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May 30, 2014

Microsoft Launches File Manager for Windows Phone 8.1, Download Now

With a market share of around 3.5%, Windows Phone is the third mobile operating system in the world. Microsoft's platform still has a lot to catch up if the Redmond-based company wishes to challenge the number two spot, Apple's iOS.

Unfortunately, there are lots of missing features from Windows Phone, which the competition has for quite some time now. One such features lacking in Windows Phone is a decent file manager. Since Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7, users have been asking the company to release a file manager that would make browsing through the phone's files much easier. Well, it looks like Microsoft has finally listened to its fans and a few year after the initial launch of the Windows Phone platform, the company releases the long-awaited file manager. “We all encounter a number of files in our daily lives across the various devices we use. And often times we need ways to manage these files and share them with others – even on our phones. We’ve heard your feedback loud and clear that managing files needs to be easier to do on your Windows Phone,” says Microsoft in a blog post. Dubbed Files, the file manager has been teased by Microsoft's Joe Belfiore during a Reddit AMA earlier this month. Files is the official file manager for Windows Phone devices, so users will be able to download it for free.

The bad news is Files is only compatible with Windows Phone 8.1, which is not yet available for download. However, those who installed the Developer Preview build on their smartphones should be able to install Files as well. The new file manager allows users to access all the stored on the smartphone. In addition, if the smartphone also packs an SD card, users can take advantage of Files' features access files on the SD card as well. Moreover, Microsoft also confirmed users can now browse through files and folders, open and search for files that are on the smartphone or on SD card storage, as well as create new folders and arrange files across those folders using move and copy functions.

You can rename and delete any files in the smartphone and developers also added the ability to share one or many files on the smartphone with friends, family or work colleagues. The application will probably reach more users the moment Microsoft decided to release Windows Phone 8.1 for general public. Until then only early adopters will be able to take advantage of its features. You can now download Files for Windows Phone for free via Windows Phone Store. Keep in mind that the application is only compatible with devices powered by Windows Phone 8.1 and up.

Files for Windows Phone 8.1 (screenshots)
Image credits to Microsoft

Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 HOF 6GB with Huge Overclock Released

Normally, factory overclocks to graphics cards are of just a couple of dozen MHz or so, but occasionally, someone launches a product that goes a fair bit beyond that. Galaxy's latest Hall of Fame graphics adapter is an example of that.

The new video board is a version of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 780, and is, obviously, called GTX 780 Hall of Fame, or HOF for short. You might know the GTX 780 from the time it was the second best video card. Now, though, it's just on the fourth spot in NVIDIA's lineup. Above it lie the GeForce GTX Titan Black, GeForce GTX 780 Ti and GeForce GTX Titan. And that's not counting the dual-GPU GTX Titan Z, or any other. The reference GeForce GTX 780 runs at 863 MHz on a normal day, but can jump to 928 MHz in a pinch. Those are the Base/Boost GPU frequencies as it were. The new one from Galaxy, however, has clocks of 1019 MHz and 1071 MHz, respectively. The better frequencies aren't the only advantage of the new adapter though. Having twice the regular amount of memory should definitely help as well.

You see, the GeForce GTX 780 usually makes do with 3 GB of GDDR5 VRAM, but the Galaxy GTX 780 Hall of Fame (HOF) has six. The frequency of the memory was left alone though, at 6 GHz, unlike that of the Kepler GK110 GPU. Speaking of which, the GPU has 2,304 CUDA cores, 192 TMUs (texture mapping units), 48 ROPs (raster operating units), and a 384-bit wide memory interface. Finally, the new video board benefits from a 10-phase VRM (voltage regulating module), dual-BIOS (a toggle switch at the I/O bracket lets you revert settings) and, of course, a custom cooler (dual 90mm fans, silver-grey shroud, direct-contact heat pipes and vapor chamber plate). The Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 Hall of Fame 6 GB video controller can connect to one or more monitors/TVs via dual-link DVI (two ports), DisplayPort and HDMI.

Unfortunately, the newcomer has not been given a price, but with the normal GTX 780 costing $500 - $600 / €500-€600, we can safely assume that the newcomer has a tag of around $700-$800 / €700-€800. Galaxy hasn't posted the product page for the newcomer yet, but for all the technical details, you can just drop by the GTX 780 HOF 3GB page, because the new one is identical save for double the memory amount.

Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 HOF 6GB
Image credits to Galaxy

iPhone 6 Back Cover with Apple Logo Cutout Leaked

With perhaps only days to go before we catch our first glimpse of the iPhone 6, a new photo is making the rounds showing what appears to be the first leaked rear shell featuring an actual Apple logo cutout. Other design particularities that stand out from this image include the radio windows and the circular LED Flash hole.

The launch date of the iPhone 6 is anybody’s guess. Some have argued that it should roll out sooner than in previous years so that people will stop calling it a sloth in the innovation department. Others are more conservative, saying that Tim Cook & Co. will stick to the traditional fall refresh cycle. “Unidentified supply-chain sources” cited by Reuters said August was the launch date. But one thing is almost fully confirmed: the design. Featuring a much slimmer profile, rounded corners, tapered edges and a bigger form factor to accommodate a larger screen, the iPhone 6 will look like a cross between iPod touch and iPhone 5. According to this photo leaked by MacFixit, Apple is sticking with the antenna windows on the back (the top and bottom stripes), and the LED flash will return to a circular design. The iPhone 5s part has a pill-shaped cutout for what is called a TrueTone Flash. It seems it hasn’t worked as intended and Apple may be going back to a regular LED Flash.

Probably the most notable aspect about this leak is the Apple logo cutout, a first for all iPhone 6 cases leaked so far. In all fairness, this could well be the final design of the iPhone 6. The case seems to be made from metal and covered with a thin plastic film for protection. Strangely, the case seems to be damaged. A defect is visible in the lower part of the case. Those are either puncture holes created by a sharp object that ran through the part, or impurities caught under plastic film as it was strapped over the case. This is reportedly the shell for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6. Later this year, an even bigger model is said to be rolling out, featuring a 5.5-inch display.

According to one rumor, Apple will charge an extra $100/€100 for this year’s model, as the bill of materials for the iPhone 6 is much higher than that of its predecessor. However, this rumor is unfounded and quite unlikely to materialize.

iPhone 6 back cover
Image credits to MacFixit

Japan Display Introduces 7-Inch WQXGA “WhiteMagic” Tablet Display

Japan Display is a name most of us are familiar with, as the company is famous for putting out mobile displays that pack impressive pixel densities and offer high resolution.

Their latest effort is targeted at the tablet space, as the panel maker has just pulled the veil off a new HD tablet display. The screens will rely on the “WhiteMagic” technology that has been designed to provide improved outdoor visibility and lower power consumption when one is using the device indoors, reports TechBlog. WhiteMagic is not exactly a newcomer to the world of tech. Back in 2012, Sony introduced the Xperia P smartphone, which arrived with a 4-inch screen that featured WhiteMagic. Now Japan Display is aiming for the larger display category, by offering the 7-inch prototype aimed for implementation into tablet products. The new display is a 7-incher that arrives with 2560 x 1600 pixel resolution and an impressive 431 ppi and 160 degree viewing angles.

The WhiteMagic technology makes use of red, green, blue and white subpixels, as opposed to the usual RGB which uses only red, green and blue. Compared to traditional displays, using this particular technique will provide the same level of brightness, but it will end up consuming lower amounts of energy. Furthermore, it allows the screen to be twice as bright in outdoor environments. Japan Display goes on to mention, the new screen is capable of better controlling the backlight than earlier iterations of the technology. According to them, WhiteMagic will provide up to 20% improvements in the power consumption department. For those curios to see how this new baby behaves in real life, Japan Display will be putting the new screen on display at the SID Display Week, an event scheduled to kickstart on June 1.

Nevertheless, even if we will get to see screen prototypes displayed into the wild, it will still be some time before tablet products bundling WhiteMagic tech will arrive on the market. Japan Display is made up of Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi, so we can expect to see the first 7-inch high-res devices with bright displays be rolled out under one of their banners. In related news, back in April, Japan Display announced it had developed a 10.1-inch LCD prototype for tablets, capable of supporting 2,840 x 2,160 pixels (4K2K). Like with the 7-inch screen outlined above, Japan Display makes an emphasis on low power consumption. The 4K display takes advantage of low-temperature poly silicone technology, so the slate can consume the lowest amounts of energy.

Japan Display launches WhiteMagic tablet display
Image credits to TechBlog

BBM for Android 2.2 Now Available for Download

BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) was launched on both Android and iOS platforms last year, but the instant messaging application did no come with all the features available in the corresponding client for BlackBerry operating system.

In the last couple of months, BlackBerry released several updates for BBM for Android/iOS, which added some of the missing features, as well as small improvements and bug fixes. Today, the Canadian company has announced that a new version of BBM should hit Android and iOS smartphones in the next couple of days. As a matter of fact, we have just captured the update, which means that the rollout is definitely happening faster than expected. If you expect the update to bring major features, like video calls, then you will be disappointed. However, we strongly suggest Android and iOS users who already have BBM installed on their devices to update to the latest version in order to benefit from all the improvements and bug fixes included. But first things first. According to BlackBerry, the latest update adds a much simpler sign up procedure for new BBM users: “One of the ways that we’ve done this is by simplifying the sign up process for BBM. 

We’ve cut down the number of fields it takes to get signed up, so you can start chatting and sharing even faster. Name. Email. Password. That’s all you need to get started on BBM! For those of you already on BBM today, this change won’t impact you at all,” explains BlackBerry’s Jeff Gadway in a blog post. Developers have also made it easier for BBM users to add new contacts through email. Basically, you will only need to click the link inside the BBM invitation received by email and it will be added to your contacts. There’s no need to send a PIN invite back anymore. BlackBerry has also confirmed that it has renamed the “Updates” tab “Feeds” and it has added 16 new emoticons, including a hotdog, maracas, hacker and hot lips.

Last but not least, lots of bug fixes and under the hood performance improvements have been added to the update as well for a much smoother BBM experience. The Canadian company has also confirmed that it will release a major update for BBM for BlackBerry in a couple of weeks, which will contain “many of the things we’ve talked about here…and a few special things added for good measure.” You can now download BBM for Android 2.2 for free via Google Play Store. The application should be fully compatible with all devices powered by Android 2.3.3 and up.

BBM for Android 2.2 (screenshots)
Image credits to BlackBerry

Z97 GAMING 9 AC Custom-Designed Motherboard by MSI for the Public

Once upon a time, “professional gamer” would have been a nonsensical phrase, but when there are actual game tournaments with lots of cash at stake, you can't really scoff in skepticism anymore. And you don't get to glance oddly at high-end motherboards either.

On that note, MSI has introduced the Z97 GAMING 9 AC “custom-designed motherboard.” The company didn't actually say what it means by “custom-designed,” but we suspect it has to do with the various surveys that IT companies periodically conduct via social networking websites. Anyway, you'd think that MSI would take the time to gush about the expansion capabilities, memory or networking features. What really happened in the press release was different. The company spent time lauding the Dragon Armor (smooth, cooling covers for the important PCB parts), the Wi-Fi AC & Bluetooth 4.0 with Intel WiDi support and, last but not least, the Xtreme Audio DAC. In fact, the audio technology saw the most attention. MSI made sure that no one would miss the relevance of the premium onboard sound card whose capabilities are on par with the best add-in audio cards.

We're looking at 120dB Signal-to-Noise-Ratio (SNR) 192kHz / 32-Bit, C-Media HD Audio Processor, Wolfson WM8741 DAC and Texas Instruments TPA6120A2 amplifier, plus a pair of TI OPA1652 amplifiers, 1 per channel. Professional headphones of up to 600 Ohms will be put through their paces (high-end headphones can have 250 Ohms or less, so that's impressive). You can fine all the info on the new, mighty motherboard on MSI's Z97 Gaming motherboard website. Only the price is still unknown.

Image credits to MSI

May 27, 2014

LG G3 Goes Official with 5.5-Inch QHD Display, 13MP Camera and Metallic Skin

LG's new flagship smartphone has just been officially unveiled during a 1-hour launch event held in London, UK. Dubbed LG G3, the sequel to one of the best Android smartphones launched last year, the G2, will be available on the market beginning tomorrow, May 28.

However, according to LG, the G3 will only be available for purchase in South Korea, but the phone will be launched worldwide in over 170 soon afterwards. The smartphone will go on sale in four color options: Metallic Black, Silk White, Shine Gold, Moon Violet and Burgundy Red. No word on the price tag yet, but we expect more details on the matter to emerge in the coming days, so stay tuned for more on this one. LG's officials speaking at the launch event focused their speeches on three core technologies that make the G3 unique among Android smartphones, Display, Camera and Design, and three key user experience The G3 was created with simplicity in mind and ironically this isn't that easy to achieve. “Simple is the new smart” is the G3 logo and is meant to emphasize that while smartphones usually rely on complex technologies, LG managed to reach a certain level of simplicity that consumers want. LG claimed it turned back to the basics in order to get more with less effort and make everything easier. Ultimately, it's consumers that will decide whether or not LG managed to achieve what they wanted in the first place.

LG G3 includes industry leading display technology

Contrary to what other handset makers claim, the human eye can distinguish quality differences above 300ppi (pixel per inch). This is a common fact in the printing industry where art books and other such high-quality materials are printed at around 300lpi (lines per inch). With the introduction of the G3, LG managed to achieve what the printing industry is now referring to as art book quality printing. The 5.5-inch display included in the LG G3 features quad-HD resolution (2560 x 1440 pixels) and 538ppi (pixel per inch). Thanks to the new technology incorporated in the LG G3 display, users will be able to see images that are sharper, crisper and clearer than any other smartphone available in the market. Most of all, the phone's display offers impressive color reproduction. But what about power consumption? It's a common fact that larger display drain the battery much faster, not to mention that the higher the resolution the faster the energy is consumed.

A full HD display would consume up to 20% more battery than a smartphone that sports an HD (720p) screen, so naturally the LG G3's quad HD display should drain even more energy. However, LG optimized the G3's display to consume less energy than normal by using three innovative technologies: Adaptive frame rate, Adaptive clocking and Adaptive timing control. Basically there are three way to reduce the battery consumption of the LG G3, according to how you use the phone's display. Given these improvements, the battery of the G3 about 20% more efficient. By using Adaptive frame rate unnecessary battery consumption can be minimized. For example, when you are looking at still image, the display uses less energy than a standard quad HD display would. Adaptive clocking reduces battery consumption through CPU clock optimization. 

Now let's talk about the display's size and ergonomics. Due to its thin bezels, the G3 is closer in terms of form factor to a 5-inch smartphone than to a 5.7-inch phablet.  This means the G3 is more comfortable to use with one hand, while at the same time offering the benefits of a large 5.5-inch display. According to LG, at 5.5-inch, the G3 has a screen ration of 76%, which means more of the phone's front side is dedicated to the display. 

Camera is faster than the blink of an eye, literally

Not long ago handset makers were focusing on the number of megapixels in their cameras, instead of finding ways to improve the quality of the pictures taken. More recently though all major players in the smartphone market developed their own imaging technologies that would focus on quality instead of just the number of megapixels. But what about LG? Well, it appears that G3's camera has been designed with two goals in mind: high-quality pictures and fast capturing. For a major handset maker such as LG it's not that hard to achieve the “high-quality picture” aspect for its cameras, but in order to offer users the possibility to capture these high-quality pictures fast, they had to integrate a certain technology into the G3 that is only available in high-end SLRs. Here are the three breakthroughs of the LG G3 13-megapixel camera: Laser Auto Focus, Enhanced OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) and exceptional audio quality for video recording.

With the laser technology, the G3's camera can achieve autofocus in just 0.276 seconds. By comparison, it takes a brain signal 0.300 seconds to reach the hand; it takes the same amount of time to a human eye to blink. Basically, this means that LG G3's camera can focus on a subject faster than the blink of an eye. Next in line, the new enhanced OIS (optical image stabilization) technology is 20% times better than the standard version included in the G2. This is why LG has decided to simplify the process of taking a picture from the conventional way of focusing on the subject and than pressing the shutter button, into just one step process. All you need to do is touch the area you want to capture and thanks to the enhanced OIS your pictures will be sharper and crisper than ever. You can forget those blurry pictures taken while on the move thanks to G3's new camera technology. LG was wise enough to improve the front-facing camera as well and made it perfect for selfies. The 2.1-megapixel camera in the front is not only good for video calls, but it has been especially tailored to take the best selfies. According to LG, the G3's front camera features an enlarged sensor, an increased number of lenses and features improved resolution.

LG also made it easier for G3 users to take selfies. Simply raising the hand in front of it will signal the camera that you are ready to take your photo. The camera than starts a countdown that enables users to pose for the picture. The third G3 camera cornerstone is video recording. With the LG G3 users can experience high-quality audio during phone calls, while they listen to music, but also when filming or watching movies. Aside from the fact that it includes more microphones, it also offers improved mic quality and enhanced speakers with boost amp. On top of that, if you shoot a video in a noisy area, the G3 will assess the ambient noise levels and automatically choose the best setting for sound recording. 

Design – “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” (Leonardo da Vinci)

The G3 has been built on the highly-praised G2 design, which received lots of awards last year. Based in the new “simple is the new smart” philosophy, LG G3 features a simple and sleek, yet stylish design. In order to match the sophisticated finish on the back, LG has redesigned the graphic user interface (GUI) following the same “simple is the new smart” concept. Another design attribute of the G3 is its hidden curves. Basically, the form factor and the sleek curves of the smartphone are the result of countless tests to determine the optimal radius of a large screen smartphone. This is supposed to solve the grip-ability issue for smartphones that have higher than 5-inch displays.

Last but not least, the back cover of the G3 is made of a metallic skin that should offer a sophisticated look and feel. The skin is covered with a matte overlay which should make certain the smarpthone will not be covered with fingerprints. The famous “rear key” placed under the main camera has been enhanced. The height and angle of the power key and volume have been optimized, while the materials and textures have been improved to offer a more intuitive layout. LG G3 has been confirmed to pack a 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor inside, along with an Adreno 330 graphics processing unit and, depending on the model, either 2GB or 3GB of RAM. The same goes for the storage inside, as LG announced the G3 will be available in 16GB and 32GB variants, both of which featuring microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 128GB).

The smartphone is powered by a removable 3,000 mAh battery and offers a range of connectivity options, including 4G, LTE, HSPA+, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Smart Ready, NFC (Near Field Communication), SlimPort and GPS with GLONASS.

Images credits to LG Mobile

Intel Haswell-E HEDT CPUs Made for New 2011-Pin Socket and DDR4 Memory

If you thought that the Devil's Canyon processors were the only high-end Haswell chips still coming out this year, prepare to be proven wrong. The Core i7 HEDT lineup has just been detailed too.

HEDT stands for High-End Desktop and is a stamp applied to those motherboards and central processing units that are just too overpowered for consumers. And by that we mean that they have specs that are too overkill even for hardcore gamers, though there is nothing stopping such people from buying the things is they have enough cash. Still, the fact is that they are always overpowered. And this definitely holds true for the upcoming Core i7 Haswell-E HEDT processor lineup. There are three chips, but they are all superior to even the Devil's Canyon CPU lineup that will make its debut this summer. According to information published on Coolaler website, there will be three Core i7 HEDT Haswell-E CPUs on the market later this year.

All of them will be compatible with the X99 chipset and the new LGA 2011 socket that the Santa Clara chip giant is preparing. You see, you won't be able to use the chips with existing LGA 2011 mainboards, because the new CPUs will support quad-channel DDR4-2133 MHz memory, and the current-generation core-logic can't cope with that. The best of the lineup (there seem to be three processors in the series) is the 8-core Core i7-5960X, with 16 logical CPUs (Threads, thanks to HyperThreading technology), 20 MB L3 cache memory, and clock speeds of 1.2 GHz base, 3 GHz top. Two x16 PCI Express slots are supported by the root complex, as well as a 1 x8 slot. All for a TDP (thermal design power) of 140W.

Second in the series, strength-wise, is the Core i7-5930K, with six cores, 15 MB cache memory, clocks of 1.2 GHz / 3.5 GHz, and the same PCI Express link setup as above (so it can split to x8/x8/x8/x8, + an fifth extra, for quad-graphics configs and a slot left over for whatever else, like an SSD). Finally, there's the Core i7-5820K, which is almost identical to the Core i7-5930K but might not support HyperThreading and is limited to an upper Turbo Boost speed of 3.3 GHz. Its PCIe loadout is one x16, one x8 and one x4. All three have (or will have) the unlocked BClk multiplier and prices of down to as little as sub-$400 / €$400.

Intel Core i7 HEDT LGA 2011 CPUs detailed
Image credits to Intel

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 Scores 35K Points in AnTuTu

Despite recently launching the premium Galaxy TabPRO / NotePRO line, Samsung seems to determined to introduce a new lineup of high-end tablets with AMOLED displays.

Granted, the devices have been rumored for a while now, so much that at one point their existence was actually questioned. Anyhow, the slates will finally make a real-life appearance at the “Galaxy Premiere” event scheduled for June 12. The Galaxy Tab S specifications have been leaked before, but now the smaller of the two has shown up in the AnTuTu benchmark database (via Gforgames) bringing yet another confirmation, in case you were in need of another. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 will arrive with an 8.4-inch display and boasts a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels. Power will come from an Exynos 5 Octa 5420 SoC with frequencies up to 1.9GHz. The device will be fitted with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. In the photography department, Samsung will be added the usual two cameras (8MP on the back and 2MP up in front). Like most of Samsung’s recent devices, the tablet will enjoy the benefits of arriving with Android 4.4.2 out of the box.

This we already knew, but now we can also add the tablet has scored 35,713 points in the AnTuTu database. Now for those of you who are wondering what the main differences between the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and the 8.4-inch counterpart from the TabPRO lineup are, it should be highlighted that the Tab S arrives with a Super AMOLED display, while the latter takes advantage of an LCD panel. Anyway, yesterday we finally saw the first picture really showing the beautiful display of the AMOLED tablet put to work. Recent leaked photographs showcased the tablet, but none of them showed what the display is capable of. But in a humorous turn of events, a low-resolution image surface revealing crisp colors on the AMOLED display.

Surely, we’ll still have to wait until the tablet actually get released into the wild, before making a real assessment of the display, but the teaser image seems encouraging. In related news, at the “Galaxy Premiere” event we might see Samsung unveil another tablet, in the form of the 13.3-inch model that has been making rounds around the web some months ago. The slate has been dubbed “Warhol” and it will supposedly arrive with an LCD display but provide the same advanced WQHD resolution.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 shows up in AnTuTu
Images credits to AnTuTu

May 26, 2014

Samsung Testing Android 4.4.3 KitKat for Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S4 LTE-A

Google has already announced Android 4.4.3 KitKat, which is supposed to fix some camera issues found in the mobile platform, but the update has yet to be released.

Well, it looks like a final version of Android 4.4.3 KitKat has been provided to handset makers, as confirmed by an internal document leaked recently via SamMobile. According to this document, Samsung is currently testing Android 4.4.3 KitKat update for Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S4 LTE-A. Unfortunately, there’s no ETA for the release of the update, as Samsung has tagged it with the “integrating” status. This means it might take at least one month until the upgrade may be ready for these two particular smartphones, and that’s if nothing wrong happens during testing.

The bad news is only two smartphones have been confirmed by this internal document to receive the Android 4.4.3 KitKat update, which means those who own other devices will have to wait a lot longer to get it in case Samsung decided to make it available for other models as well. We will keep an eye out for any additional details on the release of Android 4.4.3 KitKat for Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S4, so stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Samsung internal document
Image credits to SamMobile

MediaTek Will Not Launch Chipsets Supporting Windows Phone Anytime Soon

There has been a lot of talk regarding MediaTek’s alleged adoption of Windows Phone platform in its chipset design, but nothing concrete has emerged yet.

Even though some Chinese vendors have claimed that their Windows Phone handsets will be powered by MediaTek chipsets, and thus will be much cheaper than those equipped with Qualcomm’s SoCs, Microsoft and MediaTek were mum on the matter. In fact, Microsoft announced at some point that for the time being, it only supported Qualcomm reference design chipsets for Windows Phone, so MediaTek’s products are out of the question for the moment. It’s unclear why the Redmond-based company does not wish to co-opt another chipset manufacturer that would be able to produce cheaper SoCs for Windows Phone, but Microsoft might not be the one to blame here. It appears that MediaTek plans to focus a considerable amount of its production on the 4G smartphone market, which is now booming in China.

Digitimes reports that MediaTek is less likely to launch any smartphone chipset platform for Windows Phone this year, as the company is now looking for a way to boost its production of 4G chipsets. The information was provided by sources familiar with the matter, who also claim that MediaTek will try to ramp up its 3G chipsets production for handset makers in China, which are now looking to expand their businesses overseas. The first Windows Phone handsets launched by Chinese OEMs should arrive in the second half of 2014, even though some of these vendors are reluctant to releasing devices powered by Microsoft’s mobile platform due to higher costs than initially estimated.

Even though Microsoft has offered Windows Phone license for free, most Chinese OEMs are not ready to adopt the platform for mass production due to high costs. MediaTek’s chipsets could have reduced these costs considerably if the chipset vendor had decided to jump into the Windows Phone caravan and start producing SoCs for this mobile operating system. Anyway, the good news is that Qualcomm has already launched QRD (Qualcomm Reference Design) smartphones for Windows Phone, so Chinese vendors should start working on their handsets. Given the fact that the information reported by Digitimes hasn’t been confirmed yet, we suggest our readers to take it with a grain of salt until one of the two companies comes forward with an official statement. It’s also worth mentioning that MediaTek can eventually start producing chipsets for Windows Phone beginning next year, so not all is lost for the Chinese handset makers looking for ways to cut costs on manufacturing.

MediaTek logo
Image credits to MediaTek

New Samsung Galaxy Tab S Pic Leaks, Shows Crisp Colors on AMOLED Display

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S unveiling is just around the corner and excitement levels are rising in anticipation of the event.

Samsung’s AMOLED set of tablets have been in the rumor mill for a long time, but were covered in deep layers of mystery. The standout feature here is the display technology which will allow the beautiful rendering of colors. So far, the Galaxy Tab S line-up has been teased in a few photos, but none of them showed what the display was actually capable of. Now a new picture posted by SamMobile, showcasing the 10.5-inch model, gives us a window into how the display differs from the standard LCD counterpart. The colors in the image seem quite crisp but of course, we’ll have to wait until the tablets make it into the wild before correctly assessing their quality. The Galaxy Tab S family is expected to be unveiled on June 12 in New York. The slates will arrive in 10.5-inch and 8.4-inch flavors sporting a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels and will draw life from an octa-core Exynos 5420 CPU with four 1.9GHz Cortex-A15 cores and four 1.3GHz Cortex-A7 cores.

The slates will run Android 4.4 KitKat out the box and come with a finger print scanner housed in the home button just like with Samsung’s latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S5.

New Samsung Galaxy Tab S shows up in new pic
Image credits to SamMobile

Dual-Core Radeon R9 290X Graphics Card from PowerColor Is an Odd Piece of Work

You'd think that with Advanced Micro Devices selling the Radeon R9 295 X2 graphics card, its OEMs would do the same, but PowerColor decided to both follow and not follow in AMD's footsteps.

Which is to say, the OEM has released a dual-GPU Radeon R9 graphics card based on two Hawaii XT graphics processing units, but not actually called Radeon R9 295 X2. Instead, PowerColor settled for the following moniker: PowerColor Radeon R9 Devil 13 Dual Core R9 290X. It's like saying that you have two Radeon R9 290X boards fused together. Nevertheless, it's the same thing as the R9 295 X2 but under a different name. Well, not really. PowerColor seems to have used its own idea for a PCB (printed circuit board) and integrated circuit layout. Also, the core specifications are not the same as those on the R9 295 X2. The GPU frequency is of 1000 MHz instead of 1018 MHz, for one thing. Also, the newcomer has a triple-fan air cooler, instead of the hybrid air+water cooling module that AMD added to the R9 295X2.

On the flip side, the memory arrangement is the same though: 4 GB GDDR5 for each Hawaii XT graphics processing unit, connected via 512-bit interface. So, there are 8 GB of memory at 5 GHz operating over a total bandwidth of 1,024 bits. Add to that the crate-like box that the product ships in and there is more than enough reason to question why PowerColor would give its product a different price at all. We'd be tempted to think it's a misspelling, if PowerColor hadn't used the name Devil 13 Dual Core R9 290X in every single instance in its press release, and on the spec table too.

Anyway, at least the OEM included one of its own inventions: the Turbo Timer, a patent-pending device that keeps the video board cooler active even after the PC has been turned off, for a time. You get to specify the time. This way, the card will cool quickly and last for a longer time, which is good considering that this is a top-tier board you shouldn't need to replace for a decade, or half of it at least. Finally, the triple-fan cooler of the Devil 13 Dual Core R9 290X uses double blades design for the spinner. You can see what we mean in the pictures above and below: the fan blades each have a smaller one extending from them at the base.

PowerColor Devil 13 Dual Core R9 290X
Images credits to PowerColor

May 25, 2014

New Part Leak Corroborates iPhone 6 Display Size – 4.7 Inches

Leaked in China by Sina Weibo (a social platform akin to our own Twitter), the part reportedly measures precisely 4.7 inches on the diagonal, which corroborates talks of the smartphone boasting a bigger display to compete with Samsung’s big handsets.

The component is said to be the LCD backlighting module which makes things on the screen visible with different brightness variations, depending on the level set by the user. The LCD backlighting module does not hold the LCD display itself. Rather, it is just a thin piece of material containing light-conducting pathways meant to evenly spread out the light coming from a small number of LEDs around the frame. In addition to its much bigger size, the module appears to have a redesigned connector. A comparison between the current-generation (iPhone 5s) part and the upcoming (iPhone 6) part is made in the above picture. The connector plug (that goes either onto the phone’s mother board or the display array) is not only longer and narrower, but also has a different pin layout. This is expected, as the entire phone’s innards are likely to have a completely different layout and form factor, mainly determined by the overall redesign of the smartphone.

Considering the abundance of leaks occurring in recent weeks, it is reasonable to assume that Apple is at least ready to begin assembling the next-generation devices, though some reports have gone as far as to claim that iPhone 6 production was in full swing. Various depictions of the end design created by concept artists based on leaked schematics indicate that Apple has achieved an even slimmer design with the bigger iPhone 6. The handset will reportedly embody design elements from the iPad and the iPod touch, including the tapering around the edges (most visible on the back of the device). Apple is using a metal construction yet again, according to photos depicting case molds and machinery meant to act as dies for casting. These leaks have yet to be corroborated but similar reports have proved accurate in the past (for device generations including the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s).

Avid fans of Apple’s smartphones will have to wait until at least August to see Tim Cook and Co. lift the cloth off the new generation of iPhones which may or may not include an even bigger version featuring a 5.5-inch display. While there are considerably fewer leaks pertaining to this version of the handset, rumor has it that Apple is planning on fighting Samsung in the phablet segment as well. The bigger phone would presumably have a wider extent of new features, including Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, and other stuff. The iPhone 6 could also be priced a little higher because of its more expensive bill of materials (BOM) resulted from new parts, the bigger screen, and the overall novelties in technology and the assembly process.

Comparison between iPhone 6 and iPhone 5s backlighting modules
Images credits to Weibo via NoWhereElse.fr

LG G3 for Verizon Leaks in Press Photo

Next week, South Korean mobile phone maker LG Electronics will make official its next flagship Android-based smartphone, the LG G3, and it seems that Verizon Wireless will be one of the carriers to add it to its offering.

Leaked press photos with the Verizon flavor of the high-end mobile phone have emerged online today, courtesy of evleaks, showing the very same design that the device was already spotted with a while ago. The carrier’s branding is clearly visible on the back plate of the smartphone, as well as on top of the screen, so there’s no question about the availability of the handset on its network. However, we should note that other wireless carriers in the United States have been said to plan on launching the smartphone as well, including T-Mobile and Sprint.

For those out of the loop, we should note that LG is expected to release the phone on May 27 and that it will unveil it with a 5.5-inch 2K screen, as well as with a 2.3GHz quad-core processor, paired with 3GB of RAM. The phone is also said to pack a 13-megapixel camera on the back, with 4K video recording capabilities, as well as a front camera for video calling. It will run under the Android 4.4.2 KitKat operating system right from the start.

LG G3 for Verizon
Image credits to evleaks

May 23, 2014

LG Releases Three New LG G3 Promo Videos

South Korean mobile phone maker LG Electronics has already confirmed plans to make its next flagship Android-based smartphone official on May 27, and the company has started to tease more of the phone’s features and capabilities.

Today, the vendor has published three new promo videos for the LG G3, in an attempt to provide some more details on its camera, outer design, and display. As previously rumored, the mobile phone will arrive on the market with a 13-megapixel camera that will be accompanied by a new laser auto-focus system, and the first clip embedded below appears to confirm that. The second video is meant to offer a closer look at the handset’s outer design, which once again confirms the metallic brushed finish that previously leaked photos with the G3 have unveiled.

As for the third clip, it appears set to show more on what the 5.5-inch Quad HD touchscreen display of LG G3 will have to offer to its users. The videos are short, but they do make us want to see more of the smartphone. With all of the necessary details on it set to become official as soon as the next week, keep an eye on this space to learn more on the matter.

LG G3 promo video
Image credits to Youtube

G3 TVC Teaser - Camera편
G3 광고 속 힌트의 답을 찾아주세요.
추첨을 통해서 푸짐한 선물을 드립니다~

G3 TVC Teaser - Design편
G3 광고 속 힌트의 답을 찾아주세요.
추첨을 통해서 푸짐한 선물을 드립니다~

G3 TVC Teaser - Display편
G3 광고 속 힌트의 답을 찾아주세요.
추첨을 통해서 푸짐한 선물을 드립니다~

Videos credits to LGMobile KR

Sony D2403 Is Another Mid-Range Smartphone with 4.7-Inch Display, Quad-Core CPU

Sony Mobile is one of the few major handset makers that have announced several mid-range Android smartphones this year, but some of them are yet to be released on the market.

Only Samsung and probably LG have announced that they will release a similar (or higher) number of smartphones in the first half of the year. Those who did not find any of the mid-range Android smartphones announced by Sony Mobile appealing enough will be pleased to know that the Japanese company is readying yet another mid-range handset. Dubbed Sony D2403, the smartphone has just appeared at GFXBench benchmarking website and judging by the specs listed, it’s aimed at the mid-range handset market. As always, we recommend our readers to take the information with a grain of salt until Sony goes official with the announcement. If you’re not bothered by the fact that this might be a prototype unit being tested by a lucky Android fan, then know that the Sony D2403 is powered by KitKat 4.4.2 operating system.

Specs-wise, Sony D2403 is listed as having a large 4.7-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen display that supports qHD (540 x 960 pixels) resolution. On the inside, the smartphone is said to pack a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and an Adreno 305 graphics processing unit. Unfortunately, the amount of RAM of the D2403 is not listed, but we suspect that the phone will have at least 1GB of RAM inside. However, we do know that Sony D2403 packs 16GB of internal memory. Again, there’s no mention of microSD card slot, so there’s no telling if users will be able to further expand storage. Another piece of information unveiled by 3D graphics performance of Sony D403 is the fact that the mid-range Android smartphone will pack an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus, LED flash, HDR and full HD (1080p) video recording.

The smartphone also sports a secondary VGA front-facing camera for video calls. The usual range of sensors is included as well, such as: accelerometer, compass, lightsensor, NFC (Near Field Communication) and proximity. Sony D2403 will offer Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS with A-GPS support, among other connectivity options. This seems to be a single-SIM smartphone that lacks barometer and gyroscope. Sadly, nothing else is revealed in the benchmarking app, but we suspect that more details, including photos, will emerge in the coming weeks. We will keep an eye out for more details on the Sony D2403, so stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Sony D2403 3D graphics performance
Image credits to GFXbench

Huawei Ascend D3 Spotted in Benchmark, Specs Unveiled

One of the smartphones that Chinese mobile phone maker Huawei was rumored earlier this year to plan on releasing in the Ascend D series was the Ascend D3, and some more info on it is now available.

The handset, supposedly called Huawei Ascend D3, has reportedly emerged in AnTuTu, in the form of Huawei H300, and it appears set to land on shelves with an octa-core processor inside. Apparently, this will be a 1.8 GHz K3V3 chipset from Huawei themselves and will pack a quad-core Cortex A7 COU and a quad-core Cortex A15 processor, in a big.LITTLE setup. Moreover, the chip is said to sport the Mali T628 GPU, which will make it highly similar to MediaTek’s own octa-core processor. At the same time, the upcoming mobile phone is said to arrive on the market with 2GB of dual channel DDR3 RAM, as well as with 16GB of internal memory. The yet unannounced Huawei Ascend D3 is also rumored to sport a full HD touchscreen display, though the actual size of the screen hasn’t been provided as of now.

On the back, the upcoming mobile phone should sport a 13-megapixel camera, which should be able to record videos at least in full HD resolution. It will be accompanied by a 5-megapixel front camera for making video calls while on the go. According to info coming from Chinese website cnbeta, the new mobile phone will also hit shelves with a design similar to that of BlackBerry Z10, though no further details on the matter have been provided as of now. However, as GSMDome notes, the Huawei Ascend D3 is expected to run under the Android 4.4.2 KitKat operating system out of the box. Most probably, Huawei will also load its own user interface on top of the platform, just as it did with other phones in the Ascend series. Apparently, the Chinese mobile phone maker might be determined to release the new phone with a price tag of only 2888 yuan attached to it, which would make it a highly appealing device, that’s for sure.

What hasn’t been unveiled on this smartphone as of now, however, is when exactly we might see it released on shelves and which markets will receive it. We can assume that it will be launched in China first, though Huawei should launch it in other countries as well soon after, the same as it did with its predecessors. Hopefully, more on this will emerge sooner rather than later, so stay tuned to learn the news.

Huawei Ascend D3 AnTuTu Benchmark Result

Huawei Ascend D3
Images credits to cnbeta

Finally, a Wireless Charging Technology that Works Across Rooms

Wireless charging technology isn’t as awesome as it sounds. Sure, it’s wireless, but it’s also range-less: you have to put the device on a pad and leave it there for energy to be recovered.

Soon, though, this will no longer be the case. Not if Energous has its way, and I’m pretty sure it will have the world eating from the palm of its hand soon enough. After all, when a company solves a problem that the MIT hasn’t been able to overcome (although it might have been due to focus on other things), you know you’re looking at something potentially world-changing. Energous has introduced WattUp, a wireless charging technology that can charge from a distance. All you need to do is connect the phone, or whatever, to an external receiver, or put it in a special protective case and leave it there for a while. Sure, it’s not the same as having the technology embedded in your phone, but it’s a big step forward.

A WattUp transmitter was shown capable of recharging smartphones, and there’s even a WattUp app that detects if any wireless charging devices exist in the area. The range is of 10 feet / 3 meters. Presumably, a phone case with WattUp would cost $75 / €75 to $125 / €125, while a primary transmitter, the source as it were, would go for $300 / €300. Not sure how many years it will take for retail availability to ramp up though. No word on adapters for stuff like the Motorola Moto 360 smartwatch, but I’m sure they won’t be left out.

Energous WattUp used in a coffee shop
Image credits to Energous

How to Update Windows XP After End of Support

Microsoft officially pulled the plug on Windows XP on April 8, so machines running it no longer receive updates and security patches, which basically makes the operating system vulnerable to attacks once a critical vulnerability is found.

Redmond has been saying pretty much the same thing for months, warning that users who aren’t upgrading could be exposed to attacks, but it turns out that there’s still a way to get updates on Windows XP despite end of support. A trick published on a German forum claims that tweaking Windows XP in order to be identified by the Windows Update service as Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 could do the trick and help everyone that’s yet to upgrade to keep their computers fully protected. The differences between Windows XP and Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 aren’t too big, so if you continue to receive updates for the latter even if you’re running the first, you should be all secure. Here’s an excerpt from Microsoft’s product FAQ regarding the differences between the two OS versions:

Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 contains the following Embedded Enabling Features:
  • File-Based Write Filter (FBWF), which redirects writes to disk to RAM and helps protect the underlying OS image.
  • USB Boot, which allows installation from a USB key.
  • Office productivity applications are not licensed to be run on POSReady.
  • POS for .NET is included with POSReady.
  • POSReady does not contain Help files, which reduces its footprint.
  • Both products use the same management software.

There’s also another catch. While Windows XP support was officially stopped on April 8, Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 will continue to get patches until April 9, 2019, so your computer could still get updates for 5 more years unless Microsoft blocks this trick. So here are the steps to tweak Windows XP and make Windows Update servers think that they are dealing with an embedded version:

Right-click anywhere on your computer and create a new text document. Give it any name and change the extension to .reg. Right-click it again and click “Edit.” In the Notepad window that shows up, paste the following code and then save it:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

Reboot your computer and check for updates once again. With some luck, plenty of new updates should be available for download. Keep in mind that Microsoft might very well block this trick in some other ways, but it’s still worth a try if you’re yet to upgrade.

Windows XP can still receive updates after end of support
Image credits to Microsoft

May 22, 2014

Lenovo Golden Warrior S8 Press Photos and Details Leak Online

Lenovo has been rumored a while ago to plan the release of a new high-end smartphone in the form of Lenovo Golden Warrior S8, and more details on the device are now available, accompanied by leaked press photos.

The smartphone, expected to become official very soon, has been already listed at an online retailer, and all of the necessary details on it are available now courtesy of that listing. In fact, the phone can still be seen on said retailer’s website, namely vopmart.com, packing an octa-core processor inside and featuring a large touchscreen display. Moreover, just as its name suggests, the Lenovo Golden Warrior S8 is dressed up in a Gold color flavor, while also packing a slim body, which makes it look quite sleek, one should agree. The yet unannounced mobile phone is set to arrive on shelves with a 5.3-inch LTPS touchscreen display capable of delivering a 1280 x 720 pixels resolution, which is protected by Gorilla Glass. As mentioned above, the handset is powered by a 1.4GHz octa-core MediaTek MTK6592M processor, with Mali-450 graphics and 2GB of RAM, thus being capable of offering appealing performance levels.

Moreover, the mobile device has been listed at the aforementioned retailer with 16GB of internal memory, and with a microSD memory card slot capable of offering support for up to 32GB of additional storage space. On the back, the Lenovo Golden Warrior S8 features a 13-megapixel camera with auto focus, F2.2 large aperture, HDR, and full HD video recording. Moreover, it packs a 5-megapixel camera on the front, great for making video calls while on the go. At the same time, we should note that the new device sports all of the usual connectivity capabilities inside, including 3G (TD-SCDMA 1880/2010MHz, which means that it can be used in China alone), Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, microUSB, and built-in GPS receiver.

The smartphone has also been listed with dual-SIM capabilities packed inside, with dual-standby, which should prove a great option for many users. The handset measures 146 x 76.7 x 7.9mm (5.75 x 3.02 x 0.31 inch) and weighs 146 grams. It is powered by a 2000mAh battery that should be able to provide users with around 3 days of standby time. On the downside, Lenovo Golden Warrior S8 will run under the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system right out of the box, though Lenovo will certainly include its own set of customizations on top of the platform as well. Unfortunately, as GSMArena notes, no specific info on when you will be able to purchase the new device has been provided as of now. Details on its possible release outside China are missing as well. Images gallery below, click for larger image.

Lenovo Golden Warrior S8
Images credits to vopmart.com

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