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Mar 19, 2014

Xiaomi Redmi Note Goes Official, Now on Pre-Order in China

Today, Chinese mobile phone maker Xiaomi officially introduced the Redmi Note smartphone, which is yet another mid-range device from the company, but which packs some highly appealing capabilities inside.

The handset was been teased a few times before, but it was not fully unveiled until today, when it also went up for pre-order in China. Users in the country interested in grabbing the device can head over to Qzone for that. However, they will have to wait for March 26 to arrive in order to be able to actually purchase the phone. Just as previously teased, the smartphone was made official with a 5.5-inch touchscreen display capable of delivering a 1280 x 720-pixel resolution, which also packs OGS technology, and which can deliver a 178-degree-wide viewing angle. Xiaomi unveiled the smartphone with an octa-core processor inside, a MediaTek MT6592 CPU paired with Mali 450 graphics, and also announced that there would be two versions of the phone released to the market, clocked in at 1.4 GHz and 1.7 GHz, respectively.

On the back, the new device sports a 13-megapixel camera with 28 mm lens with f/2.2 aperture and LED flash, capable of recording videos in full HD resolution. Moreover, it comes with a 5 MP camera on the front, so as to offer great video calling capabilities while on the go. Xiaomi’s new handset arrives on the market with dual-SIM capabilities, offering support for both TD-SCDMA and GSM networks, it seems. Moreover, Xiaomi is planning the release of a WCDMA version of the device, and should bring it to shelves in other countries out there as well. Redmi Note was also unveiled with 1 GB / 2 GB RAM of RAM inside, as well as with 8 GB of internal memory, and with a microSD memory card for expansion purposes, as fonearena notes.

At the same time, it sports all of the usual connectivity capabilities, such as WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0, along with a built-in GPS receiver, and is powered by a 3200 mAh battery, which should be able to offer up to two days of usage times. Xiaomi Redmi Note will arrive in China with a price tag of 799 Yuan ($129 / €93) attached to it for the 1.4 GHz version, while being priced at 999 Yuan ($161 / €116) if bought with the 1.7 GHz processor inside. Both versions of the smartphone are running under the MIUI v5 software, which is based on Google’s Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system. They will be released in a variety of color options, the company has announced.

Xiaomi Redmi Note
Images credits to Xiaomi via fonearena

AMD Carrizo APU Leaked, Has DDR4, but Is Crippled in PCI Express Support

AMD's Kaveri accelerated processing unit, sold under the A-Series brand, was released back in January, and will be succeeded in 2015 by Carrizo, whose preliminary specs have just been uncovered.

Bright Side of News, BSN for short, somehow uncovered some of the information regarding the next-generation APU. As you may know, the Kaveri is powered by the Steamroller architecture, or at least the central processing unit cores are. The GPU part, 8 SP modules based on Graphics Core Next, take up more of the die than the four CPU cores themselves, but we digress. For the first time, AMD will implement a full Fusion Control Hub in the APU, on on-die southbridge so to speak. The FCH will only have two SATA 6.0 Gbps ports though, four USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2.0 connectors. It sounds like a shame at first glance, since the southbridge (or what used to be called that) would normally be able to handle much more than this.

But then you reach the part where it says that the FCH will only be active on mobile variants of the processors. That's right, Advanced Micro Devices is preparing Carrizo chips for tablets and (maybe) mobile phones. This must be why power efficiency will be a key concern. The onboard FCH will actually deactivate when you install the Carrizo APU inside an FM2+ socket. The motherboard's own Fusion Controller Hub will enter the fray then, providing many more storage and connectivity interfaces than the on-die one. Another important asset of Carrizo is the support for not just DDR3 RAM, but also DDR4 memory. We don't have any clock speed info, but even the assurance that DDR4 will be available is better than nothing, since it would have been truly unfortunate if Intel was the only one with that interface.

No mention of a GDDR5 controller suggests that dual-DDR4 channel memory might be what AMD has planned for backing up the on-board GPU (51.2 GB/s bandwidth, vs. 38.4 GB/s for DDR3-2400). Other features include support for AVX2 instructions (full 256-bit registers, probably), and a random number generator. Finally, and this could be a problem, 16 PCI Express lanes are available, down from 24, which implies that no more than a single PCI Express x8 slot will be possible to implement, or two in x4 electrical mode. It kind of kills the prospects of multi-GPU configurations, but is sufficient for any add-in card, and AMD might be trying to nudge people towards Dual Graphics anyway (where the APU GPU joins forces with the add-in card). It might damage marketability if AMD doesn't advertise the features right though.

AMD Carrizo APU detailed
Image credits to AMD

Oppo Find 7, The Baby Beastie

Oppo has just announced the upcoming availability of two new smartphones that will certainly appeal to any Android enthusiast, the Find 7 and Find 7a. Both devices will be launched in China soon, but there’s a chance they will go on sale globally at some point. Here is hoping that will happen sooner rather than later.

We have already reported on top-tier Oppo Find 7, so now let’s take a look at what its “less featured” twin brother has to offer. Before getting your hopes too high, unless you are living in China, you won’t be able to get any of the two smartphones announced by Oppo. According to the Chinese company, the Find 7a will be launched in China on March 20 and will be available for purchase for only 3,000 yuan outright, which is about $485 or €345. The Oppo Find 7 will be released in China as well, but there’s no word on the exact date. However, we do know that it will cost only 3,000 yuan ($565 / €405). Anyway, unlike the Oppo Find 7, the Find 7a model will “only” pack a 5.5-inch capacitive touchscreen display with full HD (1080p) resolution with 403 ppi (pixel density) and Corning Gorilla Glass coating.

There are major differences between the two smartphones when it comes to hardware, but both devices can be easily tagged as high-end handsets. While the Oppo Find 7 is equipped with a 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, the Find 7a rocks a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm MSM8974AB Snapdragon 800 CPU, an Adreno 330 graphics processing unit and only 2GB of RAM (Find 7 packs 3GB RAM). Another major difference between the two smartphones is the storage they pack. Unlike Find 7 that comes with 32GB of internal memory, Oppo Find 7 offers only 16GB storage. However, the smartphone provides users with the option to further expand storage via microSD card (up to 64GB). On the back, Oppo Find 7a boasts an impressive 13-megapixel rear-facing camera that features Sony IMX214 sensor with dedicated ISP, dual-mode LED and f/2.0 aperture.

The smartphone is powered by a removable 2800 mAh battery with Rapid Charge technology and will ship with Oppo’s proprietary Color 1.2.0 OS, which is based on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean operating system. It also packs all the connectivity options you might think of, including FDD-LTE and TDD-LTE support (for the Chinese market), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS with A-GPS.

Oppo Find 7a
Image credits to Oppo

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