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Apr 10, 2013

Diamond Multimedia BVU165 USB Display Adapters

Most laptops and many tablets have HDMI outputs, or some other type of connector that allows them to use a monitor or TV like a regular PC, even though they already have their own screens.

Some don't, however, or don't have the type of connector that the available display does. To make it easier to link things together in such instances, Diamond Media has introduced a DisplayLink certified, high performance memory adapter. Supported by both PC and Macintosh devices from Apple, it is composed of two adapters, for now. We imagine that more will come out over time, though there aren't that many video interfaces, so the final number of BVU Series connectors won't be that high. Anyway, the two adapters that do already exist are called BVU165 and BVU165LT. The former is a USB to DVI adapter, which is USB powered (of course). More than a converter, it is a memory adapter that supposedly substitutes for an internal graphics card.

Diamond media made it a point of specifying, in the press release, that the adapter consumes 80% less energy than an internal graphics card. With a starting price of $49.99 / 38 – 49.99 Euro, it should already be selling through Amazon, Best Buy, Fry's, Staples, and other authorized resellers. It includes HDMI and VGA adapters, which add further compatibility, which is always a good thing. As for the BVU165LT, it is basically the BVU165 without the VGA and HDMI adapters (LT stands for “Light”). The price, in this case, is $39.99 / 30.64-39.99 Euro. It is possible to combine multiple BVU165 for up to six-monitor display setups, with resolutions of 1600 x 1200 pixels or 1920 x 1080 pixels. Each display will need a separately bought adapter though.

Watch the video embedded below for an “interactive” look at the newcomers.

Add 1080P  Outpout Picture Resolutions
*Fully integrated into Windows XP™, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Mac OS X™
*1080p output picture resolution
*Supported Windows Vista™ Aero mode
*Stand alone device
*Fully USB 2.0 bus powered
*Compatible with all flat panel monitors
*1600 x 1200 and 1920 x 1080 (wide) max resolutions
*Standard and wide-screen ratio aspects
*High-definition displays
*Easy plug and play installation
*Mirror or extend in any direction
*Supports up to six displays 1 display per device. Maximum 6 devices per system
*80% less power than a dual-head video card
Video credits to dmmadmin2

Four Samsung Galaxy S4 Models Receive Approvals in China

Samsung’s new flagship Android-based smartphone, the Galaxy S4, is expected to arrive on shelves in China before the end of this month, and might be released in four different flavors, new reports suggest.

According to GSMinsider, the smartphone received the necessary approvals in China with model numbers GT-I9500, GT-I9502, GT-I9508 and SGH-I959 attached to it, and will become available on the networks of all major carriers there. Furthermore, it seems that the GT-I9500, GT-I9502 (China Unicom) and SGH-I959 (China Telecom – dual-SIM) flavors of the smartphone will hit shelves with the Exynos 5 Octa processor inside, while the GT-I9508 will be launched at China Mobile with a quad-core Snapdragon 600 CPU.

No specific info on when the smartphone will be released in the country has been provided as of now, but it might not be too long before these details are unveiled, so stay tuned.

Samsung Galaxy S4
Image credits to Samsung

Oppo Find 7 and Quad-Core R809T Leak, Very Thin

Chinese mobile phone maker Oppo is reportedly gearing up for the launch of new high-end smartphones running under Google’s Android operating system, after the successful release of its Oppo Finder and Oppo Find 5.

One of these handsets is supposedly set to hit shelves as Oppo Find 7, and is said to be very thin, though specific details on the device have yet to emerge. However, as a recent post on GizChina notes, a supposedly leaked photo of the device’s 0.2mm screen (though it might actually show Find 5’s display) claims that Find 7 will be able to deliver a 1920 x 1080 pixel full HD resolution and 441ppi. Provided that the info proves accurate, Oppo will be able to attract a lot of users on its side with the upcoming device, although it remains to be seen when exactly it will be released. In the meantime, however, we might have the chance to see another device from the company becoming official, also with a thin body, namely the Oppo R809T.

Rumor has it that this device will be officially launched on April 26, and that it will sport a 6.13 mm thin body. Additionally, the handset is said to pack a quad-core Mediatek MT6589 processor inside, along with 1GB of RAM, while featuring a 4.5-inch 720p touchscreen display. Interestingly enough, however, the yet unannounced smartphone is said to be priced rather high at launch, with a rumored 2,500 Yuan ($403 / 308 Euro) cost attached to it. With no official confirmation available on either of the two smartphones from Oppo, we’ll have to take the info above with a grain of salt. However, more details on both of them might emerge in the not too distant future, so keep an eye on this space to learn more on the handset vendor’s plans for them.

Oppo R809T
Image credits to anqu via GizChina

Android 5.0 (Key Lime Pie) Might Pack Built-in Video Chat

Google’s Android Jelly Bean operating system is almost one year old (although it did get refreshed in the 4.2 release in fall), and a successor might be set to be unveiled as soon as next month, in the form of Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie.

Nothing has been officially confirmed on this for the time being, but rumors on the matter did emerge before, and chances are that all will pan out in the end, and that users will get a taste of some appealing new features in the new platform version. In fact, as PhoneArena notes, the guys over at kinvey came up with a visual history of the various Android flavors that have already been unveiled, and also listed some of the enhancements that might make it in the next major Android release. 39 version updates have been released to users since Android’s launch, each with its own set of improvements, regardless of whether small or important, and unveiling of the next flavor of the OS in May at Google I/O seems to fall in line with Google’s current upgrade path.

According to a post on kinvey, some of the features that Key Lime Pie might be released on devices with include built-in video chat support, as well as enhanced social media integration. Performance profiles are also expected to be included in the platform, along with cross-device SMS sync, improved multi-device support, and app preview / freebie codes. Undoubtedly, Android would become even more appealing with such features inside, though their addition to the platform itself would also exclude some existing applications from the Google Play Store, given that their purpose is to offer video chatting or enhanced social networking features to users. Key Lime Pie has been said before to arrive on devices as a major upgrade for Android, yet official confirmation on it has yet to emerge, and we should take the above with a grain of salt for the time being.

Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie to bring appealing new features in May
Image credits to kinvey

This is How to Revert to the Old Small Chrome Menus

For a while now, Chrome, on Windows in particular, has been getting a new set of menus, bigger and whiter than before.

Google is doing this for the menus to work better with touch interfaces, but the vast, vast majority of people don't have touch input on their desktops and laptops and even those that do rarely use it. And for them, the new menus are a step backwards. While they look a bit slicker and cleaner than the stock Windows menus, they're also significantly larger, sometime taking up huge portions of the screen for no good reason. The good news is that, for now at least, you can disable the new style menus and revert back to the old ones. It's not hard to do it either, you just have to launch Chrome with the --disable-new-menu-style flag either from the command line or from a shortcut. On Windows, an easy way to do this is to right click on a Chrome shortcut, select properties and add the flag above in the target field after the path to Chrome, in the Shortcut tab.

As long as you launch Chrome from that shortcut, you'll get the old-style menus back. Don't get too excited though, Google is working on removing most platform specific code and this means UI code as well. There are some bugs with the old menu style already, as you can see in the screenshot of Chrome 28. It may be that at some point in the future, only the Chrome-provided UI elements, including menus, will be supported.  Considering that Google already has to implement features such menus and other things that are normally taken care of by the OS, in Chrome OS, it makes sense to use that code on all the platforms where Chrome is available, within reason, to reduce the amount code Google has to write twice or three or four times over, for each platform.

The old menus are still available, though it doesn't look like they'll be supported for long
Image credits to Google

The huge white menu takes up a lot of space
Image credits to Google

Samsung Galaxy Mega Priced at €699/$915

It looks like some retailers don’t even want to wait for a company to officially introduce its products to put it on sale.

The currently rumored Samsung Galaxy Mega is now up for pre-order in Germany via Notebooksbilliger online retailer. The smartphone has been priced at €700/$915, but it does not have a release date attached to it. For those unfamiliar with this unannounced device, Samsung Galaxy Mega is said to boast a huge 6.3-inch PLS HD capacitive touchscreen display.

The phone will be equipped with a 1.7GHz dual-core processor, 1.5MB of RAM and microSD card slot for memory expansion. The Galaxy Mega is expected to ship with either Jelly Bean 4.1.2 or Android 4.2 operating system out of the box. As SamMobile points out, it would be unwise to pre-order such an expensive device before it’s officially unveiled, so we recommend against it.

Samsung Galaxy Mega pre-order page
Image credits to Notebooksbilliger

HTC One Developer Edition and 32GB Unlocked Models Sold Out

Last week, Taiwanese mobile phone maker HTC announced the availability of a 64GB Developer Edition flavor of its HTC One flagship smartphone, and it seems that stock of the device has already been depleted.

The company has already announced on its Twitter account that the handset is sold out, and unveiled that the unlocked 32GB flavor of the device is out of stock as well. “HTC One Developer Edition sold out! Same for the 32GB unlocked. Both out of stock for now until we get more. Thanks for the great response,” the company announced.

No specific info on when new units will arrive has been provided, but HTC did confirm that ordered devices are expected to start shipping on April 18, one day before the smartphone hits shelves at various wireless carriers in the country. As HTCSource notes, the handset vendor has yet to offer details on how many units have been sold so far.

HTC One Developer Edition
Image credits to HTC

ZTE Geek with Intel Clover Trail+ Atom

Today, Chinese mobile phone maker ZTE announced the upcoming availability of its first smartphone to pack an Intel Clover Trail+ Atom processor, namely the ZTE Geek.

The new device was made official at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) Spring 2013 at the China National Convention Center in Beijing, and will hit shelves with the 32nm Z2580 platform inside, featuring two cores clocked in at 2.0GHz each. Featuring a 5-inch touchscreen display capable of delivering a 1280 x 720 pixel HD resolution, the new mobile phone will hit shelves with Google’s Android Jelly Bean platform loaded on top right from the start. Furthermore, the ZTE Geek packs 1GB of RAM, along with 8GB of internal memory, and features an 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back, along with a 1MP front camera for making video calls. The specs list of the new device also includes a 2300 mAh battery. According to ZTE, the Clover Trail+ processor inside this device will deliver increased performance capabilities to users, while also offering better graphics and reduced power consumption. “Our recent collaboration with Intel on the ZTE Geek builds off of the success of the Grand Series and further enhances our competitiveness in the high-end smartphone market,” said ZTE EVP and Head of the Mobile Devices Division, Mr. He Shiyou.

“This partnership also will improve customer experiences by providing them with more choices in the market.” The mobile phone will be released with support for UMTS 900/2100 frequencies, as well as with Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and built-in GPS receiver, Engadget reports. According to ZTE, the new device will be released as part of its focus on the high end of the market, though no specific details on when that might happen have been provided as of now. “ZTE has long emphasized the importance of user experiences. A key component of this is its longstanding partnership with Intel. When Intel first entered the mobile microchip field in 2012, ZTE released its first Intel-based smartphone, the Grand X IN, shortly thereafter,” the company said.

“This allowed ZTE to become the first company to launch a flagship smartphone powered by an Intel processor in the European market. The Grand X IN later became become the best-selling smartphone in Austria.”

ZTE Geek
Image credits to Engadget

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