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Apr 20, 2012

Google Maps Gets Updated High Resolution Satellite Imagery in Over 100 Countries




Google has updated satellite and aerial imagery in Google Maps for quite a few locations. There is new high-resolution satellite imagery in more than 100 countries as well as aerial images in the US and a few elsewhere.

If you've got photographic memory or the update just happens to be for a place you check out a lot or recently, you may be able to spot the changes in Google Maps and Google Earth, but don't beat yourself up if you don't.

Even though there is new imagery for pretty much every corner of the Earth, the update is a usual one covering only a portion of the planet's surface, all of which is available in Google Maps.

To check out exactly where the new images are, you can download the KML file provided for Google Earth. You can also be notified of updates in any location you choose via the Follow Your World tool.


AMD Powers ASUS Laptop, K53TK




For some reason, Advanced Micro Devices didn't score many design wins with its Fusion architecture, even though the Llano accelerated processing units weren't half bad.

Now, everyone seems to be anticipating the Trinity APUs, as if the Llano barely had any significance. It goes to show how something can go through life without getting the recognition it deserves.

Fortunately, not all companies have turned their backs on the APUs.

In fact, ASUS has only just finished preparing the K53TK-SX0A8 laptop, or so PC Watch says.

The notebook measures 15.5 inches and relies on the AMD A8-3520M quad-core, whose base clock is 1.6 GHz and which boasts the Radeon HD 6620G graphics.

As if the integrated GPU wasn't enough on its own, ASUS also tossed in a Radeon HD 7670M discrete graphics chip, backed by 2 GB of memory.

This all makes for a pretty strong machine, and the memory is not going to drag behind either: 8 GB of DDR3-1333 MHz.

All these are supported by the AMD A70M FCH chipset and show their mettle on the LCD, whose resolution is 1,366 x 768 pixels.

Sure, it's not Full HD, but it's not like that image quality has much point on a screen of this size.

What's more, the high-quality video support can prove its worth when an HDTV or high-end monitor is connected to the laptop via D-Sub or HDMI.

Speaking of which, connectivity and I/O make a fairly impressive list, with 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, an SD/SDHC/MMC card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, FireWire and a 1.3 MP webcam.

As for storage, ASUS gave the K53TK-SX0A8 an HDD (hard disk drive) with a capacity of 750 GB, plus a DVD SuperMulti optical unit. 

Sales should start soon, if they haven't already, in Japan at least. The price is said to be 79,800 JPY ($970 / 744.51 Euro).


Script: Mosaiqy




Mosaiqy is a new jQuery plugin for creating grid layout image galleries. But unlike other grid image albums, instead of showcasing the image inside the modal, Mosaiqy shifts images around and presents the chosen photo right under the thumbnail.

The plugin supports static images and photos retrieved from online services like Flickr, Instagram and Panoramio.

Mosaiqy also supports image captions, shown for both the thumbnail state and the full image version.

Developers can follow Mosaiqy's development via its GitHub project page here. And to get them started on their own implementations, a variety of demos are included with the download package.

Download Mosaiqy here.


Fist AMD “Trinity” and “Brazos 2.0” Chip Shipment Pictured




Now that Diablo III is getting ever so close, Blizzard fans everywhere will have something that will definitely play the game at, probably, the best value on the market. AMD’s Senior PR Manage Phil Hughes has recently posted a picture of AMD’s first shipment of “Trinity” and “Brazos 2.0” CPUs, on AMD’s official blog.

“Trinity” is AMD’s not-so-secret weapon against Intel’s HD4000 and especially against Nvidia’s new GeForce 620M GPU. From a meeting we had with Nvidia last evening, we think that AMD’s iGPU in “Trinity” will likely overpower Nvidia’s lowest-end mobile Kepler GPU. 

While the 600M series are performing wonderfully and are very efficient, even if they’ve managed to get so many design wins, AMD’s “Trinity” will attack the low cost part of the mobile discrete GPU market and it will do some significant damage.

Sure Nvidia won’t be bothered too much as Intel’s 90% of the mobile market is enough for them, but AMD’s 3D performance slides will likely look very good when AMD’s iGPU equals or beats Nvidia’s lower mobile Kepler GPU.

These AMD boxes filled with Trinity and Brazos 2.0 CPU are heading towards ASUSTEK COMPUTER and will probably power a new batch of laptops , netbooks and, why not,  nettops and tablets.

“The 2012 AMD A-Series APU helps improve on virtually every aspect of our current A-Series APUs while doubling the performance-per-watt over our previous generation. It enables Brilliant HD, amazing productivity and accelerated applications across a spectrum of form factors – including ultrathin and mainstream notebooks, embedded devices and desktops,” said Phil Hughes.

He also confirms that “Brazos 2.0” have been shipping since last quarter.

We're happy to see AMD's "Trinity" is ready, but we're hoping for more notebook manufacturers to take it seriously at least for their mainstream offerings as a "Trinity" based 17.3" or 15" notebook, with or without an aditional discrete video card, is a great sell for 80% of the laptop buyers out there.

Now that the power consumption is so low and that the iGPU is so powerful, we think that AMD's "Trinity" should find itself a great competitor in the affordable, under 2 Kg, market segment.


Rumor Mill: Windows Phone 8 Will Come to Lumia Phones




Some of the latest reports around the web suggested that Microsoft was testing the upcoming Windows Phone 8 platform on devices provided by Nokia. 

Additionally, there are also those who suggest that Microsoft and Nokia are planning to deliver an OS upgrade for the company’s Windows Phones, and some new reports on this have just emerged. 

Apparently, all of Nokia’s existing Windows Phones will receive an upgrade to Windows Phone 8 Apollo, even if nothing has been officially announced on the matter for the time being. 

Owners of Lumia 800, 710, 610 and 900 certainly rejoice learning this, though they should take the news with a grain of salt for now. 

João Luis, Nokia evangelist & developer, is confident in his source’s claims that things will indeed turn this way, so stay tuned to learn more on the matter.


Gigabyte WindForce 5X, Five-Fan Mayhem




We thought N-Control's gamepad would be enough for us to gawk today, but Gigabyte trumped that, and more. 

If you want a GeForce GTX 680 and have a big windows on your case, it makes sense that you'd look for one that stands out. 

Gigabyte may have gone a little overboard when it made the WindForce 5X cooler though. 

That's right, the beast has five fans. Five 40 mm fans that sit on the top edge of the card instead of the side. 

The goal is to ventilate hot air in a single direction, but we can't help but wonder at the higher chances of the board getting defective (five fans means five times the chance of the fan to burn out). 

Then again, we can't argue with results, and nothing screams “hardcore graphics card here! Gaze upon me long and hard!” like a massive cooler. 

The launch is supposed to happen very soon, but we don't know exactly when, or what price we should expect.





Lenovo ThinkPad X230 Pictured, AccuType Keyboard




Lenovo will release a successor to the Thinkpad X220 at some point, one that bears the name of X230 and a chiclet AccuType keyboard. 

Opinions might be divided on whether or not the keyboard is a good thing, but we like it. 

Some of us also like the clickpad with the buttons “at the top” instead of the bottom, although we understand if some would find it awkward after getting used to the regular type. 

Anyway, the ultraportable laptop will probably measure 12.5 inches in screen diagonal, like the X220. 

There may also be a touchscreen involved, although the highest likelihood is for Lenovo to have such a panel as an optional feature. 

A ThinkPad X230T will appear at some point too, sporting a convertible form factor (will switch from tablet to laptop mode). Touch support won't be optional in its case. 

Alas, we don't have any specifications to impart. The Lenovo forum has offered the photo and nothing else.


MSI GE60 and GE70 Gaming Laptops Launched




Today, MSI has announced the company’s new line of gaming notebooks, on its official website. The two models unveiled are the 15” GE60 and the 17.3” GE70.

Both laptops feature Intel’s yet unreleased Ivy Bridge CPU and Nvidia’s GeForce GT650M discrete graphics card that is part of the Kepler-based, 600M series.

While we cannot give out too many details about the CPU, we think that, by now, most of you know that the Ivy Bridge architecture will bring significant power consumption reductions, next to the expected performance improvements.

On the 3D side, Nvidia’s GeForce GT650M has 2 GB of dedicate graphics memory and can reach a score greater than 10,000 in 3D Mark Vantage benchmark using the Performance setting of Futuremark’s software. It’s a DX 11 GPU with PhysX.

Both notebooks weigh less than 3 Kg and are very slim. This is due, in part, to Nvidia’s cool and efficient GPU that doesn’t require a big cooling system.

The cooling system has a Turbo button that, when de-pressed , will automatically increase the rotation speed of the cooling fan to decrease the temperature of the system and increase stability.

Of course MSI’s automatic overclocking technology is present and it’s called TDE. That’s short for “Turbo Drive Engine” technology.

The body of the notebook is sheathed in the latest laser-etched Color Film Print, which is not only cool-looking, but it also protects against scratching and wear.

The GE60 and GE70 also come with “MSI Audio Boost” technology and golden audio jacks next to the built-in earphone AMP that gives headsets superior acoustics.

On the connectivity side, both laptops feature USB 3.0 ports with 4.8 Gb/s speed.

The keyboard is very high quality, it comes with back lighting and is signed by the famous SteelSeries.

The 17.3” LCD screen has a 1920 x 1080 FullHD resolution and comes also with a 720p, 30 fps HD WebCam.

Both notebooks come with a 6-cell 49Wh battery so the 15” model will obviously have a longer battery life than the 17.3” one.

The memory supported is DDR3-1600 MHz and the maximum capacity is 8GB.

While the Bigfoot Gaming LAN adapter is still present, we fear that essential features that were previously exhibited by earlier prototypes were left out.

MSI’s press release doesn’t say a word about the SuperRAID ability previously presented, the eSATA port on the backside of the notebook nor the differential back lighting of the keyboard. Or maybe those features are reserved for the GT models. Let’s hope so!

On the other hand, both GE notebooks come with HDMI and a card reader.

Pricing has not been made available yet, but we do know the exact weight of each model. The GE60 comes with a 2.5 Kg weight, while the GE70 weighs 2.8 Kg. That is around 5.5 pounds for the GE60 and 6.1 pounds for the GE70.



Microsoft Enables Management of Windows on ARM for “BYO” Scenarios




One of the challenges that IT pros face today is the increasing number of personal devices that employees are bringing to the enterprise environment

Ranging from smartphones to tablets and other portable PC form factors, these devices are being used more and more at the workplace, and require access to sensitive corporate data. 

Thus, managers need to find solutions that would offer them the possibility to efficiently overview the extent to which they can control these devices. 

This is one of the main focuses in the development of Windows 8 and, specifically, the designing of Windows on ARM, Jeffrey Sutherland, a program manager lead in our Management Systems group, explains in a recent blog post. 

“Our focus has been on how we can continue to deliver PCs and software that users need, like applications and data-access on any device, with enough IT control to assert that the device is trustworthy, while avoiding any compromise of the user’s privacy on their personal device,” he notes. 

The next flavor of Windows will come with support for business-tailored applications and will enable enterprises to deploy their own apps for the devices their employees use. 

They will be able to deploy these on devices without having to publish them in the Windows Store, through software such as System Center Configuration Manager and Windows Intune, though only on x86/64 devices.

For Windows on ARM – or Windows RT, as it will be ultimately called –, Microsoft came up with a new management client meant to enable the delivery of LOB apps to users.

“There are actually two parts to the WOA management client: the built-in system component, which we’ll call the agent; and a Metro-style app, which we’ll call the self-service portal, or SSP, that the consumer uses to browse for and install LOB apps made available to them,” Sutherland explains. 

“Both parts of the WOA management client are well behaved Windows 8 apps in terms of user experience, power management/battery life, network awareness (for metered networks), and overall functionality.”

In this post on the Building Windows 8 blog, Jeffrey Sutherland provides some additional info on how Microsoft reshaped the way in which systems management is done to meet the growing trend towards “consumerization” of IT with the introduction of Windows RT.


Team Group's Xtreem Memory Line Works Well with Ivy Bridge




Team Group has made it more than clear (not that we didn't see it coming) that motherboard makers are not the only ones set to benefit from the arrival of new CPUs. 

It is expected that people will buy H77, Z75 and Z77 motherboards en masse as soon as the launch happens (on April 23, probably). 

Still, while there is no shortage of motherboard announcements, memory makers are taking a stand too. 

Team Group has taken its turn, but instead of revealing some specific product, it announced that all its modules and kits would work with the new chipsets. 

Of course, it went without saying that there would be backwards compatibility, so there was hardly a need to shout this from the rooftops. 

The company probably knew it too, having specifically named the Xtreem and Elite RAM series.


ASUS Intros GeForce GTX 680 DirectCU II TOP Graphics Card




Just because we know the GeForce GTX 690 dual-GPU card is approaching doesn't mean that there aren't going to be more single-GPU announcements. 

After all, custom card builders seem to have fallen into a sort of pattern where they first launch reference models and then get more and more creative. 

ASUS is in one of its most creative stages right now, having brought forth the GeForce GTX 680 DirectCU II TOP. 

As is easy enough to guess, it is a factory-overclocked version of NVIDIA's Kepler-based adapter, one that has a new cooler too, among other things. 

We'll get the frequencies out of the way first, since they are enough to cement this thing's status as overpowered beast. 

The GPU works at 1,137 MHz (1,201 MHz with GPU boost active), while the 2 GB of GDDR4 VRAM operate at 6,008 MHz. 

Indeed, although the memory sticks to the reference setting, the GPU more than surpasses the regular 1,006 / 1,058 MHz. 

What makes this all the more noteworthy is that the DirectCU II cooler drives temperatures 20% lower and reduces noise by 14 dB. 

A special mention should go to the Super Alloy Power components too, as they last 2.5 times longer than the normal ones. 

Moving on, links to monitors or TVs are possible via two DVI ports, an HDMI connector and DisplayPort. 

Finally, in a very convenient turn of events, the 6-pin and 8-pin power connectors aren't stacked (they are side by side instead). 

All in all, ASUS shaped the GeForce GTX 680 DirectCU II TOP graphics card as the sort of creature that hardcore gamers and overclockers will be able to enjoy the most. Sure, the price will be higher than $700 / 550 Euro (prices found on online retailers), but people who afford high-end PCs probably won't care overmuch about this.


ASUS TUF Sabertooth Z77 Motherboard Formally Launched




ASUS has unveiled one of its highest-end motherboards, part of the established TUF series and outfitted with the Thermal Armor cooling technology that seldom gets called upon.

Thermal Armor is a military-grade cooling solution that uses a convection hole design and optimizes VRM cooling, as well as pretty much everything else.

Thus, on the Sabertooth Z77, only the CPU socket is left bare, since CPUs have their own coolers and it makes sense that there would be as much space as possible, knowing how huge some air coolers are.

In addition to the heat dissipating traits, the Thermal Armor is backed by a Thermal Radar, whose Fan Overtime feature keeps a pair of turbo fans running for a while after system shutdown.

Moving on, the TUF engine power design pairs the thermal Armor with 8 +4 +2 Digital Phase Power, military-grade Choke, Cap. & MOSFET, DIGI+ Power Control Utility, etc.

Not only that, but the self-explanatory Dust Defender is present as well.

Needless to say, ASUS wasn't about to strap this effective and expensive cooling setup on just any motherboard.

In other words, the Intel Ivy Bridge-ready Sabertooth Z77 motherboard has top of the line performance specs too.

For starters, four memory slots permit a top capacity of 32 GB DDR3 RAM (dual-channel, 1866/1600/1333 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory).

Secondly, there are four SATA 6.0 Gbps ports and six SATA 3.0 Gbps connectors, plus RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 support.

Furthermore, ASUS tossed in a pair of PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, for single and dual-card graphics setups, although the dual mode will have the slots working in x8 mode.

One PCI Express 2.0 x16 (x4 mode, black) is available too, plus three PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots, Gigabit Ethernet and, of course, video ports (HDMI and DisplayPort).

Finally, the I/O list includes a bunch of USB 3.0 connectors (four ports at the back, two via headers) and 10 USB 2.0 (four at the rear panel, six through headers).


Nokia Shoots 808 PureView Promo Video with the Phone Itself




Soon, a new Symbian-based mobile phone will become available for purchase with Nokia’s logo on it, namely the 808 PureView. 

Announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, the handset packs a 41-megapixel photo snapper on the back, the most advanced camera on a smartphone. 

To show some of the most important capabilities of this device, Nokia came up with a special promo video, which has been shot using the phone itself and which can be seen embedded above. 

Not only does the device offer fast photo shooting capabilities, but it can also record high-resolution videos and deliver an impressive level of detail in each image. 

“Watch this video to learn more out about this ground-breaking smartphone and its 41MP image sensor. Zoom. Shoot. Share in seconds. It's pure image quality,” the Finnish handset vendor notes.

Google Street View Live Now in Israel




Google has started rolling out Street View in Israel, a couple of days before it was set to. Imagery is now live in several cities in Google Maps. Despite setbacks, Google has been expanding Street View to more places. It took longer to get Israel online as the approval process was a bit tougher than in other places.

Google got approval to shoot in the country last summer and the first imagery is now live online. Places like Jerusalem, Haifa, Tel Aviv and others can now be visited in Google Maps.

Google announced intentions to shoot in Israel early last year, and it was engaged in several months of negotiations to get to this point.

The company agreed to blur faces and number plates as well as remove images on request, but it does that everywhere anyway. However, it also agreed to enable people to have their houses blurred or removed from Street View.


Record Number of AMD Trinity Laptops on the Way




AMD has recently held its conference call with financial analysts and has given some indication of where it stands in regard to its upcoming series of accelerated processing units. 

Advanced Micro Devices could certainly do with some more interest on the part of those companies known for making PCs, especially mobile ones. 

Despite the fact that the Llano series of accelerated processing units (APUs) weren't bad at all, they weren’t used in many notebooks. 

Even the ASUS K53TK that we have only just spotted is more of an indication of how few AMD-based laptops there are. 

Granted, AMD didn't really have its sights seriously set on the mobile segment before Fusion, but still. 

It is with budding ease of mind that we report on AMD's higher expectations for the Trinity series of processors. 

The Sunnyvale, California-based company is hard at work preparing the supply of Trinity APUs. 

What's more, it says that there will be more design wins than ever. 

"We are successfully ramping production of Trinity APUs as our customers are preparing to launch a record number of AMD notebook designs beginning this quarter," said Rory Read, chief executive officer of AMD. 

Granted, as we said above, AMD doesn't have much of a track record to compare its expectations with. 

Nevertheless, the new A-Series seem to have a bright future, not just in laptops (ultrathin or otherwise) but in desktops too. 

For those that want a quick rundown of what the chips can do, Trinity are 32nm-based units with four x86 cores and Radeon HD 7000-series graphics (DirectX 11 included). They are expected to deliver 56% faster graphics and 29% better productivity compared to their predecessors, all the while consuming 35W of energy. 

The launch is supposed to take place on May 15, or so we've heard, and there will be a 17W model eventually too, for ultrabooks.


iPhone 5 to Feature In-Cell Touch Panels, Sources Say




Japan-based part suppliers are scrambling to meet the demands of Apple Inc. whose next iPhone is said to employ in-cell touch panels manufactured by Sharp and Toshiba Mobile Display.

Sources in Apple’s supply chain are telling Digitimes that “Apple's new iPhone, which is expected to be released in the third quarter of 2012, is likely to adopt in-cell touch panels rolled out by Sharp and Toshiba Mobile Display (TMD).”

Apple seemingly put its orders on hold until it became convinced that both Sharp and TMD would improve their yield rates in mass manufacturing of iPhone touch panels.

The sources reportedly indicated that “Sharp will produce the in-cell panels at its 5.5G lines, while TMD will utilize its 6G lines for production,” adding that the duo would speed up production in the second quarter of this year.

The current range of iPhones features glass-on-glass touch solutions made by TPK Holding and Wintek, which haven’t yet mastered the in-cell technology, the report suggests. Both vendors will reportedly be affected by Apple’s change of heart.

TPK, for its part, responded to Apple’s move stating that it has begun developing TOL (touch on lens) single-glass touch solutions.

TPK believes this technology will be “more suitable for the production of high-end customized devices and that the market will accommodate more than one technology,” the report notes.

The Digitimes report reinforces rumors that Apple will not release its next iPhone in summer, but sometime in fall.

Another reason for that is Qualcomm’s recently reported shortage of LTE chips necessary to give the new iPhone’s 4G wireless networking.

Regardless of Apple’s original plans with the iPhone 5, the Cupertino, California-based company still relies heavily on part sourcing in order to have a proper launch.


Samsung Galaxy S III Shows Up in Vietnam (Video)




Although Samsung is strictly safeguarding the Galaxy S III’s design, most of its specs are not a secret anymore. Leaks and rumors from sources in the industry that already tested the device offered us a pretty good idea on Galaxy S III’s specs sheet.

We already know that Samsung is trying to conceal the final product’s design by putting the Galaxy S III components in generic cases. This is why the alleged Galaxy S III photos that leaked online in the past few weeks look a bit different.

Vietnamese site Tinhte, known for previously leaking the Samsung Galaxy Tab, has just posted a short video and some photos of the Samsung Galaxy S III in action.

If you don’t know Vietnamese, have no fear as the video has English subtitles and  speaks for itself as well. Apparently, the dummy unit presented as Galaxy S III by the folks at Tinhte comes with three on-screen buttons.

Obviously, it runs Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system and features only an 8-megapixel rear camera. This is a bit curious as latest rumors claimed the Galaxy S III would come with an improved 12-megapixel camera.

However, given the fact that this is just a test sample, the final product might indeed come with a 12-megapixel photo snapper, as previously rumored.

Codenamed GT-I9300, the smartphone boasts an impressive 4.6-inch HD (720 x 1184 pixels) capacitive touchscreen display with 320 DPI. 

The phone seems to be powered by a 1.4 GHz Exynos quad-core processor, which is complemented by a Mali-400MP graphics processing unit and 1GB of RAM. There’s also 16GB of internal memory, which can be expanded up to 32GB via microSD card.

Samsung Galaxy S III comes with a huge 2050 mAh Li-Ion battery, which should provide quite a long autonomy. It is also worth mentioning that Galaxy S III will be shipped with NFC (Near Field Communication) capabilities on board. Check out the video below.



SAMSUNG Announces New "Mirrorless" High Quality Digital Cameras




South Korean company SAMSUNG has sent out a press release about its new line of high-quality D-SLR like cameras. These cameras offer a very good image quality, that’s most likely better than NIKON’s D3100 and rival the recently announced D3200.

They are smaller than the usual D-SLR camera and benefit from the “mirrorless” design. In fact, these are basically MILC type of cameras, meaning Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera, but SAMSUNG likes to call them CSC cameras, as in Compact System Camera.

The lenses are interchangeable, but different manufacturers use different mounting types.

Leica uses the M mount, Olympus and Panasonic use the Micro Four Thirds type, SONY has the E-mount, NIKON uses Nikon 1, Fujitsu uses the X-mount, Pentax has two different mounts – the Q-mount and the K-mount and, finally, SAMSUNG has the NX-mount. So, unfortunately, only Olympus and Panasonic can share lens between them.

What’s definitely special about Samsung’s CSC cameras?

It’s the sensor. The Samsung NX series uses a large NX sensor that’s over 50% larger than what Olympus and Panasonic MILC cameras have. When compared to Nikon’s 1 series, the NX sensor is almost 300% the size, so you can picture the image quality difference.

The new 20.3 Megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor can capture beautiful pictures with a maximum resolution of 5472 x 3648 pixels in 1:1, 3:2 or 16:9 image ratios. The size of the sensor is the standard 23.5 x 15.7 mm and it can set an ISO value of up to 12800.

The NX1000 is very light and comes in nice white, black or pink body color.

One obvious small downside, probably the same as with all MILC / CSC cameras, is the fact that the Autofocus is using the Contrast Detection method, rather than the Phase Detection method like SONY’s new SLT A57 “mirrorless” digital camera that we’ve presented recently here.

The NX210 is just as light as the NX1000, but it comes with a high quality metallic finish and has the same 3” LCD size like the NX1000, but this time it’s an AMOLED high quality screen.

It also comes with Wireless technology and can connect to any available Wi-FI network and SmartTVs that connect to the internet.

The Samsung NX20 comes with a swivel 3” Active Matrix OLED screen and a very fast 1/8000 sec shutter speed and with an optional remote control, the SR2NX02.

All the cameras can film in FullHD resolution at the standard 30 FPS speed and use SD/SDHC and SDXC card.

Pricing has not yet been made public but we expect these “wonders” to be priced below the 600 USD mark.




Nokia to Bring Popular Symbian Features to Lumia Devices




Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia had a disastrous first quarter financial performance, influenced by its transition to Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system and by an increasingly competitive smartphone landscape. 

The company sold fewer Windows Phones than it originally expected, and experienced a significant drop in sales of Symbian devices as well. 

Nokia announced sales of 11.9 million smart devices in the first three months of the year, a drop of 51 percent when compared to the 24.2 million units it sold in the first quarter of the last year and a 39 percent decrease compared to the 19.6 million devices it moved in Q4 2011. 

“We are navigating through a significant company transition in an industry environment that continues to evolve and shift quickly. Over the last year we have made progress on our new strategy, but we have faced greater than expected competitive challenges,” Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO, said.

However, the company notes that sales of Nokia Lumia devices are going up, although they could not entirely offset the significantly lower Symbian volumes.

To ensure that this changes, the company aims at making its Windows Phone devices more appealing than before, while also being set to make them available in more countries around the world. 

Nokia also plans on bringing some of the most popular features of Symbian to its Windows Phone devices, a recent article on PCMag notes. 

One of these would be the Wi-Fi hotspot tethering capabilities that Nokia Lumia 610 – the most affordable device in the series – already features. Most probably, NFC (Near Field Communication) will also be implemented across Nokia’s portfolio of Windows Phones. 

But there are other features planned for Windows Phone devices as well, at least this is what Nokia’s CEO reportedly confirmed. 

“Vcard sending and receiving, which turns out to be the most often requested capability from existing Symbian users; data voice and messaging tracking capability for cost control; panorama image capabilities that stitch together multiple images to create a great photographic experience; and the introduction of a DLNA client for television connectivity," Elop said.

There will be new Lumia devices available for purchase at different price points, so as to fit the needs of as many users as possible. The company is also set to advertise its devices more aggressively than before. 

In Q1 2012, Nokia lost on all fronts. Revenues dropped due to lower volume sales and dimmed average selling price of smartphones, while overall sales of mobile devices were down 24 percent from Q1 2011. The company posted a $1.71 billion (€1.3 billion) loss for the timeframe.


AMD Is OK with Current 28nm Chip Supply




At this point, we've written about the supposed state of TSMC's 28nm process so many times that we may as well see what those directly affected think of the matter. 

Truth be told, we've already done this, as far as NVIDIA is concerned anyway, hence the general impression that TSMC is not doing as well as it should. 

After all, if there were no shortages of 28nm chips (GPUs in this case), NVIDIA would not need to be looking for other manufacturers

Still, there are parties who keep claiming that TSMC's 28nm chip yields are just fine, and Advanced Micro Devices might be one of them. 

Based on the words of a company executive during the conference call with financial analysts, AMD has all the 28nm graphics processing units it needs. 

“We were able to meet customer demand for AMD Radeon HD 7000 "Southern Islands" chips made using 28nm fabrication process in the first quarter,” said Thomas Seiffert, chief financial officer of AMD. 

“The products are good, the demand is strong. We would like to have more access to the upside volume, but we have met pretty much all the demand in the first quarter.” 

For those that need the lowdown of the situation, AMD uses the 28nm technology for its “Southern Islands” GPUs, powering the Radeon HD 7000 series. 

Three in number, the SKUs are called Tahiti, Pitcairn and Cape Verde (codenames) and will be followed by three others this quarter (Q2, between April and June, 2012). 

There will also be the dual-chip Radeon HD 7990, expected to battle NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 690. Alas, unlike in the latter's case, we have no availability details to impart. 

In the eventuality that it was somehow missed, the ETA (estimated time of arrival) for the dual-Kepler has been uncovered just today (April 20). Given all this, AMD will probably hurry up with its own beast.


NVIDIA's Teaser Really Is of the GeForce GTX 690




We mentioned that NVIDIA had posted a teaser on its Facebook page and, now, we know what product is on the way. 

Then again, it is not as if we did not have our suspicions. Everyone did. After all, leaks and rumors haven't been hard to trip over in the past few months. 

The folks at SweClockers are the ones who got the closest thing to a confirmation: NVIDIA is getting ready to release the GeForce GTX 690 graphics card. 

That's right, the first Kepler-based dual-GPU graphics adapter will be here soon. 

And by soon we mean around two weeks. According to the newest report, the formal launch will take place by May 5, 2012. 

That doesn't necessarily mean the event will occur on that day and no other, though. 

The words of the report can be paraphrased as “in the week beginning on April 30.” 

As such, since Intel's third-generation Ivy Bridge central processing units won't be released much earlier, NVIDIA could be trying to ride the same advertising momentum. 

We are still hoping that, as most rumors suggest, the next-generation 22nm Intel chips will appear on April 23, but there are murmurs of April 29 being the real day. 

Regardless, since we are supposed to be talking about NVIDIA's board, we may as well list what we know of the card so far. 

The GeForce GTX 690 is powered by two GK104 graphics processing units (GPUs), leading to 3,027 CUDA cores. 4 GB of GDDR5 VRAM back them up and, as one may guess, two 8-pin power plugs deliver the necessary energy. 

Now we just have to see if NVIDIA will have enough GK104 chips to go around. After all, TSMC's 28nm process isn't doing as well as it could

Then again, there won't be many dual-GK104 beasts, which means that the GTX 680 is the one where potential shortages will leave a larger mark.


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