Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | February 26, 2013 - 04:19 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Firefox OS, mozilla, firefox, MWC, MWC 13
Mobile World Congress is going on at Barcelona and this year sees the official entry of a new contender: Firefox OS.
Mozilla held their keynote speech the day before the official start to the trade show. If there is anything to be learned from CES, it would be that there is an arms race to announce your product before everyone else steals media attention while still being considered a part of the trade show. By the time the trade show starts, most of the big players have already said all that they need to say.
If you have an hour to spare, you should check it out for yourself. The whole session was broadcast and recorded on Air Mozilla.
The whole concept of Firefox OS as I understand it is to open up web standards such that it is possible to create a completely functional mobile operating system from it. Specific platforms do not matter, the content will all conform to a platform of standards which anyone would be able to adopt.
I grin for a different reason: should some content exist in the future that is intrinsically valuable to society, its reliance on an open-based platform will allow future platforms to carry it.
Not a lot of people realize that iOS and Windows RT disallow alternative web browsers. Sure, Google Chrome the app exists for iOS, but it is really a re-skinned Safari. Any web browser in the Windows Store will use Trident as its rendering engine by mandate of their certification rules. This allows the platform developer to be choosey with whichever standards they wish to support. Microsoft has been very vocally against any web standard backed by Khronos. You cannot install another browser if you run across a web application requiring one of those packages.
When you have alternatives, such as Firefox OS, developers are promoted to try new things. The alternative platforms promote standards which generate these new applications and push the leaders to implement those standards too.
And so we creep ever-closer to total content separation from platform.
Subject: Mobile | February 25, 2013 - 05:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Cyberpower, fangbook, fangbook x200, gtx 675mx
CyberPower's Fangbook series has three models, the X7-100 for$1300, the X7-200 at $1500 and the X7-300 for $1800 with the differences lying in the graphics and storage systems, the first two use a GTX 675MX with the X7-300 using a GTX680M and you will find SSDs in both the 200 and 300. Bjorn3D tried the X7-200, with 16GB of RAM, a 60GB boot SSD backed up by a 750GB spinning disk and a i7-3630QM. With a 17.3" LCD this is not a small nor light laptop but at least the screen is a full 1080p and your GPU will be enough to allow you to play games at this resolution. Gaming laptops are a very niche market, read if you are a part of it and see if this laptop will do for you what a full size or SFF desktop cannot.
"Cyberpower is a premier high end system builder, with that they have some great options from mild to wild when it comes to system designs and options. Today we have the Fangbook X7-200 which is a new extreme gaming laptop built to make the days of being chained to a desk obsolete."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Dell XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Dell Inspiron 17R-5721 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Dell XPS 12 Review: A Jack of All Trades Flipscreen Ultrabook @ AnandTech
- Origin EON17-S Gaming Notebook @ Tweaktown
- Samsung Series 5 13.3" Touch Screen Intel Core i5/8GB/128GB SSD Ultrabook Review (NP540U3C-A01CA) @ ModSynergy
- ASUS VivoBook S400CA @ Hardware.info
- Cooler Master Notepal A200 Dual Fan Laptop Cooling Pad Review @ Pro-Clockers
- NVIDIA Tegra 4 Architecture Deep Dive, Plus Tegra 4i, Icera i500 & Phoenix Hands On @ AnandTech
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 S Pen tablet hands-on video from MWC 2013 @ Tweaktown
- HTC One hands-on @ The Inquirer
- Nokia Lumia 820 review: Windows Phone 8 runner-up @ Hardware.info
- HTC One SV @ The Inquirer
- Blackberry Z10: A week with the Blackberry 10 powered smartphone @ The Inquirer
- Sony Xperia Z vs. LG Optimus G Pro vs. HTC One vs. Samsung Galaxy S4 @ Hardware.info
Subject: Mobile | February 7, 2013 - 11:43 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: z2760, video, Thinkpad, tablet 2, tablet, Lenovo, clovertrail, atom z2760, atom
The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 just arrived at our office this week and before our full review we wanted to show our readers a quick overview on the design, features, accessories and performance of this 1.3 lbs Intel Atom Z2760 based computer. Running a full version of Windows 8 Pro, and not the somewhat limited Windows RT found on the MS Surface and ASUS VivoTab RT, the Tablet 2 (horrible name not withstanding) looks to be a pretty interesting device for users that want x86 compatibility and mobility.
Enjoy the video preview below!
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Mobile | February 5, 2013 - 05:10 PM | Scott Michaud
Dell, dude, you're getting a Dell!
So it is official that Dell is going private. Michael Dell, CEO, as well as: Silver Lake, MSD Capital, several banks, and Dell itself will buy back stocks from investors 25% above the January 11th trading price. The whole deal would be worth $24.4 billion USD.
Going private allows the company to make big shifts in their business without answering to investors on a quarterly basis. We can see how being a publicly traded company seems to hinder businesses after they grow beyond what a cash infusion can assist. Even Apple finds it necessary to keep an absolutely gigantic pile of cash to play with, only recently paying dividends to investors.
Also contributing to the buyback, as heavily reported, is a $2 billion USD loan from Microsoft. While it sounds like a lot in isolation, it is only just over 8% of the whole deal. All you really can pull is that it seems like Microsoft supports Dell in their decision and is putting their money where their intentions are.
The Ice Storm Test
Love it or hate it, 3DMark has a unique place in the world of PC gaming and enthusiasts. Since 3DMark99 was released...in 1998...with a target on DirectX 6, Futuremark has been developing benchmarks on a regular basis in time with major API changes and also major harware changes. The most recent release of 3DMark11 has been out since late in 2010 and has been a regular part of our many graphics card reviews on PC Perspective.
Today Futuremark is not only releasing a new version of the benchmark but is also taking fundamentally different approach to performance testing and platforms. The new 3DMark, just called "3DMark", will not only target high-end gaming PCs but integrated graphics platforms and even tablets and smartphones.
We interviewed the President of Futuremark, Oliver Baltuch, over the weekend and asked some questions about this new direction for 3DMark, how mobile devices were going to affect benchmarks going forward and asked about the new results patterns, stuttering and more. Check out the video below!
Make no bones about it, this is a synthetic benchmark and if you have had issues with that in the past because it is not a "real world" gaming test, you will continue to have those complaints. Personally I see the information that 3DMark provides to be very informative though it definitely shouldn't be depended on as the ONLY graphics performance metric.
Subject: Mobile | January 31, 2013 - 02:35 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: smartphone, RIM, blackberry z10, blackberry q10, blackberry, BB10
Research In Motion (RIM) is no more, but the company will live on as BlackBerry. Earlier this week, the company held a press conference where it made the name change official and introduced two new smartphones running the BlackBerry 10 operating system. It was a lot to take in at the time, and it has taken me this long for me to write about it as I have been torn on how I feel about the new BlackBerry.
First up though, the phones certainly look quite good. They are rather sleek looking utilizing curved edges well. BlackBerry has designed an all-touchscreen Z10 and a smaller Q10 smartphone with physical keyboard that is has just enough Bold DNA to evoke fond memories of my first smartphone.
The Z10 features a 4.2” touchscreen with a resolution of 1280 x 768 (356 PPI). Beneath the hood is a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 SoC clocked at 1.5 GHz along with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. For expansion, the phone supports micro SD cards. It can output video over HDMI and the phone includes an 8MP rear camera and a 2MP webcam. NFC and Wi-Fi are included along with LTE support.
Customers in the UK and Canada will be getting their hands on the phone sometime this week. US residents will have to wait until springtime, however. The BlackBerry Z10 is slated for a spring 2013 US launch (around March). In the US, the black version will be available on AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile for $149 while a white SKU will be $199 and a Verizon exclusive (Verizon will also sell the black model, but reportedly at the higher $199 price).
The Q10 carries the same internal hardware as the Z10 but goes with a smaller 3.1” 720 x 720 touchscreen. Beneath the screen is a physical keyboard reminiscent of the old BlackBerry Bold. Specs and pricing were more-scarce here, but it should see a US release sometime in April 2013.
Both BlackBerry smartphones run the company’s new BB10 operating system. The new OS is a complete overhaul that has several neat features. There is a new BBM client that integrated video chat and screen sharing, an app store with 70,000 launch apps, a work and home workspace separation (which will be great for BYOD workplaces), and a feature called Peek. Peek is invoked by a swipe gesture and allows you to, well, peek at a second application (such as email0 while watching a video or browsing the web. BlackBerry 10 will run multiple applications in the background and has an app switcher similar to Maemo where it displays live icons laid out in a grid. The OS also includes a camera application and editor. The camera app allows you to time-shift a bit after the photo is taken in order to find the best shot (for example, finding the shot where everyone was looking at the camera and/or not blinking). It is nice to see that rolled into a smartphone camera as it is rather useful when trying to get group shots of the family! Having the physical keyboard is sure to be a boon to many former BlackBerry users and may be the deciding factor in those users coming back to BlackBerry after leaving for Android and iOS.
That statement does segway nicely into my worry, however. Essentially “former users” is the key phrase, and after Android and iOS have gobbled up the market I do not know that BB10 and the two new phones will be enough to win back their former users much less new customers that did not grow up using BlackBerry phones. Don’t get me wrong, the phones look really nice, and BB10 as an operating system shows promise. On the other hand, Google and Apple have a colossal head start and the majority of the market share. This is a stranglehold that even OS-juggernaut Microsoft has not been able to crack with its new Windows Phone 8 devices. BlackBerry may be able to win back the hearts of IT departments and grab some of the enterprise market, but I worry that BlackBerry took too long to put out BB10 and supporting hardware to reclaim its former glory.
I suppose I will just have to wait and see how well-received the phones are at the contract prices versus deals that are likely to be given out for Galaxy SIII phones, the Nexus 4, and previous-gen iPhones (keep in mind the Galaxy S4 is rumored to be released soon, so that would make the S3 likely to get a nice discounted on-contract price).
By all that is Brick Breaker, I hope that
RIM BlackBerry finds some way to succeed. Perhaps a partnership with NVIDIA for Tegra-powered BB10 devices? After all, as Ryan mentioned on the podcast NVIDIA is in need of design wins for it's chips and BlackBerry could do with more hardware aimed at more price points.
Enough of my speculation, however. What do you think about the new BlackBerry and it's new devices?
A very interesting blog post by NVIDIA's Brian Caulfield tells the story of "How Project SHIELD Got Built" and you might be surprised about the timeline they were on. In the story Caulfield details the team's move from idea to the CES release in under 12 months:
In less than a year, SHIELD has grown from an idea dreamed up by Jen-Hsun, Tony, and a handful of others into a conspiracy involving hundreds of gaming fanatics across every department at NVIDIA. “We’ve been talking on and off about building something for more than five years, maybe 10,” says Tony.
Caulfield goes on to detail several steps in the process including design, production, the first module shown to Huang, NVIDIA CEO, and more. After realizing that they had the hardware with Tegra 4 and the software (both GeForce Experience and the controller drivers used by games from the TegraZone store), Tony Tomasi surmised that the company should "just build a device with a great controller built in."
The first prototype, assembled in early 2012, was little more than a game controller fastened to a smartphone with wood. From that crude beginning, NVIDIA’s team of industrial designers sculpted a device that could fit in a user’s hands. No outsourcing required: NVIDIA has a team of veterans who have already shaped the look of a number of products built around NVIDIA’s processors, such as the drool-worthy GeForce GTX 690.
Unfortunately no images of that wood-clad version of the SHIELD were shared, but the idea is amusing none the less. NVIDIA does admit that the killer feature of the device is the ability to stream PC games from a GeForce powered machine to the SHIELD remotely.
Streaming games from PCs equipped with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 or better GPUs puts cutting-edge games on SHIELD on day one. As NVIDIA’s smart, funny marketing VP Ujesh Desai put it, when cynical gamers ask the eternal question – ‘but can it play Crysis’ – NVIDIA will have a simple answer ‘yes it does.’
And apparently some developers have been "lobbying" NVIDIA to make a console for years - a fact that I find both interesting and hilarious.
Overall the post is incredibly insightful, if a bit overly "marketing-ish" about the product it discusses. With such a tight timeline on the design and build I am curious to see if NVIDIA will be able to meet the deadline of release they set during CES: Q2 2013. Also, many lines in the blog post are obviously meant to temper the fact that NVIDIA chips will find their way into exactly zero (0) consoles this generation and it is becoming more and more obvious that SHIELD is a reaction to that fact.
We are eager to learn more and get our hands on it again!
Subject: Mobile | January 30, 2013 - 05:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, gx60, gaming laptop, amd, 7970m
If you want a gaming laptop and don't want to spend $2000+ then an AMD powered machine is a really good choice, even if you are attracted to Intel's more powerful CPUs. Not only are the graphics on the A10-4600M better than Intel's offerings, the MSI GX60 comes with a discrete 7970M GPU with 2GB of dedicated RAM. That will beat out all but the most expensive of Intel powered gaming laptops and in certain situations will prove more powerful than even the most expensive laptops. If you opt to have a 128GB SSD installed in the GX60 it will bring the price to about $1500, you could most likely get a 256GB SSD separately instead if you are looking to save some cash. Check out the performance at TechSpot.
"Most people can’t afford to spend a few thousand on a notebook computer, even if it's on a solid gaming machine that doubles as a desktop replacement. To that end, today we'll be checking out a portable from MSI that aims to deliver a solid gaming experience without the excessive cost.
The MSI GX60 comes packed with a quad-core AMD A10-4600M CPU clocked at 2.3GHz alongside AMD Radeon HD 7970M discrete graphics with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, a 15.6-inch non-glare display operating at 1920x1080, 8GB of DDR3 memory in a 4GBx2 configuration, 128GB of flash storage used as the OS drive and a 750GB 7200RPM disk drive for storage."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Toshiba Satellite U945-S4390 Review @ TechReviewSource
- ASUS Taichi 21 Review @ InsideHW
- Asus Taichi 21 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Acer C7 Chromebook @ AnandTech
- ASUS Vivobook X202E/ S200E @ Hardware.info
- Asus VivoBook S400CA Review @ TechReviewSource
- Dell XPS 14 Ultrabook @ Legit Reviews
- Dell XPS 12 @ Hardware.info
- Acer Aspire S7 Touch Screen Ultrabook @ SSD Review
- Dell Latitude 6430u Review @ TechReviewSource
- Poetic Atmosphere Nexus 4 @ LanOC Reviews
- Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 @ Funky Kit
- Cygnett Apollo iPhone 4/4S Case Review @ Madshrimps
- OtterBox Commuter and Defender for iPhone 5 @ OCIA
- HTC One X+ @ The Inquirer
- From Mango to Apollo: The HTC Windows Phone 8X on the Daily @ AnandTech
Subject: Mobile | January 28, 2013 - 03:35 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: white label, tegra 4, tegra, tablet, shield, nvidia, cell phone
If you thought that NVIDIA's entry into the world of the mobile entertainment and gaming device market was odd with the announcement of the Shield Android-powered unit, we have some more rumors sneaking up from Droidlife.com about a possible move to develop and manufacture cell phones and tablets as well.
While many SoC vendors often create proof of concept designs based around their own chips, none of the major players are in the business of building devices meant to find their way into consumers hands. NVIDIA appears to be taking a page from its own book in the world of retail graphics cards and is planning on producing nearly complete cell phones and tablets to be rebranded and sold directly to consumers. PC users are used to this practice already and you can see if happen with ever nearly every GPU launch - graphics cards that have the same specs and design with only a different sticker on the cooler.
The process of white labeling is very frequent in today's laptop designs as well and it is how companies like AVADirect, MAINGEAR and iBuyPower are able to produce and sell custom notebooks.
From what is in the report, NVIDIA has their eyes set on both tablets and smartphones, with plans to start designing and creating their devices around May or June of this very year. If all goes according to plan, we will begin to see a ton of cheap (but not any less in quality terms) 7-10″ tablets hitting the market, all running NVIDIA chipsets.
If this process does take hold in the mid-2013 time frame you can start to expect a lot of low cost options based on Tegra SoCs to hit in the holiday time frame. There are concerns to be dealt with though if in fact NVIDIA attempt the white label move. First, there is potential for "cheap" products, and by that I mean cheaply built, ruining the Tegra name and brand that NVIDIA has been building over the last few years. Also, NVIDIA could offend and upset other vendors like Samsung and ASUS with whom they depend on to make the "high-end" products that many enthusiasts lust over.
As a small player though (in terms of pure sell through) NVIDIA is looking for anyway it can to improve its market share and starting up a white label market for smartphones and tablets is definitely something that could open up new opportunities.
Subject: Mobile | January 18, 2013 - 03:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, GT70 Limited Dragon Edition, 17.3, 1080p, 3630QM
Gaming laptops are attractive to some users, who are willing to pay the premium to have a system which can play the latest games and is still somewhat portable. MSI has been providing these users with solid products over the years and has recently updated their product line with the GT70 Limited Dragon Edition. One of the best features of this laptop is the screen, proper 1920 x 1080 screens are all too rare on laptops. Inside you will find an octo-core Core i7 3630QM, a GTX 675, 8GB DDR3 and even a KillerNIC, enough to get you playing Far Cry 3 in style. The backlit keyboard features a GPU Turbo boost key and a Cooler boost key which should probably both be used at the same time. In fact the only things that MadShrimps would have like to see changed is a different type of SSD and an IPS display instead of the TN that MSI used.
"In recent 2 years, MSI did not focus on the Ultrabook series as many other brands, they mainly focused on high performance of Gaming series Notebooks, that makes MSI to become a well known gaming products company in the market, also shows how important of the Gaming related market."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Asus' VivoBook X202E @ The Tech Report
- Acer Aspire S7 @ TechSpot
- Intel Haswell GT3e GPU Performance Compared to NVIDIA's GeForce GT 650M @ AnandTech
- Lenovo Yoga 13 review: limber laptop @ Hardware.info
- Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 11 @ The Inquirer
- NZXT Cryo X60 Notebook Cooler @ Benchmark Reviews
- ASUS VivoTab RT TF600T review: Windows RT according to ASUS @ Hardware.info
- Otterbox iPhone 4 / 4S Defender Series with Realtree Camo Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Smartphone Review @ ModSynergy
- Sony Xperia T vs Xperia V review: same cover, different phone @ Hardware.info
- Ubuntu phone OS walkthrough on a Galaxy Nexus, looks so good - I'm ready to buy it @ Tweaktown
- eTeknix: On the go - Part 1
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