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Apr 13, 2012

First HTC Golf Press Shot Leaks, to Be Released as HTC Wildfire C

HTC Golf is a budget-friendly Android smartphone, which is set to make its debut on the market in the following weeks.

The folks over at Pocketnow managed to get their hands on the first render of the phone, along with full details on the specs sheet. 

However, this is not the first time we heard about the HTC Golf. About a month ago a test photo leaked online, as well as some of the phone's hardware configuration.

Although it has been tipped as a budget-friendly device, the HTC Golf will be released with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system out of the box.

Apart from that there's nothing really impressive that could make it standout. Hardware-wise, the device is equipped with a single core processor, mostly likely clocked under 1 GHz.

In addition, HTC Golf is rumored to pack 512 MB of RAM, 4GB of internal memory and microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB). 

The amount of memory can be further expanded up to 25GB of free cloud storage via Dropbox. The offer is available for free for the next two years.

It will come with a decent 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen display that supports 480 x 320 pixels resolution. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and HSDPA (7.2Mbps) support is included as well, along with Beats Audio.

We still don't know that number of megapixels on the rear camera, but it has been confirmed that HTC Golf will sport a secondary front-facing camera for self portraits and video calls.

It is also worth mentioning the smartphone won't be launched on the market as HTC Golf, as this is just a codename. Rumor has it that HTC Golf will be released as Wildfire C, but this has yet to be confirmed.

Obviously it's too early to talk about the price, but it will probably be among the cheaper Android 4.0 ICS-based smartphones.

Sony Kicks Off Android 4.0 ICS Upgrade for Xperia Arc S, Xperia Neo V and Xperia Ray

Two weeks ago Sony promised it will start upgrading its 2011 Xperia smartphones to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich platform beginning mid-April. 

True to its promise, the Japanese company has just announced the immediate availability of the update for three models.

Starting today through early June no less than eight 2011 Xperia smarpthone are scheduled to receive the Ice Cream Sandwich update.

However, it would be impossible for Sony to deliver the update to all these eight smartphones at the same time. 

This is why the handset vendor stated it will make a short announcement every time Android 4.0 is released for a 2011 Xperia smartphone in a certain region. As expected, the first devices to get the upgrade are the Xperia arc S, Xperia neo V and Xperia ray. 

For the time being, the update is only available in Nordic countries, so those who own one of the three smartphones and live in Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland or Norway can now upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

According to Sony, the software rollout for Xperia arc S, Xperia neo V and Xperia ray will continue over the next 4-6 weeks, so we can safely assume it will be made available in other regions soon. 

Moreover, the company plans to keep its customers informed on the availability of Android 4.0 ICS, so it will update its blog site when it becomes available in additional markets.

The update is now available for download in the countries mentioned earlier via Sony's PC Companion desktop software.

In the same piece of news, Sony confirmed that the following device will be upgraded to Android 4.0 ICS next: Xperia arc, Xperia PLAY, Xperia neo, Xperia mini, Xperia mini pro, Xperia pro, Xperia active and Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman.

The Japanese company plans to start the second phase of the software rollout from the end of May or early June.

Nokia Lumia 900 Data Connectivity Fix Now Available for Download

It's been more than a week since Lumia 900 made its debut in the United States via AT&T. Customers who preo-ordered the Nokia Lumia 900 received their devices last Friday, but those who wanted to visit the nearest store to grab one had some troubles in finding one that would be opened.

Although Nokia had spent lots of money for the Lumia 900 marketing campaign, it only took one day to get overwhelming negative feedback.

It appears that its Windows Phone flagship smartphone was plagued by a annoying software bug that would make the device unable to connect to AT&T's data networks.

It's a miracle that Nokia's support site didn't not crashed due the high traffic generated by disgruntled Lumia 900 owners who didn't know what's causing the problem and were asking for help.

Unfortunately, AT&T was as clueless as most Lumia 900 owners, so even if the carrier was willing to exchange people's SIM cards, the phone would still not be able to connect to any of its data networks after a short while.

However, the answer came on Monday when Nokia came forward with a short statement in which it apologizes for all the problems caused and promises to deliver a software update that would correct this issue on or around April 16.

In addition, the Finnish company every customers who has already purchased the Lumia 900, or who will purchase one until April 21 will get a $100 credit to their AT&T bill from Nokia. 

Basically, this means that those who want to buy themselves a Nokia Lumia 900 won't have to pay anything for it until April 21. 

Last but not least, Nokia offered customers with faulty Lumia 900 units the option to swap their phones for an updated Lumia 900.

It appears that Nokia was able to deploys the promised software update for Lumia 900 two days earlier than expected. 

The update is now available for download via Zune or Windows Phone 7 Connector. In addition, Lumia 900 owners also have the option to exchange their phones at any AT&T store until April 21.

Larry Page Hints at Upcoming 7-inch Google Tablet

Google is rumored to be working on its own branded tablet, in cooperation with ASUS. It's expected to be a dirt cheap, 7-inch tablet which will bring the full ICS experience to the lower end of the price spectrum.

Now, CEO Larry Page fueled the speculation by praising small cheap Android tablets that have been successful. While he doesn't say it by name, he's of course referring to the Kindle Fire.

The Fire does run Android, but it's a completely customized build with no Google services, an empty victory for Google.

"Obviously there's been a lot of success on some lower-price tablets that run Android, maybe not the full Google version of Android," he said in a conference call. "But we definitely believe that there's going to be a lot of success at the lower end of the market as well with lower price products... It's definitely an area we think is important and we're quite focused on."

Bell BlackBerry Curve 9380 Is History, Reaches “End of Life” Status

It appears that RIM’s BlackBerry Curve 9380 was a total fiasco. The smartphone was launched on the market in November 2011 and got retired about four months later.

According to a Bell internal document published by the guys over at MobileSyrup, BlackBerry Curve 9380 smartphone reached “End of Life” (EOL) status on March 21.

The all-touch entry-level Curve 9380 is one of the cheapest BlackBerry 7 smartphones available on the market, and the first full touch device in the Curve family.

The phone sports a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen display that supports 360 x 480 pixels resolution, an 806 MHz single-core processor, 512 MB of internal memory, 512 MB of RAM and microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB).

There’s also a 5-megapixel photo snapper on the back, which features LED flash and video recording.

Devs to Reduce Memory Usage for Low-End Windows Phones

In February, Microsoft unveiled a new flavor of its Windows Phone operating system, one destined for lower-end devices, such as the highly affordable Nokia Lumia 610

The company had to make a series of modifications to the platform, to ensure that users would receive a consistent experience from the OS even on these devices, and it has already provided a series of details on the matter. 

Application developers are also urged to apply new principles when designing their applications, so as to make sure that owners of these under spec’d devices can enjoy their software. 

One of these requirements involves a reduced memory usage for their apps, just as previously mentioned. To be more precise, Microsoft is suggesting that apps should not eat more than 90MB of memory when loaded on handsets with only 256MB of memory. 

Basically, this means that all apps that need more than that should be redesigned to eat less memory. Those who already have lower requirements do not need urgent modifications in this area. 

In a recent post on Microsoft’s blog, Mike Battista provides a series of details on what developers should do when it comes to targeting lower devices with their software. 

For example, developers can take advantage of memory profiler and memory-related API's to learn more on the areas in which they could improve the memory usage of their applications. 

“These tools can help you understand pretty quickly what the peak memory usage of your app is as well as what the breakdown of memory usage is across various states of your app,” Battista explains. 

“A general principle to keep in mind is that loading less will result in less memory usage. Loading less could mean loading less data at a time, loading less/smaller content, or fixing leaks which result in more objects residing in memory over the lifetime of your app.”

When it comes to optimizing applications for 256MB devices, modifications brought to memory usage are of great importance. Devs can learn more on the matter via said blog post, which also links to additional documentation on the matter.

Intel's Other Windows 8 Tablet Ideas Revealed

By the end of this year, Intel intends to have at least one tablet loaded with Windows 8 out and about, one that may or may not bear its brand. 

Intel is the main promoter of ultrabooks, but it doesn't actually make those things. OEMs, like Samsung, do it instead. 

The same sort of situation is bound to come about on the tablet market as well, but we aren't completely sure anymore that Intel will restrict itself to the position of component provider. 

During IDF 2012, the Santa Clara, California-based company introduced its vision for tablets running Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system. 

This may be a leap of logic, but we can't help but consider that maybe there will be an Intel-branded slate on sale. 

We've already covered the lofty battery life promises and the likelihood of Intel providing 3G/4G chips itself. 

Now, we are going to see what else the corporation is thinking about, and we mean things besides the obvious (better processing, better graphics and the overall better experience due to Windows 8). 

The weight, for instance, will be of below 1.5 pounds, or 0.68 kilograms. Secondly, the thickness will be of less than 9mm. 

If one really must make the iPad comparison, the iPad 3 weighs 1.44 pounds (0.65 kilos) and is 9.4mm-thick. 

Moving on, Intel's tablet vision includes NFC (near field communication) and Wi-Fi Direct, plus a 10-inch screen with most likely an 1,280 x 720 resolution (or higher even, it depends on cost and trends). 

For those who need a reminder, Windows 8 will be selling by fall, which means that a wave of tablets will be launched around the same time. 

Between the OS, the flash storage and the Atom Z2760 "Clover Trail" dual-core chip, with Hyper-Threading and burst mode, maybe there really will be advanced slates with battery lives of 9 hours.

Facebook to Enable Vanity URL and Email Address for All Users

Facebook is a Frankensteinian website, a very successful one at that, but one put together from bits and pieces, nonetheless. Various features and sections are added, or dropped, each created by a different team, each with its own particularities and its own degree of success.

Facebook's email service is not something most people have heard about, let alone used. Still, with 850 million users, at the last count, even an obscure feature is going to get quite a lot of usage.

Facebook is now working to bring a bit of coherence to the site, and maybe make more people aware that they do have a Facebook email address, by pushing those that haven't chosen one already to pick one and also set up their vanity URL.

By default, the vanity URL, technically the Facebook username, will also be used for your Facebook email address, but you can change that. Of course, if you have picked both your URL and your email address, Facebook won't bother you.

"Starting today, we're updating addresses on Facebook to make them consistent across our site. Now, the address people use to get to your timeline and send you email on Facebook will be the same," Facebook wrote.

"Updated addresses will be rolled out over the next few weeks. Note: Anyone who already selected an email address will not be affected," it added.

If you haven't chosen either a vanity URL or an email address and don't want to wait for the Facebook notification, you can do it now at facebook.com/username.

One benefit of the move, which is touted by Facebook as well, is that, after the switch, knowing someone's Facebook timeline URL is the same as knowing their Facebook email address and the other way around. Any email sent to their Facebook address will end up in their Messages box.

HTC EVO 4G LTE Approved by FCC, Pre-Orders Start in May

HTC EVO 4G LTE was officially unveiled by Sprint last week. Although the carrier confirmed customers would be able to pre-order the device beginning May 7, it did not provide an exact release date.

According to Sprint, the EVO 4G LTE will hit shelves in Q2 for $199.99 with a new two-year agreement, while the availability date will be announced closer to launch.

The guys over at Engadget have just spotted the smartphone at FCC (Federal Communications Commission) on its way to Sprint’s airwaves.

Even though the HTC EVO 4G LTE received FCC’s approval so early, customers will still have to wait for almost a month until the carrier kicks off pre-orders and probably more until the smartphone hits shelves.

Also known as HTC One XL, the EVO 4G LTE is Sprint’s new Android flagship smartphone in the EVO family. The handset will be shipped with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich platform integrated with HTC Sense 4.0 user interface.

Unlike the HTC One X that comes with a quad-core CPU, the EVO 4G LTE is equipped only with a dual-core Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon processor clocked at 1.5 GHz, which is complemented by an Adreno 225 GPU and 1GB of RAM.

Unfortunately, the EVO 4G LTE does not come with microSD card slot for memory expansion, but offers users no less than 16GB of internal memory, along with 50GB of free cloud storage.

On the back, the smartphone boasts an enhanced 8-megapixel camera with autofocus, LED flash and full HD (1080p) video recording. Rumor has it that the new HTC One devices have some of the best cameras on the market due to the new ImageSense technology.

Obviously, there’s no point on putting the HTC EVO 4G LTE against Nokia 808 PureView’s 41-megapixel camera, but the former’s photo snapper could be ranked among the best nevertheless.

Intel Seeks High-Resolution PC Displays, Arrival in 2013

We've seen how the HD resolution has supplanted 1,024 x 768 as the most popular worldwide and, now, we find out that Intel wants things to move even faster on the display market.

According to Liliputing, the Santa Clara, California-based company fully expects higher resolution displays to start gaining in prominence from 2013 onwards.

And by “higher resolution,” we mean higher than even Full HF (1,920 x 1,080 pixels), not just HD (1,366 x 768 pixels).

In fact, all displays are bound to advance, Intel thinks, not just PC monitors (3,820 x 2,160 pixels). 

That means laptop panels (and yes, ultrabooks too) will have 2,180 x 1,800 quality (13-inch diagonal) or 2,560 x 1,440 (10-inch and 11-inch ultrabook/tablets).

What's more, smartphones will leap a bit too, to 1,280 x 800 pixels.

We don't really think Full HD is old enough to be considered outdated, so we can't say we'll fall on our blades in grief if Intel's hopes don't come to pass so fast. We'll see what happens.

Samsung Espresso 7 and 10 Tablets Emerge, Launch in June

It looks like Samsung has more aces up its sleeve this year. After arousing Android fans’ interest with the recently announced Galaxy Note 10.1, the company plans to release at least two additional tablets.

Dubbed Samsung Espresso 7 and Espresso 10, these tablets have just been spotted in a document highlighting the upcoming Samsung TVs. 

Apparently, these two unheard-of tablets will be compatible with the Samsung Smart View application that allows users to view images or watch movies on bigger screens directly from their mobile devices.

There are no technical details on either of them, but the document mentions that both will be powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. 

In addition, at least one of these tablets, the Samsung Espresso 10 will be launched in June 2012. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter. via Frandroid

Script: Sly

Sly is a really useful and advanced jQuery plugin for creating one-directional scrolling objects.

Sly is quite an unique project because it does not focus on creating a per se slider, a page navigational system or any other scrolling-focused widget, but it's more like a framework for deploying one-directional scrolling components.

Of course, it can create all of the above elements, as featured sliders, carousels, infinite scrolls, transitions, lazy loading objects, image galleries, etc., but it's main utility is to provide a basic core and collection of methods for implementing one-directional scrolling.

Sly supports and works the same for both vertical and horizontal scroll directions.

Check out this plethora of demos on Sly's homepage and keep up to date with the latest project news via its GitHub project page.

Download Sly from here.

Sony Xperia PLAY HD Concept Phone Packs Quad-Core CPU

Mobile phone users who are fond of gaming while on the go will always be looking for a smartphone capable of offering the best of the two worlds. 

Sony Ericsson made a first step in this direction with the launch of Xperia PLAY, but the device feels outdated when compared to current handsets out there. 

The first quad-core smartphones are already out on shelves, and enthusiasts are dreaming of the moment when a successor to Xperia PLAY will include such as chip as well. 

Coming from Bob Freking (via Concept-phones), the new Sony Xperia PLAY HD concept phone packs all the hardware capabilities that enthusiasts are looking for in such a device. 

The same as the original Xperia PLAY, the new handset would feature a sliding gamepad, along with a touchscreen display. 

The screen is said to be 4.3-inch in size diagonally, an HD 1270 x 720 Reality Display. Beneath it, there is a 1.5GHz quad core Tegra 3 application processor with all of its horse power to fuel great gaming on the fly. 

The rest of the handset’s specs list is as impressive, starting with the 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back, with support for 1080p HD video recording. 

The Sony Xperia PLAY HD concept device packs 1GB of RAM, along with 32GB of internal memory, and a microSD memory card for users to be able to add some more storage in the equation. 

The smartphone is expected to provide support for PSP games, most probably expected to be available for it via downloads.

Of course, this is only the product of an enthusiast’s imagination, but we would not be surprised if such a device became official in the not too far future. 

After all, the first steps in this direction have already been made, with the launch of high-end smartphones that pack similar features, and with the release of the first PlayStation-certified handset, the Xperia PLAY.

Price Cuts Coming for AMD Radeon HD 7900

As all the NVIDIA Kepler-based GeForce GTX 680 graphics cards kept coming out, Advanced Micro Devices would just not reduce the prices of its Radeon HD 7900 series. 

This was weird, because the GTX 680 managed to best the HD 7970 in many areas, although not all of them, while costing less. 

Now, though, it is said that the Sunnyvale, California-based company is doing what needs to be done. 

The Radeon HD 7970 will dip by around $60 / 45 Euro, which means that its price will be of $489 / 372 Euro if people get lucky. 

Meanwhile, the HD 7950 will decrease by up to $55, which means that its MSRP will go to $394 / 300 Euro. 

As for the HD 7770, it might also be made cheaper, by roughly $15 or so (currently, it costs $155 / 118 Euro).

Samsung Wants DDR4 Sooner Than Intel Does

We have reported on how Intel expects DDR4 to start replacing DDR3 in 2014 and, now, it seems that not everyone is happy about that time frame. 

It is a known fact that DRAM makers are not having the time of their lives right now.

With Elpida bankrupt and everyone else losing money constantly, memory makers need a saving grace of some sort.

It is for this reason that Samsung wants DDR4 out sooner than 2014. DDR3 are just not profitable anymore because of their very low prices.

In fact, Samsung already has a DDR4 UDIMM. The product was revealed back in January 2011 really.

Going from DDR2 to DDR3 took three years. Samsung, and Hynix, hope for the transition from DDR3 to DDR4 to be completed faster.

For our part, we feel that existing memory easily breezes through any games, so consumers probably won't die if they don't get DDR4 kits next year.

Samsung Confirms Windows Phone 8 Handsets for 2012

Before the end of this year, South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics will bring to the market smartphones running under Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 operating system. 

The company has been long rumored to plan the launch of such devices, and confirmation has already emerged, it seems. Samsung Taiwan let it slip that the company will deliver Windows Phone 8 Apollo-powered phones in the second half of the year, ePrice notes

The smartphones are expected to become available sometime in October at the earliest, the same month when Microsoft launches the platform. 

For the time being, however, no specific details on the handsets have emerged, nor on the upcoming mobile operating system. 

Rumor has it that Samsung is set to dispatch other Windows Phone devices as well in the near future, including the LTE-capable Mandel SGH-i667, which will run under Tango.

Samsung Focus S

JEDEC Starts Process to Standardize Wireless NAND

JEDEC has announced its latest project, the creation of a standard for non-volatile memory that also incorporates wireless connectivity.

Wireless connections are everywhere nowadays, but that doesn't mean that the storage performs the data transfers itself.

Indeed, everything down to wireless HDDs and SSDs use a special chip and/or antenna to broadcast the signal.

Nevertheless, there are such things called secure digital (SD) memory cards with Wi-Fi support.

The JEDEC Solid State Technology Association has now begun work on a standard for such products.

Once it is complete, users may finally have more than ease of use as a point of interest.

What we mean by that is that, even though the Wi-Fi SD cards are easy to use, they have existed for years without gaining fame because their capacities are low. Add to that the high costs and reliance on special software and there isn't much of an incentive to get one.

Nevertheless, data transfer technologies have begun to use such cards more often.

“The new wireless memory activity in JC-64 is part of an ongoing effort within JEDEC to extend memory technologies to meet the industry’s need for innovative solutions that best meet enterprise and consumer demands,” said John Kelly, the president of JEDEC.

“We welcome all interested companies to participate in the development of open industry standards within JEDEC to help enable and grow the market for wireless memory.”

The first order of business will be to push the data speed to over 100 Mbps while coming up with a universal means of enabling read/write between Wireless Memory Tag (mobile devices) and Wireless Memory Host (battery-free memory tags).

“There is currently no standard for this type of high speed, low power wireless data transfer. Creating a standard is essential to enabling manufacturing, distribution and retail businesses to benefit from the 100+ Mbit/s transfer rates achieved at close proximity, using very low power wireless memory. It will also enable consumers to enjoy new, fast wireless experiences, such as downloading a music album in under 10 seconds in a store,” said Hannu Kauppinen, head of Nokia Research Center.

NVIDIA Speaks in Favor of 450mm Wafer Plants

In order to make up for the longer time it takes to start production, larger wafers will have to be used in the making of next-generation semiconductors.

NVIDIA has rather bluntly stated that the chip industry is essentially dependent on the opening of manufacturing plants that produce larger wafers.

The main issue with companies like itself, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices is that it takes longer to actually start producing next-generation chips than it did a decade ago.

All the while, they need to be able to launch a new chip every year or so.

As such, since they don't really have as much time to make the units, they need to make more of them at once.

Using 450mm wafer factories is the next logical step, according to the Santa Clara, California-based GPU maker

"A diverse host of new technologies and methods will be needed to keep the industry on track to profitably deliver a trillion-transistor device by the end of the decade. The industry needs to move to 450mm wafers to deal with the increasing number of masks and process steps required to make chips," said Sameer Halepete, vice president of VLSI engineering at Nvidia, according to EETimes website.

The engineer predicts that chips will have up to a trillion transistors by 2020, 232 times more than the most sophisticated GPU of today.

Larger wafers will reduce the price of every chip, but actually making the fabs is more expensive than making facilities for smaller wafers.

Nevertheless, the step is needed, and it is a good thing that more and more companies are joining the effort. After all, AMD and NVIDIA have more than enough on their plate, having to strike the design complexity while also meeting power efficiency standards.

"New process technologies are running out of steam in their ability to lower power because voltages are not decreasing significantly. Thus the next wave of improvements in energy efficiency will come from tools that can suggest optimizations in logic and circuit designs. It is hard for engineers to find more than half or two-thirds of these opportunities," explained Mr. Halepete.

Intel Medfield Benchmarked on Reference Design Tablet

Anyone hoping that Intel's next-generation mobile chip will one-up Tegra 3 will probably be disappointed.

Intel has been advertising its Medfield chip as a competent competitor to ARM-based mobile platforms.

Alas, while the processing prowess and power consumption might be decent enough, the graphics leave much to be desired.

At least, this is what the AnTuTu Benchmark suggests. Having been run on the Intel reference Design tablet, it got to 5,335 points.

Meanwhile, the HTC One X smartphone, powered by Tegra 3, got 10,369 points, simply because its 2D and 3D graphics are much better.

On the bright side, those 5335 points at least suggest that the Medfield is fine when it comes to CPU Integer Performance, CPU Floating point Performance, SD card reading/writing speed and Database IO performance.

BBM to Arrive on Android and iOS This Year

Research In Motion has been long expected to make its BlackBerry Messenger available for devices running under other mobile operating systems than its own, and it appears that things might be nearing an official unveiling. 

Rumor has it that the company is getting ready to have the BBM available on Android and iOS devices in 2012. 

Moreover, screenshots that unveil some of the latest advancements RIM has made with the development of the service also emerged, courtesy of technobuffalo

Apparently, the Canadian mobile phone maker will include BBM for Android and iOS in its Mobile Fusion package as well, so that enterprise users could enjoy it. 

Since no official announcement on this was made, we’ll take the info with a grain of salt. However, we’ll keep an eye out for more info on the matter, so stay tuned.

Samsung Series 5 Ultrabook Goes Pink and Mocha

The Series 5 ultrabooks from Samsung have been around for quite a while now, but that doesn't mean they don't have anything new to offer. 

Sure, as soon as the Ivy Bridge CPUs show up, they Series 5 will probably take a step aside and hand over the torch to a new line. 

The ones already out aren't going to just disappear though. 

In fact, Samsung has prepared some new color options: Hot Pink and Mocha Brown. 

They haven't made it online yet, but Amazon should soon list them alongside the rest, right here

The specs will stay the same though: dual-core 1.6 GHz Core i5-2467M CPU, 4 GB RAM, 500 GB HDD, 16 GB SSD cache, HD SuperBright display, all expected connectivity and I/O, etc.

DDR4 in 2014, Behold the Speeds and Power Needs

As new CPUs and motherboards appear, so does new memory, but the time is nearing when DDR3 can no longer keep up with all other advancements. 

After seeing Intel's plans for the hard disk drive market, we get to look at the next big thing on the RAM segment. 

We are, of course, talking about DDR4 RAM (random access memory) and how it compares to DDR3. 

Then again, “compares” is not as correct as “will compare.” The new memory standard won't go into circulation for at least two more years after all. 

Nevertheless, the process of replacing DDR3 will start in 2014. 

According to VR-Zone, the DDR4 standard is just about finalized, or will be soon enough. 

The initial base speed grades will hover around DDR4-2667 and DDR4-3200 and will be followed by DDR4-4000 and DDR4-4266. 

That's right, while the first two won't exactly go much higher than DDR3 can go today, the later iterations will clearly surpass the existing solutions. 

The issue of growing latency will be addressed by implementing more banks (16 on each die), which means that more pages can be opened at the same time. 

Alas, that will still leave DDR-3400 with CL15, or thereabouts. Fortunately, subsequent design changes, at module and board level, will reduce the load per memory channel, eventually allowing for lower ones. 

All this will work on 1.2V of energy or lower (down to 1.05V for DDR4L), while ECC (error correcting code) handles DDR4 parity better than on previous memory types. 

It should even be possible to recover from command and parity errors without the system crashing, something that servers, particularly those based on Intel Haswell EX CPUs, will benefit from greatly. 

All in all, a higher bandwidth is assured and, while latencies won't be something to die for at first, they will improve as well. Samsung and Hynix should have sample chips ready this year (2012).

Israeli Spies Planted Stuxnet Using Infected Memory Stick

Sources from within a US intelligence agency revealed that the Stuxnet worm was placed on computers located in Iranian nuclear facilities by double agents that utilized a cleverly designed memory stick to start the infection.

After, at the end of 2011, an expert from the United States revealed that Russia might be behind the now-infamous Stuxnet, anonymous sources cited by ISSSource point the finger at the US and Israel. More precisely, it’s believed that the spies were part of Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK).

According to Vince Cannistraro, once the head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism, the MEK is “the assassination arm of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service,” being responsible for “the motor attacks on Iranian targets chosen by Israel.” Others also blame MEK for ordering assassinations on Iranian citizens, among which a number of nuclear scientists.

Reportedly, the MEK infiltrator used the memory stick at the nuclear plant in Natanz, the method being considered far more effective than simply letting the worm spread on its own.

By using the malicious stick in the most vulnerable parts of the system, Stuxnet was able to infiltrate the networks. 

On the surface, the virus looked nothing more than a harmless file, but, when clicked, it started the infection by leveraging zero-day vulnerabilities.

If it’s true that the US is behind Stuxnet, as initially believed, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially since it would not be the first time. 

In the ‘80s, military intelligence placed bugs in Russian computers with the purpose of stealing satellite information from their hard drives. Apparently, this practice is still ongoing today with China.

Also, in 1991, before Desert Storm, the United States and the United Kingdom collaborated on placing a virus on the computers of Iraqi officials. At the time, the piece of malware couldn’t cause much damage because of the air raids that began shortly after it had started to spread.

New Alleged Photo of Samsung GALAXY S III Leaks

Another week, another purported picture of the illusive Samsung Galaxy S III emerges online. However, until Samsung officially announces the device, we can’t really know for sure what the final product will look like.

Coming directly from Poland courtesy to OPDA blog site, the alleged photo of the Galaxy S III shows a device that meets almost all the criteria that we’ve been speculating on for the past several weeks.

As seen in the picture, the device features a physical Home button just like the European version of the Galaxy Note. That is in perfect line with the latest reports that pointed to a last minute design change that we wrote about a few days ago.

Even though the icons on the screen are completely blurred, we notice they are organized following the five-row column pattern that was suggested in the same piece of news, a few days ago. Again, this UI seems to be similar to Samsung Galaxy Note’s user interface.

The classic design may be the only thing that would probably not appeal everyone, as most of us would have expected to see something really spectacular especially that Samsung is reportedly using ceramic coating for the Galaxy S III.

On the other hand, this could very well be a faked image and we’re still in the dark on the Galaxy S III’s design.

Unfortunately, we still don’t have any other confirmed info on the smartphone’s specs sheet or release date. However, most reports suggest that Samsung Galaxy S III might be announced next month.

It’s interesting that the latest hearsay points to an iPhone 5 launch around the same timeframe, May/June 2012. Either Samsung did it on purpose or it’s pure coincidence that Samsung Galaxy S III and Apple’s iPhone 5 will be launched only a few weeks apart.

Intel Wants HDDs of 5mm Thickness

Once in a while, a new product type shows up, which somehow gets enough backing that the industry segment it is part of has to change to some extent as well. 

Intel could be said to be running an advertising campaign for ultrabooks all on its own, even though there are plenty of PC makers who sell such things. 

Meanwhile, people haven't really been buying them all that much, but the Santa Clara, Calfornia-based company is nothing if not determined. 

Thus, instead of the item type losing support because of the lack of appropriate components, the PC industry had to come up with new things to suit them. 

Intel is now lobbying for a new breakthrough: hard disk drives with a thickness of just 5mm. 

That's right, the company wants storage suppliers to come up with super-thin, platter-based storage units. Somehow. 

Nevermind that Western Digital barely managed to create 7mm ones and considers the feat a great accomplishment (and let's be fair, it really is). 

For the HDDs that Intel wants, a new SATA interface would have to be made, about a quarter of the size of the existing SATA. It will also be moved from the center of the drive to the corners. 

All in all, the 5mm HDDs would be 28% smaller, volume-wise, than current 2.5-inch drives and still attain 1 TB capacity by 2015. 

At present, there are solid state drives thin enough for the sort of super-thin laptops that Intel envisions. 

However, setting aside just how expensive they are compared to HDDs, 128 GB or 256 GB just isn't enough space to go around. 

Sure, an external hard disk drive can make up for that, but the whole point of ultrabooks is to have an easy to carry laptop at all times, and needing extra baggage sort of clashes with the concept. 

All in all, 2015 is a realistic enough time frame and, even though it will be impossible to have more than one platter in the new HDDs, increasing data density should make up for it.

Intel Promises 9 Hours of Battery in Windows 8 Tablets

Tablet PCs running under Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system should soon start popping up on shelves, capable of delivering the performance levels that users are already expecting from them. 

Based on Intel architecture, some of these devices could prove the iPad competitors what Microsoft has long promised. 

In fact, Intel appears confident in their capabilities, and claims that they will indeed offer the battery life and performance capabilities to enable them top selling charts. 

At a conference in Beijing, Intel demoed Windows 8 tablets and provided more details on their hardware and capabilities, CNet reports

Featuring its Atom Z2760 "Clover Trail" chip, these slates should boast over 9 hours of battery life, getting really close to what Apple’s iPad has to offer at the moment. 

All the connectivity features that Apple’s users benefit from will be included with these devices as well, just as Microsoft explained a few months ago. 

Additionally, it seems that we’ll be able to enjoy a variety of form factors, including hybrid 11-inch designs that will add physical keyboards into the mix (much like ASUS’ Transformer). 

These products should hit shelves before the end of this year, most probably sometime in the fourth quarter of the year, when Microsoft makes Windows 8 available commercially. 

The platform has been long rumored to be on its way to arrive sometime in October, three years after Windows 7 was released. 

While Microsoft appears on track to meet the deadline, questions have been raised on its partners’ ability to deliver Windows 8 tablets in due time. 

Windows 8 is shaping up as a great operating system for the tablet segment, but its success is also conditioned by the hardware capabilities of compatible devices. 

Based on Intel’s sayings, we can assume that these products will be able to meet expectations, and that they will enjoy a strong start, when launched in late 2012. However, we still have roughly six months to go before they arrive, and things might change in the meantime.

Intel Reveals Ultrabook with Slider at IDF 2012

Utrabooks have so far been, in essence, notebooks with thinner cases, but Intel is exploring additional form factors now, especially those employed by other portable consumer electronics.

The idea of turning an ultrabook into a tablet, and vice versa, is not a new one at all, and has probably been around since ultrabooks were first thought up.

There is already a model with a 360-degree hinge, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga.

Now, Intel has shown a prototype ultrabook with a sliding mechanism not unlike that of certain convertible tablets.

Called Letexo, it is dubbed a “Hybrid Ultrabook” and might just be what laptop makers need to make ultrabooks really popular.

In addition to the regular notebook use, the screen can be slid forward, making it a touch-based all-in-one PC.

Of course, folding the screen flat is perfectly possible too, covering the keyboard and essentially completing the tablet transformation.

And since Ultrabooks have been advertising themselves as laptops with tablet-like thickness, even with a physical keyboard present, the Letexo is not bulky at all.

There is no information on the internal components of the “best of both worlds” device, beyond the reliance on the Ivy Bridge platform.

The slide of the presentation suggests at least two USB ports are included in the blueprint as well. Of course, this is not some sort of massive revelation. Every self-respecting PC has some USB ports nowadays, usually 3.0. Finally, an HDMI port appears to be present too.

No clue what companies, if any, have taken up the task of producing devices that fit this reference design. Knowing Intel, there would have probably been some special announcement to this effect if there had already been any takers.

Then again, this build is still barely out of planning stages, so OEMs might not have had a chance to analyze it yet.

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