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Sep 19, 2012

DELL Latitude 10 Business Windows 8 Tablet

American computer maker DELL is actually taking the business tablet concept seriously and the first result is the Latitude 10 tablet. This one is powered by Intel’s Clover Trail SoC.

The new tablet is powered by Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system that also brings support for all existing Windows 7 and other Windows-based x86 software. Uninformed business users might be surprised by the low performance of the device. Surely, the tablet will play movies and browse the web decently, but performance wise it won’t be able to hold a candle to a simple Core i5 Ivy Bridge system. The DELL Latitude 10 is a 10” tablet just like its name suggests and has a full 2 GB of RAM memory that is absolutely necessary for the Windows 8 operating system. Storage is “only” 128 GB in size and while this might look enough for an Android tablet, it doesn’t look enough for Windows 8 and generally Windows x86 applications.

The new tablet is quite sturdy and it has a 0.4” (10.16 millimeters) thickness. The DELL Latitude 10 tablet also comes with a docking station that unfortunately is just as big, fat and ordinary as a dock might be. There’s no slim, Transformer-like dock here. DELL’s dock is thick, quite heavy (for a modern dock) and it looks like something two decades old. The rubber base is a good addition and the metallic piece is supposed to hold the tablet in place, but it also makes it bigger and quite difficult to fit inside your business case. On the upside, the Latitude 10 includes a user replaceable battery and that’s an absolute requirement for a business-oriented mobile device.

We’re not quite sure why DELL didn’t include a keyboard with the dock as the Latitude 10 is targeted as a productivity device. Pricing will probably be announced next week, like we reported here.

DELL Latitude 10 Windows 8 10" Tablet powered by Intel Clover Trail dual core Atom processor
Images credits to TheVerge

Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 Receive Bluetooth 4.0 Certification

Nokia’s first Windows Phone 8 handsets, the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820, will arrive on shelves with Bluetooth 4.0 packed inside.

This feature has been rumored before to be included inside them, and confirmation on the matter has already emerged. The two smartphones have received Bluetooth certification with this standard packed inside. The Lumia 920 can be seen on the Bluetooth Certification Forum on this page, while the Lumia 820 can be seen here.

Bluetooth 4.0 comes with increased power efficiency, while also providing better data transfer, and has been long said to prove a great option for small devices such as smartphones. Nokia’s Windows Phone 8 handsets are expected to become available for purchase starting with November this year. Specific info on their market availability hasn’t been provided as of yet.

Nokia Lumia 920
Image credits to Nokia

iOS 6 Software Update Ready for Download

Apple has released iOS 6 to the masses. Owners of an iDevice can download 600 megabytes packed to the brim with new features like 3D maps with turn-by-turn navigation, new Siri capabilities, Facebook integration, Shared Photo Streams, FaceTime improvements and a lot more.

Delivered as an iTunes download or over-the-air (OTA), iOS 6 is the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system powering iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch players worldwide. Not all device models are getting all the enhancements delivered in iOS 6. In fact, 2009 hardware, like the iPhone 3GS, is getting next to none of the 200+ features, including all-new Maps capabilities, a smarter Siri assistant, system-wide Facebook integration, shared Photo Streams, Photo Stream, even Phone.app improvements.

Owners of iDevices like the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPad 2, and iPod touch (4th generation) will not only receive the aforementioned additions, but also new ones. These include improved privacy controls for Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Photos and data shared over Bluetooth; improvements to Mail, Safari, the App Store and iTunes store; GameCenter tweaks; and new features for the Accessibility. Some less-documented (and never-before undisclosed) features are lined up below.

  • Reminders can be reordered in the Reminders app
  • Custom vibrations for alerts on iPhone
  • Clock app for iPad
  • Clock alarm with song
  • Search all fields in Contacts
  • Automatic movie mode for improved video sound quality
  • Definitions of a selected word for Chinese, French, German and Spanish
  • New keyboard layouts for French, German, Turkish, Catalan, Arabic and Icelandic
  • Keyboard shortcuts shared across devices via iCloud
  • Bluetooth MAP support
  • Global network proxy for HTTP

Chinese users are getting Baidu web search, Sina Weibo integration, the ability to share videos to Tudou and Youku, as well as improved text input for handwriting and Pinyin. The usual bag of fixes is included, as well as bunch of security patches too.

Download iOS for iPhone and iPod 6 below
iPhone 5 (6.0)
iPhone 4S (6.0)
iPhone 4 (6.0)
iPhone 4 CDMA (6.0)
iPhone 3G S (6.0)
iPod Touch 5,1 (6.0)
iPod Touch 4G (6.0)

iOS 6 available for download
Image credits to Apple

RIM to Include exFAT File System in Upcoming BlackBerry Devices

Research In Motion’s upcoming BlackBerry devices might arrive on shelves with a new file system packed inside, namely Microsoft’s Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT).

The company announced on Tuesday the signing of an agreement with Microsoft for the licensing of the technology, and also confirmed that it would include it in some future BlackBerry devices. However, it did not specify whether the exFAT would make it inside smartphones or next-generation PlayBook tablets, and we can assume that it might be packed in both types of hardware.

The new file system provides support for much larger files sizes than its predecessor, and is expected to prove a great option for the use of audiovisual media and to offer faster access speeds, while also facilitating data portability between desktop PCs and a wide range of electronic devices.

BlackBerry logo
Image credits to RIM

Samsung TE4 Leaks with 1.7 GHz Cortex-A15 CPU

Samsung already denied plans to make the successor of Galaxy S III official at next year’s Mobile World Congress, but the company is now confirmed to be indeed working on a new flagship smartphone.

Dubbed Samsung TE4, the handset was spotted in a benchmark with an Exynos 5 Dual processor packed inside, which includes 1.7 GHz dual-core Cortex-A15 CPU and Mali-T604 GPU. The Exynos 5 chip is a powerful piece of silicon, and Samsung has been long rumored to plan including it inside a new high-end smartphone.

While next year’s Galaxy S 4 could prove to be that device, AndroidAndMe also suggests that it might be packed in a smartphone before this year’s end, most probably inside a new Nexus phone from Samsung. With no specific info on the matter available as of yet, this remains in the rumor side, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it actually panned out.

ARM Mali-T604 Hands-On
Video credits to TheAllYouLike

Intel Windows 8 Tablets Come Next Week

Intel is getting ready for another big event that’s set for next week. The company will apparently hold a Windows 8 tablet launch party where companies like DELL, Samsung and HP will be invited to show their new devices.

We’ve reported here on Intel’s Windows 8 tablet reference design and here about the new Clover Trail dual-core processor. Windows 8 tablets will have the benefit of offering compatibility with all Windows 8 and Windows 7 programs, but users should be warned that the performance will be surprisingly modest. Intel’s Clover Trail is basically a dual-core Medfield with an improved iGPU. While the new iGPU is welcomed and absolutely necessary considering just how weak the PowerVR SGX540 on Medfield is, the x86 processing power will likely be inferior to what WindowsRT tablets will offer. For those that need a reminder, WindowsRT is exactly like Windows 8, but it is built for ARM processors and is not compatible with x86 software.

Many WindowsRT tablets will be powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 3 or Qualcomm’s APQ8064 and how the latter is over five times faster than Intel’s 2 GHz Medfield. Sure Clover Trail will be dual-core, but that will make the Qualcomm quad-core Krait “only” two and a half times faster. Nevertheless, Clover Trail tablets will probably successfully compete with Android tablets and will benefit from their native x86 software compatibility; but price wise, we expect Windows 8 tablets to be more expensive than Android gadgets. After all, Intel’s platform will likely be more expensive than ARM implementations based on Tegra 3 or APQ8064 and Microsoft’s Windows 8 licensing fees will add even more to the overall costs of the tablet.

Windows 8 Tablet
Image credits to Microsoft

Intel Atom Centerton CPU Specifications

Until less than a day ago, the extent of our knowledge regarding Intel's Centerton central processing units was that servers based on them would ship by the end of the year (2012).

Now, though, we have the specifications of the processors (CPU World), or three of them at least. The numbers we are seeing definitely seem to suggest that Intel is taking the idea of Atom-powered microservers seriously. There was a time when Atom was synonymous with netbook processors and nothing else. Netbooks barely exist anymore, though, and the Medfield (for phones and slates) hasn't been getting any praise. That Acer and ASUS have given up on the CPU brand altogether is no encouragement either. Intel isn't scrapping the name though. Instead, it is making it branch out into the server segment, most notably those fields where systems need to use low power but still perform adequately. The Centerton CPUs have two CPU cores each, as well as single-channel memory controllers, support for PCI Express 2.0, dedicated 32KB instruction (per core) and 24 KB data L1 cache memory (again, per core).

Three chips will be available, called Atom S1220, Atom S1240 and Atom S1260, all with hyper-threading (four logical cores rather than two). The differences between them are at the levels of thermal design power and clock speed. The Atom S1220 and Atom S1240 have the same speed (1.6 GHz), but the former features a TDP of 8.1 Watts, while the latter is a 6.1 Watt unit. The third and last chip, Atom S1260, is a 2 GHz dual-core with a TDP of 8.5W. All three have 8 GB DDR3-1066 MHz memory support (perhaps even 1,333 MHz), 1 MB L2 cache, four PCI Express controllers (up to 8 lanes), SPI, UART and LPC. No Platform and I/O controller chips though. The functionality in those will be provided by external discrete controllers.

A final mention goes to the Enhanced SpeedStep technology, which reduces core voltage and throttles frequency when possible, thus cutting power costs a great deal. “Double cove” modules are one example of Centerton microservers. They will employ two CPUs each, plus SATA/USB/Ethernet controllers, memory and other circuits. The power efficiency of Enhanced SpeedStep will be a significant boon for them.

Intel Atom logo
Image credits to Intel

Marvell and Stanford SMILE Plug Computer

Multinational company Marvell is one of the world’s largest ARM developers and today they are announcing the availability of the SMILE plug computer, in collaboration with Stanford. This is a very small system that looks mostly like a router.

The SMILE system has a Marvell ARMADA 300 system-on-chip (SoC) inside along with a Marvell Avastar 88W8764 Wi-Fi controller and these offer the user two USB 3.0 ports along with two SD card slots and WirelessN. The ARMADA 300 is a low-power single-issue CPU operating at 800 MHZ, but a 1 GHz and a 2GHz version are also available. It has 32 KB level 1, 4-way associative cache and a 256 KB unified 4-way, set-associative level 2 cache. It can support DDR2 or DDR3 memory with frequencies up to 1066 MHz and also has two Gigabit LAN MACs and support for two PCI-Express slots.

The official description on Marvell’s site mentions USB 2.0 support on the ARMADA 300 family, but the SMILE system has USB 3.0 ports so there might be a new, more advanced ARMADA 300 chip inside the small system. On an interesting note, the system has such modest power consumption that, for areas where power delivery is unstable, it can also come with a small 5 vault battery that will help the system continue working despite any power fluctuations. The initial announcements talked about an ARMADA 370 SoC and we think that this single-core 2GHz chip is the likely culprit for the interesting abilities of SMILE. The company advertises SMILE as a media server, home automation computer, remote access system or a micro cloud for the classroom and this is exactly where they’ve collaborated with Stanford. For those that are interested in acronyms, SMILE is short for Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment.

Marvell SMILE Cloud Computer powered by ARMADA 370 single core SoC running at 2 GHz
Images credits to Engadget

Zero Devices Z2C Micro Computer, World’s Smallest PC on a Stick

The famous Raspberry Pi has made some serious waves this year, but it seems that a professional solution will always bring higher reliability, higher density and higher performance. Such a solution comes today from Zero Devices.

The company is launching today a new ARM micro computer that’s officially called Zero Devices Z2C. Zero’s new unit is literally a PC-on-a-stick. The small dimensions of the device makes it looks exactly like an USB flash drive. Powered by the obvious suspect, the Zero Devices Z2C thumb PC uses a Rockchip RK3066 ARM processor based on the famous Cortex-A9 architecture.

The interesting aspect is the fact that this is a dual core CPU that also uses a very fast 1 GB of DDR3 memory. Connectivity is well endowed for a system of its size and thus the Zero Devices Z2C thumb PC features two micro USB ports, an HDMI connector and even a micro SD card slot. On top of it all, Zero Devices also has a WirelessN adapter integrated and comes with Android 4.0 operating system while all is priced at just $72 (54.8 EUR).

Zero Devices Z2C Micro Computer
Images credits to Zero Devices

Samsung eMMC Pro Class 1500 NAND Chips, World’s Highest Density 1 Tb Embedded NAND Storage Is Now in Mass Production

Samsung is ready with its new 64 Gb NAND chips manufactured in top of the line 20nm technology and Korean company has just announced the integration of 16 such chips into a 1 Tb embedded NAND storage.

For the average tablet of smartphone user, this translates into a huge 128 GB storage capacity that’s all being offered by a single 12 by 16 millimeters package that’s built in FBGA technology and soldered on the PCB (printed circuit board).

Samsung claims that its new eMMC product is actually one of the world’s fastest embedded NAND storage solutions and we tend to agree as the new package is rated at 140 MB/s when reading sequentially and 50 MB/s write speed. The new chip uses a Toggle DDR 2.0 interface and Samsung calls it eMMC Pro Class 1500 which fully supports JEDEC eMMC v4.5 specification.

Samsung eMMC Pro Class 1500 NAND Chips in 20nm manufacturing technology
Images credits to Samsung

RIM and Microsoft Sign Deal on exFAT Ahead of BlackBerry 10 Launch

Microsoft and Research in Motion have signed a patent licensing agreement that allows RIM to use the Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) for certain BlackBerry devices.

The exFAT system is an extended version of the popular FAT technology, but as compared to its predecessor, it allows the use of files larger than 4GB. This means that RIM devices will be soon capable of handling very large media files, including HD content created by its handhelds. RIM isn't the first company to sign a licensing deal for the exFAT system, as Microsoft has already partnered with Sony, Sharp, SanDisk and Canon. Of course, RIM hasn't provided too many details on the way it plans to take advantage of exFAT's capabilities, but given the fact that BlackBerry 10 will be released in the near future, this could be a great addition to the new operating system. “Today’s smartphones and tablets require the capacity to display richer images and data than traditional cellular phones,” said David Kaefer, general manager of Intellectual Property (IP) Licensing at Microsoft. “This agreement with RIM highlights how a modern file system, such as exFAT can help directly address the specific needs of customers in the mobile industry,” he added.

Microsoft hasn't commented on the price RIM has to pay for the exFAT technology, but voices familiar with the previous licensing deals revealed that the Redmond-based firm usually receives $300,000 / €230,000 from companies that want to use this file system on their consumer products. The first devices running BlackBerry 10 are expected to hit the market in the first quarter of 2013 and they will hold a key role in the company's strategy to regain its lost market share.

RIM building
Image credits to globalnews.ca

Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4 FM2 Motherboard, AMD Trinity-Ready

Among IT companies, Gigabyte is one of those that have a stake on more than the average number of market segments. This time, a motherboard is what it is preparing, though it has yet to launch it.

A photo gallery has been posted by OCWorkbench, which means that most of the hardware details can be determined from a visual inspection. This is one of the stronger motherboards that will be paired with the up and coming Trinity accelerated processing units. As such, we suspect it will begin shipping early next month (October, 2012), for $150 to $200 / 115-150 Euro to 153-200 Euro. The A85X FCH chipset offers the FM2 socket and it is wired to four DDR3-2400+ MHz memory slots. That is enough for 32 GB of top-quality RAM. There are three PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots as well, electrically configured as x16/NC/NC, x8/x8/NC, or x8/x4/x4. The number of add-in cards and their type will determine the behavior. CrossFireX multi-GPU setups are supported. There is a PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot on the motherboard as well, plus a legacy PCI slot.

Storage-wise, Gigabyte chose to include eight SATA 6.0 Gbps (SATA III) on the F2A85X-UP4, though one of them is configured as an eSATA connector. What's more, the 8-phase VRM enables significant overclocking, while the Ultra Durable 5 components heighten board stability and endurance (2 oz copper PCB layers, solid-state capacitors, new high-current ferrite core chokes, PowIRstage IR3550 driver-MOSFETs, humidity-proof glass-fabric layers). As for I/O and display support, the mainboard has D-Sub, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort connectors, six USB 3.0 ports (two by internal headers), 8+2 channel HD audio, Gigabit Ethernet and a hybrid PS/2 port. There is one final advantage that Gigabyte’s F2A85X-UP4 has over “normal” motherboards: dual-UEFI BIOS with a graphical 3D BIOS program. The secondary BIOS works as backup.

Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4 FM2 motherboard
Images credits to OCWorkbench

Windows Phone 7.8 Ported to HTC HD7, Beta ROM Available

Windows Phone 8 might not be set to arrive on all devices that already run under Microsoft’s mobile operating system, but Windows Phone 7.8 will make current WP users a bit happier.

While there’s no word on when the platform will actually arrive on devices, owners of an HTC HD7 smartphone can already download and install the platform upgrade. Windows Phone 7.8 beta ROM was made available for them, though with a series of issues, as you’d expect.

The ROM features build 7.10.8835.35, and has been compiled based on a Tango 12180 dump from a Nokia phone. Unfortunately, it was not tested intensively, and those who download and install it will do so at their own risk. Undoubtedly, a better release will arrive on HTC's device in the not too distant future, and users might want to wait for that one. Not to mention that the official update might be close as well.

Windows Phone 7.8 Ported to HTC HD7
Images credits to windowsphonehacker via pocketnow

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