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Jan 31, 2013

BlackBerry 10 Will Arrive on All PlayBook Devices

Canadian mobile phone maker BlackBerry (known as Research In Motion until yesterday) has officially confirmed that all existing PlayBook devices will receive an upgrade to the new BlackBerry 10 platform release.

Thorsten Heins, the company’s CEO, said this referring to the different capacity and connectivity versions of the 7-inch tablet PC that arrived on shelves in the past few years. One thing that he did not say, however, was when new tablets from the company were set to land on shelves.

He did say, however, that the BlackBerry was looking at ways to pack the tablet with services, since selling only hardware had not paid off very well for the company until then. One thing that is certain, however, is the fact that the company is aiming at regaining its foothold on the smartphone market, being set to become the third largest company in this segment in the near future.

BlackBerry 10
Image credits to RIM

Samsung Buys Stake in Stylus Maker WACOM

Styluses aren't exactly widespread on the consumer electronics market, as people usually use their fingers to navigate touchscreens.

Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 proved very popular though, and the S-Pen Stylus is one of its primary features. In order to have an easier time striking deals for styluses, Samsung has bought a stake in Wacom.  Wacom actually has 85% of the global “electronic pen” market, many of which are used by smartphones and tablets.

And since sales of such gadgets have doubled between 2011 and 2012, Samsung doesn't have anything to lose by acquiring a share of Wacom, but quite a bit to gain. Meanwhile, Wacom will get $58.9 million / 43.46 million Euro to invest in "product development and manufacturing and supply system enhancements for products to be supplied to Samsung Electronics."

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Image credits to Samsung

Broadcoam UPnP Vulnerability Exposes Asus, D-Link, TP-Link, Other Routers to Risk

As they promised, DefenseCode researchers have continued to investigate the remote code execution vulnerabilities that plague some Cisco routers. They’ve found that Cisco devices are not the only ones that contain the security hole.

Cisco’s own investigation has revealed that only Linksys WRT54GL routers are vulnerable, but experts say that WRT54G3G and “probably” WRT310N are also plagued by the vulnerability. However, they’ve discovered something even more shocking. The flaw lies in a firmware component that’s utilized by many other companies as well, including Boardcom, Asus, TP-Link, D-Link, Netgear, US Robotics, and Zyxel.

“Vulnerability itself is located in Broadcom UPnP stack, which is used by many router manufacturers that produce or produced routers based on Broadcom chipset. We have contacted them with vulnerability details and we expect patches soon,” Leon Juranic, CEO of DefenseCode, explained. On the other hand, Juranic notes that they’ve sent out over 200 emails, but so far they’re not too happy with the results.

Several router models found to contain remote root access vulnerability
Image credits to Cisco

Keyboard Uses E Ink for Dynamic Keys

Many of us have been faced with situations when the keyboard did not correctly indicate what character would appear on the screen because the language of the OS (and, thus, the key layout) was different than the one the keyboard was made for.

There is also the matter of different programs using keys for different things. Designers Maxim Mezentsev and Aleksander Suhih posted a concept keyboard on Yanko Design. Rather than plastic with printed letters, or numbers or other characters on them, each key is actually an E Ink display that always changes to illustrate the effect it would have for each application being run.

In Word or other document writing software, the letters and numbers usually stay as they are, but S can change into a diskette symbol, for instance (CTRL+S is the standard “save file” command). Check out the idea here. Maybe the world will get lucky and a real product will actually appear at some point.

E Ink keyboard
Images credits to Yanko Design

BlackBerry Q10 Gold Edition Coming Soon

If you thought that the new QWERTY-enabled BlackBerry Q10 smartphone was an appealing device, you haven’t had the chance to have a look at the gold version of the handset.

Gold & Co. London, a company who specializes on the launch of luxury gold and gold-plated smartphones and other devices, has decided to come up with its own flavor of BlackBerry’s new smartphone. They have already published photos with the device, in black and rose gold, and supposedly confirmed that a white flavor of the smartphone will also be released.

With the new look, the BlackBerry Q10 phone will certainly appeal to more users, though we doubt that there will be many of them who could afford purchasing one. The standard version of the smartphone, however, will be far more affordable, and should land on shelves starting with April this year. Sprint has already confirmed Q10’s landing on its LTE network.

BlackBerry Q10 in Gold
Image credits to Gold & Co. London via n4bb

Samsung Galaxy S IV Rumored Again for an April Release

Galaxy S IV, supposedly the next flagship Android device from Samsung, is expected to arrive on shelves sometime in April, new reports suggest.

The smartphone has been said to have been pegged for an April launch before, and it seems that things are slowly being confirmed. Leaked documents that have emerged over at Phone Arena suggest that Galaxy S IV might arrive on shelves on New Zeeland in the week after April 8 (when a promotion at a local retailer ends).

Furthermore, the device is rumored to be expected in the UK in the third week of April, although no official announcement on the matter has been made so far. Some of the latest rumors on Samsung’s next flagship Android device have also suggested that it might be officially unveiled on March 22, during an Unpacked event that Samsung plans for the US.

Galaxy S IV in leaked documents
Image credits to PhoneArena

Sony Preparing New Xperia Devices, Possible Naming Emerges Online

Japanese mobile phone maker Sony Mobile is reportedly gearing up for the launch of new handsets running under Google’s Android operating system and included in its popular Xperia lineup, and possible naming for them has been spotted online.

For example, the already spotted Sony C530X (C5302, C5303, C5306) “Huashan” is now said to arrive on shelves as the Sony Xperia SP, at least this is what info that emerged on Indonesia’s Postel Telecom site shows. The phone should arrive with a 1.7GHz dual-core processor inside, a 720p display similar in size with that of Xperia S, and Adreno 320 GPU, along with an Aluminum chassis.

Additionally, the company is said to plan the launch of a low-end Sony C210X (C2104, C2105), supposedly called Sony Xperia L, packing a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon CPU, FWVGA resolution, and Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.

Names of new Xperia devices emerge
Image credits to XperiaBlog

Most Efficient Supercomputer: Eurora with NVIDIA Tesla GPUs

“Titan” may be the most powerful supercomputer in the world at present time, but it is definitely not the one most apt at working full-throttle on the least energy. Italy's “Eurora” seems to have gained that title.

As it happens, NVIDIA's Tesla K2 GPU compute accelerators, which perform parallel processing tasks, are used in Eurora, just like they are present in Titan. The Cineca Facility in Bologna, Italy, the country's most powerful supercomputing center, managed to get Eurora to work at 3,150 megaflops per watt. This is a 26% improvement over the top system on the most recent Green500 list. For those who need a reminder, Top500 is the list of supercomputers according to top performance, while Green500 is the list according to energy efficiency. Eurora managed to outdo even the best of the best through a mix of the Eurotech Aurora Tigon hardware architecture, Aurora Hot Water Cooling technology (direct hot water cooling on all electronic and electrical components) and, of course, NVIDIA Tesla K20 cards.

Compared to air cooling, Hot-Water cooling reduces TCO (total cost of ownership) by 30-50% for data centers. As such, scientists (with access to Italy's HPC) researching material science, astrophysics, Earth sciences and life sciences can rest easy knowing they are doing it more efficiently than anyone else. Eurora was deployed Wednesday, January 30, 2013, at the aforementioned Cineca Facility in Bologna. It is a prototype system developed under the PRACE 2IP initiative. On a related note, a commercial version of the Eurotech Aurora Tigon supercomputer is available from Eurotech.

“Advanced computer simulations that enable scientists to discover new phenomena and test hypotheses require massive amounts of performance, which can consume a lot of power,” said Sanzio Bassini, director of HPC department at Cineca. “Equipped with the ultra-efficient Aurora system and NVIDIA GPU accelerators, Eurora will give European researchers the computing muscle to study all types of physical and biological systems, while allowing us to keep data center power consumption and costs in check.”

NVIDIA Tesla K20

NVIDIA-based Eurora supercomputer node
Images credits to nVidia

Evasi0n, iOS 6.1 Jailbreak Tool Has Linux Support

iOS 6.1 is fresh out the gate and there's already a group which has coded the jailbreak for this particular version. The tool they provide will also be available for the Linux platform.

It's not uncommon for developers to release Linux versions for their tools and it's nice to see that the guys who call themselves evad3rs decided to make the software multi-platform. According to the developers, the jailbreak tool, named evasi0n, will be compatible with all iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and iPad mini models running iOS 6.0 through 6.1. The software is not ready and they are in the process of finishing the GUI. It will be followed by a small period of beta testing and then everyone will be able to use evasi0n.

If you have any questions about the jailbreak process or jailbreaking in general, they also provide a comprehensive Q&A website. We'll keep you apprised with any developments on the evasi0n front.

Evasi0n tool
Image credits to evasi0n

BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 Full Specs

Now that Research In Motion (RIM) is known as BlackBerry and the company has fully committed to a new platform built by its engineers and designers from the ground-up, let’s take a look at the results.

They’re called BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 and they are the first products of the Canadian handset maker under the new designation, expected to go on sale starting today. The BlackBerry Z10 will be available in the UK beginning today, while other countries will get it over the next couple of weeks. The Z10 is the first full-touch smartphone powered by BlackBerry 10 platform, just as the Q10 is the first to feature a physical QWERTY keyboard. The former sports a more than decent 4.2-inch WXGA capacitive touchscreen display that supports HD (1280 x 768 pixels) resolution and 356ppi pixel density. On the inside, the smartphone is equipped with a 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon processor built on Krait architecture, which is complemented by an Adreno 225 graphics processing unit and 2GB of RAM.

There are 16GB of internal memory inside, but users will be able to expand it further up to 32GB via microSD memory card. The 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back features autofocus, LED flash and full HD (1080p) video recording, while the 2-megapixel front-facing camera is perfect for video calls or capturing HD (720p) video. There will be a few BlackBerry Z10 versions available on the market, so some might be fitted with LTE support, while other might not. Depending on the carrier and region, the BlackBerry Z10 will offer the best connectivity experience possible. Next up is BlackBerry Q10, which is now said to arrive on the market in April. The phone has been designed in the traditional BlackBerry-esque way, so expect the same high-quality QWERTY keyboard and stylish finishes.

BlackBerry Q10 packs a similar 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, but this one is made by Texas Instruments (OMAP 4470). In addition, the smartphone comes equipped with a PowerVR SGX544 graphics processing unit and 2GB of RAM. The phone’s AMOLED display measures exactly 3.1 inches and supports 720 x 720 pixels resolution and 330ppi pixel density, which is a bit unorthodox for a company like BlackBerry.  Unfortunately, BlackBerry did not unveil the amount of storage the Q10 embeds, but it has been confirmed the Q10 will come with microSD card slot memory expansion (up to 32GB). Last but not least, both BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 are powered by similar 1800 mAh Li-Ion batteries, which are rated for up to 10 hours of talk time.

BlackBerry Z10 and Q10

BlackBerry Z10

BlackBerry Q10

Images credits to RIM

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