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Nov 19, 2012

Photo Supposedly Taken with Sony Odin C6503 Emerges Online on Picasa

Sony has been long rumored to plan the release of an Xperia handset featuring the codename of Odin, and a photo that has been allegedly taken with the device has recently emerged on Picasa.

The handset sports the model number of C6503, and the EXIF data of said photo mentions this model number, Sony as manufacturer and firmware 10.1.A.0.174_61_a008 loaded on the phone, Ameblo.jp reports. The phone is expected to hit shelves with a Qualcomm APQ8064 Snapdragon quad-core processor inside, a 5-inch Full HD touchscreen display, and a powerful camera on the back (although the aforementioned photo does not prove that).

Odin should arrive next year with Android Jelly Bean on board, accompanied by two other quad-core smartphones from Sony, namely Yuga and Dogo. Sony hasn’t provided specific info on the device as of yet, but it has already confirmed plans to launch high-end Xperia smartphones in 2013.

Photo supposedly taken with Sony's upcoming Odin C6503
Image credits to Picasa

SmartQ X7 Tablet with Android Jelly Bean and 1.5 GHz Dual-Core CPU Now Available for $250/€195

Following the huge success of the Google Nexus 7 tablet, the Chinese company SmartQ decided to launch an even better slate priced similarly, the X7.

Although there are some major differences between the two tablets, the fact that SmartQ X7 is available worldwide for only $250/€195 should be a big advantage for the Chinese company. Check it out here. The SmartQ X7 comes with a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen display that supports 1280 x 800 pixels resolution and features 2-megapixel dual-cameras.

The tablet is powered by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update and comes equipped with a 1.5 GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4470 processor, which is complemented by 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory. The X7 also packs microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB), a 4200 mAh Li-Ion battery, as well as mini HDMI port, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

SmartQ X7
Image credits to SmartQ

Verizon HTC Windows Phone 8X Video Ad

Windows Phone 8X by HTC, one of the first smartphones that the wireless carrier has launched with Microsoft’s new mobile operating system loaded on it, has got a new video ad published online.

The handset provides users with a nice range of features and capabilities, many of which have been integrated within the platform itself, such as Live Tiles or Data Sense. At the same time, the phone comes with Beats Audio and Wireless Charging (a feature exclusive to Verizon’s flavor of the device), as well as with other capabilities.

According to Verizon, it is also simple to use. Have a look at the video embedded above to learn why. “The Windows Phone 8X by HTC on Verizon is incredibly advanced -- yet incredibly simple because it runs on Windows. It's simplicity achieved. Only on Verizon,” the carrier notes.

The Windows Phone 8X by HTC on Verizon is incredibly advanced -- yet incredibly simple because it runs on Windows. With features like customizable Live Tiles, Beats Audio and Wireless Charging. Plus Data Sense, an exclusive Verizon feature that makes the most of your data plan. It's simplicity achieved. Only on Verizon.
Video credits to Verizon Wireless

ECS NM70-TI Mini-ITX Motherboard

Mini-ITX motherboards may not appear as often as normal PC platforms, as the range of applications for them isn't particularly broad, but they aren't really rare either. ECS is the company revealing one this time.

Called NM70-TI, the newcomer is precisely the sort of thing that makers of small PCs or specialist electronics developers would be interested in. Its size allows it to fit in any mini case destined for nettops or HTPCs, while the integrated Intel Celeron 807 single-core CPU provides just enough power for low profile tasks. For those who don't know, Celeron 807 is a chip with a clock speed of 1.5 GHz. In case this is not enough, a dual-core Celeron 847 can be used instead. Moving on, since this is a very small motherboard, there is no room for normal memory slots (DIMM). That is why ECS chose SO-DIMM memory slots instead, like on laptops (arranged along the plane of the motherboard itself).

Storage-wise, there are three interfaces that people may find useful. One provides two SATA III ports (SATA 6.0 Gbps), for HDDs or SSDs, the second brings a SATA II connector (SATA 3.0 Gbps) and the third is an mSATA 3 Gbps slot. As for expansion capabilities, a mini PCI Express slot is available, along with a PCI-E x16 (running at x8), for add-in video boards. Most likely, the integrated GPU (in the CPU) will have to be used, but if the system case is big enough, an AMD Radeon or NVIDIA GeForce card can be employed instead.

Other features include Gigabit Ethernet, a few USB 2.0/1.1 ports, two video outputs (D-Sub and HDMI, wired to the CPU socket) and UEFI BIOS (a BIOS with a comprehensive graphical interface, complete with near-3D representation of the motherboard itself, and its components). Finally, a dense aluminum heatsink with a very small fan keeps heat in check. No price or availability info exists.

ECS NM70-TI mini-ITX motherboard
Image credits to ECS

ASRock A55 Pro, FMI1 Motherboard

Though hardware makers have some leeway when choosing how to arrange the interfaces on a motherboard, some things always go in the same place. ASRock figured it would stick to the blueprint a bit less this time.

The motherboard in the press photos on the left is called A55 Pro and, being designed around the A55 chipset from Advanced Micro Devices, it features the FMI socket. A low-cost ATX motherboard, it has six SATA 3.0 Gbps ports, two PCI Express x16 slots, three PCI Express x1 slots, plus a pair of legacy PCI slots. Gigabit Ethernet, 5.1-channel audio, six USB 2.0 ports, and video outputs (D-Sub and DVI) complete the standard feature set. That leaves ASRock exclusive-features (Instant Flash, XFast USB, XFast LAN, XFast RAM and APP Charger), plus UEFI BIOS, to set the motherboard apart from the other budget platforms on the market. All in all, without a look at it, the ASRock A55 Pro doesn't sound all that odd. Nevertheless, there is one strange layout decision we need to point out.

Instead of keeping all SATA ports (for HDDs and SSDs) together, ASRock split them in two groups. Four are near the edge, just behind the last PCI slot. Access to them will definitely be obstructed by any add-in card longer than the slot itself. The other two are, strangely enough, above the top-most full-size PCI Express slot, almost next to the CPU socket. They should definitely be completely safe from add-in card obstruction, but the placement could still make the rest of the hardware installation awkward. Fortunately, SATA cables are more than long enough to deal with the situation.

ASRock's A55 Pro should start selling soon, in time for the holidays, if we were to guess. Sadly, the price has not been disclosed, so we cannot really know if it is as affordable as the company tries to make it sound.

ASRock A55 Pro
Images credits to ASRock

Samsung New Galaxy Note II and Galaxy S III Mini Colors

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics is reportedly gearing up for the launch of a new set of color flavors for its Galaxy Note II and Galaxy S III mini smartphones.

Apparently, the company is planning on matching the color options for these handsets with those available for Galaxy S III at the moment, which include Pebble Blue, Marble White, Amber Brown, Garnet Red, Sapphire Black and Titanium Grey.

Starting with December or early 2013, Galaxy S III mini is expected to arrive on shelves in Titan Gray, Garnet Red and Onyx Black, in addition to the already announced color variants, SamMobile reports.  
 As for Galaxy Note II, it will soon be released in three new flavors as well, namely Amber Brown, Topaz Blue and Ruby Wine. Users will be able to purchase them starting next year.

Samsung Galaxy Note II
Image credits to Samsung

Apple iPhone 5S Reach Market Mid-2013 After WWDC

Apple’s Asian suppliers are preparing for massive component orders as the Cupertino giant is engaging in a more fast-paced refresh cycle on the smartphone front. Taiwanese news outlets are reporting that Apple might roll out the iPhone 5S at WWDC 2013.

Apple has shifted its annual iPhone refresh cycle from summer to fall, yet the next refresh will put the iPhone back on stage at WWDC, according to Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes citing market observers. These people say that contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and packager Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) have both entered Apple’s supply chain for the next-generation iPhone. The unconfirmed device has been dubbed by the media “iPhone 5S,” in accordance with Apple’s incremental refreshes (iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4S). Both suppliers are expected “to report particularly strong results for the first quarter of 2013,” says the Taiwanese site. The reason? “Apple is expected to introduce its next-generation iPad and iPhone series around the middle of 2013, which will boost demand for ICs in particular communications related chips during the latter half of the first quarter,” according to market observers cited in the report.

Component orders from Cupertino will rise between March and April, the observers indicated, kicking off iPhone 5S manufacturing for its WWDC 2013 debut. Apple next year might break its annual refresh tradition to unveil not one, but two new iPhone models, some company watchers have said. As Samsung and other rivals continue to churn up numerous handset models within seasonal timeframes, Apple is being forced to step up its game.

The Cupertino giant is now refreshing OS X annually, instead of once every two years. Who’s to say it can’t do the same with the iPhone? Considering it will be a minor incremental release, the so-called iPhone 5S may still bolster Apple’s portfolio. For example, it could use a faster A6X chip and some WiFi improvements – enough to sell a couple million units until the iPhone 6 arrives on the scene.

iPhone 5 units on display
Image credits to mashable.com

Crucial's Latest Creation, Ballistix Low Profile Memory

In high-end systems, oversized CPU coolers, sometimes get in the way of memory, or the other way around.

That is why Crucial decided to create some low profile RAM modules that, rather than HTPCs or other mini computers, are intended for high-performance systems. The capacity is of up to 8 GB, yet the voltage is lower than usual (1.35 V versus 1.5 V) and the size is 15 to 35% smaller. Soon enough, the various modules will show up for sale, so we will finally see what prices they have. There will be both single-module and multi-channel kit offers, compatible with both Intel and AMD CPUs and APUs.

"While other low profile offerings on the market provide some clearance, Crucial Ballistix LP memory delivers a true low profile and low power design to give users more clearance around their CPU coolers, while using less power for increased energy efficiency," said Jeremy Mortensen, senior worldwide product manager, Crucial.

Crucial Ballistix memory
Image credits to Crucial

Intel Mighty Bay Trail-T 22nm Atom CPU for 2014

As Advanced Micro Devices is preparing its APUs for widespread tablet use, Intel is already thinking of what will come after the existing Atom series.

Clover Trail, Intel Atom Z2760, turned out to be a decent attempt at an x86 tablet platform, with a solid number of Windows 8 tablets using it. It helps that there isn't much of an alternative when creating slates running Windows 8 instead of Windows RT. This will change over the next one or two years, and Intel knows it. To keep up its game, the company is preparing the Bat Trail-T chip.

As Clover Trail's successor, the processor will possess up to 60% better computing performance (four 2.1 GHz cores versus two 1.8 GHz) and around three times better graphics (a GPU with DirectX 11 and 2560 x 1600 pixels max resolution). Intel is including a dual-channel LPDDR3 memory controller in the Bay Trail-T too. Availability is scheduled for 2014, since the 22nm process won't be ready for a while. 11-hour normal runtime and 20-day standby battery life are expected.

Intel Bay Trail-T roadmap
Images credits to Mobile Geeks

CyanogenMod 10 “Jelly Bean” Build for Samsung Wave I and Wave II

With Samsung trying to get rid of bada OS, owners of Wave series smartphones will have to switch to Android or Windows Phone 8, if they wish to continue using Samsung handsets, or iOS if they prefer Apple instead.

However, there might be another choice in the future as the Android scene is readying a CyanogenMod 10 build for Samsung Wave I and Wave II smartphones. XDA Developer Elite Recognized Developer Rebellos has just released an Alpha build of this CyanogenMod 10 ROM which is based on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean platform.

Given the fact that this project is still in a very early development stage and not all features are fully working, it is only intended for developers. For more details on how to download and install this CyanogenMod 10 for Samsung Wave I and Wave II, head over to the original thread.

Samsung Wave II
Image credits to Samsung

Nokia Document Hints at New Windows Phone OS After WP 7.8 but Before WP 8

There have been many rumors suggesting Microsoft plans to launch the next version of Windows Phone 7.8 in the next few months, but we have yet to receive any official details on the upcoming release.

Well, it looks like Nokia plans at least one more major Windows Phone 7.x update before Windows Phone 8. According to a Nokia document, leaked via German site WParea, there will be one more update after Windows Phone 7.8. For the time being, the mysterious one is dubbed Windows Phone 7.x, but it will probably receive an official name close to release. Obviously, it’s too early for any detail on what the rumored update could bring to Windows Phone 7.8 devices for the moment. However, if rumors prove accurate, we expect more info on this Windows Phone 7.x to emerge in the following months, so stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

In the same piece of news, Windows Phone Live Russia claims Microsoft and Nokia will likely support Windows Phone 7.8 for at least 18 months since its release. Although the major update for Windows Phone 7.5 Mango devices has yet to be released, we expect smartphones powered by this platform to be supported for at least one more year. The information tweeted by Windows Phone Live Russia needs to be taken with a grain of salt, as no official confirmation has been issued from Nokia and Microsoft. Both leaks seem to suggest that Microsoft does not have any intentions to abandon older OS users, quite the opposite.

The reportedly upcoming Windows Phone 7.x indicates that Microsoft plans to add more features to old Windows Phone devices, which won’t be available in the next Windows Phone 7.8 update. We expect Windows Phone 7.8 update to go live in late December or early 2013, but we’re still waiting for more info on these possible release dates.

Nokia leaked document
Image credits to WParea

NOX Media HD, HTPC Case with Support for Full ATX Motherboards

Most “desktop” PC cases of today are actually tower-shaped. The actual reason they are called “desktops” is the form that PCs started out in: rectangular boxes colored white or beige.

NOX has used that primordial form factor, which is still used today by some low-cost PCs and white-box computers (PCs without a well-known brand name). The product it has created is called Media HD and measures 140 x 360 x 450 mm / 5.51 x 14.17 x 17.71 inches. Due to that, it can house not only mini-ITX or micro-ATX motherboards, but full-ATX mainboards as well. From a certain point of view, one might argue that this is not a proper HTPC case at all (home-theater personal computer). NOX may be advertising it as such, but it is really a full-feature desktop enclosure that can definitely be used for mid-range and even stronger PCs. The only limitation one might find is the low height and, by extension, the restricted space for CPU cooling. Then again, with how low TDPs have gotten (thermal design powers), there are plenty of low-power CPUs that have better than average performance capabilities. But we digress.

The NOX Media HD computer enclosure has one 5.25-inch drive bay (for optical disk drives) and one 3.5-inch HDD tray. Not exactly a lot, which makes the number of PCI expansion slots a bit odd (seven). Then again, since NOX did design the chassis as something big enough for full-size motherboards, that extra space had to be used for something. No explanation exists for why the company didn't cram in another HDD bay or two though. At any rate, the Media HD also has a pair of USB ports (2.0, sadly, not USB 3.0) in the aluminum front panel. Anyone interested in the Media HD will have to check with their local retailers or online stores. The price is of €45.27, or around $57.85.

NOX Media HD case
Images credits to NOX

AMD Vishera 8-Core CPU New Overclocking Record, 8.37 GHz

Overclocker T0LSTY from Ukraine has recently managed to overclock the AMD FX-8350 CPU to 8.37 GHz, which is more than the previous record of 8.17 GHz. In so doing, a new record has been set.

We could say this feat is the greatest achieved by the new, top-tier 8-core processor from Advanced Micro Devices. We won't though. While the speed attained is, indeed, the highest, it was done on an 8-core central processing unit that only had two cores enabled. The previous record was achieved with all eight cores working at 8.176 GHz.

Still, a record is a record. The MSI 990FXA-GD80 motherboard was employed in the test, along with an MSI R7970 Lightning graphics card. Coincidentally, this also allowed for the highest ever score in Unigine Heaven DX11 single card benchmark: 18103 points. This is the first time the 18,000 Marks barrier was broken.

AMD Vishera FX processor
Image credits to AMD

Overclocking CPU-Z validation
Image credits to CPU-Z

MSI 990FXA-GD80 motherboard
Image credits to MSI

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