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Apr 7, 2012

Flaw in Facebook and Dropbox Mobile Apps Allows Data Theft

Security expert Gareth Wright identified a security hole in the iOS version of the Facebook app that could allow someone with ill intent to steal user credentials. After further analysis, the folks over at The Next Web determined that Dropbox also presents the vulnerability.

Furthermore, it has been found that not only the iOS applications are vulnerable, but also the ones developed for Android devices.

While navigating through application directories with a free tool called iExplorer, Wright discovered that the Facebook app for iOS devices stored some highly sensitive data in clear text.

“Popping into the Facebook application directory I quickly discovered a whole bunch of cached images and the com.Facebook.plist. What was contained within was shocking. Not an access token but full oAuth key and secret in plain text,” he wrote.

After analyzing his finds, he was able to determine that the .plist file, when transferred to another device, can be used to access the Facebook account associated with it.

Initially, Facebook representatives came forward to argue that the attack vector only works on rooted phones, but as it turns out, it works even on machines that haven’t been tampered with.

Now, many may think that this is one of those vulnerabilities where an attacker would need physical access to the device, but in reality, it’s far more complex than that.

Wright proved that if a malicious app is installed on a shared PC, a public docking station, or any other apparatus to which phones may be connected, the file could be retrieved.

With Dropbox it’s basically the same. The file-hosting service also uses the .plist file incorrectly, allowing anyone who gains access to it to breach the owner’s account.

Apparently, Facebook is working on addressing the problem, but the worrying thing is that if two popular apps handle these files in this manner, it’s likely that ones form other developers do the same. 

So, until a more permanent fix is made available, think twice before connecting your iOS or Android phone to a public PC or docking station.

Biostar's 7-Series Ivy Bridge-Ready Motherboards

Biostar has done what its various rivals did, or will do soon enough, namely launch a whole bunch of new motherboards in preparation for the event that will supposedly take place on April 23

Biostar made a point of saying that this is the “for the first time” product lineup and, sure enough, used those words no less than twelve times in its press release

Mildly irritating repetitions aside, the new motherboard line doesn't leave much to be desired, if anything. 

That means that the prices will determine how well they sell compared to the platforms released by Gigabyte, MSI, ASRock and everyone else. 

We aren't going to talk about all of the motherboards here, since people can just drop by their product pages by checking out this link

Nevertheless, we'll look a bit at the TZ77XE4, the so-called flagship of Biostar's collection. 

One thing to notice is the presence of four memory slots (maximum capacity is 32 GB) and that of two PCI Express 3.0 slots (x16), one PCI Express 2.0 slot (x16), a PCI Express 2.0 with a lower setting (x1) and a pair of legacy PCI slots. 

CrossFireX (AMD) and SLI (NVIDIA) multi-GPU configurations should be easy to set up, which is good because, even though Intel's new CPUs may have GPUs with DirectX 11 now, they are still very weak compared to add-in boards. 

Besides the above, the TZ77XE4 offers four SATA 6.0 Gbps connectors (SATA III) and the same number of SATA 3.0 Gbps ports (SATA II). 

Of course, Intel Smart Response Technology is supported (SSD caching, as it was initially known), as are the SATA RAID: 0, 1, 5 and 10 modes. 

Moving on, the rear I/O panel includes a PS/2 keyboard plug, eSATA (one port), two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0, HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, VGA and 5.1-channel audio. Finally, internal headers can allow for some extra USB 3.0 / 2.0 ports.

Nokia Kicks Off the “Smartphone Beta Test” Campaign for Lumia 900

Tomorrow, the first LTE-capable Windows Phone from Nokia becomes available for purchase on the market in the United States. 

The handset will be released on the airwaves of the wireless carrier AT&T, with a price tag of $99 (75 Euros) attached to it on a monthly contract. 

This is the most advanced Windows Phone device from Nokia, packing a 4.3-inch touchscreen display and a 1.4GHz application processor. 

It also arrives on shelves with 16GB of internal memory, as well as with an 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back, and with a front camera for making video calls. 

With a solid unibody design, Nokia Lumia 900 is meant to impress through both appearance and feel, as well as through the level of performance it can deliver. 

In fact, Nokia claims that this device is capable of providing users with the full smartphone experience they have been looking for. 

Thus, the company launched the “Smartphone Beta Test” website and advertising campaign for Lumia 900, claiming that all other smart devices before it have been released only as part of a global beta test program. 

Lumia 900 is here to put an end to the beta test period, courtesy of a great build and the appealing performance levels it is capable of offering. 

The said website came online a few days ago with references to the “beta test” program, and is now featuring Lumia 900 too.

Two video commercials were launched as part of this marketing campaign, meant to point out the strong selling points that Nokia’s new Windows Phone has over its rivals. They can be seen embedded below.

Lumia 900 will be able to keep users informed at all times with social networking updates right on the home screen, and will also offer better camera capabilities, among other features. 

Currently, Nokia’s smartphone is shipping to those who pre-ordered it. Tomorrow, it will be put up for grabs via AT&T’s online and brick and mortar stores, as well as through partner retailers.

HTC One X and One V with Android 4.0 ICS Arrive in India

Unveiled back in February at the Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona, HTC One series of smartphones has just made its debut in India.

In fact, only two handsets in the series are now available for purchase, but it's likely that HTC will also introduced the HTC One S in the country, depending on the success of the other two.

Starting this weekend Indian customers who are into Android devices can purchase the new smartphones announced by HTC two months ago, the One X and One V.

Both are now available from leading retailers across the country for prices that are a bit higher than we anticipated. 

The folks at AndroidOS have learned that Saholic offers the lowest prices on HTC One X and One V, as both are now available for Rs 36,095 (705 USD or 540 EUR) and Rs 17,475 (340 USD or 260 EUR), respectively.

However, most regional retailers are selling the HTC One X for Rs 37,899 (740 USD or 565 EUR), and the HTC One V for Rs 18,299 (355 USD or 275 EUR) outright.

Both smartphone are powered by Google's latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, but come with pretty much different hardware configurations.

Currently, the One X is HTC's new Android flagship smarpthone, thus the device is equipped with a powerful Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor clocked at 1.5 GHz and packs 32GB of internal memory and 1 GB of RAM.

HTC One V is the spiritual successor of the HTC Legend. The smartphone embeds a 1 GHz single core processor, 512 MB of RAM, 4GB of internal memory and microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB).

Another major difference between the two devices is the display. The One X boasts a large 4.7-inch Super IPS LCD2 capacitive touchscreen that supports HD (720 x 1280 pixels) resolution, wheres the One V sports a much smaller 3.7-inch capacitive touch display with 480 x 800 pixels resolution.

ELSA Unveils Gladiac GeForce GTX 680 Graphics Card

ELSA has finally made the official introduction of its NVIDIA Kepler-based video board, which is called Gladiac GeForce GTX 680 graphics card. 

For those who are wondering why they haven't heard of ELSA before, it is because the company is based in Japan and usually focuses on professional boards.

That is to say, its product collection features the Quadro brand more than it does the GeForce one.

Nevertheless, the company isn't a complete stranger to consumer-oriented graphics adapters.

As proof of this, the Gladiac GeForce GTX 680 has finally made its official appearance.

Given how much time the company allowed to pass before bringing this product to the table, one would expect some modifications to the design or performance, or both.

After all, it has been around 15 days since the first GTX 680 showed up, during which more or less every OEM out there provided custom ones.

Alas, this is not the case. In fact, ELSA's Gladiac GeForce GTX 680 is the reference unit in all but name and stickers.

The graphics processing unit (Kepler GPU) operates at 1,006 MHz, or 1,056 when the GPU boost technology takes over.

Meanwhile, the 2 GB of GDDR5 memory have a base clock of 1,502 MHz actual, which leads to 6,008 MHz effective.

As for everything else, the memory interface is of 256 bits, the number of CUDA cores is 1,536 and the memory bandwidth is 192 GB/s.

Finally, the price is definitely not flattering, not when the recommended retail tag is supposed to be $499 (499 Euro in Europe, despite exchange rates). ELSA's customers will have to fork up 64,800 JPY, which corresponds to $787 and 602 Euro.

With other vendors selling the card at 57,000 JPY ($693 / 529 Euro), we really can't see the company holding onto its own tag for very long.

Intel Agrees to Make Netronome's Next Flow Processors

As Intel prepares to formally launch its Ivy Bridge CPUs (on April 23), the company is also offering the services of its manufacturing plants to other companies, like Netronome.

According to the latter's latest press release, Intel has agreed to produce its next-generation flow processors, the first ones to use the 3D Tri-Gate transistor technology.

To paraphrase Netronome's statements, network and security applications will be able to work much better, enough to “shatter system benchmarks.”

“Intel’s 3-D Tri-Gate transistor technology and 22nm manufacturing process provides significant benefits over legacy planar designs,” said Jim Finnegan, senior vice president of engineering at Netronome. 

“As a result, our next generation flow processors will be several generations ahead of other communications processors, allowing Netronome to deliver up to 10-times the performance with more than triple the energy efficiency.”

The deal with Intel brings development cost reductions, better product functionality and faster time to market to Netronome's flow processors (NFP).

“Access to the Intel Custom Foundry is a key differentiator for Netronome and enables them to take advantage of the industry-leading performance and power efficiency of Intel's 22nm 3-D Tri-Gate technology,” said Linley Gwennap, principal analyst at The Linley Group.

As for what these NFPs actually do, they perform packet processing, deep packet inspection, security processing and I/O virtualization for millions of simultaneous stateful flows. High-end networks with speeds of up to 100 Gbps will have a field day with them.

"Intel is delighted to provide Netronome with access to its leading edge 3-D Tri-Gate 22nm technology and integrated supply chain,” said Sunit Rikhi, vice president of the technology and manufacturing group at Intel. 

“While working with Netronome during the product design cycle to co-optimize its flow processors and our foundry offerings, it was clear that Intel’s 22nm silicon technology and design infrastructure are a significant value-fit with Netronome’s products.”

Samsung to Launch Three Windows Phones in 2012

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung is reportedly gearing up for the launch of new handsets running under Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system before the end of this year. 

At least three new phones based on this platform should land on shelves in 2012, and the Samsung Mandel SGH-i667 might be one of them, a recent article on WPDang reads

This device was previously rumored to be en-route to shelves with a WVGA touchscreen display on the front, and with LTE connectivity packed inside, while running under Windows Phone 7.5 Tango.

As for the other two new smartphones from Samsung, details on them are still scarce, but rumor has it that they might launch with Windows Phone 8 on board. 

Samsung has yet to make an official announcement on any of these, so stay tuned for more on the matter.

Google Debuts App for Crowdsourcing Indoor Maps

Google has introduced an interesting solution to the problem of creating interior maps for malls, stores and so on, to use in Google Maps. The company debuted interior maps a few months ago, but it required it to work directly with the places being featured.

Later, it started allowing business owners to upload floor plans for their places and have them converted to an interior map that works with the Google Maps Android app. But even this required quite a bit of work, from the business owners and from Google.

Now it's introducing an even easier way of creating an accurate interior map, but more importantly, of providing accurate directions inside buildings, the Google Maps Floor Plans Maker app.

"If you’ve uploaded a floor plan through the Google Maps Floor Plans tool, once you install the Google Maps Floor Plan Marker app, you’ll be guided through the process of walking around the entire surface area of your place of interest," Google explained.

"Using the app, you collect data from sources such as GPS, cell tower, and publicly broadcast WiFi information that can help us make the My Location feature’s familiar 'blue dot' icon accessible for Android users when they’re inside the venue," it added.

Google determines location from a number of sources. The most accurate, but also the most prone to interference is GPS, which works poorly in cities and doesn't work at all inside.

Cell towers can also be useful, a device's location can be determined fairly accurately by triangulating its position from the signal strength. Finally, WiFi routers can be used, in the same way as cell towers, to determine a location, but they're the last option since their own location is harder to pinpoint.

All of this works well enough outdoors, but it gets even more complicated inside. Which is why Google is asking business owners to record signal strengths in their venues.

G.Skill Releases 32GB Memory Kit for Apple iMac

G.Skill thought it had released enough memory kits for PCs or just figured Apple iMacs could do with some special attention. Either way, it supplied a new memory product for the latter.

The product in question is really a large-capacity kit, where “large capacity” means no less than 32 GB. That's more than the majority of PCs and, indeed, Apple systems.

We should probably explain why the memory looks the way it does, though.

Some people might not know this, but Apple uses SO-DIMM modules in its iMac 2011 instead of DIMM (the normal format for desktop memory).

This is why the modules in the photo are smaller than some may have expected: they are SO-DIMM, the type normally employed in laptops.

The 32 GB mark is achieved thanks to the 8 GB capacity of each module and the clock speed is 1,333 MHz. Buy it here, for $269.99 (207 Euro).

More Windows 8 Post-Beta Details Emerge

Microsoft is well underway with the development of the next flavor of its Windows 8 platform, expected to land in the next few months as a Release Candidate. 

Currently in post-Beta stage, Windows 8 is undergoing various changes that should become available with the RC bits. 

Microsoft keeps mum on the changes it is currently applying to the platform, but leaked info on the matter did make it online. 

Courtesy of WinUnleaked.tk, we now learn that, among the various Windows 8 SKUs that Microsoft is getting ready for launch, there will also be one called “Core.”

Apparently, this version of the operating system is branded simply Windows 8, and might be launched simply as a classic flavor of the platform (it could be a stripped-down, “Basic” SKU).

No special features were spotted in this OS iteration for the time being but, since the development of the various Windows 8 SKUs has just kicked off, chances are that these differences will begin to emerge soon. 

Windows 8 “Core” is said to arrive without the Media Center, something that is expected to be common to most commercial versions of the operating system. 

Windows 8 is expected to hit Gold status this fall, and should become commercially available sometime in October, three years after Windows 7 was launched. 

In the meantime, Microsoft will have to reach other milestones with the platform, including the Release Candidate in the next few months and the RTM version sometime in summer. 

When made available, Windows 8 will offer support for both traditional desktop PCs, which require a keyboard and mouse for input, as well as for touch-enabled tablet PCs (in fact, it will be optimized for use on these). 

At the moment, the platform is available for download for free as a Consumer Preview, a version released on February 29th, during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. 

You can download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview Build 8250 via this link.

Google Chromebooks Get Ivy Bridge CPU Support

Nothing ever really became of Chromebooks, but they are still around, drifting along the edges of the IT market and trying to get people interested in them, even if it means lunging at the new CPUs from Intel. 

That's right, according to a Google submission to Coreboot (a Linux layer in Chrome that handles the hardware), spotted by Phoronix, the almost storage-free laptops are implementing support for Intel's Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge CPUs. 

Obviously, the portable computers will still run the Chrome OS browser-based operating system that uses only web applications (and stores everything in the cloud). 

By our reckoning, Chromebooks failed to make a name for themselves (so far) due to a combination of weak specs, lack of native storage and people's reluctance to commit everything they do to the cloud. 

Whether or not the April 23-bound next-gen CPUs help their case in any measure remains to be seen.

And, of Course, MSI Has 7-Series Motherboards Too

Like ASRock and Gigabyte, Micro-Star International has a bunch of Ivy Bridge-compatible motherboards ready to welcome the third-generation chips. 

According to this page, there are, in total, six platforms based on the Z77 chipset, two on the H77 and one on the B75. 

That makes a total of nine, which is three less than the lineups of the aforementioned two rival companies. 

Don't be confused by that web page, by the way. The first five platforms are X79 models. 

That said, we'll leave it up to you to go over there and look at all the specs of each board. 

Here, we'll draw attention to the most relevant features that Micro-Star International will be counting on as its competitive edge. 

For one, MSI made liberal use of Military Class II components: DrMOS II (DriverMOSFET, boosts efficiency and provides thermal protection), Hi-C CAP (Tantalum based capacitor with automatic recovery), Super Ferrite Choke (SF, 30% more power at 10% better efficiency) and Japanese Solid Capacitors (long lifetime under high workloads). 

Secondly, the formal press release made a point of the “advanced connectivity,” brought about by an integrated USB 3.0 controller and the Intel's Thunderbolt technology. 

Thirdly, there is the MSI OC Genie II, which overclocked the CPU, graphics and memory, with the push of a single button. 

The CPU will be set at 4.2 GHz (18% better performance), the memory will be pushed to 1,866 MHz and even the performance of the graphics card will be optimized. 

As for storage, prospective buyers probably know enough to expect the Intel SSD caching technology (sets an SSD as cache for the HDD, improving performance by 4.5 times). 

MSI's Z77, H77 and B75 will be priced according to how many of the above perks they possess. Built-in THX TruStudio Pro surround sound should be present on all of them.

Viacom vs. YouTube Billion-Dollar Lawsuit Back from the Dead

The "billion dollar" lawsuit that Viacom filed against YouTube five years ago is back from the dead. It was completely struck down by a district court in 2010 which, in a summary judgment, declared YouTube protected by the DMCA safe-harbor provisions.

Viacom couldn't let it go, obviously, and appealed the decision. Now the appeal court mostly upheld the original decision, despite wishful thinking on the part of the old media, saying that there is nothing to show that YouTube violated the law.

However, it did overturn parts of the lower court decision and send the case back to a district court to settle some of the matters. 

Essentially, the appeal court argued that YouTube could still be found liable, but that Viacom would have to provide actual evidence of YouTube having actual knowledge of specific videos that were infringing and not doing anything to stop it, a tall order.

ASRock Shows Off Its 7-Series Motherboards Too

As we mentioned when we wrote about Gigabyte's 7-Series collection of motherboards, other manufacturers have products of this type out as well. 

Whether by coincidence or not, ASRock has just as many Ivy Bridge-compatible motherboards as Gigabyte: twelve

One of them, the ASRock Z77E-ITX, is supposed to be “the most compact mini mobo to date”, but still packs mSATA (for SSD caching). 

For small businesses, ASRock made the Q77M vPro and B75 Pro3, powered by the Q77 and B75 chipsets, respectively. 

It is the X79 Extreme11 and X79 Champion that target gamers, and they are even called “top gaming machine(s)” in the press release. 

The former is “a premium motherboard using luxury material” and, thanks to an LSI SAS2308 chip, boasts eight sets of SAS 6.0 Gbps connectors. This means there are 10 SATA 3 ports (SATA 6.0 Gbps) in total. 

Meanwhile, a pair of onboard PLX PEX 8747 bridges provide more PCI Express 3.0 lanes than normal, making the X79 Extreme11 the first platform to support 4-way SLI and CrossFireX multi-GPU setups in PCIe Gen3 x16 / x16 / x16 / x16 mode. 

The other star of the show, X79 Champion, is “the world's most powerful gaming kit to date”, with V-Probe (a set of 7 detection points for voltage), Marvel SE9230 controllers (for HyperDuo plus technology where SSDs become cache for HDDs, leading to 14 times faster performance). 

Of course, ASRock's exclusive XFast 555 Technology and Lucid Virtu Universal MVP, not to mention Intel Smart Connect and Intel Rapid Start, are all present and accounted for too. 

The other two motherboards that we're going to mention are the Z77 Extreme9 and Z77 Professional, which only hardcore overclockers will want to get. They can push memory to over 3,000 MHz and run dual VGA card at PCIe Gen3 x16 / x16 mode or four VGA cards (4-Way SLI / CrossFireX) at PCIe Gen3 x8 / x8 / x8 / x8 mode.

Gigabyte Releases 7-Series Motherboards

Since Intel will be formally unveiling its Ivy Bridge central processing units on April 23 this year (2012), Gigabyte has decided to stop putting off the launch of its 7-series motherboard line. 

If anyone is wondering how we know when the chips will show, we don't (nothing is certain after all), but we did find reports saying as much. Go here to read all about the matter. 

Gigabyte's line of motherboards is fairly extensive, composed of 12 different models, to be exact. 

Most of them utilize the Z77 chipset, but there are a couple who rely on the H77 chipset too. 

"The new GIGABYTE 7 series motherboards are designed to offer a seamless upgrade for enthusiast PC DIYers by providing specifications and features that will be compatible with future CPUs, VGA cards, memory, SSDs, and wireless protocols for years to come," commented Henry Kao, vice president of GIGABYTE Motherboard Business Unit. 

"It makes sense then for us to aggressively transition to GIGABYTE Z77 and H77 motherboards so that enthusiasts can purchase them in anticipation for the release of Intel's highly sought after 3rd Gen Core™ processors." 

We could start listing all the specs of each and every one of these things, but that would defeat the purpose of all the information having been neatly arranged here

Still, we have to mention what Gigabyte treats as its marketing edge, and by that we mean more than the new and improved dual UEFI 3D BIOS

Ultra Durable 4 components, for one, grant the platforms a high level of stability and endurance. Secondly, Gigabyte implemented the All Digital Engine, which lets users control the power supplied to the CPU, VTT, memory and processor graphics. 

Thirdly, the press release mentions mSATA support (for the Smart Response SSD caching technology) and the Gigabyte EZ Setup (lets users more easily use Intel Smart Response, Intel Rapid Start, and Intel Smart Connect). 

Other assets include the Lucid Virtu MVP technology (switches between the CPU and add-in graphics) and a GIGABYTE Bluetooth 4.0/Dual Band 300 Mbps Wi-Fi PCIe Card. Stay tuned for motherboards from other manufacturers.

Google Tablet Launch Postponed for July – Report

Rumors on Google’s own tablet still continue to pour in, but nothing is certain for the moment. Lots of reports are citing “sources close to the matter” when revealing info regarding the price, availability and specs of the slate.

Yesterday, we have a new set of details that are coming from another “source close to the project.” The Verge claims that Google decided to push the launch of the tablet to July “due to effort to cut price.”

Keep in mind that the Google tablet was initially rumored to be released in May, but the search giant took into consideration the fact that the slate is not yet competitive enough when it comes to price.

It appears that the tablet is currently priced at $249 (190 EUR), which is way higher than prices suggested by earlier reports, which indicated that Google aimed for a price in the range of $149 (115 EUR) to $199 (150 EUR) for its device.

In addition, Google would have more time to further tweak the tablet and make some design changes, in order to be able to lower its price, thus making it more competitive in comparison with Amazon’s Kindle Fire 7-inch tablet.

Google is reportedly working with Asus to build this tablet, but the former might ink new partnerships for other tablets with important brands, including Samsung, HTC or LG.

According to the latest hearsay, the Google tablet features a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen display, an Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor and Wi-Fi support. Reports claim that the tablet would not come with 3G support, though the information is not confirmed yet.

Software-wise, there’s a large debate on whether or not the tablet will be powered by the upcoming Android 5.0 Jelly Bean operating system.

We doubt that this would be possible, given the fact that the 7-inch tablet has been entirely designed to work with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich platform.

28nm Shortages Quite Severe at TSMC

It looks like finances are doing bad things to the IT industry again, according to a new rumor that finally sets the record more or less straight in regard to whether or not TSMC is having trouble with its 28nm manufacturing process.

One would think that there would be more truth to all the statements from NVIDIA, Advanced Micro Devices and Taiwan Semiconductor manufacturing Company regarding the 28nm manufacturing process.

Alas, this does not seem to be the case, or at least not anymore. According to the most recent rumor published by Digitimes, TSMC is actually incapable of meeting demand for chips. Again.

The 40nm node was troublesome enough but, even with all the extra research and assurances, history is repeating itself.

The report makes mention of how yield rates of the 28nm are slowly improving, but this doesn't actually paint a clear picture of what level they are at.

Still, saying that TSMC cannot cope with demand needn't be synonymous with poor manufacturing capabilities.

It can just as easily mean that 28nm yields are good, or at least passable, but that AMD, NVIDIA and Qualcomm simply have been asking for too much.

As a recap, Advanced Micro Devices needs 28nm chips for all its Radeon HD 7000 series of graphics cards, while NVIDIA has finally revealed the GeForce GTX 680. Neither corporation has another supplier to call upon.

Qualcomm, on the other hand, has started to order smartphone chips from United Microelectronics Corp. It still hasn't scraped together enough though.

TSMC would probably solve the whole problem by expanding 28nm foundry capacity, but it doesn't want to do so because it would lead to smaller gross margins.

It will start building the 5th-phase expansion of Fab 14 though (a 12-inch fab in Southern Taiwan Science Park) on April 9. Nevertheless, the total foundry capacity won't go up by more than 10% this year compared to the previous one (2011).

ASUS G75VW Is Already Available in the US

Taiwanese computer manufacturer ASUS has already started shipping its new ASUS G75VW notebook to several online shops in the United States. This new giant replaces the famous and well-cooled G74, and even comes with an Ivy Bridge processor.

In the AS71 variant, the buyer receives an Intel Core i7-3610QM processor working at 2.3 GHz with 6 MB of Level 3 cache and a Turbo frequency of 3.3 GHz. The CPU sits in a G2 socket and is packaged in a 988-pin micro-PGA module.

The Core i7-3610QM processor has four cores with HyperThreading enabled, so there will be eight threads at work at any given time, if needed. It is packed with a Dual Channel DDR3 memory controller and HD 4000 graphics.

The maximum thermal design power is 45 watt, while the graphic controller integrated in the CPU runs at 650 MHz with support for DDR3-1600 memory.

On the storage side, the G75VW is equipped with a 750 GB Hybrid Drive but the amount of flash memory is not specified. The rotation speed of the drive is of 7200 rpm. This is likely to be a Seagate Hybrid Drive.

The graphics processing part is powered by an Nvidia GeForce GT 660M GPU using 2 GB of GDDR5 memory.

With the help of Nvidia's Optimus Technology, we hope the battery will be able to power this monster for at least two hours of normal browsing.

The memory can be up to 16 GB of DDR3 RAM, but there’s no info yet on the maximum speed specifications.

The screen size is 17.3 inches and the manufacturer has previously mentioned the fact that these notebooks can be equipped with 1600 x 900 or FullHD 1920 x 1080 panels. We’re hoping for a FullHD implementation but also for an IPS panel.

We can easily see four blue USB 3.0 ports in the pictures, along with an optical drive.

The dimensions are 41.4 cm by 32 cm by 2.28 cm with a weight of 3.9 Kg. That’s 16.29” by 12.59” by 0.9” weighing in at 8.6 pounds.

The price is around 1,599 USD: that's approximately 1,200 EUR for European buyers.

Alleged Photos of BlackBerry PlayBook 4G Emerge

Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion has been long working on the release of a 4G flavor of their BlackBerry PlayBook tablet PC, and it appears that they are finally nearing the official launch of this device

No formal announcement on the matter was made for the time being, but what appear to be the first photos with the device have just emerged online. 

In the first image embedded below, you will be able to see the SIM card slot, located next to the charging port, HDMI out slot and other ports. 

The second photo shows the tablet PC’s settings screen, where you can see the ‘mobile network’ icon. 

These photos appeared over at the CrackBerry forums and might not be the real thing, so we’ll take them with a grain of salt for the time being.

Nokia Lumia PureView with Windows Phone 8 Packs 41MP Camera and Dual-Core CPU

Nokia 808 PureView is not even available on the market, yet rumors on allegedly new Windows Phone devices integrating the PureView camera technology have already started to emerge.

The guys over at IT168 claim they got new information and even some specs details on an unannounced Nokia Lumia PureView smartphone. According to them, the shots were taken during a Nokia presentation, but they might be as well fakes.

However, IT168 confirms that the phone that appears in these pictures is just a concept design, which means the final product may look entirely different.

This seems valid enough as the phone looks to be too curvy and less attractive than the original Nokia 808 PureView Symbian smartphone.

Due to the fact that Windows Phone 7 does not support such a powerful camera sensor, the Lumia PureView is said to run Windows Phone 8 (Apollo) instead. 

Additional proof consists in the Windows touch-sensitive button in the middle that features the new design of the Apollo OS.

As we mentioned earlier, the device is packed with an impressive 41-megapixel camera with Carl-Zeiss lens and PureView imaging technology, which can capture full HD (1080p) videos with Nokia’s Rich Recording Technology.

Furthermore, the smartphone sports a large 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen (curved glass) display that supports HD resolution (no other details are available).

On the inside, the Lumia PureView is equipped with some kind of dual core processor manufactured by Qualcomm and an Adreno 320 graphics processing unit.

Curios enough, the folks at AndroSym highlight the fact that there’s only one processor that features the Adreno 320 GPU, and that’s the new Qualcomm MSM8960 Pro Snapdragon 4 with 1.5 GHz dual core Krait processor.

For the time being, there is no indication that this is a real device. But, as the source of the leak has already stated, this is a concept phone that might or might not make it to the market. After all, Nokia confirmed plans to bring the PureView technology to its Lumia series.

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