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Apr 11, 2012

Download Google Goggles for Android 1.8

A new flavor of Google Goggles for Android is now available for download, with various enhancements and fixes packed inside. 

The new flavor of the app was released as version 1.8 and was made available for download on Wednesday.

For those out of the loop, we should note that the Google Goggles app was designed to offer users the possibility to search the real world through taking pictures of things that interest them. 

In the new flavor of the app, the barcode recognition feature in Continuous mode is now twice as fast than it used to be. Moreover, recognized items in Continuous Mode that users tap on are now saved to user’s Search History.

Google Goggles was made available for download for all Android devices running version 2.2 and or newer. 

The software can be downloaded from Google’s official app portal, Google Play Store.

Download Nokia Suite

In addition to announcing the availability of a new software update for the Nokia Lumia 900, Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia also released a new flavor of Nokia Suite today. 

The new version brings along a series of performance enhancements, as well as improved features. Users will benefit from better stability of the software, and also from updates to the apps inside the suite.

The software can be used by all those who own a Symbian-based handset from Nokia, and it provides them with options that include syncing of files between the phone and a Windows PC.

The Suite was also designed to enable users to update their devices through a Windows computer.

The latest version of Nokia Suite can be downloaded from via links below.
Nokia Suite 3.4.21 Beta
Nokia Suite 3.3.89

Intel Medfield-Based Lenovo K800 Smartphone Launching in May

Unveiled back in January at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Intel Medfield-powered smartphone Lenovo K800 has just been confirmed for late May.

Intel’s China chief Sean Maloney said on Weibo that Lenovo K800 would be released next month with the company’s new “Avatar Technology.”

There is no detail on this new technology for the moment, but we’re pretty sure Intel will reveal more information closer to launch. 

Lenovo K800 is equipped with a 1.6 Ghz single-core Intel Atom processor and a PowerVR SGX 540 graphics processing unit (GPU). It will be powered by Google’s Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system with Lenovo’s LeOS UI on top.

It is also worth mentioning that the K800 features support for HSPA+, a stunning 4.5-inch capacitive touchscreen display, and an 8-megapixel rear camera. The smartphone will be available via China Unicom carrier.

SGI NAS Marks the Debut of Modular InfiniteStorage

Network-attached storage devices are all well and good, but SGI doesn't really feel that the ones currently in existence are up to scratch, so it has taken matters into its own hands.

SGI has introduced the first “fully integrated solution” from the SGI Modular InfiniteStorage product family.

Outwardly, it doesn't really look all that different from other network-attached storage devices.

On the inside, though, it actually has solid state drives and hard disk drives working in tandem, as well as RAM (random access memory) and an Intel Xeon E5 server CPU.

Essentially, the SGI NAS can have huge storage capacities, from terabytes to petabytes, making it a boon to any business.

"Customers continually ask for flexible solutions that don't tie them into one type of storage architecture as they look for ways to better manage continued data expansion across their infrastructures," said Tony Carrozza, executive vice president of field operations at SGI. 

"SGI NAS addresses this by ensuring that they can effectively deal with data today, and ensure it will be available anytime and anywhere as their data demands continue to scale."

SGI NAS supports multiple NAS and SAN protocols, as well as de-duplication, native compression, cloning and unlimited file size.

It even boasts a browser-based GUI, which means that any desktop or even a tablet can be used to administer it.

Add to that all the data integrity and easy integration into existing environments and SGI seems to have all bases covered.

"One of the biggest challenges facing any storage customer is rationalizing the cost and complexity of rapidly expanding data storage requirements," said Steve Conway, IDC research vice president for HPC. 

"SGI's Modular InfiniteStorage product family is designed to address this problem by merging a modular open storage architecture with advances in density. Products like this have a strong potential for boosting returns on data storage investments."

SGI NAS is available for pre-order, but prices are only established upon request, depending on exactly what configurations companies seek.

OpenDNS Blocks Flashback Trojan

The security and DNS provider for 2% of the world’s Internet users, OpenDNS, is blocking the Flashback Trojan that has infected almost 700K Macs to this date. Existing customers needn’t take any action, according to the company’s Director of Marketing, Allison Rhodes.

Noting that the Flashback Trojan is being described as one of the single biggest Mac security incidents of all time, Ms. Rhodes says OpenDNS includes protection in Premium DNS and it is also completely free to users, as it does in cases of very large scale attacks like this.

“People not yet using OpenDNS need only to set up the service on their wireless router, computer or device to secure their computers and devices from the attack,” according to the company’s marketing director.

A hierarchical distributed naming system for computers, services, or any resource connected to the web or a private network, the DNS associates various information with domain names assigned to each of the participating entities.

“OpenDNS is far and away the most ideal measure Internet users can take to protect their machines from Flashback, as OpenDNS is a proactive, preventative measure,” says Ms. Rhodes.

“It’s the only solution that doesn’t require software or installing of anything. All Mac users should switch to OpenDNS now to prevent infection, and avoid a scenario where infection occurs and disinfection is necessary.

Enabling OpenDNS prevents the Flashback Trojan from talking to its command and control, even if you find yourself infected, says Ms. Rhodes.

The OpenDNS executive adds that “If you’re already using OpenDNS services, no action is required to get the protection. It was enabled for you automatically. In addition to protection from Flashback, OpenDNS will also protect you from future, widespread attacks and make your Internet both faster and more reliable.”

OpenDNS Enterprise is available for businesses with a comprehensive set of definitions for malware and botnet protection.

Windows Phone 8 Appears in App Usage Statistics

Microsoft is moving closer to the launch of the next flavor of its mobile operating system, supposedly dubbed Windows Phone 8. 

Reportedly, the company is working on testing the upcoming platform to make sure that it is compatible with existing software, just as previously promised.

The “I'm a WP7!” app has registered usage on a Windows Phone 8 "Apollo" build 8.0.9662.0, though it seems that it was loaded in an emulator. 

While the results might have been spoofed, the app’s developer claims that they show reality, and that the Time Zone Offset lines up with Pacific Coast. 

Moreover, the guys over at WPCentral report that Microsoft has already started "dogfooding" Windows Phone 8 on March 30th, which clearly shows that it is moving closer to a final release. 

Microsoft has yet to confirm any official info on Windows Phone 8, which is rumored to be planned for launch in late 2012.

Script: Paper.js

Paper.js is an open source JavaScript vector graphics scripting framework. It allows developers to script animations in JavaScript and have them played out via the HTML 5 canvas utility.

The framework supports mouse and keyboard interaction, vector geometry, images, color averaging, symbols, paths, segments, selection outlines, mathematical operations, object conversion and a scene graph via a special Document Object Model.

Paper.js is largely based and inspired by Scriptographer, a scripting plugin for Adobe Illustrator.

If interested, Paper.js development is mainly done on its GitHub page. Also, don't forget to check out some of its cool demos on its official website.

Download Paper.js here.

Gartner: Windows 8 on 4% Tablet PCs This Year

In 2012, Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform could gain as much as four percent of the tablet PC market, a recent report from Gartner suggests. 

While this figure might seem very small, it will certainly be influenced by the late launch of the platform, supposedly set to become commercially available only in October. 

Windows 8 is the first platform version from Microsoft to arrive with optimizations for use on slates, but is expected to be a game changer. 

When debuting later this year, the operating system will be available on both x86 and ARM architectures, while capable of providing users with a familiar workspace. 

Microsoft already announced partnerships with a great deal of hardware makers for the launch of the new platform, but has yet to confirm specific info on devices. 

Before that, however, the company is providing users with a taste of the features and capabilities packed in the upcoming OS version through the recently released pre- and beta versions dubbed Developer and Consumer Preview. 

Although launched only in the fourth quarter of the year, tablet PCs powered by Windows 8 are still expected to pick up steam fast. The image below, available via TechCrunch, offers a view of Gartners prevision on sales of Windows 8 slate units. 

The entire tablet PC market will expand in the coming years, and Windows 8 will remain behind rival iOS and Android, the research firm notes, cited by Reuters. This year alone, the tablet PC segment should double, with Apple’s iPad leading the pack. 

Windows 8 will provide users with a consistent experience across different type of devices, and will also be accompanied by an application storefront for users to benefit from. 

However, it will be slightly different on ARM architecture, where it will not offer support for the desktop mode, potentially a deal breaker for many Windows users. 

On x86 architectures, however, Windows 8 will also provide support for legacy applications, and will come with the desktop mode enabled. 

Although it might not gain too much ground on the tablet segment, the platform will also be released with support for traditional computers, which should help it gain share on the overall OS market.

Invensas Creates Special Ultrabook Memory

Laptop components are fairly standard nowadays, but there come times when IT companies have to start thinking outside the box in order to make a new idea feasible.

As far as game changing devices go, ultrabooks are a fairly mild example, but they still forced, and are forcing, component makers to make their devices thinner and lighter, without cost impact if possible.

Invensas Corporation is one of the IT companies trying to help ultrabooks along.

What it invented is an alternative to the small outline dual in-line memory module (SODIMM) that notebooks, ultrabooks included, utilize.

Its invention is called DIMM-IN-A-PACKAGE multi-die face-down (xFD) technology.

Essentially, it is a miniature, soldered-down, ball grid array (BGA) package that has the same capacity and performance as a SODIMM.

“Right now, portable electronics roadmaps demand not just evolutionary products to reduce size and increase performance, but revolutionary solutions that provide a radical simplification of the product design and the supply chain,” said Simon McElrea, president of Invensas. 

“The memory challenge goes well beyond providing the required capacity. It’s about creating solutions that significantly reduce motherboard size and complexity, while increasing battery size (and hence life), and then dealing with all the heat. DIMM-IN-A-PACKAGE addresses all these issues simultaneously.”

The number of DRAM chips may vary according to needs, but to put things in perspective, a DIMM-IN-A-PACKAGE device with a Quad Face Down (QFDTM) package (the most common) can fill in for a single-sided, 16 x 16 x 1.0mm SODIMM.

That makes it suited not just for ultrabooks, but tablets as well.

There don't seem to be any contracts yet for the inclusion of the DIMM-IN-A-PACKAGE in ultrabooks or anything else, but Invensas has barely reached the point where it can demonstrate it, so that is understandable. The Intel Developer Forum (April 11-12, 2012) is when the technology will be showcased for the first time.

SIM-Free Nokia 808 PureView Arriving in the UK on May 7

Nokia 808 PureView has been confirmed for a May release for a suggested retail price of 450 EUR (590 USD). The smartphone is already available for pre-order in several European countries, but it’s pretty expensive.

Although Nokia has yet to announce a release date for the Nokia Belle smartphone, it appears that a UK-based retailer claims it will be able to start shipping the product on May 7.

MobileFun is now listing the Nokia 808 PureView for an insanely £539 (855 USD or 650 EUR) no-term price. 

However, the retailer mentions that both release date and price are subject to change, so expect this one to go cheaper as we near launch.

Nokia 808 PureView comes with Belle FP1 platform and packs an astonishing 41-megapixel rear camera with Carl Zeiss optics, autofocus, Xenon flash and full HD (1080p) video recording.via MyNokiaBlog

SONY SLT A57 Camera Preview and Photos

The Japanese company had something really different and surprising to unveil, the SLT-A57 photo camera.

The A-57 is the successor of SONY’s well known A55. SLT cameras are fundamentally different from standard DSLR camera or MILC cameras as well. SONY’s SLT brand name is translated into “Single-Lens Translucent.”

They don’t have the moving mirror that is present in all DLSR cameras. SLT cameras use the same large sensors as the DSLR cameras, but don’t have an optical viewfinder that would allow the user to see directly the image that forms through the lens.

Instead, SLT cameras have an electronic viewfinder (EVF), just like compact cameras have. Sure, the EVF from such a camera is of much better quality than the usual, compact camera EVF.

SLT cameras actually do have a “mirror”, but - unlike the one in DSLRs – this one does not move and it’s semi-transparent. The majority of  light passing through such a mirror will reach the sensor, while some part will be reflected towards the phase-detection autofocus sensor. This way, SLT cameras benefit from full time phase-detection autofocus and a much faster focus in general.

Most MILC cameras also can benefit from full time autofocus but that’s generally based on the contrast detection method that is less reliable and much slower. So SLT cameras have a noticeable native focusing advantage versus both, the DSLR and the MILC cameras.

This phase-detection autofocus is also very useful when filming, being available through the entire shooting of the video.

Because there is no real mirror and no optical viewfinder, there is no blackout when taking a picture and also, the SLT A-57 has much shorter shutter lag.

SLT cameras do come with some small compromise like the fact that there is no real-time viewfinder update when shooting at high rates. The viewfinder shows the last picture taken instead of where the camera is actually pointed, but this is mostly a concern with fast-moving subjects.

Some DSLR cameras do not update the image at all, as mirror is up when shooting so this is really a small compromise.

Also, the EVF has much less dynamic range than the sensor so the image is not the same with what is being captured at the time, but the overall quality of the EVF on the SLT cameras is considerably higher than on the MILC or compact cameras.

The SONY SLT A-57 benefits from a LCD viewfinder but this is a high quality EVF that offers 48% more effective pixels when compared with its predecessor, the A55. The effective number of pixels is 1,440,000 dots and it also has a special viewing mode for the users that are wearing glasses.

SONY calls its new EVF the Tru-Finder and  it’s really something different from the average EVF.

SLT A-57 also comes with a bottom-hinged rear 3” LCD that can be rotated into any direction. It has a 920,000 dot resolution and can also be flipped towards the back of the camera so that the screen is protected from scratches and the usual wear and tear. This is a Live View screen with Xtra Fine TFT and TruBlack technology.

The platform has a 16.1 mega pixel CMOS sensor that is also used for the image stabilization so that the optional lenses should have a lower cost. Having sensor-shift image stabilization means that the A-57, through the means of an adapter, will be able to take image stabilized pictures using almost any old Konica Minolta lens.

SONY’s SLT A-57 excels at continuous shooting mode being able to take 10 frames per second at full 16.1 MP resolution or 12 fps at a 8.4MP crop. This is something unique about the SLT cameras and the A-57 is the absolute best in its class.

The CMOS sensor size is 23.5 x 15.6 mm in ASP-C format and it can capture pictures at a maximum resolution of 4912 x 3264 pixels.  It can use 3:2 or 16:9 formats and the maximum manual ISO is a staggering 16000.

Using the ISO boost, it can reach an ISO value of 25600. What’s even better is that the A-57 shoots every single image of the 10 or 12 pictures complete with autofocus, when in continuous shooting mode.

The platform is powered by SONY’s newest generation BIONZ processor and it is really fast and efficient. The efficiency of the processing architecture can be demonstrated by the fact that the A-57 can easily surpass the official battery specifications being able to take around 1200 pictures and some FullHD movies with stereo sound during the two days it was tested.

The minimum shutter speed is 30 sec which is very good for capturing night images and the maximum speed is 1/4000 sec.

SONY’s new SLT camera also comes with a pop-up flash that is able to cover a distance of up to 10 meters. There is also an external flash Hot-shoe with wireless connectivity.

Unlike its predecessor, the A-57 has much more in common with the A65. It has the same body size and also the same battery pack as the A65 and A77. It’s a FM500H 1600 mAh battery.

Due to its very high shooting speed, the A-57 can capture breath taking panoramas that look very good even if there’s no tripod for it and they are shot by hand. Using 3D glasses and a HDMI cable, the user can also enjoy a 3D version of the panorama.

Using its fast BIONZ processor, the A-57 can film FullHD resolution videos at a maximum frame rate of 60 FPS in NTSC versions of the product and 50 FPS in PAL versions. Auto Focus is present through the entire video.

On the audio side, we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the stereo microphone integrated into the camera and there is also an external microphone jack present.

Overall, the SONY SLT A-57 camera is a surprising product with lots of really useful technical features that will likely make it a best seller this summer.

Pricing starts at 700 USD for the body and 800 USD for the kit containing a 18-55mm lens. That is around 535 EUR for the body and 610 EUR for the kit in Europe.

Intel to Bring Ultrabooks to Under $700 in Q3 (533 Euro)

We knew that Intel, and its OEMs, intend to set the price of Ultrabooks at $700 or less, but we didn't know just when all those vows would be fulfilled.

Now we do: Intel gave an update not long ago, in which it says that ultrabooks will be sold for $700 (533 Euro) by the time school begins again later this year (2012).

Alas, the European price will probably be closer to 600 Euro (or the full 700 Euro) instead of reflecting exchange rates, for whatever reason.

Anyway, most of the 75 Ultrabooks planned for 2012 will be convertible (probably), meaning that they will switch from tablet to laptop whenever people want.

Needless to say, they will have touchscreens in order for that to work and Windows 8 will probably figure prominently among the crowd.

Eizo 36.4-Inch Monitor Has 4K Resolution

We didn't think it was all that strange to hear about 45-inch or larger panels with a super high resolution, but we do feel it is a bit odd that a smaller one is in the works.

If what Zone-Numerique says is true, Eizo is getting ready to launch a 36.4-inch monitor with a native resolution of 4,096 x 2,160 pixels, or 4K.

We can't really see the point of such a high resolution on that panel size but, then again, 36.4 inches isn't exactly on the small side either.

Anyway, the monitor supposedly has 100% sRGB color coverage and a 16-bit lookup table with up to 278 trillion colors.

Also, the maximum brightness is of 700 cd/m2, the contrast ratio is of 1,000:1 and the response time is 8ms.

In other words, minus the response time, this is a top-notch piece of work.

Alas, the price is definitely not going to sooth people's hearts and pains. In fact, the Japanese tag is 2.88 million yen, or $35,700 / 27,093 Euro.

The Eizo FDH3601 monitor will be showcased at NAB 2012 (April 14-19), but there is no guarantee that availability will extend to other regions or that the price will go in any way lower.

Microsoft Offers Tools to Ease Migration from Windows XP, Vista

This week, Microsoft marked an important milestone in the evolution of its products, through moving Windows Vista and Office 2007 into extended support, and starting the countdown to the end of official support for Windows XP and Office 2003. 

Two years from now, on April 8th, 2014, the older Windows XP and Office 2003 will reach the end of their updates lifecycle. Vista and Office 2007 still have five years of extended support to enjoy. 

According to Microsoft, its customers, especially enterprises, should strongly consider migrating to newer products, such as Windows 7 and Office 2010. 

Those companies still using Windows XP and Office 2003 internally are those who should kick off the planning of a transition to these products in the shortest period of time possible. 

To help them, the Redmond-based software giant came up with a series of resources that should assist in all phases of the process, starting with the Springboard Series on TechNet, where in-depth advice regarding deployments is available. 

Additionally, there are tools to ensure fast migration to newer versions of the Windows platform or the Office productivity suite:

  • Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) can be used to help accelerate your deployments.
  • Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) products such as Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) to simplify BitLocker Drive Encryption provisioning and provides compliance reporting that can help you quickly determine the status of the entire organization.
  • Windows Intune, which offers PC management and security via the cloud, plus upgrade rights to the latest version of Windows – a great solution for companies that have groups of lightly managed or non-managed PCs.
  • You can also make the move to Office 365 and get familiar Microsoft Office collaboration and productivity tools delivered through the cloud. Everyone can work together easily with anywhere access to email, web conferencing, documents and calendars.

At the moment, Microsoft is providing free security updates for Windows XP / Vista and Office 2003 / 2007, along with various other paid enhancements to companies who signed special agreements with it. 

Download Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

Intel Studybook Tablet Formally Released

Rumors about the Studybook tablet have been crawling around the web for over a week now, but they can be finally set to rest as the actual launch has now arrived.

The Studybook tablet, the newest addition to Intel's Classmate PC product line, doesn't really have the most self-explanatory of names.

After all, it is not shaped like a book at all, even though it is meant to replace such things, to an extent.

Basically, the Studybook is a table that, Intel hopes, will be used by students instead of paper textbooks.

In other words, rather than log around a backpack full of books all the time, or having to maintain a locker with all sorts of materials, people will just need to have their tablet with them when going to school.

“An Intel studybook offers students limitless opportunities to enhance their learning experience,”said Kapil Wadhera, general manager of Intel’s education market platform group.

“Expanding the Intel Learning Series portfolio of affordable, purpose-built educational devices brings us closer to our vision of enabling more students and teachers to participate in high quality education.”

The 7-inch Studybook has an Atom Z650 system-on-chip as a central component: 1.2 GHz speed, 512 KB cache, 3W TDP.

The display is an LCD with a native resolution of 1,024 x 600 pixels and capacitive touch support.

Backing the CPU is 1 GB of DDR2 memory and up to 32 GB of NAND flash storage space (4 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB and 32 GB are the exact possibilities).

Finally, the product boasts two cameras (0.3 megapixel at the back, 1.2 megapixels on the front), a microSD card slot, HDMI, a light sensor, an accelerometer, a speaker, a microphone and, of course, wireless support (802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, optional 3G and Bluetooth).

It should be noted that Intel added some special software, to suit the Studybook's role: LabCam, an optimized e-reading tool, a user interface that allows student-teacher collaboration, etc.

As for the physical design, it is actually quite rugged, with a single piece of plastic as the back layer and shock-absorbers around the screen (accidental drops from the desk should be unable to damage the slate, water and dust protection is reasonable, etc.).

The price of the tablet will be decided by OEMs, but it is estimated at under $200 (probably just as many Euro in Europe, instead of 151). No word on how soon schools will start using it.

Nokia Belle FP1 Update Out for Nokia 603/701, Boosts CPU to 1.3GHz

Soon after it delivered the long-awaited Nokia Belle upgrade to all Symbian Anna devices in its portfolio, the handset vendor promised another major update for the latest smartphones launched on the market last year.

Although lots of other Symbian phones have been left out, such as Nokia N8 and C7, the fact that the Finnish company is trying to improve the Symbian experience offered by its newest devices must mean something.

Dubbed Feature Pack 1 (FP1), the update seems to be live in several regions, including Italy and the UK. The folks at Nokialino have just learned that Nokia Belle FP1 can now be downloaded via Nokia Software Updater, which also received a new update.

For the time being, it has been reported that FP1 is only available for Nokia 603 and 701, though the Finnish company confirmed the update would be delivered to Nokia 700 units as well.

The most important change that Nokia Belle FP1 brings to these three smartphones is the speed boost improvement of the integrated processors.

Nokia 603, 700 and 701 are equipped with a 1 GHz single-core processor, but once the FP1 is applied, their CPUs will be automatically clocked at 1.3 GHz. 

The weird thing is that Nokia confirmed this new change only for 700 and 701 models, but it looks like the 603’s processor will also receive a speed boost.

Other improvements offered by Nokia Belle FP1 include Dolby Headphone and Dolby Digital Plus, enhanced personalization options, and no less than 20 new and improved widgets.

Furthermore, the notifications and multitasking bars have been improved, while the integrated browser got faster and now supports HTML5. The latest version of Nokia Maps is available as well, along with Microsoft Apps.

On a side note, Nokia 808 PureView will be shipped with Nokia Belle FP1 out of the box, so users won’t have to install this update. However, it’s unclear what will happen with older Symbian smartphone that already received the Nokia Belle update.

Slow Symbian and Windows Phone Sales to Impact Nokia’s Q1 Results

Nokia’s first quarter of 2012 is expected to be a slow one, similar to the last three months of the past year. 

Analysts suggest that the mobile phone maker will post disappointing financial results for the three months period ending March 2012. 

In fact, they claim that the company’s performance has been greatly impacted by the diminishing sales of Symbian handsets and the slow take off of Lumia devices. 

Canaccord Genuity analyst Mike Walkley has lowered the forecast on Nokia’s earnings for the timeframe, while waiting for the Finnish mobile phone maker to make an official announcement on the matter. 

“We are lowering our estimates ahead of Nokia’s Q1/12 earnings report as our checks indicate weak Symbian sales, seasonally soft feature phone sales, and a slow ramp in Windows smartphones,” the analyst noted, according to BGR.

Nokia’s shares still have a Hold rating, while their price target is expected to drop to $5. 

“Our global checks indicated mixed Lumia sales with price declines helping sales trends in Europe. However, our checks indicated extremely poor Symbian sales trends and seasonally soft feature phone sales, resulting in our lowered Q1/12 Devices and Services sales estimate from 4.9B to 4.7Bm,” he continues.

Moving forth, Nokia is expected to experience growth, though predictions are still mixed with uncertainty. In fact, the success of Microsoft’s entire Windows Phone platform is still questionable, the analyst notes. 

“While we believe global wireless carriers intend to diversify product portfolios and support Windows smartphones, we view 2012 as a critical year for the Windows ecosystem to gain market share,” Walkley said. 

“Given the investment necessary to grow the ecosystem, we view 2012 as a transitional year and anticipate a modest pro forma loss for Nokia.”

This is not the first time that the future of Windows Phone is said to be uncertain, nor the first time that Nokia’s ability to regain it foothold is questioned. 

However, the strong sales that Lumia 900 has seen in the US in the first days of availability suggest that Microsoft and its hardware partner might have finally found the right formula for success. Hopefully, it won’t take them too long to bring other similarly appealing devices on shelves.

Gainward Builds 4 GB GeForce GTX 680 for Some Reason

There is a new video card up for sale, one that will probably leave people bemused, those who know a bit about PCs anyway.

Gainward has a new version of the Geforce GTX 680 graphics card up for sale.

This wouldn't ordinarily merit much awe, not after so many of those things showing up, from NVIDIA or its partners.

Nevertheless, Gainward really did it this time: instead of 2 GB of GDDR5 VRAM, it crammed in 4 GB.

The beast is already listed actually, for 5,995 Kronor ($878.7 / 672 Euro), on Swedish retailer Komplett.se.

There may or may not be a backplate on the rear side of the card, for chilling the extra memory chips.

At any rate, we aren't going to jump at the chance to get this thing, not just because 4 GB are a bit pointless, but also because dual-GPU AMD and NVIDIA cards are inbound and will probably have a similar price.

Sapphire Reveals Pure Platinum Z77/K Motherboard

We've already covered a significant number of upcoming 7-Series motherboards, but that doesn't mean that there aren't more of them on their way to stores.

In fact, Sapphire has just made its contribution, or at least has offered a glimpse of one mainboard of this type.

The product bears the name of Pure Platinum Z77/K and uses the ATX form factor.

One can tell at a glance that Sapphire didn't really gloss over any of the platform's capabilities.

To start off, there are four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, which means that up to four cards can be installed in multi-GPU setups.

A standard 4-pin Molex connector will have to be used in this case.

Besides the above, the motherboard has a pair of PCI Express x1 slots and four dual-channel memory slots, leading to a maximum of 16 GB DDR3, or 32 GB if users somehow get 8 GB modules.

Moving on, Sapphire gave its creation four SATA 3.0 Gbps ports and a pair of SATA 6.0 Gbps connectors, plus AHCI and RAID support.

What's more, the rear I/O panel is made up of dual Gigabit LAN, two USB 3.0 ports (two more are possible via pin headers), four USB 2.0 ports (six more via headers), optical SPDIF and 7.1 audio.

Not only that, but the developers tossed in Dual BIOS, a digital debug display, a BIOS reset button, the Sapphire QBIOS (UEFI BIOS with lots of overclocking features and BIOS backup from within the BIOS itself) and voltage test pads placed at the edge.

Finally, Sapphire's Pure Platinum Z77/K has a black multilayer PCB (printed circuit board) and gold-plated USB 3.0 and LAN connectors, plus solid capacitors, multi-phase PWM, Sapphire Diamond Black chokes and low profile coolers on the PWM (allows large CPU coolers to be installed unobstructed).

Apple Store Down, Outage Banner Redesigned

The Apple online store (store.apple.com) is officially down for maintenance. As usual, Apple will not provide any details as to why the outage is necessary, but the company has made one visible change so far.

The famous yellow sticky sign that we had all grown accustomed to has been replaced with a cleaner post-it note featuring rounded corners (much like the icon of an iOS app) on a light-gray linen background - reminiscent of the Mission Control and Notification Center backgrounds in Mac OS X and iOS.

The message, however, is almost identical: “We’ll be back. We’re busy updating the Apple Store for your and will be back soon.”

Previously, whenever Apple took down its web-based store, the company would put up a yellow sticky sign with the message: “We’ll be back soon. We are busy updating the store for you and will be back shortly.”

Apple sometimes takes down its online store to feature new products.

There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks about Apple refreshing its computer lineup. Both the MacBook Pro and the iMac (desktop) line are said to be getting the latest Ivy Bridge processors from Intel. Apple fans will agree that this is merely a matter of time, though it helps to know the release date.

Some recent developments indicate Apple is phasing out the optical disc drive in its notebooks. According to numerous well-placed sources, the Cupertino, California tech giant is switching the MacBook Pro to a completely new design akin to that of the hot-selling, super-slim MacBook Air.

By removing the optical unit, Apple will be able to significantly reduce the thickness of its laptop computers as well as gain more space for a larger battery and other components.

As for the iMac, the only design change reportedly aimed at Apple’s all-in-one desktop solution is an anti-glare display. That does’t mean there won’t be any other changes that haven’t yet been discussed in the media.

Toshiba Formally Introduces the New All-in-One Desktops

In addition to releasing a bunch of new laptops and the Excite series tablets (including a massive 13.3-inch slate), Toshiba has launched a pair of all-in-one computers. 

The new AiO PCs are called LX815 and LX835 and, for the most part they are identical, except for the size of their displays. 

That is to say, the former measures 21.5 inches in diagonal, while the latter has an LCD (liquid crystal display) of 23 inches. 

“Toshiba has completely revamped the design of our All-in-Ones to make them an even more attractive productivity and entertainment device for the busy home,” said Carl Pinto, vice president of product development, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division. 

“We’re confident the All-in-One market will continue to power the desktop market. Toshiba is committed to bringing new elegant and powerful machines into our lineup to balance our customers’ desire for both strong performance and appealing design.” 

Toshiba advertises the LX815 and LX835 as a blend of high performance, style and affordability. 

Seeing as how, in that order, the prices are of $599.99 (458.74 Euro) and $879.99 (672.82 Euro), that last part actually rings true. 

Shipments will only start in the third quarter though (Q3, 2012), since Toshiba still has to wait for the appropriate third-generation Intel Core central processing units (22nm-based Ivy Bridge). 

And thus we finally get to the specifications, not the least notable of which is the maximum memory capacity: 16 GB of DDR3. 

In addition to that, the company tossed in a pair of USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, SRS Premium Sound 3D Onkyo speakers, HDMI, a Blu-ray drive (on select models) and a TV-tuner with IR blaster for connecting a set-top box or DVR (also on select models). 

Not only that, but USB Sleep & Charge, PC Health Monitor and Toshiba's eco Utility (for adjusting power) are present as well. 

Finally, the LCDs are of the Full HD type (the resolution is of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels) and the systems have EPEAT Gold and Energy Star 5.0 ratings.

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