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Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | April 14, 2012 - 04:09 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, wearable computers
Valve has been under the public eye since rumors of The Steam Box broke. To put out the rumors, Michael Abrash -- now at Valve -- announced their mystery project investigates computing devices that you can wear.
Great, that is just what we need, more Steam punks and their costumes.
Valve has traditionally been somewhat of a quiet company accustomed to public speculation. In a change of pace from the typical cries to release Half Life 2: Episode 3, Valve has recently been subject to rumors about breaking into the hardware business. In another change of pace, Valve has announced their hardware project is wearable computers and publicly solicited for job applicants to join in the research.
Want me to show you my knife collection?
(Photo Credit, Giant Bomb)
Michael Abrash wrote in his blog on Valve’s website what his work is based on and it is quite similar to what Google is looking at with their augmented reality glasses.
By “wearable computing” I mean mobile computing where both computer-generated graphics and the real world are seamlessly overlaid in your view; there is no separate display that you hold in your hands (think Terminator vision).
While this is very interesting, it still remains to be seen where Valve intends to be involved with this project. Steam is pushing out from the desktop PC to the home theatre with their Big Picture UI and what that could potentially spread out into.
It is entirely possible that Google and Valve both see some link between Steam/Google TV and Wearable Computers/Augmented Reality glasses that we are just unable to perceive yet and are lunging for the same target. While the blog posting is very interesting, it still reveals little about the technology itself.
Also, this announcement does not mean that Valve is not working on a hardware platform to accompany The Big Picture, it just says more about what Valve is currently working on in secret. The previous rumors could still have some shred of truth in them.
As for when we will see wearable computing? It’s still a long ways out in Valve time.
To be clear, this is R&D – it doesn’t in any way involve a product at this point, and won’t for a long while, if ever – so please, no rumors about Steam glasses being announced at E3. It’s an initial investigation into a very interesting and promising space, and falls more under the heading of research than development.
Pricing research is an important part of our laptop reviews. We always price out the laptops we receive on the website of the manufacturer and popular e-tailers, such as Amazon and Newegg. We also look at similarly priced laptops to judge how well a product’s value stacks up against the competition.
Still, mistakes happen. HP altered us to one such error in our recent HP dm4 review. In that review we discovered that the HP dm4 Beats Edition cost $1169 if customized with the hardware we received, which was far too much given the laptop’s entry-level roots. However, we missed a quick-ship option that configures the laptop as it was received for just $899. That’s $270 less.
HP also told us that Wal-Mart is selling the HP dm4 Beats Edition. We looked in to it and found that the review configuration is currently out of stock, but if you don’t mind a slight downgrade in processor performance and the loss of the solid state drive, you can pick up the laptop for $798.
Such a large difference in price would have an impact on any review, but it’s particularly important in this case. We didn’t find anything wrong with the laptop’s performance. We also praised its 1600x900 matte display and decent, though not excellent, user interface. It was the price we could not tolerate – paying HP Envy bucks for a gussied-up dm4 didn’t strike us as a great value.
The correction in pricing has resulted in a change in the review’s conclusion. The laptop now earns a Gold Award. In fact, buying the pre-configured dm4 Beats Edition actually appears less expensive than buying the basic HP dm4 when it is configured to match the hardware found in our review unit. So-so battery life and unexceptional design are now the only traits holding it back from an Editor’s Choice.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | April 7, 2012 - 07:11 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tegra 4, tegra, SoC, nvidia, mobile
The Chinese language VR-Zone website has allegedly managed to get their hands on a leaked specifications sheet for NVIDIA’s upcoming Tegra 4 System-on-a-chip (SoC) aimed at mobile tablets. Codenamed “Wayne,” the new SoC will come in several flavors and will arrive next year.
The upcoming chips will have 10x the performance of NVIDIA’s original Tegra and five times the performance of the current generation Kal-El Tegra 3 chip. NVIDIA has run into several hurdles in integrating an LTE cell radio into their SoCs, but if the leaked document is true, the company will finally release a Tegra chp with built-in LTE 100 and HSPA42 cell radio capabilities as early as the third quarter of 2013.
Further, the Tegra 4 SoCs will come in four flavors: T40, T43, AP40, and SP3X. T40 will represent the first Tegra 4 chp that manufacturers and consumers will be able to get their hands on -- as early as Q1 2013. It is a quad core part with one companion core and will run at 1.8 GHz. T43 is an evolution of the T40 and will bump up the clockspeed to 2.0 GHz. The AP40 chip will be the first budget Tegra 4 processor and will run anywhere between 1.2 GHz and 1.8 GHz. The T43 and AP40 SoCs are reportedly coming out in Q3 2013. All three chips -- The T40, T43, and AP40 -- are based on the ARM Cortex A15 architecture.
|Release Date||Q1 2013||Q3 2013||Q3 2013||Q3 2013|
|Markets Aimed At||Flagship||Flagship||Mainstream||Mainstream|
|Tablet Device Screen Size||10"||10"||10"||7"|
|Processor Clockspeed||1.8 GHz||2.0 GHz||1.2-1.8 GHz||1.2-2.0 GHz|
The final Tegra 4 chip is called SP3X, and it will arrive in Q3 2013. Aimed at mainstream tablets with 7” or smaller screens, the upcoming SoC will feature LTE support and will have a clockspeed of 1.2 GHz to 2.0 GHz. It is a quad core (plus one companion core) part but is reportedly based on the ARM Cortex A9 architecture. The leaked release dates do seem to be in line with earlier reports, though they should still be taken with your daily dose of salt.
Right now Tegra delivers on performance and many high end mobile devices have incorporated the NVIDIA chip. Even so, they still have very little market share, and the two mainstream Tegra 4 chips -- especially the SP3X with LTE radio -- should help them make inroads against Qualcomm and Samsung who hold a great deal of market share.
Subject: Mobile | April 5, 2012 - 04:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ultrabook, acer, timeline ultra m3, timeline, aspire
Acer's Aspire series has gained an Ultrabook model, the Timeline Ultra M3. Powered by an i5-2467M and bolstered by an NVIDIA GT 640M, this 15.6" 1366 x 768 ultrabook should be able to boot quickly thanks to the hybrid storage system which includes a 20GB mSATA SSD while the 500GB HDD offers storage at a lower price than a purely SSD solution would offer. While it sounds good on paper, by the end of the review Hardware Canucks were very disappointed with its "ghastly trackpad, an unnecessary space consuming optical drive, testicle-searing exterior temperatures, a poor keyboard layout, a low resolution screen ...".
If you think they were overly harsh, Matt was no kinder to it when he reviewed this Ultrabook.
"Acer's new Timeline Ultra M3 blazes a path that no others have been willing to take. By incorporating one of NVIDIA's new GT 640M Kepler-based graphics processors within their design, they have become the first company to include a gaming-grade GPU into an Ultrabook. It sounds great but does this combination actually work out as planned? We find out."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- HP Folio 13 @ The Inquirer
- Toshiba Satellite P755D-S5172 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Toshiba Portege R835: Less Ultra, More Notebook @ AnandTech
- Samsung Chronos Review @ HardwareLOOK
- Sony VAIO SE: An IPS Laptop for Under a Grand @ AnandTech
- AT&T Pantech Element 8-Inch 4G LTE Tablet Review @ Legit Reviews
- The 2012 iPad Followup: Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE Comparison @ AnandTech
- The Apple iPad @ AnandTech
- Nextivity Cel-Fi RS2 3G Coverage Booster Review @ eTeknix
- Cooler Master NotePal X3 Silent Laptop Cooling Pad Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- The Nokia Lumia 900 @ Ars Technica
- Samsung Galaxy Nexus Smartphone Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Nokia Lumia 900 @ AnandTech
- HTC One X @ TechSpot
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | March 30, 2012 - 02:29 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Raspberry Pi
Raspberry Pi has been further delayed while it acquires an additional certification to conform to British Law. The delay affects all regions because the products are shipped to the UK before being distributed internationally. The delay is expected to last just a couple of weeks.
It has almost been a year since the first announcement of the Raspberry Pi ultra-cheap PC and we can almost taste its arrival. Originally inspired by David Braben, developer of games such as Rollercoaster Tycoon, the Raspberry Pi was built to cheaply enable students to learn computing.
As it turns out, the cost and performance of the device drew massive attention from the hobbyist and home theatre crowd. All interested parties will need to wait, however, as the product has been briefly delayed again because someone forgot to cross their t’s.
C’mon, almost there, almost there.
All joking aside, the delay is quite small and minor and will still ship within their original target window. The delay was caused by the foundation failing to be granted a Conformité Européenne (CE) mark for their product. The CE certification is the direct analogy to the FCC’s electromagnetic (EM) noise certification which must be obtained for cellphones and other electronic devices in the United States. CE certification is expected to take just a couple of weeks.
Delivering a product is an involved task. I am willing to give the foundation a pass on this specific delay due to their lack of experience in their field. That is unless of course the product is found to interfere with EM broadcasts of some protected frequency. That -- would suck.
Then again, I have also not attempted to order a Raspberry Pi so perhaps my opinion is invalid. What do you think?
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | March 29, 2012 - 07:24 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Rovio, Futuremark
Rovio Entertainment purchases Futuremark Games Studio, but not all of Futuremark, for an undisclosed amount.
Rovio is known for making graphically lightweight yet intensely addictive games for about as many desktop and mobile platforms as they can get away with. Futuremark Games Studio is known for making beautiful PC games which are entertaining to some extent. Naturally they make a perfect couple.
So *that’s* how it got shattered!
Of course the real topic for discussion is why Rovio would want to purchase Futuremark Games Studio. One possible reason is that Rovio wishes to challenge Infinity Blade by Epic Games and capture the market of mobile eye-candy games. The other possibility would be that Rovio wishes to expand into making large budget games themselves.
In their purchase, Rovio has only acquired the studio but not any of their intellectual properties. Shattered Horizon and their other games remain property of the original parent company, Futuremark.
What do you speculate is just over the Shattered Horizon?
Subject: Mobile | March 28, 2012 - 05:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, galaxy note, tablet
The Samsung Galaxy Note is probably the biggest cellphone since the ill fated N-Gage, though instead of being a portable gaming system that thinks it is a phone you have a phone which thinks it is a tablet. Dual purpose devices have a somewhat flaky reputation but some combination tools end up being more useful than their separate component pieces. With an ARM cortex A9 powering a 5.29" 800 x 1280 AMOLED screen this Android device seems to have a lot of promise. Read the full review at Hardware Look to see how well Samsung combined the two devices into one.
"The Samsung Galaxy Note is a smartphone that has gone in the opposite direction of the conventional modern technology. As we see technology advancing, we see it getting smaller and smaller, the Samsung Galaxy Note is the largest smartphone on the market, posing a huge 5.29-inch display..."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- HP Pavilion Phoenix h9 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Mobile GPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Case Logic Compact Systems Camera Bag Review @ Tech-Reviews
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Review @ HardwareLOOK
- Samsung Galaxy Note Smartphone/Tablet Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Powerful personal projector for iPhone ready to launch @ Kitguru
- Pixel-pumping prowess: Ars reviews the third-generation iPad
- Apple iPad (3rd-Gen): The TechSpot Review
- The new iPad: Retina Display Analysis @ AnandTech
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | March 28, 2012 - 02:33 PM | Scott Michaud
Google patents the ability to take a photo of an internet-capable application such as a website or videogame to share its state to another device.
If you have ever used a smartphone keyboard than you would probably know how difficult it is to type certain web addresses into your location bar. If you are leaving a device but want to resume using the web application you left behind then you might just need to take a picture of it. In the future that might be preferred way to transfer what you are doing between devices.
Imagine how different the Copy/Paste war would we have been given this on the iPhone?
From how I understand the patent, both devices would need to be logged into the same Google account. Such a limitation means that you could not show your laptop to a friend in a lecture hall and share the state of your website with them. This limitation also means that someone malicious could not take a picture over your shoulder to find out where your Google Maps destination will be. It is possible that Google could allow you to share it with, for instance, Google+ circles -- but that is all my speculation.
The patent extends beyond surfing web sites. Specifically mentioned is the ability to capture the state of a videogame and transfer it to a different platform.
So what do you all think? Creepy or cool, perhaps both?
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | March 28, 2012 - 04:26 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: maingear, titan-17, GeForce 675M
MAINGEAR announces an update to their 17” desktop replacement laptop, the Titan 17, with a GeForce GTX 675M and optional NVIDIA 3D Vision 2.
There exists a smaller but very real segment of the market who wishes to have the power of their desktop computer in a smaller and slightly more portable package. Perhaps they desire to have the coolest single-object computing device at their LAN party? Whatever their reasons, they are served by companies like MAINGEAR who regularly provide new and better models for their choosing.
Mobile GPUs in SLi -- not common, not unheard of, but probably a good idea for 3D.
- Video Card: up to NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 675M SLI with 2GB GDDR5
- Display: 17.3" Full HD 1920 x 1080 - (1080p) Widescreen (16:9 Aspect Ratio) LED Backlit with Super Clear Glare Type Screen / with optional built in 3D emitter and 120Hz panel.
- Processor: Up to Intel® Core™ i7-3960X Processor Extreme Edition
- Memory: Up to 32GB Quad Channel DDR3 – 1333/1600Mhz
- Optical Drive: Up to 2X Blu-ray reader/8x Multi Combo (BD-R, DVD+-RW, CD-RW)
- Hard Drive: Up to 3x 512GB Solid State Drive or 750GB 5400RPM SATA 2.5
- Network Adapter: Killer™ Wireless-N 1102 supports 802.11a/b/g/n
- Audio: Built-in High-Definition Audio, S/PDIF Digital output, 1 Built-in Microphone, 5 Built-in Speakers, 1 Built-in Sub Woofer, THX® TruStudio Pro™
- Media Card Reader: Built in 9-in-1 Media Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/SD/Mini-SD/SDHC/SDXC), 1 Express Card 54/34 Slot
- Operating System: Genuine Windows® 7 Home, Professional or Ultimate 64-Bit
- Battery: Removable Polymer Smart Lithium-Ion battery pack (8 cell)
- I/O Ports: 1 HDMI out, 1 DVI-I out,1 Display Port 1.1, 2 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0 Ports,1 eSATA Port, 1 IEEE-1394b Fire Wire, 1 S/PDIF out, 1 RJ-45 LAN, 1 Headphone Jack, 1 Microphone Jack, 1 Line-in Jack, 1 S/PDIF output Jack
- Dimensions: (W)16.25" x (H)1.75" x (D)10.75"
- Price: Starts at $2,599 with limited time FREE shipping offer
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?
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