WOA! We wanted Windows 8 on ARM details. We got them.

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | February 9, 2012 - 09:36 PM |
Tagged: WOA, windows, arm

Microsoft has been ridiculously cagey about the discussion of Windows 8 on ARM. At last month’s CES trade show there was a disturbingly low amount of information. Available information about Windows on ARM was in abrupt demonstrations performed by Microsoft spokespeople or behind glass display cases.

Today Steven Sinofsky of Microsoft released quite a bit of information -- over 8500 words even if you exclude image captions and section titles -- about Windows on ARM (officially named “WOA”). Feel free to read for yourself at MSDN’s blog, or keep on reading for our brief summary.

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Actually most of the blog post is about building Windows 8 on ARM.

We reported that Windows on ARM has been classified as stable for approximately two weeks at this point.  Our questions about WOA availability were answered, and more: WOA is intended to be released simultaneously as Windows 8 for x86-64. WOA will also not be available standalone and you must purchase a device with it pre-installed.

From the chipset through the firmware and drivers, the work is optimized to be great for WOA. Partners are working hard on creative industrial designs and form factors that will include more than tablets. These are all under development today.

[…]

The PC will come with the OS preinstalled, and all drivers and supporting software. WOA will not be available as a software-only distribution, so you never have to worry about which DVD to install and if it will work on a particular PC.

Applications written for Windows on ARM can only be distributed through Windows Update or the Windows Store. Being an advocate of the open PC I find this quite unnerving as it quickly creates situations where art becomes at the mercy of the platform owner similar to what is seen on the consoles. That said, it also seems to suggest that Microsoft is not intending WOA to be fill all the roles of a typical PC.

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Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote will be available for WOA as Office 15. The typical file explorer and desktop will also be available for WOA. Mouse and keyboard support is also available for Windows on ARM. These will all be available within Office so the user can control there their files will be stored.

Windows 8 for x86-64 will be released as an open Beta at the end of the month. Microsoft will also release, by invite only, devices for developers. The intent of course is to give developers time to create applications for WOA. You should not expect those devices to be any more than development tools designed to prevent day-one apps from being developed in a single day.

Source: MSDN Blogs

Archos looks to grab some tablet market share

Subject: Mobile | February 7, 2012 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: archos, 101 G9, Android 3.2.1, honeycomb

The new 10.1" Archos 101 G9 sports a 1280 x 800 multi-touch capacitive screen and runs on a 4 core ARM cortex A9 @ 1GHz as well as 512MB of RAM which should be powerful enough to output 1080p video via the HDMI port.  There will also be two more models with faster processors and more RAM which should arrive to market in the near future.   The biggest change to this generation of Archos tablets is the bundled 3G stick which extends the networking capability of this device to include Wireless N, Bluetooth and cellular networks.  At $320 it is a little more expensive than some of the competition so head over to Hardware Heaven to find out if it is worth the extra money.

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"Archos are back with an updated "Gen 9" version of the 101 Android tablet. Featuring Android 3.2.1 and updated specifications can it offer something worthwhile in an ever more crowded market?"

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

 

MAINGEAR Updates the TITAN 17 17 notebook with the power of Intel Core i7 3960x

Subject: Mobile | February 7, 2012 - 11:44 AM |
Tagged: titan 17, maingear, gtx580m, 3960x extreme edition

It will cost you a fair amount but MAINGEAR has assembled an awe-inspiring 17.3" laptop.  Go full out and you will have Intel's fastest processor, a pair of GTX580Ms in SLI and 32GB of DDR3 in quad channel!  Plus you get Jagged Alliance Back in Action and Batman Arkham City tossed in to sweeten the pot.

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Kenilworth, New Jersey – February 7, 2012 - MAINGEAR, an award-winning PC system builder offering custom desktops, notebooks, and workstations, has updated the TITAN 17 high performance desktop replacement solution with all new aesthetic features while still maintaining top of the line performance forPC gamers who want to harness desktop-like power wherever they go and creative professionals that can work on site with no loss in productivity.

The TITAN 17 features support for both the latest Intel Core i7 3930K and the Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition. With fast, intelligent multi-core technology that accelerates performance to match your workload, it delivers an incredible breakthrough in gaming performance. For both gamers and demanding users, the Titan 17 capitalizes on a dramatic leap forward in processing technology to provide all the power you need for even the most advanced games and applications.

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Constantly looking to push performance boundaries, MAINGEAR’s TITAN 17 features the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M, combining the power of DirectX 11 and NVIDIA PhysX technologies. The GTX 580M can also be configured in SLI offering up to 2x’s performance scaling on today’s hottest PC games. The TITAN lets you play games the way they’re meant to be played without having to worry if your video card is up to the task.

The updated TITAN 17 also features support for the Quadro 5010M, featuring up to 4 GB of graphics memory and 384 CUDA cores. Built on the innovative NVIDIA Fermi architecture, the latest Quadro mobile graphics offerings integrate high performance computing capabilities with advanced visualization, transforming your TITAN 17 into a mobile super computer.

Gamer and PC enthusiasts on the go will never have to compromise with the TITAN 17. This powerhouse notebook can be customized with up to 32GB of DDR3 memory with speeds up to 1866MHz, two hardwired USB 3.0 ports, up to three SSD or SATA HDD’s with hardware RAID support, and even when fully loaded; it keeps the option for an optical drive. As the power of the notebook will allow user to do more faster, the TITAN 17 also offers a full size illuminated keyboard and numeric pad.

The MAINGEAR TITAN 17 is currently available for pre-order and is offering free shipping along with the highly anticipated legendary game: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action and Batman: Arkham City PC games. For more details visit: www.maingear.com/titan17.

Technical Specification:

  • Video Card: up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M SLI with 2GB GDDR5 or NVIDIA Quadro 5010M with up to 4GB GDDR5 Graphics memory
  • Display: 17.3” (16:9) Full HD (1920x1080) LED-Backlit Display with Super Clear Glare Type Screen
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-3930K Processor (3.20GHz)/(3.80GHz) in Turbo Mode, 12MB L3 Cache, LGA 2011 or Intel Core i7-3960X Processor Extreme Edition (3.30GHz)/(3.90GHz) in Turbo Mode, 15MB L3 Cache, LGA 2011
  • Memory: Up to 32GB Quad Channel DDR3 – 1600/1866Mhz
  • Optical Drive: Up to Blu-ray reader/8x Multi Combo (BD-R, DVD+-RW, CD-RW)
  • Hard Drive: Up to 3x 600GB Solid State Drive or 750GB 7200RPM SATA 2.5
  • Network Adapter: Bigfoot Networks Killer Wireless-N 1102 supports 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Keyboard: Illuminated Full size isolated keyboard with Numeric Pad, 6 instant buttons for Volume up, Volume down, Mute, Wi-Fi On/Off, Bluetooth On/Off, and Camera On/Off
  • Audio: Built-in High-Definition Audio Slots: One ExpressCard 54/34 Slot and Built in 9-in-1 Media Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/SD/Mini-SD/SDHC/SDXC)
  • Operating System: Genuine Windows 7 Home, Professional or Ultimate 64-Bit
  • Battery: Removable Polymer Smart Lithium-Ion battery pack
  • I/O Ports: 1-HDMI 1.4a out, 1-DVI-I out, 1 Display Port 1.2, 2-USB 3.0, 2-USB 2.0, 1 IEEE-1394b Fire Wire, 1-S/PDIF out, 1 RJ-45 LAN, 1-eSATA Port (powered USB 3.0 (AC/DC) combo)
  • Security: Kensington Lock and fingerprint reader Dimensions: (W)16.5" x (H)2.2" x (D)11.3", 12.13 LBs with battery pack
  • Price: Starts at $3,499

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“The new MAINGEAR TITAN 17 offers the best in desktop replacement versatility.” Said Wallace Santos, CEO and Co-founder of MAINGEAR Computers. “With the power of the latest Intel 2nd generation Core I7 Extreme Edition desktop processor, dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580Ms in SLI and with the option to use Quadro 510M graphics, this system caters to anyone looking for the ultimate mobile powerhouse.”

Source: MAINGEAR

AMD shows 18mm thin reference ultrathin notebook based on Trinity

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile | February 2, 2012 - 02:02 PM |
Tagged: amd, trinity, hsa, ultrabook, ultrathin

Today at the AMD Financial Analyst day in Sunnyvale, Lisa Su, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Global Business Units, showed off a reference design from Compal of an 18mm think ultrathin notebook that they are obviously hoping to compete with Intel's Ultrabook push.

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The notebook is based on AMD's upcoming Trinity APU that improves on the CPU and GPU performance of the currently available Llano APU.  There weren't many details though Su did state they were hoping for prices in the $600-800 range would could but a lot of pressure on Intel. 

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Asus Padfone To (Finally) Debut At Mobile World Congress

Subject: Mobile | January 31, 2012 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: tablet, smartphone, padfone, asus, Android

Remember the Asus Padfone? I won't blame you if you do not as it is practically ancient by tech history standards. Making its first appearance at Computex 2011 last May, the device made a splash that quickly died off as it never came to market.  To be honest, I just assumed it had completely died off.  Apparently; however, Asus did not forget about it and is planning to show it off at this years Mobile World Congress according to an article over at Android Central. Here's hoping they've adjusted for the success of tablets that have surfaced in the interim and that it is at a minimum running the Honeycomb or Gingerbread (Ice Cream Sandwich would be even better) OS and a fast processor.

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The Padfone, if the specifications from last year hold true is a 4.3" smartphone that can fit snugly inside of a 10" tablet form factor display that has it's own battery. The tablet portion can charge the smartphone and/or drive the larger display and the smartphone acts as the hardware of the device with it's SoC (system on a chip) and by allowing access to the 3G and WiFi data connections of the phone's radio.

There are still many question about the viability of such a device; however, with the rise in popularity of Android phones if Asus could make it such that any Android phone (within size constraints of course) could nestle itself inside the larger touchscreen display, they might have a popular product on their hands...

Microsoft Integrating Kinect Sensor Into Laptop Computers

Subject: Mobile | January 27, 2012 - 03:48 PM |
Tagged: portable, PC, microsoft, laptop, kinect

At CES 2012, Microsoft announced that they would be releasing a Kinect sensor and SDK (software development kit) for Windows.  In that same vien, the company is now exploring the idea of integrating a Kinect sensor directly into laptop computers.

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Not the actual prototype.  Just a mock up I concocted.

The crew over at The Daily managed to get their hands on two such prototype laptops with integrated Kinect sensors.  They state tha the two machines resemble Asus laptops that are running Windows 8; however, upon closer inspection, the laptops have removed the typical 1.3 megapixel webcam that is common in today's notebooks and have instead placed a Kinect sensor bar at the top of the display instead.  They claim that a source within Microsoft has confirmed that the two laptops are indeed official prototypes.

Unfortunately, there aren't many details beyond that.  Whether Microsoft will forge ahead with this idea and license out the Kinect technology to laptop makers or if the prototypes will go into some bunker somewhere and never see the light of day still remains a mystery.  Currently at $250 (to end users, OEMs could likely cut a much better deal), it is not likely that we will see a proliferation of Kinect sensors into all manner of displays for notebooks, TVs, and desktops.  If Microsoft could get the cost of the technology down far enough that manufacturers could justify adding it, it could definitely catch on.  In the end, I don't think we'll be seeing Kinect powered computers any time soon, but in the future when the hardware is cheaper and there are Kinect for Windows applications readily available, it could happen.  Would you like to see Kinect in your laptop (insert Xzibit meme here) or desktop monitor, and if so what would you like to do with it?

Source: The Daily

The SSD powered Oaktrail tablet from Kupa is a trooper

Subject: Mobile | January 26, 2012 - 03:47 PM |
Tagged: tablet, ssd, oaktrail, mobile, Kupa X11, atom Z670, atom

You might not expect to see a tablet being examined at the SSD Review, except for the Kupa X11 which contains a 64 or 128GB mSSD drive.  As the Atom and Oaktrail pairing are perhaps not the fastest mobile chips on the block, the initial testing tried to determine if that chipset would prove to be a bottleneck.  They tested the Kingspec 128GB SSD which was included in the tablet as well as a Renice X3 120GB ‘SandForce Driven’ SSD and a Kingston mS100 SSD.  The Kingspec was the slowest choice of the three and even though the other two did perform more impressively Oaktrail did indeed prove to limit the performance of the drives.  On the other hand, it is still faster than a HDD and the SSD helps to extend the life of this 1366 x 768 10.1″ tablet to around 10 hours.  Also worth noting is that this tablet runs Xin7 Professional, not a trimmed down OS, and will fully support Win8.

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"Just prior to CES we had received an e-mail from a reader who had spoken of a company called Kupa, a tablet manufacturer who, as the reader had stated, “wasn’t afraid to experiment outside the box”. it took us all of two seconds to get to the Kupa Website and discover the Kupa X11, a tablet PC with all the power of a full size computer to include a Intel Atom Z670 1.5Ghz Oaktrail platform, 2GB RAM and your choice of 64 or 128GB SSD. Needless to say, we were impressed."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

 

Source: SSD Review

LG X3 Android 4 Smartphone With Quad Core CPU May Debut at Mobile World Congress 2012

Subject: Mobile | January 20, 2012 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: tegra, quad core, lg x3, LG, ics, android 4.0, Android

This year's Mobile World Congress in Spain is going to be an interesting one from a smartphone hardware perspective, especially if recent rumors hold true. If you thought a dual core Snapdragon chip delivered a speedy experience, LG has something to blow your mind: The LG X3 is a smartphone that is rumored to have a quad core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor!

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The alleged LG X3 phone

The article quotes Pocketnow in detailing the less than 9mm thick LG X3's specifications which include the above-mentioned Tegra 3 Soc, an 8 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 megapixel front camera, a HSPA 21 "4G" network cellular radio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, microSD slot, and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. This hardware will be put to good use in powering the phones 4.7" display with a resolution of 1280 x 720. Further, a massive 2,000 mAh (milli-amp-hour) battery will provide the quad core SoC and huge display the power they need. Though with these kind of specs, under heavy use, don't expect miracles even with such a large battery. The last big of leaked information on the phone indicates that it will be running the Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" mobile operating system (OS). Our own Matt Smith has a review of the Android 4.0 OS (running on the Transformer Prime) for your reading pleasure on the site now.

A quad core SoC (System on a Chip) in a phone... I just can't get past that; here I was thinking my 1.2 GHz single core Snapdragon processor was speedy. Before I even got my hands on a dual core phone, they are already packing them with quad cores!

Source: Pocketnow

When is an Ultrabook not an Ultrabook?

Subject: Mobile | January 19, 2012 - 06:17 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, Samsung, toshiba, LG, z830, Z835, Z330, Series 9

An Ultrabook must meet certain criteria to honestly be an Ultrabook.  It cannot be thicker than 0.8" at any point, it must weigh under 3.1 lbs, it should have a battery life above 5 hours, boot to desktop in around 10 seconds or less and most importantly it should cost no more than $1000.  These specs seem to have been relaxed by Intel, for instance the Samsung Series 9 is available in two sizes, one which will cost you $1400 and one that will cost $1500.  While it is certainly sleek and the 128GB SSD should keep the boot times quick, the price is well over what the spec calls for.  Contrast that with the Toshiba Z830 and Z835 which will cost you $700 and therefore does met the specifications originally laid down by Intel.  The SSD Reviews top 3 Ultrabooks also include the LG Z330 which does not sport a price tag though the Kilimanjaro based 256GB OCZ SSD inside of the ultrabook does suggest they will not be under $1000.  Still, they are pretty to look at.

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"There seems to be no doubt in anyone’s mind that 2012 is going to be the year of the ultrabook and CES 2012 Las Vegas was front and center with just about every ultrabook available, or soon to be, this past week.

Today’s report will examine three forerunners that appear to be in a position, above all others at this point anyway, to grab top marks in 2012. Those who know me may also feel this to be an unfair comparison as I have had the Toshiba Z830 as my tool of choice for a few months now."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

 

Source: SSD Review

Cords? The Wireless Power Consortium Thinks They’re Old-Fashioned

Subject: Mobile | January 13, 2012 - 02:27 PM |
Tagged: CES, wireless power, wireless, tablet, smartphone, mobile, charging

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Where was the most interesting technology at CES? Intel’s booth? Nope. Nvidia’s booth? Guess again. Perhaps you could find it at Qualcomm’s stand? Guess again.

If you ask me, the most interesting technology was tucked away in the back of the lower level of the South Hall, which is where you’ll find smaller companies and organizations that have decided to forgo a normal booth and instead just rent out space for a meeting room. That’s where you’ll find The Wireless Power Consortium and its Qi wireless power standard. 

Wireless power is exactly what it sounds like. You may have already heard of the charging mats made available by companies like Energizer. These allow users to charge a smartphone simply by placing them in the right location, forgetting about cords entirely.

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Sounds nice, doesn’t it? But there’s been a problem with them – until recently, they’ve all been proprietary. You had to use a special charging case to get the mats to work with your phone and that case wouldn’t work with competing products. You also were limited to charging in your home (or wherever you place the charging mat) which kind of defeats the point. 

To fix this, there must be a standard, and that’s what The Wireless Power Consortium has created. It’s called Qi, and it’s a coil-based charging solution that can be implemented in all sorts of mobile devices. Currently the standard can handle up to 5 watts and can work within 5mm, but both of these figures are to be expanded. New technology that can handle 10 watts is being tested, and the hope is for 120 watts to be achievable in the near future. That would allow for wireless charging of PCs and appliances. 

But enough about the specifications. Why am I excited about Qi? Let me explain.

Many current smartphones have mini-USB ports for one reason only – charging. Everything else, from syncing music to downloading files, can be achieved through a wireless connection. If that port could be removed entirely, it would allow for more design flexibility. Take the current Droid Razr, for example. It is extremely thin except for a bulge that houses the camera and the ports. If you could charge your phone wirelessly, designers would have one less port to design around.

Battery life is another part of this equation. As technology in our mobile devices continues to improve at an amazing rate, battery technology doesn’t seem able to keep up. I know – I own a HTC Thunderbolt. My phone has notoriously bad battery life with 4G LTE enabled. 

One solution is to make batteries bigger, but that increases weight, size and cost. Wireless power offers an alternative – make charging easier and more frequent. If you had wireless power in your car, at work and at home, your phone could easily maintain a high level of charge. And since it’s wireless, you don’t have to do anything except place your phone in the right place. 

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The Wireless Power Consortium booth – er, meeting room – had some interesting examples to show me.  One was a table with a built-in Qi compatible charger that can be deployed at restaurants, coffee shops and other places. In fact, some such tables can already be found in Japan and China. They number only in the hundreds, but it’s start.

For our Asian friends, who use more public transportation and tend to live in more densely packed cities, charging tables make a lot of sense. But here in North America we tend to get around with our own private vehicles. To help the standard get traction here, The Wireless Power Consortium is working with auto manufacturers to place wireless charging in automobiles. They hope that we’ll see it offered in a few vehicles starting the 2013 model year. 

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There are a lot of pieces that need to find their place in order for Qi to really take off, but they at least have the necessary partners including big names like Motorola and Texas Instruments, among many others. Keep an eye on this over the next year – it could end up being a true game changer. 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2012: Android Design Style Guide released

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 13, 2012 - 02:54 AM |
Tagged: google, CES 2012, CES, Android

Android is known for many things: relatively free and open, flexible, creepy little green dudes, and patent warfare. Consistent design is not one of those points. This year, towards the end of CES, Google announced and released the Android application design guide for developers interested in creating for Ice Cream Sandwich. As a result of the announcement, Joshua Topolsky sat down with Matias Duarte, the Google director of Android user experience, for a video interview. Listen in for all of the tough questions and see Google sweat.

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Make it Google. Please, for the love of all that is holy... make it Google.

The purpose of the design specification is not to force developers into a single static design such as what could be seen in other, more curated marketplaces. The purpose of the design specification is to show people what Google considers a good design choice in an assortment of situations and hope that people follow suit. The idea is that when given a default choice a developer would need to go out of their way to invent their own solution; once enough developers follow suit it then becomes more difficult to invent your own solution as your customers are already conditioned to a standard method.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: The Verge

AMD Countering Ultrabooks With Ultrathin Notebooks

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 12, 2012 - 06:21 PM |
Tagged: CES, ultrathin, trinity, piledriver, PC, notebook, low power, amd, 17 watt

Intel is the driving force behind the Ultrabook platform, a category of thin and light notebooks that are ideally less than $1,000 USD and deliver solid mobile performance and battery life. AMD is still playing catch up in CPU performance; however, they have been moderately successful with their Llano APU parts due to the better integrated GPU versus Intel's graphics processor. With Trinity, the successor to Llano, AMD is claiming up to 25% faster CPU performance and a 50% increase in graphics processor performance, and all while sipping half the power of current Llano chips.

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The 17 watt TDP Trinity die.

It seems that AMD has seen the Ultrabook boom that Intel is experiencing and wants a piece of the action. Thanks to the Trinity performance improvements and power sipping TDPs, AMD is confident that it can design and market thin and light notebooks of their own. They plan to market their notebooks as "Ultrathins." Exact hardware specifications of the Ultrathins are not known. We do know that they will be powered by dual and quad core 17 watt TDP versions of the AMD Trinity APU, which you can read more about here. The company is planning for its Ultrathins to start at $500 USD, a few hundred less than the lowest cost Ultrabooks from Intel. Beyond that, we can only speculate. Fortunately, we may not have to wait long for more information as AMD plans to reveal more information about their Ultrathin strategy next month at their financial analyst meeting, according to Ars.

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A Trinity powered laptop at CES

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Ars Technica

Origin Shows New Laptop Design, Phase Change Cooled Desktop

Subject: Mobile | January 12, 2012 - 04:50 PM |
Tagged: Overclocked, origin, laptop, desktop, cooling, CES

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Origin is one of the big names in the boutique custom PC business, and this CES the company is once again striving to prove why it deserves such credentials. I stopped by the company’s suite and saw something cool, something practical, and something jaw-dropping. 

Let’s save the best for first: Origin showed a Genesis system powered by a phase change cooling system built into the case. As a result of this system, the company is able to deliver cooling at temperatures nearing -40 degrees Celsius. The system also draws so much power that they could only run one at once – running both the phase change systems in the suite could be more than the room can handle.

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With the processor’s thermals taken care of, Origin is able to overclock up to two core of the Core i7 3960X to 5.7 GHz, while the rest can be clocked up to 5.3 GHz. This is well above the base speed of 3.3 GHz and in the realm of speeds you’d expect to see in competitions.

The rest of the system is also technically impressive. Four 3GB GTX580s running in SLI are shoved in next to 12GB of RAM and two Corsair SSDs in RAID0. This impressive hardware allows the system to post a score of 6,613 in PCMark 7 and 23,014 in 3DMark 11 (with the video cards overclocked to 950 MHz).

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What I found most interesting about the system, however, was Origin’s extreme attention to detail. They implemented a red-white-black theme that is conveyed not only by the motherboard and the video card but also the cooling tubes, heatsinks and even the numerous PCIe power cables sending juice to the GTX580s. Nothing was overlooked, and the result is a system that is sure to make any hardcore geek salivate.

Pricing is not available yet for this high-end configuration. Availability is expected to be around February or March.   

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Origin also has their cool new laptop designs on display. Like most boutique PC companies, the laptop chassis used by Origin is a generic design (by Clevo, I believe). However, the new Origin EON15-S and EON17-S will be using custom lid panels with a look that is somewhat reminiscent of muscle car’s hood. 

The glossy prototype versions shown by Origin looked a bit cheap, but the company says the final product version will be matte. If so, these could be some sharp looking systems. Of course, the internals are as quick as ever – the EON17-S shown features a Core i7-2960XM overclocked to 4.5 GHz.

The company’s last announcement doesn’t involve a system, but rather a practial feature for customers - support. Origin is now offering free 24/7 lifetime support for its customers. This is retroactive, so previous customers now qualify for this assistance. Better still, the support is entirely US based. You won’t have to worry about your concerns being lost in translation. It is refreshing to encounter a company that is adding customer service and support rather than stripping it away. 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Origin

CES 2012: Windows 8 pre-beta hands-on at The Verge

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 12, 2012 - 04:40 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, microsoft, CES 2012, CES

It is no secret that Microsoft is not attending the next CES and they stated publicly that there will be minimal announcements relative to what we typically expect. While that is all true, Microsoft still has some news at the show to be indulged upon. Tim has already covered the upcoming release of Kinect to Windows for approximately the price of an entry-level 2GB RAM dual-core laptop; Microsoft had a piece of NVIDIA’s keynote to discuss Windows on ARM; and Microsoft showed a newer build of Windows 8. The Verge spent some time with a Microsoft representative and took video to show for it. Find out the future for the mice that are not just going to stick with Windows 7.

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Tiled of feeling blue?

Personally, I am not the biggest mobile user in the world: the majority of what I use my laptop for is to install a new version of Ubuntu, and even then I often skip versions. My cellphone usage is pay-as-you-go with $100 dollars on my account per year and somewhere around $90 of that expires or rolls over to the next year. I am not against mobile computing; I am just never in a situation where I need to use it. Keep those points in mind while I discuss Windows 8.

I am going to ignore the ability to re-skin the start screen despite it being a much desired feature. The more important development from an examination standpoint is how Microsoft expects the mouse and keyboard will fill in with Windows 8. You are able to navigate through the Metro interface left and right using your scroll wheel or alternatively hold ctrl to zoom in and out with the scroll wheel. Also on display is the top-to-bottom swipe gesture to kill an application for touchscreen users. Check them out in action for yourself at The Verge.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: The Verge

Razer Shows Gaming Laptop, Prototype Gaming Tablet and More at CES

Subject: Mobile | January 11, 2012 - 05:02 PM |
Tagged: tablet, razer, mouse, laptop, keyboard, gaming, CES

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Gaming peripheral company Razer is already well known for its gaming mice, keyboards, headsets and other gadgets. But if CES 2012 is any indication, they’re far from content making products that go along with gaming devices.

You’ve probably already heard of the Project Fiona gaming tablet. It made quite a splash at CES when it was announced last night, and today I had a chance to inspect it up close and personal. 

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Unfortunately they’re keeping the prototype in a glass case to protect it, but handling it would not reveal much information anyway. Razer has made it clear that the device is only a prototype and will be revised significantly before release. Everything from the display resolution to the controllers could change, and the company is encouraging feedback to help them refine the final concept. 

The only thing that seems concrete is the pricing. Razer is very confident that the final product will be sold for under $1000. I doubt it will provide amazing hardware at that price, but this was never going to be the system of choice for playing Battlefield 3 regardless of what’s inside. The finalized version of Project Fiona is targeted for release this year.

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Another system being built by Razer is the Blade laptop, a product that was announced several months ago but is now finalized and should be on store shelves in February. The Blade is a thin and portable 17-inch laptop built for mobile gaming. Despite the large display it weighs about 6.5 pounds and is less than an inch thick. 

Unlike a normal laptop, the blade doesn’t have a touchpad below the keyboard. Instead the Blade replaces the numpad with a multi-touch display and ten programmable LCD keys. Mouse navigation takes place using the multi-touch display, but if you’d like it can also be used for other tasks including web browsing and recording macros. Razer is also working with game developers to make it possible for games to display customized information and controls.

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The Blade comes equipped with a Core i7 dual-core processor, Nvidia GeForce GT555M graphics and 8GB of RAM. These specifications are disappointing in light of the $2799 price tag. Razer tried to play down the hardware, insisting that hardcore gamers looking for a mobile machine will be more concerned with the laptop’s portability and customizable mutli-touch display than raw power. 

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Also shown was a full set of new Star Wars: The Old Republic peripherals. Of these the most notable is the keyboard, which features Star Wars design ques and a multi-touch display identical to the one on the Razer Blade laptop. Players will be able to bind abilities to the customizable LCD keys and see game information via the display. There’s a lot of possibility here, but it doesn’t come cheap – you’ll have to part with $249 to snag this keyboard.

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Last is Razer’s new Hex mouse. It is similar to the Razer Naga, but six larger buttons in a hex format have replaced the columns of programmable buttons. Razer says that this design works better with action-RPGs and specifically referenced Diablo 3 as a game they had in mind when designing the mouse. The Hex will use Synapse 2.0, Razer’s cloud device profile service. An unlimited number of custom profiles can be stored on remote servers (hosted by Amazon) and they are automatically downloaded to the Hex when it is plugged in to a new computer. Pricing is set at $79.99 with availability expected in February. 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Razer

Hands-on With the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook

Subject: Mobile | January 11, 2012 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: xps, ultrabook, dell, CES

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There are many ultrabooks, but not all of them are given a specific introduction by Intel’s CEO, Paul Otellini. That honor was reserved for Dell’s new XPS 13 during Tuesday's Intel keynote. So what’s so special about it?

To find out, we meet with Dell representatives packing not only the new XPS 13 but also a number of competing ultrabooks. One of the main points that Dell made during the Intel keynote was that the XPS 13’s Gorilla Glass display allows for thin bezels, in turn reducing overall display size and allowing for a reduction in the laptop’s dimensions. Though it has a 13” display, it is much smaller than many other thin laptops such as the MacBook Air and the ASUS UX31.

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The use of Gorilla Glass combined with the XPS 13’s machined aluminum lid creates a rigid structure. Some ultrabooks available today have problems with display flex, as Dell demonstrated with a Toshiba Protégé ultrabook they brought along. Another smart decision is the XPS 13’s display hinge, which is nearly as wide as the chassis. A large hinge such as this reduces display wobble, a problem that can occur when typing on some ultrabooks.

The bottom of the XPS 13 is made of carbon fiber covered with soft-touch paint. I asked Dell’s representatives if the entire bottom of the chassis was carbon fiber, something I doubted due to reasons of cost. They insisted that it was. 

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Using carbon fiber of course saves weight, but in this case it isn’t used to provide an ultrabook that is lighter than anything else on the market. At about 3 pounds, the XPS 13 is only on par with the competition. Instead, the weight savings appears to have been re-invested in the use of sturdier materials, such as the wide hinge that I mentioned earlier.

Open the XPS 13 and you’ll be introduced to a black interior coated in soft touch paint identical the bottom of the chassis. The contrast between the interior and the silver aluminum creates a complimentary aesthetic that reminds me of a tuxedo. Using the soft touch paint also gives the laptop a warmer, more inviting feel. I am a little worried that the paint will end up absorbing oils from your hands over time, but it looks and feels great when new. 

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As for the keyboard, well – it’s average. It uses plastic keys with a semi-touch coat in the typical island style, creating the laptop’s least attractive feature. Mind you, key feel is okay and there’s nothing functionally wrong, but I do think flatter keys with a completely matte finish would have been more appropriate. Backlighting is standard and turns on automatically when the webcam detects a low-light environment. Quality was a bit hard to judge during my time with the device because we were in a brightly lit area. 

Touchpad quality struck me as excellent. It’s large and integrates the left/right buttons into the touchpad itself. Materials match the surrounding palmrest in color. I had only a few chances to try multi-touch scrolling, but it seemed to work well.

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Standard equipment includes a Core i5 low-voltage processor and a 128GB solid state drive. As a result, the laptop boots within about 10 seconds and can resume in between 1 and 2 seconds. These are not Dell’s official claims, but rather what I observed personally. Display resolution is the standard 1366x768. I can’t say much about quality as I didn’t have the chance to view test images. 

Dell has included a 47Wh battery in the XPS 13, which should provide up to 9 hours of battery life. This claim is made during testing with WiFi off and should be viewed as a best-case scenario. I anticipate that we’ll see about 6 hours of life during standard usage with WiFi on. If the XPS 13 can manage that, it will be above average for the category. 

Pricing starts at $999, which is less than I expected given the quality of this device. Because ultrabooks all have extremely similar hardware it is traits like design and battery life that will distinguish the winners from the losers. From my brief time with the XPS 13, it seems Dell may have one of the winners. I will be looking to grab a review unit over the next few weeks so the laptop can be tested in full.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Dell

LucidLogix Announces XLR8 Tech To Improve Embedded and SoC GPU Performance

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 11, 2012 - 03:48 AM |
Tagged: virtualization, tegra, Lucidlogix, gpu, gaming, game, embedded, CES2012, CES

Earlier today Lucid (LucidLogix), the company behind quite a few GPU virtualization technologies, announced yet another piece of GPU virtualization software. This time; however, instead of wrangling as much performance as possible from multi-GPU beasts, this technology- codenamed "XLR8"- is aimed at the mobile market of tablets, smartphones, and laptops with integrated graphics. Such products are powered by integrated GPUs in AMD's APUs and Intel's Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors, and by the GPUs in mobile SoCs (system on a chip) like Nvidia's Tegra and ARM's Mali graphics processors. XLR8 uses "unique CPU multithreading" to feed the mobile GPUs as efficiently as possible.

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According to Lucid, many of the PC graphics issues are magnified when it comes to embedded GPUS including visual tearing, pipeline inefficiencies, power management, and artifacting. Offir Remez, president of Lucid further stated that most of the big, popular PC games have playability issues on mobile platforms and on computers with integrated graphics. "If it's got a GPU, we can improve the end user experience."

The company further expanded that the XLR8 technology works by disabling unnecessary and redundant processes in addition to "unique multithreading" to improve system (gaming) responsiveness up to 200 percent. The XLR8 software monitors battery drain and power draw while shutting down background processes to increase CPU frame generation and minimizing redundant GPU rendering processes.

If this sounds a lot like marketing speak, it certainly does. On the other hand, Lucid has been able to push some useful virtualization technology into desktops, so maybe mobile platforms are just the next step for the company. The company is currently demonstrating the XLR8 software in private at CES and is being tested by hardware partners.  Mobile SoC are getting faster and more powerful, and on battery powered devices there is always room for efficiency improvements.  Once reviewers manage to get their hands on some actual hardware, and XLR8 is past the concept/testing stage you can bet that people will have a better understanding of what exactly XLR8 is capable of.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Intel Aims For ARM With New x86 Smartphone Reference Design

Subject: Mobile | January 11, 2012 - 01:46 AM |
Tagged: x86, smartphone, Intel, CES, Android

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What do you do if you’re a big company with lots of money, but are having trouble convincing manufacturers to adopt your technology in their products because your competitors are already established in the market?

You build the product yourself.

That’s what Intel has done with its new smartphone reference platform. Revealed at the company’s keynote by CEO Paul Otellini, the reference platform is a fully functional smartphone running an x86 port of Android. It was demonstrated at the keynote and used to play games, watch video and output video to a monitor via HDMI.

Intel has been down this many times before, of course, but never had much success. That was before a fully functional reference platform was made available, however.  The device shown today could potentially be put on store shelves as-is (after a few more months of testing, perhaps). It is thin, it is light, it has a 4-inch display with a resolution of 1024x600 and it runs Android.  This is no thick and bulky test mule – it’s a functional example that can be used by vendors as a starting point so they don’t have to build a device from the ground up.

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Such a strategy can help get Intel’s foot in the door, and in fact already has. After showing the reference design, Otellini announced a multi-year “strategic partnership” with Motorola. If things go as planned, Motorola should be shipping out phones with Intel processors inside them in the second half of this year. 

Lenovo showed another phone even closer to release. Known as the Lenovo K800, it should be out within months. There’s just one problem (for us) – it’s China only. 

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Inside the reference design is an Intel Atom Z2460 running at up to 1.6 GHz. This is not an Atom in brand name only - the architecture is basically the same as any other Intel Atom processor. Unlike almost every other modern smartphone processor, this is a single-core part (for now). 

Though down a core to the competition, Intel suggested that the reference design is generally quicker than all current smartphones. Some early CPU benchmarks from Anandtech seem to back up that assertion. However, the graphics component isn’t up to par with today’s best, a fact that became evident when Intel showed a game demo using the reference device. It looked okay, but was clearly inferior to games running on Tegra 3.

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While the hardware seems to be coming together, software remains a potential roadblock. Intel showed their smartphone running Android 2.3 ported for x86. Because of how Android handles code, most Android apps are compatible despite the change in processor architecture.

Just one problem – some apps make specific references in their code to ARM features, and these apps will not function on x86. Intel is attempting to compensate for that using on-the-fly ARM to x86 code conversion.  It’s hard to judge how well that works without testing it first-hand, but at least Intel has a plan for dealing with the issue. 

My excitement about this announcement is tempered by the lack of available products. Timing is critical. The reference hardware might be quicker than today’s most popular smartphones, but new designs are constantly emerging, each quicker than the last. Releasing this product six months from now may result in a competitive product – but a delay forcing it into the holiday season could yet again spoil Intel’s dreams of smartphone dominance.

But even if Intel’s partners don’t translate this reference platform into products quickly, it at least shows that Intel is headed in the right direction. ARM is entrenched, but Intel has the resources and the engineers required to provide serious competition. CES 2013 could end up being the conference where x86 and ARM devices go toe-to-toe.  

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Intel

Hands-on With a Giant Smartphone - or Small Tablet - The Samsung Galaxy Note

Subject: Mobile | January 11, 2012 - 12:04 AM |
Tagged: tablet, Samsung, mobile phone, galaxy, CES

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One of the more unusual products debuted by a major manufacturer this CES has to be the Samsung Galaxy Note. It’s a 5.3” device that runs Android 2.3 with the Samsung TouchWiz interface.

The Note is unusual because of its size. The 5” to 7” range is a bit of a no man’s land in the world of mobile devices. Such products are considered too small to be a real tablet, but also too large to be a decent phone. Though there have been attempts to enter products in this range, they haven’t sold in huge numbers.

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Apparently, Samsung thinks the market is worth some serious effort. They’re making a big deal of this device – to my eye, it looked as if there were more of these available on the show floor than any product the company offers. And as if to drive the point home, the CES bus I took back from the convention center today – like most of the buses at CES – was wrapped in Samsung Galaxy Note advertisements.

So what’s it like? Well, it’s like a big phone. Or a small tablet. Since it runs Android 2.3 and uses TouchWiz, the interface is basically identical to the rest of Samsung’s massive line of Android phones. Plastic is the material of choice in the construction of the chassis, which doesn’t lend the product a premium feel. 

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It does make the Samsung Galaxy Note light, however. Official numbers put it at 178g (about .4 pounds) which is less than half the weight of your typical 7” tablet.  The thickness of 9.25mm (about .4 inches) doesn’t seem outstanding, but the curved rear cover helps reduce perceived thickness. 

Samsung is known for its mobile displays, and the Note doesn’t disappoint. It uses a Samsung AMOLED with a resolution of 1280x800. This allows the small Note to offer as many or more usable pixels then much larger tablets, and it also contributes to an extremely sharp image. Unfortunately there wasn’t streaming video available to view at the time I used the device, but games look excellent. Maximum display brightness was high, as well. 

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Like the ASUS MeMO, the Note includes a stylus. Useful? Not so far as I can tell. Sure, it does a fine job of accepting handwriting, but I have a hard time seeing this smaller device used as an electronic notepad. Is there really an audience for that outside of some enterprise environments? 

Inside there is a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor as well as 1GB of memory and 16 or 32 gigabytes of internal storage. In my use the device felt smooth, but no more so than most other high-end smartphones I looked at both during CES and before.

The Note is equipped for use with cellular networks including HSPA, 4G LTE and EDGE. North American availability will come via AT&T. Pricing is not announced - $199 is of course typical for high-end handsets, but Samsungs have gone for higher prices before. The $249 to $299 price range (with contract) seems more likely.

Will the Note be a success? Perhaps. Samsung has already sold over a million units in Europe, where the Note was introduced late last year. However, the Note so far is planned to ship in North America without Ice Cream Sandwich support built in (an upgrade will bring it, but there’s no release date). That could be a major knock against the Note. Availability will be in spring, so we’ll soon find out the Note’s fate.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Samsung

Panasonic Launches Ruggedized ToughPad A1 and B1 Tablets

Subject: Mobile | January 10, 2012 - 11:52 PM |
Tagged: toughpad, tablet, ruggedized, Panasonic, mobile, CES, Android

Panasonic dropped a new tablet on us at CES. Literally, they dropped the tablet on stage to show just how tough their new ruggedized ToughPad really is. The A1 and B1 ToughPad tablets are Android powered 10" and 7" tablets rated to be dust and water resistant. Both tablets are MIL-STD-810G and IP65 rated and ready to perform in very extreme work environments.

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The ToughPad A1 is Panasonic's 10" Android tablet and brings some decent hardware to bear. On the outside, the ruggedized exterior and rubberized edges absorb shock and keep dust and water out. The front of the tablet includes a 10" multi-touch display with a resolution of 1024 x 768 and 500 nit brightness. The touchscreen can be used by either finger gestures or an included digitizer. Further, the front of the tablet houses a 2 megapixel front camera as well as microphone, ambient light, accelerometer, and digital compass sensors. The tablet internals include a 1.2 GHz Marvell dual core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal memory, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR, and optional 3G or 4G modems. A lithium Ion battery rated at 7.4 volts, 4690 mAh is also nestled inside. A microSDHC card slot, micro USB 2.0, and micro-HDMI connector as well as a stylus holder are also present. The device runs Android 3.2 and supports TPM chips and hardware encryption. It weighs 2.1 pounds (the price of going rugged, I suppose) and has an MSRP of $1200 USD.

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The B1 model is the 7" version and will be available in the fall. Exact specifications on this model are not yet known; however, expect it to follow closely in line with it's bigger sibling's dual core processor, 1 GB of RAM, ruggedized exterior, and hefty price tag.

Unfortunately, all I can think about when looking at this tablet is how the heck Panasonic expects to sell this for $1200 bucks. This is definitely not a consumer tablet and moreso something businesses will invest in for workers in harsh (to electronics anyway) environments.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!