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Oct 10, 2012

Samsung Galaxy S II Plus Emerges in AnTuTu Benchmarks as GT-I9105

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung might have a nice range of new handsets set to arrive on shelves in the coming months, one of which is now rumored to land as Galaxy S II Plus.

The handset was spotted in the AnTuTu benchmark with model number GT-I9105 attached to it, and is suggested to have some kind of connection with last year’s Galaxy S II, which sports model number GT-I9100. According to RBmen, this phone could turn out to be the Galaxy S II Plus, an upgraded flavor of the mentioned handset, the same as the Galaxy S III LTE arrived as GT-I9305, compared to the Galaxy S III GT-I9300.

When unveiled, the phone might feature a 1.5GHz dual-core processor inside, while running under Microsoft’s Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

Samsung Galaxy S II Plus GT-I9105 in AnTuTu
Images credits to rbmen

ARM Reveals IP with One Terabit System Bandwidth

What ARM recently introduced is not a new CPU architecture per se, but a technology that will allow it to create advanced architectures and processors capable of uncanny things.

ARM named its invention the ARM CoreLink CCN-504 cache coherent network, and claims that the advanced intellectual property (IP) can provide a system with a bandwidth of one terabit per second (1 Tbps). The CoreLink CCN-504 dynamic memory controller is part of an integrated ARM DDR4 interface, (2012-bound ARM Artisan DDR4/3 PHY IP). For one, it offers a high bandwidth to shared off-chip memory, such as DDR3, DDR3L and DDR4 DRAM. Secondly, it makes it possible to create high-performance many-core enterprise systems with up to 16 CPU cores per silicon die. Thirdly, system coherency, as the company calls it, is ensured by the ability of the processors to access the cache memories of the other processors. Thus, the requirements for accessing off-chip memory are reduced, something particularly useful in heterogeneous computers / multi-cluster CPU/GPU systems.

Besides speed, there is a second benefit to the lowered need for off-chip memory access: reduced energy requirements. “As the amount of data used increases exponentially over the next 10-15 years, the CoreLink CCN-504 and DMC-520 will play an important role by providing high-performance system IP solutions for many-core applications,” said Tom Cronk, deputy general manager, processor division, ARM. “This ensures quality of service and coherent operation across the system, and enables SoC designers to efficiently prioritize and handle wide data flows with optimum latency.” LSI, a maker of storage controllers (SandForce for example), and Calxeda, a supplier of ARM-based data center SoCs, have already licensed the CoreLink CCN-504.

That means they can construct new systems based on either the existing Cortex-A15 processor or the future ARMv8 architecture, which has the extra advantage of 64-bit support. In layman terms, ARM has patented a technology that will further drive home the promise that its processors can work well in enterprise and business applications, not just mobile devices.

ARM logo
Image credits to ARM

Nokia Belle FP2 Update Available Once Again

Owners of a Nokia 808 PureView, Nokia 701, 700, and 603 device can now download and install the Belle FP2 update on their handsets once again.

The update was made available for all these mobile phones a few weeks ago, yet Nokia pulled it soon after, supposedly due to a series of issues that have been found to affect users’ experience. Today, however, the update is available once again, and those who will head to the Software Updater app on their handsets should see it up for download. The OS upgrade is being released only days after Nokia also made available for download a new version of the Nokia Music application for the platform, one that is compatible with Belle FP2 as well. The new firmware is available through the Nokia Suite application for Windows PCs as well, and users can install it using this method, if they like to. However, it is possible that not all regions will receive the new software right from the start, since Nokia is usually rolling new firmware to users in phases.

Even so, all owners of one of the aforementioned mobile phones should get the chance to install the Belle FP2 update within the next several weeks or so. According to All About Symbian, the update has been released for almost all unlocked devices out there, as well as for some of those available for purchase on networks of specific wireless carriers. Some of the changes that the new update brings along include a new flavor of the web browser with better support for HTNL5, updated widgets, and a new version of the Music Player, with an updated UI that includes artist tabs and new icons in the notification bar. Additionally, the Belle FP2 update brings a swipe to unlock shade effect on the lockscreen, lighter color schemes by default, new keyboard layout, and various other new features and enhancements.

Nokia Belle FP2 update
Image credits to All About Symbian

Intel H87 and Q87-Based Haswell Motherboards

We may have covered the high-end mainboards that Haswell chips (LGA 1150) will get to use as a power base in 2013, but we've yet to speak about the range one step below, or the business-oriented chipsets, so we will do that now.

While the Z87 powers four mainboards, the H87 only has three under its belt. They should be enough to cover their target consumer segment though (upper mainstream and business sectors). Granted, Intel has the special Q87 chipset for business users, but we'll get to those as soon as we're done with H87, all of which have DVI-I, HDMI and a DisplayPort. The first platform, called Intel DH87MC and codenamed Meadow Creek, has support for up to 32 GB of DDR3 RAM (four DIMM slots), 5 SATA 6.0 Gbps slots, four USB 3.0 ports, three PCI Express slots (one x16, one x4 and one x1) and a mini PCI Express card connector. Unlike on the Z87, the legacy PCI interface is supported (three slots are present), so no one has to throw away their good old network or sound cards. Then again, the 10-channel audio and integrated LAN may be better than that hardware, but we digress.

The second board, DH87RL Round Lake, is a uATX (microATX) model with the same memory support and PCI Express / PCI / mini PCIe slot layout (but with one extra PCI-e x1). The storage support is the same as well but, oddly enough, Round Lake has six USB 3.0 ports. It makes us wonder why the ATX Meadow Creek is even there.

The third H87 mainboard is also a microATX, but has 2 DIMM slots (16 GB RAM max), one PCIe x16 slot, two mini PCIe card connectors, four SATA 6 Gbps ports, six USB 3.0 ports and 10-channel audio.  And now we may as well mention the Q87 models, DQ87RG (Rainbow Bridge) and DQ87PG (Spring Cave), both microATX platforms with comparable specs (to H87), but two LAN ports instead of one (if we're reading things right) and support for Small Business Advantage technology. Sales will begin in April 2013, assuming the roadmap slides are real, which they probably are.

Intel Chipsets
Image credits to Intel

Leaked Intel slide showing upcoming motherboards
Images credits to ComputerBase

iOS7 App Switcher Concept

There’s a new app switcher concept on the web that Apple could well implement in iOS 7. Posted by Verge user Sentry, the concept shows how Apple could leverage the extra vertical space on the iPhone 5 and iPod touch (fifth-generation).

As the image above shows, instead of showing just the application icons, the multi-tasking tray could easily display previews, or snapshots, of the running apps themselves, giving the user a better idea of what to select instantly. In another embodiment (patent filing talk) this new task manager would enable users to easily access core system functions, such as the orientation lock, wireless functions, and the display brightness.

Lastly, the same concept can be applied to the Music application. A simple swipe to the left or to the right would bring up a few handy playback controls complete with album art and a volume knob.

App Switcher concept
Images credits to Sentry via The Verge

Intel Haswell Z87 Chipset Motherboards Arrival Date

We've known for some time that Intel's Haswell central processors would be launched in 2013, but we have not actually learned much about the motherboards that Chipzilla intends to offer for them.

Intel is a relative unknown on the motherboard market. Though it has been making chipsets for many years, branded mainboards were few and far between. The corporation was usually content with allowing OEMs to make such things instead. The past couple of years saw it becoming more active here though. As such, we fully expected a production plan to exist, that covered the next few quarters. ComputerBase has published some roadmap slides which expose designs based on the Z87, H87 and Q87 chipsets, featuring the LGA 1150 socket (Haswell-compatible). We will only cover the Z87 here (the one without PCI and SATA II 3.0 Gbps). Intel DZ87KLT-70K (Kinsley) has four memory slots (DDR3), three PCI Express x16 gen 3.0 slots, eight USB 3.0 ports (6 external) and eight SATA 6.0 Gbps ports, plus HDMI and Displayport. Gigabit LAN goes without saying, though the 10 Channel Audio did give us pause.

Intel DZ87KLT-75K is the second board, nicknamed Kinsley Thunderbolt. It is similar to the one above, only with (obviously) Thunderbolt support as well. A third platform would be the Intel DZ87CA-55K, or Carryville, with only two PCI Express x16 slots and six USB 3.0 ports (4 external). The number of SATA ports is reduced too (six). The fourth Z87 motherboard is called Intel DZ87CO-50K / Colebrooke and is a uATX with four RAM slots, two PCIe x16 slots, 6-channel audio, LAN, HDMI, DVI and six USB ports (4 external). As people may have already guessed, these are the high-end options, the ones with the best overclocking support. Prices aren't known, but the availability is set for early second quarter of 2013 (April-June). Stay tuned as we bring you the Intel H87- and Q87-powered motherboard designs as well.

Intel Chipsets
Image credits to Intel

Intel Haswell-compatible motherboard list
Image credits to ComputerBase

Intel Z87-based motherboards slide
Image credits to ComputerBase

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