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Mar 25, 2015

Samsung in Talks to Acquire AMD [Report]

There's a new report coming from the South Korean media that claims Samsung is considering the acquisition of AMD chip maker.

This isn't the first time the smartphone manufacturer is thinking of buying AMD, so the information doesn't really come as a surprise. However, since these details haven't been confirmed yet and there aren't many sources that would confirm this information, we recommend our readers to take it with a grain of salt until Samsung and/or AMD come forward with an official announcement. The reason for which Samsung wants to acquire AMD is to better compete with Intel and to secure both CPU and GPU IP from the chip maker.

Since Samsung now has one of the most powerful smartphone chipsets (Exynos 7420) available on the market, it makes sense that the South Korean company will want to continue to develop and further grow its chipset business. The acquisition of AMD would definitely help Samsung in its competition with Qualcomm as well, though the South Korean company was never seen as a rival for the latter.

This isn't the first time Samsung shows interest in AMD's acquisition
A statement from a Samsung official from back 2007 mentioned that an AMD acquisition is necessary “in order to secure a new growth engine.” That didn't happened yet, but more and more reports circulate from the beginning of this year, about talks between Samsung and AMD that might end up with the acquisition of the latter by the South Korean company. Apart from AMD's expertise in the hardware technology, Samsung will also gain a solid patent portfolio that will further protect it from patent trolls and firepower to help fight off rivals like Intel and Nvidia.

What we do not know for the moment is how this will affect the PC market, as Samsung might not allows AMD to continue to compete with Nvidia and Intel on the CPU and GPU business, instead merging it with its mobile division. Once again, take this information with a grain a salt until more source confirm it or the companies make an announcement. Stay tuned for more on this one.

Samsung & AMD logos
Image credits to Samsung & AMD

HTC One M9+ Full Specs Leak Ahead of April 8 Announcement

Good news for HTC fans, as the Taiwanese company is about to announced another high-end smartphone, the One M9+. The handset has been rumored for a few weeks now, but no details on release date have been available until now.

Since HTC has already sent invitations for a special event in Beijing, China, for April 8, we suspect this is the day the One M9+ will be officially introduced by the Taiwanese handset maker. Moreover, the folks over at Nowhereelse have been able to learn the full specs of the HTC One M9+ before the smartphone goes official on April 8. Although some of these specs have already been rumored, the new report makes it more likely to be accurate, so here it goes. First of all, HTC One M9+ will ship with Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system out of the box with Sense 7.0 UI on top.

Quad HD display and 64-bit octa-core processor
Moving on to hardware specs, the smartphone will be equipped with an octa-core 64-bit MediaTek MT6795T processor, a PowerVR Rogue G6200 graphics processing unit and 3GB of RAM. On the back, the One M9+ will feature a 20.7-megapixel photo snapper with autofocus, LED flash and video recording, while in the front there will be a 2-megapixel camera for video calls and selfies. The smarpthone will come with 32GB of internal memory, but a microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 128GB) will be included as well.

Unlike HTC's latest flagship smartphone that sports a full HD (1080p) display, the One M9+ boasts a 5.2-inch Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels) capacitive touchscreen display. It looks like the One M9+ comes with a few improvements over HTC's current flagship smartphone, so those who wanted to grab the One M9 but were disappointed by its specs may want to take the enhanced version into consideration.

HTC One M9+
Image credits to Weibo

Best Antivirus Software for Windows 8.1 Home Users Revealed

There's no better time to find a new antivirus solution for your home computer because AV-TEST has just published a new series of tests revealing the best security products for Windows 8.1 home users.

Basically, AV-TEST conducted an in-depth research on the majority of antivirus apps on the market right now and found out that, for Windows 8.1, Bitdefender Internet Security 2015, Kaspersky Internet Security 2015, and Qihoo 360 Antivirus 5.0 are currently the best options out there. All these three security products scored maximum points in protection, performance, and usability tests, getting 6 out of 6 points for each of these. Obviously, it's not surprising to see Bitdefender and Kaspersky leading the pack, as both have been the most powerful antivirus solutions on the market for many years now, but the ascension of Chinese security software developer Qihoo is definitely one of the unexpected things for the February 2015 tests.

According to AV-TEST, Qihoo's 360 Antivirus blocked 100 percent of 0-day malware and detected absolutely all widespread and prevalent malware discovered in the last 4 weeks. What's more, the Chinese security products offered 0 false warnings when visiting websites, actions performed on a PC, or regarding legitimate software.

Windows Defender still offering basic protection
If you are one of the many users who do not turn to third-party security software because they still trust Windows Defender, then it's worth noting that AV-TEST offered 0 out of a maximum 6 points for protection in Microsoft's case. WD also received 3.5 points for performance and 6 for usability. As far as free anti-virus solutions are concerned, AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2015 scored very well, with 4 points for protection, 5 points for performance, and 6 points for usability. Avast is also among the best choices with 6 points for protection, 4 for performance, and 5.5 for usability.

These are the top antivirus solutions for Windows 8.1 (click for larger view)
Image credits to AV-TEST

TouchWiz on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Was Inspired by Tizen, Less by Material Design

One negative aspect that always comes up in conversations about Samsung’s Galaxy flagships is the company’s own TouchWiz interface.

While Samsung has been offering a lot of cool and (sometimes) helpful new features under the skin, critics have argued that the UI has gradually reached an over-saturated level which ends up putting a toll on the whole performance of the handset. The good news is that Samsung has been listening to critique and made a lot of changes to the TouchWiz interface found on its latest Galaxy S6 flagship. Actually, the first signs that Samsung was heading towards a lighter TouchWiz were visible on the Galaxy Note 4. Now, as mentioned by the Korean tech giant itself, the new TouchWiz UI has been made 40% lighter than before, in an attempt to please the masses and make the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge run faster than before.

The new TouchWiz is all Tizen OS-inspired
The new TouchWiz is based on Google’s latest Android 5.0 Lollipop OS, but when Samsung was designing it, did it take inspiration from the whole Material Design scheme of things or from its own homegrown Tizen affair? According to a source familiar with the matter cited by Tizen Indonesia, Samsung has been striving to make things look more akin to its Tizen homegrown operating system, while leaving Material Design cues in the background. The theory rests on the fact that Samsung is using a wide range of colors (which are not necessarily of the whole Material Design setup), round avatars, not of the square variety, and a very Tizen-like Contacts app.

On top of that, Tizen’s customizable themes allow users to fundamentally change the look of their UI setup, an aspect which is not offered in Material Design. So it appears Samsung is sneakily slipping subtle traces of Tizen into its latest Android flagship.

Samsung wants to make people more aware of Tizen
Customers might not be truly interested in Tizen OS for the time being, but Samsung is surely cueing them towards it. The company launched its first Tizen OS handset not so long ago, but only in emergent markets like India, where it sold the phone with an under $100 / €78 price tag. However, since the operating system is still in its infancy, it lacks a proper app ecosystem. But with proper commitment from Samsung, this issue will probably be resolved in time.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy S6 UI difference

New TouchWiz on the Samsung Galaxy S6
Images credits to Tizen Indonesia

Tizen OS on the first Samsung Z1 handset
Image credits to Hello-Droid

Nokia’s and Meizu’s MX Supreme Leaks in Live Images, Shows Thin Bezels

Earlier this month, a rumor we had heard before surfaced online once again. It appears that iconic phone maker Nokia and up-and-rising Chinese handset manufacturer Meizu may have teamed up in order to release an international version of the MX4 flagship.

Since Nokia is forbidden from entering the smartphone market until Q4 2016, the company has confirmed that it is looking for other opportunities like licensing its brand or expertise in the software and hardware field to other willing handset makers. Since neither company stepped forward to confirm the information, the report continued to be shrouded in mystery.

Purported Meizu MX Supreme leaks
This week, the story of Nokia and Meizu takes another turn. The folks over at GSM Dome have managed to dig up on China’s social media website Weibo a bunch of pictures supposedly depicting the Meizu MX Supreme. Word on the street has it that the MX Supreme will be an Android-powered device with Nokia’s PureView technology adorning the back. Not so long ago, a post on Weibo revealed that the phone might end up offering a camera with a 60MP sensor. With a name like “Supreme,” it’s pretty obvious that the handset will probably pack top of the line hardware and software specs.

Anyway, the two images we currently have at our disposal reveal a handset with a pretty big home button and a razor thin bezel. It’s not almost inexistent like on Oppo’s upcoming wonder phone, but it’s still pretty thin and classy.

Will Nokia and Meizu make the MX Supreme better?
The current MX4 flagship offers a 5.36-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1152 pixel resolution and 418ppi. The handset also boasts a MediaTek MT6595 octa-core processor clocked at 1.7GHz and fitted with 2GB of RAM. But with the international version, Meizu and Nokia could go wild. To match current flagship proposals on the market today, the companies might end up implementing a QHD display, a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor working hand in hand with 4GB of RAM.

What we’ve been telling you so far is just pure speculation, so until we hear something more reliable, the Meizu MX Supreme continues to exist in the realm of speculation and wonder.

Rumors about Nokia and Meizu continue

Purported Meizu MX Supreme showing home button

This could be Meizu MX
Images credits to Weibo/GSM Dome

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