely capable GPU sample, you do have extreme cooling solutions for the card, you happen to have exceptional overclocker skills and so on.

But, for now, there’s a video on Expreview that shows the card has already reached 1400 MHz.

AMD Radeon HD 7990 Dual-GPU Has 1 GHz Clock

The report we're going to talk about was published yesterday, April 1, 2012, which means that it might have been an April Fools’ joke, but the folks at the source essentially promise that is not the case. 

TechPowerUp published the specifications of the AMD Radeon HD 7990 dual-GPU graphics card, or what they claim are the specs. 

Their post included a photo of the product and a GPU-Z screenshot even. 

We're not going to believe the words until Advanced Micro Devices confirms or denies them, once the official announcement is made. 

Fortunately, we won't have to wait overmuch. After all, previous rumors said the release would be this month and, to TechPowerUp's credit, the new report agrees (April 17 is the supposed date). 

That said, the clock speed of the two GPUs is a full GHz (1,000 MHz), which doesn't really help our suspension of disbelief, since we previously ran upon info saying that the frequency of the dual-Tahiti is really 850 MHz

That means that either the prior rumor or this one is wrong, or that we are simply looking at a different version of the HD 7990 (unlikely) or at an overclocked one. 

Moving on, the 6 GB of GDDR5 memory work at 1,250 MHz (5 GHz effective) and the completely unlocked Tahiti XT GPUs have 2,048 stream processors. 

Other specs include two 8-pin PCI Express power connectors, four mini-Displayport connectors and an AMD-rebadged PLX PEX8747 PCI-Express 3.0 48-lane bridge chip. 

Finally, the beast somehow makes do with a single 70mm fan placed between two heatsinks in a way that won't make too much noise when blowing air through the fins. 

The price of AMD's Radeon HD 7990 graphics card will be of $849 (636.62 Euro), or so the questionable report says. We're still not willing to hope for much less than $999 though (750 Euro).

Alleged Screenshots of Nokia Carla Emerge

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is moving closer to the release of a new version of the Symbian platform, supposedly set to arrive on devices under the name of Carla. 

Following a wide range of rumors on this platform release, alleged screenshots with the platform have made an appearance on the Internet. 

Through them, we can make a better idea of what the OS will have to offer to those who own Symbian Belle-based devices from Nokia.

Said screenshots emerged over at Nokianesia, which claims that Symbian^3 phones won’t receive the update. 

Nokia Carla is meant for handsets such as the Nokia 700, 701 and the 603, as well as the Nokia 808 PureView that was made official in February during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. 

Unfortunately, the owners of Nokia N8, E7, C7, and C6-01 devices won’t get the chance to enjoy the capabilities that this new software update will deliver to them. 

Among the details that said leaked screenshots with the Nokia Carla OS unveil, there's a new on-screen QWERTY keyboard, along with a new version of the Nokia Browser.

The on-screen QWERTY keyboard has been adopted from Windows Phone, while the Nokia Browser tasted a series of UI improvements. 

Moreover, there are some Lock screen changes as well, such as the lack of an Unlock Button and a new Swipe to unlock method.

Other enhancements include an upgraded Music Player with a new UI, along with a modified interface for the Option screen, to bring it in line with Meego Harmattan. 

These details are similar to what was previously rumored for the upcoming Nokia Carla, and might prove real in the end, though we’ll take them with a grain of salt for the time being. 

The new platform is expected to become available as a software update for existing devices sometime in the fourth quarter of the year. It might get loaded on new devices starting with the third quarter.

Gainward’s Phantom GTX 680 Is Official

Video card company Gainward has finally announced its Phantom version of the GeForce GTX 680 on its official website. This is a dual-fan custom-cooled beauty that will make the insides of your PC look good.

The card is heavily factory overclocked as its GPU base clock is rated at 1085 MHz, 7.7 percent up from the NVIDIA default reference clock of 1006 MHz. The ‘Boost Clock’ is set up at 1150 MHz, that’s 8.7 percent higher than the standard 1058 MHz ‘Boost.’

The GDDR5 memory is also clocked higher than the 6 GHz reference speed and is rated at 6.3 GHz, being 5 percent faster. 

All of this overclocking is fueled with ‘clean’ power coming from the 6-phase PWM. The card has 2 extra phases to help enthusiasts get even better overclocks than the one the card originally comes with.

Gainward says that its design ensures lower energy loss, a lower EMI level and higher stability under high current operation (operating under heavy loading). Moreover, the GTX 680 Phantom uses DrMOS components for powering the GPU.

They say the new Phantom II cooler design has a brand new fins design (patent pending), thus offering better thermal performance, lower acoustic level and, generally, a more solid structure than previous generations.

Five heatpipes ensure good heat transfer from the GPU to the heat sink fins and they're likely 6 millimeter ones.

The dual-fan three-slot Phantom II cooler gets Gainward GTX 680 Phantom a 7.8 decibels quieter operation or 60% lower than reference board under 2D operation or idle mode.

Thanks to the new cooler design, Gainward GTX 680 Phantom, even with factory overclocked chips, manifests a 6 degrees Celsius lower GPU temperature than reference board, with reference clocks as well as 11.5 decibels lower acoustics level in full-load mode of operation.

The card comes with 4 ports on the back side: DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI 1.4a, DisplayPort. There’s no word on pricing yet.

Pixel Qi Creating Higher-Resolution, Low-Power Displays

We've barely heard anything about Pixel Qi lately, but that has changed and, hopefully, we'll see the displays more often down the line.

Pixel Qi panels are different from common displays through their ability to operate in transflective mode.

Essentially, they can absorb ambient light and, thus, don't need a backlight during the day, leading to low power needs.

Even more importantly, they are totally clear even under the brightest sunlight, as opposed to most other screens that aren't that good in similar conditions.

Alas, despite their benefits, Pixel Qi panels just haven't seen much success. Still, according to this recent blog, the time may come when all will change.

So far, about a dozen consumer electronics devices utilize Pixel Qi screens. Higher-resolution versions are on the way, all of them featuring a lower power draw, but no ETA was provided.

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