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Aug 2, 2012


Following the emergence of a series of photos with the Motorola RAZR HD yesterday, we can now have a look at the US flavor of the device, expected to land on shelves at wireless carrier Verizon as the DROID RAZR HD.

The images made it on the web via DroidForums and show both the front and the back side of the mobile phone. On the back, the device sports Verizon’s 4G LTE logo, along with Kevlar casing, and an HD camera that reportedly boasts a 13MP resolution.

The photo with the handset’s front confirms the DROID RAZR HD name and the fact that it will run Android 4.0.4. Rumor has it that the phone would also include a dual-core 1.5GHz processor and a large 4.5-inch touchscreen display capable of delivering a 720p resolution.

Images credits to DroidForums

First Toshiba 3.5” SATA3 HDD Available in Stores Now

Many of your readers remember our criticism targeting the authorities that allowed Western Digital and Seagate to buy their competition and become a worldwide HDD duopoly that is now burning our pockets.

We’ve explained many times before that Toshiba got some IP and equipment from Western Digital so that the Japanese could pose as the virtual third maker of 3.5” HDDs next to WD and Seagate. This was a requirement for WD imposed by the authorities such that WD would later be allowed to take over Hitachi’s HDD unit. Toshiba only manufactured 2.5” laptop HDDs or 2.5” enterprise units based on Fujitsu’s old HDD division. The Japanese company had no way to present WD and Seagate with any kind of competition in the 3.5” HDD market and it still can’t. On the other hand, Toshiba bragged about increasing production by 30% only to later start the production increase by selling one of its factories to WD.

We have to agree that this is an original production increase strategy. Surprisingly, Toshiba branded HDDs have turned up in several online stores, but the pricing scheme is not at all encouraging. The pictures show that Toshiba’s “new” 3.5” HDD are in fact Hitachi (Western Digital) units that are manufactured at WD’s factory in Shenzhen, China. Although this is not true competition at all, the explanation might be that WD handed Toshiba a 16% to 22% share in its Hitachi factory in Shenzhen, Expreview reported. Therefore Toshiba receives Hitachi HDDs and simply re-labels them with its own brand.

This is not the competition the user likes to see, but we should wait and see if Toshiba overprices its units like Western Digital does. It’s quite disappointing to see that the current socio-economical context led to a global duopoly and the best result is that all 1 TB HDDs listed at newegg.com are priced at $90 or higher, no matter the brand or manufacturer. This price level is almost double the level it was one year ago. That’s some competition alright and we have the authorities that “defend” our interests to thank for.

Toshiba Re-Branded Hitachi HDD
Images credits to Expreview

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Priced at $1660 (€1350)

Lenovo’s highly anticipated 14” UltraBook has just been spotted in mainland China selling for the considerable amount of $1660 (€1350). That’s a whole lot of money, but we must remember that this is a very high-quality device powered by Intel’s Ivy Bridge.

The new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 UltraBook is packed with premium features such as 3G connectivity and Lenovo’s own RapidCharge technology that guarantees a near-full battery charge in 30 minutes, along with Intel’s vPro technology packet that allows every security agency to monitor your computer. Graphics are displayed on a 16:9 small matte screen with a 1600:900 resolution and the user only has Intel’s iGPUs to play with, so don’t get your hopes up about casual gaming.

In fact, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon is purely a business-oriented device that, despite the small weight and size, touts a 10-hour battery life that will be 80% recharged in just 30 minutes with Lenovo’s RapidCharge technology. Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon has been spotted in a retail computer store in China, NewSMTH reported.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 14" UltraBook
Image credits to SlashGear

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 14" UltraBook
Image credits to Engadget

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 680/670 Black Series Accelero Hybrid Liquid-Cooled Graphics Cards

Inno3D knows that liquid-cooler hardware is expensive, but it feels that the high-end video adapters based on NVIDIA's GK104 graphics processing unit are worth it.

The company has formally launched the iChill GeForce GTX 680/670 Black Series Accelero Hybrid LCS (liquid cooling system). It promises to make either card 200% cooler and capable of functioning while producing a ninth of the noise. The product manages this by virtue of being the first LCS to integrate an active fan specifically meant to cool the RAM chips and VR. “Traditionally GPU liquid cooling is expensive, complicated and adopted by only the most technical audience, the GPU however is now one of the most power hungry and hottest components you'll find in a high-end PC and will benefit from the iChill liquid cooling system even more than CPUs,” the company says.

Inno3D's iChill GTX 670 LCS comes with 1,344 CUDA cores, a base GPU clock speed of 1,020 MHz, a GPU Boost frequency of 1,071 MHz and 2 GB of GDDR5 (256-bit interface). The stronger adapter, iChill GTX 680 LCS, has the same memory capacity and interface, but 1536 CUDA cores and higher GPU speed: 1,100 MHz base clock and 1,155 MHz GPU Boost maximum. Both video controllers possess two DVI ports, a DisplayPort connector and, of course, HDMI. Up to four monitors and/or HDTVs can be connected at once.

According to Inno3D, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 reaches a temperature of 69.9 degrees Celsius when the stock cooler spins at 2,000 RPM (rotations per minute), but only 44 degrees with iChill Black Series Accelero Hybrid (with the fan at the same speed). Unfortunately, the OEM's enthusiasm was not strong enough to make it slip and provide the price or the ETA (estimated time of arrival). Inno3D just described the cooler as “simple to use, maintenance-free and excellent value for money.”

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 680/670 Black Series Accelero Hybrid
Image credits to Inno3D

ARM Dual-Core RockChip Processor Surprisingly Beats Tegra, Snapdragon and Exynos

Fuzhou Rockchip Electronics Company (or just Rockchip) is a known ARM developer in mainland China that designs and manufactures microprocessors for numerous affordable tablets and other entertainment electronics.

The tablet world was taken by storm today once news broke about the performance displayed by RockChip’s new processor. The new design completely obliterates the competition in Rightware's popular PowerBoard list. There are three different devices using the chip that were tested and all three ended up holding the first three positions on the list. The new chip is called RK3066 and it’s a “last year” ARM Cortex A9 design.

Some might accept the idea that this chip might be able to compete with Tegra2 chips or other older dual-core processors using the same architecture, but nobody expected this one to beat 28nm Cortex A15 processors from Qualcomm. The feat is very impressive indeed, as the RK3066 is built in TSMC’s “old” 40nm manufacturing technology. This means that we should expect some impressive affordable tablets from Archos or Energy Systems later this year.

Rightware Benchmark result shows ARM, Tegra, Snapdragon and Exynos comparison
Image credits to Rightware

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

Lenovo is preparing to launch its new ThinkPad Tablet 2 mobile computing device once Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system becomes available. The new device uses a very powerful processor from Intel and is targeted at business users.

Lenovo ThinkPad series is the only line of notebooks that are certified for use on the International Space Station. These notebooks have always been admired for their sturdiness and overall quality. The company’s new tablet is no different and comes with various business-oriented features such as the usual “squared ugliness.” Yes, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 has no round shapes, no silver metallic strips and no cool keyboard dock that will transform it into a cool UltraBook. The Tablet 2 comes with a keyboard dock indeed, but this dock looks rugged and comes with no track pad, The Verge reported.

Lenovo’s dock comes with the usual track point instead, and this saves the user from those annoying accidental type/track pad touch accidents. The screen is a nice 10.1” WXGA display, but we would have preferred to see a 4:3 format screen like Energy Systems’ i8 tablet. Having a 4:3 screen provides the user with more work space and display area, while giving him more value for its money. Unfortunately, it’s not the case with Lenovo’s new tablet.

The processor powering the unit is Intel’s long-awaited Atom upgrade. We’re talking about the 32 nm Clover Trail architecture that is supposedly similar to Intel’s Medfield while bringing a much more capable iGPU licensed from Imagination Technologies and running at a higher clock. The tablet also comes with 2GB of RAM that seem absolutely necessary for Microsoft’s Windows 8 and 64GB of storage. The manufacturer emphasizes heavily on the fact that the tablet can run all x86 Microsoft software and even provides a marketing table that shows just how many things a Windows RT tablet will be lacking. It all depends on how you look at it. They manage to prove that the iPad is worthless, according to the table, and we know that’s not the reality, but rather just marketing.

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 / Windows 8 Tablet with x86 Support
Images credits to The Verge

Shuttle OmniNAS KD20 Network Attached Storage with USB 3.0 and Gigabit LAN

Well-known motherboard and SSF barebone manufacturer Shuttle has just launched a new network-attached unit for the home user. The new device is part of Shuttle’s Omninas product line and comes in a very nice aluminum housing.

The official denomination is Omninas KD20 and the aluminum body will give it sturdiness and good looks and, more importantly, much better heat dissipation. This is a 2-bay NAS unit that has support for maximum two 4TB 3.5” hard disk drives. On the connectivity side, the Omninas KD20 comes with a USB 3.0 port for quickly connecting devices that are not part of the network, Gigabit LAN and two USB 2.0 ports.

Some of the useful features are the SD card reader and the copy button than will automatically backup the contents of your card to the NAS unit, and the hot swap button to allow the user to quickly change the hard drives inside in case of a failure. There is no information available on pricing yet, but the KD20 is a well-designed device with support for up to 8TB of storage.

Shuttle OmniNAS KD20 Network Attached Storage with USB 3.0 and Gigabit LAN
Images credits to Shuttle

iPhone 5 Dock Connector with 8 Pins

Seemingly attempting to solve a decade-old problem, Apple is reportedly moving forward with plans to include a redesigned connector in its next iPhone that can dock in more ways than one. The plug is also said to be smaller, featuring 8 pins, as opposed to 30, which is the current spec in the iOS ecosystem.

Two sources who seem to be quite privy of the prototype devices in testing at Apple are confidently telling iLounge that Apple’s new Dock Connector features only 8 pins. Both sources agreed that “there are eight pins in a line within the new Dock Connector” and, according to the report, the spec should well deserve a brand new moniker too. A third source corroborated the claims, says the report, and confirmed that this new connector would solve a problem many iDevice fans are facing on a daily basis. Paraphrased by the site, the source reportedly explained that “the male connector has 8 pins on each side, while the female connector has only 8 pins on one side. This enables the iPhone/iPod/iPad (with female port) to connect to either side of a male cable or docking plug.”

Needless to point out, it will be liberating not having to check each time to see which is the proper plugging position. There’s more. This source also had some details to share about a new iOS 6 feature “that will act as a bridge between its Bluetooth 4-capable devices.” Users of multiple Apple devices would purportedly be able to send over iPhone-only functionality to a computer or an iPad, supposedly enabling one to make a phone call via their Mac. The site explains that the feature would also enable new generations of iPod nanos to display iMessages received by an iPhone, or share voice memos via the iPhone, “and even initiate phone calls through its own headphones,” the site speculates.

iPhone 5 Concept
Image credits to Martin uit Utrecht

TP-Link 450 Mbps Wireless N Dual Band PCI Express Adapter

Having launched a tiny router small enough to flip like a coin, TP-Link is turning its attention back towards the community of customers that want more familiar hardware.

Not that there is anything common about the TL-WDN4800. Dual-band wireless devices are, all things considered, still fairly rare. Nevertheless, there are enough of them up for sale around the world that they are no longer an oddity, so TP-Link is actually building on an already solid foundation. The longer name of the TL-WDN4800 is 450Mbps Wireless N Dual Band PCI Express Adapter. It can access the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz channels and transmit data at, obviously, 450 Mbps, though this is really just the theoretical upper limit. The real-life performance will depend on how crowded the band is, especially on the 2.4 GHz setting. While 5 GHz has less interference, the 2.4 GHz band is shared by cordless phones and even microwaves.

Nevertheless, regardless of the type of network tapped into, owners of the TP-Link 450Mbps Wireless N Dual Band PCI Express Adapter TL-WDN4800 should have an easy time checking e-mail, browsing the Internet, streaming HD video and even playing online games. In fact, to minimize instability and lag, the company ships the device with three antennas, which boost performance and prevent the signal from fluctuating. As for security and interoperability, the adapter complies with IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n specifications and WPA/WPA2 encryption standards. Local retailers should be offering it for sale already (some are said to have been shipping it for months really, making this press release highly belated), for the price of $44.99 / 37 Euro. The package includes a CD utility that enables even novices to set up a network.

Finally, as the photo shows, the gadget is a wireless add-in board supposed to sink into a motherboard's PCI Express slot, making it unsuited to notebook owners.

TP-Link dual-band PCI Express router (TL-WDN4800)
Image credits to TP-Link

Motorola RAZR HD International Version

Mobile phone maker Motorola is known to be readying the release of a new handset for US wireless carrier Verizon, the successor of the popular DROID RAZR, which should arrive on shelves as DROID RAZR HD.

As it usually happens, the device should make an appearance on the international market as well, where it will lose the “DROID” part of its name, since that goes only for Verizon’s smartphones. Thus, in addition to the upcoming high-end mobile phone on shelves at Big Red in the United States, we should also see a RAZR HD handset being pushed to the market elsewhere, but with the same features and capabilities. Of course, no official announcement on the matter has been made for the time being, but both flavors of the device were spotted online before, in various benchmarks. Today, we can have a look at some photos that supposedly show the RAZR HD smartphone, the international flavor of Motorola’s upcoming Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich device.

Last week, Verizon’s version received FCC approvals with the codename Vanquish attached to it, and it appears that RAZR HD will keep the internal name as well. The specs list of the two should be very similar, except maybe for the type of connectivity they would sport. Verizon’s DROID RAZR HD should include CDMA and LTE capabilities, while the international model is expected to land on shelves with GSM radios inside. RAZR HD is also rumored to pack a large, 4.5-inch or higher Super AMOLED display that can deliver an HD (720 x 1280 pixels) resolution, along with a 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 application processor.

Moreover, the handset is said to sport 1GB of RAM inside, along with an 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back, with support for full HD video recording (vs. the 13MP camera in DROID RAZR HD). It should feature a front camera as well. In addition to these rumors, all that we have to go with when it comes to RAZR HD are the photos that a XDA-Developers forum member has published recently.

Motorola RAZR HD International Version
Images credits to XDA-Developers

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