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Nov 18, 2013

Huawei Octa-Core Glory 4/Honor 4 to be Launched in December

In addition to planning the release of the true 8-core Ascend P6S smartphone this year, Chinese mobile phone maker Huawei is also looking into the launch of other octa-core devices as well, with the Glory 4 / Honor 4 included.

The company’s CEO Richard Yu has already confirmed this on Sina Weibo, suggesting that the two devices will prove great competitors against Xiaomi’s smartphones when landing in December. However, as UnwiredView notes, Huawei has been using the Glory 4 and Honor 4 names for the same device in different markets, so we won’t see two different handsets launched next month.

Apparently, Huawei will pack the new device with MediaTek’s MT6592 “true” octa-core processor, which should make it a high-end smartphone, that’s for sure. What remains to be seen is whether Huawei will price the new phone aggressively, the same as Xiaomi does with its products, and whether it will indeed register the success that it aims at.

Huawei Honor 3
Image credits to Huawei via mydrivers

New API to Bring Camera RAW to Android Devices

Soon, Android might be able to enjoy brand new camera capabilities on their devices, including support for Camera RAW, the latest reports on the matter suggest.

Apparently, Google has been working on enhancing the camera capabilities of the OS for quite some time now, and was even ready to bring said improvements to Android 4.4 KitKat, but opted out of this at the last minute. However, the company has been working on new camera API for the platform since December 2012, and might arrive in the not-too-distant future. As Arstechnica found in the commit for the feature, a new API class called “Android.hardware.photography” was planned for Android, capable of delivering brand new functionality to users. “Full-capability devices allow for per-frame control of capture hardware and post-processing parameters at high frame rates. They also provide output data at high resolution in uncompressed formats, in addition to compressed JPEG output,” the documentation about the new camera unveils.

Apparently, the new Camera API would arrive on older devices as well, though only newer, more capable handsets and tablets would be able to take full advantage of its features. One of these capabilities would be camera RAW, which is not listed as available for Jelly Bean devices, though should be available for KitKat products. “General RAW camera sensor image format, usually representing a single-channel Bayer-mosaic image. Each pixel color sample is stored with 16 bits of precision,” said documentation unveils. Having images saved in RAW rather than JPEG means that users will enjoy increased flexibility when it comes to post-processing, given that information is almost uncompressed and unprocessed.

The new API would also bring along support for a burst mode, as well as for face detection. Furthermore, mentions of a removable camera were also found, though it remains to be seen what exactly this feature is all about. No specific info on when we might see the new API and camera capabilities included in Android has been provided as of now, but Google did promise several months ago that better cameras would be available on Nexus smartphones, so stay tuned for more on this.

Google to release new camera API on Android, bringing camera RAW to devices
Image credits to Google

Google Engineer Explains Some Graphical Tweaks in Android 4.4 KitKat

Android 4.4 KitKat, the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system, comes with a series of small tweaks to the interface, including whitened icons in the status bar, and a Google engineer now explains why this has happened.

Apparently, the idea of turning all icons white was an aesthetic one, making the System UI a more neutral one and allowing apps to better manage their own color palettes, Dan Sandler explains on Google+. Another change made in the new OS flavor was the removal of network connectivity indicators from the status bar, and their appearance in the Quick Settings menu. The network indicator is still present on the homescreen next to the clock, but it appears only in white, without letting users know whether they are indeed connected or not. For that, they will have to head over to the Quick Settings, where the indicator would turn Orange when the connection drops (it used to be grey before). To know whether their data is being sent over a Wi-Fi connection or a mobile network, users will have to turn to the same Quick Settings once again in KitKat.

Apparently, the small in/out data traffic arrows from the RSSI impacted the performance of devices, and removing them from the status bar was not an entirely aesthetic decision. “The way the data bits are bubbled up and drawn was not only causing a ton of extra rendering work, but actually forcing a layout (!) in the status bar as well,” Dan Sandler notes. Both the CPU and GPU were impacted by the rendering of the two arrows, not to mention that this also drained the battery, and Google decided to save resources through moving them away. “In the end it seemed like a lot of work (and battery) for what was effectively visual noise, so this too was booted to Quick Settings where it would be available for us nerds,” Sandler concludes.

Undoubtedly, some will find it a bit annoying that they are no longer informed right on the homescreen about the network connectivity status of their devices, but they will grow accustomed to this, especially since they will enjoy improved performance.

Android 4.4 KitKat logo
Image credits to Google

Need for Speed Movie Gets Full Length Trailer

The Need for Speed movie starring Aaron Paul has just received a full length trailer that shows a lot more footage from the upcoming film, after the rather short teaser one that came out several weeks ago.

The Need for Speed game franchise has been around for many years and has spanned console generations but, rather surprisingly, no movie adaptations were ever devised. Things changed last year when EA partnered with Dreamworks to create a film based on the series, which rapidly went into production after signing big stars like Aaron Paul, of Breaking Bad fame.

Now, after a short teaser video some weeks ago, a full length version of the Need for Speed movie trailer has been released to coincide with the launch of the next game in the series - NFS: Rivals. As you can see above, Paul is set to go through some great adventures mostly revolving around illegal racing in high end sportscars. The NFS movie is out in March 2014.

Framed for a crime he didn't commit, muscle car mechanic and street racer Tobey (Aaron Paul) gets out of prison determined to settle the score with the man responsible for his false conviction. #NFSMovie
Video credits to NeedforSpeed

NVIDIA Tesla K40 is World's Fastest Graphics Accelerator

NVIDIA made a big splash on the supercomputing front when it launched the Tesla K20 last year, much more so than any previous GPU compute accelerator, and now it hopes to repeat the feat.

The company has introduced the Tesla K40, a Kepler card featuring 2,880 CUDA cores and 12 GB of RAM. It should be able to crunch numbers 40% faster than Tesla K20, despite its only having 192 more processing cores. Don't be shocked by the distinct lack of video ports. This card is specifically made for parallel computing. It won't be displaying images anytime soon.

Servers using the card already exist, and the University of Texas at Austin intends to use it in the Maverick remote visualization supercomputer (which will be put online in January 2014). IBM's Power8-based servers should soon support Tesla K40, as NVIDIA has made a partnership with it.

NVIDIA Tesla K40
Image credits to NVIDIA

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