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Dec 5, 2013

ASUS PadFone mini Receives GCF Approvals, Might Go Official Next Week

ASUS is reportedly getting ready for the launch of a new device in the popular PadFone lineup, one that would be called ASUS PadFone mini, and that is expected to include a 4.3-inch smartphone.

The handset has already made an appearance over at the Global Certification Forum, Ameblo found out, and it should become official as soon as the next week. Apparently, ASUS has already sent out invitations to a press event set to take place on December 11, where it might make the new device official, UnwiredView notes.

The handset is reportedly set to land on shelves with a screen capable of delivering a 960 x 540 pixels resolution, and it should be accompanied by a 7-inch tablet dock. Moreover, the new mobile phone is expected to pack a quad-core Snapdragon 400 MSM8226 processor inside, as well as dual-SIM capabilities. It should run under Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.

ASUS PadFone mini receives GCF approvals
Image credits to GCF

Android 4.4 KitKat ROM (Unofficial) for Galaxy Nexus Is Shaping Up Nicely

Galaxy Nexus owners out there were certainly unhappy when Google announced that no official Android 4.4 KitKat update would be released for them, but it seems that they will still be able to enjoy the benefits of this platform version.

Unofficial ROMs for the device are already available for download, offering a taste of the Android 4.4 sweetness, and one of them is shaping up nicely. It is based on CyanogenMod 11, the custom software that brings KitKat to more handsets out there, but it comes from XDA-Developers Forum member PlayfulGod. The custom ROM was released a few weeks ago, but it has already seen a series of updates, the latest of which was pushed out today. Apparently, most of the features and functions work pretty well at the moment, though there are some small bugs that still need to be addressed.

According to the developer, there is a graphic glitch that appears during screenshot animation, though the snapped images are fine. Furthermore, it appears that not all applications are getting along great with the Android 4.4 KitKat platform. All in all, the build should be quite stable, and those interested in downloading and installing so can head over to this thread in the XDA-Developers forum to grab it. The installation process is pretty straightforward and can be performed either from an SD card or through sideloading, with the help of a PC. When installing the ROM from the card, users should make sure that they backed up all data before proceeding, and that they also performed a factory reset. They will also need to install gapps separately.

Those who would like to take the ROM for a spin should keep in mind that it is unofficial software, and that they will be installing it at their own risk. They will be the only ones held responsible in the event that anything bad happens with the device.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Image credits to Google

Android 4.4.1 KitKat Brings Great Camera Enhancements to Nexus 5

Google has been rumored lately to be working on a new flavor of its Android operating system, one that would arrive on devices as an upgrade for the Android 4.4 KitKat OS release, and some more details on the matter are now available.

Apparently, the new platform release is set to roll out to devices out there in a matter of days, and it will bring along a nice range of camera enhancements, a recent article on The Verge reads. The OS upgrade will land as Android 4.4.1 KitKat, the same version that was spotted in server logs over the past several days. Following the update, owners of Nexus 5 devices should enjoy a much better experience when it comes to snapping photos with their devices, at least this is what Dave Burke, Google's director of Engineering for Android, reportedly explains. One of the improvements included in the update are related to autofocus, it seems. Nexus 5 comes with Optical Image Stabilization and can shoot appealing photos in low-light conditions, but it is a bit laggy in good lighting.

Thus, Android 4.4.1 will improve the camera speed by ensuring that it can read its surroundings fast, which results in better autofocus, exposure, and white balance. The contrast on photos has been modified as well, it seems. The camera app is said to be faster in the new platform release, and to bring along a new progress indicator in HDR+ mode. Other UI changes are also planned to be included in the camera UI in the not too distant future. Users will enjoy clearer photos even when shooting objects on the move, as the camera snaps images much faster than before. According to The Verge, taking more photos in a row will be easier after the update.

On the downside, however, is the fact that photos might appear as over-processed sometimes, and that focusing in low light is a bit slow. However, the app should receive more tune-ups soon, and this might be improved as well.

Nexus 5
Image credits to Google

ASRock Fatal1ty B85 Killer Motherboard with Fast and Intelligent LAN

The Killer LAN technology really is getting adopted by everyone involved in the gaming hardware industry, and ASRock has just added a motherboard to the list: ASRock Fatal1ty Z87 Killer.

Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 Series Gigabit LAN technology actively scans the bandwidth of a PC and the programs using it, and prioritizes games over everything else. This helps to cut latency, that small delay that can really put a damper on your enjoyment of a fast-paced shooter or real-time strategy game. It's not a totally new functionality, but Killer does do it better than any other solution, hence its success, to the point where it's become a brand name for OEMs. ASRock's newest motherboard integrates this functionality, enabling latency reductions of 47% in DOTA2, 60% in Diablo 3 and 136% in League of Legends. The motherboard has a bunch of other assets too though, like 15μ Gold Fingers for the PCIe slot, Hi-Density Power Connectors for the CPU power, and Purity Sound 115dB technology.

Then there's the free XSplit 3 month premium bundle, which normally costs $24.95 / €24.95. It will let you stream your gameplay sessions online, even in real time. Gold Capacitors are used as well, for extra lifespan. According to ASRock's announcement, the B85 Killer motherboard should last for 2.5 times longer than normal. As for the actual specs, the Fatal1ty B85 Killer benefits from an LGA 1150 socket, dual-channel DDR3-1600 memory (four slots), one PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot, one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot, two PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots and three legacy PCI slots as well.

Furthermore, ASRock included three video outputs (D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI), 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection and DTS connect, four SATA 6.0 Gbps ports, two SATA 2 ports, four USB 3.0 ports (2 front, 2 back), and eight USB 2.0 ports (4 front, 3 back, one for Fatal1ty Mouse Port). Sadly, the Windows 8.1-ready ASRock's Fatal1ty B85 Killer motherboard didn't get a price.

ASRock Fatal1ty B85 Killer motherboard
Image credits to ASRock

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