Meet the new PowerVR Series7XT Plus family of GPUs from Imagination Technologies

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2016 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: Series7XT Plus, PowerVR, hsa. GT7200 Plus, GT7400 Plus, CES

Update (Jan 7th, 2016 - Scott Michaud): Imagination sent us an updated diagram, and they wanted to clarify that there is "a 1:1 correspondance between the FP32 ALUs and the integer units." The updated diagram is just below.

PowerVR Series7XT Plus GPU - ALU architecture_2.png

Original article below

PowerVR GPUs are found in a variety of devices from the PlayStation Vita to the last couple of iPhones and at one point was the GPU in Intel APUs.  Their latest offerings are the GT7200 Plus and GT7400 Plus both of which offer quite a few improvements over their previous generations, not least of which is wholesale adoption of heterogeneous computing and its various benefits such as shared virtual memory.


These GPUs expand their support to INT16 and INT8 data paths, keeping the legacy INT32 paths for applications that require it.  They have also adopted the OpenCL 2.0 API for heterogeneous computing as well as OpenGL ES 3.2 and even Vulkan support.  The GT7200 Plus is in a dual-cluster configuration with 64 ALU cores and the GT7400 Plus doubles that to a quad-cluster with 128 ALU cores.


Along with the performance and feature upgrades comes a focus on upgrading the machine vision capabilities of the Rogue GPUs to be able to  identify thousands of objects directly from the camera input stream in real-time.  Check out their blog entry for more information on the new chips and if you want a refresher on the technology in these GPUs you can refer back to Ryan's article here.

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Intel Announces Core m Skylake and Cherry Trail Compute Sticks

Subject: Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2016 - 01:59 PM |
Tagged: Skylake, Intel, core m5, core m3, compute stick, Cherry Trail, CES 2016, CES

First up on the meeting block with the official opening of CES 2016 was Intel and its NUC and Compute Stick division. You should remember the Intel Compute Stick as a HDMI-enabled mini-computer in the shape of a slightly over sized USB drive. The first iteration of it was based on Bay Trail Atom processor and though we could see the benefits of such a device immediately, the follow through on the product lacked in some key areas. Performance was decent but even doing high bit rate video streaming seemed like a stretch and the Wi-Fi integration left something to be desired.

Today though Intel is announcing three new Compute Stick models. One is based on Cherry Trail, the most recent Atom processor derivative, and two using the Intel Core m processors based on the Skylake architecture.


Old Compute Stick on top, new on the bottom

The Intel STK1AW32SC uses the Cherry Trail Atom x5 processor, the x5-Z8300 quad-core CPU with a 1.44 GHz base clock and a 1.84 GHz Turbo clock. This CPU only has a 2 watt SDP so power consumption remains in line with the design we saw last year. Other specifications include an updated 802.11ac 2x2 wireless data connection (nice!), 32GB of internal eMMC storage, 2GB of DDR3-1600 memory and Bluetooth 4.0 support. Intel claims this configuration will offer about 2x the graphics performance of the previous model though CPU changes will be less noticeable. Still, we should see much improved 1080p streaming video performance without the dropped frames that were a problem last generation.


For connectivity, Intel has moved from a single USB port to a pair, one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0. There is still a requirement for external power via the micro USB port on the side.

The design is definitely more refined and feels higher quality than the original Compute Stick concept. This model is shipping today and should have an MSRP of $159 on the market.

More interesting are the pair of new Core-based Compute Sticks. There are two different models, one with a Core m3-6Y30 and another with a Core m5-6Y57 and vPro support. These devices get a nice bump to 64GB of internal eMMC storage, which Intel promises has better performance to take advantage of the USB 3.0 ports, along with 4GB of DDR3-1833 memory to keep things running smoothly.


The processor differences are noteworthy here – the Core m5-6Y57 has a sizeable advantage in peak boost clock, hitting 2.8 GHz versus only 2.2 GHz on the Core m3-6Y30. Base clocks are 1.1 GHz and 900 MHz, respectively, so I am curious how much time these devices will spend in the higher clocked modes in this form factor. As with the original Compute Stick, all three of the new models include an active fan cooling system.


The build quality on the Core variants of the Compute Stick are very similar to the Atom Cherry Trail model, though with a couple of unique changes to the I/O. On the device itself you have just a single USB 3.0 port and a single USB 3.0 Type-C connection used for both power and data.


On the wall power connector though, Intel has smartly integrated a USB 3.0 hub, giving us two more USB ports available at the wall, moving data to the Compute Stick itself through the Type-C cable. It’s really neat design idea and I can easily see this moving toward more connectivity on the power device in the future – maybe additional displays, audio outputs, etc.

The STK2M3W64CC, the Core m3-6Y30 variant that has Windows 10 pre-installed, will MSRP for $399. A version without Windows (STK2M364CC) will sell for around $299. Finally, the Core m5-6Y57 model, the STK2M3W64CC, is going to be $499, without an OS, targeted at the business markets. All three will be shipping in February.

We have a Cherry Trail Compute Stick in our hands already for testing but I am very curious to see how both the Core m3 and Core m5 version of the device improve on it with performance and usability. It’s very possible that these 4.5 watt parts are going to be more than enough for a large portion of the market, making truly headless computing a viable solution for most workloads.

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CES 2016: Razer Blade Stealth Has External GPU Dock

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2016 - 12:59 AM |
Tagged: razer, CES 2016, CES, blade stealth, blade

I've been seeing a handful of Razer laptops in my day-to-day life. They are known to pay attention to details, including the precise shade of green that their USB ports are colored. This seems to translate well to designing ultrabooks. Once again, they announced a new line of Razer Blade PCs. The headlining feature is the Razer Core external graphics enclosure, but I'm more interested in the display.


First, the graphics. Instead of integrating a discrete, mobile GPU, Razer is using the Intel HD 520 graphics on their chosen Core i7-6500U Skylake processor. This is not a powerhouse. It can barely play Rainbow Six: Siege and Star Wars Battlefront on low settings. It is power efficient though, and it will handle just about any professional, media, or light gaming task you throw at it. If you want to use it for high-performance graphics, then you will need to connect their optional Razer Core GPU dock by Thunderbolt 3. Pricing and availability are not yet available for that, which can be a deal-breaker quite easily. The other problem is that the Skylake processor is dual-core (four threads). Even with a good GPU, some games might be riding the line on the CPU side. It allows you to dock whatever graphics card you like, though. It's worth considering once we get the rest of the details.


But back to the laptop. As I mentioned before, the screen is possibly more interesting than the graphics situation. The panel is based on IGZO technology, which fights with IPS in terms of picture quality. You have two choices in resolution: 2560x1440 with 70% Adobe RGB, or 4K with 100% Adobe RGB. That doesn't seem like much, but Adobe RGB is actually a very wide color space, designed to cover both video and print color spaces. Even the professional grade Dell monitors do not claim 100% Adobe RGB, although they've come within 3% for years now. Having full coverage of Adobe RGB could be very appealing to professionals, especially magazine publishers and similar jobs.

The Razer Blade Stealth is available now, starting at $999.

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Source: Razer

CES 2016: ASUS Announces XG Station 2 External Graphics

Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2016 - 04:47 PM |
Tagged: external graphics, CES 2016, CES, asus

While external graphics has been a thing for quite some time, it was rarely an available thing. Several companies, such as AMD, Lucid, and others, announced products that were never sold. ASUS had their XG Station for Windows Vista that allowed laptops to plug into a GeForce 8600 GT, which was only available in Australia. Only now are we beginning to see options from Alienware, MSI, and even Microsoft that are widely available.

asus-2016-ROG XG2_front.jpg

ASUS is jumping back in, too. Not much is known about the XG Station 2, except that it is “specially designed for ASUS laptops and graphics cards.” This sounds like it is using a proprietary connector, similar to Alienware and MSI, to connect to ASUS laptops. Also saying it's specifically for ASUS graphics cards is a bit confusing, though. If it is an open PCIe slot, I'm not sure why or how it would be limited to ASUS cards. If the graphics cards are pre-installed, then we don't know the list of potential GPUs.

Either way, ASUS states that the dock can be disconnected without shutting down the PC. I'm interested to see how the GPU is supposed to be unplugged, as Alienware's option can only be done when the system is off, and Microsoft's Surface Book has a software detach with a hardware latch. The connector will also charge the laptop, which is an interesting add-in.

Pricing and availability varies, like the other ASUS announcements, by region.

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Source: ASUS

CES 2016: Lenovo ideapad 710S Notebook

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 4, 2016 - 07:00 PM |
Tagged: notebook, Lenovo, laptop, CES 2016, CES

Lenovo's new ideapad 710S is a thin and light notebook with a 13.3-inch 1920x1080 IPS display, and is powered by 6th gen Intel (Skylake) processors with optional Iris graphics.


Here are some of the specifications from Lenovo:

  • Up to 6th gen Intel Core i7 CPU
  • Up to 256GB PCIe SSD storage
  • Up to 8GB LP-DDR3 memory
  • Up to 8 hours battery life
  • Optional Intel Iris GFX
  • USB 3.0 & Micro HDMI connectors
  • JBL stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
  • Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, one always on-charging, 4-in-1 card reader, Audio
  • Combo Jack, Micro HDMI-out
  • Up to Intel 2 x 2 Wi-Fi 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0
  • Windows 10 Home

The ideapad 710S will start at $799 and will be available in July 2016.

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2016: Lenovo Announces Yoga 900S Convertible Notebook

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 4, 2016 - 07:00 PM |
Tagged: Yoga 900S, yoga, Lenovo, CES 2016, CES, carbon fiber

Lenovo has announced the Yoga 900S convertible notebook featuring a partial carbon fiber construction, resulting in an incredibly thin and light notebook.


"Built from carbon fiber, the YOGA 900S is the world's thinnest convertible laptop at 0.5-inches, 2.2lbs."

Here are some of the specifications from Lenovo:

  • 12.5-inch display, up to 2560x1440
  • 10-point touchscreen with Active Pen Support and WRITEit
  • Intel 2nd Intel Core m7 CPU
  • Up to 8GB LPDDR3 memory
  • Up to 512GB PCIe SSD storage
  • Integrated Intel HD graphics
  • Stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
  • Ports: 1 x USB 3.0 Type A, 1 x USB 3.0 with Video-out Type C, DC-in with USB 2.0 function, Audio Combo Jack
  • Wireless: Intel 2 x 2 802.11 A/C + Bluetooth 4.0
  • Up to 10.5 hrs. local video playback
  • Windows 10 Home


The Yoga 900S starts at $1099 and will be available in March 2016.

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Source: Lenovo

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.


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.).


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.


"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.

12_ThinkPad_Stack_Charging matt_small form factor.jpg

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.


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.


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.”


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.


“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


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.


“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.”


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.


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)


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.


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.


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.


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.


"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."

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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.


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.


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.


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.


"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