Subject: Mobile | September 18, 2013 - 12:04 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: tegra note, tegra 4, tegra, tablet, pny, nvidia, evga
Over the past couple of months there have been several leaks about a potential NVIDIA-branded tablet based on the Tegra 4 SoC. Most speculated that NVIDIA had decided to enter into the hardware market directly with a "Tegra Tab" in a similar vein to the release of NVIDIA SHIELD. As it turns out though NVIDIA has created a platform for which other companies can rebrand and resell an Android tablet.
According to NVIDIA, the Tegra Note platform will enable partners to bring 7-in tablets to market packed with the feature set NVIDIA has been promising since the launch of the Tegra 4 SoC. Those include stylus support, high quality audio, HDR camera capabilities and 100% native Android operating systems.
Maybe more interesting are the partners that NVIDIA is teaming with for this launch. While companies like ASUS have already done the development work to prepare various size tablets based on Tegra chips in the past, NVIDIA is going to introduce a couple of its graphics cards partners to the mobility ecosystem: EVGA and PNY in North America.
While we have questions about the capability for either of these companies to truly support a tabletin today's market but the truth is likely that NVIDIA is handling most if not all of the logistics on this project. What is not in question is the potential for high value: these tablets will start with a suggested retail price of $199.
We already know most of the technical details about the Tegra 4 SoC including the 4+1 Cortex A15 CPU cores and the 72-core GPU. NVIDIA claims they will get 10 hours of video playback with this platform but I would like to get data on the weight and battery size before calling that a win. The display resolution is a bit lower than other competing high-end options in the market today but the sub-$200 price point does mean there had to be some corners cut.
UPDATE: I asked NVIDIA for more information on the size, weight and battery capacity and got a quick answer. The battery capacity is 4100 mAh and the entire device weighs 320g. Compared to the Google Nexus 7, the current strongest 7-in tablet in my opinion, that is a 4% larger battery (vs 3950 mAh) and 10% heavier device (vs 290g). The Tegra Note reference is also a bit thicker at 9.6mm compared to the 8.65mm of the Nexus 7.
There are more details on the official NVIDIA blog post making the announcement this morning including direct OTA Android updates so check that out if you think you might be interested in one of these tablets in the coming months!
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | September 16, 2013 - 09:15 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Steam Box, LinuxCon, Gabe Newell
Valve Software, as demonstrated a couple of days ago, still believe in Linux as the future of gaming platforms. Gabe Newell discussed this situation at LinuxCon, this morning, which was streamed live over the internet (and I transcribed after the teaser break at the bottom of the article). Someone decided to rip the stream, not the best quality but good enough, and put it on Youtube. I found it and embed it below. Enjoy!
Gabe Newell highlights, from the seventh minute straight through to the end, why proprietary platforms look successful and how they (sooner-or-later) fail by their own design. Simply put, you can control what is on it. Software you do not like, or even their updates, can be stuck in certification or even excluded from the platform entirely. You can limit malicious software, at least to some extent, or even competing products.
Ultimately, however, you limit yourself by not feeding in to the competition of the crowd.
If you wanted to get your cartridge made you bought it, you know, FOB in Tokyo. If you had a competitive product, miraculously, your ROMs didn't show up until, you know, 3 months after the platform holder's product had entered market and stuff like that. And that was really where the dominant models for what was happening in gaming ((came from)).
But, not too surprisingly, open systems were advancing faster than the proprietary systems had. There used to be these completely de novo graphics solutions for gaming consoles and they've all been replaced by PC-derived hardware. The openness of the PC as a hardware standard meant that the rate of innovation was way faster. So even though, you would think, that the console guys would have a huge incentive to invest in it, they were unable to be competitive.
Microsoft attempts to exert control over their platform with modern Windows which is met by a year-over-year regression in PC sales; at the same time, PC gaming is the industry hotbed of innovation and it is booming as a result. In a time of declining sales in PC hardware, Steam saw a 76% growth (unclear but it sounds like revenue) from last year.
Valve really believes the industry will shift toward a model with little divide between creator and consumer. The community has been "an order of magnitude" more productive than the actual staff of Team Fortress 2.
Does Valve want to compete with that?
This will only happen with open platforms. Even the consoles, with systems sold under parts and labor costs to exert control, have learned to embrace the indie developer. The next gen consoles market indie developers, prior to launch, seemingly more than the industry behemoths and that includes their own titles. They open their platforms a little bit but it might still not be enough to hold off the slow and steady advance of PC gaming be it through Windows, Linux, or even web standards.
Speaking of which, Linux and web standards are oft criticized because they are fragmented. Gabe Newell, intentionally or unintentionally, claimed proprietary platforms are more fragmented. Open platforms have multiple bodies push and pull the blob but it all tends to flow in the same direction. Proprietary platforms have lean bodies with control over where they can go, just many of them. You have a dominant and a few competing platforms for each sector: phones and tablets, consoles, desktops, and so forth.
He noted each has a web browser and, because the web is an open standard, is the most unified experience across devices of multiple sectors. Open fragmentation is small compared to the gaps between proprietary silos across sectors. ((As a side note: Windows RT is also designed to be one platform for all platforms but, as we have been saying for a while, you would prefer an open alternative to all RT all the time... and, according to the second and third paragraphs of this editorial, it will probably suffer from all of the same problems inherent to proprietary platforms anyway.))
Everybody just sort of automatically assumes that the internet is going to work regardless of wherever they are. There may be pluses or minuses of their specific environment but nobody says, "Oh I'm in an airplane now, I'm going to use a completely different method of accessing data across a network". We think that should be more broadly true as well. That you don't think of touch input or game controllers or living rooms as being things which require a completely different way for users to interact or acquire assets or developers to program or deliver to those targets.
Obviously if that is the direction you are going in, Linux is the most obvious basis for that and none of the proprietary, closed platforms are going to be able to provide that form of grand unification between mobile, living room, and desktop.
Next week we're going to be rolling out more information about how we get there and what are the hardware opportunities that we see for bringing Linux into the living room and potentially pointing further down the road to how we can get it even more unified in mobile.
Well, we will certainly be looking forward to next week.
Personally, for almost two years I found it weird how Google, Valve, and Apple (if the longstanding rumors were true) were each pushing for wearable computing, Steam Box/Apple TV/Google TV, and content distribution at the same time. I would not be surprised, in the slightest, for Valve to add media functionality to Steam and Big Picture and secure a spot in the iTunes and Play Store market.
As for how wearables fit in? I could never quite figure that out but it always felt suspicious.
Subject: Mobile | September 13, 2013 - 06:32 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Intel, haswell, google, Chromebook
At IDF this week Intel and Google announced new Chromebooks running Google's cloud friendly operating system. The new machines will be built by a number of PC laptop manufacturers and will be available later this year.
Notably, the new Chromebooks will feature Intel Haswell processors, which Google claims will result in increased performance along with up to 2-times the battery life of previous generation Chromebooks. In fact, several manufacturers are rating the battery life between 8 and 9.5 hours, which would be quite the feat if the number hold up to actual usage!
Acer, HP, and Toshiba will be releasing updated Chromebooks with Haswell CPUs and new laptop designs "over the coming months" for as-yet-unannounced prices. ASUS is also joining the Chromebook fray with a mini desktop PC running Chrome OS and requiring a monitor or TV for video output. Specifically, Acer will be putting out an 11.6" laptop that is 0.75" thick and weighs 2.76 pounds. HP is offering a larger display and more battery lfie with its 14" Chromebook measuing 0.81" thick and 4.08 pounds. You trade a bit of portability, but you get a larger display, keyboard, and battery. Toshiba will be unveiling a laptop form factor Chromebook as well, but specs on that particular system have not been revealed yet. As mentioned above, pricing has not been released, but expect the systems to be under $300.
Interestingly, Google claims that six of the leading PC laptop manufacturers are now offering their own spin on Google's Chromebook. Further, the Chromebooks account for around 20-percent of the sub-$300 PC market, according to Google. It seems that Chromebooks are slowly gaining traction though it remains to be seen if they will continue to be successful as Windows and Android budget ultraportable competition heats up and consumers become wary of "the cloud" and Internet applications in light of the various leaks concerning the NSA spying programs. (As Darren Kitchen of Hak5 would say, "encrypt all the things!")
Will you be picking up a Haswell-powered Chromebook?
Subject: Mobile | September 12, 2013 - 04:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: TYLT VÜ, wireless charging, Qi
A feature on the new Samsung phones which we have not had much chance to use is the wireless charging feature called Qi. The TYLT VÜ is a product which will change that as you can use it to charge your phone wirelessly that came about as the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign. At $70 from their online store it is not the least expensive accessory available for your phone but it is certainly one of the most interesting. LANOC finished a review of the device and found it charged the phone in about the same time as a wired charger does, you will never have a drained battery with the VÜ around.
"It’s amazing how far technology has gone when you look at the mobile phone market. It really wasn’t that long ago when the RAZR flip phone was the hip thing to have. Now most people have large screens, fast internet, and more processing power than you would ever have imagined. With that in mind, it does seem a little crazy that we still have to plug our phones in all of the time to charge them. When I picked up my Nexus 4, the wireless charging feature was one of the most interesting to me. Today I will finally be able to show off what it’s all about with the new TYLT VÜ wireless charging pad."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Patriot Fuel+ Mobile Rechargeable Battery Review @ Legit Reviews
- iPhone 5C: First impressions @ The Inquirer
- Sony Xperia Z Ultra Review: A powerful 6.4-inch Android phablet @ TechSpot
- Nexus 7 2013 @ The Inquirer
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3 @ The Inquirer
- Lenovo outs the Yoga 2 Pro as ‘world’s highest resolution’ notebook @ The Inquirer
- iconBIT NETTAB Mercury XL (NT-3504M) Mobile Phone Review @ Madshrimps
- Brando Workshop Sony Xperia Z Accessories Presentation Part II @ Madshrimps
- Kingston MobileLite Wireless Reader @ LanOC Reviews
- Kingston MobileLite Wireless Reader & Media Streamer @ NikKTech
- MSI GS70 Review @ TechReviewSource
- PC Specialist Vortex IV X780 Gaming Notebook @ eTeknix
- OcUK Professional W540 UltraNote 14" LED Ultra Book @ eTeknix
Subject: Mobile | September 11, 2013 - 08:36 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: transformer t100, idf 2013, Bay Trail, atom z3740, asus
Last week at IFA 2013 I wrote about a new ASUS Transformer device called the Trio that combined a Haswell processor and Atom Z2760 Clover Trail CPU for a very interesting 3-scenario unit. It is definitely an interesting product worth reading about, but ASUS took some time tonight to announce another new Transformer Book: the T100.
The Transformer Book T100 is a 10.1-in ultraportable that can be used as either a standard notebook or as a stand alone tablet; exactly how previous Transformers have functioned. The design is sleek and light weight: 2.4 pounds for both sections and only 1.2 pounds in tablet only form.
Powering the T100 is the brand new Intel Atom Z3740 quad-core SoC (max burst rate of 1.8 GHz) based on the Bay Trail platform and Silvermont architecture. Earlier today we published our review of the Bay Trail processor and the performance improvements over Clover Trail are impressive and noticeable. Energy efficiency is also improved and ASUS claims that the T100 will get more than 11 hours of battery life.
The screen is an IPS panel with a resolution of 1366x768. It runs Windows 8.1 and includes USB 3.0 for accessories and external storage.
The ASUS Transformer T100 will sell for $349 with 32GB of storage and $399 with 64GB. For the kind of performance levels and platform flexibility we see with Bay Trail, the sub-$350 price point is very impressive. Will Android tablets start to take a hit with these low priced Windows options?
Being announced today along with the T100, the ASUS Transformer Book T300 is a larger version of the T100 but powered by Intel's 4th Generation Core processors, Haswell. The ultra-low voltage processor is the Core i5-4200U or 4500U, both of which are new dual-core variants with 15 watt TDPs. The 13.3-in screen has a 1920x1080 resolution while the hardware can include storage up to 256GB and DDR3 memory up to 8GB.
With a weight of 2.4 pounds when docked and 1.8 pounds in tablet form, the T300 is still able to muster a solid 8 hours of battery life.
I am going to have some hands on time with these notebooks / tablets very soon so stay tuned for more info!!
A Whole New Atom Family
This past spring I spent some time with Intel at its offices in Santa Clara to learn about a brand new architecture called Silvermont. Built for and targeted at low power platforms like tablets and smartphones, Silvermont was not simply another refresh of the aging Atom processors that were all based on Pentium cores from years ago; instead Silvermont was built from the ground up for low power consumption and high efficiency to compete against the juggernaut that is ARM and its partners. My initial preview of the Silvermont architecture had plenty of detail about the change to an out-of-order architecture, the dual-core modules that comprise it and the power optimizations included.
Today, during the annual Intel Developer Forum held in San Francisco, we are finally able to reveal the remaining details about the new Atom processors based on Silvermont, code named Bay Trail. Not only do we have new information about the designs, but we were able to get our hands on some reference tablets integrating Bay Trail and the new Atom Z3000 series of SoCs to benchmark and compare to offerings from Qualcomm, NVIDIA and AMD.
A Whole New Atom Family
It should be surprise to anyone that the name “Intel Atom Processor” has had a stigma attached to it almost since its initial release during the netbook craze. It was known for being slow and hastily put together though it was still a very successful product in terms of sales. With each successive release and update, Diamondville to Pineview to Cedarview, Atom was improved but only marginally so. Even with Medfield and Clover Trail the products were based around that legacy infrastructure and it showed. Tablets and systems based on Clover Trail saw only moderate success and lukewarm reviews.
With Silvermont the Atom brand gets a second chance. Some may consider it a fifth or sixth chance, but Intel is sticking with the name. Silvermont as an architecture is incredibly flexible and will find its way into several Intel products like Avoton, Bay Trail and Merrifield and in segments from the micro-server to smartphones to convertible tablets. Not only that, but Intel is aware that Windows isn’t the only game out there anymore and the company will support the architecture across Linux, Android and Windows environments.
Atom has been in tablets for some time now, starting in September of last year with Clover Trail deigns being announced during IDF. In February we saw the initial Android-based options also filter out, again based on Clover Trail. They were okay, but really only stop-gaps to prove that Intel was serious about the space. The real test will be this holiday season with Bay Trail at the helm.
While we always knew these Bay Trail platforms were going be branded as Atom we now have the full details on the numbering scheme and productization of the architecture. The Atom Z3700 series will consist of quad-core SoCs with Intel HD graphics (the same design as the Core processor series though with fewer compute units) that will support Windows and Android operating systems. The Atom Z3600 will be dual-core processors, still with Intel HD graphics, targeted only at the Android market.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 10, 2013 - 01:38 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tablet, smartphone, LTE, Intel, idf 2013, idf, Bay Trail, 22nm
This year at the Intel Developer Forum, Intel is announcing a slew of new products. Among the fray is a sneak peek at some of the mobile devices that will be utilizing the company's Bay Trail Atom SoCs.
The first device Intel showed off was a small Lenovo branded tablet that is likely the Intel-powered alternative to the current ARM-powered S5000 that was announced at IFA 2013 in Berlin. The Intel powered tablet is using a Bay Trail Atom SoC.
The mysteriously specc'd Lenovo tablet is not the only kit to use Bay Trail, however. Intel claims that there will be a number of new tablets on the way, including models that will be available for under $100 in time for this holiday season. Of course, beyond that specs were not announced.
Intel also showed off a new prototype smartphone that is powered by a new 22nm SoC. Ryan speculates that the chip is an Intel Merrifield-based SoC which is a mobile architecure derived from Silvermont. The company claims that the move to a 22nm manufacturing process for these mobile chips results in a 50% battery life improvement. Impressive, if those numbers hold true!
The smartphone further features an LTE radio, and Intel shared a speed test of the LTE modem during the conference. Today, the smartphone uses LTE for data and 3G for voice calls, but by the end of the year products will be able to use the LTE radio for both data and voice connections.
Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more IDF good-ness as it develops!
Subject: Systems, Mobile | September 9, 2013 - 09:00 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: workstation, quadro, precision series, optimus, mobile workstation, m6800, m4800, haswell, firepro, enduro, dell
Today, Dell announced new mobile workstation systems in 15” and 17” notebook form factors. The Dell Precision M4800 and Precision M6800 are 15” and 17” laptops constructed of magnesium alloy and anodized aluminum cases, pack some impressive portable computing power, and will be available later this week.
The Dell Precision M6800 and M4800. Photo courtesy of Dell Inc.
Both the Dell M4800 and M6800 are ISV certified, MIL-STD-810G tested, and support FIPS fingerprint readers, self encrypting hard drives, and TPM security chips. The workstations are updates to the existing M4700 and M6700 systems and can be configured with Intel Haswell i5 or i7 (including i7 Extreme Edition) processors, AMD FirePro or NVIDIA Quadro GPUs, up to 32GB of DDR3 1600MHz (or 16GB DDR3 at 1866MHz), multiple storage drives, Waves MaxxAudio, and WiGig wireless dock support that allows up to 5 external displays. Users can attach a 9-cell 97Wh slice battery in addition to the 9-cell 97Wh system battery to get extended battery life. Users can add dedicated graphics cards to the systems from AMD (FirePro) or NVIDIA (Quadro), which support Enduro and Optimus technologies respectively. The technology allows the system to turn off the dedicated cards and use the Intel processor graphics when the extra horsepower is not needed to conserve battery life. The M4800 and M6800 workstations each come with 3 year warranties.
The Dell Precision M4800 is a mobile workstation weighing 6.35 pounds. It features a backlit keyboard, trackpad, and high resolution 15.6” QHD+ IGZO display with a resolution of 3200 x 1800. The notebook can be configured with up to an Intel Core i7 “Haswell” Extreme Edition processor, an AMD FirePro M5100 Mobility Pro or NVIDIA Quadro K2100M graphics card, 32GB of DDR3 1600 MHz memory, and 2.5 TB of internal storage (two 1TB plus one 500GB drive) in RAID 0, 1, or 5 modes.
The 15” Dell Precision M4800 workstation will be available on September 12th starting at $1,249.
Stepping up to the larger 17” Precision M6800, users can configure the system with a Haswell Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition CPU, NVIDIA Quadro K5100M with 8GB of GDDR5 memory, 32GB of DDR3 1600 MHz system memory, 3.5TB of storage space in RAID 0, 1, or 5, and a 17” 1080p LED-backlit 10-point multi-touch display. This notebook weighs 7.86 pounds.
The M6800 will be available in black or phoenix red with a starting MSRP of $1,599 on September 12th.
Business customers needing portable computing power have some interesting new options with the two new Dell workstations, which pack some powerful hardware into a laptop form factor. Sure, they are not the lightest or thinnest machines, but you won't find i7 processors, 32GBs of memory, Quadro graphics, and 2+TB of storage in an ultrabook.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 9, 2013 - 04:35 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Samsung, s-pen, ifa 2013, galaxy note 3, big.little, android 4.3
Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 3 at IFA this month with updated hardware and software. The Galaxy Note 3 measures 151.2mm x 79.2mm x 8.3mm and weighs just under 0.37 pounds (168 grams). The smartphone will be available for purchase on September 25 in three colors: jet black, classic white, or blush pink.
The Galaxy Note 3 features a large 5.7” Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The smartphone features thin bezels on the left and right of the display, and a single button below the display. A Samsung logo, speaker, and 2MP webcam sit above the touchscreen. The back of the Note 3 has “delicate stitching” that has a soft textured leather-like finish. A Samsung logo and 13MP camera with Backside illuminated sensor, auto focus, smart stabilization technology, and LED flash sit on the top half of the back cover. Of course, the Galaxy Note 3 comes equipped with Samsung's S-Pen digitizer.
Samsung is powering the Note 3 with either a 2.3GHz quad core or Octa core SoC depending on the market. The 8-core chip uses ARM's big.LITTLE architecture and pairs a 1.9GHz quad core and a 1.3GHz quad core. Samsung did not specify the exact chips, but they are likely the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 and Exynos 5 Octa. The smartphone will come with LTE or 3G cellular radios, depending on market (and this is where the CPUs differ, with the LTE version getting the 2.3GHz quad core SoC).
Other specifications include 3GB of RAM, and 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. Beyond the cellular radio, the Galaxy Note 3 supports 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and GPS/GLONASS radios. Samsung has packed the smartphone with sensors, including gesture, accelerometer, geo-magnetic, gyroscope, RGB, proximity, barometer, temperature, humidity, and Hall effect.
The standard battery is a 3,200 mAh Lithium Ion battery pack.
Samsung is using Android 4.3 Jelly Bean for the Galaxy Note 3's base operating system. On top of the Android base, Samsung has added a slew of its own software including various applications and interface tweaks that work with the S-Pen. Users can use handwriting to search for content, annotate screenshots, write notes, and issue commands to the smartphone. There is a hover and action menu tied to the use of the S-Pen, as well.
The Galaxy Note 3 smartphone in three colors and colorful windowed flip covers will be available on September 25th. Pricing has not yet been announced. More information can be found on this Samsung web page.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 9, 2013 - 03:14 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Windows 8.1, toshiba, tablet, skype, microsoft, Intel, ifa 2013, Bay Trail, atom
Toshiba has launched a new 8-inch tablet called the Encore at the IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin) consumer electronics show in Berlin, Germany. The upcoming tablet is an 8-inch device measuring 10.68mm thick and weighing 479 grams (~1.06 pounds). It runs the full version of Windows 8.1 and is coming in November.
The Encore has an 8-inch 1280 x 800 multi-touch HFFS display surrounded by a shiny black bezel. There is a 2MP webcam, Windows button, and Toshiba logo on the front face. The back of the tablet has rounded edges and corners. It has a silver-colored finish and houses another Toshiba logo and an 8MP main camera. In addition to the webcam, the Encore tablet has stereo speakers and two microphones (for noise cancelation). IO includes a Micro SD card slot, micro HDMI video output, and micro USB interfaces.
Toshiba has opted for Intel's latest Bay Trail Atom SoCs to power its 8-inch Windows tablet. Specifically, Toshiba has packed a quad core Bay Trail SoC, 2GB of system memory, 32GB of internal storage. Internal sensors include a gyroscope, accelerometer, and GPS. Further, the Encore features a dual band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi radio. According to Toshiba, the tablet exhibits "exceptional battery life," but beyond that the company has not released exact numbers.
The Encore will come with Windows 8.1 pre-installed along with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 and Xbox SmartGlass. Naturally, user-accessible internal storage will be limited due to the size of Windows 8.1. Luckily, users will be able to add additional storage via a Micro SD card. The tablet is Skype certified, as well.
The Toshiba Encore tablet will be available for purchase in November for $329.
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