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Nov 28, 2012

BlackBerry 10 L-Series Next to Galaxy Note, Lumia 820 and iPhone 5




Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion still has to officially launch its BlackBerry 10 platform and devices running under it, yet new photos with the first such handsets offer us an idea of what it might look like.

A BlackBerry 10 L-Series smartphone, which is said to be the first smartphone that RIM will unveil with the new platform loaded on it, has been recently photographed next to popular devices already available on shelves. The smartphone can be seen in the photo above, available courtesy of BBin, next to a Samsung Galaxy Note, a Nokia Lumia 820 smartphone, and an Apple iPhone 5.

We have already seen it next to a Lumia 820 device, but now we can see how it stacks up against other top players on the smartphone market. The phone should become official on January 30, 2013.

BB10 next to Galaxy Note, Lumia 820 and iPhone 5
Image credits to bbin.in

Nokia City Lens 1.5 Beta Arrives to WP7 Lumia Devices




A new flavor of the Nokia City Lens application is now available for download for the owners of Windows Phone 7-powered Lumia handsets.

The new release takes advantage of the newly introduced LiveSight technology to deliver a more precise and intuitive augmented reality experience to users. Nokia City Lens, the application that Nokia has developed exclusively for its users, is the first in the world to take advantage of the capability. The new Nokia City Lens 1.5 Beta app is the first step that Nokia takes towards delivering a mobile application that fully takes advantage of the power of this technology. Following the testing period, Nokia plans on bringing the app in its final flavor to even more devices running under Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, including the newly released Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 smartphones. Nokia City Lens 1.5 beta was meant to make the app easier to use, while also bringing along new viewing options and other enhancements.

The list of changes in the new app release includes:

  • See just what’s in front of you. Normally, City Lens shows you all the places nearby—even around the corner or a block away. In crowded areas, that can be a lot to take in. Our new Sightline features lets you switch your view to only what’s in your direct line of sight, making it easier to spot great places that are right in front of you.
  • Quick info– Get information while you look. Now you can quickly view a place’s address without leaving your camera view. Just tap to view the information overlaid on your display while you keep scanning. When you’re ready to learn more about the place, another tap pulls up its complete information.
  • Pause your view. When scanning your surroundings in camera view, you can now freeze your view and study your options without having to keep your phone pointed at the target.
  • Pin categories to start – Your most common searches with a tap. City Lens now lets you pin favorite categories to your homescreen. Now wherever you are, you can find something you love nearby with just a tap.

Nokia City Lens also provides users with the possibility to create Live Tiles, so that they can pin favorite searches straight to the smartphone’s homescreen. Nokia City Lens 1.5 Beta for Windows Phone 7 Lumia devices can be found on the Nokia Beta Labs.

Nokia City Lens
Image credits to Nokia

Biostar Hi-Fi A85W Ready for AMD FM2 APUs




FM2 is the socket that AMD's Trinity accelerated processing units use (APUs), which means that the new mainboard from Biostar is the sort of platform that mid- to high-end PCs will use.

Advanced Micro Devices has come a long way in its quest to include all possible instructions and interfaces inside a single processor. Currently, its APUs pack not just the x86 cores and GPU (graphics processing unit), but also the memory controller. That leaves the A85X chipset with the minor role of making the connections between the features above and the rest of the things on the mainboard. This is one of the main reasons why motherboard makers don't always mind adding special features to their products. Indeed, if they didn't, the Trinity-compatible motherboard segment would be a very dull place.

On that note, Biostar’s Hi-Fi A85W has not only a noise-blocking multi-layer PCB (printed circuit board), but also a built-in amplifier and Non-Polarized Electrolysis Electric audio capacitors. The first of the three shields analog audio signals from digital sources. Then there is the Hi-Fi Power technology, which gives audio components an independent power design, one reliant on “Hi-Fi” resistors. The rest of the specifications are relatively ordinary: several video ports (DVI, HDMI, D-Sub), a debug LED, two USB 3.0 ports, 7.1-channel audio (Realtek ALC892 codec), Gigabit Ethernet, eight SATA 6.0 Gbps ports, two PCI Express x16 video slots, two PCI slots, two PCI Express x1 slots and four DDR3-2400 memory slots.

All in all, there seems to be enough to justify the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W price tag of 124.90 Euro ($124.90 – 161 Euro). It now falls to customers themselves to decide if the audio support is good enough to buy it over alternatives. Biostar's motherboard can be a good gaming platform, but it would not make sense to pay extra for audio quality if an add-in sound card is part of the plan as well.

Biostar Hi-Fi A85W
Image credits to Biostar

Xen Cloud Platform 1.6 Now Available for Download




The Xen Cloud Platform, a turnkey open source virtualization solution that provides out-of-the box virtualization and cloud computing, is now at version 1.6.

Xen Cloud Platform 1.6 also features the Xen Hypervisor, an API toolstack for cloud, storage and networking solutions. Highlights of Xen Cloud Platform 1.6:
  • XCP now has Storage XenMotion technology which allows users to freely move running virtual machines, without the need for shared storage;
  • User can now relocate a VM's Virtual Disk Image (VDI) without shutting down the VM;
  • Support for Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) has been added;
  • VLAN Scalability improvements have been implemented;
  • Support for Emergency Network Reset and IPv6 Guest function has been added.

Check out the official announcement for a complete list of changes.

Download Xen Cloud Platform 1.6
Xen Cloud Platform 1.6 (ISO) [393 MB]
Xen Cloud Platform 1.6 (Source ISO) [2.40 GB]
Xen Cloud Platform 1.6 (Binary ISO) [1.70 GB]

Xen concept
Image credits to itcandor.net


New Intel Core i3 and Core i5 CPUs Spotted




As odd as it sounds, most of the central processing units from Intel never get more than a passing mention in the press. The Core i3-2348M and i5-3230M CPUs are examples of this.

One might say these two don't count, since they have yet to be formally launched. The only reason we know of them is Fujitsu's product listings for Lifebook AH532, N532, NH532 and LH532 notebooks. That is beside the point though. While Intel does have a history of causing a press uproar over its best and brightest chips, the vast majority of them only get discovered by curious tech websites that comb through product spec lists deep within Intel's website. The Core i3-2348M and i5-3230M CPUs were probably never going to get special press releases or mentions in blogs. Then again, they aren't exactly that extraordinary, by Intel's standards anyway. Still, being part of the Core series is enough to seal their status as mid-range notebook chips. Core i5-3230M is bound to have two physical cores but, thanks to hyper threading technology, 4 logical cores.

The operational frequency is said to be of 2.6 GHz, 3.2 GHz when Turbo Boost kicks in (dynamic overclocking when needed). The specifications list is completed by a cache memory of 3 MB and a TDP (thermal design power) of 35W, normal for current-generation notebook processors. It isn't clear what integrated GPU this CPU possesses (HD 3000 or 4000 most likely). The Core i3-2348M CPU, also a dual-core unit, runs at 2.3 GHz, but because of the absence of Turbo Boost, there is no way for the clock to rise if programs need more computing power than usual. At least Hyper Threading still exists. That leaves 3 MB of L3 cache memory and the HD 3000 graphics to complete the list of specs so far known.

Intel Core i5 logo
Image credits to Intel

Gigabyte GA-C847N and GA-C807N, Two New Mini-ITX Motherboards




Most of the big motherboard announcements were made over the past two months, so now we are left with smaller models, many of which are best suited for HTPCs and other small PCs.

Gigabyte has just revealed two such motherboards, called GA-C807N and GA-C847N. Both of them ship with a central processing unit (CPU) already installed. The former features the 1.5 GHz Celeron 807 single-core processor, while the latter gets a 1.1 GHz Celeron 847 dual-core CPU. Both platforms possess two DDR3-1333 memory slots, some SATA ports (four and three, respectively, one with SATA 6.0 Gbps support), Gigabit Ethernet a PCI slot, UEFI dual BIOS, 5.1 channel audio and Ultra Durable 4 Classic.

 Prices haven't been revealed, unfortunately. The company did, however, say that GA-C807N has a D-Sub video output while the GA-C847N has not only D-Sub and HDMI connectors, but an eSATA port as well (explains the lower number of SATA connectors).


Gigabyte GA-C807N
Images credits to Gigabyte


Gigabyte GA-C847N
Images credits to Gigabyte

Raspberry Pi Minecraft Edition Runs at a Blazing 40 fps [Video]




Minecraft: Pi Edition was announced a few days ago, at the MineCon convention in Disneyland, Paris, and the first videos are starting to pop-up.

This is not your ordinary Minecraft, it's actually the Pocket Edition ported for Raspberry Pi. It was ported a while ago for Android and it already runs on a large number of devices. Minecraft: Pi Edition comes with an extra feature. Users can program the world. The process is quite simple: set up a network connection to the running game and then send text commands to control the world. This means that users can program the game in any language that supports network connections and they can access the game from any computer connected to the Pi. Daniel and Aron from Mojang, the studio responsible for Minecraft, haven't been working long on the Minecraft: Pi Edition, but they have reported that it runs smoothly on all versions of Raspberry Pi. No overclocking is necessary.

Moreover, Daniel reported seeing 40fps with a 256MB Pi, although the development work has been done on a set of 512MB boards. The current working features aren't much, but they are off to a good start. Users place any block, at any location, ask what type of block is at any location, and keep track of events such as the player's movements. The Raspberry Pi is promoted as an instrument for children who want to learn programming, but there is no greater incentive than a game. Minecraft will certainly provide a boost for Raspberry Pi and we can't hardly wait to see what the community will be able to achieve.

Raspberry Pi relies on an ARM processor with a clock speed of 700 MHz, 512 MB of RAM, an SD card slot and a 5V Micro USB connector that supplies the power. It also features RCA and HDMI ports.

Raspberry Pi running Minecraft
Image credits to raspberrypi.org


Gigabyte HD Motherboard Family Line




One would think that HDMI and DVI are fairly common sights on the mainboard market now, even together, but Gigabyte does not agree.

In fact, the company feels that it is so rare to see the two together that there is enough cause to name an entire series of motherboards after them. Still, since “motherboard featuring both HDMI and DVI” is a chore to blurt out in one breath, Gigabyte chose something simpler. Thus, it was that the HD Series of motherboards came to be. Basically, Gigabyte wants to put an end to the time when HDMI+DVI support is restricted to the high-end market.

Given the advanced graphics capabilities of CPUs and APUs, it makes sense for the digital interfaces to become more common. That the company chose to implement Ultra Durable 4 classic components is just a bonus. Check out this link for more information, including a full list of the mainboards.

Gigabyte intros HD motherboard series
Image credits to Gigabyte

Rumor: Microsoft to Release Windows Blue, the First Free Windows Ever




Although Windows 8 was launched last month, Microsoft is already giving the final touches to Windows Blue, the new Windows iteration that’s apparently supposed to come with some really huge surprises.

Citing sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans, The Verge reports that Windows Blue is going to be released in mid-2013 and will comprise significant UI changes, most likely supposed to address the controversial Windows 8 features. The Redmondians are reportedly planning to make Windows Blue a low-cost or even free operating system, just to make sure all users will make the move to the new OS. The Windows SDK would also be updated to the new release, while Microsoft would encourage developers to create apps for Windows Blue, with a lowered focus on Windows 8.

If rumors prove to be true, Windows Blue won’t be available as a standalone OS, so users would need an older Windows to upgrade. Last but not least, Windows Blue would also be the first product supposed to kick off a yearly update schedule for Microsoft, as the Redmond-based technology giant is looking into ways to challenge the other companies on the market, such as Apple and Google.

Windows Blue could see daylight in mid-2013
Image credits to hdwallpapers.in

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