CES 2016: Lenovo Announces ideapad Y900 Gaming Laptop

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 4, 2016 - 07:00 PM |
Tagged: Y900, Lenovo, ips, Intel Core i7, GTX 980M, gaming notebook, gaming laptop, CES 2016, CES

Lenovo has announced the Y900, a dedicated gaming machine which features the current high-end mobile CPUs and GPUs, as well as configurable overclocking.

ideapad Y900.jpg

Exact overclocking numbers are not yet available, but this will be controlled through software to allow users to select a higher performance level. The system can be configured with up to a quad-core 6th gen Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, and up to a massive 64 GB of DD4 memory - though with 4 SoDIMM slots it will be easy to upgrade the memory later. Storage options include PCIe SSDs (1 slot) and traditional SATA 6.0 Gb/s drives, and there is also USB 3.1 Type-C as well as HDMI 2.0 among the I/O.

Specifications from Lenovo:

  • Up to Intel 6th Gen Quad Core i7 overclockable CPU
  • 17.3” 16:9 FHD (1920x1080) IPS Anti-glare
  • NVIDIA GTX-980M 4G/8G GDDR5 PCI-Express discrete graphics
  • Up to 64GB DDR4 memory (4 x SO-DIMM)
  • Up to 512GB SSD PCIe (RAID 0), Up to 1TB HDD SATA 3
  • Camera: 720p with internal digital array microphones
  • 2 x 2.0w JBL speakers and 3.0w subwoofer w/ Dolby Home Theater
  • Battery: Up to 5 hours (Li-Polymer, 6 cell, 90Wh)
  • Ports: 3 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0 w/always on charging, 1 x USB Type C (supports USB 3.1, Display Port, Thunderbolt), Audio Jack, Mic Jack, HDMI 2.0, 4-in-1 card
  • reader, SPDIF, Display Port)
  • Mechanical keyboard with programmable color backlighting
  • Colorful highlighted touchpad
  • Windows 10 Home
  • Dimensions: 425.4mm x 15.2mm x < 35.9mm

ideapad Y900 2.jpg

The Y900 gaming laptop starts at $1999 and will be available beginning in June of this year.

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2016: ASUS Announces ZenFone Zoom Smartphone

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 4, 2016 - 04:08 PM |
Tagged: zenfone zoom, zenfone, CES 2016, CES, asus

Here is another x86 smartphone from ASUS. Sebastian reviewed the ZenFone 2 in June, which he gave an Editor's Choice award to. It was a high-performance, very responsive phone with a great, IPS screen, and it was available for just $199 or $299.

asus-2016-zenfonezoom-hero.jpg

Today, they are announcing the ZenFone Zoom. This one has a 3x optical zoom using lenses from HOYA. The camera also has a laser autofocus that, ASUS claims, can adjust in three hundredths of a second. While auto modes are available, it also allows the user to override ISO gain, exposure, white balance, and “other options.” It has a dual-LED flash, which is said to generate photos with “more lifelike colors and skin tones.” No flash can overcome the physics of flooding light from a single, small point source. Any dominant light will dominate shadows, which exaggerate wrinkles, intensify oil glare, and so forth. While you will always get better photos in an environment that is lit from several, wider angles, it's good to have a flash that can make the most of a bad situation (have a good control over color, etc.).

asus-2016-zenfonezoom-camera.jpg

Two SoCs are available for this phone. The lower-end chip is the same as the ZenFone 2's higher-end one, the Intel Atom Z3580 (up to 2.3 GHz boost). A higher-end processor is available as well, the Z3590, which gives a 200 MHz bump in boost frequency (up to 2.5 GHz boost). All models are backed with 4GB of RAM, which is a huge amount for a phone. It will come in two storage sizes: 64GB or 128GB. It also includes a MicroSD card slot that supports up to 128GB. It uses the Intel LTE modem.

The ASUS ZenFone Zoom will be available in February, with prices starting at $399.

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Source: ASUS

CES 2016: Lenovo ThinkPad Stack Mobile Projector and Charging Station

Subject: Mobile | January 3, 2016 - 10:30 PM |
Tagged: ThinkPad Stack Mobile Projector, ThinkPad Stack Charging Station, thinkpad stack, pico projector, Lenovo, CES 2016, CES

Lenovo has announced a pair of new products in its ThinkPad Stack lineup, with a new mobile projector and a wireless charging station.

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"ThinkPad STACK Mobile Projector makes your business in your pocket. It’s portable design and 2hrs battery life make your presentation outstanding with zero space constraint and disruption."

First we have the ThinkPad Stack Mobile Projector, a DLP pico projector with 720p resolution and 150 lumen output. The projector features a built-in battery for up to 2 hours wireless use, wireless connectivity via Miracast and Airplay.

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Next we have the ThinkPad Charging Station, which offers both wireless and traditional cable charging for mobile phones. The Stack Charging Station can also be combined with the Stack Power bank, so "you can have your mobile wireless charged for multi-day on the go," according to Lenovo.

16_ThinkPad_Stack_charging_matt_on_top_of_the_power bank.jpg

The ThinkPad Stack Mobile projector will be priced at $399.99, and the ThinkPad Charging Station will run $49.99. Both new Stack products are set for an April 2016 release.

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2016: Lenovo Announces ThinkPad X260 Ultrabook

Subject: Mobile | January 3, 2016 - 10:30 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, ThinkPad X260, Thinkpad, Lenovo, CES 2016, CES

Lenovo has announced their latest X200-series notebook at CES 2016, and the X260 brings updated Intel 6th gen Skylake processors and up to 21 hours of battery life.

Thinkpad_X260_03_Win 10 Ministart Cortana.jpg

"Portable, powerful in a thin, light, enterprise-ready Ultrabook, ThinkPad X260 is a high-performance 12.5" Ultrabook that can deliver more than 21 hours of continuous, unplugged mobile productivity. This lightweight notebook features 6th Generation Intel CoreTM i processors and a full range of display, storage, memory and connectivity options to enhance productivity in any work environment."

The X260 provides a lot of power in a 12.5-inch, 2.9 lb package, offering some pretty impressive specs - though of course that all depends on your chosen configuration.

Thinkpad_X260_07.jpg

Here are some of the specs listed by Lenovo:

  • 2.9lbs. and 0.79” thin
  • Up to Intel 6th Gen Core i7 processors
  • Up to 12.5” FHD (1920x1080) IPS
  • Up to Windows 10 Pro
  • Integrated Intel graphics
  • 720p HD camera
  • Up to 16GB DDR4 memory
  • Up to 512GB SATA or PCIe
  • Dolby Advanced Audio
  • Up to 21 hours of battery life with PowerBridge (MobileMark 2012)
  • Dimensions: 12.03” x 8.21” x 0.8”
  • WLAN/WiGig & WWAN options
  • Ports: 3 x USB 3.0, RJ45, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, 4-in-1 card reader

Thinkpad_X260_Product tour_09_Win 10 Ministart Cortana.jpg

The ThinkPad X260 will be available in February starting at $929.

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2016: Lenovo Announces ThinkPad T460 Series Notebooks

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 3, 2016 - 10:30 PM |
Tagged: ThinkPad T560, ThinkPad T460s, ThinkPad T460p, ThinkPad T460, Thinkpad, Lenovo, CES 2016, CES

Lenovo has announced updates to their T-series business notebooks, with new models in each category now featuring the latest Intel Core processors along with other improvements.

ThinkPad_T460s_Product_Photography_19_v010.jpg

First we have the ThinkPad T460s, which is Lenovo’s thinnest, lightest offering in the T-series lineup. This new model is powered by 6th gen Intel Core processors and features a 14-inch 2560x1440 display, as well as increased memory and faster PCIe storage compared to the previous T450s.

“The ThinkPad T460s is the ultimate blend of light weight portability and full Enterprise features and functionality. This ultra slim but very durable notebook connects seamlessly to virtually any device or network.”

ThinkPad_T460s_Product_Photography_10_v010.jpg

Here are some of the specifications from Lenovo:

  • Up to Intel 6th Gen Core i7 vPro
  • Intel HD Graphics HD520; NVIDIA GeForce 930M
  • 2560x1440 (WQHD) display
  • Up to 24GB DDR4 memory
  • Up to 512GB PCIe SSD
  • MilSpec tested
  • 3 USB, full size HDMI & LAN, mDP, and bottom mechanical docking (options include Smart Card Reader, Touch Finger Print Reader, LTE-A WWAN, WiGig)
  • Up to 10.5 hours battery life (48.8 Whr)
  • Dimensions: 13.0 x 8.9 x .66 - .74 inch; 3 lbs

Pricing starts at $1059 and the T460s will be available February 2016.

Next up is the T460p, which offers better battery life and more powerful quad-core processors.

Thinkpad T460p_04_3D0.jpg

“ThinkPad T460p, an incredible performer, now has all day battery life and swappable battery. Backed by MIL-SPEC durability, optical drive, great connectivity options, and extended docking options, the T460p redefines enterprise performance without compromising on mobility.”

Key specs include:

  • Intel 6th Gen Core H Series Quad Core processors
  • 13% Thinner and 15% lighter
  • Up to WQHD IPS display
  • Corporate ready with docking and vPro
  • Up to 32GB DDR4 memory (2 DIMM)
  • Up to 12 Hours battery life (72WHr)
  • I/O Ports: 3x USB 3.0, RJ45, mDP , HDMI, 4-in-1 Card Reader, 3.5 mm audio in/out, (Options include Smart Card reader, Touch Sensor Fingerprint Reader, WWAN)
  • WLAN: vPro (8260NGW M) Intel Snowfield Peak 2x2 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.1; Non-vPro (8260NGW MNV) Broadcom 2x2 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.1

The T460p will begin shipping in February 2016 beginning at $1249.

Finally, we have the ThinkPad T460 (14-inch) and T560 (15.6-inch) laptops, which use 6th gen Intel Core U processors and offer optional NVIDIA GeForce GTX 940MX graphics.

Thinkpad_T460_02_Win 10 Ministart Cortana0.jpg

Lenovo ThinkPad T460

“The ThinkPad T460 and T560 set new standards for productivity on-the-go. They are compact enough to go anywhere, yet offer powerful features to keep up with your business. With up to 16 hours of battery life (T560), you can stay productive during long-haul flights and beyond.”

The T460/T560 both offer PCIe SSD storage options and long battery life, and the larger 15.6-inch T560 also offers up to a 2560-1440 IPS display.

Specifications from Lenovo:

  • Intel 6th Gen Core U Processors, up to Core i7
  • New PCIe SSD storage and 2GB vRam graphics option.
  • Intel Integrated or NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
  • Up to 32GB of memory
  • Up to 1TB (5400rpm), 500GB (7200rpm), 512 SSD, PCIe SSD (265 GB)
  • Display: Up to 15.6" 3K (2560 x 1440) IPS, Anti-Glare, Anti-Smudge; 14" Up to FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare, Touch (optional)
  • Dolby Home Theater v4
  • Battery: T460: Up to 14 Hours (23 WHr + 72 WHr); T560: Up to 16 Hours (44 WHr + 72 WHr)
  • T460: 13.35" x 9.15" x 0.83“, Starting at 3.8 lbs; Ports: RJ45, Docking, Mini DisplayPort, HDMITM, SD Card Slot, Bluetooth 4.1 (Optional: Smart Card Reader, WiGig)
  • T560: 14.98" x 10.16" x 0.88“, Starting at 5 lbs; Ports: RJ45, Mini DisplayPort, HDMITM, 4-in-1 Card Reader, Headphone / Microphone (Optional: Smart Card Reader, Fingerprint Reader)

Thinkpad_T560_09_Multi Window0.jpg

Lenovo ThinkPad T560

Pricing and availability: T460, $909, February 2016; T560, $969, February 2016.

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2016: Lenovo Announces Yoga 900 Business Edition

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 3, 2016 - 10:30 PM |
Tagged: yoga 900, yoga, notebook, Lenovo, laptop, convertible, CES 2016, CES, 2-in-1

Lenovo has unveiled a new Business Edition of the Yoga 900 2-in-1 notebook, which adds a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) security chipset for those that require the added security. Lenovo points out that “large enterprises rank security features even higher than ease of use”, and if you require TPM it’s nice to have a user-friendly option like the Yoga available.

YOGA 900 BE 02_Hero_Shot_VIDEO.jpg

“The YOGA 900 Business Edition is instantly recognizable as something different. Always a step ahead by testing perceptions of what a laptop should be, the YOGA 900 delivers the performance you need to work and play in any situation: LAPTOP, STAND, TENT and TABLET modes. The ultimate blend of personal desires and work requirements.”

The notebook features a 3200 x 1800 (QHD+) display which Lenovo says they have “tuned for brighter & more vibrant images”, and is powered by 6th gen Intel Core processors.

YOGA 900 BE 08_Close up Shot_Cortana.jpg

Here is a rundown of the key features from Lenovo:

  • 2.9lbs and 0.58” thick
  • Up to Intel 6th Gen Core i7 vPro
  • QHD+ (3200 x 1800) IPS display
  • Up to 512GB SSD
  • Up to 16GB memory
  • TPM security chipset

Pricing was not revealed, and the YOGA 900 Business Edition will be available by special order beginning in February.

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2016: Lenovo Announces Updated ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 3, 2016 - 10:30 PM |
Tagged: ThinkPad X1 Carbon, Thinkpad, NVMe, Lenovo, Intel Skylake, CES 2016, CES

The thinnest, lightest ThinkPad of them all, the X1 Carbon, has received an overhaul for 2016 with 6th gen Intel Core processors and NVMe SSDs among the upgrades.

07_ThinkPad_X1_Carbon_HERO_SHOT_02_SKYPE_v04.jpg

“The lightest 14" business Ultrabook. It is lighter and thinner with increased performance; 11hrs battery life, faster storage with NVMe SSDs, faster connectivity with LTE-A, and improved docking with WiGig & OneLink+.”

Lenovo provides this list of key features:

  • Up to Intel 6th Gen Core i7 vPro
  • 2560x1440 WQHD 300nits; 14” 1920x1080 FHD IPS, 300 nits
  • Up to 16GB memory
  • Up to 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Intel HDGraphics HD520
  • Optional LTE-A WWAN
  • Optional WiGig docking
  • Mil Spec tested
  • Common Ports: 3x USB 3.0; OneLink+ (RJ45), mDP, HDMI, microSD, Audio, Touch FPR, WWAN
  • Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
  • Battery life: Up to 11 hrs (52Whr)
  • Dimensions: 13.1 x 9.0 x .66 inches; 2.6lbs / 1179 g weight
  • Camera&Mic: 720p / Digital array mic

20_ThinkPad_X1_Carbon_BIRD-EYE_SHOT_v04.jpg

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon will go on sale in February starting at $1299.

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2016: Lenovo Announces ThinkPad X1 Yoga with OLED Screen

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 3, 2016 - 10:30 PM |
Tagged: yoga, ThinkPad X1 Yoga, Thinkpad, Lenovo, convertible, CES 2016, CES, 2-in-1

Lenovo has brought the Yoga design to the ThinkPad X1 Carbon with the Yoga X1, and this new hybrid notebook is available with an OLED display.

DSC_0041.jpg

“The worlds first convertible with an OLED display providing an immersive viewing experience. The X1 Yoga adapts to the way you work - allowing you to capture, convey and collaborate using the different modes.”

DSC_0046.jpg

A convertible version of the ultra-thin X1 Carbon offers a compelling alternative to the standard "clamshell" ThinkPad X1 Carbon, but the bigger story might be the option of a 2560 x 1440 OLED display, a first for a convertible notebook according to Lenovo. The OLED screen was incredibly vibrant in person, and this version is actually a little lighter at 2.8 lbs vs. 3 lbs for the IPS model.

DSC_0051.jpg

The ThinkPad X1 Yoga also includes an active stylus that features a super capacitor instead of a battery, which Lenovo says provides 2 hours of constant use after charging for just 15 seconds (which occurs when it is placed back in the laptop).

Specifications from Lenovo:

  • Up to Intel 6th Gen Core i7 vPro
  • Intel HD Graphics HD520
  • WQHD touch display 2560x1440
  • Optional 14” OLED 2560x1440 WQHD Touch 300 nits; 14” 1920x1080 FHD IPS Touch 300 nits; 14” WQHD 2560x1440 IPS Touch 300nits
  • Up to 16GB memory
  • Up to 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Optional LTE-A WWAN; Optional WiGig docking
  • MilSpec tested
  • Common Ports: 3xUSB3.0 OneLink+ (RJ45), MiniDP, HDMI, microSD, Audio, Touch FPR, WWAN
  • Onboard Stylus Pen
  • Dimensions: 13.1 x 9.0 x .66 inches
  • 2.8 lbs (OLED)/3 lbs (IPS)

05_ThinkPad_X1_Yoga_HERO_SHOT_01_WIN_10_MINISTART_v03.jpg

Pricing starts at $1449 for the version with an IPS display, and $1649 for the OLED version. The ThinkPad Yoga X1 will be available this month - but you'll need to wait until April for that OLED version.

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Source: Lenovo

Google Switching to OpenJDK in Android N

Subject: Mobile | December 30, 2015 - 11:09 PM |
Tagged: Android, oracle, google, Java, openjdk

The Android ecosystem was built atop a Java-like framework, although a native development kit was added later. Oracle, current owner of the Java copyrights and trademarks, was not too happy with this. The two companies, Google and Oracle, were in a legal battle for the last three-and-a-half years. The courts have not ruled overwhelmingly in favor of either side.

OpenJDK_logo.png

Google is now replacing their implementation with one that is derived from OpenJDK. Officially, this is so Google has more say in how the language evolves. This would also circumvent all legal issues, because OpenJDK is supported by Oracle, but Google is not commenting on that advantage. They are in an ongoing legal battle, so that is not surprising. It wouldn't immunize them from damages that are ruled for existing products. Changing now only limits the number of products that infringe, if it is eventually ruled illegal, and remove an awkward gap where nothing is legal until a fix is implemented.

From a performance and feature standpoint, the two JDKs are supposedly equivalent nowadays.

Source: VentureBeat

NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet K1 Now Receiving Android 6.0 OTA Update

Subject: Mobile | December 22, 2015 - 02:08 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, shield, shield tablet k1, android 6.0, marshmallow, Android M, ota update

NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet K1 Software Upgrade 1.0 brings Android 6.0 Marshmallow to the gaming tablet, and the OTA update is being pushed to devices now.

new-shield-tablet-k1.jpg

NVIDIA listed some benefits to the updated OS on the tablet K1:

Android 6.0 Marshmallow Upgrades

  • Now on Tap – This new feature from Google anticipates what you need, the moment you need it. With a simple tap, you’ll be able to quickly find information related to what you are seeing on the screen, as well as inside an app.
  • Adoptable Storage – Expandable storage moves internal. MicroSD cards can now be integrated with main internal storage, auto managed by the system, cutting out the need to manage where apps and files are stored. This replaces SHIELD’s move to SD functionality.
  • Improved App Permissions – Permissions are now managed centrally, meaning you have more freedom to grant access as you wish.
  • App Standby – Battery life is a big factor when choosing a device. App Standby can improve it in a big way. App Standby will automatically put an app into a standby state based on when you last used it, pausing network access and sync; it ends once the tablet starts charging. You’ll also get improved Bluetooth Low Energy scanning power efficiency.

More Upgrades from NVIDIA

  • New NVIDIA SHIELD Camera – We’re adding a new camera app to SHIELD tablet K1, with a user interface inspired by Material Design. It brings improved burst photo functionality and adds new real-time HD image effects, accelerated by Tegra K1’s Kepler-based GPU.
  • Fallout Shelter and Bonus Lunchboxes – Bethesda’s acclaimed post-apocalyptic world, Fallout Shelter, is part of the upgrade. As a bonus, the first 50,000 SHIELD tablet K1 gamers can score five free lunchboxes, each containing four Fallout Shelter cards for in-game currency, consumables and more. Click here to learn more.
  • User Interface Upgrades – Personalize Home and Lock screens with different wallpapers, including new NVIDIA wallpapers. You can launch Google Now voice commands from the lock screen. And you can personalize your Quick Settings menu, adding, removing or rearranging toggles.

The update was released yesterday to SHIELD tablet K1 users, and  it appears that it will be available for the original SHIELD tablet soon according to a post by a Customer Care rep on NVIDIA’s Official SHIELD Tablet K1 OTA 1.0 Feedback Thread.

Source: NVIDIA

Qualcomm Rebrands Two Snapdragon SoCs

Subject: Mobile | December 18, 2015 - 07:06 AM |
Tagged: snapdragon, qualcomm

The mobile processors that were previously known as the Snapdragon 618 and the Snapdragon 620 are now known as Snapdragon 650 and Snapdragon 652, respectively. This is not how we typically see products rebranded. Normally, such as the desktop GPU market, individual products are carried between generations, and their model number is incremented to reflect that. This case is the exact opposite: Qualcomm feels that the new products are numbered too similar to existing models, so they're widening the gap between them.

qualcomm-2015-snapdragon-600-rebrand.jpg

An SoC is only useful if it is installed in a compelling device, though. While I would hope that these sorts of branding changes influence consumers more than device manufacturers, there exists a part of me that wonders how much this rebranding will affect their amount of design wins. You would think that bumping a model number up a few digits wouldn't affect experimentation at Samsung, LG, or other phone companies. Yet, it might, and that would be interesting to see. Either way, it should affect the semi-enthusiast phone users who buy based on breakdowns of tech specs.

Source: Qualcomm

Sure it is pretty on the outside, but what about the personality of the Lenovo Yoga 900

Subject: Mobile | December 16, 2015 - 06:32 PM |
Tagged: yoga 900, yoga, Skylake, Lenovo, Intel

You may remember that back in November Ryan took a look at the Lenovo Yoga 900 with its snazzy watchband hinge and 3200x1800 resolution.  If not then now is the perfect time to revisit that video review but if you do still remember perhaps you would like a second opinion on the Skylake powered 2-in-1 device.  At 324x225x14.9mm and weighing 1.3kg in the complete package it is very portable, though you could just pop the 13.3" IPS display around the keyboard for use as a tablet.  The Inquirer takes a look at the good, the bad and the ugly attributes of the Yoga 900 in their review.

lenovo-yoga-900-design-540x334.jpeg

"This latest addition to the Yoga line is perhaps its fanciest yet, with a faux-leather finish and a complex ‘watchband' hinge. The real good news, though, is that this Skylake-powered convertible is as speedy and practical as it is eye-catching."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

 

Source: The Inquirer

Mozilla Abandons Firefox OS Smartphones

Subject: Editorial, Mobile, Shows and Expos | December 9, 2015 - 07:04 AM |
Tagged: yahoo, mozilla, google, Firefox OS, Android

Author's Disclosure: I volunteer for Mozilla, unpaid. I've been to one of their events in 2013, but otherwise have no financial ties with them. They actually weren't aware that I was a journalist. Still, our readers should know my background when reading my editorial.

Mozilla has announced that, while Firefox OS will still be developed for “many connected devices,” the organization will stop developing and selling smartphones through carriers. Mozilla claims that the reason is because they “weren't able to offer the best user experience possible.” While the statement is generic enough to apply in a lot of contexts, I'm not sure how close to the center of that region it is.

This all occurred at the “Mozlando” conference in Florida.

firefoxos.jpg

Firefox OS was born when stakeholders asked Mozilla to get involved in the iOS and Android duopoly. Unlike Windows, Blackberry, and other competitors, Mozilla has a history of leveraging Web standards to topple industry giants. Rather than trying to fight the industry leaders with a better platform, and hoping that developers create enough apps to draw users over, they expanded what Web could do to dig the ground out of their competitors.

This makes sense. Mobile apps were still in their infancy themselves, so Firefox OS wouldn't need to defeat decades of lock-in or orders of magnitude performance deltas. JavaScript is getting quite fast anyway, especially when transpiled from an unmanaged language like C, so apps could exist to show developers that the phones are just as capable as their competitors.

ilovetheweb.png

The issue is that being able to achieve high performance is different from actually achieving it. The Web, as a platform, is getting panned as slow and “memory hungry” (even though free memory doesn't make a system faster -- it's all about the overhead required to manage it). Likewise, the first few phones landed at the low end, due in part to Mozilla, the non-profit organization remember, wanting to use Firefox OS to bring computing to new areas of the world. A few hiccups here and there added another coat of paint to the Web's perception of low performance.

Granted, they couldn't compete on the high end without a successful app ecosystem if they tried. Only the most hardcore of fans would purchase a several-hundred dollar smartphone, and intend to put up with just Web apps. Likewise, when I've told people that phones run on the Web, they didn't realize we mean “primarily localhost” until it's explicitly stated. People are afraid for their data caps, even though offline experiences are actually offline and stored locally.

The Dinosaur in the Room

Then there's the last question that I have. I am a bit concerned about the organization as a whole. They seem to be trying to shed several products lately, and narrow their focus. Granted, all of these announcements occur because of the event, so there's plenty of room for coincidence. They have announced that they will drop ad tiles, which I've heard praised.

Mozilla_Foundation_201x_logo.png

The problem is, why would they do that? Was it for good will, aligning with their non-profit values? (Update: Fixed double-negative typo) Or was it bringing in much less money than projected? If it's the latter, then how far do they need to shrink their influence, and how? Did they already over-extend, and will they need to compensate for that? Looking at their other decisions, they've downsized Firefox OS, they are thinking about spinning out Thunderbird again, and they have quietly shuttered several internal projects, like their division for skunkworks projects, called “Mozilla Labs.” Mozilla also has a division called "Mozilla Research," although that is going strong. They are continually hiring for projects like "Servo," a potential new browser engine, and "Rust," a programming language that is used for Servo and other projects.

While Mozilla is definitely stable enough, financially, to thrive in their core products, I'm concerned about how much they can do beyond that. I'm genuinely concerned that Mozilla is trying to restructure while looking like a warrior for both human rights and platforms of free expression. We will not see the books until a few months from now, so we can only speculate until then. The organization is pulling inward, though. I don't know how much of this is refocusing on the problems they can solve, or the problems they can afford. We will see.

Source: Techcrunch

The other Android, a look at the OnePlus 2

Subject: Mobile | December 8, 2015 - 06:05 PM |
Tagged: USB 3 Type-C, OxygenOS, oneplus 2, Android

OnePlus is not likely the first source you would think of when purchasing an Android phone but perhaps this review over at Techgage might just change that.  As you can see below the phones are rather attractive and OxygenOS is an interesting flavour of Lollipop 5.1.1.  The charge cable is also an interesting feature, it is USB Type-C, however the cable it ships with is specific to this phone and you should not be charging other USB devices with it as it is out of spec.  While there are advantages to a custom USB cable, there is also some danger associated with it so make sure to keep it separate from your other cables if you intend on picking this phone up.

The hardware includes an 8-core 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 and Adreno 430 GPU powering a 5.5" 1080p IPS screen.  Depending on the model you choose you will either have 16GB local storage and 3GB of DDR4 or 64GB and 4GB.  Techgage liked the phone a lot, with a few caveats; check them out in the full review.

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"When a smartphone vendor comes along and offers its latest option as a “flagship killer”, it doesn’t exactly leave much room for leeway: it’s either going to be accurate, or off the mark. On paper, the OnePlus 2’s case seems to be solid, so let’s take a hard look at it and see if its promises are lived up to."

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Source: Techgage

NVIDIA Publishes 359.12 Hotfix Driver for GTX 860M

Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | December 6, 2015 - 08:10 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers, 860m

Users of notebooks with the GeForce GTX 860M GPU have apparently been experiencing crashes in many new titles. To remedy these issues, NVIDIA has published GeForce Hotfix Driver 359.12. If you do not have the GeForce GTX 860M, and all of your games work correctly, then you probably shouldn't install this. It has not been tested as much as official releases, by either Microsoft or NVIDIA, so other issues could have been introduced and no-one would know.

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If you do have that specific GPU though, and you are having problems running certain titles, then you can install the driver now. Otherwise, you can wait for future, WHQL-certified drivers too. Some users are apparently claiming that the issues were fixed, while others complain about crashes in games like Mad Max and Shadow of Mordor.

Source: NVIDIA

Lenovo Announces ThinkPad Yoga P40 Mobile Workstation

Subject: Systems, Mobile | December 2, 2015 - 12:09 AM |
Tagged: yoga, wacom, ThinkPad Yoga P40, Thinkpad, NVIDIA Quadro M500M, mobile workstation, Lenovo, ips, Intel Core i7

Lenovo has announced a pair of new mobile workstations at the Autodesk University event in Las Vegas, and the front-runner is the latest ThinkPad Yoga.

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This new ThinkPad Yoga P40 may look like the previous models, but it's loaded with workstation-level features and specs, beginning with the 2560x1440 IPS display with Wacom Active ES technology that boasts 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. Lenovo says the software driving this digitizer has been carefully optimized with help from Wacom:

"Professional artists and designers have been clear with the need for absolute precision and accuracy. Working with Wacom, Lenovo developed a unique driver to get closer than ever to the ‘pen to paper’ experience. For a comfortable and realistic sketching experience, the rechargeable ThinkPad Pen Pro is included, along with additional pen tips providing varied levels of tactile feedback for the professional community."

The underlying hardware features 6th-Gen Intel Core i7 processors, graphics provided by a 2GB NVIDIA Quadro M500M card, up to 16GB of memory (SoDIMM), a 512 GB SSD, and Intel 8260 2x2 802.11ac wireless. The ThinkPad Yoga P40 also features the Lift 'n Lock keyboard from the original ThinkPad Yoga "with a frame that automatically rises around the keys when the Yoga device switches into tablet mode", and Mil-SPEC construction.

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Image credit: Laptop Mag

The ThinkPad P40 Yoga will be available beginning in Q1 2016, and pricing will start at $1399.

Source: Lenovo

Rumors Surrounding the LG NUCLUN 2 SoC

Subject: Processors, Mobile | December 1, 2015 - 07:30 AM |
Tagged: TSMC, SoC, LG, Intel, arm

So this story came out of nowhere. Whether the rumors are true or false, I am stuck on how everyone seems to be talking about it with a casual deadpan. I spent a couple hours Googling whether I missed some big announcement that made Intel potentially fabricating ARM chips a mundane non-story. Pretty much all that I found was Intel allowing Altera to make FPGAs with embedded ARM processors in a supporting role, which is old news.

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Image Credit: Internet Memes...

The rumor is that Intel and TSMC were both vying to produce LG's Nuclon 2 SoC. This part is said to house two quad-core ARM modules in a typical big.LITTLE formation. Samples were allegedly produced, with Intel's part (2.4 GHx) being able to clock around 300 MHz faster than TSMC's offering (2.1 GHz). Clock rate is highly dependent upon the “silicon lottery,” so this is an area that production maturity can help with. Intel's sample would also be manufactured at 14nm (versus 16nm from TSMC although these numbers mean less than they used to). LG was also, again allegedly, interesting in Intel's LTE modem. According to the rumors, LG went with TSMC because they felt Intel couldn't keep up with demand.

Now that the rumor has been reported... let's step back a bit.

I talked with Josh a couple of days ago about this post. He's quite skeptical (as I am) about the whole situation. First and foremost, it takes quite a bit of effort to port a design to a different manufacturing process. LG could do it, but it is questionable, especially for a second chip ever sort of thing. Moreover, I still believe that Intel doesn't want to manufacture chips that directly compete with them. x86 in phones is still not a viable business, but Intel hasn't given up and you would think that's a prerequisite.

So this whole thing doesn't seem right.

Source: Android

Rumor About Samsung's Upcoming Flagship Phone

Subject: Mobile | November 28, 2015 - 09:05 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, s7, galaxy

The follow-up to the Samsung Galaxy S6 is already being rumored, which people are obviously calling the Galaxy S7. The last two phones were unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, which takes place in late February / early March. Information coming out in November is a bit... early. Some sites believe that Samsung will announce the phone in January, but who knows? Some of the rumors are interesting, though.

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The one that catches my attention is the potential inclusion of a microSD card slot. External storage is rare these days, with Google removing it from their Nexus line and severely limiting what apps can do with the contents. That said, Android 6.0, recently released for a few devices, made further changes to increase its capabilities. You can now use SD cards as internal storage, but only if you agree to format and encrypt the storage to use only on that device. While the recent batch of Nexus phones don't include a microSD card slot, the changes might be enough to sway third-party manufacturers to include a slot.

As a developer, it would certainly be nice, especially if you intend to develop software that uses an SD card. Makes sense, right? Purchasing a developer phone that has all the features you might want to target?

Speaking of developer phones, the upcoming device should have a top-of-the-line processor in it. Reports are split between the Snapdragon 820 and the Exynos 8890. If it's the latter, availability is expected Q1 2016; the former started sampling a few months ago and was launched on November 11th. As such, SoC availability should be ready if Samsung intends to launch the phone early, regardless of the chosen chip, but that's probably not the limiting factor. It is also entirely possible that Samsung could include different processors for different markets. Qualcomm was absent from the Galaxy S6 line, but the S5 had some sub-models using Qualcomm processors and others Samsung's own implementation.

Either way, they are fast processors that support OpenGL ES 3.1 + AEP at the very least. The Adreno 530 is rated for about 550 GFLOPs, which is a tiny bit faster than a GeForce 9800 GT, although with Vulkan-level feature support (provided correct drivers). Thankfully Google has been more friendly to Khronos-based standards, and Samsung even more so.

When will we know for sure? Don't know. How much will it cost? Don't know. What will it be officially called? Don't know, but anything other than Galaxy S7 would be surprising. Would it make sense for Samsung to shake up the date and other long-running details? Well, the Galaxy S6 launch was lackluster, so this would be the most likely time for them to be squirrely. We'll see.

Source: PCMag

ASUS Announces New N Series Laptops with Intel Skylake and 4K IPS

Subject: Systems, Mobile | November 22, 2015 - 01:30 AM |
Tagged: Skylake, PCIe SSD, notebook, N752, N552, laptop, ips, Intel Core i7, GTX 960M, asus, 4k

ASUS has added two new laptops to their N series line up premium, entertainment-focused laptops. The new models offer Intel’s 6th-gen (Skylake) Core i7 processors and high resolution IPS displays, as well as fast PCIe storage and discrete NVIDIA graphics.

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The new models are the 15.6-inch N552 and 17.3-inch N752, and both sizes offer wide-gamut IPS display options up to 3840x2160 with 100% sRGB coverage. The displays are powered by graphics up to a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M. Quad-core Intel Core i7 processors power both models, with a generous 16GB of RAM standard. Storage is provided via PCIe x4 storage with speeds of 1500 MB/s with capacities up to 512 MB, and external connectivity includes a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port.

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While boasting powerful specs these N-series laptops are also geared toward entertainment, with ASUS drawing attention to the sound from their “SonicMaster” audio system, which boasts powerful B&O ICEpower class-D amplification for the laptop’s front-facing speakers. Other features include backlit keys which offer 1.8 mm travel, and aluminum covering the keyboard area and lid.

The new models haven’t shown up on the U.S. product pages just yet, so pricing and availability are not yet known.

Source: TechPowerUp

Blackberry exposes its Privs and the world ... likes it?

Subject: Mobile | November 20, 2015 - 06:23 PM |
Tagged: blackberry, Priv, Android

Could it truly be enough to add a little Android to your Blackberry to bring them back to some form of popularity?  From what this contributor at The Register has to say it could very well be what the company once known as RIM needed.  The Priv is described as the least irritating Android phone they've ever used, which translates to high praise when you are talking about a Blackberry device.  The sliding keyboard is actually useful, the BlackBerry DTek security app is decent but requires a Google account to be linked to the phone, as do many other apps.  Check out the review to see if this is a berry flavoured Lollipop you might actually want a few licks at.

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"Other than that, none of which really counts, I think this might be my least disliked Android phone so far. It’s at least as good as the best Android phones I have used, because it’s the same as all other Androids, just minus the garbage often layered on top. And it’s better, because the BlackBerry stuff layered on top is very far from being garbage."

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Source: The Register