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Jan 6, 2013

NVidia Tegra 4 Mobile Processor Launched: Brings 72 GPU Cores and 4G LTE

The Consumer Electronics Show will only start tomorrow, but NVIDIA's booth is all set and prepared, and its CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has already gotten the big announcements out of the way.

The Tegra 4 SoC (system-on-chip) device marks, in a way, a new beginning for NVIDIA's mobile processor division. It will be the core component of not just new tablets and phones (superphones as it were), but also for a new type of game console. Mobile device makers will reveal their projects on their own though, and we will talk at length about the game console initiative later (NVIDIA Project SHIELD). Here, we will take a look at the bare facts about the new ARM CPU-NVIDIA GPU fusion. Then again, this is more than just a fusion between those two types of chips. SoCs always are. The four ARM Cortex A15 CPU cores run at a clock speed of up to 1.9 GHz. The 28nm GPU has 72 cores of its own. There is, of course, a so-called fifth core. This is, after all, a 4-PLUS-1 chip, like Tegra 3, which means that low-load tasks shut down the four main cores and are run by the fifth, low-energy core instead. It is the secret behind the long battery lifespans of Tegra-based portable consumer electronics devices.

The graphics chip frequency hasn't been specified, but NVIDIA's CEO did clearly state that the 4K ultra high-definition video playback was supported, so it stands to reason that it is on the high side, as far as mobile GPUs go at any rate. For extra perspective, NVIDIA gave, during the CES 2013 press conference, the load time for 25 unique, high-traffic sites: 27 seconds, almost half compared to other slates. That means about one second per site. The last major asset of the Tegra 4 is the support for 4G LTE broadband. Obviously, NVIDIA put a lot of work in its new processor. The expansion of Tegra's usability from mobile devices to gaming gadgets is both a consequence and a cause of the design thoroughness.

NVIDIA launches Tegra 4 mobile processor
Image credits to AnandTech

Windows RT Gets Jailbroken to Run Desktop Windows Applications

Even though Microsoft has said so many times that Windows RT is the best way to enjoy the new Windows 8 features on a tablet, many have criticized the operating system for not supporting legacy Windows apps.

The reason was pretty much obvious: since it was developed for ARM devices, Windows RT could only handle ARM-optimized processes. A post on the Surfsec blog, however, reveals a way to jailbreak the Windows RT operating system in order to run unsigned desktop applications on Windows RT. This means that users who successfully get past Microsoft’s limitation could launch traditional Windows apps on a Surface RT or on any other tablet using the new operating system. The blog post claims that “banning traditional desktop applications was not a technical one, but a bad marketing decision” and that “Windows RT needs the Win32 ecosystem to strengthen its position as a productivity tool.”

“Windows RT is a clean port of Windows 8. They are the same thing and MSFT enforces Code Integrity to artificially separate these platforms. It does not stop pirates from modifying store apps (and their license checks) because store apps are the only things that can actually run unsigned. The fact that this method works on Windows 8 as well shows how similar the systems are. You can even enforce Code Integrity on Windows 8 to see what Windows RT feels like!” the blog post reads. Even though this sounds like very good news for Windows RT users, there are several shortcomings that must be taken into consideration. First, running an unsigned desktop application on Windows RT comes down to several steps, so it may take some time until you figure out the trick. Second of all, the jailbreak would only last until you restart the device, but given the fact that tablets usually provide great autonomy, some people keep their devices turned on all the time anyway. We’ve reached out to Microsoft for an official comment on this, so we’ll update this story as soon as we get an answer.

The restriction is only "a bad marketing decision"
Image credits to Microsoft

Samsung Galaxy S IV Press Release Shot Allegedly Leaks

SamMobile just shared a picture of what is said to be a press shot of the next Samsung flagship, the Galaxy S IV.

The phone looks like the Galaxy S III but there is one major difference, there is no home button. Another noticeable difference is that there is no camera button and the thin bezel. Here are the rumored specs:

  • 4.9-inch SuperAMOLED Full HD screen with 1080×1920 resolution
  • Exynos 5450 Quad-Core CPU clocked at 2.0GHz
  • Mali-T658 GPU
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 13 megapixel rear camera
  • 2 megapixel front-facing camera
  • Android 4.2.1

It's hard to tell if this is a real thing or fake, but SamMobiles source claims that that he have more pictures to prove his claims and we hope that we will see them soon. What do you think? Is this just an early render or a real thing? via SAMMobile.

Samsung Galaxy SIV
Image credits to SAMMobile

HTC Butterfly Up for Pre-Order in the UK, Scheduled for January 18 Shipping

It appears that UK-based retailer Mobicity has just added the Butterfly to its portfolio and is now taking pre-orders for HTC's superphone.

Customers can now pre-order the HTC Butterfly for no less than £660/€815/$1070 off-contract. Check it out here. According to Mobicity, shipping for HTC Butterfly is scheduled to begin on January 18, so those who order the smartphone might receive it on the 19th at the earliest.

The Butterfly is also known as HTC DROID DNA in the US and comes with a stunning 5.0-inch Super LCD3 capacitive touchscreen display that supports full HD (1080p) resolution. The smartphone is powered by a 1.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, which is complemented by 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory, which can be further expanded up to 32GB via microSD memory card.

HTC Butterfly
Image credits to Mobicity UK

Lenovo K5 with Intel Merrifield Dual-Core CPU and 5.5-Inch Full HD Display

It looks like Chinese handset maker Lenovo plans to launch a superphone next week at CES 2013, the K5.

According to GizChina, Lenovo K5 will be powered by an Intel Merrifield dual-core processor clocked at 1.6 GHz – 2.0 GHz, which will be complemented by 2GB of RAM. The smartphone will be only 6.7mm thick and will ship with Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean operating system out of the box. It will offer dual-SIM support and an impressive 13-megapixel rear photo snapper. Lenovo K5 will also sport a secondary 2-megapixel front-facing camera for video calls and a high-capacity 3500 mAh Li-Ion battery.

Last but not least, the K5 will boast a 5.5-inch full HD capacitive touchscreen display (404ppi) and will be available for purchase for 3400 yuan, which is about $545 or €415.

Intel Weibo official page
Image credits to Weibo

Ubuntu Phone Supposedly Spotted in a Bar

Ubuntu on phones is a bold move from Canonical and they will need a lot of money for the marketing campaign. They can also start by forgetting or taking pictures of their phones in a bar, somewhere.

This is a really old tactic and it’s not really effective anymore. Forgetting or spotting a phone in a bar might have been interesting a few years ago, but so many other companies did it that it’s no longer an effecting tool. In any case, the reception for the new operating system from Canonical has been mixed and everyone is now waiting for Canonical to make the development versions available to everyone.

In any case, the image has popped up on the Twitter account of Michael Frey, an Ubuntu developer, and it shows the desktop of the new OS.

Ubuntu phone at a bar
Image credits to Michael Frey

Samsung Galaxy Note II Comes in Amber Brown Color

We reported a few days ago on the upcoming availability of the Samsung Galaxy Note II in red and brown colors, and now new pictures with the latter have just leaked.

It appears that the amber brown Galaxy Note II will be initially launched in Japan via NTT Docomo, but we expect it to be slowly released in other countries as well. ePrice recently published unboxing and hands-on pictures of the brown Galaxy Note II, but no details on the phone's specs sheet have been disclosed so we must assume there are no differences between various colors of the device.

Obviously, some carrier-bounded Galaxy Note II devices might come with slightly different specs, but that is not related in any way to the phone's color. Aside from the Amber Brown color-scheme, Samsung is expected to launch a Ruby Wine version as well. Stay tuned for more info on the matter and check out the gallery below.

Brown Galaxy Note II
Images credits to ePrice

Bell Canada Opens BlackBerry 10 Pre-Registration

With less than a month left until Research In Motion (RIM) unleashes its first BlackBerry 10 devices upon the smartphone market, Bell opens up pre-registration for these handsets.

The Canadian carrier offers customers the option to receive the latest information on the BlackBerry 10 devices that will be available on its airwaves. In addition, Bell is also holding a contest that will give away 5 new BlackBerry 10 devices, each worth approx. $700 CAD (540 EUR) outright. The folks over at MobileSyrup also report Bell confirmed both BlackBerry 10 smartphones would support HD Voice.

The carrier is also said to launch a Bell Mobile TV application on BlackBerry World, before RIM's new devices go on sale. Those who wish to hand over their contact info in order to stay informed on the BlackBerry 10 devices' availability can do so here.

BlackBerry 10 pre-registration page
Image credits to Bell Canada

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