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Jul 4, 2012

Google Retires Google Symbian Search Application

Symbian platform may still be supported by Nokia for a few more years, but developers seem to lose their interest in creating apps for this particular operating system.

Google, the search giant, has recently announced it will discontinue Symbian Search app due to the fact that it hasn’t been updated in a long time and the company feels it needs to focus its efforts on its mobile web search experience. Moreover, it appears that Symbian Search doesn’t even work on the latest version of Nokia Belle with FP1, which was to be expected given the fact that the application is obsolete.

Those who want to use Google Search within their Symbian smartphones are recommended to go to www.google.com and make it homepage or bookmark it. Unfortunately, we expect more Symbian to be discontinued in the future, so stay tuned for more updates on the matter. via UnleashThePhones

Symbian Search app screenshot
Image credits to Google

Nokia N9’s PR 1.3 Update Changelog

This week, Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia started to deliver a new software update for its Nokia N9 users, namely PR 1.3.

The company offered only a brief overview of the update, saying that it comes with various new features, but did not offer specific details on them. On the Nokia developer website, the changelog for the update reads: “Over 1000 quality improvements including Mail, Facebook, Twitter, minor network & connectivity improvements.” However, users who already received the new update on their devices, namely Nokia N9 40.2012.21-3 (PR 1.3) firmware release, already started to offer info on what they found to be new. A post on Maemo.org notes that many applications on the device got updated in the new software release, including Twitter, Nokia Store, Nokia Music, Nokia Link, Maps, Facebook, Drive, and AccuWeather. Additionally, N9 owners report that there are some improvements brought to the user interface, which is much smoother now.

Uploading files now works in the default browser, and there are a series of improvements visible when it comes to video decoding. Moreover, the wireless network connectivity is said to be much snappier than before. Some of the other enhancements that users are reporting on include better NFC capabilities, faster Nokia Maps positioning when indoors, new fonts, and a series of camera improvements, such as better autofocus when in low light. Users can copy / paste text much easier than before, while enjoying a transparent weather widget background on the notification screen. Swipe is also said to work better than it used to. A variety of other minor improvements and enhancements are also available, just as Nokia said officially. Overall, those who download and install the update are sure to benefit from a much better experience than when their mobile phone was running under PR 1.2.

Nokia N9
Image credits to Nokia

iFixit Repair Manual Now Available for Android

Android users have access to a rather interesting application for their devices now, a repair manual from iFixit.

Available for free, the app is meant to deliver step-by-step repair instructions on Android devices, so that users could easily repair various things. “iFixit — the free repair manual! Thousands of step-by-step guides and gorgeous images that make it easy to repair your stuff,” the app’s developer notes. Through this app, users will receive instructions on how to repair MacBooks and MacBook Pros, iPads, iPods, Xboxes, digital cameras, and more. Moreover, the app’s developer notes that new manuals are bound to be included in the application every week, for expanded options.

The new application is available for download through the Google Play Store and can be installed on all devices that run Android 2.2 or newer versions of the platform.

iFixit repair manual for Android
Image credits to Google Play Store

iFixit free rapair manual
Image credits to iFixit

HP Trinity Pavilion Systems with AMD A8-5500 and A10-5700 APUs

Traditional AMD partner, American company HP has already built systems based on the CPU designer’s latest APU architecture. HP’s Pavilion systems are not really (physically) available in Walmart and BestBuy stores, but they can be ordered online with a “ship to store” option.

The official model name is Pavilion p7-1235, and these systems are powered by AMD’s more modest Trinity version, the A8-5500. The A8-5500 runs at a default 3.2 GHz base frequency with a 3.7 GHz Turbo boost. The APU benefits from 4 MB of level 2 cache and comes with an AMD Radeon HD 7560D iGPU containing 256 shader cores. The VLIW4 shader cores inside AMD’s A8-5500 APU work at a default frequency of 760 MHz. HP is also offering a more powerful Pavilion model that has 2 extra gigabytes of RAM when compared to its more affordable brother, the HP Pavilion p7-1235.

This model is designated HP Pavilion p7-1240 and it’s built around AMD’s A10-5700 APU running at a base frequency of 3400 MHz. That’s 200 Mhz faster than the A8-5500, but the A10-5700 APU also can reach a 4000 MHz frequency if required by the computing thread. The A10 denomination tells us that the A10-5700 APU comes with a fully-enabled Trinity-class iGPU containing all the 384 VLIW4 shared cores. In this case, the iGPU is called AMD Radeon HD 7660D. Both CPUs fit under the 65 watt TDP umbrella, but obviously the ACP of the A8-5500 APU should be a little more modest when compared with the A10-5700, considering the 6% lower frequency and the 33% less VLIW4 shaders. HP’s systems are covered by a 1-year warranty.

HP Pavilion system powered by AMD Trinity APUs
Image credits to HP

Samsung Galaxy Chat with Android 4.0 ICS and QWERTY Keyboard

Spotted earlier this week in China, the GT-B5330 has just been officially unveiled by Samsung as Galaxy Chat.

The smartphone will be initially launched in Spain in the following days and will go on sale in Europe, Latin America, Middle East, China Southeast and Southwest Asia soon after. No word on the pricing options yet, but by the look of it this is just an entry-level Android smartphone, which only stands out due to the fact that is powered by Ice Cream Sandwich. Another strong point of the phone may be the physical QWERTY keyboard, which provides users with an easier and more accurate typing method. According to Samsung, the Galaxy Chat has been designed for “socially-active users,” so we should expect this one to come packed with lots of social networking apps and services. Aside from the QWERTY keyboard, the smartphone sports a 3.0-inch QVGA capacitive touchscreen display, as well as a mediocre 2-megapixel camera on back.

Other highlights of the devices include Bluetooth 3.0 and Wi-Fi support, as well as 4GB of internal memory and a 1,200 mAh Li-Ion battery. Samsung also confirmed the Galaxy Chat as featuring a microSD card slot for memory expansion up to 32GB. Furthermore, the phone sports a dedicated ChatON launch key, so users will be able to connect to their friends and family with a touch of a single button. Given the fact that Samsung Galaxy Chat is powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, the phone will provide users various settings that will allow them to easily monitor and control data usage every month. In addition, the smartphone comes pre-loaded with Game Hub, which is pre-packed with some of the most popular social games. Samsung AllShare Play service is installed on the Galaxy Chat as well, allowing users to play multimedia from or to other connected devices. When it comes to productivity tools, Galaxy Chat offers users the possibility go view and edit almost any type of Office documents via Quick Office application.

Samsung Galaxy Chat
Image credits to Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Chat
Image credits to Samsung

Richland is Next-Gen AMD APU and Fits in FM2 Socket

AMD has been quite on a roll lately. Its Trinity APUs are probably the best mobile solution for notebooks in thin & light mobile systems. Trinity is also the best suited office and all-in-one (AIO) processing solution and it’s the best way to go for casual gamers.

The next move is Kaveri. This APU architecture is quite a bit different from today’s Trinity. We might say that Richland, as reported by Fudzilla, the codename for these new APUs, is 90% different from Trinity. There will be a new x86 processing architecture called SteamRoller that will replace today’s Piledriver. This is another evolutionary step from Piledriver, just like Piledriver was an evolutionary step from Bulldozer. The graphics processing core will be based on today’s powerful GCN architecture, instead of the VLIW4 design currently inside Trinity. The way memory and cache are accessed will be radically different, and the manufacturing process is also moving from 32nm SOI to 28nm bulk.

One thing that stood in the way of enthusiastic adoption was the lack of a long-lasting platform that would be able to house at least one more generation of APUs. It was quite a disappointment to find out that FM1 motherboards wouldn’t support Trinity processors, but the Kaveri-based Richland will fit nicely into the same FM2 sockets we have today. Richland will benefit from a 4 MB truly unified cache and will come with the same number of graphic processing cores, but these 384 cores will be using the GPU-compute enhanced architecture called GCN. The usual suspects are also there, as Richland will support dual/hybrid graphics, AMD Turbo Core, Blu-ray 3D, AMD –V, UVD 3.2, Microsoft’s Direct compute and OpenCL.

AMD APU Die Shot
Image credits to AMD

AMD Client and Graphics Roadmap
Image credits to xbitlabs

Samsung EX2F Wi-Fi Smart Camera

Smart cameras haven't come as far as Smart TVs, but they aren't doing badly either, not with Sony and, in this case, Samsung giving them a good reputation.

Admittedly, Samsung didn't start on the best of feet. Its Wi-Fi-equipped smart cameras, though not lacking in advertising, haven't been the most appealing of devices. The company has been promoting them for about a year but the wireless Internet support came at the cost of image quality. This tradeoff does not seem to apply to the new EX2F, thanks to the 12.4-megapixel CMOS sensor and the f/1.4-2.7 lens. Not that there aren't weak points. The zoom ratio of 3.3x is the most notable shortcoming. We doubt 10x would have been all that hard to implement cost-effectively. At least the other specs seem fine: a top ISO setting of 12,800, full-size hot shoe, dual image stabilization and a 3-inch AMOLED display (VGA resolution, 640 x 480 pixels). "Because the best shots often arise when you least expect them, the EX2F delivers manual control and stunningly bright image quality in a body that is small and light enough to carry around every day," said Mr. Myoung Sup Han, senior vice president and head of the digital imaging business, Samsung Electronics.

"The inclusion of Samsung's pioneering Wi-Fi technology also means that you can share those images straight from the camera, giving you the freedom to shoot and share wherever the journey takes you." According to Engadget, Samsung wants $549 in exchange for the product. That means 435 Euro, assuming exchange rates have any relevance. More likely the price on the old continent will be closer to 500 Euro or more. The money accounts for all the features mentioned above, as well as full manual shooting mode, RAW option and 1080/30p HD video capture. The main competition is posed by Sony's CyberShot RX100, which costs $100 / 80 Euro more but has a better sensor.

Samsung EX2F Smart Camera
Image credits to Samsung

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