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Subject: Mobile | December 21, 2011 - 09:18 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nokia, microsoft, lumia, tablet, nokia connection 2012, windows phone 8, apollo
According to a blog post over at DGUI, a poster claims to have spoken with a source within the know who told him that the Windows Phone 8 (also known as Windows Phone Apollo) mobile operating system will be released in mid-June 2012. Devices running the OS will start showing up soon after, with Nokia showing off Windows Phone 8 phones as soon as Nokia Connection 2012.
Windows Phone 8? :P
The source further states that Windows Phone 8 will bring support for NFC (near-field communication), dual core processors, larger displays, and bigger phone chassis. In addition to smart phones, the supposed Nokia source claims that the company will also be producing a tablet running Windows 8.
Lastly, the poster states that while the source claims to work for Nokia, the poster cannot verify it and thus this should be taken with a grain of salt. He quoted the alleged industry insider in stating "Hi, I work by Nokia in Helsinki. Nokia will bring Tango fones to CES and MWC. Apollo come in June. Apollo fones at Nokia Connection. Window 8 tablet come in June also. Hope it helps you."
What are your thoughts on this, do you think we'll be seeing Windows 8 and WP8 smart phones this summer?
Subject: Mobile | December 21, 2011 - 02:51 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: update, tablet, root, nook tablet, modding, kindle fire
Both the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet have been given recent software updates. These updates were stated to improve performance and squash minor bugs. Unfortunately, in addition to these improvements, the automatic updates contained a “fix” that removed the ability to gain root access to the tablets. Specifically, the updates in question were 6.2.1 for the Amazon Kindle Fire and 1.4.1 for the Barnes and Noble Nook tablet. What is even more unfortunate is the fact that these updates are pushed to the devices automatically. The Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet will update as soon as they are connected to a WiFi hotspot, for example.
The Nook Tablet gets an even worse deal, however. In addition to the removal of root access, users will not be able to side-load other Android applications. The ability to side-load other Android apps was likely a deciding factor for many when comparing the Nook Tablet and the Kindle Fire, as well as Nook eReaders traditionally being more hackable and mod-friendly.
Currently, the only way to keep root access on both tablets is to stay off of WiFi connections or disable automatic updates in the case of the Nook Tablet. If your Nook has already been updated, XDA has somewhat of a solution. While you will not be able to use the 1.4.1 update, you will at least be able to have root access, mod, and side-load applications to your hearts content. Their fix involves rolling back the 1.4.1 update to the previous 1.4.0 update and is detailed here.
Kindle Fire users will need to either stay off of WiFi hotspots or in the case of an already updated tablet wait for a workaround from the modding community.
The restrictions placed on both tablets are not likely to please users, especially buyers of Nook tablets as Barnes and Noble's eReaders have traditionally been friendly to modders. On one hand, users want options and the ability to install third party applications. On the other hand are Amazon and Barnes and Noble selling their tablets at a loss and needing to make up money by convincing people to buy into their software and services (their applications, bookstore, et al). For aspiring modders, patience is key as workarounds are likely to emerge soon. Until then, getting a tablet for cheap will have to suffice ;).
Where do you stand on the issue, do you think removing root access was the right move for Amazon and B&N? Let us know in the comments!
Subject: Mobile | December 16, 2011 - 06:00 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tegra, SoC, qualcomm, PowerVR, mobile, Android, adreno
Quite a few mobile device manufacturers are implementing graphics processors and image processors based on Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR technology. Popular licensees of Imagination Technologies PowerVR core patents include Intel, LG, Samsung, Sony, and Texas Instruments (a big one in regards to number of SoCs using PowerVR techs for mobile phones).
Interestingly, Qualcomm is not currently licensing the graphics processor portfolio that man other mobile OEMs license. Rather, Qualcomm is licensing the PowerVR display patents. The intellectual property features the PowerVR de-interlacing cores and de-judder purposed FRC (Frame Rate Conversion) core. The de-interlacing core(s) can do either “motion adaptive (MA) or motion compensated (MC) de-interlacing” as well as a few other algorithms to deliver smooth graphics. Further, the FRC cores take 24 FPS (frames per second) source material and outputs it as either 120 Hz or 240 Hz while applying image processing to keep the video looking smooth to the eye. The method for grabbing and extrapolating “extra” frames to take a 24 FPS video and display it on an LCD screen that refreshes at 120 Hz by displaying each one of those 24 frames five times every second involves a bit of math and algorithmic magic; a simplistic explanation can be read here.
It will be interesting to see how Qualcomm applies the image processing technology to their future SoCs (system on a chip) to entice manufacturers into going with them instead of competition like Texas Instruments or Nvidia’s Tegra chips. The Verge speculates that this Qualcomm and Imagination Technologies deal may be just the first step towards Qualcomm licensing more PowerVR tech (possibly) including the GPU portfolio. Whether Qualcomm will ditch their Adreno GPUs remains to be seen. If I had to guess, the SoC maker will invest in more PowerVR IP, but they will not completely abandon their Adreno graphics. Rather, they will continue developing next generation Adreno graphics for use in their SoCs while also integrating the useful and superior aspects of PowerVR graphics and display technologies. Another option may be to develop and sell both platforms (possibly with one being high end competition to Tegra and the other being for the rest of phones as competition to other low end, low power chips) to hedge their bets into the future of mobile SoCs which is a rapidly advancing industry where change and what is considered the top tech happens quickly.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 16, 2011 - 03:32 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: kindle, tablet, kindle fire, ereader, sales
Although Amazon’s recent Kindle Fire eReader and tablet arrived to mixed reviews due to performance issues and privacy concerns, a great number of consumers (mainly less demanding relatives of tech enthusiasts from my experience) are buying them and enjoying them. Of personal experience, my significant other has yet to let it out of her sight for me to have time to test it out for example.
Therefore, I assumed the Kindle Fire was selling well. The sales seem to be much better than I expected; however, if these numbers by CNet turn out to be true. According to Amazon, the Kindle Fire has been the “bestselling, most gifted, and most wished for product” on Amazon.com ever since the tablet’s November 15th release.
Cnet further talked with the CEO of eDataSource Carter Nicholas who stated the Amazon statement on the Fire’s popularity was likely true. The market research firm has compiled data that shows Amazon sold 45,000 Kindle Fire tablets in one day last month alone, and Nicholas predicts increased sales over the holiday seasons. Approximately 850,000 Kindle Fires have been sold through Amazon.com’s website. Further, Isupply estimates that Amazon will ship 3.9 million Kindle Fire eReaders between October (pre-orders) and the end of December. While 850,000 Fire’s have been sold from the website, by including all channel partners and brick and mortar stores, it is estimated that Amazon has sold upwards of 2 million Fire tablets already. More information can be had here.
Because of the price, the Kindle Fire is selling like it is some kind of fire powered hotcake sale. Have you had a chance to play around with the Amazon tablet yet, and if so what are your thoughts on the device? Do you think the company will sell enough devices to give Apple a run for it’s money?
Apple pulled off a four times increase in pixel density on it’s smartphone displays with the iPhone 4 which they dubbed the “Retina Display.” Meanwhile the company’s current 13” MacBook Pro is shackled to a 1280x800 display with an approximate pixel density of 116 pixels per inch. The low resolution (especially vertically) can make reading web pages or working with large documents a hassle as it involves quite a bit of scrolling up and down. New rumors; however, suggest that the Cupertino based company may be looking to step up the display resolution in the next iteration of the MacBook lineup. Allegedly, Digitimes has heard from “sources in the upstream supply chain” that the displays will have as high as a 2880x1800 resolution (and an approximate 261.25 PPI). Pretty impressive for a 13” display!
The current MBP
Whether we will actually see new MacBook models release with such a display remains to be seen; however, it would certainly be a welcomed move as the computer display innovation market has been rather stagnant for the past few years, even going so far as to go backwards in ~24” monitors from 1200 vertical pixels to the now standard 1920x1080 resolution. Perhaps this move by Apple will entice other monitor manufacturers to step up their game and bring 4K gaming to the PC, eventually. Heck, while we are on the topic of monitor tech traveling laterally instead of forward, what ever happened to that curved display from Alienware? Personally, I’m rooting for Apple on this one as the monitor market could use a wake up call!
Subject: Mobile | December 12, 2011 - 12:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: roundup, guide
You may have noticed an increase in systems guides and recommendations over the past month, not just the Hardware Leaderboard here on PC Perspective but on many other sites as well. What we have not done is a list of recommendations for laptops but thankfully TechSpot has taken matters into their own hands. They've broken down the market into budget, gaming, ultraportable, business and desktop replacements. In each section they list several models which are quite capable within their own segment, at a range of prices. Of course the desktop replacements and gaming laptops are the most expensive and powerful but do not discount the budget laptops as many people will only ever need the power available in a $500 laptop.
"With the holiday shopping season in full swing it's time we give our Laptop Buying Guide one last pass before the year is over to make sure it's packing enough punch. Netbooks have lost their lure to simply become smaller, entry-level notebooks, while other categories are only seeing minor spec bumps. But if you are looking into the ultraportable market, a new breed of devices has emerged. Intel is pushing the Ultrabooks as thin and light systems with plenty of power, for now we're seeing a first generation of devices, with plenty more to come."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Gateway ID47H07u Review @ TechReviewSource
- Sony VAIO VPC-YB35BX/B Review @ TechReviewSource
- Acer TravelMate 8481T-6873: Remarkable Road Warrior @ AnandTech
- EUROCOM Panther 3.0 Laptop Review - Tested with 6990M CrossFire and 580M SLI @ HardwareHeaven
- Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (2011) Review @ Tech-Reviews
- Toshiba Thrive: Honeycomb Hits $300 @ AnandTech
- ARCTIC Hard Case with Cover for iPad 2 Review @ Madshrimps
- LG Nitro HD @ Techspot
- HTC EVO 3D Android Smartphone Review @ HardwareHeaven
- ZAGG ZAGGSparq 2.0 Portable Battery Review @ Real World Labs
- TomTom iPad and iPhone app @ Rbmods
- Motorola Defy+ @ The Inquirer
- Samsung Focus S Windows Phone @ Techspot
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 11, 2011 - 03:52 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: webOS, open source, hp
Sure, this title is little more than a series of bad puns. That said, HP’s situation has recently seems like little more than a series of bad jokes itself. Over the last year, HP appears to have been their own biggest public image disaster: they purchased Palm to release a tablet without much platform support; they shut down and liquidate the tablet after seven weeks; they flirt with disbanding their entire profitable division and draw intense media discussion over the death of the entire PC industry; and they sharply change their mind and keep their division long after the media damage ends. Despite that spiraling-out-of-control story, HP has just recently made a surprisingly sensible decision: Open Source WebOS.
WebOS… Web Open Source… I get it now!
Obviously, we cannot tell exactly how good of a long-term decision it is for HP to support WebOS as an open project with the details we have now. A number of questions, not the least of which being about what open source license HP will use for their operating system, shroud the fate of WebOS as an open source platform. While I will not get excited yet, as I will not assume sensibility on the part of HP, it is entirely possible that HP can displace Android and Meego as the open mobile operating systems. Then again, it is entirely possible that HP can just crumble under Android and its other competitors and go back to cramming drops of ink into plastic containers and building large servers for corporate clients.
Depending on the license, as well as other factors, what do you think of WebOS as the open platform of choice?
Subject: Mobile | December 2, 2011 - 02:55 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, ZaReason, Strata 6880
The stats on the ZaReason Strata 6880 are quite nice, a Core i7 2630QM, 8GB of DDR3, a 128GB Super Talent SSD and a GeForce GT 540M to power the 15.6"1920 x 1080 display. The real shocker is the price, $850 which is in part thanks to the lack of a Windows OS license as well as the hidden cost of the crapware that notebook vendors love to shove onto all of their products. You might want to pick up an external drive to go with the laptop as 128GB is not a huge amount of space, though it certainly will be fast. Head to Phoronix for a look at this laptop, which they have been benchmarking for quite a while now as you can see from the links on the last page of this short overview.
"You may have noticed several Phoronix articles in recent weeks using a ZaReason notebook built around Intel's "Sandy Bridge" processor. This is one of the new notebooks from ZaReason that had been in our labs for testing. Here is a last look at the Strata 6880 notebook from this Linux-focused PC vendor."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- HP TouchSmart 9300 Elite Review @ TechReviewSource
- Toshiba Portege Z830 Ultrabook Review @ The SSD Review
- Toshiba Portege Z835 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Asus Zenbook UX31 Laptop Review @ HardwareLOOK
- Holiday 2011 Laptop Buyer’s Guide @ AnandTech
- Medion Erazer X6813 15.6" @ kitguru
- Kingston Wi-Drive for iDevices Review @ Techgage
- SwitchEasy CANVAS iPad 2 Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Samsung Galaxy S II Review @ Tech-Reviews
- Peel Universal Smart Remote for iPhone and Android Review @MissingRemote
- Amazon Kindle Touch 3G @ AnandTech
- ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime & NVIDIA Tegra 3 @ AnandTech
- Lean, mean consuming machine: the Nook Tablet reviewed @ Ars Technica
- Griffin Beacon for iOS Review @ ThinkComputers
Subject: Memory, Mobile | December 1, 2011 - 12:09 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: corsair, vengeance, laptop memory, ddr3-1600, ddr3-1866
FREMONT, California — December 1st, 2011 — Corsair, a worldwide designer and supplier of high-performance components to the PC gaming hardware market, today announced a line of high-performance memory upgrade kits for power laptop users.
Operating at speeds of 1600MHz and 1866MHz, the new Vengeance laptop memory upgrade kits are an ideal solution for notebooks equipped with a 2nd Generation Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor. Vengeance laptop memory is designed to be plug-and-play, with no BIOS adjustments needed to instantly take advantage of the faster memory speed.
The new Vengeance high-performance memory upgrade kits for laptops are designed to work with any PC or notebook which accepts standard DDR3 SODIMMs, and are backward compatible with notebooks and laptops which use first-generation Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors. Even on older notebooks, customers can still take advantage of the ability to upgrade to 8GB of memory using only two memory slots, and enjoy the confidence of Corsair's renowned service and support.
"As more complex applications and games are available in the market, many laptop users are looking for an easy way to improve their system performance in order to have the best experience." said Thi La, Vice President of Memory Products at Corsair. "Our new Vengeance high-performance laptop memory kits allow performance-minded customers to boost their memory performance and capacity in an instant."
|Size||Speed||# of DIMMs||Part Number|
|8GB||1866MHz, 10-10-10-27, 1.5V||2||CMSX8GX3M2A1866C10|
|8GB||1600MHz, 9-9-9-24, 1.5V||2||CMSX8GX3M2A1600C9|
|4GB||1866MHz, 10-10-10-27, 1.5V||1||CMSX4GX3M1A11866C10|
Subject: Mobile | November 24, 2011 - 03:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: toshiba, qosmio F755-3D290, 3d
Even if the glasses-free 3D on the Toshiba Qosmio F755-3D290 doesn't work very well the specs certainly make the laptop interesting. For instance the 15.6" LED display is 1080p native or 720p if you enable the 3D mode. Inside the Core i7-2630QM paired with a GT 540M give this laptop some serious processing power, though the model that AnandTech reviewed would set you back $1700 to purchase. Strangely Toshiba opted not to include Optimus in this laptop which really shows when you look at the battery life, or lack thereof. That begins the long list of issues that the reviewer at AnandTech had with this machine; catch the full list here.
"Way back in the dark ages of CES 2011, we were able to lay hands on and play with some interesting new technology from Toshiba. They had a prototype notebook on hand that was capable of glasses-free 3D similar to the Nintendo 3DS, but with a bigger screen and the ability to track head movement and adjust viewing angles accordingly. Yet the release of this 3D notebook has been an unusually quiet one. Is the 15-inch Qosmio F755 a sound design, or is there a reason why it's been unceremoniously dropped into the marketplace?"
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Building the perfect ultrabook – and where PC makers are wrong @ Techspot
- Samsung Series 9 (NP900X3A-B01UB) Review @ TechReviewSource
- Sony VAIO F Series (Late 2011) Review @ TechReviewSource
- Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro @ AnandTech
- Mobile GPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Amazon's Silk Browser Acceleration Tested: Less Bandwidth Consumed, But Slower Performance @ AnandTech
- Otterbox iPad 2 Reflex Series Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Don't call it a tablet: the Kindle Fire reviewed @ Ars Technica
- Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet Review @ TechReviewSource
- Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet @ Techspot
- Amazon Kindle Fire @ Techspot
- Lean, mean consuming machine: the Nook Tablet reviewed @ Ars Technica
Subject: Mobile | November 22, 2011 - 05:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: transformer prime, tegra 3, nvidia, ice cream sandwich, google, eee pad, asus
The world’s first quad-core mobile processor was recently made official with our announcement of the NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip, which will debut in the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime Android tablet. Following on Google’s release of Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” (ICS) source code last week, we thought you’d like an early demo of ICS running on the Eee Pad Transformer Prime.
Google has done a great job on ICS and has made the platform open to the ecosystem and easy to develop on. Thanks to Google’s developer support, NVIDIA’s experienced software team was able to work with ASUS to quickly bring up Android 4.0 ICS on the Transformer Prime.
Recorded on November 16, only two short days after the source code for ICS was made publicly available, the video below shows the next-gen Android OS user interface looking clean and snappy on the Transformer Prime. This is just a sneak peak of things to come for the first Tegra 3-powered Android tablet.
This is just an early demo, but we think you’ll agree it’s extremely impressive that so much is already working well. Check out the flawless1080p video playback and quick demo of the quad-core optimized Riptide GP game in the video below.
Subject: Mobile | November 17, 2011 - 03:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Cyberpower, X6 9200, gaming laptop, optimus
The name is a bit confusing, as the CyberPower X6 9200 doesn't include a Phenom II X6 1090T, it is powered by the 2.2GHz Core-i7 2670QM and NVIDIA's GT540M 2GB GPU with Optimus support. The 15.6" monitor is quite impressive, supporting full 1080p resolutions as well as the more common 1366x768 resolution for laptops, at this price one should assume it is a TN panel. Externally you can send signal via HDMI or VGA if you find the screen too small for your preferences. They've fully populated the memory capacity of the system with a pair of 4GB DDR3-1333 DIMMs and storage is a 500GB HDD. Bjorn3D had no issues with this $900 gaming laptop, but they do prefer a matte finish to the piano-style fingerprint magnet that CyberPower chose.
"Today we look at the budget friendly Cyberpower gaming notebook. A feature rich offering at a lower mid level price range, check out how well this gaming notebook does."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Toshiba Portege Z835: A New Ultrabook Appears @ AnandTech
- MSI GE620 Gaming Laptop Review @ HardwareLOOK
- The Asus Zenbook: a steely marvel with an appalling trackpad @ Ars Technica
- Dell Inspiron One 2320: Stuck in the Middle With You @ AnandTech
- Hands On With the HP Folio 13 @ TechReviewSource
- Asus G53SX Review @ TechReviewSource
- Sandberg PowerBank 8000 Portable Battery Review @ Real World Labs
- Samsung Solid Immerse Review @ Tech-Reviews
- ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime Tablet Sneak Peak @ Legit Reviews
- ASUS Tegra 3 Powered Eee Pad Transformer Prime Detailed @ Tweaktown
- Motorola Droid RAZR hands-on impressions @ TechSpot
- PowerSkin for iPhone 4 Review @ ThinkComputers
- Luxa2 H4 iPad Holder Review @ eTeknix
- Nokia Lumia 800 Review: Best Windows Phone Yet @ Techspot
- Adding Vellamo to our Mobile Benchmark Suite - Six Android Phones Tested @ AnandTech
- Amazon Kindle Fire Review @ TechReviewSource
Subject: Mobile | November 12, 2011 - 04:07 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: iphone, iOS 5, battery issue, apple
Owners of Apples’ latest iOS devices (especially 3GS, 4, and 4S iphones) have recently run into some battery life issues. Allyn did some testing and found that the latest iOS 5 operating system has a bug (among others) the phone is not able to enter standby mode thanks to a rogue process keeping the phone awake and wasting battery life. Apple was slated to put out the iOS 5.0.1 update, which was supposed to fix the battery life issues.
Well, the update has been released and many users are still experiencing battery life issues. Apple gave a statement to AllThingsD where it stated that although the recent iOS update addressed many of the battery issues, “we continue to investigate a few remaining issues.” According to this poll, approximately 35% (1,822 participants) are having the same battery issues after the update and nearly 14% are experiencing even worse battery issues than before the update. Conversely, almost 18% (910 participants) of people are getting improved battery life from the update. Lastly, a bit over 33% have not reported not experiencing any battery issues. The poll is currently based on a total of 5,145 respondents.
According to Apple, the battery issues are software related, so here’s hoping that they will get their iphones in a row and release an update to fix the issues. More information on Apple’s statement can be found here. Did the update fix your iphone’s battery woes?
Subject: Mobile | November 9, 2011 - 07:08 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: just delivered, Samsung, Infuse 4g, froyo, AT%26T, Android
Just Delivered is a new section of PC Perspective where we share some of the goodies that pass through our labs that may or may not see a review, but are pretty cool none the less.
I've been rocking an aging Nokia N900 smart phone for quite some time now. It was a good phone but I felt that it was time to take advantage of the upgrade pricing, and pick up a new phone with better support and hardware. Fed Ex today dropped off a smart phone in this ever unassuming box. Let's hope the phone is shinier than the box!
After opening the box and taking out all of the components, I was left with quite a bit of kit. The phone in question is a Samsung Infuse 4G (for AT&T), and the box includes all the various retail odds and endsa that go with it. The Android smart phone is fairly thin, and although made of plastic it feels sturdy. Weighting in at 4.9 ounces, the phone resembles a small tablet with a massive 4.5" Super AMOLED+ capacitive multi-touch display with a resolution of 480 by 800 pixels. Powering the display is a single core Hummingbird processor running at 1.2 GHz, 512 MB of RAM, and 16 GB of internal storage via an internal microSD card. Unfortunately, the phone is only running Android 2.2 and Samsung is using their own TouchWiz UI on top of the OS. Despite that, the phone does still feel very snappy in terms of scrolling, bringing up menus, and transitioning between applications. I'll have to play around with it some more though.
Notable accessories Included in the box are a 1750 mAh battery, 2 GB MicroSD card (and SD card adapter), and wired headset as shown in the image below. Also a nice touch is a combination USB/AC charger and USB cable, which will be easier to manage than carrying around two chargers for my old phone (the AC charger and separate USB cable). The phone is capable of supporting up to a 32 GB microSDHC card for maximum storage.
As far as very first impressions go, I'm really liking the Samsung Infuse. Although the display is one of the largest on a phone I've ever used, the phone is surprisingly light. It doesn't hurt that the display is very sharp and the colors are great, either. Now excuse me while I run out and get a screen protector before I scratch this thing!
Subject: Mobile | November 9, 2011 - 01:00 AM | Matt Smith
Tagged: tegra 3, tegra, tablet, quad-core, kal-el, eee pad, asus, Android
ASUS Eee Pad Prime
Rumors have been swirling around the ASUS Prime tablet and dock, successors to the popular ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, for months. Today, many of those rumors can rest, as ASUS has taken the wraps off the tablet's official specifications.
The big story for enthusiasts is the tablet’s NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor. Provided that the product makes its anticipated December release (the exact date has yet to be announced), this will be the first tablet to hit the market with Tegra 3 as well as the first Android tablet to sport a quad-core. You can read some more details that Ryan discussed about Tegra 3 and its five (5?!?) cores, by checking out this post from September.
NVIDIA Kal-El / Tegra 3 Processor
As the follow-up to the Transformer, the Prime offers many of the same features including the keyboard dock. However, the Prime is improved across the board. The tablet is just 8.3 millimeters thin, making it the thinnest tablet on the market (the next thinnest is the 8.6mm Galaxy Tab 10.1, while the iPad 2 is 8.8mm). Weight has been reduced to 586 grams (1.29 lbs), down from 680. The rear-facing camera now sports an 8MP sensor, the battery in both the tablet and the optional dock is slightly larger, and base storage is now 32GB, with a 64GB model available as an optional upgrade. Even the display has been improved via a new brightness enhancement function that promises to make the tablet easier to use in sunlight.
Even the design has been upgraded. Unlike the Transformer, which has a plastic back, the Prime has a “spun metallic” finish. It will be available in amethyst gray and champagne gold.
The battery tests from ASUS put the Prime at 12 hours of life on its own and 18 hours with the keyboard dock while playing back 720p video with all ports enabled and the screen brightness at 60 nits.
Despite all of these improvements, the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer will not be going away. In fact, it will be remaining at its current price. Instead, the Prime is entering the market as a “premium” product built to compete directly with the iPad 2 and Galaxy Tab 10.1. The base Prime model with 32GBs of storage is $499, while the 64GB model is $599. As with the original, purchasing the optional keyboard dock will set you back another $149.
ASUS claims that the Prime will in fact ship with Android 3.2 in its initial release with an over-the-air updated to 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) as soon as it has been "optimized, tested and approved". They weren't willing to put a date or time frame on that release but they are planning on using the 4.0 OS revision at the launch event coming in December; that seems to indicate to us we may have it in time for CES in January 2012.
When PC Perspective reviewed the Transformer, I called it “the best Android tablet on the market today.” The thinner, lighter, more powerful Prime should be a significant improvement to an already excellent product. My only concerns were with the dock itself, which was sometimes finicky and added a fair amount of bulk. It’ll be interesting to see if the Prime can address those concerns.
Subject: Mobile | November 8, 2011 - 02:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, gaming laptop, GT683R
MSI's new gaming notebook has a 2.6GHz i5-2410M, a GTX560M 1.5GB and a strangely unbalanced RAM setup with a single 4GB and a single 2GB stick of DDR3. Externally, two USB 3.0 and two USB2.0 are available, a single eSATA port, four audio jacks, a card reader and HDMI and VGA will give you external video. The external video may be quite important to you if you plan on gaming as the default 1366x768 resolution will not stress the GTX560M. Drop by Madshrimps for a complete look at MSI's competitively priced GT683R gaming laptop.
"After testing MSI's GT780 gaming notebook I must admit I was pretty impressed by it's allround and gaming performance. Of course, a high end gaming notebook also carries a pretty beefy price tag. big screen , decent powerful GPU and CPU, 8Gb of ram, dual harddrives. Well the price tag for the included components was fair, but what happens if you want a gaming notebook and don't have 1500 euros to cash out? Todays reviewed MSI GT683R laptop might have you covered for a fraction of the price. The specifications of the GT683 don't seem that impressive at first glance, but maybe it can still pack some serious punch. Let's open the box and see what's inside."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Asus Zenbook UX31E @ The Inquirer
- Dell Vostro V131 Review @ Tech-Reviews
- Asus U46SV-DH51 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Acer Aspire 5755-6482 Review @ TechReviewSource
- HP EliteBook 8560w Review @ TechReviewSource
- HTC Titan video review @ The Inquirer
- HP TouchSmart 610: For Business or Pleasure @ AnandTech
- Samsung Galaxy Ace Review @ Tech-Reviews
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Review @ Tech-Reviews
- Storage Options 7" Scroll Capacitive Multi-Touch Screen Tablet Review @ eTeknix
- AViiQ Smart Case for iPad 2 @ kitguru
- Cygnett Imperial iPhone 4 Case Review @ ThinkComputers
- Samsung’s Bada 2.0 on the Wave III @ The Inquirer
- Motorola Droid 3 Cell Phone Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Apple iPhone 4S: Thoroughly Reviewed @ AnandTech
- Apple iPhone 4S Review: iOS 5 + Siri @ Techspot
Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | November 7, 2011 - 01:16 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: m18x, m17x, hd 6990m, gtx 580m, alienware
If you read our recent mobility GPU comparison using the Alienware M17x, you might have wondered why the price on the GTX 580M was $300 more than that of the Radeon HD 6990M when performance was so close. Well, I guess you can no longer say we didn't do anything to help the consumers (you wouldn't say that, would you?) because today Alienware has dropped the price of the GTX 580M by $225!!
It looks like Alienware and NVIDIA have listened to our feedback and decided to drop the price on the GeForce GTX 580M on the M17x, M18x and others - and by quite a bit! As of this writing you can go to the Alienware.com website and now upgrade from the HD 6990M to the GTX 580M for only $75 - that is a $225 price drop compared to last week.
What does this do for our opinions and thoughts on the battle between the HD 6990M and the GTX 580M? I think it makes the added benefits of the NVIDIA ecosystem (Optimus, 3D, Verde driver updates, PhysX) much more attainable and in my book well worth the additional cost. With this price change, Alienware has really shifted my view on the mobile GPU of choice.
I am going to update my award from the Gold to the Editor's Choice for NVIDIA's GTX 580M for this specific reason - be sure to read the full review if you haven't already! Happy gaming!
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | November 6, 2011 - 08:32 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tablet, slate 2, psg, hp, business, atom
Not long after HP reconsidered spinning off the PC manufacturing arm of the company, it has begun prepping two new business computers. The new PCs are aimed at business, education, healthcare, and government users and include a tablet and notebook. Specifically, HP is releasing the HP Slate 2 tablet computer and a lightweight notebook dubbed the HP 3115m.
The HP Slate 2 is a dark gray and silver accented slate style tablet computer weighing in at 1.5 lbs and a 8.9” (diagonal) screen. Running Windows 7, the computer offers both pen and touch input using its capacitive multi-touch display. To make up for the absence of a hardware keyboard, HP is including a new Swype keyboard application which will likely be well received as a notable improvement over the default Windows 7 on screen keyboard. As it is aimed at business users, several security enhancements are baked in, including a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip, HP ProtectTools, and Computrace Pro BIOS level security software.
On the hardware side of things, the HP tablet is powered by an Intel Atom Z670 processor and a mSATA compatible SSD. A front facing VGA camera is available for video conferencing, and a second 3 MP (megapixel) camera is located on the back providing photo and video capture. Further, the tablet features SRS Premium Sound, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, optional 3G mobile broadband, an SD card slot, and USB 2.0 ports. HP is further designing a docking station, integrated Bluetooth keyboard tablet case, and a Point of Sale (POS) attachment that adds a magnetic card reader to the tablet for processing credit card payments.
For those that would prefer a hardware keyboard instead of a tablet PC, HP is also releasing a lightweight notebook. The company claims that the new HP 3115m laptop will offer up to 11.5 hours of battery life. The PC features a 11.6” LED-backlit HD display, an HP webcam, and Beats Audio. Powering the laptop is a AMD E450 dual core Fusion APU. The APU features AMD Radeon HD 6320 graphics hardware, which should easily meet the needs of road warriors and business professionals.
Both the HP Slate 2 and 3115m will be available later this month. The HP Slate 2 will be available worldwide towards the end of the month while the 3115m will be available November 11th in North and South America only. More photos can be found here.
Subject: General Tech | November 4, 2011 - 03:56 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: mobile, lending, kindle, ebook. book, devices
Amazon has launched a new service to augment its existing Amazon Prime subscription service this week that is sure to please ebook fans who happen to own a Kindle e-Reader. The new service dubbed the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library adds a free ebook renting option for Kindle devices.
The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is a subscription service like the Amazon Prime Instant Video service, except that instead of videos, Amazon will let you rent one book from the lending library for free. And as long as you maintain the Prime membership, you can keep the book for as long as you need to finish it. Once you’re done, you are able to turn in the book and exchange it for another ebook. Another plus is that any highlighting and bookmarking done to the borrowed books will remain persistent across rentals, meaning if you ever re-borrow the book all of your markups will remain intact.
There are some caveats to the rental service, however. You may have noticed that I emphasized the term “lending library” when describing the service. I did this because (again, much like instant video rentals) the ebooks that you are allowed to rent will be from a smaller subset of the library of Kindle books that you are able to purchase outright. Amazon is looking to expand the library of books that you will be able to rent; however, in some respects book publishers can be more restrictive (and old fashioned) than members of the RIAA and MPAA are in allowing their content on subscription services. According to Tom’s Hardware, amazon is, in some cases, being required to buy a title outright from the publisher every time it is rented (!). The company has said that it is even going to these extremes to try and show publishers the benefits of incremental growth in audience and revenue that can be achieved with such a lending (subscription) service.
The other caveat is that Amazon is currently only offering free rentals to Prime members who own Kindles, meaning that users of the smartphone and Kindle PC applications are out of luck. Further, there are restrictions on the Prime accounts that are eligible. Naturally, a full Amazon Prime account is required, meaning that you must be the primary account holder to use this service. It is unclear at this point whether the discounted student versions of Prime will be able to use this service (I’ve hear conflicting reports where some are saying they’ve gotten it to worth and some people have reported that it is not working for them).
Despite the caveats listed above, should Amazon’s subscription service be a success (I think it will be), it will likely entice other platforms to adopt similar subscription services. Once Barnes and Noble, Sony, and Amazon all integrate some sort of subscription services, book publishers will (hopefully) be forced to make more content available. For now though, the Amazon juggernaut will have to brute force it’s way into a decent subscription library. If you are curious about the titles offered, you can see the selection here. There are a few top 100 bestseller books as well, and the library can only grow from here. Will you be checking out the new rental system with your Kindle?
Subject: General Tech | October 27, 2011 - 12:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, keyboard, mobile, touchpad, chill innovation
The tiny Chill Innovation KB-1BT Bluetooth Micro Keyboard is 155mm x 61mm x 12mm (6.1" x 2.4" x 0.5") so you obviously can't expect full sized keys especially with the 31mm2 (1.2"2) trackpad on the side. What you can expect is to hook up the keyboard wirelessly to any device that can manage Bluetooth, the USB connection is to recharge the keyboard. MektuMods enjoyed using the device but question its value, the model they reviewed was 70 Euros (~$100USD) to purchase.
"There are several keyboard/mouse bundles available these days. The new KB-1BT combines these two items into a single package. This is something that one could imagine using while watching movies via HTPC or writing a document with an iPad. So, is it worth your money? Let us find out..."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth Edition @ Bjorn3D
- Thermaltake MEKA G-Unit Gaming Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- RAZER BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth Edition - Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ Madshrimps
- SteelSeries 7G Mechanical Keyboard @ Tweaktown
- SilverSton?e SST-EC03B USB 3.0 PCI Express Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- Silverstone SST-TS07B Enclosure & EC03B Internal USB3.0 PCIe Card @ kitguru
- Mad Catz Street Fighter X Tekken Arcade FightStick Pro @ Benchmark Reviews
- Microsoft Explorer Touch Mouse @ Techspot
- Microsoft Touch Mouse Review @ Real World Labs
- Logitech Couch Mouse M515 Review @ TechReviewSource