Take a look at Dell's low cost Vostro line of laptops

Subject: Mobile | February 27, 2012 - 04:37 PM |
Tagged: dell, vostro V131

Dell's Vostro line offers a wide variety of models from a $400 Celeron ULV based model with 2GB of memory and a 320GB HDD to the $825 model that Hardware Canucks reivewed.  That model gives you more power, with an i5 2430M, 4GB RAM and a 500GB HDD with a 13.3" 1366x768 LED screen.  The 6-cell battery doesn't quite last as long as models with an 8-cell battery but still beat most other competitors 6-cell models.  There were a few issues that arose during the review, not least of which is the lack of a dock.  For home users who do not worry about such extras, the review is well worth checking out.

 

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"Dell has been angling most of their product stack towards value oriented market segments and the newest addition to the Vostro lineup –the V131- seems to follow this same path but with some interesting twists along the way. As with many of Dell’s notebooks, it is available in a number of flavors ranging in price from just $399 to $900. Unfortunately, Dell's website has it is tucked away from the prying eyes of most end users."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

 

MWC 12: NVIDIA Roadmap Outlines Tegra's Future Including 4G and Die Shrink

Subject: Mobile | February 27, 2012 - 01:53 PM |
Tagged: wayne, tegra 3, tegra, tablets, nvidia, MWC 12, mobile, grey

This year is a big one for smaller silicon manufacturing processes with Intel's 22nm Ivy Bridge, and NVIDIA and AMD moving to 28nm GPU processes. According to a report on VR-Zone, NVIDIA is already planning their next move for Tegra, including a die shrink to 28nm.

They managed to get their hands on a road map (shown below) for NVIDIA's Tegra SoC (system on a chip) lineup that extends into 2013. With Tegra 3, NVIDIA began by sampling the chip to Asus and the Transformer Prime. After that success, other partners and devices are starting to pick up the mobile chip, and they expect the situation to be the same for future Tegra iterations.

They company allegedly taped out a Tegra 4 (T40) SoC at the end of December 2011, and is starting to sample it to OEM partners to find someone to do a Tegra 3 like launch, with one device/platform to debut first and others to follow in later months.

NVIDIA_Roadmap_Tegra4.jpeg

The Tegra 4 chip is code named "Wayne" and will be comprised of multiple ARM Cortex A15 CPU cores and a new GPU on a 28nm process. The company alos plans to show off a dual core 28nm SoC that uses two Cortex A15 CPU cores, a revamped GPU, and an Icera 4G LTE radio at Mobile World Congress 2013 next year.

Further, the roadmap details a new Tegra 3 chip that is intended to be used with Windows on ARM powered notebooks and tablets. While the new Tegra 3 (T35) SoC will not be a die shrink, it will have higher clock speeds due to less restrictions placed on the maximum TDP (thermal design power) allowed for the devices. VR-Zone estimates that the T35 chips will run somewhere between 1.6 GHz and 1.7 GHz.

Currently there are some incompatibilities with Tegra and 4G LTE radios which has caused some LTE devices to go with Qualcomm SoCs, so it is good to see NVIDIA working on improving compatibility and then integrating the basebands into their future SoCs to rectify the issue.

As far as this year is concerned, we should see the updated Tegra 3 chip and a new version of Tegra 2 that integrates a Icera 4G LTE baseband. The Wayne and Grey chips will likely not be released until 2013 at the earliest. The expanded Tegra portfolio should help them to gain some market share, though exactly how much remains to be seen.

Source: VR-Zone

MWC 12: ASUS Unveils Infinity Tablets, Dockable Smartphone

Subject: Mobile | February 27, 2012 - 07:00 AM |
Tagged: MWC, Transformer, tablet, padfone, mobile world congress, eee pad, asus, MWC 12, infinity, transformer prime

While attending CES last month, ASUS showed us a Transformer Prime with a full HD display. It looked great, but it did feel as if the branding would be a bit perplexing, as this new model would also be sold as a Prime.

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Apparently the company had this thought, as well. They’ve now unveiled the Transformer Pad Infinity Series, a new tablet with a 1920x1200 IPS+ display. It will come in two different variants. One is 4G LTE compatible and uses a Qualcomm MSM 8960 Snapdragon S4 Krait (whoa! Take a breath…) dual-core 1.5 GHz processor. The WiFi version, on the other hand, uses the now-familiar Nvidia Tegra 3. Both models have a 2MP front camera and an 8MP rear camera with LED flash. They also share the same 16GB, 32GB and 64GB storage options. The Infinity Series will be available in the same Amethyst Gray and Champagne Gold finishes already available on the current Transformer Prime.

(Editor's Note) If you are wondering why the LTE version of the new Transformer Infinity is not using the quad-core Tegra 3 SoC, we are hearing that the NVIDIA part is still not compatible with LTE radio controllers and won't be for another few months.  This is also why the new HTC One X smartphone doesn't use the Tegra 3 processor on the AT&T LTE network while other phones in the family do.  So will users of the LTE version of the Infinity miss the quad-core design when moving to the dual-core option from Qualcomm instead?  While we can't be sure, the new Krait design is a "wider" CPU with a better memroy interface yet still runs at similar clock speeds and it should be faster in single or lightly threaded programs.  

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This new flagship will slot above the Transformer Prime. But ASUS hasn’t just focused on the glitter and gold – they’ve also taken the wraps off the Transformer Pad 300, which is a new entry-level model. It features a 1280x800 IPS display and uses Tegra 3 in both the 4G LTE and WiFi models. The front camera is a 1.2MP unit and the rear camera is 8MP with LED flash. 16GB of internal storage is your only option. The 300 will offer new blue, white and red color schemes not yet available on any Transformer table

Both of these new models are Transformers, which means keyboard docks will be available as an option. They also include Android 4.0 and quote the same battery life of 10 hours without the dock.

Source: ASUS

MWC 12: Huawei enters the mobile SoC world with quad-core K3V2

Subject: Processors, Mobile | February 27, 2012 - 12:30 AM |
Tagged: tegra 3, quad-core, k3v2, k3, Huawei

Never heard of Huawei?  Well you will going forward.  The Chinese telecommunications company that claims 110,000 employees, 46% of which are planted in R&D departments, is entering in the market to compete against Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, NVIDIA and others by building an ARM-based SoC for its own mobile devices.

Huawei_Logo.jpg

Details are limited for now though we expect to hear more as Mobile World Congress progresses but here is what we know.  The Huawei K3V2 CPU will be a quad-core Cortex A9 part with "16 GPUs" - though we don't have any reference what is meant by "a GPU".  The A9s will run at either 1.2 GHz or 1.5 GHz and Huawei does mention that these will have 64-bit support a 64-bit memory controller as compared to the 32-bit controller on Tegra 3.

The company did have some performance claims that put the K3V2 ahead of the Galaxy Nexus (Exynos 3110) and ASUS Transformer Prime (Tegra 3).  If you believe in marketing slides the new Huawei CPU will be about twice as fast in GPU performance and 49% faster in purely CPU-based tests while using 30% less power.  Man, if we had a dollar for every time someone claimed these kinds of gains...

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Photo from TheVerge.com

Hopefully we'll see some tests on this new SoC soon in the form of the Huawei Ascend D quad phone available this year.

Source: The Verge

MWC 12: Intel branded, Atom-powered smartphone to be sold by Orange

Subject: Mobile | February 26, 2012 - 08:06 PM |
Tagged: z2460, SoC, smartphone, orange, MWC 12, MWC, Intel, atom z2460

Reuters is reporting that European cell phone carrier Orange will be selling a reference design Medfield smartphone under the Intel brand name.  The Atom Z2460 SoC will find its first major distributor to be one of the world's largest service providers - this could potentially be a big opening for Intel in a market it desperately wants to compete for.

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I find it very interesting that not only has Intel developed a processor that has finally garnered attention for the mobile market but the team at Intel has built a reference design that was fine tuned enough to direct sell to consumers.  Will the company avoid becoming a typical, low margin SoC company by focusing on vertical implementations like this one?  It is an interesting thought and no other vendor has really done it, with possibly the exception of Samsung that owns the entire device process already.

Anandtech has the major specifications of the phone, codenamed "Santa Clara":

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These are basically identical to the reference design we saw at CES with only some minor changes to the form factor.  Ice Cream Sandwich isn't included out the gate but we are hoping the upgrade will get pushed soon since Intel showed ICS on the Atom SoC in January.

I haven't been able to find anything about availability or pricing yet but I'll be sure to report it when I find it.  The mobile market continues to intrigue...

Source: Reuters

Nokia World's Largest Windows Phone OS Smartphone Vendor in Q4 2011

Subject: Mobile | February 26, 2012 - 06:08 PM |
Tagged: WP7, windows phone, smartphone, nokia, mobile, microsoft, marketshare

Last year Nokia and Microsoft announced a partner ship that would combine Nokia's hardware with Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system. Back then, the move by Nokia to abandon Maemo, MeeGo, and Symbian was not a popular one; however, it does seem to have worked out well for the company (despite some burned bridges).

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According to a new report by Strategy Analytics, not only have Nokia Windows Phone 7 devices proved a popular choice, but the company has managed to propel itself to 33.1% marketshare; a number that makes Nokia the world's largest Windows Phone smartphone vendor in Q4 2011. Further, the company shipped just under 1 million units in Q4 2011 while the market as a whole saw 2.7 million units shipped. That is a significant jump from the previous quarter where Nokia did not ship any units and the market as a whole shipped only 2 million.

  Vendor Shipments (Millions) Q3'11 Vendor Shipments (Millions) Q4'11 Vendor Marketshare (%) Q3'11 Vendor Marketshare (%) Q4'11
Nokia 0.0 0.9 0% 33.1%
Others 2.0 1.8 100% 66.9%
Total 2 Million Units 2.7 Million Units 100% 100%

 

While Nokia does not yet have majority share of the Windows Phone smartphone market all to themselves, they do have the most marketshare of any single vendor. The increased presence of Nokia helped the Windows Phone market as a whole see a total quarter over quarter growth of 36%, according to the report. Further, Director of Strategy Analytics Tom Kang noted that Nokia managed to snag most of it's marketshare from HTC who is also losing ground in the Android market to rival Samsung.

Neil Mawston, the Executive Director of Strategy Analytics determined that the Nokia Lumia WP7 smartphone series, and increased marketing and retail presence in Asian and European countries significantly helped Nokia grow it's marketshare.

Needless to say, Nokia management and shareholders are likely pleased by this turn of events. It will be interesting to see where Nokia is marketshare wise at the end of this year as their new Lumia series smarphones proliferate across the world. The full report is available here to Strategy Analytics clients.

MWC 12: NVIDIA Tegra 3 To Power Quad Core HTC One Smartphone

Subject: Mobile | February 26, 2012 - 04:35 PM |
Tagged: tegra 3, smartphone, quad core, nvidia, MWC 12, htc, Android

Earlier rumors suggested that the LG Optimus 4X HD would be the first quad core Tegra 3 powered smartphone; however, HTC and NVIDIA made an announcement today that shows that LG is not the only company showing off a Tegra 3 smartphone at Mobile World Congress 2012!

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NVIDIA announced in a press release today that their Tegra 3 mobile SoC would be powering the new HTC One X smartphone which is to be shown off at MWC 2012. According to HTC, the phone features 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of on-board storage to power the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) mobile OS on a 4.7" display with 1280x720 resolution. It further includes an 8 MP (megapixel) rear camera capable of 1080p video with stereo sound, a VGA resolution front camera for video conferencing and claimed 720p video, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, support for LTE 4G networks, and a 1,800 mAh battery.

Kouji Kodera, Chief Product Officer at HTC stated that "the HTC One X with Tegra 3 provides an experience that consumers will absolutely love." The HTC One X is the first smartphone that HTC and NVIDIA have worked together on.

The mobile market is advancing rather quickly, and Mobile World Congress 2012 is only just getting started!  Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more MWC 2012 announcements!

For the full press release, hit the read more link:

Source: HTC

MWC 12: Samsung to compete with Tegra on quad-core CPU

Subject: Processors, Mobile | February 26, 2012 - 01:56 PM |
Tagged: tegra, Samsung, quad-core, MWC 12, MWC, exynos

While details are still sparse as we await the official start of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona tonight/tomorrow, it appears that Samsung plans to announce a new quad-core processor as part of its Exynos line.  It will be the first Samsung SoC based on 32nm technology rather than the 45nm currently in production and will be available in both quad- and dual-core variant.

According to the story over at Unwiredview it will be available in frequencies ranging from 200 MHz all the way up to 1.5 GHz while offering lower power consumption than current options.  I am curious how this actually stacks up though as we have seen that Tegra 3 doesn't REALLY offer lower power consumption and longer battery life even though that was a promise from NVIDIA.  It definitely can offer less power consumption per performance unit, but in the end battery life is king for these mobile devices.  

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What about graphics performance?  The story had this to say:

The new Exynos comes paired with the latest version of Samsung’s own graphics chip, which has 4 pixel processors and 1 geometry engine with 128 KB L2 cache. The graphics support OpenGL ES 2.0 and can generate up to 57 MPolygons/s.

Samsung claims that the new processor will offer 26% more performance compared to Exynos parts based on the 45nm process and I assume they are referring to dual-core vs dual-core results.  Other claims include battery life improvements of "up to 50%" - we'd love to see it but we'll wait for actual devices to ship and showcase it before really getting excited. 

The good news is that quad-core performance will be coming to more devices and NVIDIA won't be the only SoC designer on the block offering them.  The use-cases for quad-core performance on a mobile device, phone or tablet, may still be in question though we never doubt the software side of the equation to utilize as much horsepower as it is provided. 

Source: Unwiredview

MWC 12: TI OMAP5 will beat your A9 with its own two cores

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile, Shows and Expos | February 25, 2012 - 07:06 PM |
Tagged: texas instruments, MWC 12, arm, A9, A15

Texas Instruments could not wait until Mobile World Congress to start throwing punches. Despite their recent financial problems resulting in the closure of two fabrication plants TI believes that their product should speak for itself. Texas Instruments recently released a video showing their dual-core OMAP5 processor based on the ARM Cortex-A15 besting a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 in rendering websites.

Chuck Norris joke.

Even with being at a two core disadvantage the 800 MHz OMAP5 processor was clocked 40 percent slower than the 1.3 GHz Cortex A9. The OMAP5 is said to be able to reach 2.5 GHz if necessary when released commercially.

Certain portions of the video did look a bit fishy however. Firstly, CNet actually loaded quicker on the A9 processor but it idled a bit before advancing to the second page. The A9 could have been stuck loading an object that the OMAP 5 did not have an issue with, but it does seem a bit weird.

About the fishiest part of the video is that the Quad-Core A9, which we assume to be a Tegra 3, is running on Honeycomb where the OMAP5 is running Ice Cream Sandwich.  Ice Cream Sandwich has been much enhanced for performance over Honeycomb.

We have no doubt that the ARM Cortex-A15 will be much improved over the current A9. The issue here is that TI cannot successfully prove that with this demonstration.

Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) Update For Original Asus Eee Pad Transformer

Subject: Mobile | February 25, 2012 - 12:31 PM |
Tagged: Transformer, tablet, ics, ice cream sandwich, eee pad transformer, asus, Android

While the new Tegra 3 powered Transformer Prime and it's Transformer Prime with upgraded display sibling have stolen the spotlight from the original dock-able Transformer tablet, Asus has not forgotten about it. They recently began pushing out an Over The Air update to bring a tasty Ice Cream Sandwich to the Asus Transformer (original)!

transformerICS.png

In case you missed it, our own Matt Smith did a review of the new Android operating system on the Transformer Prime here. While the original Transformer is running older hardware, users are reporting that aside from minor app glitches performs fairly well on the Tegra 2.  And if you've been living under a rock for the past two years, he also wrote up a nice review of the original Eee Pad Transfomer.

According to Maximum PC, users are reporting that the update was mostly a success and the performance was decent, though there seems to be a few instances of app glitchy-ness.  It will just take some time to work out the kinks in updating the older hardware, and in general I think the update is a great thing for Asus to provide, especially  this late in the game.  Perhaps we will start seeing some discounted Transformers, though we may also see them become more valuable and go for a few more dollars now that they are updated to the new ICS OS.

It is nice to see Asus continuing to support their products with new updates.  Have you received the ICS update on your Transformer yet? Let us know what you think of the performance and new features in the comments below!

Source: Maximum PC