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May 22, 2012

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 DLC Revealed Through Video

Namco Bandai has published a brand new video of Tekken Tag Tournament 2, showing off the first four characters that would be released as downloadable content after the game is actually launched in September.

After many years since the release of the first Tekken Tag Tournament title, Namco Bandai is finally set to reveal a sequel, in the form of the aptly-named Tekken Tag Tournament 2. While the game’s launch happens in September, this hasn’t stopped the Japanese company from posting a video with the first four characters that will be available as downloadable content for the fighting game.

As you can see in the footage above, players will be able to download Michelle, Angel, Ancient Ogre, and Kunimitsu. While no other details are available, the video above is quite impressive and shows off the four characters in action during several battles.

Nokia Releases Transport 2.0 Beta for Its Lumia Phones

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia has made available for download the beta flavor of its Nokia Transport 2.0 application for its devices running under Windows Phone. 

With this application, users will be able to find nearby stations, as well as info on departure times and on types of transit lines available near their location. Moreover, the application arrives with better search capabilities, being able to remember last search query, while enabling users to search without leaving the journey view.

The performance of the application was also improved, with faster display of upcoming journeys, and with faster journey request. Nokia encourages users to download and install the new Nokia Transport 2.0 beta application on their devices, and to provide feedback on the experience they receive from it, so that enhancements could be added to it. The app is available via Nokia Beta Labs (registration required).

TP-Link launch its AV500 Gigabit Powerline Adapter

Powerline adapters might not be suited for everyone, but there is no question as to whether or not it is very convenient to set up a home network just by plugging a couple of adapters (or more) in wall power sockets. 

TP-Link's new powerline network product is called AV500 Gigabit Powerline Adapter and can stream data over up to 300 meters (984 feet). The name isn't really a correct hint as to what the item can do though. Despite being called a “Gigabit” adapter, it is limited to 500 Mbps, hence the AV500 moniker. Keep that in mind before you go and place a pre-order. Speaking of which, the online price is $89.99 on Newegg, Amazon, TigerDirect and Walmart, or 70 Euro according to exchange rates. 

"Our flagship Gigabit Powerline Adapter transforms your home or office power outlets into a high-performance network with no need for new wires or drilling," said Howard He, product engineer of TP-LINK USA. "With our convenient network at 500 Mbps, the Gigabit Powerline Adapter will transmit multiple HD video streams to every room or office, making it an exceptional choice for an easy-to-build multimedia network."  Both homes and offices will be able to connect their network-compatible devices together as long as there are at least two AV500's connected. No drivers are required: one just plugs the adapters in the sockets and everything else takes care of itself. 

After that, people can go ahead and do whatever they need to do (VoIP, online media streaming in HD, playing online games, etc.). 128-bit AES encryption is a bonus (network security / data protection) and TP-Link even tossed in compliance with the HomePlug AV standard. Finally, a patented Power Saving Mode can be entered automatically when the network hasn't been used for a while. It cuts power draw by 85%.

Dell Latitude 6430u Business Ultrabook Spotted

Even though they haven't really been selling as well as companies hoped, ultrabooks are the subject of discussion for the media and IT companies alike, so we're not surprised to read about a new one.

Dell is the company in whose labs the new device originated, or we should say will have originated once the company actually makes the formal introduction. For now, we can only look at a report from Tweakers. Fortunately, said report is quite informative, if not in a language we are overly familiar with. The Latitude 6430u is not a regular ultrabook in that it isn't meant for ordinary consumers. Instead, it is the sort of thing that businessmen will be more likely to appreciate. One of the features people won't find on regular ultrabooks is the fingerprint reader. If anything, security is tighter on this machine.

Other business elements are the smartcard reader and Intel's vPro technology (hardware encryption and security). Dell even threw in its own Data Protection software. And now we get to the hardware, so we'll start with the processor and work our way from there. Prospective buyers will have to choose from Intel Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 Ivy Bridge CPUs, predictably enough. Regardless of the chip, up to 8 GB of RAM will be available, along with a solid-state drive (SSD) with a capacity as high as 250 GB.

All the expected connectivity and I/O parts are there too, plus the LCD display, which in this case measures 14 inches in diagonal (the native resolution is 1,366 x 768 pixels). All the hardware is enclosed within an aluminum casing and runs on the energy provided by a regular or optional slice battery. Unfortunately, the price has not been disclosed and neither has the availability date, so we can't tell how convenient it would be to actually buy the Dell Latitude 6430u.

Samsung Galaxy S III (SCH-I535) Spotted at Bluetooth SIG, Possibly Coming to Verizon

A certain Samsung Galaxy S III (SCH-I535) has just been approved by Bluetooth Special Interest Group (Bluetooth SIG) organization. 

Although the smartphone is said to come with CDMA support, unless we see some bands listed, we can’t be sure that the Galaxy S III will be launched at Verizon Wireless. According to the documents filed at Bluetooth SIG, Samsung SCH-I535 is aimed at the North American market, though Verizon is not the only CDMA carrier in the region. Obviously, the smartphone is integrated with Bluetooth version 4.0 technology, allowing for wireless connection to optional, compatible hands-free accessories such as Bluetooth technology enabled headsets and car kits. 

Lately, we’ve seen multiple Galaxy S III variants being approved at either Bluetooth SIG or FCC (Federal Communications Commission), though this is the first time the SCH-I535 makes headlines. We’re expecting the Galaxy S III to come to the United States with a huge 4.8-inch Super AMOLED (PenTile) capacitive touchscreen display that supports HD (720 x 1280 pixels) resolution, and features Corning Gorilla Glass 2 coating for extra protection. Unfortunately, instead of being one of the smartphone’ strong points, the display has been reason for ruckus among Samsung fans who were expecting the company to drop PenTile mobile displays for good.

All in all, the Galaxy S III will be powered by the latest Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system integrated with TouchWiz 4.0 UI. Moreover, the smartphone comes packed with several unique applications and services, which are meant to improve user’s experience with the phone. Some of the apps announced by Samsung include S-Voice, S-Beam, Direct Call, Smart Stay and AllShare.

Hardware-wise, it will be interesting to see what kind of SoC (system on a chip) the Galaxy S III will boast in North America. It’s likely there will be more than one version of the smartphone, so we expect the device to come with or without LTE support.

ASUS and Acer Preparing Upgraded Netbooks

Although most notebook manufacturers are retreating from the dying market, big players like ASUS and Acer are still reportedly working on upgraded models. The processors to be used are upgrades of Intel’s l Atom N2600 and N2800 models.

The upgraded models in question are most likely higher clocked Medfield CPUs, or even Clover Trail versions. The netbook domain is losing serious sales with a reduction of over 32% when compared with the sales achieved last year. These are quickly becoming some sort of poor man’s laptops, as the netbook manufacturers that are still producing such devices base their volume sales estimations on the strong demand from the emerging markets.

The battery life will probably be very impressive, as the power consumption was considerably reduced in Intel's Medfield. This is most likely the reason AMD's upping the pace with the launch of Tamesh CPUs. Acer and ASUS are reportedly still able to ship around 7 million netbooks combined each year.

MSI Wind U270 Netbook Comes with AMD’s Brazos 2.0

MSI, the well-known mainboard manufacturer is also in the business of making mobile PCs, such as the fastest Ivy Bridge notebook called GT70, or today’s Win U270 that has just been listed on the company’s official website.

The netbook is powered by AMD’s E2-1800 processor. The operating system of choice is Microsoft’s Windows 7 Home Premium that comes preinstalled on a 320 GB HDD. Wind U270 comes equipped with 2 GB of DDR3 memory, but it can be upgraded to a total of 8 GB DDR3 system memory using the single SO-DIMM slot available.

The iGPU is AMD’s Radeon HD7340 Discrete-Class graphics and offers much more performance than anything Intel has accompanying the Atom. The 11.6” screen offers a mediocre 1366 x 768 resolution that should suffice for such a mid-range product with a medium screen size. The multimedia side is completed with a 1.3 MP webcam, two small speakers and one mic.

Connectivity is well-endowed with one SD card reader, a HDMI port, a D-SUB 15 VGA connector, two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 connector, along with the two usual audio jacks and the RJ45 LAN connector. It has a 6-cell battery with a rated life of just 4.6 hours. The system only consumes around 13 watts when idle and weighs just 1.39 Kg. That’s around 2.86 pounds for a netbook with 12-month warranty. The 5400 rpm drive can be easily upgraded with an affordable SSD or a low-profile SSD if the normal size unit doesn’t fit.

MSI also offers an external optical unit as an option, and we’re sure there would be a cheaper version without Microsoft’s bloatware.

Gigantic Shipment Rise for AMD Desktop APUs in Q1

Advanced Micro Devices managed to get the long end of the stick in graphics sales during the first quarter of the year (2012).

Sure, laptop chip shipments dipped about 2%, but desktop APUs (accelerated processing units) managed an 84% jump. Jon Peddie Research says so anyway. Coupled with boosts of 4% to desktop GPUs and an 8% climb in notebook graphics, this all enabled a 0.3% improvement to the overall graphics market share, leading to a nice 25%. Keep in mind that this was before Trinity even came around, so we can only guess how things will go from here.

We won't speculate much, but we will point out that the Sunnyvale, California-based company has recently brought out the R-Series embedded chips, so the customer base has only increased. We'd say this is it for the good news, but it would be a lie, since the market analyst firm was actually happy with the overall evolution of the graphics segment too, but we'll get to that in a while.

Samsung Galaxy S III Goes for Sale Early in Dubai

Samsung’s Galaxy S III smartphone is set to make an official appearance on shelves in late May, yet it appears that some stores around the world are selling it early. 

In Dubai, the handset is already listed as available for acquisition, and it’s not just for pre-orders, a Reddit user has found out. The handset is listed with a price tag of around $667 (AED2,450), and units were said to already be in stock, waiting for eager users to grab them. 

No specific info on why the handset went available in Dubai beforehand has been provided for the time being, but those who already managed to purchase it are certainly not complaining. Samsung has set the release date for Galaxy S III for May 29th in some markets, while others will have it available starting with the next day, May 30th.

HTC EVO 4G LTE Confirmed to Start Shipping on May 24

It looks like HTC EVO 4G LTE’s saga is almost over. Although the smartphone was slated for a May 18 release at Sprint, the EVO 4G LTE was blocked at US Customs until recently, due to an ITC exclusion order.

Along with the EVO 4G LTE, HTC One X shipments have been blocked at US Customs as well, but it looks like the problem has been solved and the first stocks might arrive at major US carriers later this week. True to its promise, Sprint has issued an official statement letting people who pre-ordered the HTC EVO 4G LTE know that they might receive their devices by the end of the week: “Customers who pre-ordered HTC EVO 4G LTE…Your wait is almost over! Sprint expects to begin shipping HTC EVO 4G LTE for arrival on or around Thursday, May 24 to customers who pre-ordered the device online from Sprint. We will provide details on the full national launch as soon as possible.”

HTC EVO 4G LTE will be available for purchase for as low as 199.99 USD (155 EUR) with a new two-year agreement. However, those who wish to cancel their pre-orders won’t be able to do it until their devices arrive. “We are allowing customers to cancel their pre-order and receive refunds. If you need to cancel your order, you may either call care directly at 866-789-8292, refuse delivery, or request a return authorization kit once your device arrives.” It appears that the fastest way to get a refund would be to take the HTC EVO 4G LTE at the nearest Sprint store upon receipt and cash your money back.

Unfortunately, that might be your only hope to cancel your order, as customers reported that Order Support Escalation have denied their cancellations. Last but not least, it’s likely that customers who pre-ordered the HTC EVO 4G LTE will receive a shipping notification within the next few days, but this has yet to be confirmed.

Workaround Enables S-Voice App on Non-Galaxy S III Phones (Again)

The first official Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich ROM for Galaxy S III leaked over the weekend, along with all those goodies that Samsung included, such as S-Voice, S-Beam, Direct Call, Smart Stay and more.

The folks over at XDA Developers have been able to extract the S-Voice personal assistant from the original ROM and made it available for everyone to download. Unfortunately, it took only a few days for Samsung and Vlingo to block access to all non-Galaxy S III devices that were running the application. It appears that the S-Voice sends requests to Vlingo’s servers every time its voice capabilities are used. Samsung and Vlingo made it so these requests would not be processed anymore unless the device sending them identified as Galaxy S III. 

However, the folks over at XDA Developers found a way to spoof the servers into thinking that the S-Voice requests are received from a Galaxy S III. Moreover, they have been able to extract more Samsung Galaxy S III goodies, such as Accuweather, stock analog clock, stock digital clock, video player, GTalk, FM Radio, ringtones and wallpapers. All these can now be installed separately on any rooted Android device, but keep in mind that this requires Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. It is also worth mentioning that due to the fact that, once the S-Voice APK is installed, the device will be identified as Galaxy S III in all contexts, some applications and/or service may not work anymore.

It has been reported that users who have Google Wallet installed won’t be able to use it anymore, but the issue might have been solved with a new build of S-Voice. For more details on how to download and install S-Voice, as well as the other goodies extracted from Galaxy S III’s official ROM, head over to the original thread.

Under Google, Motorola Will Focus on a Few Great Devices

The Motorola acquisition is officially done. It's been many months in the making, but as one of the largest such deals and certainly Google's biggest acquisition, it underwent quite a lot of scrutiny. 

China was the last to give the go-ahead, but once it got that approval, Google was quick to make the official announcement. It has now completed acquiring the phone maker so the interesting part starts. Nothing spectacular is going to happen in the short term, but it will be really interesting to see how Google and Motorola work together and how Google will fare in the hardware space. This marriage is even more important as Apple and Google compete on more and more planes and as Android is getting stiff competition from within, i.e. non-compatible versions of Android based on the open source code.

Google's Larry Page is enthusiastic about the deal, but then again, he would be as he's the driving force behind the whole thing. "I’m excited to announce today that our Motorola Mobility deal has closed. Motorola is a great American tech company that has driven the mobile revolution, with a track record of over 80 years of innovation, including the creation of the first cell phone," the cofounder and current CEO said. Sanjay Jha, who is largely responsible for the deal and the favorable terms, is out as CEO, to be replaced by longtime Googler Dennis Woodside who has most recently been acting as President of Google's Americas region.

Woodside is already creating himself a new team at Motorola, he's hired several people but is keeping some from the old team as well. "Our aim is simple: to focus Motorola Mobility’s remarkable talent on fewer, bigger bets, and create wonderful devices that are used by people around the world," he said about future plans. This is probably what everyone was expecting to hear. Motorola is a minor player at this point and needs some standout devices to start making a name for itself again. It may come up with these devices under Google, but the odds are stacked against it.

Google is getting 17,000 patents out of the deal and several more thousands pending, but that alone would not be much of a bargain. Clearly, it's interested in becoming a serious hardware player, but its chances of challenging Apple when no other experienced hardware maker has been able to, certainly not Motorola, are slim for now.

Windows 8’s Desktop Arrives with No Aero Glass

One of the major interface changes that Microsoft will include in Windows 8 compared to the previous versions of its desktop platform is the lack of Aero Glass. 

The company introduced this UI in Windows Vista and refined it in Windows 7 and in the first versions of Windows 8, but it will no longer pack it inside the next Windows 8 releases, it seems. Jensen Harris, director of program management for Microsoft’s User Experience team, explains in a blog post that the idea is to bring the desktop closer to the Metro aesthetic, and that they flattened surfaces, removed reflections, and scaled back distracting gradients. However, he also notes that Windows 8 would continue to use black text on light-colored chrome, as in Windows 7, so as to deliver increased compatibility with the existing platforms. 

The main idea is to bring the content of the application in the center, through offering a chrome style that doesn’t distract, even if Windows 8 will move beyond Aero. Moreover, the goal was to maintain the visual compatibility with Windows 7, Harris notes. According to Microsoft, Windows 8 will arrive with a variety of improvements brought to the visual appearance of the desktop, all falling in line with the new design language that the Metro UI proposes. “We applied the principles of ‘clean and crisp’ when updating window and taskbar chrome. Gone are the glass and reflections. We squared off the edges of windows and the taskbar. We removed all the glows and gradients found on buttons within the chrome,” Harris explains.

“We made the appearance of windows crisper by removing unnecessary shadows and transparency. The default window chrome is white, creating an airy and premium look. The taskbar continues to blend into the desktop wallpaper, but appears less complicated overall.” Most of the common controls (buttons, check boxes, sliders, and the Ribbon) come with an updated appearance, with squares and edges, flattened backgrounds, and tweaked colors to feel “modern and natural.” Some of these changes will make it to Windows 8 Release Preview, which is due in a couple of weeks, while others will not be visible until the final flavor of the new platform is made available. 

The upcoming iterations of the operating system will also bring a series of improvements in usability, specifically in areas such as swiping from edges and moving the mouse to the corner. Those who use a mouse will find it more easily to target corners with it in the future releases, while the touch capabilities will be better in upcoming hardware, specifically designed for Windows 8. Although many complained about the fact that Windows 8 is hard to use on traditional computers, Microsoft is confident that people will adapt, and that they will eventually find the platform great to use. 

Overall, Windows 8 comes with a user experience that, in Microsoft’s vision, is a bet on the future of computing. The platform should play an important role in this, the Redmond-based software giant notes. “We tried to break new ground in imagining how using a PC might become a fluid and enjoyable experience, how apps might work together to simplify the tasks you do every day, and how a single screen could bring together everything you love and care about into one always up-to-date place,” Harris adds.

Windows 8 was designed towards the convergence of tablets and lightweight laptops, but a full image over what it has to offer won’t be available until the first hardware from Microsoft’s partners arrive on shelves. “Our vision for Windows 8 was to create a modern, fast and fluid user experience that defines the platform for the next decade of computing. One which upends the way conventional people think about tablets and laptops and the role of the devices they carry,” he concludes.

VIA's $49 Tiny Android PC

Miniature PC systems are bound to become better-known after the Raspberry Pi phenomenon, so we think VIA might finally get some of the recognition it deserves. 

The company has launched the APC 8750, where APC stands for Android PC (personal computer). Sure, the name isn't really accurate, since there is no case. This is more of a half-size mini-ITX motherboard than anything else really. VIA calls the new motherboard size neo-ITX  (170 x 85mm / 6.69 x 3.34 inchs). At any rate, one can simply buy a mini PC chassis separately. Sure, it will add to the cost, but at $49 (38.37 Euro) the APC 8750 is more than cheap enough for an extra buck to be worth it. Of course, you'll also have to buy an USB stick or a memory card for storage, since there are only 2 GB included. 

Speaking of which, Android 2.3 is loaded on that NAND Flash and works thanks to a VIA 800 MHz processor, 512 MB of DDR3 memory and a 2D/3D Graphics chip with up to 720p video quality support. Other specs include 10/100 Ethernet, USB 2.0 (four slots), VGA, HDMI, a microSD card slot and audio/mic ports. All in all, this should be enough for VIA to get a good feel of the mini PC market and if there is any point in making a grab for it. 

Potential competition may be found in Stealth's LittlePC, the Giada Uni-Box and the A51, also made by Giada. More miniature personal computers can be found here. If VIA succeeds in drawing enough customers to its side of the fence, it is fairly certain that a stronger version of the neo-ITX motherboard will eventually be created and released. We will see what is what from July onwards, since that is when this first iteration is scheduled to start its journey.

Alienware Laptops Get Killer Wireless-N 1202 Wi-Fi Cards

Add-on wireless network cards aren't really all that popular, even though they are quite a bit better than the integrated solutions usually found in motherboards and laptops. 

Most people won't really be able to tell the difference all that easily between the two, mostly because the data capacity that needs to flow through a connection during normal web browsing isn't really spectacular. When playing high-end games, though, lag can definitely cramp peoples' style, even cripple their ability to play properly. Killer Technology kept this in mind when it released the Killer Wireless-N 1202 laptop card. 

Unfortunately, it failed to get a laptop partner, which led to the product falling in limbo and being forgotten. Until now anyway. Alienware, Dell's gaming laptop sub-division, has decided to put those things to work. "Gamers everywhere depend on Alienware to deliver superior experiences that help them achieve that 'epic win'," said Frank Azor, general manager at Alienware. "Integrating the Killer Wireless N-1202 technology-another first from Alienware-allows gamers to experience exceptional online gaming." 

For those who don't know, the technology within the Killer Wireless-N 1202 is owned by Qualcomm Atheros. Unfortunately, Alienware didn't say which models would be getting the extra boost. "Alienware continues to be the leader in performance laptops and we appreciate that its customers are used to getting the best gaming experience possible," said Mike Cubbage, director of business development, networking business unit, Qualcomm Atheros. "The Killer Wireless-N 1202 will continue the tradition of delivering a superior gaming and real-time communication experience for Alienware laptop users by providing the best in online application performance, intelligence and control to ensure that critical online applications get the bandwidth and priority they need, when they need it." 

Alienware sells the M14x, M17x and M11x, as well as the great and mighty M18X R2 laptop. All of them, save for the M11x, have Ivy Bridge CPUs and top-end graphics, so networking performance was really the only thing with any room for improvement.

Nokia 808 PureView “Making Of” Video

With only a few days until the Nokia 808 PureView release, the Finnish company unveiled a video showing how the phone came to be one of the best camera phones on the market.

The entire 8+ minute video has been shot with the Nokia 808 PureView and describes how the creators of the camera, Eero Salmelin and Juha Alakarhu, came up with the idea of developing a camera-phone that would not sacrifice quality while zooming.

It took Nokia about 5 years to design the smartphone, which is expected to arrive in multiple markets around the globe by the end of the month. Given the fact that the smartphone boasts the 41-megapixel camera, it could not be embedded into a Windows Phone device, which is why Nokia chose Symbian for PureView 808. Check out the video above for more in-depth information on the camera’s capabilities.

ASUS P8C WS Professional Motherboard Launched

Intel's Xeon E3 series central processing units need motherboards just like all other CPUs out there, so ASUS decided it was time for its labs to spawn another platform. 

The motherboard we are looking at here is called P8C WS, uses the LGA 1155 socket and the brand-new chipset C216. The WS in the name stands for “workstation,” making it clear that this item isn't something that consumers should be interested in. Of course, in addition to Xeon E3 CPUs, 32nm and 22nm Core i3 processors are compatible with the mainboard, from both the second and third generations. There are two PCI Express Gen 3.0 x16 slots (dual x8 mode), for graphics cards, alongside two PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots, a PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot and a normal PCI slot. 

Moving on, storage space can be added to a desktop via HDDs and/or SSDs featuring SATA II interface support (four ports, blue) and SATA III 6.0 Gbps (two ports, grey). ASUS could have raised the number by implementing some third-party SATA controllers, but decided against it. All other ports and pin headers are present and accounted for though. Not counting the rear I/O panel, it is possible to establish one USB 3.0 connection, three USB 2.0 links (two internal ports, one pin header set) and a FireWire connection. Serial / parallel pins and a TPM module exist as well. And now we finally reach the issue of connectivity and I/O options usable via the back of the mainboard. 

Two Gigabit LAN controllers enable dual-Ethernet support. ASUS also went for FireWire, six USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0, 7.1 channel audio (with optical and coaxial S/PDIF out), a PS/2 port and a dual-link DVI output (displayport is unavailable for some reason). No triple-display setups possible here. ASUS will supposedly sell the PC8 WS for around $240, or 187 Euro according to exchange rates. The European price is more likely to hover around 220 Euro, but we'll have to wait for listings to be sure.

Galaxy S III Pre-Orders in the UK Are Above Expectations

On May 29th, Samsung and its partners will finally make the new Galaxy S III smartphone available for purchase on the market in the UK, after registering increased interest in the device during the pre-order period. 

The handset will land in the country both via third-party retailers and on the networks of various wireless carriers, while also being sold via Samsung’s own retail locations. Leading vendor The Carphone Warehouse will be among those to launch the device on day one, and it is currently reporting increased interest in the device. The company says that thousands of users have reserved the new mobile phone the first day it was put up for pre-order, and that the overall number has exceeded expectations. 

“The first 24 hours alone saw thousands placing their pre-order at Carphone Warehouse,” Graham Stapleton, CCO of Carphone Warehouse, reportedly stated. No specific number was made official, but the retailer plans on having the handset available at 800 locations around the UK, which suggests that interest in it is high. Galaxy S III will be delivered to those who pre-ordered it from selected stores on May 29th, and it will arrive in the hands of other users only the next day, on May 30th. Last week, Samsung let slip that pre-orders for the device topped 9 million units all around the world, yet those orders came from retailers and partner carriers, and not from end users. 

Even so, the new smartphone is expected to prove the fastest selling Samsung device to date soon after launch. It arrives on shelves with a large 4.8-inch touchscreen display, complemented by a quad-core application processor clocked at 1.4GHz, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB (32GB and 64GB models too) of internal memory, complemented by a microSD memory card slot with support for up to 64GB of additional storage. The handset sports an 8-megapixel camera on the back, with full HD video recording capabilities, and it runs under Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI loaded on top.

AMD to Launch Tamesh CPUs for Windows 8 TabletPCs in Early 2013

Microsoft’s Windows 8 launches in October and, like we mentioned before, AMD will be ready with Hondo CPUs. Considering that Hondo CPUs are still made in 40 nm manufacturing technology at TSMC, the company is reportedly preparing a 32 nm version to better counter Intel’s Clover Trail on power consumption.

As advanced as AMD’s iGPU inside Brazos 2.0 is, it is still manufactured in 2010 TSMC 40 nm technology. From the power consumption point of view, this makes it look like a dinosaur next to Intel’s smaller and more mature 32 nm manufacturing technology. As most of you know, Intel’s top Atom offerings manifest much slower performance when compared with AMD’s Bobcat cores, and they are not manufactured in Intel’s latest and most modern 22 nm manufacturing technology. Therefore, with Hondo, AMD might have the graphics performance superiority and also the computing performance power, but it’s most likely that they won’t stand a chance when power consumption is involved.

Most of AMD’s mobile and desktop Trinity-based processors are using GlobalFoundries’ 32 nm SOI manufacturing process. It’s normal that the CPU designer still wants to manufacture at TSMC in 40 nm technology, as it needs greater volumes than what GlobalFoundries can offer, and lower manufacturing costs. The price of 40 nm manufacturing technology is surely lower than 32 nm SOI, despite the fact that the latter allows more chips per wafer.

AMD is planning to start 28 nm bulk manufacturing at GlobalFoundries, so some of the 32 nm SOI capacities would be free. It is likely that AMD will start making mobile and desktop Trinity CPUs in 28 nm, while the 32 nm lines will be filled with their new Jaguar-based Tamesh CPUs. Tamesh will use the new Jaguar cores, as opposed to the current Bobcat cores inside Hondo, and it will sport lower power consumption, thanks to the move from 40 nm technology to 32 nm SOI tech.

Intel Intros Gigabit Ethernet Modem

Intel is famous for its CPUs, but it dabbles in other technologies, like network modems, and it is precisely one such product that we are writing about now.

During the Cable Show, the Santa Clara, California-based IT giant revealed a DOCSIS 3.0 gateway, or cable modem as the term goes. It is codenamed Puma 6, like all DOCSIS 3.0 products, and will let Internet cable providers allow their customers faster web data transfers. By that we mean that downloads will attain 1 Gbps rates and upstream bandwidth of up to 240 Mbps, depending on how channel bonding is configured by the cable service company.

Eight channels are needed for the maximum upload speed and 24 for maximum download rates. Unfortunately, consumers we'll have to wait quite a while before starting to feel the benefit of 1 Gbps modems. One reason for this is that cable Internet providers are naturally slow in upgrading their infrastructure. The other reason is that Intel does not expect to have the DOCSIS 3.0 Puma 6 products out before next year (2013) and, even then, only one company will benefit, as part of a test run of sorts, in Korea (SKbroadband).

“SKbroadband is proud to lead the world in piloting a 1 gigabit Internet experience,” said Dae Chul Noh, team leader of SKbroadband’s Network Division. “Our customers use these lightning-fast Internet speeds for high-definition TV, multi-player gaming, video conferencing and more.” HD video content and large application downloads are the major driving forces behind the transition to faster web connections. High-speed network cards in consumer PCs help, but they can't really push data transfers above what the provider's hardware can cope with.

“We continue to lead in DOCSIS technology, and are now providing cable gateway solutions with 1Gbps capability,” said Alan Crouch, general manager of Intel’s Service Provider Division. “Service providers can now deliver on consumer demands for higher broadband speeds, supporting a proliferation of new devices, services and experiences.”

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