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Aug 14, 2012

Imation High-Security USB Hard Disk Drive Series

Eager to add something to the external and portable hard disk drive market, Imation has launched some new USB-connected models that offer both a higher capacity and improved safety, compared to existing units.

According to the press release and the official company website, Imation's H100 and/or H200 series have been expanded. The top capacity is now 1 TB, rather than 750 GB, while security consists of much more than AES 256-bit encryption (Cipher Block Chain / CBC mode). And by “more” we mean FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards) 140-2, Level 3 validated security processor, single or dual-factor authentication, (password plus biometric fingerprint through swipe sensor) and a tamper-evident aluminum case. "Enterprise and government organizations increasingly need manageable USB devices in order to provide mobile workers with the tools necessary to work where and when they want, and access the data they need in the most secure way possible," said Lawrence Reusing, Imation’s general manager for mobile security. "People are increasingly turning to USB hard drives to transport large data sets. Our expanding secure hard drive offerings are in response to our customers needing increased capacity without compromising control over the devices and data."

Up to 10 different users can be recognized by the HDDs through these two methods, while the optional Imation ACCESS Enterprise management makes it easy to manage up to tens of thousands of secure portable devices across networks and security environments. The McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator software is just a bonus (enables centralized enterprise device management, administrative capabilities such as including US Government CAC/PIV card authentication, optional antivirus software that prevents malware from being transferred onto the device, etc.).

Imation expects to gain customers among IT administrators for enterprises and government agencies. "Many organizations have already taken steps to encrypt and protect data on disk drives used in notebook PCs, but now need to go one step further to encrypt and protect data on personal storage devices," said John Rydning, IDC's research vice president for hard disk drives. "Imation's encrypted personal storage solutions address what is often a neglected area for data security in organizations."

Imation secure HDD
Image credits to Imation

AMD Upgrades All Radeon HD 7950 from 800 to 850 MHz for Free

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 660 Ti graphics card will soon start causing a ruckus, so Advanced Micro Devices is, naturally, preparing preemptive measures, or one of them anyway.

By preemptive measures we mean to say that the Sunnyvale, California-based company is going to give the world an extra reason to buy the Radeon HD 7950 instead of NVIDIA's card. AMD was early to the pie with the 28nm generation of GPUs so, naturally, NVIDIA has to make up for being late by making something better. Given rumors of 1,050 MHz GTX 660 Ti units, we can safely say that NVIDIA is playing its cards mostly right. In fact, even at 980 MHz / 1033 MHz GPU Boost, the product is set to be quite powerful. AMD's answer to the threat of this sub-$400 product (320-350 Euro) is simple: upgrade all existing Radeon HD 7950 adapters. That means both sold and unsold cards.

Long story short, the corporation has prepared a new BIOS that will raise the base frequency from 800 MHz to 850 MHz. The BIOS also introduces the PowerTune with boost feature, which acts in a similar manner to NVIDIA's GPU Boost technology. When applications demand that extra edge, the clock speed can go even higher than 850 MHz, to 925 MHz. All in all, though the new logic won't match the frequency of NVIDIA's GTX 660 Ti, it will reduce the difference to acceptable levels. Everything else about AMD's board will remain unchanged, including the price. Thus, if AMD isn't all that quick in releasing the GHz edition of the graphics card, installing the BIOS could be a good idea (provided users know what they are doing). Naturally, all HD 7950 manufactured from the middle of this month (August 2012) onward will feature it right from the factory.

AMD Radeon HD 7950
Image credits to AMD

Need for Speed: Most Wanted Full Length Multiplayer Video

Electronic Arts has revealed the full length version of the Need for Speed: Most Wanted multiplayer trailer we saw last week, showing off an array of different online activities that can be performed by players in all sorts of powerful cars.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted is a recreation of the cult classic game from 2005, made by the studio behind the Burnout franchise – Criterion Games. We have already seen gameplay footage in several videos released earlier this summer and a short teaser trailer for its multiplayer mode has appeared over the weekend. Now, the full-fledged version of the multiplayer gameplay video has just appeared, showing off the 12-player races that are possible in the new game.

The new Most Wanted also boasts the next version of the Autolog online system – Autolog 2 – which will once again help players track the performances of their friends. Need for Speed: Most Wanted is out on October 30 in North America, and November 2 in Europe, for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. Until then, check out the video above.

Witness Need For Speed like you've never seen it before in fast and fun 12-person multiplayer action. Jump into the open world of Fairhaven City and prove your driving skills against your friends. Drive a huge variety of cars and compete in a series of action-packed challenges. Race, drift, jump and Takedown your friends in a battle to become Most Wanted.
Video credits to NeedForSpeed

Oppo Finder White Love Edition

Oppo Finder, one of the slimmest Android-based smartphones in the world, is expected to arrive on shelves in a white flavor too in the not too distant future.

No official info on the matter has been provided as of yet, but the guys over at UnwiredView suggest that it might be released before the end of August. The mobile phone was originally made available for purchase only a few months ago, claiming the title of the slimmest smartphone in the world at only 6.65 mm.

The new flavor of the mobile device is said to be en route to the market under the name of “Oppo Finder White Love Edition.” No specific info on the price tag that this device might feature has been provided as of yet, but rumor has it that it would go for around $400.

Oppo Finder White Love Edition
Images credits to ePrice

Acer TravelMate P234

Acer has issued a press release in which it details the TravelMate P243 notebook, a decently-priced business system ($699 / 565 Euro).

That's actually the price ultrabooks have been vying for, even though the notebook is not thin enough to qualify as one. At any rate, the laptop's most notable traits are the Core i3 Ivy Bridge CPU (third-generation), 4/8 GB of DDR3 RAM, an HD 14-inch screen (Acer ComfyView LCD LED with 1,366 x 768 pixels), a 500 GB HDD, Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth, WiDi (Wireless Display technology, for streaming to Smart HDTVs) and a spill-resistant keyboard.

"The TravelMate P243 notebook is an important addition to our professional notebook portfolio as it combines everything today's road warrior requires, including exceptional performance, enterprise-level security, durability and manageability for a best-in-class mobile experience," said Gregg Prendergast, vice president of commercial sales for Acer America. Retailers and online stores should start accepting orders for the Acer TravelMate P243 soon, if they haven't already. There will be Sandy Bridge configurations too (second-generation Core i3), for $599 / 485 Euro.

Acer TravelMate P234
Image credits to Acer

Samsung Galaxy Note II Render Leaks

Samsung is expected to announce the Galaxy Note’s sequel in late August. Most likely, the South Korean company will launch the Samsung Galaxy Note II a few days ahead of IFA 2012 trade fair opening.

Also known as Samsung N7100, the device will be the company’s new Android flagship smartphone, at least until a more powerful model gets launched on the market. Although we already know some details on the phone’s specs sheet, there hasn’t been any picture of the Galaxy Note II leaked in the wild until recently. 
The folks over at GSMArena have just received an alleged photo of the Samsung Galaxy Note II, though the person sending this in wasn’t able to confirm its origin. We suggest taking all these leaks with a grain of salt until Samsung comes forward with something official concerning the upcoming device. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate on the phone’s hardware and software configuration. In this regard, it looks like GSMArena’s tipster has also revealed some of the Galaxy Note II’s specs. Obviously, we cannot confirm any of these details, so take it or leave it.

Well, Samsung Galaxy Note II comes with a huge 5.5-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display that supports HD (1280 x 800 pixels) resolution. The tipster has confirmed that the screen will utilize a regular RGB matrix, but it won’t be fullHD. On the inside, the smartphone will be equipped with Samsung’s Exynos 4 Quad chipset that packs a quad-core processor clocked at 1.5 GHz. An impressive 8-megapixel camera with autofocus, LED flash and full HD (1080p) video recording will also be included. Software-wise, the Galaxy Note II will be launched with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system out of the box. However, Samsung is reportedly working on a Jelly Bean update for Galaxy Note II, which will be available by the end of the year.

Samsung Galaxy Note II
Image credits to GSMArena

Samsung Series 7 Gaming 3D Laptop with AMD Radeon HD 7870M

Samsung’s Series 7 notebooks have been praised for their good looks, high performance, thin waist and low weight, but what happens when the company lets go of these constraints and only focuses on performance?

The answer is the new Series 7 gaming notebook from the Korean giant that, while far from being a 4 Kg monster like MSI GT70 or ASUS’s G75, it is able to fit inside a lot of processing power, 3D performance and a fast and roomy storage system. The official name of Samsung’s new baby is Series 7 Gamer Yellow 3D and if you’re wondering where the “yellow” moniker is coming from, the answer is the color of the whole notebook. That’s right; Samsung decided to make the new gaming laptop a real looker and has chosen a beautiful, bright yellow color for the casing. The Series 7 Gamer Yellow 3D uses an extremely powerful AMD Radeon HD 7870M mobile GPU to power its gaming side and, while not the fastest mobile GOU available right now, it brings a very good balance between performance and power consumption, SamsungTomorrow reports.

The storage system brings exactly what every other laptop in the world should have, a dual HDD 2.5” bay setup with a fast 128 GB SSD boot drive and a roomy 1TB HDD for your games, movies, pictures and music. In our opinion, absolutely every notebook and laptop in the world should be designed this way and that includes UltraBooks and ultra-thins. The netbooks and tablets can get away with only a single storage bay, but real notebooks should not come without a dual system in this SSD drive world. There is no reason not to include a second SSD drive bay and if Samsung manages to put two of these inside a 14” notebook, so should Gigabyte in a 17” netbook, like we’ve discussed here.

The 3D screen is a 14.3” SuperBright 3D LED display with a medium brightness of 400 nit sporting the usual 1920 by 1080 FullHD resolution. The processor powering the unit is Intel’s Core i7-3610QM working at a default 2300 Mhz frequency with a 3100 MHz Turbo option or even 3300 Mhz when only a single thread is requiring maximum performance. Despite the fact that it comes with a 6 MB level 3 cache, Intel’s Ivy Bridge CPU only has a modest 45 watts TDP and that is indeed modest considering the performance. The price of Samsung’s 3.81 Kg (8.30 pounds) notebook is slated at $2643 (2150 EUR). We admit we really like Samsung’s color choice and we’re quite disappointed that the keyboard, wrist pad and monitor bezel are not yellow too.

Samsung Series 7 Gamer Yellow 3D 14.3" Gaming Notebook
Images credits to SamsungTomorrow

BlackBerry 10 Is Almost Ready for Licensing

Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion might have its upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system licensed to other vendors, should it consider this move fit for its business.

The company has been long rumored to plan licensing the new OS, and Thorsten Heins, RIM’s president and chief executive officer, has confirmed that all is set for making such a move, Bloomberg reports. He did not confirm a possible deal with another handset maker, but chances are that the company might make such an announcement soon.

BlackBerry 10 is set to become available on new devices in the first quarter of the next year, after being originally expected to arrive as soon as September this year. RIM is betting a lot on the new platform release. It should help the company regain its foothold on the smartphone segment, and should also bring RIM back to profitability.

BlackBerry logo
Image credits to RIM

Giada i35G Mini PC with NVIDIA Graphics

Giada has released its newest nettop, or small form factor personal computer as the name goes, one that combines the processing performance of an Intel processor with the video capabilities of an NVIDIA GPU.

The central processing unit is a member of Intel's Atom D2500 series, while the graphics processing unit (GPU) is GT 610. Backed by 2 GB of DDR3 RAM (random access memory), these two chips perform pretty much every sort of operation a business or multimedia system can be expected to carry out. That includes high-definition graphics, up to and including 1080p Full HD video playback. Digital signage, brand promotion, digital menu boards, all should be an easy task for the nettop. Physically, the Giada i35G, as the nettop is called, measures 192 x 155 x 26 mm, which is the same as 7.55 x 6.10 x 1.02 inches. That small package somehow holds not just the CPU, GPU and RAM, but also a hard drive disk 320 GB, or an Intel SSD if prospective buyers decide it is worth it to pay extra for speed.

The rest of the spec sheet is filled by connectivity and I/O options, and it isn't precisely short. The USB 2.0 ports number five on their own, and the connection panel also boasts a card reader, one Gigabit LAN port, a line-out SPDIF, a VGA output, an HDMI connector and the obligatory DC-in jack. Finally, Giada tossed in two audio jacks (speaker/headphone out and mic in), 802.11n and Bluetooth. All in all, the small nettop consumes 35W of energy, a third of what a random light bulb needs. The price is of $274, or 221 Euro.

“The i35G keeps power consumption to a minimum at 35W, while still having the flexibility to provide high performance solutions for digital signage for advertising, hospitality, brand promotion and digital menu boards as well as for consumers looking for a compact work station that also allows for light gaming,” Giada says.

Giada i35G Mini PC
Image credits to Giada

Next Windows Are Not Windows 9 but Only a Minor Release

With Windows 8 already out in the hands of manufacturers and set to become available for download for MSDN and TechNet subscribers tomorrow, Microsoft is said to be focusing on the development of the next version of Windows, recently said to be codenamed Windows Blue.

Originally said to be Windows 9, codenamed Windows Blue might end up as a minor update for Windows 8, and not the full-flavored platform that we believed it to be. Apparently, Microsoft is set to move away from the usual release cycle of its new Windows versions and adopt a new one, similar to the one it has set up for Windows Phone. To be more precise, the company is expected to start delivering regular updates for the platform, similar to the previously launched Service Packs. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley notes that the first such update would be set to become available in mid-2013, and that Windows Blue might be the codename for this software release. Provided that it indeed becomes available in the summer of 2013, the platform could feature an interim platform number, most probably Windows 8.1 or another in the 8.x line.

Nothing is confirmed on the matter, but all these pieces of rumor seem to be pointing in the same direction, namely that Microsoft is ready to move away from its usual development schedule of Windows. Even the fact that it might have chosen the Windows Blue codename for the platform, which does not designate a city, is a shift from the previously used pattern, although the latest Windows releases had numbers attached to them instead of codenames. For what it’s worth, Windows Blue might be only a Service Pack for Windows 8, set to fix issues in the platform and add some new functionality, and not the minor platform release mentioned above. Other than the mentions in Microsoft’s employees’ social accounts, there’s no solid proof that Windows 9 is in the pipeline, yet it should not come as a surprise if it were.

Even if it moved away from the previous release pattern, the Redmond-based software giant might still plan the launch of major Windows iterations, the same as before. However, with no official confirmation on all these, we’ll have to take the info with a grain of salt.

Windows 8 logo
Image credits to Microsoft

iPhone 5 Ships for September 21, Pre-Orders to Begin During Launch Event

Apple will kick off pre-orders of its next-generation handset on September 12, the day of the announcement, according to sources that have provided iMore with accurate information in the past. The device will become physically available in the US on September 21, the same sources said.

The blog spreads the news as a followup to an older story on Apple’s rumored event in September, noting that they’ve learned new details about the launch since. Those details include the fact that “iPhone 5 pre-orders are currently planned to begin that same day, at least in the U.S,” and that “release is still planned for 9 days later, on September 21, 2012.” The sources leaking this information also said that the international rollout would begin in the first week of October, “likely October 5.” iMore notes that this information is solid, coming from sources that have previously provided accurate information on iPhone refreshes. “The information on the international launches comes from sources that have provided our network, Mobile Nations, with accurate information in the past,” says the blog.

We won’t have to wait until September 12 to find out if that’s, indeed, the launch date of the new iPhone. Provided that Apple makes sure no leaks occur until then, the company will still give the media a heads up one week in advance, inviting select journalists to its chosen location for the ceremonious unveiling. According to the latest leaks and rumors, the phone will have a bigger screen, a smaller dock connector, relocated ports and cameras, including a headphone jack living near the speaker grills. The Home button is also said to have shrunk, and the chassis is said to be a unibody design. LTE is also on the table for this year’s iPhone refresh.

iPhone 5 concept
Image credits to gabrielwebdes.wordpress.com

Windows Phone 8 Official Launch on October 1 (Rumor)

Microsoft’s next major release of Windows Phone is now said to be set for an official unveiling as soon as October 1st, 2012, or one day earlier, on September 30th.

Nothing has been officially unveiled on the matter, but Pocketnow claims to have got hold of an internal memo on Windows Phone 8 that mentions an “initial announcement embargo date” of September 30th. According to them, the embargo might be lifted on that day (a Sunday) at 11:59pm, and news on Windows Phone 8’s landing could break free the very next day.

The first handsets running under Windows Phone 8 have been already rumored to make an appearance as soon as next month, coming from Nokia and HTC, and it would certainly not come as a surprise if the official launch followed soon after. Hopefully, info on when these new smartphones will hit shelves will emerge soon, so stay tuned.

Windows Phone 8
Image credits to Microsoft

Windows Phone 7.8 Features on Leaked Nokia Document

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is gearing up for the release of Windows Phone 8 devices, something that has been rumored for the past few months.

At the same time, the company is moving forth with preparing software updates for its current series of Windows Phone devices, to provide users with the 7.8 flavor of the platform. Nothing has been officially confirmed on the matter, but Microsoft did say that the current generation of smartphones would be updated to the said Windows Phone 7.8 OS version, and Nokia is expected to deliver the update as well. Unfortunately, not all features included in Windows Phone 8 will be offered to existing devices as well, though a lot of them will be, it seems. A recently leaked document that emerged over at SmartPhone France is meant to provide some clarification on the matter, enabling us to learn more on which of the Windows Phone 8 capabilities will make it inside Windows Phone 7.8 and which won’t.

What’s yet uncertain is whether the document covers handsets that are not made by Nokia as well, so we’ll consider it good only for Lumia devices for the time being. In addition to the new user interface and access to the over 100,000 applications in the Marketplace, Windows Phone 7.8 users will also receive Smart Group Shot, along with Action Shot, Panorama and Self-timer features, all related to the handset’s camera. Moreover, existing Nokia Lumia users will also enjoy flip to silence, as well as contact share and WiFi tethering, along with the entire range of Windows Phone applications that Nokia has already released. Unfortunately, there will be some limitations that these features will arrive with on Nokia Lumia 610, at least when it comes to the camera features mentioned above.

Of course, there will also be various Windows Phone 8 features that Windows Phone 7.8 won’t get a taste of, such as OTA updates, NFC capabilities, or real multitasking. The new Wallet won’t land on Windows Phone 7.8 either, the same as secure boot and encryption, device management, company hub and IE10. And since the hardware inside handsets won’t be upgradeable, no multi-core CPUs, microSD card slots or higher resolution screens will be available either.

Nokia document shows features of WP 7.8 and WP 8
Image credits to SmartPhone France

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