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Jul 10, 2012

Office 2013 Beta Might Have Been Delayed

Among the various details it shared with the audience at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, Microsoft let slip only few of them about the upcoming Office 2013 suite.

In fact, the Redmond-based software giant made no info official on the upcoming product, but said that additional details on the matter would be released later this summer. According to MakingWindowsEasy, this could mean only one thing, namely that the company has pushed the release of Office 2013 beta to a later date than originally targeted. Some of the previous reports on the matter suggested that we might get a taste of the pre-release flavor of Microsoft’s new Office suite as soon as this week, or sometime in July. However, it appears that Office 2013, code-named “Office 15″ is not yet ready for a public beta, and that we’ll have to wait a bit longer before Microsoft decides it can be pushed to users. Only select testers have been provided with a technology preview version of the application in January this year, but the rest of the world was left in the dark regarding the new product.

Multiple leaks on the matter showed some of the new features and capabilities that Microsoft could be set to include inside Office 2013, such as the ability to edit PDF files, deeper integration with SkyDrive and a new interface, heavily influenced by the Metro design philosophy in Windows 8. Throughout the application, users will also observe a series of optimizations meant to provide better usage capabilities when it comes to touchscreen-enabled devices. Microsoft hasn’t provided info on when the new productivity suite will become commercially available, yet rumor has it that this could happen sometime in the beginning of the next year. More info on the matter will certainly emerge when the public beta is released in several weeks’ time, so stay tuned.

Microsoft Office 2013 logo
Image credits to Microsoft

Nokia Offers its MeeGo Patents to Jolla, Supports Their Initiative

For Nokia, MeeGo is dead. The company is shifting its entire focus on the development of Windows Phone devices, thus leaving aside all other smartphone platforms it has been working on. 

For enthusiasts, however, the platform is alive and kicking, and promises a great future. We’re referring here to the Jolla startup, which announced a few days ago that it would continue the development on this platform.  
With devices expected to arrive on shelves later this year running under the MeeGo platform, the startup needs all the support it can get. Apparently, Nokia itself is one of the companies that landed a helping hand, by gifting the patents it held on MeeGo to the new company. Apparently, Jolla is one of the companies that was created as part of Nokia’s Bridge project, which was launched to help its employees pursue other purposes in life after leaving their current positions. Since Nokia has operated a lot of job cuts, such a program was needed, and it seems that people from handset vendor’s MeeGo team took advantage of it to come up with this startup.

“Nokia will offer training, funding, and help identify business opportunities and partnerships for those interested in starting a new business or a company on their own, which can fuel new growth for impacted communities,” Nokia notes on the project’s website. Thus, the Finnish giant reportedly decided to offer said patents to Jolla, so as to help its former employees launch new devices as fast as possible, and without having to pay royalties for some of the technologies used inside the OS. Jolla founder Jussi Hurmola told ItViikko of this move coming from Nokia, and also confirmed that new MeeGo handsets might land on shelves before the end of this year. However, no official release timeframe was provided, and we might very well see these phones pushed to 2013.

Apparently, other people in the mobile industry also consider MeeGo as being a potentially successful smartphone operating system, even if Nokia decided to scrap future plans on it.

Nokia N9
Image credits to Nokia

Windows Server 2012 RTM in Early August, Final Release in September

In addition to providing info on the upcoming release timeframe of its Windows 8 operating system, Microsoft took its time at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, Canada, to offer some details on the release of Windows Server 2012.

The Redmond-based software giant announced that the server platform is set to hit Release to Manufacturing status during the first week of August, the same as Windows 8. However, unlike the desktop client, the server OS will be ready for commercial availability as soon as the next month, September. “In fact, at the conference we are announcing that Windows Server 2012 will be released to manufacturing in the first week of August,” Jeffrey Snover, Windows Server, Microsoft, explains in a blog post“The code will be complete and we will begin delivering it to our hardware partners. Then, the product will be generally available to customers worldwide through multiple channels in September.”

He also provided some info on how the pre-release flavors of Windows Server 2012 were received by the community, announcing over half a million downloads for it. “You, our customers and partners, have downloaded pre-release versions of Windows Server 2012 more than 500,000 times - more than any other server from Microsoft before. We can’t wait to get the final version out the door to you,” he concluded. The availability of Windows Server 2012 RTM means that OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) that build servers based on this platform will be able to load it on their new products, while the rest of the world will have access to it only in September.

Windows Server 2012 is seen as a major upgrade for Microsoft’s server OS, packing a wide range of major features when compared to the latest platform release, Windows Server 2008 R2. In addition to better control of files and processes, it also comes with single console management, Hyper-V with support for multi-tenant configurations, and a new ReFS file system, ComputerWorld notes. The OS also features the new Metro UI that is present on Windows 8 too. Last week, Microsoft also went official with the various Windows Server 2012 SKUs that will be available for its customers, and announced that it will remove the Windows Home Server edition from the list.

Windows Server 2012
Image credits to Microsoft

Boston Limited Revolutionary ARM “Viridis” Servers with Calxeda Processors

We have talked about Calxeda’s impressive energy efficient quad-core processors. We also reported about the its performance and energy efficiency. Now, server maker Boston Limited is announcing the new “Viridis” server line using Calxeda’s EnergyCore SoCs.

SoC is short for System on Chip, which are quad-core ARM processors based on ARM’s Cortex A9 architecture. Boston’s new servers pack 48 nodes in a 2U enclosure and are, thus, able to offer an impressive 4032 cores in a single standard 42U rack. A node is in fact a Calxeda EnergyCore SoC with four Cortex A9 ARM cores inside with its 4GB of RAM, flash memory and network controllers. Practically, the 2U server box will house 192 Cortex A9 cores and will consume a maximum of just 240 watts. Packing so much processing power in a 2U modular enclosure consuming an average of less than 150 watts is truly amazing. The SoCs are mounted in “POCket boards,” which is a term coined by Boston Limited defining a board with four SoCs and four miniDIMM connectors with four SATA ports (one per each EnergyCore processor).

12 such boards are mounted in a 2U enclosure and each one comes with a 10Gbps Ethernet link, which is the interconnector between the main motherboard and POCket board. The thing is that a whole 42U rack packing 4032 Cortex A9 cores running at frequencies between 1.1 GHz and 1.4 GHz will be able to suck up a maximum of 5400 watts, thus making the whole rack consume less than the average instant water heater. Boston Limited claims over 10 times the performance per watt the best Xeon x86 server can offer and we tend to agree with them.

Calxeda Marketing Shot
Image credits to Calxeda

Calxeda EnergyCore Diagram
Image credits to AnandTech

RIM’s CEO: BlackBerry 10 Devices Arrive in January 2013

Research In Motion is in deep trouble, but the Canadian company hopes to boost its market share once BlackBerry 10 OS gets launched next year.

Previously slated for a Q3/Q4 launch, BlackBerry 10 OS has been recently delayed by RIM due to the fact that there’s a large amount of coding needed and the company’s software engineers won’t have the time to include all the new features by the end of the year. RIM’s CEO, Thorsten Heins, stated last week that the first BlackBerry 10 OS devices were scheduled to hit shelves in Q1 2013, though the official did not unveil any exact release date. However, Heins decided to shed more light on the upcoming launch of the next-generation operating system, during an interview for CIO’s Al Sacco.

According to RIM’s CEO, “in January with the full touch device and the QWERTY coming, I think we will reinstall faith in RIM. That's what we're working on. This is what our objective is, and when I've talked to carriers about the delay of BlackBerry 10, the overwhelming feedback was, ‘First, thank you for letting us know in advance. Second, Q4 is mostly a prepaid quarter anyway, lot of noise coming, actually why don't we focus on a Q1 2013 launch and make this a major launch in Q1?’ ”

This information gets in line with the latest RIM BlackBerry 10 roadmap that leaked last week, so we can safely assume that the Canadian company is now hard at work to keep its promise to both carriers and customers, and deliver the first BlackBerry 10 devices in January 2013. Rumor has it that RIM will launch a full touch BlackBerry 10 smartphone first, which will be followed soon by a physical QWERTY device. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins
Image credits to RIM

Haswell-EP is LGA2011 but It’s Likely Completely Incompatible

Intel Corporation has apparently decided to forget about all its clients that have invested hundreds of dollars in their LGA2011 mainboards. Most of us might think that the higher-end the mainboard is, the greater the platform longevity is.

In a shocking turn of events, As reported by SemiAccurate, it seems that Intel’s LGA2011 socket for the Haswell-EP processor platform is completely incompatible with today’s LGA2011 variant. While the pin count is the same, the two sockets will be physically and electrically completely incompatible.

Many thought that Intel’s LGA2011 platform would live through the Haswell generation and that there would be an initial launch with DDR3 memory, as DDR4 memory is practically inexistent now and the sales and production are not likely to boom in 2013. Well, the rumors are that this is not the case and even if AMD made good by us in keeping FM2 socket compatibility with Richland APUs, we can’t forget the bitter taste their FM1 to FM2 switch left us just after Intel’s ugly LGA1366 and LGA1156 moves.

Intel Current LGA2011 Processor Socket
Image credits to AnandTech

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