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Jul 24, 2012

Lenovo “Transformer” IdeaTab S2110 Available Now, Just $343

Chinese computer maker Lenovo is now officially shipping its new 10.1” Transformer-like tablet. The new gadget is more affordable than ASUS’ own Transformer, while claiming longer battery life and better performance.

Lenovo’s new tablet is designated IdeaTab S2110 and is built around Qualcomm’s powerful Snapdragon S4 “Krait” dual-core processor. Don’t be mistaken, the S4 is an ARM Cortex A15 architecture that has roughly the same performance as a quad-core Cortex A9 processor like Nvidia’s Tegra 3. Not only does Qualcomm’s “Krait” come with the same performance as an ARM Cortex A9 in quad-core configuration, but it also excels in single- and dual-threaded applications and often achieves longer battery life. Lenovo claims a 10-hour battery life for the new IdeaTab S2110 and, considering what we know about Qualcomm’s Krait, we’re inclined to believe them.

Moreover, Lenovo also offers an optional keyboard/battery dock just like ASUS’ Transformer, which will prolong the battery life to an amazing 20 hours. When coupled to the keyboard dock, the IdeaPad S2110 looks very similar to the Transformer, but Lenovo’s tablet is priced at $343 (€283), while the combo dock is just $54 (€45). This makes the IdeaTab S2110 considerably more affordable than the ASUS original, while offering better battery life and significantly better performance in most applications. The new gadget has a 5MP rear camera and a 1.3MP front facing one, and the operating system of choice is Google’s Android 4.0.

The integrated dual-speakers are SRS TruMedia-certified and the 3G model also has a built-in AGPS that helps you find your location in as little as 10 seconds. The 32 GB version is a bit pricier than this 16 GB model we described here, but it’s also priced below $400. 

Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 SnapDragon S4 10.1" Tablet
Images credits to Lenovo

Oppo to Launch Windows Phone 8 Devices Next Year

The upcoming Windows Phone 8 platform could arrive on shelves loaded on devices coming from far more handset vendors than before.

Among them, WPDang says that we could see handsets manufactured by Chinese vendor Oppo, which has recently launched one of the smallest smartphones in the world, the Oppo FinderWe already knew that Microsoft was looking into attracting more phone makers to its Windows Phone 8 operating system, and the partnership with Oppo does not come as a surprise. However, no official info on the matter has been provided yet, nor were details on upcoming Oppo Windows Phone 8 devices unveiled. Based on the company’s history, however, we could expect for some highly appealing smartphones to be released, hopefully in more markets than just China.

Oppo’s aforementioned Finder was made official with a 6.65mm thin body, a dual-core application processor inside, 1GB of RAM, a 4.3-inch touchscreen display, and Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich platform on top of them all. Although capable of delivering appealing performance capabilities, the new device features a rather affordable price tag, at only around $400 off-contract. This spells great news for Windows Phone 8 enthusiasts, as Oppo is sure to load the platform on similarly spec’d devices, without tampering too much – if at all – with the software.

However, the company might not launch such a mobile phone until next year, although the first Windows Phone smartphones are expected to emerge on the market in the fourth quarter of the current year. Microsoft already partnered with leading handset vendors for the launch of its new platform version, including Nokia, LG, Samsung, Acer and others, but no specific release date for these devices has been unveiled until now. Rumor has it that the first Windows Phone 8 will land sometime in October from Nokia, and that other makers will have their products on shelves as soon as November.

Oppo Finder
Image credits to Oppo

Sony LT30p Mint Spotted with 1.5 GHz Dual-Core CPU and HD Display

Sony Mobile has a very busy schedule for the second half of the year. The Japanese handset maker plans to launch quite a few Android phones by the end of 2012 and the LT30p Mint is one of them.

The smartphone leaked a while ago along with some of its specs, which have just been confirmed by a few benchmarks. The folks over at XperiaBlog have just learned that the device appeared on GLBenchmark with 1.5 GHz dual-core processor and an HD (720 x 1196 pixels) display.

We also know that the smartphone will be powered by Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system (firmware version 7.0.A.2.4). Last but not least, the Xperia LT30p Mint also appeared in the NenaMark2 benchmark confirming the MSM8960 Qualcomm S4 Snapdragon chipset and the Adreno 225 graphics processing unit. The smartphone is expected to be announced in H2 2012.

Sony LT30p Mint NenaMark2 score
Image credits to XperiaBlog

Windows 8 Support for Low-Power Graphics Hardware

Packed with support for a far wider range of graphics than previous platform releases, Windows 8 will deliver great visual experiences even when loaded on low-power hardware, Microsoft promises.

The company explains that Windows 8 was designed from the ground up with support for a diversity of hardware configurations, and the trend is accelerating. The Redmond-based software giant focused both on making the new OS compatible with new, high-performance graphics cards, as well as with the increasing range of low-power mobile devices. By making this move, Microsoft made sure that the platform would be loaded on the wider array of hardware than ever before, and that users would enjoy a great experience even on low-power devices. In fact, the company notes that Windows 8 devices will span “from graphics hardware that consumes on the order of 1 watt in always-connected tablets all the way up to high-end systems with multiple graphics cards that use a total of 1,000 watts or more.”

“This broadening diversity brings with it new design considerations,” Rob Copeland, the group program manager on Microsoft’s Graphics team, explains in a blog postHowever, the main idea was to deliver a “visually compelling, high-performance experience” to users, even if they enjoy Windows 8 on highly mobile devices, in which the battery is the primary power source. Battery life needed improvements, but the performance levels of the device were not to be forgotten either. Thus, new GPU architectures emerged from Microsoft’s hardware partners, to ensure that all goes according to plan. When designing Windows 8 for use on low-power graphics hardware, Microsoft focused on optimizing the graphics architectures called “tile-based rendering,” commonly used in such devices.

The idea behind this architecture is that the graphics engine uses a high-performance (but small) memory cache. The GPU renders the screen in tiles (sections), processing the same set of commands for each tile, and not for the entire screen. “The intent is to minimize operations that use memory off-chip, therefore keeping power consumption low and performance high. Repeatedly accessing memory off-chip is expensive both in terms of time and power consumption,” Copeland explains. For increased efficiency, Windows 8 comes with additional flags, hints, and new APIs, all of which were meant to minimize the number of times the tiles are rendered. “We have incorporated the use of these into the Metro style app development platform to ensure greater efficiency in apps running on graphics hardware that uses a tile-based rendering architecture,” he continues.

Microsoft also looked into another means to reduce power consumption. One of them involves performing graphics rendering calculations using fewer bits of precision. “For Windows 8, we added new mechanisms for apps to specify the amount of precision needed in their graphical calculations,” Copeland notes. “For example, when doing custom blending of multiple images where the image data is 8 bits per component, the blending computations could be done with 10 bits of precision rather than the default of 32 bits. The reduced precision doesn’t impact image quality, but does reduce power consumption.” The upcoming operating system will arrive on shelves with support for the widest array of graphics hardware ever, spanning from high-end gaming rigs to light-weight, always-connected tablets, he concludes.

Windows 8
Images credits to Microsoft

PNY Nvidia Quadro 410 Professional Video Card

PNY’s new professional card is an entry-level Quadro card powered by an Nvidia GPU featuring a modest, single-slot cooling system. The company claims the new graphic adapter is up to 90% faster than a Quadro FX 380LP when testing in SPEC Viewperformance 11.

Compared with a Quadro 400 card, PNY’s new adapter offers 30% improved performance using the same testing procedure. The new PNY NVIDIA Quadro 410 professional graphics adapter features 192 CUDA cores and just 512 MB of DDR3 memory, IXBT reports.

Despite being small and apparently not really powerful, the cooling system manages to stay below 28 decibels, but we think the situation will surely change after one year of wear and tear. The back panel only contains a DVI-I output connector and a DisplayPort.

PNY Nvidia Quadro 410 Professional Video Card
Image credits to IXBT

Mozilla Firefox with National Flag Personas

Although the Olympic Games are scheduled to start in three days, the competition might begin a little earlier in Firefox, as Mozilla raked up the flags of 57 countries in a collection of personas of their own.

The move was made to give the millions of Firefox users around the globe the opportunity “to celebrate the spirit of community and togetherness.” However, the number of users customizing the web browser with their country flag seems a bit low right now. Out of the 62 countries represented, Australia has the most supporters, with 487 installations.

Next comes Great Britain with 304 users and at a very safe distance is Brazil, with 40 installations. Indonesia flag seems to have only 8 daily users at the moment. You can get your flag on by accessing this page.

Collection of 57 country flags available on Mozilla Add-on page

Sharkoon Tactix Gaming Keyboard just $15 / 12.40 Euro

We are so used to gaming hardware that costs over one hundred dollars a piece that learning about such a peripheral with a tag of just $15 / 12.40 Euro can be shocking.

Nevertheless, that is what we might soon have in our hands, thanks to Sharkoon, whose product is called Tactix Gaming Keyboard. Detailed here, it hasn't been given an availability date yet, sadly. That only makes us look forward to it all the more though. The product has fully programmable keys (via software GUI) and can record macros, macro loops, Internet functions, media functions, etc.

It should also be possible to bind mouse functions and timing delays. Furthermore, the WASD and arrow keys are rubberized (being the most often used in games). All in all, the product measures 16.96 (L) by 5.35 (W) by 0.94 (W) inches (430 x 135 x 24 mm) and weighs 1.3 pounds / 589 grams.

The Battle begins! You advance, storming forward! Full cover! With luck! The next run, the opponent is left behind -- tunnel vision. Now it's all about speed, you need space for your movements and the Tactix is really small and lies compactly in front of you.
Video credits to SharkoonTW

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

We have only just finished reporting on the new promo video for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, and now we get to show you some hand-on photos that the folks at The Brave Post snatched.

What we are looking at is the KT variant of the Galaxy Note 10.1, which will only be up for sale in South Korea. We don't know exactly when the launch will happen, maybe in August or perhaps even later.

Anyway, the specs are as follows: a 10.1-inch 1,280 x 800 pixels screen, a quad-core Exynos 4412 processor (1.4 GHz), Bluetooth ,Wi-Fi, 16 GB of storage, two cameras (5 MP on the front, 1.9 MP at the back), 2 GB of RAM, GPS, a microSD card slot and, of course, the Android 4.0 OS. All the hardware and software run on the energy from a 7000-mAh battery.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Images credits to The Brave Post

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