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Oct 14, 2014

A8X Chip Shows Up in New iPad Leak

The iPad Air 2 is just around the corner. New leaks from China seem to confirm that the tablet will indeed sport a custom tailored version of the A8 chip found inside the latest iPhones.

Not only that, but the new leak also shows the Elpida RAM module previously said to hold 2GB of memory, which would enable the new tablet to support multitasking. Real multitasking, that is.

iPad Air 2 on the way

Tomorrow is Apple’s second fall event for 2014. It’s not as promising as the iPhone 6 launch event, but it’s not to be missed either. At the media gathering – hosted in the Town Hall auditorium on the company’s campus – new products in multiple categories are said to receive some significant upgrades. First on the list of suspects is the iPad Air 2, with its nearly identical design and upgraded electronics. Things like the volume buttons, the camera module, and the speaker grills are said to have undergone minor changes, while the screen size remains intact in this new iteration, we hear. A Touch ID sensor will serve as the tablet’s Home button as well as a means for unlocking the device and authenticating purchases (including Apple Pay transactions, according to the latest rumors).

The new iPad isn’t likely to cost more than its predecessor, and we don’t see Apple dropping the price either. We hear that the 16GB storage option will no longer be available with the iPad Air 2. Apple is reportedly starting at 32GB with the new tablets. People looking to get a tablet with less storage (for financial reasons) will be directed to the iPad mini, industry sources note.

Blazing-fast A8X chip

Considering how well the A8 performed in benchmarks, the A8X will be a screamer. The X stands as a designation for a custom design that integrates more powerful graphics. Apple has often used this marker as an indication that the silicon houses a faster GPU, exclusive for tablets. It makes sense, considering how many more pixels it has to handle. We also hear that the company wants to finally offer a way for users to enjoy real multitasking by using at least two separate apps side by side in split-screen mode. This feature was supposed to already arrive as part of iOS 8, according to early rumors.

However, Apple reportedly hit a few roadblocks and had to put it on hold. It isn’t clear if the culprit was the lack of RAM or technical hurdles involving iOS 8. In any case, sources say it’s finally happening in the iPad Air 2. Fingers crossed!

iPad Air 2 logic board
Image credits to apple.club.tw

BlackBerry Classic Specs and Live Pictures Leak Ahead of Official Release

Good news for BlackBerry fans who couldn’t cope with the Canadian company’s latest “unconventional” smartphone, the Passport, as the next handset under the BlackBerry brand is going to bring back the classic QWERTY keyboard and form factor.

Dubbed BlackBerry Classic, the next not so expensive smartphone to be launched by BlackBerry this year has just leaked in several live pictures. Even though some of the phone’s specs have been rumored for quite some time now, the folks over a N4BB received confirmation on Classic’s feature. During BlackBerry Passport’s launch event last month, the company’s CEO John Chen confirmed that the Classic would be available for purchase by the end of the year. Unfortunately, there’s no telling exactly when we will be able to grab one, but at least we now know what to expect from the affordable (hopefully) smartphone. First of all, as the name suggests, the smartphone brings back everything that BlackBerry users loved at their devices. The same form factor and the excellent QWERTY physical keyboard are part of the BlackBerry Classic for the first time in a long while.

But under the classic chassis, BlackBerry included more than decent specs, which are supposed to bring it on par with most of other mid-range smartphones. First of all, we expect the Classic to ship with BlackBerry 10.3 operating system out of the box, though it’s unclear exactly what version it will run.

BlackBerry Classic could be unveiled as early as November 2014

Hardware-wise, BlackBerry Classic is likely to be armed with a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 S4 Pro processor, an Adreno 225 graphics processing unit and 2GB of RAM. That’s quite a decent hardware configuration for a BlackBerry smartphone, so those tempted to give it a try shouldn’t be worried that the phone will be laggy. The phone’s 3.5-inch LCD capacitive touchscreen display supports a rather unusual 720 x 720 pixels resolution, though this isn’t something that should surprise BlackBerry users. The screen only features 294ppi (pixel per inch), but for a mid-range handset this it quite normal.

BlackBerry Classic comes with 16GB of storage inside and there’s no mention of microSD card slot for memory expansion, but we suspect the Canadian company will add one. On the back, the Classic packs an 8-megapixel photo snapper with LED flash and video recording, while in the front there’s a secondary 2-megapixel camera for video calls. It is also worth mentioning that BlackBerry Classic has a standard QWERTY keyboard and a TrackPad that makes it easier to navigate through the menu. However, it appears that the TrackPad isn’t illuminated, so users might have some trouble in pinpointing it in darker environments.

BlackBerry Classic
Images credits to N4BB

Nexus 6 Leaks in Press Render for the First Time

After countless of leaks that didn’t really show what the Nexus 6 will really look like, today marks the day the first press render of the smartphone popped up online.

Courtesy to none other than @evleaks (Evan Blass), the first picture of the Nexus 6 phablet now offers us a glimpse at what Google's next flagship smartphone looks like. Judging by the size of the smartphone, it’s now clear that Google will launch a 5.9-inch Nexus 6 instead of a much smaller version. We also don’t expect the company to announce a mini variant along with the phablet during the official announcement. However, a smaller Nexus 6 “clone” may be available under Motorola’s brand, but it will be sold by the US-based handset maker and it won’t come as cheap as a Google phone may come. The leaked picture also reveals that the Nexus 6 will pack dual front speakers, one placde above the display and another one at the bottom. The volume and lock/unlock keys have been placed at the middle of the right side of the smartphone for easier access.

Obviously, the phone will be powered by Android L at launch, or whatever Google will decide to name its next version of the operating system.

Nexus 6 will pack dual front speakers and will be powered by Android L

We can also see that there’s a front-facing camera and that the back side has a concave form factor. The Nexus 6 does seem to be a bit slimmer on top and bottom sides and thicker at the middle. But there might be an optical illusion due to the angle at which the picture was taken. This looks like a black version, but Google may launch a white variant as well. No additional details have been shared on the smartphones’ specs sheet, but we already know quite a lot about Nexus 6. For those still not in the loop, here is a quick recap of what Nexus 6’s specification list may look like. First of all, the smartphone will boast an impressive 5.9-inch QHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) capacitive touchscreen display and a powerful 2.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor.

Furthermore, the smartphone is expected to pack an Adreno 440 graphics processing unit, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal memory. Nexus 6 is likely to lack microSD card slot for memory expansion, which is why we believe Google may launch a 64GB model as well. Nexus 6 has been confirmed for official unveiling sometime this month, along with Android L. However, the exact release date for the device hasn’t been announced yet.

Nexus 6
Image credits to @evleaks

AMD's Next Desktop APU Will Be Called “Zen”

Advanced Micro Devices may have unveiled the Carrizo and Carrizo-L APUs, or at least their ETA, indirectly or otherwise, but those are laptop chips exclusively. On the desktop front, we won't see anything new before 2016.

Sure, there will be a refresh of the Kaveri lineup in 2015, but with all the problems that the 20nm has posed, they will probably have to stick to the same 28nm architecture as now. Since the GPUs are doing it, it makes sense that CPUs (or in this case APUs, if you want to be technical) do the same. No one wants to see a whole year go by without some sort of product release. This does, however, show that desktop owners won't have much reason to go PC hunting for the next year or so. Sure, the Kaveri refresh will be nice and all, but it will be just an upgraded version of what's already out there. And the APUs aren't really enthusiast-grade parts anyway, so hardcore gamers won't be looking at them regardless.

Now, though, we may have found out exactly what name we should be hunting for in future leaks, analyst conference calls and press releases.

The “Zen” desktop Accelerated Processing Unit

This is the name that some people believe will be borne by the next generation of APUs from the Sunnyvale, California-based company. The Zen is supposedly on track for release in 2016, and it will at the very least be found in many desktop PCs from ASUS, if not every other AMD OEM in the world. We don't have any information on the Zen, but this rumor does seem to align with another we reported on, about AMD having delayed its next APUs to 2016 instead of 2015.

The reason given back in July this year (2014) was that AMD had trouble adding DDR4 memory support to them. Whatever the case is, the rumor seems to have been corroborated, although since this, too, is a rumor, you might want to take it with a grain of salt regardless.

Market placement of the Zen

Probably the upper mainstream, with maybe one or two chips for the high-end front. AMD may have said that it no longer competes with Intel on the hardcore enthusiast segment, but that doesn't mean we can't hope it will change its mind. It does make sense for it to stick to the mid-range and performance segments though. Any higher GPU and the mid-range integrated ones would be seen as pointless cost additions instead of resources, since people at that level always buy an add-in video card anyway. Or two. Or three or more.

AMD Zen desktop CPU coming in 2016
Image credits to AMD

Leaked Google Video Ad Shows Nexus 6 and Android L

The Nexus 6 is the next major launch in the smartphone world. The device has been the focus of the media for quite some time now, but everything will end this month after Google officially unveils its next flagship smartphone.

But the Nexus 6 won’t be the only important product launched by Google this month. Given previous experience, we expect the company to release the next version of its mobile platform, which is known as Android L for the moment. However, Google is likely to launch the market version of the Android L under a different name that will probably start with the same letter (“L”), but for the time being it’s unclear what sweets Google chose to name their new OS after. Nevertheless, it’s absolutely clear that Nexus 6 and Android L will be officially launched on the market at the same time. What we don’t know is exactly when Google plans to announce both products. We know it will be this month, but for now Google only confirmed an event for tomorrow where the search giant is expect to announce the Nexus 9, a new tablet made by HTC.

While there’s a slim chance that Google may introduce the Nexus 6 and Android L during the same event, we believe both products will be unveiled at a separate event that will probably take place at the end of this month. Just before a major launch, we usually get a few leaks that offer us glimpses of what’s to come. They usually come in the form of pictures and sometime even videos.

The commercial confirms a bigger Nexus 6 will be launched this year

Today however, the folks over at AndroidPolice report a video ad for Android with the slogan “Be Together, Not The Same” has just been leaked online. Obviously, the unreleased video is made by Google, but the good news is it shows the Nexus 6 and the Android L. What really stands out from the video is the fact that the Nexus 6 has been scaled up to emphasize the fact that it will be unusually bigger than the previous models. This points out to the fact that we will indeed have a much larger Nexus 6 this year, as Google most likely decided to enter the phablet market, which counts as almost 25% of the smartphone market worldwide.

According to the latest hearsay, the Nexus 6 should pack a huge 5.9-inch display with QHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) resolution, a 2.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, an Adreno 440 graphics processing unit and 3GB of RAM. We will keep an eye out for more details on the upcoming Nexus 6 and Android L announcements, so stay tuned for additional info on the matter.

New Android commercial
Image credits to Lou Kohn

Thanks to https://plus.google.com/+CristianColocho/posts/XJJKFC2C7CG for the initial post!
Video credits to Lou Kohn

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