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Nov 14, 2012

HTC One S Special Edition with 64GB and Jelly Bean Goes on Sale in Taiwan

Six months after HTC launched the One S on the market, the Taiwanese company quietly released a special edition of the smartphone, which comes with improved hardware and software.

Two things set it apart from the standard version, newer software and more storage. Obviously, the price for the enhanced variant is much higher. The bad news is that the HTC One S Special Edition has yet to be globally launched. ePrice reports the smartphone has just been released in Taiwan and customers can purchase one for TWD 17900 TWD outright, which is about $615/€485. HTC One S Special Edition is only available in white, but the handset maker might decide to offer additional colors as well. For the time being, we’re not sure whether or not this version of HTC One S will be released in more countries in the following weeks, so stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Software-wise, the smartphone ships with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system out of the box, unlike the standard version, which was launched with Ice Cream Sandwich platform onboard. Just like the HTC One X+, the One S Special Edition packs no less than 64GB of internal memory, which should be more than enough even for the most demanding Android users. The rest of the phone’s specs sheet is similar with that of the standard version, so expect the Special Edition HTC One S to come with a dual-core Qualcomm MSM8290 Snapdragon processor clocked at 1.5 GHz built on Krait architecture, 1GB of RAM and Adreno 225 graphics processing unit.

The One S Special Edition also packs a more than decent 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display with Corning Gorilla Glass coating, as well as an enhanced 8-megapixel rear camera with autofocus, LED flash and full HD (1080p) video recording.

HTC One S Special Edition
Image credits to ePrice

Dual SIM Samsung Galaxy Note II Arriving in China on November 24

The dual-SIM version of the Galaxy Note II emerged back in September, but Samsung was pretty secretive regarding the phone’s availability and pricing options.

Well, it looks like the smartphone re-surfaced in China along with more details on launch and price tag. Chinese site Bolopad reports the dual-SIM Samsung Galaxy Note II will be launched on November 24 via China Telecom. The smartphone comes with two SIM slots, one for GSM SIMs and another one for CDMA SIM cards. Customers will be able to purchase the handset starting next week for around 5200 yuan off-contract, which is about $835/€655. The bad news is that there’s a high chance the dual-SIM Samsung Galaxy Note II won’t be available outside China. However, the handset maker has yet to offer more details on the phone’s availability in other countries, so stay tuned for more updates on this one.

The dual-SIM Galaxy Note II comes with the same features as the single-SIM version, so expect this one to bring a powerful 1.6 GHz quad-core processor, accompanied by 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory, which can be further expanded up to 64GB via microSD memory card. The smartphone will ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean platform out of the box, and probably some bloatware from the Chinese carrier that will sell it. On the back, the dual-SIM Galaxy Note II boasts an 8-megapixel photo snapper with autofocus, LED flash and full HD (1080p) video recording. There’s also a secondary 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera for video calls.

Another strong point of the phablet is the huge 5.5-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display that supports HD (720 x 1280 pixels) resolution and Corning Gorilla Glass coating. The Galaxy Note II is powered by a high-capacity 3100 mAh Li-Ion battery, which should provide up to 1000 hours of standby time or up to 35 hours of talk time.

Dual SIM Samsung Galaxy Note II
Images credits to Bolopad

Matte Grey Nokia Lumia 920 Spotted

A Matte Grey version of Nokia Lumia 920 has just been spotted in Australia at Harvey Norman. The retailer is now taking pre-orders for the Lumia 920 and has this particular color available for customers to choose.

The smartphone is available for pre-purchase for $830/€680 and is expected to arrive in stock on December 17. Customers choosing other color-themed Lumia 920 units might end up receiving their devices on November 30 (black) or December 3 (yellow). Check it out here.

The Matter Grey Lumia 920 should have been available in the US via AT&T, but the carrier has the cyan version instead. All in all, we expect this grey-themed Nokia Lumia 920 to be rolled out globally early next year, so potential customers looking for this precise color will have to wait a bit longer.

Matte Grey Lumia 920
Image credits to harvey Norman

ZTE Nubia Z5 Packs a Far Better Display Than Samsung Galaxy S III and Apple iPhone 4S

Chinese mobile phone maker ZTE is expected to bring to the market a 5-inch full HD smartphone in the not too distant future, namely the ZTE Nubia Z5.

The upcoming device will deliver a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, which should bring a great experience to all users, a series of new comparison photos available courtesy of CNMO show. The handset was put side by side with Samsung’s Galaxy S III and Apple’s iPhone 4S smartphones, and indeed managed to impress in clarity and level of detail.

Apparently, the high-res screen is only one of the great features that Z5 will arrive on shelves with, since it was also rumored with a quad-core processor packed inside, and with a 13-megapixel photo snapper on the back. Unfortunately, ZTE still hasn’t provided specific info on when the new mobile phone will become available for purchase.

ZTE Nubia Z5, Apple iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S3 screen comparison
Image credits to CNMO

AMD Firepro S10000, Dual-Tahiti Server GPU Card

At this point, it is clear that NVIDIA had the right idea when it theorized that strong enough GPU compute accelerators would end up supplying the bulk of a supercomputer's performance. AMD is now offering a new product of this type.

Long story short, AMD has formally launched the FirePro S10000 compute accelerator card, with two Tahiti graphics processing units and 6 GB of GDDR5 ECC memory. One single adapter has a peak single-precision floating-point performance of 5.91 TFLOPS, and a double-precision performance of 1.48 TFLOPS. It is being advertised as a rival to NVIDIA's Tesla cards and Intel's Xeon Phi x86 accelerators, the latter of which are finally shipping to customers. Virtualization technologies, like Microsoft RemoteFX, are fully supported, allowing multiple users to run common office applications from a single GPU. Direct GPU pass-through support for VMware ESXi/ESX and Citrix XenServer is supported as well, so that advanced workstation graphics applications can be utilized (one GPU per user model). “The AMD FirePro S10000, equipped with our Graphics Core Next Architecture, enables server graphics to play a dual role in providing both compute and graphics horsepower simultaneously,” said David Cummings, senior director and general manager of professional graphics at AMD.

AMD gave its FirePro S10000 four mini-DisplayPort connectors, plus dual-link DVI. Useful for multi-monitor workstations. This is actually the main difference between this product and NVIDIA's Tesla K20, or other GPU accelerators: video ports actually exist. Since normal supercomputer accelerators only perform parallel computing tasks, they don't get video outputs. AMD's new Graphics Core Next adapter, on the other hand, “enables server graphics to play a dual role in providing both compute and graphics horsepower simultaneously.” "This is executed without compromising performance for users while helping reduce the total cost of ownership for IT managers,” David Cummings said.

AMD Firepro S10000 has not been used in any supercomputer yet, unlike Xeon Phi and NVIDIA Tesla K10/K20. AMD's Opteron CPUs do power the current leader though (Titan).

AMD Firepro S10000
Image credits to AMD

Briarwood: Intel Next Atom Processors

Back in September, Intel let loose some information about the Centerton line of Atom system-on-chip devices. The company has now let slip some details about another Atom chip line called Briarwood.

These system-on-chip devices will be aimed at storage bridge bay and storage area network systems. They will be called Atom S1269, Atom S1279 and Atom S1289. All three will have two “Saltwell” Atom cores (each), single-channel DDR3 RAM support (random access memory) and Hyper-Threading, plus Virtualization technology. Up to 8 GB of DDR3-1333 ECC memory will be possible to pair with each of the processors.

Atom S1269 has a clock speed of 1.6 GHz and a thermal design power of 11.7 watts. Atom S1279 is similar, but has a TDP of 13.1 Watts. No obvious differences between it and the other one are discernible. The final chip, however, Atom S1289, runs at 2 GHz and has a TDP of 14.1 watts. No price or exact availability information exists, only that shipments will begin in the first quarter of 2013.

Intel Atom logo
Image credits to Intel

Western Digital My Net AC1300 HD Dual-Band Router and My Net AC Bridge

Western Digital may never turn wireless networking products into a primary revenue source, but that doesn't mean it can't excel at making such things. The My Net AC1300 HD Dual-Band Router and My Net AC Bridge show that clearly.

Essentially, these two provide buyers with the benefits of the more or less best 802.11ac wireless technology on the market at the moment, plus the WD exclusive FasTrack technology. For those unfamiliar with FasTrack, the technology identifies when high-bandwidth entertainment services like Netflix, YouTube, online games and Skype are started. In such cases, the network grants them priority, so that communication and gameplay may proceed without lag or image stutter, or anything else. Taking into account the 450 (2 GHz band) + 1300 (5 GHz) Megabits per second (Mbps), that means very smooth sailing at all hours, provided the servers on the other end of the Internet aren't overloaded or crashed of course.

That said, the range of the My Net AC1300 router is of 30 to 75 feet (10 to 22 meters) and the My Net AC Bridge lets owners convert up to four devices (smart TVs, Blu-ray disk players, media players, game consoles, etc.) from wired-Ethernet to wireless. "The recent introduction of our My Net family of routers brought several new breakthroughs to the market, including our acclaimed FasTrack prioritization technology, amazingly simple setup and the My Net N900 Central router with storage," states Scott Vouri, general manager for WD's connected life solutions group.

"The My Net AC1300 and My Net AC WiFi Bridge build on those breakthroughs, setting a new standard for wireless speeds and delivering maximum HD streaming performance for our customers, while driving multiple devices on the home network at the same time." My Net AC1300 Router and My Net AC Bridge are shipping through certain US retailers and online at wdstore.com. The former is priced at $189.99 / 149-189.99 Euro, while the latter ships for $149.99 / 117-149.99 Euro.

Western Digital dual-band Wi-Fi router
Image credits to Western Digital

RIM BlackBerry 10 Smartphones to Arrive on Shelves in February

January 30, 2013, will be an important day for Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion, as the company will unveil to the world its next-gen mobile operating system, the BlackBerry 10 platform.

Also on that day, we’ll have the chance to have a look at the very first smartphones powered by the new OS version, though it seems that they won’t become available for purchase right away. RIM has already confirmed that it would be showcasing two BlackBerry 10 smartphones on January 30, but did not provide specific info on when they would arrive on shelves. However, a recent article on SFGate notes that these handsets will not be pushed to shelves until February, although RIM will strive to have them released as soon as possible. Chief Operating Officer Kristian Tear reportedly said that the company is determined to start selling these smartphones within 30 days of the BlackBerry 10’s launch event. This means that they should hit shelves by the end of February, even if they won’t benefit from simultaneous availability all around the world.

Not too long ago, the handset vendor also said that it was working with over 50 wireless carriers around the world on the testing of BlackBerry 10 devices, which should ensure a widespread availability of the new platform release. However, RIM still has to provide specific info on the countries that will be able to acquire the new devices in the beginning. The company has lost significant market share in the past year, and is expected to lose even more before the new operating system arrives on shelves. According to the latest report from Gartner, RIM has sold only 8.9 million devices in the third quarter of the year, which allowed it to grab the third position on the smartphone OS market, with a 5.3 percent market share.

BlackBerry 10 devices
Image credits to BerryReview

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