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Jul 9, 2012

New Windows Phone 8 Build Numbers Unveiled

Microsoft is applying the latest touches to its Windows Phone 8 platform, there’s no doubt about that.

The company unveiled the new platform a few weeks ago, and is expected to have smartphones running under it available for purchase before the end of this year. Apparently, the software giant is advancing fast with new Windows Phone 8 builds being pushed out almost daily. A post on ProfesseurThibault.fr notes that some of the latest builds compiled in Microsoft’s labs include 8.0.9722.0, delivered in late June, and 8.0.9730.0, which was released on the 4th of July.

Furthermore, WMPoweruser reports that the latest build number from the company is 8.0.9735, which was released on July 6th. Rumor has it that Microsoft is accelerating the development process as it prepares Windows Phone 8 for RTM in late July or early August, around the same time when Windows 8 will reach RTM status.

Windows Phone 8
Image credits to Microsoft

Windows Phone 8
Image credits to Microsoft

Nokia RDA Unveils More Windows Phone Smartphones

A host of unannounced Nokia smartphones made an appearance online during the past several days, courtesy of leaked info coming from the company’s Remote Device Access service.

Apparently, the company is currently working on more than one new Windows Phone, and is set to launch both new high-end devices and entry-level handsets for budget-conscious users. Nokia’s RDA tool has unveiled model numbers such as Lumia 920, Lumia 950 and Lumia 510, along with the previously spotted Lumia 910 and Lumia 1001, NokiaPowerUser reports. Moreover, the service also showed an yet unannounced Nokia Belle 805, a smartphone that was mentioned before in relation with the company’s dying family of Symbian devices. For the time being, all info regarding these smartphones should be taken with a grain of salt, as there is a great possibility that they are not real, but the product of some enthusiast’s imagination.

However, Mobile-Review’s Eldar Murtazin claims that some of these handsets are, indeed, real, and that he already mentioned them, and that they would land on shelves with the upcoming Windows Phone 8 platform on board. “910, 920, 950 I mention in a past :) one of them with 12 mpx - wp8 all of them I think (earlier it was wp7.5),” he said in a tweetIf these devices are indeed real, it means that Nokia is working both on a higher-end smartphone than the Lumia 900 family, which should land as Lumia 1001, as well as on a cheaper device than the Lumia 610, supposedly set to arrive as the Lumia 510. No specific info on what the Nokia Belle 805 would include has emerged, but it should be pretty close to the 808 PureView, which was launched earlier this year with Symbian on board. Hopefully, official confirmation on these devices will emerge in the near future, as Nokia is expected to launch its first Windows Phone 8 devices this fall. Keep an eye on this space for more details on them.

Nokia logo
Image credits to Nokia

RIM CEO: BlackBerry 10 Delayed for Better Feature Integration

Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion will bring to the market devices powered by its BlackBerry 10 operating system only next year, after targeting late 2012 as the initial launch timeframe for them.

According to the company’s CEO Thorsten Heins, the reason behind this push back is a simple one: better feature integration. Last week, he told The Globe and Mail that, while the BlackBerry 10 code is ready to go, some of the features included in the platform don’t yet work as seamlessly as intended, and that the delay is caused by this state of facts. RIM has been hard at work with developing BlackBerry 10 from ground up as an entirely new platform, destined to change the way in which users look at BlackBerry. The company is focused on packing the latest technologies out there inside the operating system, and is en-route to deliver what they call “the best mobile platform out there.” Thorsten Heins notes that BlackBerry 10 will arrive as an entirely new platform, and not a simple upgrade for the existing software.

Users will take advantage of features that include video chatting, NFC (Near Field Communication) and more, thus enjoying a robust, reliable new way of interacting with the world, all courtesy of BlackBerry 10. Given the fact that BlackBerry 10’s launch has been delayed, RIM will have more time to integrate wanted software in the platform, and to apply the final touches to a product that should bring the company back to profit. As usual, RIM will push devices powered by the new OS to corporate environments as well, with features such as BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, and with enterprise services that were already available on the BlackBerry platform. Various handsets supposedly running under BlackBerry 10 already emerged online, and they managed to impress those who had the chance to put hands on them. Overall, the new platform should be able to prove highly popular, in the event that RIM will indeed manage to deliver it on time.

BlackBerry logo
Image credits to RIM

Windows 8 in 109 Languages, 231 Markets Globally

Windows 8, the next-generation operating system from Microsoft, is officially set to arrive on shelves in late October, and will benefit from wide availability all around the world.

Today, Microsoft’s Windows Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller confirmed that at the annual Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, Canada. She announced that Microsoft is on track to make Windows 8 generally available in late October, and that the platform will be released in 109 languages across 231 markets worldwide. The availability of the next-generation OS in October means that Windows 8 and Windows RT PCs will be put on shelves during that month. Windows 8 will be available for acquisition as a full retail product, but users will also be able to grab it as OEM flavor pre-installed on new computers, or as an upgrade option for existing platforms. Last week, Microsoft announced that owners of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 computers will be able to upgrade to the upcoming Windows 8 Pro flavor for only $40 for a limited period of time following the general availability of the platform.

To be more precise, the promotion will be available for all upgraders until the end of January next year, and will include the purchase of a Windows 8 Pro upgrade through Windows.com. Additionally, Microsoft unveiled that upgraders would be able to grab the platform on a DVD, but that it will cost them $70. The upgrades will be available for all qualifying users in 131 markets around the world, and not for people in all 231 countries where the new platform will be put up for sale. At the moment, Windows 8 is available for free as a pre-release flavor, and has been so since September last year. Those who already have it installed on their computers will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro when it lands on shelves, provided that they have a prior valid Windows license.

Windows 8 logo
Image credits to Microsoft

Intel Wants 3D, HD Resolution Displays in Next-Gen Ultrabooks

Even as the threat of mass Apple lawsuits looms on the horizon, Intel is pushing ahead with its ultrabook plans, faster and more boldly than any of its OEMs.

Intel finally agreed to cut the price of one or more Core i3 ultrabook CPUs, since the alternative was to give up on too many other features. This made us think that those laptops would finally be worthy of the “affordable” moniker, but the situation may not last. Ultrabooks didn't sell well when they started off, with their $1000+ / 1000+ Euro price tags, but that also means that some people did buy them. In other words, there is a market for expensive, ultraportable notebooks, and Intel means to milk it for all it is worth. At least, this is what a certain report from Digitimes suggests.

Next-generation models could have sensors, higher screen resolutions and 3D support, of all things. New cases, hinges and security measures will become part of the standard spec sheet as well. We're not certain how quickly Chipzilla hopes for these wishes to come true, but we doubt it will be in the near future. Still, the move from HD (1,366 x 768 pixels) to Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) is essentially inevitable, and 3D is the next logical step.

Ultrabooks will get Full HD and 3D
Image credits to Acer

Thermaltake BigTyp Revo CPU Cooler

Thermaltake has decided to update its well-known Big Typhoon cooler design in the light of hot CPUs coming from Intel and AMD in the following months. AMD is getting ready to launch the new FX Vishera processor, and Intel will likely follow with an Ivy Bridge based hexa-core CPU.

The new Thermaltake cooler is called BigTyp Revo, its designated model number is CLP0602 and it comes with a relatively quiet 120-millimeter fan. As reported by Overclockers.uaThe fan is reportedly only 25 millimeters tall, and the whole thing weighs in at 530 grams. That’s 1.16 pounds of cooling power that will take care of CPU with a very high 160 watts TDP.

There are six 6-millimeter cooling heatpipes running through the cooler and only the mid three are likely to come in contact with the CPU die, while the others will help using by drawing additional heat from the CPU’s IHS. There is no info on pricing yet, but we can’t help being disappointed with Thermaltake’s decision to use 6 mm heatpipes instead of 8 mm. We believe that at least the mid three heatpipes should have sported an 8 mm diameter.

BigTyp Revo CPU Cooler
Images credits to overclockers.ua

AMD “Steamroller” CPU cores coming in Q2 2013

AMD has been very modest in performance predictions about its new “Steamroller” x86 core design. The company is touting a 10% improvement over “Bulldozer” architecture, but real life benchmarks with 3.8GHz “Trinity” processor and overclocked 3.8 GHz FX 8150 CPU has exposed some real impressive results.

Despite Trinity’s lack of level 3 cache, the performance increase ranges well beyond AMD’s 10%, so most industry insiders expect an overall 20% performance jump from Vishera processors. Real-life tests showing a 50% performance increase over AMD's own expectations is quite impressive. We're not expecting this to happen in all applications, but it's surprising anyway.

Trinity’s superiority is obvious in single-threaded scenarios, as well as in multi-threaded applications, and adding 8 MB of level 3 cache can only improve the situation. As reported by Fudzilla, AMD’s Richland next-generation accelerated processing unit (APU) is coming in Q2 of next year, we can say that this is likely to be AMD’s first “Steamroller” implementation.

AMD FX Processor Future Features
Image credits to AMD

AMD FX Processor Future Features
Image credits to AMD

Firefox OS’s Lock Screen Emerges Online

Mozilla is gearing up for the launch of its own mobile operating system, which should land on shelves sometime in early 2013.

Called Firefox OS, the platform would be loaded on handsets coming from various partners, Mozilla has confirmed. Moreover, Rob Hawkes, a technical evangelist at Mozilla, has published a photo of the new OS, although only the lock screen can be seen there. The platform was loaded on a Galaxy S II smartphone from Samsung, which shows that it will come with support for mid- to high-end hardware configurations.

According to Mozilla, the operating system is meant to power highly affordable handsets when launched, thus opening the door to the smartphone garden to far more users than before. The Firefox OS, which was initially unveiled to the world as the Boot2Gecko project, is based on web technologies and is aimed at remaining an open platform right through the end.

Firefox OS on Galaxy S II
Image credits to twitpic / Rob Hawkes

New ASUS Radeon HD 7950 DirectCU II is Smaller but Just as Strong

ASUS didn't see the need to shout from the rooftops that it had revised the Radeon HD 7950 DirectCU II graphics adapter, but the folks at VR-Zone spotted the change anyway.

The company did not make any major modifications to the performance specs. Indeed, it kept them the same as it refined the physical layout. What it did was to make the PCB (printed circuit board) and the cooler a bit shorter and overall more adept at driving temperatures lower. Granted, the display output configurations had to be modified somewhat, but in a good way. While the original design had a couple of mini-DisplayPorts, one HDMI and one dual-link DVI, the new one has two dual-link DVI outputs, HDMI and a standard-size DisplayPort 1.2.

For those who want more specifics, the new cooler supposedly has six heatpipes (five originally) and a secondary heatsink on the memory chips. Go here to learn the rest of the specs. The price should stay unchanged ($499.99 / 379 Euro, give or take).

ASUS Radeon HD 7950 DirectCU II
Image credits to VR-Zone

PoV GTX 680 Beast, World’s Fastest Pre-Overclocked GTX680 Card

The competition for the fastest Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 graphics card design seems to have been won by Point of View’s GeForce GTX 680 “BEAST/Backplate” video card using a rather simplistic cooling system and PCB.

Don’t get us wrong, there is nothing simple about a GTX 680 PCB, but Point of View’s card doesn’t benefit from all the enhancements some Zotac GXT 680 cards come with. The cooling system is comprised of two heatsinks cooled by three coolers. The side coolers are 8 centimeters in diameter, while the center cooler is 9-centimeter wide. The first heatsink has two heatpipes drawing heat from the central GPU contact plate and the second heatsink has three. While the cooling system is very capable and well designed, we can say that we’re not impressed, as we’ve seen much better with other occasions. On the other hand, Point of View has strong confidence in its PCB and cooling system design and has decided to clock the GeForce GTX 680 “BEAST/Backplate” video card’s GPU at a very high 1162MHz. Fudzilla’s Sanjin Rados has already tested the new card from Point of View and he confirms that this is the fastest factory overclock on a GTX 680 video card at the moment.

The cooling system is very quiet even during prolonged gaming sessions, and the test sample has never surpassed the 71 degrees Celsius temperature level. There is no information of pricing yet, but the card is estimated to be priced at more than €550, which is more than $675 for the American buyers. Therefore, if you want the fastest GTX 680 graphics card based on Nvidia’s new Kepler architecture, but don’t want to dabble in overclocking, you have to make sure you have the right finances.

POV GeForce GTX 680 'BEAST/Backplate' video card
Image credits to fudzilla

POV GeForce GTX 680 'BEAST/Backplate' video card
Image credits to Point of View

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