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Subject: General Tech, Mobile | March 25, 2012 - 08:42 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: TSMC, nvidia, Intel
NVIDIA would like Intel to be their fab partner for ARM processors. Turns out NVIDIA-produced ARM products are not tempting to Intel.
Last month we reported that Intel would open up their fabrication plants to contracts from other companies. We stated that the world would likely end if Intel were to ever produce products from NVIDIA. It turns out that the world is safe.
Turn out the lights, pretend we’re not home.
Intel is far and away the most advanced semiconductor fabricators in the world and many companies would love to have their components created in their factories. Intel is very aware of how sophisticated their technique is relative to their competitors and exercises that advantage.
NVIDIA currently fabricates their chips at TSMC. That partnership has proven to be slightly problematic to NVIDIA’s business goals. Their Kepler launch turned out to not be nearly as soft of a launch as was proposed by SemiAccurate -- but that is to be expected from a website by that name (especially with NVIDIA news).
Perhaps you were a little too greedy in requesting that Intel manufacture your ARM processors, NVIDIA? Maybe you should test the waters with a discrete GPU order or, you know, some other market that Intel does not compete in try as they might.
Even still, there was a rumor going around when Intel partnered with AMD for hardware-accelerated physics support. It does not seem like Intel really want to be friends. Plenty of fish in the sea, though.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | March 25, 2012 - 06:55 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: kindle fire, amazon
Taiwanese-based machining company, Catcher Technology, is rumored to start producing an order of chassis for the new Kindle Fire.
Amazon has thus far been very successful at gaining public awareness about their tablet devices. Apple still holds the dominant position in the tablet market although Amazon seems to be comfortably secure where they are. Sales of the original Kindle Fire were somewhere north of 5.5 million units.
Like Sandra Bullock -- start with a Fire on the Amazon, add Speed and get really big.
Despite hefty sales of their first product, the Fire was based on the Blackberry Playbook design to saturate the market for Christmas and was not what Amazon originally intended.
Rumors have suggested that the new Kindle would include a 10-inch screen and have higher performance. ZDNet recently questioned the value of a larger and higher performance model. ZDNet attributes the success of the Kindle Fire to its cheap price point and argues that $200 is the impulse buy point.
Unfortunately, although strong rumors claim that Catcher Technology will develop the chassis -- the rumors appear to say nothing about what size they will be.
But hey, at least Catcher will have new CNC machines to play around with.
Subject: Mobile | March 20, 2012 - 03:09 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: SFF, liquid cooling, gaming laptop, asetek, alienware
The rise of mATX boards designed for high powered gaming machines, laptops with serious mobile GPU power and All-In-One Systems have increased the problem of heat generation in small systems. A SFF system used to be a moderately powerful system good for use as a workstation or HTPC but now it could well be a multi-GPU gaming beast and the same goes for laptops.
In an effort to stop baking laps and shortening the life of components in SFF systems Asetek has been working on liquid cooling systems for these types of systems. You can see an example of a watercooling Alienware laptop on the YouTube video they produced and be sure to check out the links on this page if you are looking for more information.
Asetek Inc., the world leading supplier of liquid cooling for the computer industry announced today a new and groundbreaking slim form factor liquid cooling technology for extreme performance and workstation grade laptops and All-In-One PCs. Slim form factor liquid cooling enables laptop and AIO PC manufacturers to deliver mobility and sleek industrial designs without sacrificing performance.
“We see a growing need for higher performance personal computers, driven by ever more powerful modeling software for engineering, scientific and financial work, and for content creation and gaming,” said André S. Eriksen, Founder and CEO of Asetek. ”We also see high performance hardware expanding to more portable, sleeker devices like the highly successful M-series of notebooks from Alienware.”
“For laptops and AIOs to deliver workstation and gaming PC performance, these machines must be able to take full advantage of desktop grade performance hardware. We have identified this need and designed our cooling solution to target these thinner machines,” continued Eriksen.
The fundamental challenge in cooling desktop replacement laptops and All-In-One PCs is the lack of space for a proper thermal solution. Consequently, previous attempts at liquid cooling laptops have offered no performance improvement over traditional heat-pipe based heat sinks.
“Asetek successfully cracked the code of improving acoustic and thermal performance in a notebook without increasing the form factor,” said Ole Madsen, VP of Engineering. “Our patent protected technology allows better utilization of the thermal modules used to cool the CPU and GPUs. That, along with our optimized coldplate technology enables the use of much more powerful hardware than air cooling could ever allow”.
Asetek is showcasing its new technology in an Alienware M18x notebook with the CPU overclocked from 3.5GHz to 4.4Ghz and the GPUs overclocked from 680Mhz to 800Mhz. In addition, the M18x achieved a 23% improvement in Futuremark’s 3D Mark Vantage benchmark while reducing the noise output of the stock air-cooled laptop. A video demonstration can be found at Asetek.com.
Subject: Mobile | March 19, 2012 - 12:25 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, Transformer, ice cream sandwich, android 4.0, eee pad, eee pad transformer
The new ASUS Transformer Prime may have had Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich, as its OS for a while now, but only recently has the same been true for the original Eee Pad Transformer. The Tech Report upgraded their Transformer with the approved version of ICS and took it for a spin. Many of the advantages they found were tied directly into the ASUS version which allowed the tablets base functionality to be integrated with the OS as opposed to being an app running on the OS. That is not all however as they described the OS upgrade as feeling more like a hardware update thanks to the increased fluidity of the tablets responsiveness.
"Asus has been quick to roll out Ice Cream Sandwich updates for its Eee Pad Transformers. We take a closer look at the new OS to see how it fares on the Android tablets."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Sony VAIO VPCSE13FX Review @ TechReviewSource
- HP Envy 14 Spectre Review @ TechReviewSource
- Acer Aspire TimelineU M3: Life on the Kepler Verge @ AnandTech
- Dell XPS 13: A Different Kind of Ultrabook @ AnandTech
- Acer Aspire TimelineU M3: Life on the Kepler Verge @ AnandTech
- Mobile GPU Comparison @ TechARP
- Powerbag Instant Messenger Bag @ TechwareLabs
- Concrete Cases Hook Case – Laptop Bag Review @ Tech-Reviews
- Choiix Wave Stand @ LanOC Reviews
- Life with Samsung's Galaxy Note @ The Tech Report
- My smartphone, the spy: protecting privacy in a mobile age @ Ars Technica
- The Razer Blade @ AnandTech
- Samsung Galaxy Note Review @ Tech-Reviews
- Tablets of 2012: The New iPad, Current and Upcoming Alternatives @ TechSpot
- New Apple iPad 3 Review @ Tech-Reviews
- New Apple iPad Review @ TechReviewSource
- The new iPad (iPad 3) Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Apple iPad 3 @ Kitguru
- RIM BlackBerry PlayBook (2012) Review @ TechReviewSource
Subject: Mobile | March 19, 2012 - 09:17 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: laptop, Ivy Bridge, Intel, hp, GT650M, GT630M, 22nm
Over the weekend, HP pulled the curtain off of three new Ivy Bridge laptops on their website. What makes the three new DV series consumer laptops interesting is the inclusion of Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge 22nm CPUs. Let's dive into the specs as we know them now.
First up is the smallest of the bunch, the DV4-5000 series with 14" display at 1366 x 768 resolution and Windows 7 Home Premium x64. Internal hardware includes an Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7-3610QM running at 2.3 GHz, an NVIDIA GT630M graphics card, 4 GB of RAM, and a 1TB 5400rpm SATA hard drive. This model also comes with 802.11 b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth functionality, and a DVD burner. Connectivity options include two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, one HDMI, one VGA, and one RJ45 Ethernet port, along with headphone and microphone jacks.
The HP DV6-7000 follows the same specifications as the previous DV4-5000 except it ups the display to 15.6." The Ivy Bridge i7-3610QM, NVIDIA GT630M, and 4 GB of RAM, DVD burner, and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi (plus Bluetooth) all stay the same. The DV6-7000 further provides a bit more external connectivity options with an additional USB 3.0 port, and an extra headphone jack. It is also possible to configure it with a total of 8 GB of RAM.
The last new Ivy Bridge powered laptop release from HP is the DV7-7000 (they really need more catch names for these things). It packs an Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7-3720QM running at 2.6 GHz, 8 GB of DDR3 1600 MHz RAM, a total of 2 TB (2 x 1 TB) of 5400rpm mechanical hard drive storage, a NVIDIA GeForce GT650M, and a Blu-ray writer and DVD reader/writer combo drive. On the outside is a 17.3" display at 1920 x 1080 resolution and four Beats Audio speakers. Connectivity options include three USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0, one HDMI, one VGA, one RJ45 Ethernet jack, two headphone jacks, and a single microphone input along with 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Although the HP website currently lists the laptops as "Ready To Buy," the links are not click-able and word on the web is that the actual launch date will be around April 8th. Further, HP will not begin shipping their Ivy Bridge laptops until April 29th according to Laptop Reviews. More information on the HP laptops can be found here.
Subject: Mobile | March 13, 2012 - 10:35 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: WOA, windows 8, tablets, nokia, microsoft, arm
Earlier this year we heard talk of several planned Windows On ARM tablets that would run the upcoming Windows 8 operating system, and now more planned tablets have emerged. Asus is planning to release four Windows 8 tablets (two WOA versions), and according to Digitimes, Nokia will be joining the fray with their own WOA tablets.
Allegedly, Nokia will launch a 10" ARM tablet powered by Qualcomm's dual core System on a Chip (SoC) processor. The tablet will run the Windows on ARM version of Windows 8, and their sources have expressed that the Nokia tablet will further fuel the mobile tablet market and provide healthy competition for the iPad juggernaut.
Further, according to "sources at upstream component suppliers," Nokia will be outsourcing the manufacturing of their Windows 8 tablet to Compal Electronics. Also, the sources have stated that the first production batch will consist of 200,000 units.
Don't forget to check out our guide on virtualizing Windows 8 to get an idea of how the new interface works. More information on the Windows On ARM front as it develops.
Subject: Mobile | March 12, 2012 - 09:10 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: widi, ultrabook, ssd, Ivy Bridge, asus zenbook, asus
The Asus UX31 and UX21 have been two popular examples of ultrabooks. Interestingly, they have been available for purchase for less than 6 months and we are already hearing that the company is planning a refresh with upgraded hardware! The two new ultrabooks will be dubbed the UX21A and UX31A and will replace the UX21 and UX31 respectfully while maintaining the same weight and dimensions.
The original UX21 ultrabook
Among the new internal hardware updates, Asus will be moving to Ivy Bridge processors, up to 4 GB of low voltage DDR3 1600 memory, and an alleged 512 GB SATA 3 (6Gbps) SSD (solid state drive) option. The Ivy Bridge processors in question will be pulled from Intel's low voltage mobile CPU range and will sport a 17 watt TDP (thermal design power). The Core i3 3217U, Core i5 3317U, and Core i7 3517U will all be configurable options and carry the following specs.
|Model||Cores||Hyper Threading||Cache (L3)||Clockspeed||Turbo Boost (1core / 2cores)|
|Core i3-3217U||2||Yes||3 MB||1.8 GHz||None|
|Core i5-3317U||2||Yes||3 MB||1.7 GHz||2.6 GHz / 2.4 GHz|
|Core i7-3517U||2||Yes||4 MB||1.9 GHz||3.0 GHz / 2.8 GHz|
The new Zenbook ultrabooks will include two USB 3.0 ports, a micro HDMI port, and an SDXC card reader. Wireless connections will further include 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and Intel's WIDI wireless display streaming technology. The new UX31A will have the option of a 1920 x 1080 resolution IPS display with a brightness rating at 350 nits or a non IPS (possibly TN) LCD with 300 nits brightness that maxes out at a 1600 x 900 resolution. The smaller UX21A also has the option for a 1920 x 1080 resolution IPS display; however, the non IPS LCD option's resolution will max out at 1366 x 768, coincidentally just enough to do the 1/3, 2/3 side by side Metro application split in Windows 8.
Lastly, they estimate the battery life of the 13" UX31A and 11" UX21A ultrabooks to be around "six to seven hours" and five hours respectively. Once Ivy Bridge processors have launched and other notebook vendors start shipping their Ivy Bridge powered machines, Asus will reportedly start selling the updated Zenbooks for prices starting at $1,050 and $1,100 for the UX21A and UX31A respectively.
A nice hardware update without jacking up the price too much and likely making the older models cheaper? Sign me up! Are you looking forward to more ultrabooks this year?
Subject: Mobile | March 12, 2012 - 04:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ultrabook, ssd, asus zenbook, asus
The SSD Review stumbled upon a dirty little secret about the ASUS Zenbook SSD; specifically the SSD part of the name. It seems that when you buy one, you might be picking up a model with an AData XM11 SSD or it might be a Sandisk U100 but unfortunately they are the same price and a similar model number making them very difficult to tell apart ... until you use it. The SandForce drive AData drive is significantly faster than the Sandisk drive which uses its own proprietary controller. The difference is not crippling but it is certainly noticeable when benchmarking and using the system. The final result was that size does matter, the 11.6" UX21 has SandForce while the 13.3" UX31 does not, though both are still very nice Ultrabooks.
"If we told you that we spent $2400 to right a wrong in proving something that you as a consumer should be aware of, would you believe us? This report closely examines the ASUS Zenbook. Within the ‘Zen’, ASUS may provide either of two SATA 3 SSDs, these being the AData ‘SandForce Driven’ XM11 or the Sandisk U100. There is no price difference between the two, the product number is the same and the consumer has no way of knowing which they will receive. The performance drop between the two is somewhat unbelievable, however, and we thought this report important enough to invest in one of each Zenbook to educate the consumer on the reality of their potential Zenbook purchase."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Acer Aspire AS5755-6647 @ TechReviewSource
- Dell XPS 13 Review @ TechReviewSource
- ASUS Transformer Prime (TF201) Android Tablet and Keyboard Dock Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Samsung Series 5 NP530U4B Review @ TechReviewSource
- Gigabyte Unveils U2442 Ultrabook With Great Features @ SSD Review
- Mobile CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Thermaltake Tt eSPORTS Battle Dragon LAN Bag @ Kitguru
- Choiix Wake Up Folio @ LanOC Reviews
- Lenovo IdeaPad A1 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Samsung Galaxy Nexus Review @ HardwareLOOK
- Innovation or hype? Ars examines Nokia's 41 megapixel smartphone camera
- Nokia Lumia 710 Windows Phone Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Hands On With the New iPad @ TechReviewSource
- Apple To Re-Enable 3G Switch In iPhone 4S @ TechARP
Subject: Mobile | March 10, 2012 - 03:53 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tegra 3, tegra, quad core, nvidia, mobile
NVIDIA's Tegra 3 mobile processor may not have much market share (yet), but it sure is powerful! In a recent blog post, the company reiterated just how much it is accelerating applications on mobile platforms including photo editing, remote desktop clients, and even mobile video editing. They further got comments from several of the app developers that stated the Tegra 3 was the piece that made their applications run so smoothly. Granted, some of this is marketing and promotion; however, that fact doesn't make their mobile quad core (4+1 power saving core) SoC any less impressive hardware wise.
Some of the applications NVIDIA heralded include Snapseed, PowerDirector, Splashtop, and Photaf. Snapseed and PowerDirector are photo editor and video editing applications respectively while Photaf is a photo stitching app that allows you to combine multiple shots into panoramas.
Finally, Splashtop is an application that takes advantage of the Tegra 3 to bring a remote desktop client to Android that proclaims to be fast enough to run games as well as the more traditionally desktop access. Both Splashtop and Photaf are available now on Google Play for you to test out while PowerDirector and Snapseed are coming later this year to Android.
Below is the above mentioned video of the Android application developers talking about the benefits of the quad core Tegra 3 processor.
What do you guys think of NVIDIA's "4+1" core processor? Will it stand up to the new Apple A5X chip (according to NVIDIA it wont while Apple says the opposite (obviously), but we'll have to wait until we have an iPad in house to see who's chip is actually faster)?
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile | March 8, 2012 - 04:02 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ray tracing, tablet, tablets, knight's ferry, Intel
Intel looks to bring ray-tracing from their Many Integrated Core (Intel MIC) architecture to your tablet… by remotely streaming from a server loaded with one or more Knight’s Ferry cards.
The anticipation of ray-tracing engulfed almost the entirety of 3D video gaming history. The reasonable support of ray-tracing is very seductive for games as it enables easier access to effects such as global illumination, reflections, and so forth. Ray-tracing is well deserved of its status as a buzzword.
Render yourself in what Knight’s Ferry delivered… with scaling linearly and ray-traced Wolfenstein
Screenshot from Intel Blogs.
Obviously Intel would love to make headway into the graphics market. In the past Intel has struggled to put forth an acceptable offering for graphics. It is my personal belief that Intel did not take graphics seriously when they were content selling cheap GPUs to be packed in with PCs. While the short term easy money flowed in, the industry slipped far enough ahead of them that they could not just easily pounce back into contention with a single huge R&D check.
Intel obviously cares about graphics now, and has been relentless at their research into the field. Their CPUs are far ahead of any competition in terms of serial performance -- and power consumption is getting plenty of attention itself.
Intel has long ago acknowledged the importance of massively parallel computing but was never quite able to bring products like Larabee against anything the companies they once ignored could retaliate with. This brings us back to ray-tracing: what is the ultimate advantage of ray-tracing?
Ray-tracing is a dead simple algorithm.
A ray-trace renderer is programmed very simply and elegantly. Effects are often added directly and without much approximation necessary. No hacking around is required in the numerous caveats within graphics APIs in order to get a functional render on screen. If you can keep throwing enough coal on the fire, it will burn without much effort -- so to speak. Intel just needs to put a fast enough processor behind it, and away they go.
Throughout the article, Daniel Pohl has in fact discussed numerous enhancements that they have made to their ray-tracing engine to improve performance. One of the most interesting improvements is their approach to antialiasing. If the rays from two neighboring pixels strike different meshes or strike the same mesh at the point of a sharp change in direction, denoted by color, between pixels then they are flagged for supersampling. The combination of that shortcut with MLAA will also be explored by Intel at some point.
A little behind-the-scenes trickery...
Screenshot from Intel Blogs.
Intel claims that they were able to achieve 20-30 FPS at 1024x600 resolutions streaming from a server with a single Knight’s Ferry card installed to an Intel Atom-based tablet. They were able to scale to within a couple percent of theoretical 8x performance with 8 Knight’s Ferry cards installed.
I very much dislike trusting my content to online streaming services as I am an art nut. I value the preservation of content which just is not possible if you are only able to access it through some remote third party -- can you guess my stance on DRM? That aside, I understand that Intel and others will regularly find ways to push content to where there just should not be enough computational horsepower to accept it.
Ray-tracing might be Intel’s attempt to circumvent all of the years of research that they ignored with conventional real-time rendering technologies. Either way, gaming engines are going the way of simpler rendering algorithms as GPUs become more generalized and less reliant on fixed-function hardware assigned to some arbitrary DirectX or OpenGL specification.
Intel just hopes that they can have a compelling product at that destination whenever the rest of the industry arrives.
Subject: Mobile | March 7, 2012 - 04:10 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tablet, mobile, ipad 3, ipad, ios, apple
Apple officially launched the new Apple iPad 3 tablet today, and consumers will be glad to know that many of the rumors around the Internet are not far from the truth. The new iOS powered tablet will be packing a retina display, new A5X with "quad core graphics," and an optional 4G LTE radio. The retina display on the iPad 3 is 2048x1536 pixels, and works out to 264 PPI (pixels per inch).
The iPad 3's hardware will further include an updated A5 SoC that also includes a quad core graphics aspect, whatever they mean by that. Phil Schiller states that the new A5X chip "has four times the performance of NVIDIA's quad-core Tegra 3 chip." Apple has also updated the camera in the iPad 3 such that it has a 5 megapixel camera with image stabilization, hybrid IR (infrared) filter, and backside illuminated senor capable of recording 1080p video.
On the 4G LTE front, both AT&T and Verizon will carry the iPad 3 in the US, and the 4G radio will also work on Rogers, Bell, and Telus' networks in Canada. In other markets, the iPad 3 will still be able to connect to 3G networks. According to Ars, the new Apple tablet will maintain the same physical dimensions, and will enable 10 hours of battery life while on 3G or Wi-Fi and 9 hours of battery life when the 4G LTE radio is in use.
The iPad 3 will come in either black or white colors, and will be available for purchase March 16th in the US, Canada, UK, France, and Germany (among others), and March 23th for the rest of the world. The iPad 2 will also stay around at a lower price point of $399 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi model and $529 for 3G.
The iPad 3 will come in at the following price points:
|Apple iPad 3 Model||Price point (USD)|
|16 GB Wi-Fi||$499|
|32 GB Wi-Fi||$599|
|64 GB Wi-Fi||$699|
|16 GB 4G LTE||$629|
|32 GB 4G LTE||$729|
|64 GB 4G LTE||$829|
Lastly, despite rumors, the iPad 3 will not be getting Siri access, and the physical home button is still present. Pre-orders for the new tablet start today, and more information on the pre-order is available over at apple.com/ipad. What do you guys think of the new tablet, will you be picking one up when it launches?
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | March 4, 2012 - 04:29 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ultrabook, Intel
Intel… really likes Ultrabooks.
Over the last year Intel has been attempting to push their Ultrabook platform in an attempt to promote the PC platform as both elegant and mobile. They only want to do what is best for the PC -- especially the ones which contain the most and the highest profit margin Intel parts. Is that really too much for the big blue to ask?
The real irony would be if this ad campaign increases Eyefinity sales…
Within the last year Intel has pushed Ultrabooks from as many different angles as they possibly can. They bargained with manufacturers to take the risk and develop these higher-end laptops. They set aside 300 million dollars toward technologies to further Ultrabooks in any way possible from batteries to software. Intel now completes their Ultrabook platform support triangle: they advertise the heck out of them.
So what do you see from this, a WOW or a FAIL?
Subject: Systems, Mobile | February 29, 2012 - 05:18 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, mobile, linux, hdmi, computer
The Raspberry Pi Foundation announced yesterday that their little Linux computer would be launching in the early hours of the morning today. Instead of the original plan of Raspberry Pi handling the pre-orders and shipping them from the UK, they ended up partnering with RS Components and Premier Farnell to handle all their orders and distribute them to customers. The non profit foundation states that this move will save customers money on shipping as the two companies have distribution centers worldwide and they will be able to get more boards out because they will be able to sell enough boards to meet demand.
Today, RS and Farnell were offering up the Model B Raspberry Pi boards for pre-order, and the first 5,000 orders from each company will receive their Raspberry Pi boards from the initial 10,000 unit batch. Surprisingly, the two companies' servers were getting hit extremely hard earlier today and it was almost impossible to not see at least a couple error pages requiring a painfully long refresh. According to the article, the Raspberry Pi computer sold out "within hours." Even though the initial batch of boards is spoken for, customers can continue to pre-order boards that will be delivered as soon as the next batch has finished production. Those unlucky enough to miss the first 10,000 aren't completely out of luck; however, as it is rumored that production of more boards should be getting underway and have an estimated delivery date a bit more than a month away. How true that is, remains to be seen however.
Personally, I managed to snag one of the first Raspberry Pi boards from Farnell Export, but it was an order fraught with error pages and being uncertain just how many I ordered as the confirm order page kept error-ing out. Luckily, I received an email from them confirming my order of a single Raspberry Pi and am now eagerly waiting for it to arrive. The last estimated delivery figure I received puts it about a month out, however.
In another bit of good news, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is still planning to release the cheaper Model A board later this year, and they managed to up the RAM to a full 256 MB of RAM which is twice the original 128 MB of RAM they planned. This update to the Model A means that the Model B is now only differentiated by the addition of two USB ports and an Ethernet port.
Did you manage to snag a Raspberry Pi this morning? From how hard the servers were getting hit last night, I'm starting to think that the Raspberry Pi Linux computer may be more popular than actual pie! If you are still interested in pre-ordering a Raspberry Pi, RS Components and Premier Farnell have you covered.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | February 28, 2012 - 07:27 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: MWC 12, Android 5.0, Android
Android Ice Cream Sandwich is currently getting rolled out to compatible devices at a leisurely pace. The OS itself is for the most part well appreciated by both developers and end-users. As the rollout progresses and minor maintenance patches are created: Google is looking forward to the next major version.
Just get Ice Cream Sandwich and they already talking about the future. U Jelly? : D
ComputerWorld went out to Barcelona to check out Mobile World Congress and of course could not resist reporting on Android. In an interview with Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google VP of Engineering for Mobile, we are treated to a few indirect statements about the next major version of Android.
The major release timeframe for Android is said to continue to be an annual endeavor. An annual release schedule would slate Android J (5.0) to an autumn timeframe. During the discussion, Lockheimer noted that there is flexibility with when developers wish to roll out updated. While that personally sounds like Google is allowing OEMs and carriers to take as long as they desire to implement the new Android releases it appears as if ComputerWorld has heard rumors of Android 5-power phones appearing as early as summer.
Despite ComputerWorld’s best effort, Google would not confirm the dessert associated with Android 5. Best guesses point to the name Jelly Bean, which are supported by a glass jar of Jelly Beans on the show floor.
Subject: Mobile | February 28, 2012 - 03:43 PM | Matt Smith
Tagged: tegra 3, tablet, nvidia, MWC, mobile world congress, gaming
Nvidia has always been happy to show off the gaming capabilities of Tegra 2 and Tegra 3. No surprise there – the company’s roots are in PC graphics, which goes hand-in-hand with PC games. When we reviewed the Transformer Prime there were several beautiful pre-installed games, such as Shadowgun, that showed off the hardware. Now Nvidia has come up with not one but five more new titles to brag about at Mobile World Congress – including a new Sonic the Hedgehog game.
Let’s have a look at them.
Dark Kingdom THD
This is a role-playing game built in the vein of games like Diablo and Torchlight. The visuals are impressive and a game like this should control well on a tablet, so this could prove to be an excellent title. I do wish the graphics offered more variety, however – they look a bit dark and dreary to me.
Eden to GREEEEN THD
Hey, are you tired of tower defense games yet? I hope not, because that’s what Eden to GREEEEN is, albeit it one that has somewhat less restrictive mechanics than most titles in the genre. Of the games that Nvidia showed at Mobile World Congress this is easily the least attractive, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be fun to play.
Golden Arrow THD
This is a hack-and-slash title that apparently will be including a lot of lens flare and explosions. I’m not sure that sounds appealing, but if you’re into that sort of thing, go for it. There’s no video available for this title right now, so we don’t have a lot to go on.
Hamilton’s Great Adventure THD
This game, which is already available on other platforms (you can even pick it up on Steam), is a puzzle game that asks players to navigate hazardous terrain on their quest to collect treasure and do over adventure-y things. The versions of this game that have come out for other platforms have received a fair amount of praise, so Nvidia is wise to be bragging about adding this to its stable.
Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode II
Nvidia has been bragging about Tegra 3’s console-quality graphics, so why not poach one of console gaming’s most popular franchises? Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode II looks to be a straight port of the version that will be available on game consoles, which means platforming at light speed with excellent 3D graphics. I sincerely hope that the controls are solid, because if so, this could be one of the best games on any tablet.
Availability for the titles shown by Nvidia is generally vague, but can be summed up as vaguely “spring.” The Sonic game, for example, will be coming out for Xbox 360 on May 16, so the tablet version will probably release sometime close to that date.
Subject: Mobile | February 27, 2012 - 04:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: dell, vostro V131
Dell's Vostro line offers a wide variety of models from a $400 Celeron ULV based model with 2GB of memory and a 320GB HDD to the $825 model that Hardware Canucks reivewed. That model gives you more power, with an i5 2430M, 4GB RAM and a 500GB HDD with a 13.3" 1366x768 LED screen. The 6-cell battery doesn't quite last as long as models with an 8-cell battery but still beat most other competitors 6-cell models. There were a few issues that arose during the review, not least of which is the lack of a dock. For home users who do not worry about such extras, the review is well worth checking out.
"Dell has been angling most of their product stack towards value oriented market segments and the newest addition to the Vostro lineup –the V131- seems to follow this same path but with some interesting twists along the way. As with many of Dell’s notebooks, it is available in a number of flavors ranging in price from just $399 to $900. Unfortunately, Dell's website has it is tucked away from the prying eyes of most end users."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Sony VAIO Z Series VPC-Z390X Review @ TechReviewSource
- Lenovo ThinkPad X220 @ Kitguru
- Samsung Chromebook Series 5 Review @ HardwareLOOK
- Alienware X51: The Xbox With Teeth @ AnandTech
- HP Pavilion dm4-3090se Beats Edition Review @ TechReviewSource
- Mobile CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- NewerTech NuGuard GripStand 2 and GripBase Bundle for iPad 2 @ Tweaktown
- Luxa2 H6 Portable iPad Stand Review @ eTeknix
- Apple Ipad 2 vs Asus Transformer Prime @ The Inquirer
- Samsung Galaxy Note @ Techspot
- Samsung Galaxy Nexus Review @ Tech-Reviews
- HTC Titan Windows Phone Review @ HardwareHeaven
- ASUS Padfone Preview @ VR-Zone
- Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 (Krait) Performance Preview - 1.5 GHz MSM8960 MDP and Adreno 225 Benchmarks @ AnandTech
- The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 (Krait) Preview Part II @ AnandTech
Subject: Mobile | February 27, 2012 - 01:53 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: wayne, tegra 3, tegra, tablets, nvidia, MWC 12, mobile, grey
This year is a big one for smaller silicon manufacturing processes with Intel's 22nm Ivy Bridge, and NVIDIA and AMD moving to 28nm GPU processes. According to a report on VR-Zone, NVIDIA is already planning their next move for Tegra, including a die shrink to 28nm.
They managed to get their hands on a road map (shown below) for NVIDIA's Tegra SoC (system on a chip) lineup that extends into 2013. With Tegra 3, NVIDIA began by sampling the chip to Asus and the Transformer Prime. After that success, other partners and devices are starting to pick up the mobile chip, and they expect the situation to be the same for future Tegra iterations.
They company allegedly taped out a Tegra 4 (T40) SoC at the end of December 2011, and is starting to sample it to OEM partners to find someone to do a Tegra 3 like launch, with one device/platform to debut first and others to follow in later months.
The Tegra 4 chip is code named "Wayne" and will be comprised of multiple ARM Cortex A15 CPU cores and a new GPU on a 28nm process. The company alos plans to show off a dual core 28nm SoC that uses two Cortex A15 CPU cores, a revamped GPU, and an Icera 4G LTE radio at Mobile World Congress 2013 next year.
Further, the roadmap details a new Tegra 3 chip that is intended to be used with Windows on ARM powered notebooks and tablets. While the new Tegra 3 (T35) SoC will not be a die shrink, it will have higher clock speeds due to less restrictions placed on the maximum TDP (thermal design power) allowed for the devices. VR-Zone estimates that the T35 chips will run somewhere between 1.6 GHz and 1.7 GHz.
Currently there are some incompatibilities with Tegra and 4G LTE radios which has caused some LTE devices to go with Qualcomm SoCs, so it is good to see NVIDIA working on improving compatibility and then integrating the basebands into their future SoCs to rectify the issue.
As far as this year is concerned, we should see the updated Tegra 3 chip and a new version of Tegra 2 that integrates a Icera 4G LTE baseband. The Wayne and Grey chips will likely not be released until 2013 at the earliest. The expanded Tegra portfolio should help them to gain some market share, though exactly how much remains to be seen.
Subject: Mobile | February 27, 2012 - 07:00 AM | Matt Smith
Tagged: MWC, Transformer, tablet, padfone, mobile world congress, eee pad, asus, MWC 12, infinity, transformer prime
While attending CES last month, ASUS showed us a Transformer Prime with a full HD display. It looked great, but it did feel as if the branding would be a bit perplexing, as this new model would also be sold as a Prime.
Apparently the company had this thought, as well. They’ve now unveiled the Transformer Pad Infinity Series, a new tablet with a 1920x1200 IPS+ display. It will come in two different variants. One is 4G LTE compatible and uses a Qualcomm MSM 8960 Snapdragon S4 Krait (whoa! Take a breath…) dual-core 1.5 GHz processor. The WiFi version, on the other hand, uses the now-familiar Nvidia Tegra 3. Both models have a 2MP front camera and an 8MP rear camera with LED flash. They also share the same 16GB, 32GB and 64GB storage options. The Infinity Series will be available in the same Amethyst Gray and Champagne Gold finishes already available on the current Transformer Prime.
(Editor's Note) If you are wondering why the LTE version of the new Transformer Infinity is not using the quad-core Tegra 3 SoC, we are hearing that the NVIDIA part is still not compatible with LTE radio controllers and won't be for another few months. This is also why the new HTC One X smartphone doesn't use the Tegra 3 processor on the AT&T LTE network while other phones in the family do. So will users of the LTE version of the Infinity miss the quad-core design when moving to the dual-core option from Qualcomm instead? While we can't be sure, the new Krait design is a "wider" CPU with a better memroy interface yet still runs at similar clock speeds and it should be faster in single or lightly threaded programs.
This new flagship will slot above the Transformer Prime. But ASUS hasn’t just focused on the glitter and gold – they’ve also taken the wraps off the Transformer Pad 300, which is a new entry-level model. It features a 1280x800 IPS display and uses Tegra 3 in both the 4G LTE and WiFi models. The front camera is a 1.2MP unit and the rear camera is 8MP with LED flash. 16GB of internal storage is your only option. The 300 will offer new blue, white and red color schemes not yet available on any Transformer table
Both of these new models are Transformers, which means keyboard docks will be available as an option. They also include Android 4.0 and quote the same battery life of 10 hours without the dock.
Subject: Processors, Mobile | February 27, 2012 - 12:30 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: tegra 3, quad-core, k3v2, k3, Huawei
Never heard of Huawei? Well you will going forward. The Chinese telecommunications company that claims 110,000 employees, 46% of which are planted in R&D departments, is entering in the market to compete against Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, NVIDIA and others by building an ARM-based SoC for its own mobile devices.
Details are limited for now though we expect to hear more as Mobile World Congress progresses but here is what we know. The Huawei K3V2 CPU will be a quad-core Cortex A9 part with "16 GPUs" - though we don't have any reference what is meant by "a GPU". The A9s will run at either 1.2 GHz or 1.5 GHz and Huawei does mention that these will have
64-bit support a 64-bit memory controller as compared to the 32-bit controller on Tegra 3.
The company did have some performance claims that put the K3V2 ahead of the Galaxy Nexus (Exynos 3110) and ASUS Transformer Prime (Tegra 3). If you believe in marketing slides the new Huawei CPU will be about twice as fast in GPU performance and 49% faster in purely CPU-based tests while using 30% less power. Man, if we had a dollar for every time someone claimed these kinds of gains...
Hopefully we'll see some tests on this new SoC soon in the form of the Huawei Ascend D quad phone available this year.
Subject: Mobile | February 26, 2012 - 08:06 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: z2460, SoC, smartphone, orange, MWC 12, MWC, Intel, atom z2460
Reuters is reporting that European cell phone carrier Orange will be selling a reference design Medfield smartphone under the Intel brand name. The Atom Z2460 SoC will find its first major distributor to be one of the world's largest service providers - this could potentially be a big opening for Intel in a market it desperately wants to compete for.
I find it very interesting that not only has Intel developed a processor that has finally garnered attention for the mobile market but the team at Intel has built a reference design that was fine tuned enough to direct sell to consumers. Will the company avoid becoming a typical, low margin SoC company by focusing on vertical implementations like this one? It is an interesting thought and no other vendor has really done it, with possibly the exception of Samsung that owns the entire device process already.
Anandtech has the major specifications of the phone, codenamed "Santa Clara":
These are basically identical to the reference design we saw at CES with only some minor changes to the form factor. Ice Cream Sandwich isn't included out the gate but we are hoping the upgrade will get pushed soon since Intel showed ICS on the Atom SoC in January.
I haven't been able to find anything about availability or pricing yet but I'll be sure to report it when I find it. The mobile market continues to intrigue...