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Sep 7, 2012

Nokia Explains Why No MicroSD Slot for Lumia 920




Lumia 920, the future flagship Windows Phone 8 handset from Nokia, will arrive on shelves without a microSD memory card slot packed inside, leaving users with only 32GB of internal memory to take advantage of.

With the support for MicroSD memory cards newly included in Windows Phone 8, one would have wanted for Nokia’s flagship to include the feature as well. However, it appears that the handset vendor decided to go without it, in an attempt to maintain the phone’s outer design untouched.

“We started with the premise that we wanted an uncompromised physical form,” Kevin Shields, executive vice president at Nokia told PC Pro, adding that the card slot “would have defiled it.” Of course, the phone can be connected to PCs to transfer files, while also featuring 7GB of SkyDrive storage, but nothing compares to having a MicroSD card at hand, that’s for sure.

Nokia Lumia 920
Image credits to Nokia

The Likely Winners in Apple vs. Samsung War – TSMC and GlobalFoundries




As the legal clashes between the two companies are getting tougher and come about significantly more often than it happened before, Apple and Samsung are apparently becoming bitter enemies that won’t collaborate on virtually anything.

For those that might not know, Samsung is the maker of most of components inside Apple’s iPad tablets and iPhone smartphones, but the Cupertino-based giant is not willing to be a good client for the Korean company anymore. As the costs of designing a mobile SoC are considerably high and it takes quite a bit of time for the company to move manufacturing from one FAB to a different FAB, Samsung is still making the processors inside Apple’s both bestselling devices, the iPad and iPhone. Leaving the SoC aside, Apple has already found new manufacturers and suppliers for mostly every other component inside its gadgets. LG Electronics, Sharp and Japan Display are now the primary suppliers of retina-class screens for iPhones despite the fact that Samsung is also an expert high-quality display maker.

Elpida and SK Hynix are now Apple’s DRAM memory suppliers although Samsung has the most advanced low-power DRAM products. In a final move to show that it means business, Apple went to Japanese giant Toshiba for NAND flash memory for the new iPhone 5 smartphone, Xbitlabs reports. The next step for Apple, and most important one we might add, is to move the manufacturing of the famous A-series mobile processors away from Samsung’s FABs. Right now, Samsung manufactures all A-series CPUs that power Apple’s iPhone, Apple iPod touch, Apple iPad and Apple TV set-top-box.

Ensuring enough volume from TSMC will be quite an endeavor for Apple, but we’re sure that the two companies could work it out. GlobalFoundries on the other hand has a very advanced 28nm manufacturing process available and it is just looking for customers while having considerable manufacturing capacity available. In our opinion, these two foundries will be the ones Apple will go for when it is ready to leave Samsung’s FABs.

Apple's Old Company Logo
Image credits to Apple

Lumia 920 Can Shoot Professional Stills (Nokia Wants)




Lumia 920, Nokia's first Windows Phone 8 handset, features the same PureView technology that made the Symbian-based 808 a popular device among enthusiasts, and Nokia wants us to believe that it can live up to its name.

Nokia has published a video to showcase the phone's recording capabilities, yet it has been proved to be a simulated one. Nokia has already admitted to that, but it seems that there's even more to it. The still images that are being shown in the clip at a certain point were not shot with Lumia 920 either. Nokia shot these images with a DSLR camera with a smaller aperture like f/22, Youssef Sarhan notes in a blog post. Basically, the entire clip is fraudulent, he explains, and a photo showing the entire set appears to confirm that. 

Since the video is said to "simulate" the handset's imaging capabilities, Nokia appears to be suggesting that professional videos and stills can be shot with its Windows Phone 8 smartphone. Hopefully, the phone will indeed be able to deliver the promised experience, otherwise many enthusiasts will be highly disappointed with it.

The video demonstrates the benefits of optical image stabilization only and the video is not shot on a Lumia 920. For a video shot on a Lumia 920 compared to a competitor smartphone see: http://nokia.ly/TlWcXX
Video credits to Nokia

Intel Atom “Centerton” Servers, Space- and Power-Efficient Ships This Year's End




US consumers mostly care about Intel's Atom line because it is the series of low-end CPUs found in nettops, netbooks and some of the few Wintel tablets lurking around the market.

We already know that the Santa Clara, California-based company is losing the support of PC brand vendors, like ASUS and Acer. There is one side of its Atom business that doesn't appear to be suffering as much though: that of server-class chips. Though the Xeon line of CPUs is the one that heavy workloads need, Atom chips can work better in servers that need to be small and easy on the power bill. This is the reason why Intel is creating the “Centerton” class of Atom CPUs, and why Quanta QCT will ship a microserver powered by one such unit. Called Stratos S900-X31A, it won't be cooled in oil, but it will be housed in a U3 chassis and will have 24 or 48 nodes.

One of the key features of the server is that it can have 12 or 24 cable-free, independently and hot-pluggable sleds. Another is that, thanks to the power draw of less than 10W per node, the Stratos S900-X31A eats up very little energy, even though it has two nodes per sled. “Rising power costs, cooling loads and space restrictions lead our datacenter customers to demand the most efficient hardware available. They ask us for the greatest efficiency possible in a vanity-free hardware configuration that maintains 100% compatibility with the x86 software ecosystem,” said Mike Yang, general manager and vice president of Quanta QCT. “Our integrated engineering, design and manufacturing capability allows us to be among the first manufacturers to provide this solution, leveraging our longstanding partnership with Intel.”

Next week, at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, the system will be demonstrated, so visitors will get to see the 64-bit support and ECC memory in action. Speaking of which, each server node can manage 16GB of RAM, two 2.5-inch SATA HDD and two Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 ports.

Intel Atom logo
Image credits to Intel

Nokia 808 PureView Belle FP2 Update Spotted in Navifirm




Nokia 808 PureView, the Symbian-based smartphone that Nokia has launched in early 2012 with a 41-megapixel photo snapper on the back, has just received a new software update, Belle FP2. 

The operating system refresh has emerged in Navifirm as version 113.010.1506, and users should be able to download it from there, should they choose to do so. However, it should not be too long before the update starts rolling out to users, as it usually happens with new firmware in Navifirm. Those users who are interested in getting a taste of the latest platform enhancements as soon as possible should head over to Navifirm to grab the update and manually install it on their mobile phones. According to the guys over at Nokia Innovation, some of the improvements that the new firmware release comes with include:

  • New on-screen QWERTY keyboard (adopt from Windows Phone QWERTY model)
  • New Lock screen without Unlock Button
  • New method (Swipe to unlock) to unlock the screen
  • New Version and New UI Music Player (pause / resume button on notification bar)
  • New Interface for Option 
  • New Version Nokia Browser
  • Some UI Improvements on Nokia Browser

Previous reports on Belle FP2 also suggested that it would bring along a new image editor, as well as a new Gallery app, modified camera UI, new navbar, and a series of new widgets. The new firmware for Nokia 808 PureView was spotted in a leaked video about two months ago, yet Nokia hasn’t provided specific info on its release until now. The update was previously expected to arrive before the end of the year. Those of you who have a Nokia 808 PureView should head over to Daily Mobile Forum for a download link. If you're not sure on whether it will work, you’ll simply have to wait a bit longer for Nokia to start delivering it to its users. Stay tuned for more info on the matter.

Nokia 808 PureView
Image credits to Nokia

Gigabyte GV-R785OC-1GD, AMD Radeon HD 7850 1GB pre-overclocked video card




Well-known mainboard manufacturer, Taiwanese company Gigabyte is trying to make AMD’s Radeon HD 7850 video cards a little bit more attractive in the light of the incoming Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 and GTX 650 launch.

The GK106 GPU is directly targeted at AMD’s $300 solutions and generally brings better performance, thus making AMD-based solutions look modest. Gigabyte is apparently adopting an original strategy as the company slashes the memory amount on a Radeon HD 7850 video card, thus reducing costs and price, but clocks the GPU significantly higher to compensate and make it more attractive. The name of the new model is Gigabyte GV-R785OC-1GD and this is a quality video card featuring the company’s Ultra Durable 2 design with Ferrite Core Chokes, Low RDS (on) MOSFET and Lower ESR Solid Capacitors.

The cooler is the well-known WindForce 2X and this one takes care of the 900 Mhz GPU and the 4800 MHz memory. We believe that the factory overclock will in fact allow it to surpass the reference design with 2 GB of GDDR5. Although initially priced at 265 EUR ($334), we expect the Gigabyte GV-R785OC-1GD to get a lower price soon.



Gigabyte AMD Radeon HD 7850 1GB pre-overclocked video card GV-R785OC-1GD
Images credits to Gigabyte

Windows Phone 8X by HTC, New Alleged Photo




HTC Accord has been long rumored to be one of the first Windows Phone 8 devices coming from the Taiwanese mobile phone maker this fall, and it seems that we’re indeed nearing its official unveiling.

Moreover, a newly leaked rendering that allegedly shows the device (courtesy of Football4PDA) also confirms that HTC would be set to bring it to the market under the name of 8X, as WMPoweruser reports. The phone’s full marketing name might be Windows Phone 8X by HTC, rumor has it, and September 19th could be the day when it is set to become official. When released, the new device would be able to impress uses a lot, a leaked hardware specification list for it unveils. Thus, we would see HTC launching the smartphone with a 4.3-inch touchscreen display on the front, a 720p HD panel capable of a great viewing experience.

In addition, the mobile phone would include a 1.2GHz application processor inside, along with 1GB of RAM, said leaked info suggests. Users will benefit from 16GB of internal memory with this handset as well, while enjoying all the benefits of Beats Audio technology on it. On the back, the upcoming HTC 8X smartphone would feature an 8-megapixel photo snapper with LED flash, autofocus, and support for full HD video recording.

Moreover, a front camera would be included in the mix for enabling video calling capabilities on the device. Apparently, it would sport HD video recording as well. The specs list of the handset further includes Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, along with NFC, 3.5mm headphone jack, and a microUSB port. With two other HTC handsets in the pipeline with Microsoft’s new operating system on board, it appears that HTC is once again betting big on Windows Phone, even if it is one of the biggest players in the Android segment. For the time being, we’ll have to take all of the above info on Accord with a grain of salt. However, we’ll keep an eye out for more details on the device, so stay tuned to learn more on it.


Windows Phone 8X by HTC
Images credits to @Football4PDA onTwitter via WMPoweruser

Raspberry Pi Revision 2.0 is Ready




The Raspberry Pi foundation has finished developing the second version of the Raspberry Pi PC, based on feedback from customers who bought the first one.

Saying that the foundation has released a new version is a bit of a stretch though. After all, the miniature system has the same processor, the same overall design, and no extra memory compared to the original. True to form, the product is not being marketed as a distinct device. That means that those who place an order for a Raspberry Pi from this point on may or may not get it. Waiting for a few weeks, or months, before the originals clear out may be a good idea, especially now that, with Sony's involvement, manufacturing is moving to the UK. Depending on luck and if specimens constructed according to the original specifications are still around, one of the “old” ones could reach buyers' front door. That said, Revision 2.0 lacks the resettable fuses (which protect USB outputs on some early 1.0 boards) with fuses.

Another change is that the primary and secondary 12C channels have been reversed, much in the same way that two GPIO pins have been interchanged. Speaking of which, the GPIO pin out adds ARM JTAG support. Moving on, the HDMI port used to interfere with the operation of CEC for other devices. This is no longer the case. Furthermore, there are two 2.5mm non-plated mounting holes (for easy permanent installation) and the SMSC 1V8 power has been disconnected from the system supply. Finally, for those who know about DIY hardware projects, a new reset circuit is part of the Raspberry Pi, for adding a header to P6. Shorting P6 pin 1 to P6 pin 2 will cause the BCM2835M Broadcom SoC to reset. Go here to get acquainted with every little detail pertaining to the release of the new board computer.

Raspberry Pi revision 2.0
Image credits to Raspberry Pi Foundation

Upcoming Intel Haswell Xeon CPUs Roundup




We've been writing on and off about Intel's upcoming CPU line, codenamed Haswell, the one that will succeed Ivy Bridge in 2013, and it may be time for a synthesis of what we haven't analyzed too deeply yet.

We already know that the TDP of the processors will go as low as 10 Watts, but that's only for ultrabooks and other mobile PCs. This time we are looking at the Xeon E3-1200 v3 line, the so-called Denlow platform, which will be used in servers, workstations, low-power applications and Virtual Hosted Desktops (VHD). We've counted nine so far, and we aren't the only ones. Their thermal design power ranges from 15 to 95 Watts and the cache from 3 to 8 MB. That last part isn't quite true though. All processors use 8 MB cache, save for one, a dual-core (4-thread) for the low power market, which has 3 MB but the lowest TDP of them all (12-20W). But we're getting ahead of ourselves. We'll take the VHD chips first, then the low-power, then the workstation units and, finally, the server Xeon Haswell processors.

There are two VHD models, with four cores and eight threads each. Both have integrated graphics enabled but their TDPs are of 95W and 65W. Moving up, there are three low-power chips. Other than the aforementioned dual-core (with no GPU), there are two quad-cores, only one of which has integrated graphics and, thus, needs more energy than the other (45W TDP compared to 25-30W). The workstation units are, once again, two. They are quad-core, 8-thread models nearly identical, even in power requirements (95W), but one has integrated graphics disabled. As for the quad-core, 8-thread server chips, they both lack graphics and consume 80W and 95W, respectively.

All CPUs will have up to 2 DDR3 or DDR3L DIMMs per channel, new AVX instructions (AVX 2.0) and integrated voltage regulators.

Intel Xeon logo
Image credits to Intel

Firefox OS Demoed on Handsets




Mozilla has been long working on the release of its own mobile operating system, which is based entirely on web technologies, the Firefox OS.

The platform, which started as the Boot2Gecko initiative, is nearing an official release, a move expected for the beginning of the next year. In the meantime, however, Mozilla is beginning to show to the world some of the latest development advancements it has made with the new OS, including the manner in which it performs on actual devices. On Thursday, the company showcased working Firefox OS-based devices at its San Francisco office, reiterating plans to have the phones available for purchase in Brazil in 2013. According to AllThingsD, the platform feels more like a mobile browser, with all applications designed for it being based on the HTML5 Web standard. Apps and content are not locked within the platform, the way they are on other mobile operating systems out there, which significantly increases the flexibility users can benefit from, the new site notes.

The Firefox OS comes with a simple user interface that reminds people of entry-level smartphones. In fact, the platform itself has been designed to fit cheaper devices, so as to bring the smartphone segment to new price points, making it available for more people. At the moment, the company is focused on improving the performance of the OS, so as to deliver a fast experience when it comes to basic applications, such as phone dialer and camera. There will also be a Firefox OS Marketplace to accompany it, with apps and games available for users to enjoy. Mozilla showcased the operating system on a ZTE developer device, and confirmed that it would include core apps such as email, SMS, calendar, camera and a browser, which is Firefox. Basic programs will be cached, so that they could be used even without a network connection.

Overall, the platform is said to look quite promising, although it won’t have too many applications to offer to its users. After all, it will support only web-based software, and not mobile-specific apps as other OSes out there do today.

Firefox OS on a ZTE device
Image credits to AllthingsD

Firefox OS
Image credits to AllthingsD

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