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Oct 3, 2014

Canon EOS 7D Mark II: First Images and Video Samples

The Canon EOS 7D Mark II is one of Canon’s latest products, which got unveiled not so long ago at Photokina 2014 in Germany.

The highly anticipated DSLR takes advantage of a new autofocus system with 65 autofocus pints (all are cross type and deliver advanced levels of sensitivity in portrait and landscape mode). The 7D Mark II arrives with a 20.2MP CMOS sensor, which is the same you find in the EOS 70D. However, the processor has been upgraded to the new Dual Digic 6 chip, so the DSLR is expected to perform a whole lot better. Anyway, in some locations Canon is already accepting pre-orders for the EOS 7D Mark II, like it’s the case in US where you can already sign up for the new shooter, if you’re willing to pay $1,799 / €1,421.

While photographers wait for your brand new shooter to be shipped out to them, Canon Japan has just posted a sample of new images and movies for the EOS 7D Mark II. You can check them out below to get an idea of how the camera performs (for the full-res versions go here). They might be able to help you decide if your financial efforts should go into Canon’s latest and greatest EOS 7D Mark II, or not.

Image of Vancouver shot with Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Image credits to Canon

Video credits to Canon JP and Canon SG

Intel and AMD Continue to Bet on Tablets, New Chips Coming in 2015

Microsoft has initiated a fierce war against Google and its Chromebooks. With the advent of Windows 8.1 with Bing, we have seen many device manufacturers launch inexpensive Windows notebooks, designed to take customers’ mind off Chrome-OS laptops.

But the power of Chromebooks and Bingbooks combined is expected to put a pressure on the slowing tablet market, as more and more vendors roll out cheap notebooks, say industry watchers. On top of that, smartphones with bigger screens will also impact overall tablet sales. Tablets with 7-inch displays used to hold for over 70% marketshare, but these numbers have dropped to 60% because of handsets with big screens. The demand for tablets seems to be going downwards, but chip makers like AMD and Intel continue to persist in their hopes that all is not lost. According to DigiTimes, both giants are expected to unveil new tablet platforms in 2015.

Intel to roll out Cherry Trail

Starting with Intel, the company is expected to roll out Cherry Trail, a 14nm-based SoC processor platform which has been designed especially for tablets taking advantage of Intel’s 8th-gen GPU. These tablets will take advantage of both Android and Windows OS. Intel will unveil Cherry Trail in the first quarter of 2015, while volume production will kick start in March. Apart from Cherry Trail, Intel is hard work on the Atom Z3000 processor designed for the 64-bit tablet market. Moreover, Intel also has some 4G chips in the pipeline, in the form of the SoFIA-series processors. Intel has partnered up with Chinese low-cost chip maker Rockchip for the development of next-gen SoFIA chips for Android tablets, but despite this alliance Intel is still expected to face important obstacles in its assault against Qualcomm or MediaTek.

On top of that, Intel had hoped its partnership with Rockchip will help it transition more smoothly into the Chinese market, which is a budding market while tablets are concerned, but the company is just not there yet.

AMD has Nolan and Armur

For its part, AMD will launch the Nolan, an x86-architecture tablet platform and Armur. This is said to be heterogeneous system architecture (HSA) Android-specific tablet platform which is based on ARM Cortex-A7. Both Nolan and Armur are expected to arrive a little later than Cherry Trail, namely in the third quarter of 2015, said to sources inside the supply chain. Armur is a platform that will be able to support both Android and Linux and AMD is currently testing it internally.

Intel and AMD continue to focus on tablets
Image credits to New Computer Build

Google Wanted to Buy Cyanogen and Got Rejected

Google has apparently tried to acquire Cyanogen Inc., the maker behind the custom build distribution of Android, known as CyanogenMod, but the offer was rejected.

The Information, reports that the chief executive of Cyanogen, Kirt McMaster, told shareholders that Sundar Pichai, the chief of Chrome and Android at Google has expressed an interest in acquiring the firm and even went to meetings on the topic. However, Cyanogen Inc. rejected Google’s offer, saying that it still had a long way to grow, choosing to focus on getting a $1 billion valuation to help in its third round of funding. CyanogenMod operates on two handsets from small manufacturers. OnePlus One and Oppo N1 use a special Cyanogen build, something that turned the operating system into something used by everyone, not just those tech-savvy enough to replace the Android version on their own phones.

Why is Google interested?

It is rather unclear what Google would do with Cyanogen since they’re working on the same software. It is perhaps the long-term goal that the company has – becoming the third most popular mobile ecosystem, which the company hopes to manage to do since it provides an even more open version of Android – that attracted Google. There’s also the option that Google might want to kill the competition, although this seems like one of the lesser plausible alternatives, even though Cyanogen is the most threatening among the custom Android builds out there. A more likely situation is one in which Google wants to protect its interests. Some recent reports indicated that Cyanogen and Micromax have come up with a deal that sees the company’s Android build to be released on a new device before the year ends. Micromax is one of the Android One partners that Google signed with recently, which the Internet giant wants to keep under tight control.

Even so, it barely generates any income and it’s unclear if the company has any actual plans to create revenue. A recent rumor indicated that Cyanogen wanted to start charging for themes at one point, although that was never confirmed by the company itself. While it’s true that Cyanogen has rejected a Google offer right now, it does not mean that it will not accept another offer somewhere down the road, after the company has attracted more funding and when it has finally grown to the size it aspires to reach. There’s still some ways to go until then, however.

Google shows interest in Cyanogen
Image credits to Google

Windows 10 Registry Hack Reveals Next Preview Builds

Microsoft presented Windows 10 Preview earlier this week and everyone rushed to download it, despite Redmond's warnings that this particular build is only aimed at IT admins and experienced users.

The company said that the very first preview build only ships with limited features, but more would be added at a later time through a new built-in update mechanism. While no other details have been provided, Neowin has come across a small registry tweak that enables all users to see the upcoming testing builds of Windows 10 Preview. At this point, however, none of the options that would show up in the “Update and recovery” screen of your Windows 10 Preview PC settings menu actually work, so Microsoft saw this coming and decided to lock them until the company is ready to ship more features.

How to enable it

First and foremost, you need to keep in mind the fact that messing with the registry editor isn't quite the best thing you should do if you care about system stability, as deleting the wrong items could actually crash your PC. If you do not care about such a thing (and you shouldn't since this is just a testing version of Windows 10), write regedit.exe in the Start menu search box and hit enter. In the registry editor, navigate to the following path:


Once you're there, create two new DWORD keys named ThresholdInternal and ThresholdOptedIn and change their value to “1.” Simply launch PC settings, go to “Update and recovery” and the new option called “Preview builds” should already be there, with no reboot required.

Locked options for now

At this point, the new options that you get access to with this registry hack are locked, but they are supposed to provide you faster access to new preview builds as soon as they're available. For example, you can choose “how fast you'd like to get new preview builds,” but Microsoft warns that “choosing to get them faster might mean there are more bugs.” At the same time, you can choose where to get the preview builds from, as the company provides multiple branches for user downloads, but also change the time when your PC should automatically install new preview builds. It's not yet clear if Microsoft plans to unlock these features in the coming months, but we expect a similar trick to be found in order to get faster access to new builds despite the locked status of these options.

The new options show up in the PC settings screen
Image credits to NeoWin

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