Rumor: Amazon didn't start the Fire. Kindle Fire 2 in May?

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | February 17, 2012 - 08:58 PM |
Tagged: kindle fire, amazon, foxconn, Quanta

Amazon had quite the successful launch of their Kindle Fire tablet PC. The original Kindle Fire is based on the Blackberry Playbook design and manufactured by the same company, Quanta. Despite being out for just three months, we may be just three or four months away from its successor.

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Foxconn is expected to do the work as OEM... a Quanta of solace.

The news was first reported by The Commercial Times, a Chinese-language Taiwan publication and put online by their sister publication, China Times (Microsoft Translation). According to the article, the original Kindle Fire may not be dying an early death. As is almost expected from Amazon, the original Kindle Fire will persist as Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle Fire model. The new Kindle Fire is rumored to compliment that product, not replace it.

The new Kindle Fire is expected to be a 10-inch model and, unlike the Blackberry Playbook design which Quanta sold Amazon last year, be more heavily designed by Amazon themselves. It is expected that while Quanta will continue to manufacture the 7-inch Kindle Fire, the 10-inch will be assembled at Hon Hai (Foxconn). Commercial Times does not suggest what other changes Amazon will introduce with the new product.

Source: China Times

HTC at MWC R-U-M-O-R-S

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | February 17, 2012 - 06:33 PM |
Tagged: tegra 3, MWC, htc

Mobile World Congress (MWC) is approaching and you should expect our coverage of the event from a hardware perspective. The actual event occurs from February 27th through March 1st although, like most events, we expect that the news coverage will begin a couple of days before that time. Rumors about what will appear at the show are already surfacing and include a few leaks about upcoming HTC releases.

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Probably there's a very simple answer to it... still curious though.

(Update: As pointed out in the comments, one of the phones actually IS Tegra 3 powered. I read it as including some other processor... and somehow I only found the LG X3 when looking for Tegra 3 powered phones.)

TechCrunch rounded up details from a few sources about several phones from HTC that are expected at MWC. Ice Cream Sandwich appears to be the common thread amongst each of the leaks. Of particular note, HTC appears to be demonstrating a 10.1” tablet running an NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor. Their phones, on the other hand, do not. (Update: Yeah they do, my mistake.)

Unlike (Update: Actually, like) HTC, LG is expected to reveal a Tegra-3 powered phone, the LG X3, at Mobile World Congress -- so Tegra 3 phones are not nonexistent -- just seemingly a scarce commodity. It would be interesting to know why NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 technology appears, at least from my standpoint, so common on tablets yet so scarce on phones.

Be sure to keep checking back for our coverage of the event and all of your other hardware needs.

Source: TechCrunch

Building the ultimate ultraportable ... for $300!

Subject: Mobile | February 16, 2012 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: ultraportable, DIY

Check out the latest system build at The Tech Report; a lucky find of a 12" X60 devoid of its hard drive, battery, and power adapter for $87 along with some smart shopping lead to a very powerful ultraportable.  What was left inside was the 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 1GB of DDR2-667 RAM and a lot of empty space.  Another stick of RAM and a power adapter were located in their hoard of equipment so the only peice that had to be purchased was a hard drive and battery.  The battery was easily available for little money and they went all out on the hard drive, picking up a SanDisk Ultra 120GB SSD.  Not a bad build for under $300!

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"In his latest blog post, TR's David Morgan pieces together a 12" ultraportable notebook with ThinkPad build quality, a 120GB SSD, and much better performance than budget netbooks for less than $300. Here's how he did it ..."

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Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer:

Introduction, Design, User Interface, Display And Audio Quality

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We have a lot of laptop reviews here at PC Perspective. As you’d expect, we generally use the same benchmarks and use the same principles whenever reviewing a laptop.

Yet we’ve never before put all of this down in writing so that our readers could understand exactly what we’re doing. Since this is a new year with new laptops to review, now is a good time introduce new benchmarks and get rid of old ones - which also makes this a good time to share information with our readers.

Design

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The first page of any laptop review here at PC Perspective is dominated by some very subjective criteria. 

Design comes first, and is also the most subjective. It refers to a laptop’s build quality, general layout and attractiveness. This is where we comment on a laptop’s aesthetics, and it’s also where we comment on a laptop’s perceived durability. We look at details like the display hinges, the chassis, the display lid and overall material quality. An ideal laptop design is attractive to the eye, pleasurable to touch, and feels sturdy in normal use.

Continue reading how we test laptops at PC Perspective for insight on our methodologies!!

Asustek? Your Ultrabook orders are ah pulled.

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | February 15, 2012 - 02:02 AM |
Tagged: ultrabook, Pegatron, asustek, apple

Pegatron Technology, an independent spin-off company of Asustek, will apparently stop manufacturing ultrabooks for Asustek as early as the end of March. According to a Digitimes, Pegatron will give up ultrabook orders from Asustek due to pressure from their new partner, Apple. Apple has not been pleased by the competition that ultrabooks bring to their MacBook Air lineup of higher-end ultrathin laptops.

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Asus really needs to find their Zen...

Have you ever seen a teenager who fights with their parents and moves out with their boyfriend or girlfriend? You know how that usually ends up with a lot of grief and a giant cellphone bill? With Pegatron currently assembling iPhones for Apple we already got the latter portion of that prophecy. How much grief all parties will incur is still pending.

On the other hand, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes of ZDNet is also rebutting the entire story with claims that it does not make sense. He asserts that Apple cannot push its weight against manufacturing and design companies and risk burning bridges.

On the other other hand, it very much does fit Apple’s recent modus operandi with their treatment of Samsung, HTC, and Google. Apple is also willing to drop large vendors with little hesitation. Apple threatened to drop Intel last summer over power concerns. From my position it is more believable than what the ZDNet article lets on.

What do you believe? Has Apple gone and bucked the Pegasus?

Source: Digitimes
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction, Design, User Interface

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Late in December of 2011 we received the Transformer Prime for review. What we did not recieve, however, was the keyboard dock. High demand by journalists for a look at the company's latest and greatest Transformer had left them short of docks, in turn leaving us short of a dock.

Now we've finally had our hands on one. Since it was shipped to us several weeks after the review Prime, we were able to give it our full attention. As with the original Transformer, the dock is one of the features that help the Prime stand out from the crowd - but that doesn't mean it is automatically destined for greatness. If the Prime wants to act like a laptop, it will have to be able to compete with laptops - and that's a tall order for a system without Windows or an x86 processor.

Besides a keyboard, the dock adds a few other specifications that are worth mentioning. Let's take a look at them.

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So, as with the previous dock, you’re not just buying a keyboard. You’re also receiving an extended battery with impressive capacity and some additional connectivity. Given the MSRP of $150, however, you’d kind of expect there to be more than just a keyboard. 

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Transformer Prime Keyboard!!

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?"

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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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