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May 6, 2014

BlackBerry OS 10.3 Icons to Sport a Flat Design

BlackBerry OS 10.3, the operating system version that Canadian handset vendor BlackBerry is expected to make official before the end of this year, will bring along a series of UI changes to icons, the company has confirmed once again.

We already knew that the smartphone maker was preparing such changes for the platform, but no specific details on what they might be all about has been provided as of now. However, courtesy of BlackBerry’s Michael Clewley, we can now make a better idea of what to expect in the operating system once it arrives on devices towards the end of 2014. The first thing that you will notice when looking at the screenshot attached to this post is that the dark gradient box behind the icons will no longer be present in the upcoming OS iteration. As N4BB notes, these icons still feature a thin drop-shadow effect in addition to the flatter design, but they do look much better than before overall.

BlackBerry OS 10.3 was also said to come with other UI changes inside, such as primary actions brought to the center, and some red accents. Other enhancements are also expected to arrive along with the new OS iteration, though it seems that we’ll have to wait a bit longer for them to be unveiled.

BlackBerry OS 10.3 icons
Image credits to N4BB

MSI Radeon 270X GAMING 2G ITX Released, Has 30% Lower Temperature

The Radeon R9 270X graphics card may not be the best of AMD's single-GPU adapters, but it's close enough that it's not too shocking to see it factory-overclocked and custom-cooled beyond recognition.

Well, maybe not beyond recognition because the box still has “R9 27X” proclaimed in large, bold letters. White ones. Although, admittedly, the rest of the name, Mini-ITX Gaming, is written in even bigger and thicker font. It's quite a strange name really. Mini-ITX is a motherboard form factor, not a graphics card one. However, the moniker does perform its job properly: state that the new card can be used with mini-ITX motherboards and, by extension, in mini-PCs. Normally, the PCB (printed circuit board) would not be short enough for this particular video controller. MSI had to jump through a few hoops to get it done. In the end, though, it managed to achieve its goal: create a strong video card that can be installed in a miniature PC that still has gaming-grade capabilities.

In fact, the company has even managed to institute a factory overclock of 30/20 MHz, bringing the GPU clocks to 1030 / 1070 MHz Base/Boost instead of 1000 / 1050 MHz. And all the while, the temperature has been reduced by around 30%, as seems to be customary for MSI Gaming graphics cards. Moving on, Micro-Star International included the XSplit Gamecaster program, which lets you live stream or record your gameplay. All you need to do is hit CTRL + TAB to bring up the in-game overlay. After that, you just need to click start or stop/pause. Furthermore, you can draw in-game annotations, selecting parts of the gameplay. Pretty useful in a replay of the file, or if you're just joining a game as an observer. We imagine that StartCraft players in South Korea will appreciate this feature, especially if they're teaching others how to play.

You can use drawings or highlights to enhance your commentary. Moreover, if you factor XSplit Gamecaster into the mix, you can add your webcam feed to the whole things, even using a green screen transparency effect by hitting the Chroma key. All in all, for a miniature video card, the MSI 270X GAMING 2G ITX is pretty packed with enthusiast gaming assets. Now if only we had a price. It can't be of just $200 / €200.

Images credits to MSI

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