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Jan 8, 2013

Huawei 6.1-Inch Ascend Mate, Closer Look

On January 7, Chinese mobile phone maker Huawei announced at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas the largest Android-based smartphone in the world, namely the Ascend Mate.

The new device arrives on shelves with a large 6.1-inch touchscreen display that can deliver a 720p HD resolution, while being powered by a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor. It is also incredibly thin at only 6.5mm in its narrowest point. In order to ensure increased usage times despite the phone’s large touchscreen and of the HiSilicon processor, Huawei packed a 4050 mAh battery inside the new device. The company also loaded Ascend Mate with its proprietary Quick Power Control (QPC) and Automated Discontinuous Reception (ADRX) battery efficiency technology, which should ensure increased usage times. According to the company, the new mobile phone can deliver up to two days of ordinary usage on a single charge, while also providing users with the fastest battery charging capability of any device in its range, with savings of around 30 percent of battery charging time.

The phone’s 6.1-inch HD IPS+ LCD screen has a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, while featuring a screen-to-body ratio of 73 percent, said to be the highest in the industry. Not only does the device provide a great viewing experience when it comes to emails, documents, video or games, with great clarity and color accuracy, but it also offers increased responsiveness even with gloves, courtesy of “Magic Touch.” On the back, Ascend Mate sports an 8-megapixel camera with autofocus and with HDR, complemented by a 1MP front camera for making video calls. Other specs of the new mobile phone include global roaming functionality, Dolby sound system and stereo recording, dual MIC noise reduction, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, Augmented Reality navigation application, and smart reading functionality.

“The HUAWEI Ascend Mate breaks barriers to deliver a supercharged entertainment, communication and creative experience for all your personal and professional needs,” said Richard Yu, CEO, Huawei Consumer Business Group. “The HUAWEI Ascend Mate is an industry-leading smartphone and showcases our innovation as we continue to make great technology available to more people globally.” The Chinese mobile phone maker plans on making the new Huawei Ascend Mate available for purchase in China starting with the next month. The phone will be launched in two color flavors, namely crystal black and pure white.

Huawei Ascend Mate
Image credits to Huawei

Ubuntu Phone OS Demoed on Galaxy Nexus [Video]

This video preview of Ubuntu Phone OS, spectacular operating system for smartphones, created by Canonical.

In the video below (go ahead and click it), Richard Collins, Ubuntu Mobile product manager, is the one in charge with the demonstration of Ubuntu Phone OS, on a Galaxy Nexus device. The 7-minutes long video reveals some interesting aspects of Ubuntu OS for mobile phones, which are very similar to the ones from Ubuntu's Unity desktop inteface.

Among various interesting features, Ubuntu Phone OS comes with a People Lens, which allows users to easily view any detail about their added contacts, and Categorized Apps like Frequently used, Running apps, Available for download and Installed apps. In a few weeks, Canonical will release a Beta version of Ubuntu OS for smartphones, and we believe that anyone will be able to test it thoroughly.

Overview of Ubuntu Phone OS.
Video credits to BradLinder

Microsoft Office 2013 to Support a Total of 106 Languages

Even though Microsoft is yet to announce the release date of the new Office 2013 productivity suite, the company has revealed today that its new software would support a total of 106 languages.

Microsoft said in a blog post published a few hours ago that Office 2013 would also support three new Asian languages, namely Indonesian, Malay and Vietnamese, while another thirteen have been added to the list of Language Interface Packs. “Three new languages have been fully localized for the first time and Language Interface Packs added in 13 more. The range of languages supported in Office 365 and in Office Mobile has also been greatly extended. For the many international users who need to consume or create content in more than one language we are introducing new ways to access Office proofing tools in additional languages,” Microsoft said.

According to some new rumors on the matter, Microsoft Office 2013 will go live at the end of March, but once again, the company refuses to comment on this date.

These are the new languages added to Office 2013
Image credits to Microsoft

Nokia Denies Once Again On Its Android Plans

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is focused on building new devices running under Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system, and does not plan on trying out another mobile OS out there, the company has said once again loud and clear.

Nokia’s statement follows recent speculation that its CEO Stephen Elop has hinted at a possible switch to Android in a recent interview with Spanish language website El Pais. Apparently, all rumors were actually fueled by an erroneous translation of Elop’s response to a question regarding Nokia’s plans to adopt Google’s Android operating system for future devices. “Do you rule out 100% launching a smartphone based on Android in 2013?” was the question that Nokia’s CEO had to answer to. Initially, he was said to have stated that “anything was possible” in a market in which the role of HTML5 makes the actual platform under which handsets run irrelevant. Following the first reports on the matter, however, Nokia came out with an official statement, denying any possible hint at an Android handset, and also offering the full transcript of Elop’s answer to said question.

“So, the way I think about it is, in the current war on ecosystems, we are fighting with Windows Phone. That’s what we’re doing. Now, what we’re always doing is asking, how does that evolve? What’s next? What role does HTML5 play?” he said. “What role does Android or other things play in the future? We’re looking further into the future, but it terms of what we’re bringing to market, and what we’re immediately focused on, we’re focused on Windows Phone." Nokia has been long rumored to consider Android as a second option in today’s increasingly competitive market, but the company has constantly debunked such suppositions, the same as it did with the new one. 

For the time being, the company remains committed to Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, which appears to have started to pay off lately, especially following the launch of Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 handsets with Windows Phone 8 loaded on them.

Nokia Lumia 920
Image cedits to Nokia

Lenovo Erazer X700, an Imposing Gaming Machine

Since Lenovo is the greatest supplier of PCs now, it brought all sorts of systems to CES 2013, as well as tablets and ultrabooks. Right now we are talking about a very mean-looking gaming desktop PC.

The Erazer X700 is clearly a different cup of tea than the ThinkPad Helix ultrabook and the IdeaPad Yoga 11S tablet. Made for those that can't or won't build a PC from individually acquired parts, the Erazer X700 is a large gaming desktop with a starting price of $1,499 / 1,142-1,499 Euro. An Intel Core i7 CPU acts as the heart of the system, predictably enough, and there are both AMD and NVIDIA graphics options to choose from. In fact, it is possible to have not one but two adapters at the same time, either a couple of AMD Radeon HD 8950 in CrossFire or a pair of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 in SLI. Not the strongest dual-GPU configurations we've ever seen, but that isn't exactly relevant when considering that any of those graphics cards, even alone, can handle everything thrown at them just fine, except, maybe, multi-monitor scenarios.

It is also clear that Lenovo isn't exactly striving for supremacy in terms of performance, but in terms of performance per dollar. That said, 15-32 GB of RAM will back up the CPU and GPU(s), while a couple of storage drives add 4 TB of storage space to the equation (or more). Lenovo's “recommended” set is a 256 GB SSD (for the OS and files that are often used) and a 3/4TB HDD. Finally, the company tossed in the Onekey technology, which can overclock the CPU at the press of a single button, without having to go into the system BIOS. A small, self-contained liquid cooler will make sure the extra push doesn't burn the chip.

Lenovo Erazer X700
Images credits to Lenovo

Apple’s Rumored Low-Cost iPhone Actually Has a 5-Inch Screen and Redesigned Body

If I had a dime for every DigiTimes report citing its industry sources on the hottest circulating Apple rumor I’d be blogging this from a solid gold keyboard.

That’s not to say the trade publication hasn’t been reliable in the past. It’s just that most rumors dished out by the Taiwanese site seem to take on a strange spin at times. Take for instance today’s “iPhone-for-emerging-markets” report. In typical fashion, the site states, “Apple will roll out a low-cost version of the iPhone for China and other emerging markets in the second half of 2013,” followed by the all-too-familiar “according to supply-chain sources.” So far so good. However, some of these sources have allegedly seen a sample of the low-cost iPhone, which (hear this) “will come with a larger display, meeting the prevailing trend for the adoption of 5-inch displays for high-end models.”

The same sources also said that the phone would have “a brand new exterior design.” I don’t know about you, but I’m having a really hard time picturing Apple charging fewer dollars for a brand-spanking new iPhone with a bigger display and a redesigned chassis.

iPhone showcase
Image credits to hlntv.com

Western Digital Sentinel DX4000 Server Firmware Updates

WD Sentinel DX4000 server firmware version is out. Fixed issues include the forced default Server Time Zone to Baja, California (Mexico) during initial onboard, and various language translation problems in the User Interface (UI).

From the feature enhancements list, we would like to point out the compatibility with Mac OS X, including Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. The release also packs support for iSCSI Storage Area Network (SAN), with newly introduced iSCSI Target capability, powered by StarWind and iSCSI target management from the new built-in Dashboard add-in.

Western Digital recommends that your WD Sentinel DX4000 have the latest Microsoft Update Rollup 4 (Microsoft KB# 2757013) installed prior to applying this software update. The update has a simple installation process that can be performed manually from the device or via USB drive. The download link to the firmware is included below.

WD Sentinel DX4000 Version of the firmware brings several fixes and feature enhancements
Image credits to Western Digital 

Ubuntu Phone OS Gets Major Performance Boost [Video]

Ubuntu Phone OS is not even out the door yet and the Internet is already buzzing with interest, especially when it's about the performance capabilities.

When it was first showed a week ago, Ubuntu Phone OS may have looked pretty and interesting, but everyone noticed that it had some considerable lag. Mark Shuttleworth mentioned in the first day of CES 2013 that Ubuntu Phone received an upgrade, but besides his live demonstration, there was no actual proof of it.

Michael Frey, an Ubuntu developer (the one who published an image with new OS in a bar), presented at CES a comparison between the initial release and the one that is now used. The difference is significant, especially if we keep in mind that only a week has passed since the official announcement. More information about Ubuntu OS will be made available in the coming days, at CES 2013.

Ubuntu Phone performance update
Video credits to meshq/Michael Frey

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