ASUS Announces Transformer Book Duet TD300

Subject: Mobile | January 6, 2014 - 03:38 PM |
Tagged: win 8.1, Transformer Book Duet, Transformer, TD300, CES 2014, asus, Android

ASUS is really taking the transformer meme to new heights with the new TD300 Transformer Book Duet.  Not only can it switch from tablet to notebook with a click of its dock, it can also swap between Android and Win 8.1 with the click of a button and it is fairly probable you have never seen Android run on a Core i7 before.  As well the 13.3-inch 1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS touchscreen display has been a rare bird in the mobile market; something we can hope will change during this year though the onboard HD4000 series may struggle in some scenarios.  You will also enjoy the onboard storage, a 128GB SSD in the tablet expandable with up to a 64GB Micro SD card with up to a 1TB HDD in the keyboard dock.  Pricing info is a bit sparse but the bottom models are a i3 with HD Display @ $599, the i3 with FHD Display @ $699.

 

td300.png
Las Vegas, NV (January 6, 2014) — ASUS today announced Transformer Book Duet (TD300), the world’s first quad-mode, dual-OS laptop and tablet convertible that allows users to switch between Windows and Android in either laptop or tablet modes with just a single push of the Instant Switch button or a virtual key on the tablet. With a powerful Intel® Core™ i7 processor at its heart, Transformer Book Duet runs up to twice as fast as existing tablets based on ARM® processors. ASUS SonicMaster technology and dual speakers ensure that Transformer Book Duet delivers incredible audio for immersive entertainment.

Quad-mode, dual-OS laptop and tablet with Instant Switch
ASUS Transformer Book Duet (TD300) is an extremely capable device that is able to function as an Android or Windows 8.1 tablet or notebook. Users can simply switch operating systems with a single push of the Instant Switch button or a virtual key on the tablet.

By offering both operating systems, ASUS provides users the ability to run supported Android applications and a vast array of native Windows applications. Transformer Book Duet features a powerful Intel Core i7 processor with Intel HD graphics and 4G DDR3L 1600 RAM, giving it performance that’s up to twice as fast as existing tablets powered by ARM® processors.

The patented ASUS technology that powers Instant Switch offers many performance and productivity benefits over other dual-OS solutions, such as fast, smooth and seamless switching and the ability to resume each OS from where the user left off. As it does not use OS virtualization, Instant Switch also allows each OS to harness the full power of Intel’s latest processor technology.

Striking audio-visuals
ASUS Transformer Book Duet (TD300) delivers striking visuals on its 13.3-inch 1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS touchscreen display. This multi-touch display features sensitivity and responsiveness that exceeds Microsoft’s requirements for Windows 8.1. For audio, it comes with ASUS SonicMaster technology for true-to-life sound through the tablet’s dual speakers. In addition, Transformer Book Duet has a front-facing HD camera with a built-in digital mic for video chats. The tablet display has 128GB of SSD storage that can be supplemented by a 64GB Micro SD card, while the keyboard dock houses up to a 1TB hard disk drive. The dock is also home to USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, a LAN port, and HDMI 1.4 output with 1080p support. In terms of connectivity, ASUS Transformer Book T300 has 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 with EDR.

ASUS Transformer Book Duet sports the same stylish concentric-circle finish found in other ASUS offerings. The Transformer Book Duet has compact dimensions, with the tablet measuring 342.7 x 216.3 x 12.9mm; and the dock measuring 340.9 x 217.6 x 16mm. Together, they weigh around 1.9kg, making it supremely portable and flexible for those on the go.

SPECIFICATIONS
Transformer Book Duet TD300

  • Dual-OS - Windows 8.1 Standard / Android 4.2.2
  • 13.3-inch Full HD IPS multi-touch display
  • Up to Intel Core i7 processor
  • 4GB DDR3L 1600 RAM
  • Up to 128GB SSD in Tablet
  • Up to 1TB HDD in Dock
  • 38WHr battery, estimated battery life around 5 hours in Windows 8.1 and 6 hours in Android 4.2.2.
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR
  • Tablet ports: Micro SD card, Headphone jack, DC jack
  • Keyboard dock ports: 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 10/100Mbit/s LAN, HDMI 1.4, audio combo jack, DC jack

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

 

 

CES 2014: ASUS Unveils New Line of Android-Powered ZenFone Smartphones

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 6, 2014 - 03:20 PM |
Tagged: zenui, zenfone, smarphone, CES 2014, CES, atom z2580, asus, Android

ASUS has unveiled a new lineup of “ZenFone” smartphones. Available in four, five, and six-inch form factors, the smartphones run Google's Android operating system and are powered by Intel's Clover Trail+ Atom processors. The ZenFone lineup features colorful chassis options, large batteries, IPS touchscreen displays in various screen sizes, front and rear cameras with PixelMaster technology, and Android 4.3 (will receive 4.4) with ASUS' own customized user interface.

Specifically, ASUS is launching the ZenFone 4, ZenFone 5, and ZenFone 6 in four, five, and six-inch physical form factors.

ASUS ZenFone 4 Colors.jpg

The ZenFone 4 has a 4-inch 800x480 TFT touchscreen display, a VGA webcam, and a 5-megapixel rear camera. ASUS is offering the ZenFone 4 in five colors including Charcoal Black, Pearl White, Cherry Red, Sky Blue, and Solar Yellow. Note that the Solar Yellow and Sky Blue colors are exclusive to the smallest ZenFone.

Internally, the 4-inch ZenFone 4 is powered by a dual core (four threads with HyperThreading) Intel Atom Z2520 processor clocked at 1.2 GHz, 1GB RAM, up to 64GB of storage via microSD card, and a 1,170 mAh battery.

ASUS ZenFone 5 Android Smartphone.jpg

From there, the ZenFone 5 steps up the hardware specifications to a larger 5-inch IPS HD (1280x720) touchscreen, better front and rear cameras, and faster internal hardware. The ZenFone 5 comes with a 2MP front camera and a 8MP PixelMaster rear camera with image stabilization, a BSI (Backside Illumination) sensor, and a wide aperture F/2.0 lens. The touchscreen has PenTouch and GloveTouch technology, allowing users to use the touchscreen with a stylus or gloved hands. The phone comes in Charcoal Black, Pearl White, Cherry Red, and Campagne Gold.

Internally, the ZenFone 5 has a Intel Atom Z2580 clocked at 2 GHz (2 core, four thread), 1GB of RAM, up to 64GB of storage via microSD card, and a 2,050 mAh battery.

ZenFone 6_ Colors.png

Finally, the ZenFone 6 is the flagship device of the lineup. It is also the largest of the bunch, with a 6-inch 720p IPS display. It offers up a 2MP webcam, 13MP PixelMaster rear camera, and SonicMaster audio (which provides virtual surround sound over headphones). The phone is available in the same black, white, red, and gold colors as the ZenFone 5. It shares the same processor, memory, and storage of the ZenFone 5, but adds a beefier 3,230 mAh battery.

The full table of specifications is available below for further information.

  ZenFone 4 ZenFone 5 ZenFone 6
Display 4” WVGA 800 x 480-pixel TFT display
 
5” HD 1280 x 720-pixel IPS display
 
6" HD 1280 x 720-pixel IPS display
 
SoC Intel Atom Z2520 @ 1.2 GHz Intel Atom Z2580 @ 2.0 GHz Intel Atom Z2580 @ 2.0 GHz
RAM 1GB RAM 1GB RAM 1GB RAM
Storage Up to 64GB micro SD card Up to 64GB micro SD card Up to 64GB micro SD card
Radios GSM/GPRS/EDGE; WCDMA/HSPA+
DC-HSPA+ (DL/UL): 42/5.76 Mbps
Integrated 802.11b/g/n; Wi-Fi Direct
GSM/GPRS/EDGE; WCDMA/HSPA+
DC-HSPA+ (DL/UL): 42/5.76 Mbps
Integrated 802.11b/g/n; Wi-Fi Direct
GSM/GPRS/EDGE; WCDMA/HSPA+
DC-HSPA+ (DL/UL): 42/5.76 Mbps
Integrated 802.11b/g/n; Wi-Fi Direct
Battery 1170mAh 2050mAh 3230mAh
Cameras 5-megapixel rear camera
0.3-megapixel front camera
8-megapixel rear camera
2-megapixel front camera
13-megapixel rear camera
2-megapixel front camera
OS Android 4.3 (will update to Android 4.4 KitKat) Android 4.3 (will update to Android 4.4 KitKat) Android 4.3 (will update to Android 4.4 KitKat)
Dimensions 124.4 x 61.4 x 11.2-6.3mm 148.2 x 72.8 x 10.3-5.5mm 166.9 x 84.3 x 9.9-5.5mm
Weight 115g 144g 200g

Each of the phones comes with Android 4.3 and a custom ZenUI interface from ASUS. ZenUI provides visual tweaks as well as applications, including the Omlet Chat messaging application and a email app that supports threading messages. On the ZenFone 6, users can employ "Reader Mode" to reduce eye streain when purusing long documents or books.

In all, ASUS has an interesting lineup with its new ZenFone smartphones. In particular, the ASUS ZenFone 6 is neat looking phone (especially in red) with some powerful hardware. The bad news? Pricing and availability are still unknown, and as an Intel-powered smartphone it is highly unlikely to ever be offered in the US (just my luck).

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Asus

NVIDIA Tegra Note 7 OTA Update - Always On HDR, Video Stabilization, Android 4.3

Subject: Mobile | December 26, 2013 - 10:18 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, tegra 4, note 7, tegra note 7, android 4.3, Android

NVIDIA sent along word this morning that they have improved the Tegra Note 7 with a new software OTA update.  Keys to the update are that it adds the promised always-on HDR photography (AOHDR), live video stabilization and an operating system update to Android 4.3. 

We’ve enhanced the Tegra NOTE stylus experience, adding support for left-handed users and improvements in overall response. We’ve also added a DirectStylus help option under the device setting’s menu, a stylus removal and insert notification on the notification bar, and given users the ability to capture the notification bar with full-screen capture.

In addition to these new features, Tegra NOTE 7′s camera gets always-on high-dynamic range (AOHDR) capability, which provides more lifelike images across a range of lighting conditions. AOHDR utilizes Tegra 4’s processing power and Chimera computational photography architecture. We’ve also added video stabilization for shake-free video, in addition to tuning and optimizations to improve camera performance under certain lighting conditions.

From an OS perspective, Tegra Note 7 now sports the Android 4.3 Operating System.

Finally, in addition to security and bug fixes, we’ve added the ability to transfer app and data files from internal memory to an external microSD card.

If you own a Tegra Note 7 you will be pushed the update soon or you can force an update in your settings menu. 

note7.png

Still curious about the device?  You can read my review of the Tegra Note 7 here and find out all about this $199 7-in tablet device.

Source: NVIDIA

Upgrading from a PSP to a Shield

Subject: General Tech | November 15, 2013 - 05:54 PM |
Tagged: shield, nvidia, gamestream, Android

Neoseeker traded in their Star Wars Limited Edition PSP for an NVIDIA Shield to see the evolution of portable gaming in action.  It was love at first sight, from the design of the box it came in to the shape of the actual device.  The actual performance of the device involved changing some habit, years of touchscreen usage were working against them when navigating with the D-Pad but that was quickly overcome as they became accustomed to the device.  Once they got comfortable with Shield and tried out both GameStream and Console Mode it was no longer possible to separate them from NVIDIA's new toy and it became a permanent fixture, much like their cellphones.  At launch this device was impressive and as people continue to use it and develop new applications it will only get better.

01.jpg

"Through SHIELD, NVIDIA offers a new approach to Android gaming by providing an all-in-one platform combining beautiful display and console-grade controller."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

Source: Neoseeker

Basemark X Creator Comments on Benchmark Cheating

Subject: Mobile | October 4, 2013 - 12:27 AM |
Tagged: Android, cheating, basemark x

Even if you haven't been paying attention to the world of mobile benchmarking over the past week you have likely heard about the now rampant cheating that is going on with Android testing.  Device makers are doing simple detection for benchmark applications and unrealistically changing the performance attributes of the SoC (CPU and GPU) to improve benchmark scores.  This does not represent the behavior that an end user would see in real-world usage but is intended only to move the device up to the top of benchmark graphs to gain attention and drive sales.

Long time PC enthusiasts will recognize this problem though thanks to the openness of the PC ecosystem that issue is largely removed as there are independent press and researchers keeping all parties honest. 

Anandtech (and many other outlets) are again discussing the issue of cheating in mobile testing, even going as far as creating a chart titled "I Can't Believe I Have to Make This Table" that shows which benchmarks are being compromised by which devices and OS configurations.  I highly suggest you check out the story by Anand and Brian to get more details on the state of cheating in mobile benchmarks. 

The creator of one of the affected benchmarks, Basemark X, contacted the media with some interesting comments I wanted share. 

It has come to our attention that Galaxy Note 3 may be targeting our benchmark, Basemark X.

Rightware’s mission is to provide trusted performance evaluation tools you can depend on. Therefore, we have produced an updated version of Basemark X that solves this issue.

basemarkx.png

I asked Tero Sarkkinen, founder of Rightware, what could be done to prevent this type of unfair performance skewing going forward. 

Basically every benchmark and application out there can be targeted by a new handset or tablet and no one can really prevent it. What makes a difference is will the benchmark vendor do something about it when this is recognized.

At Rightware, we take our mission seriously and we monitor day in and day out what is going on. As in this case, we noticed that Note 3 is targeting Basemark X, we immediately provided the press with a version that the handset is not able to detect.

We get thousands of benchmark results in every day to our Power Board http://results.rightware.com and therefore we have a pretty good idea of what's going on.

In other words, we are not sticking our heads into the sand.

While the sentiment that "no one can really prevent it" is disappointing to hear, it is what we expected and what we are planning for.  Sarkkinen is confident that Rightware is able to stay up on the situation and is going to keep pace with online media and analysts to make sure these hardware vendors are staying honest. 

It's the best news we have seen in a sea of disappointing information on mobility benchmarking this week.

Office 365 might not be great for enterprise but for BYOD it is looking interesting

Subject: General Tech | September 23, 2013 - 01:24 PM |
Tagged: office 365, microsoft, Android

While Enterprise admins are less than impressed with the new Office 365 model and the changes that are required to their environments to make this new product function correctly many SMBs, students and home users have a lot to be happy about.  Device sharing is going to be a big thing, with one license allowing you to use Office 365 on a variety of the devices you own.  Support on NVIDIA's Shield is still a rumour but compatibility with Android phones is much closer to reality.  There are workarounds you need to put into place in order to make most Android phones function correctly, which The Register kindly linked to in their article and you will need to hunt down the originally released Microsoft installation file which they have pulled but you will be able to use Office 365.  Hopefully you won't be trying to write long dissertations on your phone but reading and editing are quite possible.

office-365-logo.jpg

"Unlike the video editing or CAD workstation beasts that are still utterly reliant on Windows, Android is slowly evolving into a workable platform for basic productivity."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Google Quietly Dives into the Smartwatch Wars on a WIMM

Subject: Mobile | September 4, 2013 - 02:45 PM |
Tagged: wimm, smartwatch, google, Android

In an effort to bolster its own trek into the much-hyped smartwatch market, Google has acquired android smartwatch developer WIMM Labs. This may be new news to you, but this stealthy acquisition occurred well over a year ago, with most of the world none the wiser—WIMM casually shuttered its operations and alluded to an “exclusive, confidential relationship”—until tech news company, GigaOM leaked the details of the merger .

Since GigaOM spoke up, there has been a deluge of activity to back their claim: Investment bank Woodside Capital Partners posted an image practically screaming that they had assisted with the merger, and a number of WIMM employees are updating their online profiles to state that they now work for Google. The purchase of WIMM labs will give Google a massive edge in the upcoming smartphone wars and here is how:

Like many manufacturers of Android hardware, WIMM has implemented a unique ecosystem exclusive to its devices, but unlike most other manufacturers, the WIMM Micro App Store features an independent third party developer program; this means that much like Google’s own Play Store—the primary Android marketplace—that anyone with a great app idea can build a Google smartwatch-ready app. This added capability doesn’t just mean a few extra apps for your smartwatch, though. It also will allow app integration, so that alarm clock set up on your Android smartphone or tablet will buzz on your watch, your calendar will literally always be on hand, and your highly important notes will always be accessible. The WIMM/Google Micro Apps will also operate with unique independence from their phone and tablet-bases cousins. A Google Smartwatch Micro App could, for instance, remotely control your smartphone, enabling you to make phone calls, play music, or power down the device.

The Micro App Store is important, but the hardware and personnel benefits that came with the WIMM acquisition should not be ignored; any patents that WIMM owned are now at Google’s disposal, and with other tech giants, such as Apple looking for a reason to sue anybody for “stealing their ideas,” and with those patent troll companies still being a drain on legitimate business ventures, the WIMM patent portfolio could go a long way in protecting Google’s interests from the legal sharks. Also, the wealth of knowledge about the Micro App Store’s inner workings will go a long way in streamlining the Play Store/Micro App Store app integration process.

wimm.jpg

Image source: GigaOM

The WIMM acquisition proves that Google is dead serious about playing its hand in the smartwatch wars; consumers should be on the lookout for a “Google Nexus Smartwatch,” and seriously consider buying into the capabilities of such a device, and owning one themselves.

Source: GigaOM

Google Rolls Out JSS15Q OTA Update To Fix GPS and Multi-Touch Issues

Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2013 - 10:26 PM |
Tagged: tablet, ota update, nexus 7, gps, google, Android

Google’s new Nexus 7 was released in July with updated hardware and Android 4.3. One of the changes to the platform was the switch from the original Nexus 7’s Tegra 3 processor for a quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC. Qualcomm also built the GPS (and GLONASS) unit. Unfortunately, some users ran into issues with the GPS and touchscreen on the updated Nexus 7 due to software bugs.

In response, Google is rolling out an Over The Air (OTA) update to all new Nexus 7 devices. Among other minor bug fixes, the JSS15Q update resolves the GPS and multi-touch issues. Previously, the GPS would randomly drop the connection and a smaller number of users reported that touching the screen would initiate screen presses at multiple (unintended) areas of the screen on a shared axis from the actual touch point.

Updated Google Nexus 7 Android Jelly Bean Tablet.jpg

AnandTech reports that the JSS15Q update, which is being slowly rolled out to all of the 2013 edition Nexus 7 devices, has resolved the GPS issue. The XDA Developers site further reports that the update addresses the mult-itouch and user data eMMC corruption bugs.

Nexus 7 users can either wait for the JSS15Q update or flash the device with an updated Google-provided  ROM.

Source: Anandtech

LG Launches Enact Smartphone With Physical Sliding Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2013 - 06:58 PM |
Tagged: verizon, smartphone, physical keyboard, LG, enact, Android

LG recently launched a new slider smartphone called the Enact on the US Verizon network. The new smartphone pairs low-to-midrange hardware with a physical keyboard and Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.

The LG Enact measures 4.37” x 2.06” x 0.62” and weighs 5.99 ounces. A black chassis surrounds a 4” touchscreen display with a resolution of 800 x 400 and front-facing VGA webcam. A physical keyboard slides out from the left side of the phone and a 5MP camera (with auto-focus) is located on the back of the smartphone along with a LED flash. The keyboard’s five row layout includes full qwerty and a top number row along with arrow keys in the bottom-right corner.

LG Enact Verizon Android Smartphone.jpg

Internal specifications include a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8930 SoC, 8GB of internal storage, wireless radios, and a 2,460 mAH Li-ion battery. The MSM8930 SoC includes a dual core ARM CPU clocked at 1.2GHz and a Adreno 305 GPU. Wireless functionality includes 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS. The smartphone runs Android 4.1.2.

The LG Enact has a full retail price of $349.99, and a subsidized price of $19.99 with a 2 year contract through the Verizon website. The smartphone has modest specifications and an older version of Google’s mobile operating system, but it does offer up a physical keyboard and is the latest in an increasingly rare product type.

Source: Verizon
Author:
Subject: Editorial
Manufacturer: Quakecon

The Densest 2.5 Hours Imaginable

John Carmack again kicked off this year's Quakecon with an extended technical discussion about nearly every topic bouncing around his head.  These speeches are somewhat legendary for the depth of discussion on what are often esoteric topics, but they typically expose some very important sea changes in the industry, both in terms of hardware and software.  John was a bit more organized and succinct this year by keeping things in check with some 300 lines of discussion that he thought would be interesting for us.
 
Next Generation Consoles
 
John cut to the chase and started off the discussion about the upcoming generation of consoles.  John was both happy and sad that we are moving to a new generation of products.  He feels that they really have a good handle on the optimizations of the previous generation of consoles to really extract every ounce of performance and create some interesting content.  The advantages of a new generation of consoles are very obvious, and that is particularly exciting for John.
 
31978_06_pre_orders_for_next_gen_xbox_one_controllers_and_headsets_now_open_full.jpg
 
The two major consoles are very, very similar.  There are of course differences between the two, but the basis for the two are very much the same.  As we well know, the two consoles feature APUs designed by AMD and share a lot of similarities.  The Sony hardware is a bit more robust and has more memory bandwidth, but when all is said and done, the similarities outweigh the differences by a large margin.  John mentioned that this was very good for AMD, as they are still in second place in terms of performance from current architectures as compared to Intel and their world class process technology.
 
Some years back there was a thought that Intel would in fact take over the next generation of consoles.  Larrabee was an interesting architecture in that it melded x86 CPUs with robust vector units in a high speed fabric on a chip.  With their prowess in process technology, this seemed a logical move for the console makers.  Time has passed, and Intel did not execute on Larrabee as many had expected.  While the technology has been implemented in the current Xeon Phi product, it has never hit the consumer world.