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Apr 30, 2013

HTC 608t Receives Approvals in China

Taiwanese mobile phone maker HTC is gearing up for the launch of a new smartphone in Asia, and it may not be too long before it makes it official, it seems.

The smartphone, spotted online only a few weeks ago as HTC 608t, has already received the necessary approvals in China, where it is expected to land on shelves at wireless carrier China Mobile. Ameblo reports, The handset is expected to arrive on shelves running under Google’s Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean operating system, though it might also sport HTC’s custom UI loaded on top.

The phone is said to pack a quad-core processor inside (with 1GB of RAM attached to it), a 4.5-inch touchscreen display that can deliver a 540 x 960 pixel (qHD) resolution, and an 8-megepixel photo snapper on the back, paired with a front camera for video calling.

HTC 608t
Image credits to Tenaa via Ameblo

Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock for Macs

Belkin has kicked off sales of its new Thunderbolt Express Dock, a compact dock for Mac computers with Thunderbolt ports that offers seamless data transfers, support for HD displays, and instant access to desktop peripherals.

What makes Belkin’s Thunderbolt Express Dock special is that it lets you create high-speed transfers between your laptop and up to eight other devices (including FireWire, Ethernet, USB, and daisy-chain) via a single cable. “With Thunderbolt Express Dock, all your drives, networking, input and output devices connect to the 8 ports on the back,” says Belkin. “In short, eight cables become one cable.”

The design complements any Mac but, unfortunately, so does the price – $299.99 / €229.72. You can buy one now via Belkin’s online store, or through partnering retailers. Note that the Thunderbolt cable is not included, so you’ll need to provide your own.

Thunderbolt Express Dock
Image credits to Belkin

AMD A6-1450 APU Found in Acer Aspire Laptop

I have reported on the FX-4350 and FX-6350 CPUs, so now I may as well cover the latest APU that got leaked too.

The chip in question has been exposed by the Aspire V5-122P-0643 notebook, whose product page is found here. The processor is called Temash A6-1450 and has four cores (x86) as well as Radeon HD HD 8280 graphics clocked at 300 (idle) and 500 MHz (load). Speaking of frequencies, the four x86 cores themselves operate at 1 GHz, 1.4 GHz in Turbo Mode.

AMD’s NUMA (Non-Uniform memory access) architecture is featured here, along with 2 GB of DDR3 memory. Finally, the cache memory is of 2 MB and the TDP is of 4-6W. Quite low really. If nothing else, it's a good improvement per watt compared to Bobcat-based Brazos 2.0 processors.

AMD A-Series APU
Image credits to AMD

AMD FX-4350 and FX-6350 CPUs Released

Advanced Micro Devices may be talking mostly about graphics cards and accelerated processing units lately, but it still has a bunch of CPUs for sale.

In fact, the company has just launched a pair of new Vishera units, called FX-4350 and FX-6350. The former is a quad-core model with a base clock speed of 4.2 GHz and a Turbo frequency of 4.3 GHz. It also has 8 MB of cache memory (L3) and a TDP (thermal design power) of 125W. The price is of $122 / €93-122.

The other CPU is a six-core model with 3.9 GHz / 4.2 GHz clock frequencies, 8 MB cache memory and, again, 125W TDP. The price is just a bit higher, at $132 / €100-132. Since these are the base prices, I'm sure the final tags on retailer websites will be a bit higher.

AMD releases two new FX CPUs
Image credits to AMD

Zotac GeForce GTX Titan AMP! Edition

It's not the fabled GeForce Titan Ultra that NVIDIA is supposedly preparing, but the new card from Zotac definitely has an aura of power.

Called GeForce GTX TITAN AMP! Edition, it ships in a bundle with the Assassin's Creed game series. Just as AMD has Never Settle game sets, NVIDIA is including famous titles with its strongest cards. Obviously, the GK110 graphics processing unit is the central asset of the board, with its 2,688 CUDA cores and 384-bit memory interface. The board also has the obligatory 6 GB of GDDR5 VRAM, DisplayPort, HDMI and two DVI connectors.

Unfortunately, the clock speeds haven't been exposed yet, so they could be anywhere between 837 MHz and 928 MHz. We'll have to wait for Zotac's formal announcement before we actually learn everything there is to know.

GeForce GTX Titan
Image credits to Nvidia

Motorola XT1055 Emerges in AnTuTu Benchmarks with Android 4.2.2

A new mobile phone from Motorola has emerged online, most probably set to arrive on shelves in the not too distant future as part of the new X Phone lineup that has been long rumored to arrive starting with May this year.

No specific info on what the device might be all about has been officially provided as of now, but the smartphone has already been seen in the AnTuTu benchmarking application, with model number XT1055 attached, rbmen reports. Running under Google’s Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system, the new device is also said to pack a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor inside.

With a score of 18252, the Motorola XT1055 is supposedly being tested in the United States at the moment, though it remains to be seen whether the phone will indeed prove real or not, given that benchmarking results can be tweaked.

Motorola XT1055 in AnTuTu Bechmarks
Image credits to rbmen

Apr 29, 2013

Unannounced Samsung SHW-M550S Receives Bluetooth Approvals

A new Samsung device has been spotted over at the Bluetooth SIG, featuring model number SHW-M550S, but with no official info available on it as of now.

The device, however, has been found to arrive on shelves with support for W-CDMA / GSM frequencies, though it seems that no LTE capabilities will be included in it. The phone will also pack Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities when launched, and is expected to hit shelves at wireless carrier SK Telecom in South Korea.

Furthermore, a recent article on Ameblo notes that Samsung is also working on the development of a SHW-M550K model of the device, which should hit the market in the country at KT. The unannounced Samsung device has received the necessary approvals from Bluetooth SIG on April 28, yet specific info on when it might be officially launched hasn’t been unveiled as of now.

Samsung SHW-M550S at Bluetooth SIG
Image credits to Bluetooth SIG

Samsung Preparing Two 11-Inch Tablets for Later This Year, One Has 8 Cores

Samsung, being one of the largest business conglomerates on the IT industry, is, naturally, planning on releasing a new bunch of tablets as soon as it gets the chance, though it hasn't completely detailed those plans.

That doesn't mean they can't become known through different means though, and sure enough, they have been revealed. Not through an official press release or anything, but thanks to the folks at SamMobile website, who have received the plans for 2013 and have been gracious enough to share them with the world.  There are four Android tablets in the works, but we'll check them in pairs. You'll have to stay tuned for the 7-inch Galaxy tab DUOS 7.0 and 8-inch Galaxy Tab 8.0. Here, we will check out the Galaxy Tab 11 and Nexus 11, both of which measure 11 inches in diagonal. We'll look at the Galaxy tab 11 first. It is powered by a dual-Core Exynos 5250 processor, whose clock speed is of 1.7 GHz.

It also has 64 GB of NAND Flash storage space (micro SD card). Two cameras (8 megapixels back, 2 megapixels front). As for the screen, it is a Super PLS TFT with, most likely, 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution.  Then, there is the Nexus 11, which has many things in common with the Tab 11, enough that we would be tempted to think it is just a rebranded version. But there is one key difference: the CPU. Instead of the Dual-Core Exynos, the Nexus 11 runs on the Octa-Core Exynos 5410.

And by octa-core, we mean to say that demanding tasks activate the four A15 cores, but that the tablet runs on the much more power-efficient A7 cores when less heavyweight programs and apps are used. Google Nexus 11 will actually be the world's first octa-core tablet, which will earn it and Samsung quite a bit of esteem.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Image credits to Samsung

Huawei P6-U06 Aims World’s Thinnest Smartphone Title

It looks like Huawei plans to launch another high-end Android smartphone, the P6-U06. Obviously, this is just a codename, so we should expect a more commercial name for the devices closer to official launch.

According to GSMInsider, Huawei P6-U06 has been recently spotted in China at TENAA (Telecommunication Equipment Certification Center), which is a slight indication that the smartphone will be initially launched in the Mainland. The Chinese company has yet to make it official, but the latest rumors claim that Huawei P6-U06 will be the thinnest Android smartphone available on the market. The phone is said to be only 6.18mm thin and measures 132.6 x 65.5mm. It also weighs around 120g (battery included), which makes it lighter than Samsung’s flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4, which weighs 130g. Currently, the thinnest Android smartphone available on the market is the Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra, at only 6.45mm thickness.

Unfortunately, there are no details on the Huawei P6-U06’s release or pricing options yet, but rumor has it that the smartphone will be available in the coming weeks in black, white and pink. Specs-wise, the P6-U06 is a decent high-end smartphone and comes packed with a 1.5GHz quad-core processor manufactured by Huawei, complemented by 2GB of RAM. Furthermore, the device is said to sport a large 4.7-inch capacitive touchscreen display that supports HD (720 x 1280 pixels) resolution. On the back, it will boast an 8-megapixel photo snapper with autofocus, LED flash and video recording (1080p@30fps), while in the front, there’s a secondary 2-megapixel camera for video calls.

Last but not least, Huawei P6-U06 is said to ship with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean operating system out of the box. Still, the Chinese company may offer an Android 4.2 upgrade soon after launch. No word on the phone’s release date or on whether or not Huawei will make it available outside China, so stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Huawei P6-U06
Image credits to Tenaa

New Windows 8.1 Build 9385 Screenshot Leaked

Windows 8.1 build 9385 got leaked a few days ago, indicating that Microsoft is indeed making the final adjustments to the next Windows release due this summer.

A new screenshot that reached the web a few hours ago shows us that the tech giant is pondering the introduction of even more customization options, some of which might concern the Charms bar. As you can see in this photo, the Settings Charm available in Windows 8.1 build 9385 is red, which could mean that users might be allowed to change the color of this particular feature in the first Windows 8 upgrade.

No official details are available for the time being on Windows 8.1, but word is that Microsoft might actually debut the final build this summer, most likely in August or September. Furthermore, the public beta could be released in just a couple of months at the BUILD developer conference in San Francisco.

Windows 8.1 might include Charms bar customization options
Image credits to pcportal.org.ru

Nokia to Launch Windows 8 Tablet on May 14, Specs Leak

Nokia might be finally ready to unveil to the world the first tablet PC in its lineup, and rumor has it that May 14 could be the lucky day for enthusiasts.

Apparently, the Finnish mobile phone maker is planning the launch of this tablet PC at the May 14 press event already announced for London, at least this is what sources from India claim, a recent article on news.zol reads. The upcoming device is expected to hit shelves with a 10.1-inch display that can deliver a 1366 x 768 pixel resolution, and might run under either Windows 8 or Windows RT.

Furthermore, the tablet is said to sport a 1GHz processor inside (most probably multi-core), paired with 1GB of RAM, which should make it only a mid-level device. The tablet measures 256.6 x 175.3 x 9.7 mm and weighs 676 grams.

Nokia Windows 8 tablet rendering
Image credits to netbooknews.de

LG's New Galaxy S4 Rival, the Optimus GK

LG is about to announce its top-tier Optimus G Pro in the United States and it looks like the South Korean company won’t stop there.

The handset maker has just launched a new high-end Android handset in South Korea, which is supposed to compete with Samsung’s flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4. Dubbed LG Optimus GK, the devices will be available for purchase in South Korea beginning May via major carrier KT. No word on pricing options yet, or whether or not it will go on sale outside Asia anytime soon. The Optimus GK is a slightly smaller version of the Optimus G Pro, which is expected to be officially introduced in the United States on May 1. Unlike the Optimus G Pro that features a large 5.5-inch display, the newly announced LG Optimus GK sports a 5-inch full HD IPS capacitive touchscreen display that supports 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution and Zerogap Touch technology.

On the inside, the smartphone has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 chipset that accommodates a 1.7GHz quad-core processor, an Adreno 320 graphics processing unit and 2GB of RAM. That seems to be the same hardware configuration as the Optimus G Pro’s, so there’s nothing changed when it comes to power.  It is also worth mentioning that LG Optimus GK features full support for 3G HSPA+ and 4G LTE. The phone also boasts an impressive 13-megapixel rear-facing photo snapper with autofocus, LED flash and full HD (1080p) video recording. A secondary 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera is included as well, along with 16GB of internal memory and microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 64GB).

Unfortunately, the Optimus GK will ship with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean operating system out of the box, opposite to Galaxy S 4’s Android 4.2.2. Other highlights of the smartphone include: Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, NFC (Near Field Communication) and 3,100 mAh Li-Ion battery. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

LG Optimus GK
Image credits to LG

Apr 28, 2013

Velox, the Coolest Jailbreak Tweak Around

WWDC 2013 promises to yield a new iOS version with several UI upgrades, but none of us know what Tim Cook and Jony Ive have in store for us.

So we hope they’re cooking up something like Velox in their iOS labs for the next big upgrade. Coded by Apex Development, Velox is a neat jailbreak tweak that enhances every app on your home screen. Simply swipe down on your Messages app and you instantly get an option to compose a new text. Swipe down on your Phone app and you get a list of your latest calls. Sending a message is just a tap away.

A more interesting example is what happens with the Photos app after you install Velox. Swipe down and you can instantly Twitter, copy or email your latest photo. Social apps present their latest notifications, and so on. Check with the BigBoss repo on Cydia to find Velox for your iDevice.

Retweet: http://clicktotweet.com/F04a4
Name: Velox
Description: Notifications and enhanced folders, right on the Home screen.
Price: $1.99
Repo: BigBoss (coming soon)
Developer: Apex Development
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Video credits to myjailbreakmovies

Apr 27, 2013

AMD Richland APUs Appearing in Lenovo OEM Desktop PCs

AMD continues to hold back information on its Richland accelerated processing units, but that hasn't stopped all leaks from providing details.

On this particular occasion, Lenovo is the source, or rather its H535 and H535s computers. The A8-5500 and A10-5700 quad-core processors are listed, along with the A4-6300 and A6-6400K. Out of those, only that last one, with the K at the end, has an unlocked multiplier (is suited for overclocking, unlike the rest).

Which is surprising because, for all intents and purposes, the A8-5500 and A10-5700 are on a higher level.  On a related note, the specifications page mentions the AMD 240, a Trinity-based SKU for socket FM2. It has 2 cores, 1 MB L2 cache and a 65W TDP (no GPU speeds provided). It will probably sell in tray shipments only.

AMD A-Series Richland chips listed in PC specs
Image credits to AMD

Next Android Release to Arrive at Google I/O as 4.3 Jelly Bean

Mountain View-based Internet giant Google is reportedly getting ready for the launch of the next flavor of the Android operating system, and might unveil it as Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, the latest reports on the matter suggest.

Previously, the new OS flavor was said to arrive on devices as Key Lime Pie, but it seems that Google might actually release it only as an incremental update when compared to the currently available Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. No official confirmation on the matter has emerged so far, but the guys over at Android Police claim to have found evidence on the platform’s existence over on Google’s servers. An Android 4.3 JWR23B build has started to emerge in server logs, clearly showing that it is still Jelly Bean, though no specific info on what it might include has been provided as of now. The news site also notes that the build emerged from two different IP addresses, both connected to Google, which suggests that the company already has employees working with the new OS flavor.

The JWR23B build was also spotted mentioned in the official Chromium bug tracker, which can be seen as further confirmation on its existence. For the time being, the OS has been spotted online on Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 devices, though it will certainly be delivered to other smartphones and tablet PCs out there as well, should it prove real. Rumor has it that the new Android 4.3 Jelly Bean platform release might be officially introduced as soon as next month during the Google I/O conference, given that it has already assigned a version number to it. Given that some of the recent reports on Google’s plans for the Android OS suggested that the major platform release called Key Lime Pie might have been delayed, the possible launch of Android 4.3 next month sounds increasingly plausible.

For the time being, however, no official confirmation on the platform release has been provided, and we should wait for Google to make a formal announcement on the matter to learn more on what it will have to offer.

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean spotted in logs, could arrive at Google I/O
Image credits to Google

Intel Haswell Packaging Box Art

Intel has finally confirmed that the fourth-generation Core-Series central processing units, codenamed Haswell, will be launched in June, during Computex Taipei.

What it did not reveal, but VR-Zone discovered anyway, was the box art for the chips. The cardboard packages won't be any larger than those used for the other central processing units from the company. They'd probably be even smaller if they didn't need to accommodate the coolers. 

Anyway, the boxes have three sections at the front. The running theme is “creativity,” and Intel even asks buyers, “What will you make?” Oddly enough, no small case-badge art is present, though the top half might take its place. There's also a photo of a tablet for some reason, even though the box is for a Core i7 Haswell desktop chip.

Intel Haswell CPU box art
Image credits to VR-Zone

Root Your Samsung Galaxy S4

Starting today, users in various markets around the world can purchase Samsung’s latest Android-based flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S 4, as the device becomes available through both carriers and third-party retailers.

In the US, for example, the smartphone landed at AT&T, Sprint, and US Cellular, and should be released on shelves at T-Mobile, Verizon, and others soon. For those users who would like to root their devices from day one, a solution is already available, as long as they purchase the Qualcomm-based flavor. A root exploit has been found for the smartphone, none other than the Motochopper root that emerged recently for Motorola devices. According to a thread on the XDA-Developers forum, the tool should work for AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile-branded models, but it might also be compatible with the Snapdragon Galaxy S 4 devices sold in other countries, including the UK.

Users interested in rooting their devices should head over to the aforementioned forum thread to download the necessary files for that, though they should keep in mind that they will be the only ones held responsible in the event that something happens with the device. Samsung has yet to make official stock images for the Galaxy S 4, which makes it nearly impossible to repair the handset in the event it is bricked. No custom recoveries are available for it either, though they might emerge soon. Those who would like to continue will have to follow some simple steps for that, starting with downloading the aforementioned files.

The process also includes the following:

  • Extract the entire contents of the zip file.
  • If you are using Windows, ensure you have installed the latest Samsung USB drivers available for your phone.
  • Ensure USB Debugging mode is enabled on your device.
  • Connect your device to your PC via USB.
  • If you are using Windows, navigate to the extracted directory and execute “run.bat.” If you are using Linux or OS X, navigate to the extracted directory in a terminal and execute “./run.sh.”
  • Approve the ADB connection from your PC on your device.
Samsung Galaxy S4
Image credits to Samsung

Microsoft Coastal German Theme for Windows, Free Download

As we're sure you’ve noticed by now, Microsoft launches new Windows themes on quite a regular basis, trying to provide its users with as many customization options as possible.

Today, it's Coastal German theme's turn, a free Windows theme that packs 8 different wallpapers showing beautiful landscapes from Germany. “This free theme for Windows brings Prerow Lake, Warnow River, the Baltic Sea, and other treasures of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany, to your desktop with images from photographer Frank Hojenski,” the theme description reads.

Just like the other themes, this new one works on both Windows 8 and Windows 7, but it's also important to note that Windows RT users can download and install it too. Basically, the included .themepack file takes care of everything, as it automatically deploys all files on every Windows device.

The theme supports Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows RT
Image credits to Microsoft

Apr 26, 2013

Oppo R809T Official with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

Chinese mobile phone maker Oppo has made official a new smartphone running under Google’s Android, one that was previously rumored to arrive on shelves as the slimmest handset out there, namely the Oppo R809T.

As it turns out, the device will pack a thin body, but not as thin as initially expected. It will measure 6.45 mm, while initial reports suggested that it might be only 6.13 mm thick (even so, it can still be seen as one of the slimmest Android smartphones out there). However, the device will still have appealing features and capabilities to offer to those who purchase it, starting with its large 4.7-inch touchscreen display, which can deliver a 720p resolution. The specs list of the smartphone also includes a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, which UnwiredView suggests might be a MediaTek MT6589 chipset, along with 1GB of RAM.

Furthermore, Oppo made the new mobile phone official with an 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back, which should provide users with a great imaging experience while on the go, as well as with a 2MP front camera, so that they could make video calls while on the go. The new Oppo R809T should also include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, along with built-in GPS receiver, and the usual set of sensors. Apparently, Oppo announced the device with Google’s Android operating system loaded on top, though it did not offer specific info on when the smartphone will become available for purchase.

The mobile phone is expected to land on shelves with a price tag of 2,500 Yuan ($403) attached to it, which should make it quite appealing, that’s for sure, though it remains to be seen whether it will manage to hit record sales as Xiaomi’s latest handsets did. Hopefully, Oppo will announce more on R809T in the not too distant future, so stay tuned for additional details on the matter.

Oppo R809T
Image credits to Weibo

Xiaomi Mi2A, 100,000 Units Sold in Just 48 Seconds

Chinese mobile phone maker Xiaomi has started selling a new Android-based smartphone today, namely the Xiaomi Mi2A, and claims to have already registered an impressive success with it.

The handset vendor says that it has sold no less than 100,000 Mi2A units in the first 48 seconds of availability, and that stock has already been depleted, GizChina reports. Xiaomi Mi2A was made official a few weeks back as an entry-level device, with a 4.5-inch touchscreen display on the front and a dual-core Snapdragon 600 CPU packed inside.

The smartphone also packs an 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back, NFC capabilities, and the MIUI V5 interface loaded on top of Android. The handset features a price tag of 1,499 Yuan ($242 / 187 Euro).  Several days ago, Xiaomi registered similar success with the Mi2S smartphone, which sold out in less than a minute as well.

Xiaomi Mi2A
Image credits to Xiaomi

Apr 25, 2013

CyanogenMod to Bring New Camera Enhancements to Supported Devices

Owners of Android devices with CyanogenMod ROMs installed on them might soon be able to take advantage of some new camera enhancements, it seems.

The camera app in CyanogenMod builds is said to be getting some new features soon, including voice activated and time delayed photo capture, some of the latest reports on the matter suggest. The team has already showcased the new features, confirming that they are still under development. Users can have a look at what these features are all about in the video embedded above.

Apparently, the voice activated photo capture feature works only for a single photo at the moment, something that will be changed soon, while the timer mode enables users to select for a shot to be taken with a delay of up to 1 minute.

CM Voice Shutter
Video credits to Ricardo Cerqueira

Ubuntu Tweak 0.8.4 Released to Support Ubuntu 13.04

Tualatrix Chou, the developer behind the Ubuntu Tweak application, a very useful utility for all users of the Ubuntu Linux operating system, announced today, April 25, that a new version is available for download, supporting the brand-new Ubuntu 13.04 (Raring Ringtail) operating system.

Beside the support for Ubuntu 13.04, Ubuntu Tweak 0.8.4 also fixes a few annoying bugs, such an unexpected issue that appears when installing apps through Ubuntu Tweak,  correctly upgrade the path of scripts on Ubuntu 13.04. Ubuntu Tweak 0.8.4 also fixes rare crashes that appear while updating the software list, the Janitor only shows “System” issue, and the window button tweak error in Ubuntu 13.04.

“You may encountered unexpected issues while installing apps through Ubuntu Tweak: download fails, network is down, then Ubuntu Tweak will popup an error dialog to tell the truth.” “In the old versions, Ubuntu Tweak will hang after you click the “Close” button, and you have to force close it and launch again. In 0.8.4, this bug is finally fixed! Now enjoy with installing third party apps without any pain,” said Tualatrix Chou in the official release announcement.

Ubuntu Tweak 0.8
Image credits to launchpad.net

Ubuntu 13.10 a.k.a. Saucy Salamander

A few hours after the official release of Ubuntu 13.04 (Raring Ringtail), Mark Shuttleworth, father of the popular Ubuntu operating system, proudly announced the name and the goals for the next version of Ubuntu OS.

Yes, we are talking about Ubuntu 13.10, dubbed Saucy Salamander and scheduled for release sometime this year on October. Looks like Ubuntu Touch is the main target of Ubuntu 13.10, which will enhance the mobile UI with new applications, a new SDK, and a gorgeous clean interface. "It’s a way of saying ‘thank you’ to the tremendous community that has joined the effort to create a single unified experience from phone to PC, with tons of crisp and stylish core apps made by people from all over the world who want to build something fast, fresh and free."

"And we’re saucy too – life’s to short to be stodgy or stilted. Our work is our play – we make amazing things for a huge audience, we find space for pretty much every flavour of interface and do it with style." said Mark Shuttleworth in the blog announcement. What’s a Salamander? It looks like it’s an amphibian within the order Caudata. More details can be found on the Wikipedia page.

Image credits to wikimedia.org

Three New Nokia Lumia Handsets Emerge Online

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is getting ready for the launch of a new series of smartphones running under Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system, with at least three new models expected to be unveiled soon, it seems.

All three have been spotted online recently, and have already been mentioned in a tweet coming from Alan Mendelevich, founder of AdDuplex. The three sport model numbers RM-941, RM-943 and RM-910, though specific info on the wireless carriers that might bring them to shelves hasn’t been provided as of now.

Nothing has been officially confirmed on any of the three yet, but it seems that they might not be launched as high-end devices, since they sport only WVGA and WXGA screen resolutions. In fact, RM-943 is said to have emerged only once in AdDuplex’ logs, and to have been powered by Windows Phone 7 when it did.

Nokia logo
Image credits to Nokia

Intel's Latest USB Driver for Android

Intel's Android USB Driver is now ready for download. This release will make your Android, Intel Atom based smartphone recognizable by your Windows running system.

This version is suited for Windows Vista, 7 and 8 on 32- or 64 bit architecture and Windows XP's 32-bit version. Bear in mind that USB Driver package version 1.1.5 is designed for Android App developer usage and has added support of Microsoft Windows 8. The USB profiles supported are ADB (Android Debug Bridge), MTP (Media Transfer Protocol), PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol), RNDIS and CDC Serial (Modem AT Proxy). As always, one might run into some issues with the installation, especially the one where the device is not recognized as “Android device.” Intel has provided a basic troubleshooter to help those that missed a step in the installation.

In the Device Manager window you may see “USB Mass Storage” instead of “ADB Device.” If that happens, right click it and select uninstall. Unplug your device and install the driver again. Do the same if you see the “Android Device” with yellow warning icon. Make sure the device you are attempting to connect has USB debugging enabled. Below is the link to the driver. Download, install and stay “updated one minute ago.”

USB Driver package version 1.1.5 is designed for Android App developer usage
Image credits to Intel

Apr 24, 2013

Lenovo IdeaPhone K900 Arrives in China on May 6

Lenovo’s flagship smartphone, the K900 has been recently confirmed to arrive in China on May 6. Also known as “king of the benchmarks,” due to the fact that it topped Samsung’s Galaxy S 4, Lenovo K900 is likely to be the most powerful Android smartphone in China.

According to GSMInsider, the smartphone will ship with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system out of the box and a powerful 2GHz quad-core Intel Clover Trail processor. Furthermore, the K900 embeds 2GB of RAM and sports a stunning 5.5-inch full HD capacitive touchscreen display that supports 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution.

On the back, Lenovo IdeaPhone K900 boasts an impressive 13-megapixel rear photo snapper, which features Sony Exmor RS lens, autofocus, LED flash and full HD (1080p) video recording. Unfortunately, there’s no telling whether or not Lenovo will release the K900 outside China. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Kobe Bryant ad for Lenovo IdeaPhone K600
Image credits to GSMInsider

Microsoft Confirms: Next Generation Xbox 720 Will Be Revealed on May 21

After lots and lots of rumors from all around the world, Microsoft has officially confirmed that it's going to reveal the next Xbox (aka the Xbox 720 or Durango) on May 21, through an invitation to a special event in Redmond, Washington.

The next generation Xbox console, oft-rumored under the Xbox 720 or Durango names, has received a lot of reported details in the past few months, especially since Sony already presented its own PlayStation 4.  Now, after hearing some rumors about a possible May 21 reveal, Microsoft has decided to make things official and has begun sending out invitations to media websites from all around the world. In the invitation, which you can check out above and below, the company mentions a "new generation Xbox."

The event will take place on May 21 at 10am in Microsoft's Redmond, Washington campus, according to Kotaku. Microsoft's Xbox community manager, Larry Hryb, also wrote on his blog saying that the company will also present other games and details at E3 2013 in June. Expect to hear some more details as we get closer to that date.

The invitation to the new generation Xbox reveal event
Image credits to Kotaku

Nokia HERE Transit 3.5.1045 Arrives on Lumia Devices

An updated flavor of the HERE Transit application is now available for download for the owners of Nokia Lumia devices, namely version 3.5.1045, with various enhancements packed inside.

The new app release brings a series of bug fixes, while also being capable of enabling users to easily switch from HERE Maps to HERE Transit within the Journey Planner. HERE Transit also offers support for favorites in HERE Maps and Drive, and shows nearby stations and stops on a map.

“HERE Transit is available in over 670 cities and 50 countries around the world so there is no need to download separate apps for each city. Check if your city is covered here: www.nokia.com/transport-coverage,” Nokia also notes. HERE Transit for Lumia devices can be found in the Windows Phone Store via this link (though downloadable only directly on handsets).

HERE Transit
Image credits to Windows Phone Store

MSI Radeon HD 7990 R7990-6GD5 Graphics Card

I'm sure I'll have practically flooded this section with tidbits about new Radeon HD 7990 graphics cards by tonight.

Still, as tedious as it is to report on the arrival of each new video card box, I may as well get it over it, especially since it's not all that often that a high-profile product like this appears. Much like Club 3D, ASUS and Origin PC have done, Micro-Star International has revealed its own-brand Radeon HD 7990.

Bearing the part number of R7990-6GD5, it has all the features I have described, and, of course, ships with download codes for eight games. Later this year, when and if AMD allows its partners to modify the PCB and cooling, we may see an actually unique MSI iteration of the adapter. Until then, logo stickers will have to do.

MSI Radeon HD 7990
Image credits to MSI

ASUS Radeon HD 7990 6GB

It would have been quite odd if ASUS skipped releasing a Malta graphics card, but fortunately we have been spared the awkwardness of the absence of such an announcement.

Much like Club 3D and Origin PC, the company took the AMD Radeon HD 7990, slapped its logo stickers on the fans and shoved it into a box bearing its various logos and trademarks. That is the full extent of the modifications really, as AMD has not allowed any OEMs to modify the PCB, cooler or anything else about the new dual-GPU video board.

We should also note that, like all other Malta boards, the product ships with the full 8-game package: Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix), Hitman: Absolution (IO Interactive/Square Enix), Sleeping Dogs (Square Enix), Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Eidos/Square Enix), Crysis 3 (Crytek/EA), Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft), Far Cry: Blood Dragon (Ubisoft), BioShock Infinite (Irrational Games/2K).

ASUS Radeon HD 7990
Image credits to ASUS

Apr 23, 2013

BlackBerry Z10 OS 10.1 Manuals Emerge Online

Canadian mobile phone maker BlackBerry is expected to release a new flavor of its BlackBerry 10 platform in the not too distant future, and is already making the necessary preparations for that.

The vendor has already published online manuals for the new platform version, one that would arrive on devices as BlackBerry OS 10.1. Said documents should provide BlackBerry Z10 users with the possibility to learn more on how to get the most out of their devices, while also offering specific details on how to operate OS 10.1-powered smartphones.

For the time being, however, no specific details on when the BlackBerry 10.1 OS flavor will arrive on devices has been provided, but n4bb notes that Z10 owners should start receiving it as soon as Q10 hits shelves. In the meantime, you can go find the aforementioned BlackBerry 10.1 manuals here and here.

BlackBerry 10
Image credits to RIM

Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie Might Delayed

Some of the latest reports on Google’s plans for the Android operating system suggested that the company was set to make a new version of the platform official as soon as next month, but it seems that things might have changed.

Supposedly called Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, the next Android variant was expected to be officially announced in mid-May, while set to arrive on shelves sometime in the second half of the year. However, a new rumor on the matter suggests that Google might have delayed the new OS flavor by 2 to 4 months, so as to ensure that manufacturers have enough time at their disposal to deliver Android 4.2.2 updates to their users. Additionally, it seems that Google and Motorola might no longer bring a new smartphone to the spotlight at the conference in May. However, a 32GB flavor of Nexus 4 is expected to be unveiled at Google I/O, with 4G LTE connectivity packed inside (a slightly different outer design is also rumored for this device).

As for the capabilities that Google should pack inside the upcoming platform release, users should expect at least improved performance capabilities, if not new features to deliver an upgraded user experience. Furthermore, the mobile operating system is rumored to receive enhancements such as a Night Mode, along with a Game Mode, keyboard enhancements, an improved voice assistant, as well as better backup capabilities. Additionally, the upcoming platform release is said to arrive on devices with a new application to enable users to make video calls while on the go. For the time being, however, no official confirmation on Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie has been provided, or on when it might be launched on devices. However, it should not be too long before such details start to emerge, so keep an eye on this space for updates.

Android logo
Image credits to Google

Firefox OS Handsets Sold Out Fast, New Stock Coming Soon

Today, the first smartphones to run under Mozilla’s Firefox OS went up for purchase, and both of them sold out fast.

Apparently, Geeksphone, the company behind these devices, was actually expecting this, and even confirmed that it has been able to fulfill orders at a pace of 5,000 per day. Now that both Keon and Peak are listed on the company’s website as out of stock, Geeksphone is looking into making more units available for purchase soon, so that more developers could enjoy the benefits of these devices.

According to TechCrunch, the vendor was aiming at making more devices available for purchase before the end of the week, so as to meet the impressive demand that both handsets have seen so far. Geeksphone’s Keon and Peak were made available as Developer Preview phones, aimed mainly at enabling devs to build applications for the Firefox OS.

Firefox OS-based Keon and Peak
Image credits to TechCrunch

The First Firefox OS Smartphones Are Now Available for Purchase

Starting today, developers interested in building applications for Mozilla’s Firefox OS can head over to Geeksphone’s website to purchase one of the two smartphones that they made available with the platform loaded on top.

We’re referring here to Keon and Peak, both of which were made official in early 2013, and the Firefox OS Developer Preview devices, listed on this page. At the moment, Keon, which features a price tag of $119 (€91 plus taxes, shipping, and handling), is listed as out of stock, while the Peak, priced at $194 (€149 plus taxes, shipping and handling), is still available for purchase. “The first Firefox OS Developer Preview devices are finally here! Don't miss the chance and purchase yours before they run out. Oh! And we ship worldwide, too,” Geeksphone notes on its website. Keon, the cheaper of the two smartphones, packs a 1GHz Snapdragon processor inside, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of internal memory. The handset also packs a 3.5-inch HVGA touchscreen display, as well as a 3-megapixel photo snapper on the back.

Peak, on the other hand, was launched with a 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor inside, as well as with a 4.3-inch touchscreen display that can deliver a qHD resolution, and with two cameras, an 8-megapixel one on the back, and a 2MP front snapper. “With early access to hardware, developers can test the capabilities of Firefox OS in a real environment with a mobile network and true hardware characteristics like the accelerometer and camera that are not easily tested on the Firefox OS Simulator,” Mozilla notes in a blog post. The company also notes that, since both handsets are being sold directly through Geeksphone, all support will be provided by the manufacturer. Specific info on the Firefox OS and the building of apps for it will be available, of course, through Mozilla’s Developer Network.

“Developers have already built and published awesome mobile web apps that you can check out today on the Developer Preview phone. We expect that these developer devices will inspire and enable even more,” the company also notes.

Keon and Peak, the first Firefox OS devices to arrive on shelves
Image credits to Geeksphone

Complete List of Intel Haswell 4th-Gen CPU Family Specifications and Prices

During the past few months, there have been plenty of rumors and leaks about Intel's next generation of desktop and laptop central processing units.

The information was sporadic though. Not exactly tallied into a nice table that everyone could use as a reference. Fortunately, the folks at VR-Zone Chinese have something of the sort, made of new and old information. The table above holds the specifications of the desktop Haswell CPUs, as well as their retail box prices. Not the low TDPs, compared to current and previous-generation processors (64W and 84W).

Intel will, of course, ship them in 1,000-unit tray quantities as well, to OEMs (makers of custom PCs), but the DIY market will, of course, get its own supply. The prices are those in the US, excluding taxes, which means the final retail tags will be a bit higher.

Intel Haswell CPU specification and price list
Image credits to Chinese VR-Zone

First 8-Inch Windows 8 Tablet Spotted as More Surface Mini Rumors Emerge

Microsoft is reportedly working on a smaller version of its Surface tablet that would run the full version of Windows 8 and featuring a 7- or 8-inch screen.

While the company has indeed confirmed that it was planning to expand the Surface product range, it has also revealed that it was working with partners to bring smaller Windows 8 tablets on the market, but no other specifics have been provided. Engadget has published a picture of what seems to be the Acer Iconia W3, a new Windows 8 tablet that’s running Windows 8 on an 8-inch screen with the help of an Intel Atom Z2760 processor and 2GB of RAM. While nobody can tell for sure if this is indeed Acer’s new, smaller tablet, it’s also a sign that Microsoft might indeed be planning a Surface Mini of similar dimensions. Rumor has it that Microsoft’s upcoming tablet might be equipped with an 8-inch screen, but the company may only release it later this year, most likely after the debut of Windows 8.1.

Such a decision would pretty much make sense, especially because the company is believed to install the future Windows release on its smaller units too, as Windows 8.1 will pack several enhancements aimed at tablet devices. The software giant Microsoft has recently lowered screen resolution requirements for Windows 8, making it possible for the new version of the OS to run on devices with 7- and 8-inch screens as well. As for the Surface Mini, sources familiar with the matter have indicated that Microsoft was pondering a later 2013 release date, as the project is already under development right now. Windows 8.1 is very likely to power the new tablet, as it might feature a new 50-50 Snap View mode specifically designed for smaller units.

Price-wise, Microsoft could make its new device a bit more competitive, as the main purpose is to compete against the likes of iPad mini and Nexus 7. A price tag of $249 (€190) is very likely, a previous report claimed.

Acer Iconia W3 features an 8-inch screen and runs Windows 8
Image credits to MiniMachines.net via Endgadget

AMD G-Series Embedded SoC

For all intents and purposes, the first steps of the Jaguar micro-architecture from Advanced Micro Devices came in the form of the hardware used in the Sony PlayStation 4 game console.

The Jaguar is being used in other things as well though, in this case embedded system-on-chip devices bearing the brand G-Series. AMD Figured that smart TVs, set-top boxes, interactive digital signage and informational kiosks could all do with an upgrade. The new series of chips has shared L2 cache, enterprise-class ECC (error correction code), fast memory support, parallel processing (via GPU), high performance per watt. For example, the GPU alone can deliver 150 GFLOPS more than the x86 cores. Add to that OpenCL (enables CPU and GPU parallel processing) and application development becomes quite convenient in industrial control and automation, communications and other processor-heavy applications. "We have built a treasure trove of industry-leading IP in processors, graphics and multimedia along with the infrastructure to combine these building blocks into unsurpassed embedded SOC solutions," said Arun Iyengar, vice president and general manager, AMD Embedded Solutions.

"With a 33 percent smaller footprint, low power consumption and exceptional performance, the new AMD Embedded G-Series SOC sets the bar for content-rich multimedia and traditional workload processing that is ideal for a broad variety of embedded applications." There are five G-Series models, right now, with two or four cores and TDPs of 15W or 25W. Pricing ranges from $49-$72, or €37.57-49 to €55.20-72.

This is the full list:

  • GX-420CA SOC with AMD Radeon HD 8400E Graphics, Quad-core, 25 W TDP, CPU freq. 2.0 GHz, GPU freq. 600 MHz;
  • GX-415GA SOC with AMD Radeon HD 8330E Graphics, Quad-core, 15 W TDP, CPU freq. 1.50 GHz, GPU freq. 500 MHz
  • GX-217GA SOC with AMD Radeon HD 8280E Graphics, Dual-core, 15 W TDP, CPU freq. 1.65 GHz, GPU freq. 450 MHz
  • GX-210HA SOC with AMD Radeon HD 8210E Graphics, Dual-core, 9 W TDP, CPU freq. 1.0 GHz, GPU freq. 300 MHz
  • GX-416RA SOC, Quad-Core, 15 W, CPU Freq. 1.6 GHz, No GPU
AMD logo
Image credits to AMD

Apr 22, 2013

Nokia Locks Public Access to Navifirm

Nokia announced several months ago that it would restrict access to its firmware repository beginning early January. For whatever reasons, that did not happened until recently.

According to WMPoweruser, public access to Nokia Firmware Repository, also known as Navifirm, is now longer available. “Nokia will close the connection to the Nokia Firmware Repository during the month of January 2013 and will integrate access control.Then, to access the Nokia Firmware Repository will need to login at Nokia Online During the transition phase (December 2012-January 2013) and the open channel, both the subject with the restriction will be open, but the open channel will be closed at the end of January 2013.”

This means that Nokia users will no longer be able to download firmware updates uploaded on Navifirm before they are pushed live to their handsets.

Navifirm error
Image credits to Blinkthinks

Nokia Conference Beta Arrives on Lumia Smartphones

Today, Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia announced a new mobile application for its Windows Phone-based Lumia handsets, namely Nokia Conference.

Just as its name suggests, the application was designed to provide users with the possibility to make conference calls while on the go, all in a simple, user-friendly manner. The software was released through the Nokia Beta Labs, and arrives on devices with a beta tag attached to it, mainly for testing purposes, it seems.  “No more switching to the calendar app, remembering the ID/PIN codes, getting the right access number, and keying it all in,” a post on Nokia Beta Labs explains. “Instead just hit one button or even join via voice command (Windows Phone 8 only). It's very handy for anyone that makes frequent conference calls, as so many of us do.”

Users interested in joining a conference can do so easily via voice commands. All they need to do is to hold down the Windows key and then speak the “conference join” command. “We'll automatically figure out which meeting is going on currently or about to start, say it back to you for confirmation, and connect you. If your company uses Lync, we'll launch the Lync app to connect you. Windows Phone 7 users get the rest of the features, just no voice joining,” Nokia explains. Furthermore, the team of developers behind the application notes that there might still be a series of issues with the app, and that users should provide feedback on their experience with the software, so that enhancements could be made.

“If you find any meeting where Nokia Conference doesn't parse the ID / PIN info correctly, or have trouble getting a company's conference system(s) to work, please let us know,” the company continues. “Open the meeting in the app and pick ‘send feedback’ off the menu to easily email us the meeting details. For an app like this, we need your help to make sure it covers the variety of conference systems out there,” said blog post explains. Additional info on how the new Nokia Conference application works can be found on this page on the Nokia Beta Labs website.

Nokia Conference
Image credits to Nokia Beta Labs

Download Now, Microsoft New Landscape Theme for Windows (Free)

Microsoft has recently launched a new theme called New Zealand Landscapes: West Coast that’s aimed at Windows users looking to customize their desktop backgrounds with high-resolution wallpapers.

The theme packs a total of 17 photos, all of which are taken by photographer Ian Rushton, the artist who also provided HD backgrounds for a number of other Windows themes. New Zealand Landscapes: West Coast is compatible with the latest Windows versions released on the market, including Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows RT, with all wallpapers being packed in a single .themepack file that automatically deploys the content on your computer.

“Moss-covered rocks, windswept dunes, flowing waves, sand shimmering in the evening’s last light: This free Windows theme brings photographer Ian Rushton’s vision of New Zealand’s West Coast beaches to your desktop,” Microsoft wrote in the official description of the theme.

The theme comes with support for both Windows 8 and Windows RT
Image credits to Microsoft

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