Velocity Micro Announces Products To Be Shown At CES

Subject: General Tech, Storage, Mobile | January 5, 2012 - 08:18 PM |
Tagged: CES, velocity micro, usb, storage, projector, peripheral, CES 2012

Velocity Micro, a boutique PC builder just couldn't wait until CES 2012 to show off some of their new products it seems, as a recent web page with some punchy font seeks to get consumers excited about their new tablets, projector, and USB optical/external hard drive combination.

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First off, Velocity Micro plans to debut two Android tablets dubbed the Cruz Tablet T507 and T510. Both tablets run the Android 4.0 mobile operating system, and are powered by Cortex A8 processors running at 1.2 GHz. Further, the tablets feature ARM Mali GPUs at 400 MHz, 8 GB of internal storage, 512 MB of RAM, HDMI out, a front facing camera, flash support, and access to the Amazon Appstore. The differences between the T507 and T510 tablets lie in the screen size and lack of rear camera on the T510. The T507 tablet has a 7" capacitive touch screen and has an MSRP of $150 (according to Engadget) while the T510 has a 9.7" capacitive touch screen.

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Next up is an external USB hard drive that also features an optical drive and USB hub. Dubbed the VMUltra Drive, the all in one external drive has a DVD-R/RW optical drive, 500 GB 2.5" SATA Hard Drive, SD Card Reader, and 3 USB 2.0 Ports. Pretty nifty, and if the price is right I may be interested in this myself for my work laptop that lacks optical drive and is running low on storage space (heh).

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Lastly, Velocity Micro is going to debut the Shine Projector. Supporting an "HD" resolution of 1280x768 pixels, the Shine weighs in at 9 ounces. It features a 300 Lumens (160 ANSI Lumens) brightness, 2,000:1 contrast ratio, a one year warranty, and a mini-HDMI input. Also, it's a glossy Ferrari red, sporty.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more CES Pre-CES coverage!

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

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

WonderMedia Announces PRIZM WM8950 with Android 4.0 Support

Subject: Processors, Mobile | January 5, 2012 - 01:47 PM |
Tagged: WonderMedia, PRIZM WM8950, SoC, arm, cortex-a9

Taipei, Taiwan, January 5, 2012 -WonderMedia Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of energy-efficient, feature-rich system-on-chip platforms, today announced the WonderMedia PRIZM WM8950 SoC.Combining a highly energy-efficient ARM Cortex-A9 core running at 800MHz with advanced graphics and stunning 1080p video playback capabilities, the WonderMedia PRIZM WM8950 further extends WonderMedia's leadership in the fast-growing Android media tablet market.

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Prizm WM8950The next generation WonderMedia PRIZM platform and software suite provides customers an easy migration path to a Cortex-A9 SoC and offers support for the latest Android 4.0 and Windows CE 7.0 operating systems. With its high-performance, and feature-rich design, the WM8950 is also optimized for a wide range of innovative system design applications, including smartbooks, Smart TV, SmartStream for wireless display and multimedia streaming, networked projectors, digital signage, and thin clients.

"Our line of PRIZM platforms has spurred the explosive growth in the Android media tablet market," commented Tzumu Lin, President and CEO, WonderMedia Technologies, Inc. "The new WM8950 delivers greater computing power and richer multimedia experiences to meet the ever growing global demand for affordable smart mobile devices."

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PRIZM WM8950 Highlights:

  • 800MHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor
  • ARM Mali-400 3D graphics Processor
  • Multi-standard 1080p video decoding engine
  • H.264 video encoding
  • DDR3/LPDDR2 DRAM interface
  • Multiple video interface including HDMI, LVDS, and DVO
  • Flexible networking and peripheral interface
  • Advanced hardware security engine
  • Android 4.0 and Windows CE7.0 support

Lenovo Unveils ThinkPad Ultrabook, ARM-Powered Laptop Ahead of CES

Subject: Mobile | January 5, 2012 - 01:00 AM |
Tagged: ultrabook, Thinkpad, news, Lenovo, edge, CES

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Were you thinking about an ultrabook, but worried that the ones already available just weren’t tough enough? Lenovo has you covered. They’ve taken the wraps off the Lenovo ThinkPad T430u, which blends thin design with durability.

This isn’t exactly new territory for Lenovo, has the company already offered the ThinkPad X1, an extremely thin laptop that we reviewed in the summer of 2011. Lenovo has also long offered the T420s, an thin-and-light version of the already thin-and-light T series. The new 430u has a 14” display and will be starting at just $849, a surprisingly low price for a ThinkPad branded ultrabook.

Specifications include third-generation Intel Core processors, optional Nvidia discrete graphics, mechanical and SSD storage options, battery life of up to six hours and an island-style keyboard similar to the ThinkPad X1. Thickness will be no more than .8 inches and weight will be under four pounds.

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Another interesting debut is the ThinkPad X1 Hybrid. Based off the current X1, it includes a feature not yet seen in consumer PC laptops - an dual-core ARM processor built by Qualcomm. Don't get too excited yet, because the ARM processor doesn't run Windows. That task is left to a typical Intel x86 processor. It does, however, run a secondary operating system called Instant Media Mode that allows users to access the web, watch videos and perform other basic tasks. Lenovo claims that using IMM instead of Windows allows for 10 hours of life on the X1's realtively small battery. Owning such an exotic piece of hardware will cost you - the X1 Hybrid starts at a lofty $1599.

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Other new ThinkPad offerings include the Edge S430, a “premium” laptop stating at $749 that will offer a 14” display and Thunderbolt connectivity as well as third-gen Intel processors and optional Nvidia graphics. It also comes in a color we haven't seen yet in ThinkPads - Mocha Black. I'm not sure how this differs from regular black, but it makes me want a coffee. 

Smaller still are the Edge E130 and E330, 11.6" and 13.3" laptops that fill out the small half of the new Edge line-up. Those looking for a more mainstream option will be able to consider the Edge E430/E435/E530/E535, a series of laptops starting at $549. They will be available not only in the Intel/Nvidia combination but also with AMD Fusion APUs (Lenovo designates the AMD models by ending the model number with a 5). There's also a new color to choose from, Cobalt Blue, while the old Midnight Black and Heatwave Red options remain.

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If even that is too expensive, you’ll be able to grab the ThinkPad B480/B580, which start at $499 and offer “essential computing.”

The new ThinkPad ultrabook and X1 Hybrid are sure to be hot topics at CES, not only because they're ThinkPads (which always get geeks salivating) but also because they offer some interesting features are affordable prices. We'll be sure to publish any new information we learn about these products once the show begins. 

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

Source: Lenovo

ASUS Transformer TF10; not more than meets the eyes

Subject: Mobile | January 2, 2012 - 02:52 PM |
Tagged: asus, Transformer TF101, tablet, Android 3.2, Tegra 2

It is hard not to love ASUS' Transformer series, the 10.1" LED 1280x800 screen is not unique but the dock certainly is, coming in the form of a full keyboard with 2 more USB 2.0 connectors and a touchpad.  It unites a netbook and tablet in a way no other company really offers.  Inside it is powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 2 chip and has 1GB of RAM which leaves the device in a bit of a pickle.  The 3D performance is quite good for a tablet and you should enjoy the games and Android apps which are available for the device but its 2D performance is lacking, which translates to poor movie playback.  Techware Labs finished the review disappointed, they wanted to love the Transformer but couldn't cope with a tablet that plays movies poorly.

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"Much like the netbook market, tablets have come of age and everyone seems to want one. Also similar to netbooks it seems that the market is saturated by tablets from many different manufacturers. Asus can be credited for making the netbook market a reality and for offering some of the finest netbooks made. Today we take a look at the Asus Transformer tablet to see if Asus has kept the tradition of offering an excellent product in the tablet market."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

More Mobile Articles

 

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS
Tagged: llano, k53, asus, amd, a6

Introduction and Design

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Back in June of 2011, we reviewed AMD’s new Llano mobile processor line by taking a look at a testbed system. The overall review was favorable, but it was also based on the best AMD had to offer, a quad-core A8-3500M processor running alongside a separate Radeon discrete GPU. 

If you take a tour through your local electronics retailer, you’ll find that this is not the most common combination of parts on store shelves. The less expensive and less powerful A4 and A6 processors are more common. In our original Llano laptop review, I theorized that these would remain competitive at their respective price points, but we didn’t have the opportunity to test a laptop equipped with the less expensive hard. 

Now, via the ASUS K53T, we finally have a chance to thoroughly examine a mid-range Llano laptop.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS K53T Llano Notebook!!

Intel Medfield x86 SoC Targets Android Phones and Tablets

Subject: Processors, Mobile | December 26, 2011 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: Intel, Medfield, Android, x86, SoC

Intel hopes that 2012 will finally be the year they see mainstream phones with Intel inside.  Despite Intel's attempts to tell us otherwise for the past several generations, the upcoming Medfield design is the first truly serious attempt to enter the phone and tablet market currently dominated by the many ARM-based partners of phone manufacturers all over the world.  A recent post over at Technology Review discussed the advantages that Medfield offers over previous Intel Atom-based designs with Steve Smith, Intel's VP of Architecture.

First shown at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco this past September, a Medfield-based reference design has many believing in what some thought was impossible but what others thought was inevitable: Intel x86 cores in a phone that matters.  Why the change from many in the analyst space?  Medfield is the first option from Intel that is truly a single-chip solution, removing design space concerns and power consumption issues that previous Atom-architecture solutions were saddled with. 

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Intel showed Technology Review the Android-based reference phone running Gingerbread.

The phone prototype seen by Technology Review was similar in dimensions to the iPhone 4 but noticeably lighter, probably because the case was made with more plastic and less glass and metal. It was running the version of Google's operating system shipping with most Android phones today, known as Gingerbread; a newer version, Ice Cream Sandwich, was released by Google only about a month ago.

Intel has a lot of experience in the consumer markets though it took a shift inside the company to really put the focus on phones and tablets over netbooks and convertible-notebooks.  At the recent showing not only did they have the reference design phone but also an iPad-like tablet device running Ice Cream Sandwich, another key to the consumer's dollar.  And as you can clearly see in the diagram below, there is a lot of money being made that Intel wants in on.  A LOT.

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Source: Technology Review, IDC

Intel will also enjoy a process technology advantage over the competition with current Medfield SoCs built on the company's internal 32nm process and the upcoming 22nm technology promises even more power consumption advantanges.  ARM designs are built at different foundries including Samsung and TSMC and while they are competitive, no one can keep up with Intel on this front. 

Anandtech also had some interesting information to share from an investor conference earlier this month about the power consumption and performance levels of Medfield. 

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Source: Anandtech.com

The diagram shows that power consumption on Medfield should be competitive with the current ARM-based SoC leaders in the market today.  Areas like 3G standby, basic audio playback and video playback should be accomplished with minimal power draw in order to have battery life extended to at least current expectations.  The performance graphs here on Browser Mark and "Graphics" are impressive as well though obviously we have a TON of missing information to really make the graph meaningful.  Anand puts it well:

Barring any outright deception however, there seems to be potential in Medfield.

I tend to believe that Intel is too smart to misjudge a product to investors, but remember how impressive the initial performance results of Larrabee were for years? 

I am hopeful and excited for Intel's mobility plans in 2012 as other information we have seen looks impressive.  Let's see what CES has to offer.

Windows Phone 8 OS and Devices Allegedly Coming June 2012

Subject: Mobile | December 21, 2011 - 09:18 PM |
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.

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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?

Source: DGUI

Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet Receive Root Access Killing Software Updates

Subject: Mobile | December 21, 2011 - 02:51 AM |
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.

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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!

Source: Maximum PC

Qualcomm Licensing PowerVR Display Intellectual Property Technology

Subject: Mobile | December 16, 2011 - 06:00 AM |
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).

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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.

Source: The Verge

Amazon Selling Millions of Kindle Fire Tablets

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 16, 2011 - 03:32 AM |
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.

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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?

Source: Cnet