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Sep 23, 2012

Factory-Sealed iPhone 5 Units Arrive with Scuffs and Dings

Some factory sealed iPhone 5 units are making their way to customers with scratches and other types of marks that could indicate improper manipulation of the handset during manufacturing.

After reports broke out that Apple’s new iPhone was prone to rapid wear and tear, some actual iPhone 5 owners reported that their units arrived already damaged. The images on the side are just a couple of “scuffgate” examples from iPhone 5 buyers who claimed to have discovered these scuffs and dings prior to using their new Apple smartphones. Some say it could be a flaw in the manufacturing process. Another theory is that the Foxconn workers assembling these units could have manipulated the aluminum casings in an improper manner. While all smartphones are bound to exhibit signs of damage after a few months, the iPhone 5 seems to be most susceptible to wear and tear after very little usage.

Following these reports, repair shop iFixit conducted a “highly-scientific” test of the “scuffability” of the iPhone 5 (video embedded below). MJ, who usually makes the YouTube introductions for iFixit's popular hardware teardowns, invited her two-year old daughter to take some keys to the iPhone 5’s aluminum enclosure and, sure enough, the process ended with the same scuffs and dings visible in the photos on the left. Like with the 2010 “antennagate” fiasco that plagued the iPhone 4, Apple might need to recommend strapping a case or a sleeve over the iPhone 5, to preserve its sleek finish.

The Cupertino company hasn’t released any protective accessories of its own for this particular iPhone model, but third party manufacturers are already scrambling to offer a variety of solutions for customers looking to keep their iPhone’s enclosure intact. Of course, many customers buy the iPhone 5 not only for its advanced functions, but also for its attractive design. For these people, protective cases are not an option.

It's less than 24 hours after our iPhone 5 Teardown and we have received a lot of questions about it. It's come to our attention that a lot of you are concerned about the scuffability of the iPhone 5's aluminum rear case, so much so that there's already a scandal brewing around it, which the Internet is calling "scuff-gate." We set out to find out just how much truth there is to the latest scandal surrounding a Apple product release, and have a little fun while we were at it.
Video credits to iFixitYourself

Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy SIII Drop Test

Android Authority got their hands on the device they love to hate - the Apple iPhone 5 - and carried out a series of drop tests from different heights. They did the same with the Samsung Galaxy S III to see which one fares better.

The video embedded above shows three individual, real-life drop tests conducted on the latest iPhone, and Samsung flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S III. The iPhone 5 withstood all drops exhibiting only minor scuffs and scratches, whereas the S III saw its display completely shattered. On the last drop test (head hight), the S III even lost the rear shell that covers the battery and other electronics. A sad sight, to say the least.

The news should be welcomed by the Apple fanbase, especially after two generations of all-glass iPhones that could break if dropped from two feet high.

iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3 Drop Test, live from Hong Kong! We wanted to make this a realistic as possible, and offer a detailed, slow motion perspective on the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3 dropping! Check it out - you will be surprised!


See the iPhone 5 compared to popular Android devices:
iPhone 5 vs. Galaxy S3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRb_VEkZr98
iPhone 5 vs. HTC One X: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IitKIDikGEE
iPhone 5 vs. Galaxy Nexus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLRmFH9FL0s
iPhone 5 vs. Galaxy Note: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7fKfp1iaP0
iPhone 5 vs. LG Optimus 4X HD: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eRw6MkyU5o

Stay connected to Android Authority:
Video credits to AndroidAuthority

First iPhone 5 Jailbreak Confirmed

iOS hacker Grant Paul, also known as @chpwn in Twitter circles, has released images of the first jailbroken iPhone 5, complete with a couple of screenshots showing Cydia (the jailbreak alternative to Apple’s App Store) running on the device.

Greeting his 80K+ followers with an intriguing tweet on September 21, chpwn said, “Some people wanted the bottom row of text from Cydia, or a photo of the device itself.” Embedded in the tweet was the image you see above - the first jailbroken iPhone 5 (that the world knows of). Chpwn then followed up with a couple of screenshots showing Cydia running on the device.

Obviously, chpwn's achievement got the iOS fanbase excited and they now want a release date for the jailbreak. As usual, the hacker will take his time in developing the proper tools that everyone can use hassle free, and without bugs. For now, all we have is the pictures. But rest assured - it’s going to happen. Anything that presents hackers with even the slightest opportunity to break their previous record is as enticing as a matador’s red cape is to a bull.

Jailbroken iPhone 5
Image credits to Grant Paul (@chpwn)

BlackBerry Outage, 6 Percent of Users Affected by EMEA Outage

September 21, 2012, Research In Motion's BlackBerry Service suffered a major outage in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and the Canadian company has offered an official statement on the matter.

The issues affected some of the company's users for several hours, yet it seems that the problem was not widespread. In fact, RIM says that only around 6 percent of the company's customers were impacted, and that no data loss was observed. “I want to apologize to those BlackBerry customers in Europe and Africa who experienced an impact in their quality of service earlier this morning,” RIM CEO Thorsten Heins stated in an open letter to users. “The BlackBerry service is now fully restored and I can report that no data or messages were lost,” he continued. “Up to 6 percent of our user base may have been impacted. Preliminary analysis suggests that those customers may have experienced a maximum delay of 3 hours in the delivery and reception of their messages.”

No specific info on the cause of the outage has been provided as of yet, but the company's CEO notes that it is currently investigating the problem to determine what caused it. As soon as details on the matter are available, RIM will make them public, Heins said. “We are conducting a full technical analysis of this quality of service issue and will report as soon as it concludes. I again want to apologize to those customers who were impacted today,” he concluded. For those out of the loop, we should note that yesterday morning BlackBerry users in some parts of Europe (mainly those on Vodafone's network) reported issues with the delivery of BBM messages. RIM confirmed soon after that the issue affected customers in Europe, Middle East and Africa, but was able to fully restore the service in the afternoon.

BlackBerry logo
Image credits to RIM

ASUS PadFone 2 Specs Leak

Computer maker ASUS is reportedly gearing up for the release of a successor for its PadFone smartphone-tablet hybrid device.

Dubbed PadFone 2, the handset is expected to become official as soon as next month, as ASUS has already sent out invites to a press event supposedly marking the device's official debut. In fact, two such events were announced, both set for the same day, October 16th, though in different locations, one in Milan, Italy, and another in Taipei, Taiwan. As one might expect, ASUS is tight-lipped on this one, yet info on what the smartphone might have to offer to its users has already emerged online. Rumor has it that ASUS has decided to go for a larger touchscreen display with the new model, bumping it up to 4.7-inch and enhancing it with HD resolution.

Moreover, the new device is said to pack a quad-core Snapdragon S4 application processor inside, complemented by 2GB of RAM, marking a significant improvement in performance when compared to the original PadFone. On the back, the smartphone should feature a 13-megapixel photo snapper, most probably with support for full HD video recording, complemented by a 1.2MP front camera to allow users to make video calls. The ASUS PadFone 2 is also expected to hit shelves with a 2140 mAh battery inside, another significant improvement when compared to the 1520 mAh battery included in the first model. Although packing better hardware inside, the new PadFone manages to remain slim at only 9mm, though it gains some additional weight, at 135 grams, compared to 129 grams for the first model.

The smartphone should be capable of offering support for LTE and HSPA+ networks and should run under Google's Android operating system, yet no info on the specific platform release it would sport has emerged so far. As mentioned above, additional details on ASUS' new PadFone 2 should arrive in mid-October, so stay tuned to learn more on the smartphone / tablet convertible device.

ASUS PadFone
Image credits to ASUS

HP ENVY Phoenix H9 Desktop Computer

Now the company is offering you a powerful and cool-looking system to go with it.

The official branding of the new model is HP ENVY Phoenix H9 desktop computer system and buyers will only have Intel CPUs to choose from. On the 3D graphics side, there will be a choice between Nvidia and AMD video adapters and the cooling system can also optionally be a liquid-based solution. The company emphasizes on the looks of the case and claims that it looks “armor plated.” The system comes complete with cool, red internal lighting and buyers will be glad to know that an SSD option is also available for a snappy experience.

Availability is slated for late October as the company will offer the new HP ENVY Phoenix H9 desktop computer system with Windows 8 only. Pricing starts at $900 (693 EUR).

HP ENVY Phoenix H9 Desktop Computer
Images credits to HP

Nvidia Working on Project Boulder

We knew that Nvidia is working on project Denver for quite some time now. Denver is supposed to be a GPU that also has an ARM CPU fused on the same die, thus making the final chip able to run an operating system directly on the GPU with no need for an AMD or Intel processor.

The first implementation of the Denver project will be next year’s Maxwell. Many say that Maxwell is a 2014 GPU, but we know that ARM is especially built to be easily fused with various architectures. As such, we believe that at least the prototypes will come out during 2013. The Denver architecture is a 64-bit design that’s based on the ARMv8 set. It seems that Nvidia is not going directly for ARM CPU + Nvidia GPU integrated solution. On its road towards Maxwell, the company is also working on Project Boulder and this is somewhat unexpected as Boulder is exactly the opposite of Maxwell. Maxwell will add a few ARM cores to a GPU to make it capable of running an operating system, BSN reports.

Boulder, on the other hand, will use large ARM cores that will provide significant out-of-order (OOO) general purpose computing performance and we don’t yet know if it will also have an integrated graphics processing unit (iGPU). Basically, Boulder seems to be willing to go against AMD’s Opteron and Intel’s Xeon processors and, unlike some solutions from the two CPU giants, we don’t know if a GPU will also be included on the design. Readers should take note that “large ARM cores” refer to a full 64-bit implementation of ARM Cortex A15 or an even more complex design.

We believe that this is an important mention as many ARM licensees such as Qualcomm or Apple have actually simplified the Cortex A15 design before integrating it into their mobile processors. It’s understandable that the two companies will take this route as their main goal is low power consumption while Cortex A15 has lots of server features that are not actually needed in a smartphone design. Nvidia will likely design a complete Cortex A15 implementation or even a more complex one with several FPU units and differential clocking of the integer units.

Nvidia Tesla Server
Image credits to Nvidia

Samsung Preparing Tizen-Based Galaxy S III Version

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung is quite happy with the success its Galaxy S III smartphone has had on the market, but it seems that it is looking for more.

The company appears to be getting ready for the launch of a Tizen-based flavor of the Galaxy S III, at least this is what a listing on the WiFi Alliance’s website suggests. The Alliance has just approved a Samsung GT-I9300_TIZEN handset, which could be nothing different than a Galaxy S III flavor, as the model number suggests.

Samsung has been long testing the mobile OS on its flagship Android smartphone, and it wouldn’t come too much as a surprise if it actually had plans to release a Tizen-based model of the device on the market. Dual-band Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct and the new Miracast standard will be present on this smartphone when it lands.

Samsung GT-I9300_TIZEN Wi-Fi Certified Interoperability Certificate
Image credits to WiFi Alliance via SamMobile

Nokia Maps Are Better Than Rivals’ Solutions, Nokia Says

Windows Phone 8, Microsoft’s next-generation mobile operating system, will arrive on the market with Nokia’s Maps service included in the equation, a feature that should make a lot of users happy.

Offering wide coverage around the world, the mapping service has been widely recognized to be one of the best there is. According to Nokia, however, users could easily find out that the service is, in fact, better than competitors’ offerings. For that, the company makes a comparison between Nokia Maps in Windows Phone 8, Google Maps on Android, and Apple’s Maps on iPhone 5. The company notes that it has a long history of offering mapping services, and that it truly understands what users need for such an application in terms of quality and reliability. “That’s been standard practice at Nokia for the past six years, and we also understand that ‘pretty’ isn’t enough. You expect excellence in your smartphone mapping experience,” Nokia says in a blog post.

“A mapping experience is a must-have feature for many of us. In fact, a recent survey by IDG found that 77% of respondents are using smartphones for GPS navigation.” On top of that, Nokia provides users with location-based apps both offline and online, while also providing them with voice guided turn-by-turn navigation in the largest number of countries worldwide. The mapping applications are evolving, and users are expected to benefit from newer, better experiences when accessing such services on their new smartphones, Nokia states. The company continues explaining that, unlike other companies, which are either financing their mapping services with advertising or are licensing content from others, Nokia actually owns, builds and distributes the mapping content on its own.

“Nokia’s suite of location-aware apps and services on its new Lumia devices put it in a clear lead over its competitors in terms of the depth, breadth and integration of the mapping, navigation and transport experiences it can offer. It also leads in terms of the global coverage it provides,” said Tim Shepherd, senior analyst at Canalys.

Nokia Maps versus competition
Images credits to Nokia Conversations

Cube “Retina” U9GT5 9.7” Android 4.1 Tablet, World’s First 9.7” Jelly bean Tablet with Retina Display

In a very surprising move, a Chinese tablet maker has decided to fit an impressive IPS screen on an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean tablet. The new device features a rather decent Rockchip RK3066 dual-core processor and 1 GB of RAM memory.

We’re very glad to see that high resolution displays are becoming more and more popular especially on the tablet market as these devices are the ones that will benefit the most. Apple’s new iPad was the first tablet to feature a display with a 2048 by 1536 pixel resolution and the Cupertino giant has baptized the feature as “Retina” and the moniker stuck.

Therefore, we’re now seeing Chinese tablet maker Cube advertising a “Retina” on its new U9GT5 9.7” Android 4.1 tablet. The Cube U9GT5 also comes with 8 GB or 16 GB of internal storage, but pricing is not yet known.

Cube “Retina” U9GT5 9.7” Android 4.1 Tablet
Image credits to Phonandroid

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