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Jun 30, 2013

Xiaomi Preparing 7-Inch Tablet

Chinese mobile phone maker Xiaomi is reportedly getting ready for making a debut in the tablet market, and is already testing a device for that.

The slate is said to sport a 7-inch touchscreen display, and might make an official appearance on August 16, alongside other new devices from Xiaomi. The first prototypes of the yet unannounced slate are currently undergoing testing at Foxconn, it seems, which raises questions regarding the emergence of a final flavor on the aforementioned date.

According to GizChina, the upcoming device should run a version of MIUI, and might be priced at only 999 Yuan (around $162 / €125). August 16 might also bring to the spotlight a new flagship smartphone from the handset vendor, none other than the long-rumored Xiaomi Mi3, along with other new products, such as a Smart TV.

Xiaomi Mi Pad slate
Image credits to GizChina

Android 4.3 Comes with Always-On Wi-Fi, Updated Roboto Typeface

Android 4.3, the next flavor of Google’s mobile operating system, hasn’t been officially unveiled as of now, but more and more info on what it is bound to bring along is now available, courtesy of a leaked build that emerged earlier this week for the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone.

Among the changes included in the upcoming OS release, still part of the Jelly Bean branch, the guys over at Android Police discovered new Wi-Fi power settings. The most important change there would be the fact that applications will be allowed to search for a WiFi connection even if WiFi was turned off. "To improve location accuracy and for other purposes, Google and other apps may scan for nearby networks, even when Wi-Fi is off. If you don't want this to happen, go to Advanced > Scanning always available," code string in Android 4.3 reads. As can be seen, users will be provided with the option to completely turn off WiFi, should they not agree with this kind of behavior from apps on their devices.

Additionally, the leaked Android 4.3 build that said news site took for a spin also showed an updated Roboto typeface. Apparently, the Roboto files in the ROM were much bigger than those in Android 4.2.2, up 30 percent, which is easily explained by the presence of no less than 15 extra glyphs in it. But this is not all, as Roboto also got a facelift in Android 4.3, with a wide range of changes included into it, making the typeface more refined, balanced, and dynamic than before, Android Police unveils. Apparently, both Roboto Regular and Roboto Thin were modified in the new operating system flavor, accompanied by punctuation marks as well, it seems. After bring launched in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Roboto appears set to become smoother and more balanced in the new platform release, and might see more changes in future OS flavors.

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean packs a redesigned Roboto typeface
Image credits to Google

Sony Xperia i1 Honami Spotted in Leaked Official Press Shots

Sony Xperia i1 Honami, the long rumored flagship smartphone from the Japanese handset vendor Sony, has made another appearance online, this time in a set of leaked press photos, it seems.

The photos, spotted over at the XDA-Developers, show the device with an aluminum frame wrapped around its body, as well as with a dedicated camera button, something that was spotted in previously leaked shots with the device as well. Furthermore, the mobile phone is said to pack a 20-megapixel photo snapper on the back, capable of recording 4k videos, something that no other handset available on the market at the moment can. For the time being, however, there’s no telling on whether the leaked shots are indeed real, so we’ll take them with a grain of salt until an official announcement is made on the matter. Apparently, said leaked photos show the International flavor of the device, though there is also a Japanese flavor of Sony Honami set to arrive on shelves, with one photo allegedly confirming that as well.

Expected to arrive on shelves as Xperia i1, the smartphone is said to include a 5-inch full HD touchscreen display, along with a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor inside, and 2GB of RAM. As Techkiddy notes, the upcoming handset might be launched in 16GB and 32GB flavors, with a microSD memory card slot also included, for storage expansion. The specifications list of the new device is also said to include dust, water and shock resistance, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and LTE support, a metal and glass body, and a 3000mAh battery. Sony’s Xperia i1 might hit shelves running under Google’s Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system loaded, as well as with the mobile phone maker’s own user interface loaded on top.

Rumor has it that Sony will officially announce the smartphone on July 4, during a press event announced for France, so stay tuned to learn more on the matter.

Sony Xperia i1 Honami
Images credits to XDA-Developers via techkiddy

Jun 27, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Note III to Sport an LCD Screen in Some Markets

Samsung Galaxy Note III, the long rumored large smartphone that South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung will make official in its popular Galaxy Note series later this summer, is now rumored to arrive on shelves in some markets with an IPS LCD screen. 

According to a recent article on ETNews, Samsung is working on the release of two different flavors of the device, one with an AMOLED screen, and the other packing LCD, due to the high demand in OLED panels, which could lead to shortages. The news site also notes that Samsung might plan on purchasing the LCD screens from Japanese companies such as Sharp, yet nothing has been confirmed.

As SammyHub notes, the Galaxy Note III might be launched with a 5.7-inch display and a Snapdragon 800 processor packed inside. It might also include LTE-Advanced capabilities.

Samsung logo
Image credits to Samsung

Source Code Available for HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition

Soon after the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One arrived in the Google Play Store with the stock Android platform loaded on top, the source code for them was also made available for download.

However, although some might have expected for the kernel to arrive via Google, the code was actually published on the developer websites of HTC and Samsung, respectively. This clearly shows that the new devices, which are set to provide their users with a “Nexus experience,” are not seen as Nexus handsets on their own, despite the pure Android platform they run under.

Furthermore, it seems that updates for both of them will arrive from their manufacturers, rather than from Google themselves, which further distinguishes them from the popular series of Google-branded devices.  Those interested in having a closer look at the software for the two should head over to the Samsung Open Source Release Center (and search for GT-I9505G there), or to the HTCDev website.

Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Edition
Image credits to Pocketnow

Android 4.3 Camera App Now Available for Download

One of the features that the newly launched Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Edition smartphones arrived on shelves with was a new interface for the camera application, and it seems that more users can now take advantage of it.

The application was previously spotted on a Nexus 4 with Android 4.3 packed inside, and might be released to the world as part of that platform version, yet those who would like to grab it before that can already do so, unofficially. The software’s .APK file was made available for download through various sharing sites and, while it appears mostly safe to install, it might cause some issues on certain devices.

According to Pocketnow, for example, it will replace the current camera app on Nexus handsets, while being installed alongside the existing one on other smartphones. Fonearena notes that there are a series of improvements made to photosphere and film strip view, and that only Android 4.0 and newer devices can install the app.

Android 4.3 camera app
Image credits to Pocketnow

New Camera App Included in Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Edition

The newly released Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Edition smartphones will provide users with more than just the stock Android experience, despite featuring no custom software on top of the Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean platform version.

Apparently, both these devices sport a new Camera app interface, different from what Android 4.2.2-based Nexus phones can offer at the moment, but similar to what a previously leaked Android 4.3 video had to show. The new flavors of the Galaxy S4 and HTC One will offer five options to users when pressing and holding the screen in the camera app, displayed in a new curved line, a recent article on AnandTech explains. Also, the volume buttons can be used as shutter triggers, it seems. Through these settings, users will receive fast access to HDR mode, exposure adjustments, flash mode, and front and rear camera switching, and a More Options feature. Hitting “More Options” will offer access to a new menu, with features disposed in a semicircle as well, offering the possibility to opt in or out of location data for their photos, to adjust the image size and color temperature, select scene mode, and activate the countdown timer.

The camera app will provide mostly the same functionality as it did before, but the interface has been updated, most probably hinting at what’s set to arrive on other stock Android devices as well. Apparently, some other changes have been included in the two devices as well, such as a new Sun Beam live wallpaper, a modified flavor of the Phase Beam live wallpaper that has been available inside Android for a while now.  At the same time, the two handsets sport the new Google Keep note-taking service pre-loaded right from the start, and also come with modified boot animations. Users interested in grabbing the Galaxy S4 or the HTC One with stock Android loaded on top can find them available in the Google Play Store today, though only in select markets.

Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Edition
Image credits to The Verge

Motorola to Launch Droid RAZR Ultra, RAZR M Ultra on Verizon

Mobile phone maker Motorola might soon make official some new devices in its Android series, such as the Droid RAZR Ultra and RAZR M Ultra, rumored to become available for purchase in the United States on the network of Verizon Wireless.

The two companies have launched some successful phones in the DROID lineup, including last year’s RAZR handsets, and it would not come as a surprise if new products were added to the series, that’s for sure.  Provided that the info that emerged courtesy of @evleaks pans out, it won't be too long before Motorola unveils some additional details on this. A certain DROID Ultra Maxx phone will be launched as well, Droid-life claims.

No confirmation on this has surfaced, but the new “Ultra” family of smartphones could prove to be Verizon’s exclusive version of the long rumored Motorola X phones (already said to land on shelves at other carriers in the US).

Motorola RAZR HD
Image credits to droid-life

Jun 26, 2013

Download Windows 8.1 Preview

Software maker Microsoft has just published the official download link for Windows 8.1 Preview, so users who wish to set up a dual-boot configuration are recommended to get these ISOs.

As you probably know, Windows 8.1 Preview is offered as a free update to Windows 8 users, to the main package is available via the Windows Store. And still, because it’s only a preview, the company is also offering the update as a stand-alone ISO, which should come in very handy in case you wish to deploy the operating system on a different partition and use it on a dual-boot configuration.

Of course, most users are recommended to get Windows 8.1 Preview via the Windows Store, as this is the safest, fastest, and easiest way to deploy the update on both desktops and tablets. Users are required to first download this small patch, reboot their devices, and only then proceed with the actual installation of Windows 8.1 Preview. ISO files are not yet available, Microsoft confirmed.

Windows 8.1 Preview is available via the Store and as a separate ISO
Image credits to Microsoft

Full Specs of Huawei Ascend W2 Emerge

One of the Windows Phone 8-based devices that should arrive on the market before the end of this year is the Huawei Ascend W2, which has yet to be officially announced, but has already made an appearance at the GSMA 2013 Mobile Asia Expo.

The handset was spotted there en route to China Mobile’s network, and all of its hardware specifications were unveiled, showing a mid-range device rather than a new flagship. Packing a 4.3-inch WVGA touchscreen and a 1.4GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, the handset also sports an Adeno 305 GPU, as well as 512MB of RAM and 8GB of internal memory, while being 9.9mm thick.

According to WMPoweruser, Huawei might have decided to lower the specs of the device a bit, so as to bring it in line with other Windows Phone 8 handsets from the company.

Huawei Ascend W2
Images credits to WinP.cn via WMPoweruser

Imagination Technologies Next-Gen MIPS “Warrior” CPU

Today, Imagination Technologies (IMG.L) announced new processors in its MIPS portfolio, set to arrive later this year based on low-power RISC architecture and capable of delivering increased performance capabilities.

Built following the acquisition of CPU designer MIPS, the new chips should arrive on shelves with support for Gogole’s Android operating system, with the codename of “Warrior” attached. Released in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, the upcoming cores should offer best-in-class performance and efficiency, the company claims, adding that they are poised to change the CPU landscape.

Some of the features that these cores will offer include Hardware virtualization, multi-threading, Imagination's security framework for applications, MIPS SIMD architecture (MSA), and a consistent and comprehensive toolchain across the “Warrior” series. "The industry is longing for a choice in the CPU market, and we are making MIPS a clear and superior alternative,” Hossein Yassaie, CEO, Imagination, said.

Imagination Technologies unveils MIPS "Warrior" CPU
Image credits to Imagination Technologies

Jun 25, 2013

Sony Xperia SP (M35t) for China Mobile’s TD-LTE Network

In addition to the highly-expected Xperia Z Ultra, Japanese mobile phone maker Sony Mobile announced today a new device running under Google’s Android operating system, nothing more than a new, special flavor of the Xperia SP (M35t) handset.

Designed for the Chinese market, the new smartphone flavor will land on shelves with support for China Mobile’s TD-LTE network, so as to provide its customers with fast data transfer speeds while on the go.  The handset keeps the rest of the hardware specifications unchanged from the original model, including the 4.6-inch 720p touchscreen display that packs supersensitive capabilities, as Engadget reports.

The phone also comes with NFC connectivity inside, as well as with the popular illuminating transparent element that other Xperia devices also include. More on the new mobile phone flavor should be unveiled soon, so stay tuned.

Sony Xperia SP (M35t) with TD-LTE conenctivity
Image credits to Engadget

Sony Xperia Z Ultra Full Specs and Photo Gallery

Earlier today, Japanese mobile phone maker Sony Mobile made official its first smartphone to feature a touchscreen display larger than that of Xperia Z, its latest flagship handset, namely the Xperia Z Ultra.

The new mobile phone was made official with a large 6.44-inch touchscreen display, capable of delivering a full HD resolution, as well as with a 2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974 processor inside. The new mobile phone is also equipped with 2GB of RAM, 6GB of internal memory and a microSD memory card slot with support for up to 64GB of additional storage space. At the same time, Sony packed the new Xperia Z Ultra with an 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back, with support for full HD video recording capabilities, as well as with a 2MP 1080p front camera for making video calls. Packing a TRILUMINOS Display with Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2, the new smartphone also offers support for pen input with stylus, while featuring a scratch-resistant glass, and dust and waterproof capabilities. Running under Google’s Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system, the Xperia Z Ultra is IP55 and IP58 certified for dust and water resistance, measures 179 x 92 x 6.5 mm and weighs 212 grams. Sony also boasts that it's capable of shooting full HD videos underwater.

The phone features a 3000mAh battery inside, capable of delivering up to 14 hours of talk time, or up to 790 hours of standby time. The specs list of this device also includes Wi-Fi and WiFi Hotspot capabilities, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity, Xperia Link, Synchronisation via Exchange ActiveSync, Google Sync and Facebook, aGPS, and a 3.5 mm audio jack - not to mention that it is PlayStation Certified, offers access to the Sony Entertainment Network, as well as a series of exclusive features and apps from Sony, such as the STAMINA mode for increased battery life. “The Xperia Z Ultra is the most exciting revolution in large-screen smartphone entertainment devices with both the slimmest and largest Full HD smartphone display in the world that is second to none.

“We’re already bringing the best of Sony technology and design across a range of premium smartphones and tablets, and now we are bringing this same premium offering to the large-screen smartphone segment, setting a new standard for others to follow.” says  Calum MacDougall, Director of Xperia Marketing at Sony Mobile Communications. The Xperia Z Ultra will arrive on shelves starting with the third quarter of the year in three color flavors, namely Black, Purple and White. No specific info on its pricing has been provided as of now.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra
Images credits to Sony

CyanogenMod 10.1 Arrives in Final Flavor

Starting today, owners of Android-based devices interested in installing unofficial builds can grab the final flavor of the CyanogenMod 10.1 custom software.

The CM10.1 ROMs have been available for download for quite some time now, though in pre-release flavors, with the final version pushed out after a few Release Candidate iterations landed not long ago. “The files will be landing on our servers as they complete the build process,” the CyanogenMod team explains in a post on their website. “The list of devices will be in line with the devices that have received release candidates to-date. At this time, we do not plan on incorporating devices that did not receive a RC into this release,” the team continues. It’s also worth mentioning that devices powered by Tegra 2 processors, as well as various Exynos based Samsung devices are not supported in the new release either. However, the team plans on providing additional info on these smartphones and tablets before the end of this week, it seems.

Despite the lack of support for said products, the final version of CM10.1 ROMs can be downloaded and installed on over 40 Android devices at the moment. The CyanogenMod also unveils that, given that the 10.1.0 code has been finalized, the M-release cycle will return, and that new features and functionality is expected to be added to future builds. Among the changes that users should expect from new builds, we mention a new Privacy Guard feature, which has been already merged into the nightly builds released today.  “There are many new and exciting things planned for the remainder of the year, just wait and see what we will do next,” the CyanogenMod Team also notes.

Users interested in downloading the stable CM10.1 software for their devices should head over to the official CyanogenMod download webpage for that.

CyanogenMod 10.1 lands in final flavor
Image credits to CyanogenMod

Jun 24, 2013

Sony to Launch Snapdragon 800-Powered Xperia Z Model

Japanese mobile phone maker Sony Mobile is reportedly getting ready for the launch of a new flavor of its latest flagship Android-based smartphone, the Xperia Z, namely one that would feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor inside.

No official info on the matter has been provided as of now, but Mobile-Review’s Eldar Murtazin said on Twitter that the device is real, and that he has already had the chance to take it for a spin. He also claims that the device is very fast, and that the prototype he played with packed a screen similar to the Super LCD 3 on HTC One.

Specific details on when the new Xperia Z flavor might arrive on shelves haven’t been provided as of now, though chances are that we’ll see it launched before the end of the year, should Sony indeed plan its commercial availability.

Sony Xperia Z
Image credits to Sony

Huawei MediaPad 7 Vogue Tablet

Today, Chinese mobile phone maker Huawei made official a new Android-based tablet PC, namely the MediaPad 7 Vogue.

The new device had been tipped a few times before, but nothing has been officially confirmed on it until today, when the phone maker announced it as available in China later this month in black and white flavors.  Packing a 7-inch touchscreen display and an aluminum unibody design, the tablet PC is expected to arrive on shelves in other markets around the world as well, Huawei announced. MediaPad 7 Vogue also hits the market with a quad-core processor packed inside, while being capable of providing users with voice calling capabilities. "Building on the popularity of the HUAWEI MediaPad series, we’ve created a new tablet that caters to fashionistas, technology seekers, entertainment junkies, and people who simply expect more from their technology," said Richard Yu, chief executive officer, Huawei Consumer Business Group.

"We’re delighted to introduce the MediaPad 7 Vogue, our call-enabled tablet with world-class entertainment capabilities and long-lasting battery power. The MediaPad 7 Vogue is a perfect example of Huawei’s dedication to making extraordinary experiences possible." MediaPad 7 Vogue was unveiled with a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU paired with a 16-core graphics processor, DC-HSPA+ connectivity, and a 4100mAh Li-Polymer battery for over 20 hours of talk time. The slate also sports a 7-inch screen capable of delivering a 1024 x 600-pixel resolution, Wi-Fi connectivity inside, and a body that is only 9.5mm thin and weighs 335 grams. “Running on Android 4.1, the MediaPad 7 Vogue is pre-installed with email, word processing, Facebook, YouTube, and GPS navigation, and also features Huawei’s proprietary Emotion UI 1.5 providing a more user-friendly and personalized experience,” Huawei notes.

“Offering seamless connectivity, the MediaPad 7 Vogue’s Micro USB port is compatible with a full-range of accessories including an external keyboard, mouse and USB flash disk, while the Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Airsharing functionalities allow for swift content sharing wherever you are.”

Huawei MediaPad 7 Vogue
Image credits to Huawei

Sony Xperia Z Ultra New Photo Emerges

Tomorrow should prove a great day for Xperia enthusiasts out there, as the Japanese handset vendor is expected to announce at least two new mobile phones, one of which is said to be the 6.4-inch Xperia Z Ultra phablet.

The device has made it to the headlines quite a few times before, although it hasn’t been officially confirmed as of now, and can be seen in a new allegedly leaked photo, available courtesy of ePrice. Just as previously rumored, the upcoming smartphone will pack support for a stylus, and the newly leaked photo appears to confirm that.

Furthermore, as XperiaBlog notes, the photo shows the white flavor of the device, which means that there will be at least two color options available for users when it lands on shelves. More info on the matter should become available tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Alleged Sony Xperia Z Ultra
Image credits to ePrice

Windows 8.1 Preview Metro File Manager Details Leaked

Microsoft will finally introduce a Metro file manager in Windows 8.1 Preview that will allow users to control not only locally-stored data, but also files saved in the cloud.

New details reveal that the SkyDrive app won’t automatically sync all SkyDrive files to the PC, but instead download what are being called placeholders to let you quickly access them. “These small files look like the full file and have thumbnails and metadata, but they take a tiny fraction of the disk pace of the full file,” Microsoft explains in the leaked info.

Once you try to open a placeholder, the application automatically downloads the full file in the background, thus saving space on the disk. In addition, new options will mark the file as available in offline mode, which means that users can access them without an Internet connection.

SkyDrive is a file manager for locally-stored files and items saved in the cloud
Image credits to mydigitallife.info

Motorola Moto X Accessories Emerge Online

Mobile phone maker Motorola has already confirmed plans to bring to the market a so-called Moto X smartphone before the end of this year, and accessories for the device have already started to emerge online, it seems.

To be more precise, Skinomi has listed online a TechSkin Motorola Moto X Skin Protector, which can be seen on this page with a price tag of $19.95 (€15.23) attached to it. “The Motorola Moto X Skin Protector is the clear choice for maximum scratch protection. The Motorola Moto X Skin Protector goes beyond your traditional Motorola Moto X screen protectors, skins, covers, and cases,” the company says.

As PhoneArena notes, the handset should become official as soon as the next month, with Google’s Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean platform loaded on top, a 720 x 1280-pixel screen, and with a 1.7GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor packed inside.

Skinomi TechSkin Motorola Moto X Skin Protector
Image credits to Skinomi

HP Makes the Android-Based Slate 21 AIO Official

Today, computer maker Hewlett-Packard made official a new Android-based device, namely the HP Slate 21 all-in-one (AIO), which packs a large 21.5-inch touchscreen display.

Designed as a desktop computer, the HP Slate 21 packs a kickstand on the back, while being powered by an Nvidia Tegra 4 processor, thus capable of offering an appealing experience, at least when compared to devices powered by the Tegra 3 chip. Apparently, the main purpose of the new AIO was that of a home entertainment product. The device was made official at the HP World Tour event in Beijing, but no specific info on its availability worldwide has been provided as of now.

HP will deliver such details on a market-by-market basis, CNet reports. Specifics on its pricing will be announced at a later date as well.

HP Slate 21 AIO
Images credits to HP

Nokia to Unveil a New Smartphone on September 19

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is set to make official some new devices later this year, and it appears that it has already started teasing forthcoming announcements.

The company has posted a new photo on its Facebook page, featuring a smartphone that supposedly hints at an event set to take place in Stockholm on September 19, at noon. The photo doesn’t hint at anything more, but its caption could, as it states “What have you planned for this Sunday? Schedule some time for being awesome.” According to a recent post on Nokiapoweruser, the handset vendor might be set to make official its first Windows Phone 8 smartphone with a screen larger than 5 inches, just as some of the previous rumors suggested.

The company is expected to make another announcement as soon as the next month, on July 11, when it might announce the long-rumored 41MP Nokia EOS handset.

Nokia teases September 19 "awesome" announcement
Image credits to Nokia Facebook Page

Jun 23, 2013

Windows 8.1 Preview System Requirements Leaked

Windows 8.1 Preview will officially debut on June 26, so more details are now reaching the web on what's being called the first major overhaul for Windows 8.

A new collection of screenshots the reached the web a few hours ago reveal the new system requirements for Windows 8.1 Preview, an update that “works great on the same hardware that powers Windows 8,” as Microsoft explains. Windows RT 8.1 Preview requires a Windows RT-capable device that's already running the tablet-oriented operating system and has at least 10 GB of free storage space.

As far as the desktop versions of Windows 8.1 Preview are concerned, here are the official system requirements:

Processor: 1 GHz or faster
RAM: 1 GB for the 32-bit version or 2 GB for the 64-bit version
Free hard disk space: 16 GB for the 32-bit version or 20 GB for the 64-bit version
Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

Windows 8.1 Preview will debut on June 26
Image credits to Microsoft

Nokia Store to Shut Down in 2016

Owners of Symbian-based devices might have no official app store to head to when it comes to downloading applications starting with 2016, new reports on the matter suggest.

Apparently, Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is set to shut down the Nokia Store portal for Symbian and MeeGo smartphones in about three years, at least this is what people in the know said, according to a post on thisisnokia. The info comes only weeks after Nokia was rumored to plan on halting sales of Symbian devices, and suggests that the platform is finally headed to the graveyard, although nothing has been officially confirmed on the matter for the time being.

Applications that have been already downloaded and installed on smartphones will continue to work as before even after the store closes, but users won’t be able to update them or download new ones.

Nokia Store to close in 2016
Image credits to Nokia Store

The Official Windows 8.1 Preview Betta Fish Leaked

As you most likely know if you're a Microsoft fanboy, the software maker places what it's being called a betta fish in every single testing version of its next operating system, usually as a desktop background or boot screen.

Since the debut of Windows 8.1 Preview is just around the corner, the company has reportedly created a brand new and more colorful betta fish to be used in the first major Windows 8 overhaul. The photo published by Win8China indicates that Microsoft might use the Siamese fighting fish on the boot screen this time, so we're yet to discover the official desktop background.

Windows 8.1 Preview will go live on June 26 during the BUILD developer conference, so expect more details to be provided in just a few days ahead of the big launch.

Microsoft has created a more colorful betta fish for Windows 8.1
Image credits to Win8China

Jun 20, 2013

Xperia Z Ultra Screenshots, Shows Redesigned UI

Xperia Z Ultra, also spotted online under the name of Xperia ZU, is expected to land on shelves as Sony Mobile’s first smartphone to pack a screen larger than 6 inches, and it seems that it might also bring along a redesigned UI.

Following a series of leaked screenshots from the Android device, new such photos are available for your viewing pleasure, courtesy of XDA-Developers, offering a glimpse at a reorganized homescreen, with a larger number of icons visible there at the same time. Overall, the handset appears set to deliver a clearer UI, with an increased number of rows and columns for displaying icons, at least when compared to other smartphones.

Provided that it will arrive on shelves with a 6.4-inch display, Xperia ZU will indeed have enough room on the screen for additional icons, and it remains to be seen whether Sony will pack it inside other smartphones as well.

Xperia ZU screenshots
Image credits to XDA-Developers

iPhone 5S Model Schematics Spotted Alongside “Light” iPhone Flavor

Apple is reportedly getting closer and closer to the launch of two new iPhone models, one of which should become the company’s next flagship handset, namely the iPhone 5S, accompanied by a cheaper, “Light” model.

Although none of the two has been officially confirmed, we can now make an idea of what they might look like, courtesy of schematics that emerged over at case makers. Just as previous reports suggested, iPhone 5S should pack the same design as its predecessor, with the LED flash next to the back camera shaped as a pill, most probably courtesy of dual flash for increased brightness.

The iPhone Light model, on the other hand, will be thicker, taller, and wider than iPhone 5S, with an iSight camera, single LED flash, the similar placement of buttons and ports as the other iPhone devices, but with a different shape, as AppleInsider notes.

iPhone 5S Model Schematics
Images credits to AppleInsider

Eurocom X5, an Overpowered Laptop with nVidia GeForce GTX 780M

We're usually wary of dubbing a product “the best” in a category, and when we do, we're usually just relaying the claims that their designers make, but Eurocom's X5 may just deserve being called the best gaming notebook.

After all, it would be hard to argue that Intel's top-of-the-line mobile Haswell CPU and NVIDIA's highest-end discrete GPU aren't a winning combination. That's right, Eurocom's X5 combines the might of a quad-core / 8-thread Intel Core i7-4930MX (3 GHz, 8 MB L3 cache), or that of a Core i7-4900MQ, Core i7-4800MQ or Core i7-4700MQ, with NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 780M video board. That there is enough space and power for 32 GB of DDR3-1600 RAM (random access memory) definitely doesn't do any harm.  In fact, Eurocom's X5 is so powerful because of this hardware that it dominates more or less all Benchmarks. The results are all listed in the picture that Eurocom was ever so willing to share through its website. This page has all that info, so we'll pass on copying all those dry numbers, since the table is much easier on the eyes anyway.

As people have no doubt guessed by now, the display of the Eurocom X5 gaming notebook is an LCD with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. What might not be as easy to guess is that 3D is supported as well, as are up to no fewer than 5 physical drives. One can only wonder what will happen when two mSATA slots are filled with SSDs (solid-state drives), and the other three with HDDs. The SSDs will hold the OS and the frequently-accessed files, to ensure top speeds, while the HDDs will hold the video collections, music libraries, virtual disk files, backup files, etc.

Finally, the gaming system has a custom backlit keyboard, with 7 colors and 3 zones, configurable in one of 8 modes.

Eurocom X5
Image credits to Eurocom

Jun 19, 2013

Use Port Forwarding in Chrome to Push Localhost Pages to a Mobile Device

Google is sharing an interesting way of using port forwarding in Chrome. Port forwarding is an experimental feature useful when doing remote debugging on a mobile device, for example.

With remote debugging, developers can see how a page looks on the mobile device, but use the desktop Chrome tools to debug it. A problem is trying to do the same with a local file on your computer. In the early stages of development at least, it's much easier to simply load a file you're working on locally in Chrome rather than put it on a web server. Even using a local web server is easier and faster. Being able to push that file to a mobile device while continuing to work on it locally is quite useful. Developer Umar Hansa has figured out a way of doing this with port forwarding and the Chrome to Phone extension.

First, he pushed the localhost URL to the mobile device. The page doesn't load, obviously, but you can debug it remotely all the same. Then he mapped out a specific port on the localhost on the mobile device to the localhost on the desktop, making it possible to view pages ran locally on the computer without knowing its actual IP address.

Chrome Port Forwarding
Image credits to Umar Hansa

Sony C6903 Certified in Indonesia, Might Arrive as Xperia ZU

It appears that Sony is about to launch another high-tier Android smartphone in the coming week, the Xperia ZU, also known as Xperia Z Ultra (Togari).

XperiaBlog reports the smartphone has been recently spotted at the Indonesian Postel website under the codename C6903. Unfortunately, we can’t tell for sure that Sony C6903 is the rumored Xperia ZU, as the Japanese company has yet to reveal any official details on the upcoming device.

According to the latest hearsay, Sony Xperia ZU should arrive with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system out of the box and a huge 6.4-inch capacitive touchscreen display. In addition, the smartphone is expected to feature 2GB of RAM, as well as an enhanced 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Sony C6903 spotted at POSTEL
Image credits to Postel Indonesia

Nokia Announcement Hints at 41-Megapixel Smartphone Reveal on July 11

Rumors has it Nokia plans to launch its next Windows Phone flagship smartphone on July 11 in New York, United States.

The Finnish company has already invited local media to join the launch event, but no additional details on what could be revealed next month have been disclosed yet. However, the latest blog posted on the Nokia Conversations site hints to a possible reveal of a smartphone that boasts an impressive 41-megapixel camera. According to this post, Conversations readers have “41 million reasons” they should be interested in the July 11 event.

Apparently, Nokia plans to stream the even live on Lumia devices, as well as on PC, and watchers will be able to join in live conversations. The company invites fans to fill out the list of reasons they should “zoom in” on July 11 by adding comments on the Conversations blog. More details are available here.

Nokia Conversations ad
Image credits to Nokia

Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition Shows Up on eBay, Priced at $850/€635

Samsung announced the Galaxy S4 Google Edition will be released on the market on June 28, but it appears the phone is now available for purchase on eBay.

As Phonearena points out, the factory unlocked Samsung Galaxy S4 16GB Google Edition can now be pre-ordered via eBay for no less than $850/€635 outright. Check it out here. According to the seller, shipping is guaranteed on June 28, the same date Samsung confirmed will make the Galaxy S4 Google Edition available on the market. It is also worth mentioning that buyers will have to pay a $60 USPS Express Mail International Flat Rate Envelope to receive the smartphone anywhere on the globe.

The unlocked version of Samsung Galaxy S4 Google edition features penta-band 4G LTE support, as well as quad-band 3G.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition
Image credits to ebay

Jun 18, 2013

Download the Life in Lavender theme for Windows

Microsoft has recently released yet another theme for Windows users who wish to customize their desktop backgrounds with some colorful wallpapers.

The so-called Life in Lavender theme comes with 20 different wallpapers and can be installed on Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows RT tablets, such as Microsoft’s own Surface RT. “Take a world tour, from Antarctica to the Sahara Desert and beyond, with color as your guide. The stunning images in this free Windows theme are united by shades of violet and lavender, appearing as lilacs and crocuses, river mist, or the glow of sunset,” Microsoft explained in the official description of the app.

Just like all the other themes, all wallpapers are included in a single .themepack file that takes care of installation, so simply double click it to launch the Personalization screen.

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

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