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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Computex 2010 - First NVIDIA GTX 480M-Enabled Laptop Coming June 9

Different model on display at Computex 2010

Though it took it many months to actually manage to bring the first desktop Fermi GPUs to market, NVIDIA at least seems to have been much more efficient when it came to the mobile segment. The GeForce GTX 480M was made public last month and had some very peculiar clock speeds for a part claiming to be the fastest notebook GPU. Additionally, the heat generation and power draw still remained on the high side.

There's no doubt that at least some end-users second-guessed whether capabilities of this component offset the battery life and cooling disadvantages, but a certain device on display at Computex aims to offer assurance. Back in May, NVIDIA did say Clevo would be among the first to adopt the mobile GPU and, sure enough, a machine is already showing its worth in Taipei. The full spec sheet is not known yet, but there was mention of the screen size of 17 inches and the 2.93GHz Core i7-940. HotHardware reports that the discrete graphics card actually dominated in 3DMark Vantage.

There is no knowing exactly when this Clevo 17-incher debuts but, in the meantime, a certain other PC Supplier by the name of Sager has already set up the NP9285 mobile Gaming rig for pre-order. Specs are somewhat similar to those of Clevo's unit, with a choice between multiple Intel Core i7 CPUs, up to 12GB of triple-channel DDR3 memory, up to three hard disk drives and a DVD/Blu-ray unit. There is also 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless, Bluetooth 2.1 and a Li-ION 12-cell battery.

Unfortunately, there is no information, at this time, on how long one can expect such a laptop to last on a single battery charge, especially knowing how power-hungry the Fermi architecture is. Nevertheless, those that want a GTX 480M, for whatever reasons, can check out the product page on Sager's website, by following this link now.

ASUS Tosses an AMD Geode CPU in the Eee PC 1201K

Tries to bring some diversity

ASUS has been for a long time now a pioneer in the netbook space, with the outfit's Eee PC line having included a wide range of models. It now appears that ASUS has gone one step further and has updated its Eee PC product line with the new 1201K model, designed to take advantage of an AMD processor. However, unlike some of the other netbooks that have been released on the market, this AMD-powered Eee PC comes built with a Geode NX 1750 processor, as opposed to the Athlon Neo CPUs you'd find in other AMD-based netbooks.

While the reason behind this configuration is yet unknown, the new netbook does come with a set of specifications close to that of other netbooks on the market. The aforementioned processor is clocked at 1.4GHz and has been combined with SIS 741CX/964 chipset and 1GB of DDR RAM. The configuration is apparently good enough to support a 12.1-inch screen and a resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels.

Additional features of the new ASUS Eee PC netbook include the wireless 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, a 0.3MP webcam and the usual array of ports, including VGA, 2 USB 2.0 ports, RJ-45 LAN, audio jacks and card reader. The system will apparently offer a choice for a 160GB, 250GB or 320GB hard disk drive and it will be powered by a 6-cell battery pack.

Weighing in at 1.46KG, the Eee PC 1201K brings back an operating system that some might have forgotten, after the debut of Microsoft's Windows 7 OS, namely that old Windows XP that was on every new netbook, back when the netbook craze was just starting to kick off. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait a while before we can provide you with the details regarding the availability and pricing of ASUS's new “experiment.” Still, given the configuration we might see this as a low-priced alternative to current netbooks, offering a nice battery life.

Western Digital Intros My Book Studio LX External Drive

Bundles SmartWare software for backup

Western Digital , one of the world's leading vendors of storage devices, announced today the debut of its new line of My Book Studio LX external drives, aimed at graphics professionals and photo editing enthusiasts. The new product has been designed to seamlessly work with Apple's iMac, G5 or MacBook Pro computer systems, providing users with a choice for two connection interfaces, including the fast FireWire 800, in addition to traditional and now old USB 2.0 interface. The device is available in 1TB and 2TB capacities and offers a number of features focused on providing the end-users with support for their data backup.

“When choosing the right hard drive, creative professionals look for high-quality materials, maximum speed and visual appeal to complement their creative toolkit. The My Book Studio LX drives offer high-speed Firewire 800 performance and a design that will look right at home next to their G5 or MacBook Pro computer,” said Dale Pistilli, vice president of marketing for WD's branded products group. “With the customizable e-label, My Book Studio LX drives help videographers, photographers and graphic designers create, organize and locate their clients' valuable content, no matter how many drives are in their studio.”

As with other Western Digital external drives, the new My Book Studio LX has been featured with the WD SmartWare software. It comes as an optional application that allows the end-user to set-up continuous and automatic backup, control over the drive's e-label display and the management of passwords and other settings. The drive weighs-in at about 1.18 kg and will be compatible with Apple Time Machine, according to the Lake Forest, California-based storage vendor.

The new drive from Western Digital also features WD GreenPower technology and will be available in 1TB and 2TB capacities with a 3-year limited warranty. The MSRP for the new drives is set at US$199.99 and US$269.99, respectively.

Download Now Adobe Flash Player 10.1

With hardware acceleration and better memory management

fter months of betas and release candidates, the final bits of the Adobe Flash Player 10.1 (r53) are here. Flash Player 10.1 is much more than a minor update, it comes with a broad set of new features and capabilities. Chief among these is support for hardware acceleration for 2D and 3D graphics and for video playback. Flash Player 10.1 also touts improved memory management and better performance. Plenty of improvements have been made to the streaming video features.

“Today I'm thrilled to announce that Adobe Flash Player 10.1 is now available for Windows , Mac , and Linux operating systems. You can get it now. Flash Player 10.1 for Android will be coming later this month - the beta release is currently available in the Android market,” Paul Betlem, Sr. director, Engineering at Adobe, announced.

Hardware acceleration

From a technical perspective, the big announcement in Flash Player 10.1 is the hardware acceleration. It’s a very important feature especially for mobile or just underpowered devices. For example, Flash Player can defer the decoding of an H.264 video to the GPU, which is generally much better equipped for this than the CPU, leaving the processor to handle other, more general tasks. This results in better performance and power savings. The same is true for 2D and 3D hardware acceleration.

Better performance and memory management

The runtime itself has seen a lot of improvements in the performance department. Optimizations have made Flash Player 10.1 faster than any other previous releases, but also, and this is even more important, more efficient in memory management. Adobe says the latest update has a smaller memory footprint and also a couple of new tricks up its sleeve. For example, Flash Player can reduce the power consumption for content running in background tabs. In extreme cases, when the system memory is running out, it can shut down entirely.

Streaming video and private browsing

Another area that saw a lot of focus with the Flash Player 10.1 release is streaming video. There are several improvements and new features including support for peer-2-peer video, http streaming, smarter buffering, and so on.

Another handy feature is support for the private mode in the browser. When Flash Player 10.1 detects that the browser is running in private mode, which most modern browsers now support, it adjusts its behavior accordingly, for example, it won't store any cookies.

Multi-touch and Google Chrome integration
Finally, Flash Player 10.1 comes with support for multi-touch and accelerometers. This is especially important for mobile devices, but Adobe has opted for a single runtime on both desktops and mobile phones so the features are available cross-platform.

The stable release of Adobe Flash Player 10.1 is now available for download for everyone. Google Chrome users should already be getting it through the automated update system. The final build was already available in Google Chrome dev, for example. It also means that the next Google Chrome stable release should have support for the integrated plugin feature.

Adobe Flash Player 10.1 for Windows is available for download here.
Adobe Flash Player 10.1 for Mac is available for download here.
Adobe Flash Player 10.1 for Linux is available for download here.

Alpha Protocol iPod Contest

Win an iPod starting today

By now, those of you that have been waiting for the official release of Alpha Protocol have probably started playing the game and perhaps even finished it. But for those of you that are still in the process of buying it and experiencing the thrill of being a world class spy, Softpedia comes to the rescue by offering anyone who's interested a free PS3 copy of this Espionage RPG.

With Sega's help, we are planning to put together a small Alpha Protocol-themed contest where anyone can join in and win prizes that include two original copies of the game for the PlayStation 3 and a first prize consisting of an 8 GB Alpha Protocol skinned iPod touch. The idea behind the contest is to reward the greatest fans of the game for taking the time to dive into the Michael Thorton universe.

Just like any other contest, the rules are simple and at the same time not negotiable. Anyone that participates must follow them to the letter or they will instantly be disqualified from the competition. One of the rules is that you must be over 18 years old and write only a single original comment, leaving a contact email address so that the Softpedia team can reach you in case you are one of the lucky winners.

Second, you must not be an employee or partner of either Softpedia or Sega. The last rule concerns the deadline, no answer will be taken into consideration after the contest closes on June 19, that’s 7 days for you to get creative and spew some cool words. As you can see, three simple rules can turn anyone into a potential winner, no matter where you're from. Winners should be willing to leave their postal address of course.

After spelling out the rules, here is what the contest is all about: on the Alpha Protocol review page, you must leave a comment on the game on topics such as likes or dislikes, whether the name Michael Throton is appropriate for the character or whether you would have gone a different way, why you would play the game and if you already have, if you agree with the ending. Also, comments on how the game behaves on the PlayStation 3 versus PC or Xbox will be taken into consideration.

To sum it all up, anything interesting (read: worth wasting a laugh or two) you have to say about the game itself, gameplay experience or even the developer will be taken into consideration. Each of your comments will be analyzed by our team (so no foul language accepted) and then published on the review page so that you can be an eligible candidate in the final stage of the contest. Happy gaming to everyone and good luck in the competition!

BlackBerry Pearl 3G Goes to India

Both the Pearl 9100 and Pearl 9105

Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion has recently announced the launch of its BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone in India. The smallest BlackBerry smartphone to date comes with an elegant design and packs a nice range of top-of-the-line features, including BlackBerry email, messaging and social networking capabilities.

“The new BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone is a marvel of engineering and design excellence. It’s as powerful as it is compact. Measuring less than 50mm wide and weighing only 93g, it still manages to pack in support for the soon-to-be-launched high-speed 3G (UMTS/HSDPA) networks in India, Wi-Fi (b/g/n) and GPS, along with a powerhouse processor that drives visually stunning images on the sharp, high-resolution display,” the company stated.

The specifications list of the fresh handset includes an optical trackpad for smooth navigation, complemented by dedicated volume and media keys. At the same time, it includes a 3.2-megapixel photo snapper with flash, along with a microSD memory card slot with support for up to 32GB of additional storage space. Built-in GPS, BlackBerry OS 5, a rechargeable 1150 mAhr battery, Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity, access to BlackBerry App World, and a 624 Mhz processor with 256 MB of Flash memory are other features the gadget includes.

The handheld is headed for India in two flavors, RIM added. Users will be able to choose either the BlackBerry Pearl 9100, which comes with a 20-key condensed QWERTY keyboard, or the BlackBerry Pearl 9105, which includes a 14-key traditional phone keyboard. SureType software is present on both devices, enabling faster texting through completing words as the user types.

“The new BlackBerry Pearl 3G is an ideal smartphone for people who want to take their friends with them wherever they go. It has a rich set of communications and multimedia features in an incredibly compact and sleek design, making it particularly attractive to customers who are looking to upgrade from a traditional cell phone to a powerful 3G handset. Both models enable quick and easy text input for maximum enjoyment of real-time communications applications like BlackBerry Messenger, email and social networking,” Frenny Bawa, Managing Director, Research In Motion India, said.

Intel Makes DDR3 Netbooks 14mm Thick with Canoe Lake

Future plans include dual-core mobile Atom chips and SOCs

The past couple of months have been quite abundant in leaks and rumors that spoke of possible and probable arrivals of dual-core and/or DDR3-supporting netbooks. Though still meant as entry-level mobile PCs, these laptops seem to be in need of better multimedia capabilities in order to not suffer overmuch from the rise of the tablet. Now that Computex has started, these rumors and leaks are beginning to be proven true.

Computex 2010, DDR3 memory, intel, processor, atom
Of course, the first confirmation comes from Intel itself, which has just issued a press release describing not just new or upcoming processors, but even a certain technology that will make ultra portable systems slimmer than they have ever been. The Santa Clara, California-based chip maker even hinted at the approach of the 'port of choice' software strategy.

Computex 2010, DDR3 memory, intel, processor, atom, prototype, ntebooks, canoe lake
The fresh members of the Atom CPU family are the Atom N455 and N475. They have clock speeds of 1.66GHz and 1.83GHz, respectively, and, as already mentioned, support for DDR3 memory. Basically, upcoming netbooks should run better in all areas. The other point of interest in the giant's announcement was the “Canoe Lake” innovation platform, which should lead to a netbook thickness of just 14 millimeters. Not only that, but Intel even revealed plans for the making of Atom System-on-Chip (SoC) processors, for smartphones, cars, handhelds, TVs and tablets.

In addition to new computing platforms and chips, the company demonstrated its 'port of choice' software strategy. Basically, this should enable cross-device experiences, regardless of whether the OS is Windows, MeeGo or made by Google (Chrome, Android). Finally, while the Atom N455 and N475 are already available, the 1.6GHz D425 and 1.8GHz D5252 (CPUs aimed at nettops and AiOs) will only arrive on June 21.

"Intel believes the strength of the Atom franchise can help consumers realize the true potential for a common experience to enable the compute continuum," said David (Dadi) Perlmutter, executive vice president and co-general manager, Intel Architecture Group. "With platforms ranging from compact and portable netbooks, to Smart TV experiences and innovative tablets designs, Intel Architecture is driving innovative products based on a unique 'port of choice' software strategy."

Google Chrome OS to Be Able to Run ‘Remote’ Native Apps (HOT NEWS)

Through a feature dubbed "chromoting"

Google has bold plans for Chrome OS: it wants to build an operating system that relies solely on web applications. This strict requirement means that the only native app in Chrome OS is the Chrome browser itself. Even things like printing will be handled in the cloud. Still, there are plenty of desktop apps today that don’t have an equivalent in the cloud. It now looks like Google has an answer to that issue as well through a technology dubbed tentatively “chromoting.”

Through this feature, users will be able to access applications that run remotely on Windows, Mac or Linux machines from within the Chrome browser. In a sense, it’s similar to the way remote desktop services work, though the focus, it seems, will be on single applications rather than the entire desktop.

The Register was able to piece together the details of this feature. So far, the only semi-official confirmation and explanation for the tool comes from a Google engineer, Gary Kačmarčík , who told a developer in an email: "We're adding new capabilities all the time. With this functionality (unofficially named "chromoting"), Chrome OS will not only be [a] great platform for running modern web apps, but will also enable you to access legacy PC applications right within the browser. We'll have more details to share on chromoting in the coming months."

From the looks of it, Chrome OS users will be able to use this to connect to applications running on their home PCs. It’s an interesting idea and one that solves the issue with application support, but some are wondering if Google isn’t overshooting with chromoting.

Chrome OS, as it stands, is designed for netbook PCs. These devices are small, typically with a 10-inch screen and a small keyboard. They’re great for mobility but not so great for having any actual work done. However, Chrome OS will eventually end up on other devices, tablets for example. A tablet acting as a kind of thin client for more demanding apps is an interesting case for chromoting.

Still, any remote connection is going to add latency to the controls, which will make applications that require precision, things like Photoshop, unusable. But these are just the kind of apps that can’t be replicated in the cloud just yet. Even so, there are apps, which don’t have this issue and being able to access them on your light, Chrome OS-powered tablet from your couch sounds pretty good.

New Windows Phone 7 Boots Up Pretty Fast

On a prototype device, with a development build on it

Although Windows Phone 7 is not yet in its final flavor, the mobile operating system seems to be moving pretty nice. A video available with a Windows Phone 7 prototype embedded at the end of this article shows that the platform is being loaded in a little more than half a minute, which is pretty impressive, one should agree.

The operating system in itself has been reported lately to look much better and more responsive than the flavor presented by Microsoft back in February at the Mobile World Congress. The clip below shows that the Windows Phone 7 platform on an LG prototype is starting to move pretty fast. When coupled with some of the latest reports on the platform, which showed a series of interface changes and some enterprise optimizations, the video can be considered proof of Microsoft's commitment to make Windows Phone 7 a highly appealing platform.

Windows Phone 7, prototype, boot time, mobile platform, iphone 4, apple, ipad, 2010
Here's what a recent post on istartedsomething( states in regard to the clip: “the short video [below] features a prototype LG Windows Phone 7 device with a recent but still not final build of the OS doing a cold boot after removing and replacing the battery. Consistent across several tests, the device booted in an impressive 30 seconds. What’s remarkable is that as soon as the lock screen displays, it’s fully initialized and ready to be used.”

Other devices on the market are not able to boot as fast as this prototype, that's a fact. For comparison, a Nokia 5530 (Symbian powered) we have in the office managed to boot in less than 30 seconds, while an HTC Hero (running under Android) needed about one minute and a half or more for that. As the release date for Windows Phone 7 approaches, things are starting to shape up nicely. And with the operating system already being named the fourth most innovative product of 2010, things were actually supposed to be so.