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Dec 30, 2012

Sharp SH-04E for NTT DoCoMo Receives Wi-Fi Certification

A new Android-based smartphone from Sharp has received the necessary approvals from the Wi-Fi Alliance, namely the Sharp SH-04E, which is expected to land on shelves in Japan via NTT DoCoMo.

The device has previously emerged over at the FCC, with a 4.6-inch touchscreen display on the front, a 2000mAh battery packed inside, and GSM / WCDMA / LTE connectivity. The mobile phone is also said to pack wireless charging capabilities, and to be Qi compliant. The Sharp SH-04E handset was approved with Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11b / g / n capabilities packed inside, on the 2.4 GHz band, as can be seen in this listing on the Wi-Fi Alliance website.

A photo of the device also emerged online a while ago, yet NTT DoCoMo is expected to officially launch the smartphone only in spring next year.

Sharp SH-04E for NTT DoCoMo
Image credits to rbmen.blogspot.ro

Sharp SH-04E for NTT DoCoMo Wi-Fi Certification
Image credits to Wi-Fi.org

MacBook Air to Have a New Type of CPU in 2013

A report by the hit-and-miss publication DigiTimes has caught the eye of the Apple blogosphere thanks to a claim relating to the processor architecture employed by Apple’s upcoming MacBook Air notebooks.

Currently starting at $999 / €1.049,00 with a 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, Apple’s MacBook Air is said to be undergoing some changes next year. The refresh will not involve a remodeling of the enclosure, but it will change the CPU architecture inside, according to industry sources. Cited by the aforementioned Taiwanese publication, DigiTimes reports pointed out that “the MacBook Air for 2013 will feature a new processor platform, but its industrial design will not see any major changes.”

Apple has been rumored to invest its own CPU fab but such plans aren’t likely to materialize any time soon. It remains to be seen whether or not these claims hold any water. The MacBook Air refresh is said to occur in June 2013.

MacBook Air
Image credits to cultofmac.com

Sony Xperia X (“Odin” C650X) Design Info Leaks

Sony’s long rumored Odin and Yuga handsets have been said for quite some time to be different flavors of the same device, aimed at different markets around the world, yet it seems that they might resemble each other even less than initially thought.

A new rumor, coming from Vietnamese website SE-CafĂ©, suggests that Odin (expected to be unveiled as Xperia X) would actually be thicker and heavier than Yuga (said to land on shelves as Xperia Z). Furthermore, it will also sport a rough, textured, even striped pattern, back plate (Yuga will sport a sleek, plastic mirror one) and will allow for hot swapping of SIM and microSD cards.

Xperia X is also said to sport the front camera at the bottom, aligned to the right, with the light sensor placed in the upper right corner on the phone’s front.

Sony logo
Image credits to Sony

AMD Kabini, 10% Faster Than Bobcat APUs [Video]

AMD has Bobcat APUs based on the 40nm manufacturing process technology, but it also offers some made on the 28nm process. The latter have been compared to the upcoming Kabini units.

Long story short, Kabini accelerated processing units will be around 10% faster than Bobcat. Some chips may even perform 15% better. The fastest 40nm Bobcat processor, E2-1800, has a clock speed of 1.7 GHz and no Turbo Core. 28nm Bobcat units are even faster, and a Q&A video involving Jeff Rupley compares them to Kabini, not the others.

That would imply that Kabini chips work at more than 1.9 GHz. Add to that support for Turbo Core dynamic overclocking and there is even a chance for 2.4 GHz. Either way, we still have to wait for the frequencies to become public knowledge.

Session 1, Hot Chips 24 (2012), Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
Architecture and power management of the third generation Intel Core micro architecture
Sanjeev Jahagirdar, Intel
AMD's "Jaguar": A next-generation, low power x86 core
Jeff Rupley, AMD
proAptiv: Efficient Performance on a Fully-Synthesizable Core
Ranganathan Sudhakar, MIPS
Video credits to hotchipsvideos

AMD Kabini X4 5110, The Entry-Level APU

Since we've taken a look at the high-end A10-6800K accelerated processing unit, AMD's top Richland APU, we may as well check out the entry-level chip too, now that we have the data.

Fudzilla has provided some information which, it claims, describes the capabilities of a certain Kabini X4 5110 processor. This is actually the strongest of the entry-level chips expected to arrive in 2013, and should be ready for mass production by March 2013. That's the same time frame as the ETA (estimated time of arrival) for the aforementioned high-end quad-core processor. Speaking of core number, the X4 5110 has four (the X4 was a clear enough indicator of that). Somehow, though, it still makes do with a TDP (thermal design power) of 25W. That's not really low enough for tablets, definitely not even close to the 4.5W of the Z-60, but it should be more than suitable for ultrathin laptops. We would use the term ultrabook, but Intel has trademarked it and, thus, AMD and its laptop-manufacturing partners can't.

Then again, AMD did tell us at IFA that it didn't feel the need for a counter-brand. Ultrathin works just fine, the company felt. At any rate, the X4 5110 has Jaguar cores, a DirectX 11.1 graphics processing unit, the FT3 BGA infrastructure, a DDR3-1866 memory controller and Turbo Core technology (dynamic overclocking based on application requirements). Full volume production and availability will ramp up in June, even if manufacturing begins in March.

As a side note, the 28nm-based Kabini APU series will include several other X-series chips and E-series models, with TDPs of as low as 18W. Unfortunately, no clock speeds have been released or exposed through leaks yet. Intel's Haswell Y series of chips will be the main competitors, with their much lower TDPs but significantly weaker graphics.

AMD logo
Image credits to AMD

Intel “Redhookbay” Spotted in Benchmarks with Android 4.2.1, Dual-Core CPU

Chip maker Intel appears set to assault the smartphone market with a new processor, one that was leaked not too long ago as the dual-core Merrifield, a successor to the Medfield Atom processor that failed to impress too much.

The new mobile processor is expected to be officially introduced at the 2013 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, and should deliver far better performance levels than the current chip, rumor has it. While nothing has been officially confirmed on the matter for the time being, the processor has already made an appearance online, courtesy of benchmarking results for a certain Redhookbay device from Intel. Spotted in NenaMark, Redhookbay managed to score 58.30, and unveiled some of the possible specs of the aforementioned Intel processor. Thus, the dual-core CPU should operate at a frequency of between 1.6GHZ and 2.0GHz, while featuring a PowerVR SGX 544MP GPU attached to it. Furthermore, the Merrifield chip is said to provide users with 4G LTE connectivity right from the start, something that Medfield did not offer.

Redhookbay also made an appearance in AnTuTu, where it managed to score quite high at 31,612, with Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean loaded on it. For the time being, Redhookbay might be nothing more than a developer board, and not an actual phone, yet the benchmarking scores it has managed to obtain are still impressive. According to rumors, Intel might not plan the launch of its own smartphones powered by this processor, but it might partner with various handset vendors out there for the inclusion of its chip inside their devices. What remains to be seen is which markets Intel would target with the new processor. Some other reports, however, suggest that the company might have it packed inside entry-level smartphones for countries such as China, India and other emerging markets. Stay tuned to learn more on this.

Intel “Redhookbay” in AnTuTu benchmarks
Image credits to AnTuTu

Intel “Redhookbay” in NenaMark2 benchmarks
Image credits to Nenamark2

AMD A10-6800K, Top 28nm Richland APU

Just like NVIDIA's GeForce 700 series graphics cards and Intel's Haswell CPU collection, AMD's Richland line of upcoming accelerated processing units is turning heads whenever it makes a sound.

This time around we are getting acquainted with the mightiest Richland APU, called A10-6800K and set for mass production in late March 2013. The manufacturing ETA (estimated time of arrival) doesn't mean it will ship that soon though. In fact, AMD doesn't expect to officially launch the processor before June. That's no problem though. It will give the existing series of accelerated processing units a decent market lifetime. But we digress. The Richland A10-6800K is based on the 28nm manufacturing process technology, the same one used for AMD's Radeon GPUs and NVIDIA's own chips. There are four x86 cores, plus a Radeon HD 8000 series graphics processing unit, all packed inside a package compatible with FM2 socket motherboards. Obviously, the Turbo Core technology is supported, allowing the clock frequency of one or all cores to go higher than normal when applications demand it.

Unfortunately, despite the rest of the details being more or less known, the actual performance numbers haven't been disclosed, so we have to wait for another leak to expose the clock speeds and such. That said, samples of the Richland chip might have already been completed, although they might only be released in January. March, as we said, will only be the start of mass production, while June is when people will actually be allowed to buy it. By then, Windows 8 should have reached its full stride, so the PC market may finally see that sales rebound everyone has been hoping for. In addition to AMD’s A10-6800K, there will be three more quad-core units and a couple of dual-core processors. Their specs are just as unknown as those of the flagship product.

AMD A-Series
Image credits to AMD

Samsung Galaxy S IV is to Unify Samsung Galaxy S and Note Series

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics has been long rumored to plan the launch of a successor of its Galaxy S III smartphone next year, and some more info on the device has emerged.

Referred to as Galaxy S IV, the handset is now rumored to be launched with features that will allow it to fit both into Samsung’s Galaxy S series, and into the company’s Galaxy Note family of devices. Basically, the upcoming flagship smartphone is expected to unify the two lineups when launched in April next year. This is not the first time we hear that Samsung might put the phone on shelves in the second quarter of the next year, after having it finalized by March. However, it seems that we won’t be seeing the phone at CES 2013 in January, and that it remains to be seen whether Samsung will indeed unveil it at MWC in Barcelona in February, as previously rumored. Galaxy S IV will be unveiled with S Pen capabilities, as well as with the accompanying apps and functionality, just as the Note series devices were launched with. The move has been allegedly confirmed through an official comment from Samsung.

The upcoming device has also been rumored to sport a 5-inch 1080p AMOLED display, which makes sense given the above rumor. The phone is also said to sport a quad-core Exynos 5440 processor inside, supposedly manufactured using 28nm high-K metal gate technology. On the back, the phone will sport a 13-megapixel photo snapper with auto-focus, full HD video recording and high-end capabilities. Galaxy S IV is said to feature a 9.2mm body, yet nothing has been confirmed so far on its specs. Recent rumors suggested that Samsung might not launch the phone under the Galaxy S IV name, given that number four is considered bad luck in South Korea, and it remains to be seen whether the company will choose a hybrid name between the Galaxy S and the Galaxy Note series.

Samsung logo
Image credits to Samsung

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