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Jul 31, 2013

Xiaomi Red Rice Goes Official in China

Today, Chinese mobile phone maker Xiaomi officially announced the availability of a new Android-based smartphone on its homeland market, namely the Xiaomi Red Rice, a mid-range handset priced at only 799 Yuan ($130 / €98).

The smartphone will arrive on shelves in the country on August 12, featuring a 4.7-inch HD IPS display and a 1.5GHz MediaTek MT6589T quad-core processor inside, paired with 1GB RAM. Furthermore, the new Xiaomi Red Rice sports 4GB of internal memory, dual-SIM capabilities, an 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back, and a 1.3MP front camera for making video calls. The specifications list of the device also includes WiFi, WiFi Direct and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, Gyro, Gravity and Proximity sensors, a 2000mAh removable battery, and Google’s Android 4.2 Jelly Bean platform, with MIUI V5 loaded on top.

Xiaomi Red Rice measures 137 x 69 x 9.9mm and weighs 158 grams. It will be launched in three color flavors, namely metallic gray, ivory and red, with a replaceable back cover, techkiddy reports.

Xiaomi Red Rice
Image credits to TechKiddy

Microsoft Office Mobile for Android Now Available for Download

Today, Microsoft made available for download a new application for the owners of Android-based smartphones who also have a qualifying Office 365 subscription, namely Office Mobile for Office 365.

Already up for download for Android 4.0 and newer handsets, the app comes as the Office companion, while also packing a series of optimizations for these devices. One thing that users should keep in mind from the beginning is the fact that this is Office Mobile for Android, and not the full Office suite, and that it will provide a mobile experience, different from what Office on a Windows-based PC can deliver. “You can access, view and edit your Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint documents from virtually anywhere,” Microsoft notes in the application’s description. “Documents look like the originals, thanks to support for charts, animations, SmartArt graphics and shapes. When you make quick edits or add comments to a document, the formatting and content remain intact.”

The software comes with support for accessing Office documents stored on SkyDrive, SkyDrive Pro, or SharePoint, while also being cloud-connected, which means that documents recently viewed on a computer will also show on the phone in the recent documents panel. The features list of the app includes:

  • Great-Looking Documents - Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents look great on your phone, thanks to support for charts, animations, SmartArt Graphics, and shapes.
  • Optimized for phone - Word, Excel and PowerPoint have been optimized for the small screen of your phone.
  • Resume Reading - When opening a Word document from SkyDrive or SkyDrive Pro on your phone, it automatically resumes at the place where you left off reading, even if you last viewed the document on your PC or tablet.
  • Presentation Views - The Slide Navigator view in PowerPoint lets you browse slides faster, while speaker notes help you practice your presentation.

At the same time, the app offers support for viewing and editing Office documents attached to email messages, offline editing, the option to review comments made to docs, and the possibility to easily share files via email, or to save them to SkyDrive or SharePoint, straight from the smartphone. “A qualifying Office 365 subscription is required to use this app. Qualifying plans include: Office 365 Home Premium, Office 365 Small Business Premium, Office 365 Midsize Business, Office 365 Enterprise E3 and E4 (Enterprise and Government), Office 365 Education A3 and A4, Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 University, and Office 365 trial subscriptions,” Microsoft notes. 

Office Mobile for Office 365 arrives on Android
Images credits to Google Play Store

Samsung Found to Tweak Galaxy S4 Benchmark Scores

Galaxy S4, Samsung’s latest Android-based flagship has managed to deliver impressive benchmarking results even before it became officially available for purchase, but it seems that things might not be as great as believed.

In fact, a recent article on AnandTech claims that Samsung is performing some simple tricks on the device, all meant to boost the phone’s performance when a benchmarking application is launched, thus improving the overall score. To be more precise, the handset has been found to contain code that would boost its frequency for testing purposes, showing increased CPU and GPU performance levels. The news site claims to have been testing an Exynos 5 Octa-based model when finding this out.

Said code specifically mentioned benchmarks such as AnTuTu, Quadrant, linpack, Benchmark Pi, and more, with a certain boost_mode file on the smartphone being activated as soon as any of them is launched.

Samsung Galaxy S4
Image credits to Samsung

MSI 990FXA-GD80 Motherboard Now Support The AMD FX-9590 5 GHz CPU

Not long ago, I wrote about MSI's Z87-G43, which happens to be the first motherboard certified for Windows 8.1 (Windows 8 Enterprise edition).

Now, the same company has revealed a motherboard ready to run the strongest AMD central processing unit at its best. And by strongest CPU, I mean the 5 GHz 8-core FX-9590, of course. The motherboard that just got certified for use with the processor is called MSI 990FXA-GD80 and is equipped with four memory slots, five PCI Express slots (four PCI Expess x16 apparently) and a whole bunch of USB ports at the back, plus Gigabit Ethernet of course.

Military Class components keep the platform stable and provide a long lifespan. Just be sure to go here if you have doubts about how to use the BIOS to fully exploit the powerful chip.

MSI 990FXA-GD80 Motherboard
Image credits to MSI

New OPPO Find 5 Official Firmware Brings Huge Number of Changes (X909EN.13.130719)

OPPO’s Find 5 SmartPhone enjoys the benefits of its newly released firmware version X909EN.13.130719 that includes a huge number of fixed issues, improvements and new features due to users’ reports and suggestions.

To be clearer, the package reverts “Clear apps” feature functions, and adds landscape mode for Messages application, Suspension lockscreen style, an “Add contact” shortcut on the homescreen, and an “All day event” option in the Calendar. Moreover, the Find 5 now has a “Cell broadcasts” setting for Messages, a new path for picture in File Manager, a “By Folder” option to add music files to a playlist, and an HDR feature for video recording when on a 720p resolution.

Furthermore, issues with the playability of .acc files, the WhatsApp that sometimes didn’t receive messages, the good functioning of the Hangouts application, and the ability of Google Calendar to retain settings are now history thanks to this package. However, in order to see the complete list of changes made through this firmware release, and to download and update the Find 5 to the latest version, please follow the link below.

OPPO Find 5 SmartPhone
Image credits to OPPO

Nokia’s Windows RT Tablet (RX-114) Allegedly Spotted on GFX Bench

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia has been long rumored to plan the release of its own tablet PCs, supposedly set to run under Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, and some more proof on the matter appears to have emerged online.

A certain Nokia RX-114 device has made it to the website of GFX Bench, featuring a 1371 x 771 pixels screen, close to the 1366 x 768 pixels display of Surface RT, which suggests that it could indeed be a tablet PC running under Windows RT. The slate comes with a Qualcomm ARM processor paired with an Adreno 330 GPU, which suggests that it could sport the Snapdragon 800 CPU inside, WMPoweruser notes.

This is not the first time that Nokia is said to be working on such a device, and there is a chance that the company will make it official in the not too distant future, yet no confirmation on the matter has been provided as of now.

Nokia's Windows RT tablet emerges in benchmarks
Image credits to GFXBench

Jul 30, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S II Might Not Receive Android 4.2.2 Officially Due to TouchWiz Issues

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics might not deliver the Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean OS upgrade to the owners of Galaxy S II handsets, mainly due to some “adjustment issues with TouchWiz,” new reports on the matter suggest.

A recent article on Connect.de claims that Samsung has decided to skip Android 4.2.2 for the smartphone, and to leave it with Android 4.1.2 loaded on it forever. Furthermore, SamMobile notes that the same could happen to Galaxy Note too, given that it packs about the same hardware as the Galaxy S II.

Apparently, the newer Galaxy S II Plus handset is set to receive the Android 4.2.2 upgrade, although things are uncertain where the original is concerned. Hopefully, Samsung will find a solution for this, so stay tuned for more on the matter.

Samsung Galaxy S II
Image credits to Samsung

New Leaked Samsung Galaxy Note III Photos Show Handset’s Internals

Samsung Galaxy Note III, the upcoming large Android-based smartphone from South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung, can now be admired in two new leaked photos, though only a prototype of the handset has emerged online, it seems.

However, the device in the aforementioned photos resembles the one seen in the previously leaked images with Samsung’s upcoming high-end product, and it also provides us with a view of the internal circuitry that could land inside it. Apparently, this is a late engineering phase unit, with the screen still not wrapped in the actual chassis, though it does appear to confirm that Samsung will include an elliptically-shaped home key on it, as phoneArena notes.

Galaxy Note III is expected to become official on September 4 at the IFA 2013 show in Berlin, and all the necessary details on it should be unveiled there, so stay tuned.

Samsung Galaxy Note III leaked prototype
Image credits to Weibo via PhoneArena

Samsung Galaxy Note III (SM-N900L) Emerges on GFX Bench with Snapdragon 800 CPU

More confirmation on the upcoming release of the Galaxy Note III smartphone is now available, courtesy of a listing on GFX Bench, where it emerged with model number SM-N900L attached to it.

Furthermore, as SamMobile notes, the listing shows that Samsung is working on a Galaxy Note III model that will arrive on shelves with a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor packed inside, paired with an Adreno 330 GPU. Other confirmed specs of the device include a 1920 x 1080 pixels display, support for LTE-A network speeds (up to 150mbps), given that it is a South Korean flavor, and Google’s Android 4.3 Jelly Bean operating system.

The mobile phone is also rumored to arrive on shelves with a 5.7-inch screen (or 6-inch, for some models), 3GB of RAM, and a 13-megapixel photo snapper on the back, with optical image stabilization.

Samsung Galaxy Note III benchmark
Image credits to SamMobile

Panasonic KX-PRX120, Home Phone with Android OS

If I were to see just the left half of that photo up there, I'd be sorely tempted to say that the Panasonic KX-PRX120 is just another one of the company's Android smartphones.

I'd be wrong though, because while it does look and behave like a smartphone, it isn't one. It's, in fact, a home phone with a wireless receiver. Basically, it's a smartphone that needs to be within reasonable proximity of the stand at all times. The KX-PRX120 digital cordless phone has a 0.3MP front camera, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a 1450 mAh battery, a 3.5-inch HVGA display (capacitive multi touch screen), and Android 4.0 OS.

The spec sheet also includes a microSD / microSDHC Card Slot on Handset, a micro USB charging port, Incoming/Outgoing Call Barring, a 40-minute answering machine, a Key Finder accessory (Optional) and the ability to register 6 other handsets.Pricing and availability details remain unknown, sadly.

Panasonic KX-PRX120
Image credits to Panasonic

Porsche Design BlackBerry 10 Handset to Go Official Soon

Soon, BlackBerry enthusiasts out there might be able to purchase a new BlackBerry 10-based smartphone, this time made by Porsche Design.

The company has already released a BlackBerry 7 device, namely the P’9981, which managed to become quite popular, despite its over $2,000 price tag, and it seems that it is set to make a similar move once again. In fact, a series of leaked photos that emerged over at Vietnamese website Tinhte suggest that the Porsche Design BlackBerry 10 smartphone might already be in the works.

As N4BB notes, said images show a Porsche Design-styled battery cover, which could be very well attached to a BB10 device. Rumor has it that the battery door will arrive with genuine leather and with carbon fiber on the inside near the NFC sensor. Stay tuned for more on this.

Porsche Design BlackBerry 10 back cover
Images credits to tinhte.vn

Oppo to Launch N-Lens Devices with Focus on Camera Capabilities

Chinese mobile phone maker Oppo is reportedly preparing the launch of a new series of devices that would provide users with better camera capabilities when compared to the current series of products, and which should arrive on shelves under the N-Lens name, it seems.

The company has already confirmed plans on the matter, an article on Engadget notes, and even said that this would be the "most important flagship series for Oppo going forward." Furthermore, Oppo reportedly confirmed that these new N-Lens cameras will still feature wireless connectivity. Most probably, said devices will run under Android, the same as Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Zoom.

Unfortunately, no other details on the N-Lens series have been provided as of now, though a recent report on AndroidAuthority claims that users should expect high-resolution cameras with great low-light capabilities.

Oppo to launch N-Lens camera devices
Image credits to AndroidAuthority

Jul 29, 2013

Snapdragon 600-Based Galaxy Note II Goes Official at China Mobile

Samsung’s Galaxy Note II smartphone will arrive on shelves at China Mobile in the not too distant future, as it has apparently been made official in the country, and packs a Snapdragon 600 processor inside.

The handset sports model number GT-N7108, and will be released in China with support for TD-SCDMA, W-CDMA, TDD-LTE, and FDD-LTE connectivity (thanks to Qualcomm’s processor, it seems). The smartphone also features a 5.5-inch 720p touchscreen display, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal memory, a microSD memory card slot for additional storage space, a 3100mAh battery inside, and Google’s Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean platform loaded on top.

Furthermore, the Galaxy Note II arrives at China Mobile with an 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back, full HD video recording capabilities, and a 1.9MP front camera for making video calls.

Samsung Galaxy Note II
Image credits to Samsung

2013 Plastic iPhone Confirmed in Pegatron Report, Production Is Yet to Start

A report by the China Labor Watch on investigations carried out inside Pegatron factories reveals that the Taiwan-based Apple supplier is making plastic iPhones.

Confirming that Apple indeed has plans to put forth a low-priced version of its iPhone this year (or the next), the watchdog noted in the report, “Its assembled products include iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, and low-priced plastic iPhones.” The same white-paper, which looks at violations incurred by Pegatron in its labor practices assembling electronic products, adds, “Today’s work is to paste protective film on the iPhone’s plastic back cover to prevent it from being scratched on assembly lines.” This method has been used for all iPhones in the past, and it is standard procedure for any Apple device, regardless of the manufacturer.

There’s more. Apparently, the low-cost iPhone has yet to go into production. Which makes it hard to believe Apple will be able to ship these handsets around the rumored September 6 date. “The new cell phone has not yet been put into mass production, so quantity is not as important. This makes our job more slow paced than in departments that have begun mass production schedules,” the non-profit, with offices in New York, said. Just this past weekend we reported a new iPhone leak fresh out of China which may be consistent with the plastic “budget” iPhone on track for launch this year. An image stemming from the WeiPhone forums showed numerous plastic boxes, or shipping containers, with “iPhone 5C” stamped on them, suggesting that Apple will assign this particular dubbing to its new smartphone.

The cases seemed to resemble those used by Apple to house the iPod touch in storage rooms, as well as on store shelves, lending credence to the leak.

Plastic iPhone case
Image credits to iFixit

ASRock 990FX Extreme9 Motherboard Ready for 5 GHz CPUs

ASRock has quite gladly revealed that it has a motherboard perfectly suited for the strongest central processing unit that Advanced Micro Devices has to offer. And that says more than some might think.

The FX-9590 central processing unit that AMD launched some time ago isn't the sort of chip that can work on just any platform. Or at least, it's not the sort of chip that can work at full throttle, because 5 GHz require a measure of energy and endurance. That is why ASRock is making such a big deal out of getting official support for AMD's processor on the 990FX Extreme9 motherboard. The platform was put through a number of tests that were meant to determine build quality. The BIOS was also updated to work with the unit. To prove its claims, ASRock has published some benchmark tests results. The score was of 8.55 on Cinebench R11.5, for example. That's 25% better than the AMD FX-8350. On the Super PI 1MB test, the speed was 18.377 seconds.

Alsom on PC Mark Vantage, the score was of 18,894 points, which suggests a boost of 15.31% compared to the previous-generation chip. Add to that a PC Mark 8 Home Score of 4,777 points and you have a winner. Sure, Intel's best Haswell chips are still better, and we won't even mention the Ivy Bridge-E that haven't come out yet, but for an AMD CPU, the FX-9000 Series rule. For those who want a rundown of the ASRock motherboard specifications, ASRock uses four PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots (3-Way CrossFireX and 3-Way SLI supported), four DDR3 memory slots, a bunch of SATA 6.0 Gbps ports and all the connectivity and I/O elements one would expect. Finally, ASRock implemented a 12+2 Power Phase design, Hi-Density Power Connectors, Dual Stack MOSFETs, Premium Gold Caps, and Multiple Filter Caps. The product page has more info.

ASRock 990FX Extreme9
Image credits to ASRock

ASRock benchmark result
Image credits to ASRock

Dell Project Ophelia, An Android PC on a Stick

The Android operating system started out as a smartphone OS, then extended to tablets and, not too long ago, actual laptops and PCs, though not to any great extent. The OS just isn't made for PCs and doesn't have much of a chance to supplant Windows.

It can still do a lot though, especially on hardware that is just too weak for Windows. And since Windows RT hasn't seen much success, there's no threat from that end either. That's why some notebooks and smart TVs have been using Android quite a lot lately. That still leaves a lot of people that don't have smart features on their television sets though, and then there are those who want an easy way to carry around their system, not counting the laptop options. So Dell came up with Ophelia. Project Ophelia is essentially a USB stick that, instead of Flash Storage, holds a full Android PC. Priced at $100 / €100, it is now in final testing stages, if we're reading what PCWorld wrote right.

Primarily envisioned for business use, it is, nonetheless, likely to be adopted by consumers as well. The USB stick offers an application stack similar to those found on tablets and phones. Just plug it in your monitor or TV and voila! Instant computer. The Android device even has set-top-box and gaming console capabilities. Not on the same levels as the genuine articles perhaps, but close. Everything down to app downloading from the Google Play store is supported, and we don't just mean apps specifically designed for the device. Dell’s cloud portfolio of services is instantly accessible once the Android PC-on-a-stick is activated, plus Wyse PocketCloud. Remote shutdown and wipe capabilities are included as well.

All in all, the Dell project Ophelia really doesn't look like it, but it actually packs all PC features inside a flash drive-size package. Currently, Beta testers are receiving their sticks, which means that mass availability could ramp up later this year, between August and October.

Dell Project Ophelia
Image credits to PC World

“iPhone 5C” Packaging Leaked, Resembles iPod touch Case

Another day, another iPhone leak. A tantalizing picture is making the rounds on China’s WeiPhone forums showing the potential plastic enclosure, or shipping container, of the “iPhone 5C.”

You read that right. If this image is to be believed, Apple apparently plans to call its budget smartphone “iPhone 5C.” Which, of course, doesn’t rule out the iPhone 5S, which is expected to look much like the current-selling iPhone 5. The iPhone 5C, on the other hand, is expected to have a plastic (polycarbonate) body, and specs that match those of the iPhone 5. A plastic enclosure would therefore also make sense, though it’s hard to believe Apple will move away from its environmental-friendly packaging just to make the shipping container consistent with the phone inside. The cases could be made of the same material Apple uses to package its ear pods (for the iPod line), but the glare isn’t typical to any biodegradable material. In other words, the boxes are almost certainly 100% plastic.

As far as the 5C dubbing goes, the “C” reportedly stands for color. Apple is said to be shipping its budget iPhone in blue, red, green, yellow, and white. Even though a plastic iPhone box may be hard to stomach, Apple is already shipping several products in such enclosures, including the popular iPod touch. The iPod touch (and several other iPods) have plastic enclosures made up of two parts: an opaque rear shell, and a transparent front lid which allows customers to glance at the product itself before opening up the box. This gives the leak some credibility, but we’re skeptical that Apple plans to fill the market with polluting materials, amid growing concerns that electronics makers are not doing enough to stay green.

In fact, Apple has an entire website section dedicated to showing its efforts in this area, and this image isn’t consistent with the company’s mission to lower its carbon footprint.

Alleged "iPhone 5C" packaging
Image credits to WeiPhone via AppleInsider

No 5-Inch Nokia and BlackBerry Devices Until the End of 2013

Nokia and BlackBerry, two of the largest mobile phone makers in the world, are expected to bring to the market smartphones packing 5-inch or larger screens soon, but will do so only towards the end of the year or in early 2014, new reports on the matter claim.

Industry sources cited by DigiTimes reportedly confirmed that Nokia is waiting for the Windows Phone 8 GDR3 (General Distribution Release 3) platform release before jumping on the 5-inch or larger screens bandwagon, and that Microsoft will release the OS update only at the end of this year. BlackBerry, on the other hand, is expected to unveil a 5-inch smartphone in the fourth quarter of the year, namely the long rumored BlackBerry A10, which should also become the company’s next flagship handset.

Other vendors out there have already released such large devices, including Samsung, Sony, LG, Motorola, and Chinese vendors such as Huawei, Lenovo, ZTE, and Coolpad.

Allegedly leaked photos of Nokia 6-inch phone's screen
Image credits to Weibo

Jul 28, 2013

Canonical Shows Ubuntu for Android and Ubuntu OS Running on Nexus 4

Canonical is promoting the concept of phone and PC convergence for Ubuntu Edge, but until now there wasn’t a proper demo of this technology.

Ubuntu for Android has been announced over a year ago, but the development hasn't been advertised seriously until the appearance of Ubuntu Edge. “For over two months I’ve been running Ubuntu for Android on a Nexus 4 phone, and even with its much slower processor and smaller storage than the Edge will have, it’s still made my working life so much simpler. With just a phone I can do pretty much anything that I could do before on my laptop,” stated Canonical’s Victor Palau on his blog.

You have to keep in mind that the software is still in its beta phase and it’s not the finally quality of the product. Ubuntu for Android is demoed on a Nexus 4 which is inferior to the proposed specs of Ubuntu Edge. Ubuntu Edge is a phone developed by Canonical and the company has asked for the help of the community for the necessary funds. You can also check the only Ubuntu Edge hands-on from Canonical.

Victor Palau of Canonical shows how the Ubuntu Edge's convergence will work, using a Nexus 4 as a demo unit. To help make the Ubuntu Edge a reality, visit http://igg.me/at/ubuntuedge
Video credits to celebrateubuntu

Moto X to Pack Laminated Aluminum Structure, Moto Magic Glass

Moto X, the upcoming new Android-based smartphone from mobile phone maker Motorola, is expected to become official on August 1 with some appealing design features packed inside, some of the latest reports on the matter suggest.

Apparently, the company is set to include a certain Moto Magic Glass with the new handset, which is nothing else than a single layer of Gorilla Glass molded to a special polymer and wrapped around the screen and edges of the phone. Furthermore, the handset is said to sport a laminated aluminum structure, which would offer a lightweight but durable design, info coming from Taylor Wimberly unveils.

Another interesting feature of the smartphone is said to be the addition of Dual LTE MIMO Smart Antennas, presumably set to deliver a fast 4G LTE connectivity experience to all users. Overall, the Moto X will feature five antennas: 4G main, 4G diversity, 2G/3G main, GPS, and Bluetooth and WiFi, as droid-life notes.

Moto X
Image credits to @evleaks

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Formula ATX Gaming Motherboard

Eager to take a hold of an Intel fourth-generation Haswell Core-series central processing unit, the ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) Maximus VI Formula high-end motherboard has arrived.

ASUS was bound to launch a new Maximus Formula motherboard sooner or later, since it basically does it every time Intel unveils a new high-end processor series. The Maximus VI Formula is powered by the Z87 chipset, which means it doesn't fall under the causes of annoyance that Intel made a move against recently. Which is to say, CPUs can be overclocked on this platform, aided by the dual-channel DDR3-3100 memory (up to 32 GB via 4 slots). Speaking of slots, the newcomer has three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots (in single x16 mode or x8/x8) and three-way CrossFireX support, or NVIDIA SLI. Three PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots are available as well. They are of the shorter variety.

Moving on, the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Formula boasts 10 SATA 6.0 Gbps ports, for a lot of storage, via HDDs, HHDs, SSHDs or SSDs. Eight USB 3.0 ports are available as well, along with eight USB 2.0 connectors, dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 (Intel Ethernet with ROG GameFirst II technology mPCIe). Other specifications include SupremeFX Formula AUDIO, DTS Connect, Sonic Radar V, and ASUS OC Panel (optional). All in all, it's definitely a heavyweight feature set for a full ATX motherboard, and it's a good thing that ASUS implemented the Extreme Engine DIGI+ III technology. Without the 8+1 phase VRM (voltage regulation module), the NexFET MOSFETs, 60A BlackWing chokes, 10K black metallic solid-state capacitors, the motherboard, and the hardware installed on it wouldn't run at full efficiency or stably, especially when overclocking is involved.

Speaking of which, clock tweaking should be easy enough to accomplish thanks to the upgraded UEFI BIOS. Finally, the ROG RAMDisk utility allows up to 80% of a computer's available RAM to be turned into a high-speed virtual drive “that accelerates game loading times and extends SSD lifespan by reducing the number of write operations.” Sadly, the press release didn't have pricing and availability details.

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Formula
Image credits to ASUS

Samsung Tests Galaxy Note III in Three Screen Sizes

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics has been long rumored to plan the launch of a new handset in the popular Galaxy Note series before the end of this year, and it seems that it still hasn’t decided what screen size the phone will pack.

In fact, rumor has it that the handset vendor would be currently testing three different flavors of the upcoming Android device, with 5.5-inch, 5.7-inch and 6-inch screens, respectively. Recently, the smartphone was said to have been confirmed with a 5.7-inch touchscreen display, but it appears that this is not yet final. According to a recent article on UnwiredView, which cites info coming from Indian logistics website Zauba, all the rumors on Galaxy Note III’s screen could be considered true, mainly due to the fact that the company is set to launch the device in more than one flavor this fall. To be more precise, the news site claims that the company might be set to launch a Galaxy Note III mini variant that would pack a 5.5-inch touchscreen display, and which could also sport an 8-megapixel photo snapper inside.

Furthermore, the company might be set to launch a more durable version of the device, some sort of a Galaxy Note III Active model, which might sport the flexible display that previous rumors suggested to have been packed inside the smartphone. A total of 8 different variants of the Galaxy Note III are said to be under testing, though it’s uncertain whether all of them will make it to shelves. This also means that Samsung could include both an Exynos Octa CPU and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset, as well as a 13-megapixel photo snapper on its back, as previously rumored.

Some of these could be only specific to some carriers around the world, yet more info on the matter has yet to emerge. One thing that is certain, however, is the fact that all the necessary details on Samsung’s plans for this large handset will be unveiled officially only in September at IFA 2013 in Berlin, so stay tuned to learn more on the matter.

Samsung logo
Image credits to Samsung

Jul 26, 2013

Android 4.3 Sports Hidden App Ops Feature

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, the latest mobile operating system flavor from Google, arrives on devices with some appealing new features packed inside, including one that expands the control that users have over the permissions that applications benefit from.

Called App Ops, the option has been found to be hidden by default, but to be easily enabled via a third-party app called Permission Manager and already available for download, a recent article on Android Police notes. Through it, users will be able to fine tune the apps’ permissions to read contacts, access location, read call logs, post notifications, and the like.

App Ops doesn’t appear to be ready for widespread use as of now, and no specific info on when it could be activated has been provided, but it certainly looks like Google is preparing some enhancements to Android’s security capabilities.

Permissions Manager for Android 4.3
Image credits to Google Play Store

BlackBerry 10.2 to Bring Separate BBM Groups Notifications

The upcoming BlackBerry 10.2 operating system will bring along some appealing new features to BBM enthusiasts, including support for separate notifications for BBM Groups, the latest reports on the matter suggest.

According to CrackBerry, the info comes from Michael Clewley, who posted it on his BBM channel, although he did not offer further info on the matter. However, chances are that the availability of this feature will translate into two types of notifications in the BlackBerry Hub, as well as into individual settings for both BBM and BBM Groups. It should also allow users to keep things better organized.

Unfortunately, no specific info on when BlackBerry 10.2 will be released to users has been provided as of now, though the Canadian mobile phone maker is known to be already hard at work with its development.

BlackBerry 10
Image credits to Blackberry

CyanogenMod Focal, New Camera App From CyanogenMod

Today, CyanogenMod announced a new application for devices running under its custom Android software, namely CyanogenMod Focal, the first new feature to arrive on devices as part of the recently teased Nemesis.

The new camera application comes with a feel similar to that of the stock Android camera, though it does have a variety of customizations on top. The software packs features that Android users should already be accustomed with, including photosphere (called Picsphere) and panorama, as well as the option to snap photos while shooting a video. CyanogenMod Focal comes with a radial menu, offering fast access to options such as Front-Facing camera, Picsphere, Video, Panorama, and Photo, as Android Police reports. However, these are only some of the options that users will find available for them in Focal’s menu, as there are also a variety of other features listed there.

Some of them include Flash mode (Torch, On, Off, Auto), White Balance (Cloudy Outside, Daylight, Fluorescent, Incandescent, Auto), Color Effects (Neon, Sketch, Emboss, Aqua, Whiteboard, Blackboard, Posterize, Sepia, Polarize, Negative, Black and White, Disabled), and Exposure. Additionally, there are options such as Scene Mode (Theater, Sunset, Steady, Sports, Snow, Portrait, Party, Night Portrait, Night, Landscape, HDR, Flowers, Fireworks, Candlelight, Beach, Backlight, Best Shot, Augmented Reality, Auto), ISO Sensitivity, Burst Mode, Timer, and Color Enhancements. CyanogenMod Focal also offers Exposure Measure Mode, and settings such as Widgets Chooser, Auto-Enhancement, Exposure Ring, and Image Size.

Users will be able to easily learn what each option is by long pressing on it, a move that will bring its name up on the screen. For the time being, however, the new mobile application is available only in a beta flavor, and still packs a series of bugs that affect users’ experience with it. However, the CyanogenMod team is said to be working hard on patching issues and adding enhancements to it. Apparently, the team is set to include the new CyanogenMod Focal camera app in nightly builds as soon as this weekend, so that users could enjoy its features and test it intensively. Stay tuned for more on this.

CyanogenMod Focal
Images credits to Android Police

Samsung Galaxy Note III Emerges Again with 5.7’’ Screen

Galaxy Note III, the upcoming large smartphone from Samsung, has made yet another appearance online, with its hardware specifications allegedly confirmed by a source from the handset vendor itself.

The upcoming member of the popular Galaxy Note family is expected to make an official appearance on September 4 at IFA in Berlin, and should pack a 5.7-inch touchscreen. Previously, the smartphone was rumored to have been designed with a 5.99-inch display, and it seems that Samsung has indeed tested such as model, though it eventually opted for a smaller design. According to Korea’s Business Daily, the Galaxy Note III will also hit shelves with a Snapdragon 800 processor packed inside, and with support for LTE-Advanced connectivity.

Furthermore, the smartphone will include 3GB of RAM, being among the first handsets in the world to feature such a large amount of memory. The upcoming device will also feature a small bezel, which should allow it to keep roughly the same size as last year’s Galaxy Note II, which was launched with a 5.5-inch touchscreen display. At the same time, it is said to sport an outer design similar to that of Galaxy S4, including the metallic stripe around its body. Supposedly running under Google’s Android 4.3 Jelly Bean operating system, the Galaxy Note III should prove to be one of the fastest and most powerful such smartphones on the market (LG’s G2, set to be unveiled on August 7, should also pack a Snapdragon 800 CPU and 3GB of RAM).

As mentioned above, Samsung should make the handset official at the IFA 2013 trade show in Berlin in early September, which means that official details on specs and features will be unveiled only at that time. Until then, however, you can have a look at some more leaked photos with the Galaxy Note III, available courtesy of TechKiddy.

Alleged Galaxy Note III photo
Images credits to techkiddy

Jul 25, 2013

Lenovo K6 Emerges with Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Processor

Chinese mobile phone maker Lenovo is reportedly getting ready for the launch of its own smartphone powered by the powerful Snapdragon 800 processor, and the device has already leaked online under the codename of K6.

The handset, reportedly set to arrive on shelves with dual-SIM capabilities (and also known as X910, it seems), has been spotted on Lenovo’s Chinese forum, and can be admired the photos attached to this post. As Engadget notes, one of the leaked images with the yet unannounced device show it as packing a MSM8974 chip inside, with Adreno 330 GPU, as well as a 1920 x 1080-pixel display, which might be a 5-inch screen.

No other details on the smartphone have been provided for the time being, and its availability timeframe is still unknown, though chances are that we won’t see it released outside China.

Lenovo K6
Images credits to bbs.lenovomobile.com

Nokia’s 6-Inch Handset Screen Leaked, Alleged Specs Also Unveiled

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia has been long rumored to plan the launch of a large Windows Phone 8 smartphone before the end of this year, and some more details on the handset are now available, complemented by a leaked photo that allegedly shows the device’s screen.

The leaked photo, available courtesy of Weibo user @ictech, shows that the smartphone will arrive on shelves with a very thin bezel, and also confirms that it will be a Windows Phone handset, given the usual buttons placed beneath the screen. As WMPoweruser notes, the photo shows a production-ready pane, and chances are that Nokia is already working on having some prototype units up and running while planning the phone’s launch for the end of the year. According to a recent post on This Is Nokia, the hardware specs of the smartphone also leaked online, though we’ll take them with a big chunk of salt for the time being, as we’re waiting for more solid details on the matter to arrive.

Nokia will reportedly pack the handset with a full HD screen, and will also include a Snapdragon 800 processor inside, with Adreno 330 GPU. Furthermore, the 6-inch smartphone is expected to sport at least 32GB of internal memory, as well as 3000mAh battery. The back camera might be either a 13-megapixel one or a 41MP PureView sensor, featuring full HD video recording capabilities, or even 4K video shooting features, should the Snapdragon 800 processor make it inside it. Supposedly set to land in the United States exclusively on the network of Verizon Wireless, the smartphone might also be waterproof, while featuring a very slim design, maybe even thinner than the Lumia 925.

Most probably, the upcoming 6-inch Nokia smartphone will run under Windows Phone 8 GRD3, which has already been said to bring along support for larger, higher-resolution screens, and for more powerful processors. However, don’t get your hopes too high on this device, at least not until its specs are confirmed.

Alleged photo of Nokia 6-inch phone's screen
Image credits to Weibo via WMPowerUser

AMD A10-6800K Makes New World Record, Overclocked to 8.2 GHz

“The Stilt” is the name of a Finnish group of Overclockers. Remember it because they've just set a new world record.

Naturally, I'm talking about the world record for CPU overclocking. Using an AMD A10-6800K accelerated processing unit, they managed to push the frequency all the way up to 8.2 GHz. They achieved the result (8203.01 MHz) by setting the bus clock at 130.21 MHz and the multiplier at 63x. The lower core voltage was at 1.968 volts the entire time.

Furthermore, thanks to an x87 patch, the A10-6800K managed to post better SuperPi scores. Seeing as how The Stilt previously scored a record 8000.48 MHz with a bus clock of 126.99 MHz and applying 2.008 volts to the CPU, this later feat is quite the jump. Check out the filing on HWBot.org for more.

New overclocking world record
Images credits to HWBOT

Jul 24, 2013

Boot Animation of Moto X [Video]

Mobile phone maker Motorola appears set to make a difference with the upcoming Moto X smartphone, and the boot sequence for the device, which can be seen in the video embedded above, shows exactly that.

Moto X, a smartphone expected to become official on August 1 and to land on shelves later that month, has already been teased by Motorola with increased personalization capabilities, although it will pack only mid-range hardware inside. The boot sequence spotted by Android Police on Moto X is completely different from what has been seen on other handsets from the company lately, and suggests worldwide availability.

For the time being, Motorola did not confirm specific details on when or where the smartphone will be released, but previous rumors did suggest that it will land in the United States at least at AT&T and Verizon. Stay tuned for more on this.

This is Moto X's awesome boot animation.
Love it or hate it?
Video credits to AndroidPolice

Android 4.3 Factory Images (AOSP) Now Available for Download

Google has just gone official with Android 4.3 and those who already own one of the newer Nexus device will be happy to know the search giant immediately released the corresponding factory images.

Starting today, owners of Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10 and Galaxy Nexus (GSM model) can download and flash the latest Android 4.3 operating system in case they need it. All the binary image files provided by Google are to be used for restoring Nexus device's original factory firmware. Keep mind that in order to be able to use any of these files you will be to have the “fastboot” tool in the PATH of your device.

The device need to be in fastboot mode and the booloader need sot be unlocked. All Android 4.3 factory images for Nexus devices are now available for download via AOSP (Android Open Source Project) website.

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean logo
Image credits to Google

High-Quality Video Shows 2013 Plastic iPhone Shell in All Its Glory

The plastic iPhone Apple has prepared for us this year seems all but confirmed, as leak after leak shows the same form factor and design, and even the same set of colors.

The latest video from DetroitBORG up on YouTube doesn’t bring many new details to the table, but it does show the plastic 2013 iPhone shell in all its glory, complete with a very comprehensive commentary on behalf of the narrator, who takes us through the technicalities. Design-wise, it seems the phone is a combination of the iPhone 3GS and the newest iPod touch models. As for the tech specs, they’ll probably be on par with the iPhone 5.

Sonny Dickson in Melbourne, Australia is said to be the source of this leak, so I’m giving him the proper credit here as well. Hit the play button above and enjoy.

This is an early look at what appears to be the casing of the lower cost Apple iPhone, presumably intended to slot below the iPhone 5 and 5S and replace the 4/4S.  This phone and the 5S is expected to debut around September 2013. 
Thanks to Sonny Dickson for making this sneak peak possible!
Video credits to DetroitBORG

Jul 23, 2013

Canonical's Ubuntu Edge Phone Will Run Windows Office Apps

Canonical has announced its next generation phone, Ubuntu Edge, and users now have a general understanding of the product, but one feature has been grossly overlooked.

Ubuntu Edge will be the first product to achieve true convergence between PC and a mobile device, if the crowd-funding project presided by Canonical succeeds. Beyond the great technical specifications and the dual-boot option between Android and Ubuntu OS, another interesting feature has gone relatively unnoticed.

“For enterprise users who are already running their desktop in the cloud, here’s something amazing. Ubuntu for Android even supports thin-client access to cloud-hosted Windows applications like Microsoft Office,” stated Leann Ogasaware, the leader of the Ubuntu kernel team for Canonical. If this features manages to garner enough support, it might inspire other companies to follow their lead and realize more than a simple convergence.

Ubuntu for Android
Image credits to Canonical

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