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Nov 4, 2014

Samsung “Seducing” Apple with Low Prices for iPhone 6S/iPhone 7 Chips

Apple has yet to pick the manufacturer for its upcoming A9 chips that will power the next generation of iPhones and iPads in 2015. While TSMC seems like the logical choice (being the key supplier for A8 SoCs today), Samsung is said to be seducing Apple with lower prices.

The duo’s fierce battle for A-series chip orders began earlier this year (at least that's what we've heard), when TSMC officially snapped up all of the orders for the A8 powering the newest iPhones and iPads.

TSMC wants it all, but Samsung won’t go down without a fight

According to a report from Taiwan, Samsung Electronics and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company are still duking it out to obtain manufacturing rights to the A9 specification for the next generation of iDevices in 2015. The report in question, published by DigiTimes, states that Apple is “expected” to confirm who won the orders. We wouldn’t hold our breath for that. Sources familiar with the situation tell the trade publication that “Samsung has offered lower quotes to attract Apple's A9 SoC orders,” adding, “The Korea-based firm is also able to provide Apple the manufacture of other chips such as flash memory and backend services in-house.” One of Apple’s oldest partners in crime, Samsung has manufactured most of the A-series chips for iPhones and iPads, starting with the A4 in the iPhone 4 and ending with the A6X (or possibly even some of the A7 SoCs) in recent years. Now it wants back in the game.

The sources cited in the report say that “TSMC is making the majority of the A8 chips for Apple's latest iPhones,” which has already been confirmed, and that the SoC (system on a chip) is based on a 20nm process technology, which is also correct. However, “the upcoming A9 chip is expected to be fabricated using 1X FinFET processes,” these people note.

iPhone 7 or iPhone 6S

The A9 chips will enter trial production on a 16nm process sometime in the near future, while mass production will only commence in the third quarter of next year, according to the sources. If history is any indication, Apple will not jump ahead to iPhone 7 without first going through an incremental update of the current lineup. This means the A9 could serve as the basis not for the iPhone 7, but for the iPhone 6S or whatever nomenclature they choose next year. However, it’s not out of the question to see these incremental updates scrubbed altogether at one point.

Fake A9 chip
Image credits to iclarified.com

HP Omen 15 Laptop with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M Goes on Sale for $1,499 / €1,198

Do you remember that we told you HP was preparing to enter the gaming notebook market too? As it is, more and more device manufacturers are looking to do exactly that, encouraged by the success of companies like MSI.

Well, this week HP is resurrecting the sleeping Voodoo line of gaming PCs by unleashing a new gaming laptop, called the Omen 15 (as seen at Digital Trends). HP is widely known for its professional and business solutions, but back in 2006 when the device maker acquired the Voodoo PC subsidiary, it attempted to penetrate the gaming environment, as well. But the idea didn't really take off and by 2009 HP already abandoned the Voodoo PC project altogether and continued to focus on what it did best.

HP is not giving up on gaming

A few years later and things are quite different in the gaming world, as the demand for dedicated gaming systems continues to rise. So HP rolled out its 15-inch Omen laptop, meant to compete head-to-head with the likes of Alienware, Razer, MSI, Lenovo and MAINGEAR. The laptop packs a black machined aluminum chassis, a backlit keyboard and speakers with an extra-wide touchpad. The touchpad is the result of countless polls HP performed with consumers trying to figure out what they wanted. In the end, the company decided against adding Windows 8.1-friendly Control Zones because they might hinder gaming.

HP has setup a nice system to maintain temperature levels at optimal conditions. It had the bottom of the notebook outfitted with rubber feet to make sure fans suck in the cold air, while the vents in the rear breathe out the hot air. There’s also a hinge for the display that elevates the panel in order to protect it from a constant barrage of hot air.

HP Omen 15 is not exactly the most powerful gaming laptop out there

Moving on to the technical specifications, the base Omen model will get you a 15.6-inch notebook with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. Under the hood lives an Intel Core i7 quad-core processor (obviously) fitted with 8GB of RAM and supported by 128GB SSD. In the GPU department, we find the previous-generation NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M GPU with 2GB of RAM, which is exactly what the new Acer Aspire V Nitro Black Edition with 4K packs too. The Omen is also equipped with 4 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, a mini DisplayPort, a headphone/microphone jack combo plus a battery that will sustain up to 4.5 hours of regular use.

This configuration can be yours for $1,499 / €1,198, but if you want to the 256GB PCle SSD and 4GB of VRAM treatment, you’ll need to pay an extra $100 / €79 and $200 / €160 respectively. Later on, HP will be offering a model with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage, but pricing for this version hasn't been announced yet. For those worried about portability, the HP Omen 15 breaks the scales at 4.7 lbs / 2.13 kg and is 0.78 thick. That’s a bit heavier than the MAINGEAR Pulse 15 that has 4.6 lbs / 2.08 kg, the MSI GS60 Ghost which is 4.2 lbs / 1.9 kg and the Razer Blade 14 with its 4.4 lbs / 1.9 kg. So choose wisely!

HP Omen 15 launches

HP Omen 15 is the company's first gaming device in years

HP Omen 15 frontal view

HP Omen 15 from the side

HP Omen 15 showing backlit keyboard

HP Omen 15 from the back
Images credits to Notebook Italia

Samsung Android 5.0 Lollipop Roadmap Leaks, Include Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3

Bad news for Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 owners, as the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop roadmap that has just leaked doesn’t confirm the latest rumors claiming the update may arrive by the end of this year.

The most recent document that contains details on the Lollipop update for Samsung smartphones has been published by the folks over at YouMobile.org. Keep in mind, though, that given the fact that the information hasn’t been confirmed from other sources, you should take it with a grain of salt. In fact, the latest hearsay claims the Android 5.0 Lollipop update for Samsung Galaxy S5 should arrive in December, along with the Galaxy Note 4 upgrade that should be available around the same timeframe. Well, according to this document presumably leaked directly from Samsung, the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 updates are now in testing and should be released in January 2015.

Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 will be the first smartphones to receive the Android 5.0 Lollipop update, along with Samsung Galaxy Alpha. There are a few versions of Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 that will receive the update in early 2015, like SM-G900I and SM-G900F, as well as SM-N910I and SM-N910F, respectively. But these are not the only Samsung smartphones that have been confirmed to receive the Lollipop update next year. The document also mentions the Galaxy Note 3 (SM-N900) and Galaxy Note 3 LTE (SM-N9005), which should get the update in February 2015.

The Galaxy Note 3 Neo update hasn't been finalized yet

The Lollipop update for Galaxy S4 (GT-I9500) and Galaxy S4 LTE (GT-I9505) are still awaiting approval from Samsung and should go live sometime in March 2015 if nothing bad happens. The last smartphone listed in the leaked document is the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo (SM-N750), but it looks like the update for this specific device hasn’t been finalized yet. More details on the Galaxy Note 3 Neo update should be available in the next couple of months, but we doubt it will be available in the first three months of 2015. The list of Samsung smartphones slated for an Android 5.0 Lollipop upgrade does not contain any Google Play Edition devices because these should receive the update directly from Google.

Once again, we recommend our reader to take this info with a grain of salt until more details on the matter leak online. Until then, don’t forget to check out the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop beta build for Samsung Galaxy S5 that popped up online a few days ago.

Samsung Android 5.0 Lollipop roadmap
Image credits to YouMobile.org

Android 5.0 Lollipop Released in AOSP, OTA Update for Nexus 4 & 5 Arrives “in the Coming Weeks”

The time has finally come for Nexus and Android fans alike to start tasting Google’s Android Lollipop flavor. The new operating system officially made its debut on the market thanks to the recent release of the Nexus 9 tablet.

Google’s Nexus 9 tablet is the first device launched on the market that ships with Android 5.0 Lollipop and will be soon followed by the Nexus 6, which should be released this week as well. But what about the previous Nexus devices, which were promised to get Android 5.0 Lollipop as an update, soon after the Nexus 6 hits the market? Well, it looks like Google confirmed the OTA (over the air) update for Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 will be available for download “in the coming weeks.” This means that the rollout of the Android 5.0 Lollipop update may not start this week as we initially expected.

However, the search giant may release Android 5.0 Lollipop factory images for these smartphones, as well as for the Nexus 7 and 10 tablets. The factory images are likely to be made available for download earlier than the OTA update, which is why we’re waiting for an official announcement that should come any moment now.

Although the OTA update may arrive later, factory images will surely be posted soon

In the meantime, Google has just released the Lollipop source code on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). The company also posted the source for a variety of Nexus device branches, such as Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (2013 LTE, 2013 WiFi, 2012 3G and 2012 WiFi). As you might have noticed, the source code for Nexus 4 smartphone and Nexus 10 tablet have yet to be published, which might be an indication that Google will probably make the OTA updates for these particular two devices available slightly later. All in all, Nexus 4 and 5 owners should be among the first smartphone users to receive the Android 5.0 Lollipop update, as other handset manufacturers have only received the final build this week or a few days ago.

It will take some time until HTC, Motorola, Sony, LG and Samsung tweak the latest OS update for their products, but Google Play Edition smartphones may get it soon after the Nexus handsets receive the update. If you’re an Android tech-savvy who owns a Nexus 4 or 5 smartphone, you won’t have to worry that you will be left behind, as you will be able to flash the Lollipop factory image on your device in the next couple of days.

The Wall Street Journal, Tumblr and BuzzFeed with material design
Image credits to Google

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