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Thread: Anandtech News

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    #1051

    Anandtech: RIM Offers Free Apps, Month of Enterprise Support in Response to Outage

    A week after a core switch failure caused worldwide outages for Research in Motion's BlackBerry servers, the company is attempting to make amends: RIM announced today that it would be offering a dozen apps (worth roughly $100) to its customers free of charge, as well as a month of free technical support to its enterprise customers.
    The outages, which affected RIM's browsing and messaging services among others, impacted customers worldwide, with most outages lasting between one and three days - the first service outage hit Europe, the Middle East, and Africa on October 10th, and services were restored on the 12th and the 13th. You can read RIM's account of the outage on their press page.
    The apps in question are mostly games with a smattering of productivity apps, and will be available until the end of December - you can see the full list in RIM's press release, linked below for your convenience. Current enterprise customers can request their month of technical support using this link, and the free technical support is also being made available to prospective customers in the form of a free trial.
    Source: Research in Motion



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    #1052

    Anandtech: Apple iOS 5 Review

    The original iPhone was designed to address a significant user experience problem with smartphones of the day. The iPhone itself was just the delivery vehicle, what later became known as Apple’s iOS was what made it all happen. At its launch in 2007 many lamented the significant loss of typical smartphone features with the very first iPhone. You couldn’t multitask, there was no copy/paste support, you couldn’t tether, you couldn’t send pictures or video via MMS and there were no apps. Apple of 2007 was very much a Mac company that was gaining strength, looking to dabble in the smartphone world.
    Despite its shortcomings, the original iPhone/iOS combination did enough things right to build a user base. With a solid foundation Apple did what all good companies do: iterate like crazy. We got annual iPhone and iOS updates, each year offering evolutionary but important improvements. A company that executes consistently may not be competitive on day 1, but after a couple years of progressive iteration it may be a different beast entirely.

    That’s where Apple finds itself today. No longer the timid newcomer in the smartphone market, Apple has turned iOS into a major player in the industry. Given its success in convincing iPod users to embrace Macs, it was inevitable that Apple would leverage a similar strategy in growing its iOS and Mac businesses. The latest release of iOS, version 5.0, announced in June of this year is as much about updating the phone/tablet platform as it is about beginning the next phase in Apple’s expansion. iOS 5 isn’t about liberating Apple from the PC, it’s a step towards unifying the experience across Apple’s product line. As it’s still just an iOS revision, Apple needed another tool to bring about this level of change, which is why iOS 5 is accompanied by the public release of Apple’s iCloud service.

    A primary goal of iOS 5 and iCloud is to enable users to access their content across any Apple device without manual syncing. You should only have to worry about carrying the right device with you and not think about whether it’ll have access to your contacts, email, files or if people can still reach you if it’s all you’re carrying. That’s the theory at least.
    iOS 5 has a number of headline features, including a ground-up redesign of the notifications system, a new iOS-to-iOS messaging service called iMessage, and the integration of iCloud, a cloud computing and storage service for iOS, OS X, and Windows. According to Apple, there are a full 200 new features found in iOS 5, with features like Twitter integration, wireless sync, PC Free setup and updating, display mirroring over AirPlay, multitasking gestures, and updates to core applications like the camera, browser, mail and calendar being among the more notable changes highlighted by Apple. It’s a pretty healthy list of things to cover, so we’ll get down to it.


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    #1053

    Anandtech: iCloud on the Desktop: A Look at OS X 10.7.2 and iCloud for Windows

    iCloud is Apple's latest attempt at a cloud computing service and a replacement for MobileMe. We talk about how it works for iPhones, iPods and iPads in our review of iOS 5, but that's only a piece of iCloud's functionality. Here, we'll talk in detail about what it does for Mac OS X and Windows, and what you can do through the web portal at iCloud.com.

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    #1054

    Anandtech: ARM & Cadence Tape Out 20nm Cortex A15 Test Chip

    Although we won't see the first ARM Cortex A15 based designs until the second half of next year, and even then only on 28/32nm processes, ARM and design tools supplier Cadence have announced the first tape-out of a 20nm Cortex A15 based test chip. Tape out signals the end of an overall design phase and the release of the design to the foundry for manufacturing. The Cortex A15 is expected to be a significant step forward for ARM, bringing its designs further up the chain into the low-end x86 notebook market in addition to current smartphone/tablet targets. Cortex A15 based designs will also go head to head with Qualcomm's Krait based Snapdragon S4.
    The test chip will be fabbed at TSMC on it's next-generation 20nm process, a full node reduction (~50% transistor scaling) over its 28nm process. With the first 28nm ARM based products due out from TSMC in 2012, this 20nm tape-out announcement is an important milestone but we're still around two years away from productization.



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    #1055

    Anandtech: HP TouchPad 3.0.4 Update Now Available, Adds non-webOS Phone Pairing

    HP just let us know that the TouchPad, its recently discontinued tablet with an unknown future, is getting another software update over the air today. Version 3.0.4 of the TouchPad's webOS brings with it a new camera app (the TouchPad originally launched without a camera app) and the ability to pair the tablet with non-webOS phones.
    After a Bluetooth pairing process you should now be able to answer calls through your TouchPad. In our TouchPad review we applauded this feature although back then it only worked with webOS phones like the HP Veer. Extending the functionality to more devices was an obvious step, but one we weren't sure would happen given the platform's uncertain future.
    HP is also promising performance and UI improvements with today's update.



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    #1056

    Anandtech: Motorola Announces the MotoACTV, Android Based Fitness Device

    This might not seem like the most interesting device to most, but the MotoACTV is being described as the most advanced piece of technology Motorola has ever produced, per square millimeter, that is. The 46 mm x 46 mm device is the fusion of a music player, heart rate monitor and GPS device with a small touch screen and running Android with a 600 MHz processor. The device tracks myriad fitness stats and is backed by the motoACTV.com website. The device automatically syncs via WiFi, and its music player tracks your performance relative to the music you listen to, and uses this data to play the music you perform best with at the appropriate time. This is just the first device they're announcing, so expect more. For now, expect this November 6th, online and in store, for $249 with 8 GB for storage and $299 for 16 GB.



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    #1057

    Anandtech: The Motorola Droid RAZR: OMAP 4, 7.1mm Thick, 4G LTE


    We're live at Motorola's NYC launch event featuring the return of a long fabled brand, the RAZR. This time paired with a more recent brand, Droid. The phone itself was teased with the line 'Faster, Thinner, Smarter, Stronger' and tries to bear those superlatives out with a 1.2 GHz Ti OMAP 4460 SoC, super thin form factor (7.1mm), Android 2.3 (the latest edition as of press time) and a frame made from steel and a case made partially of Kevlar. In addition the display is a 4.3" Super AMOLED Advanced qHD display, which they peg as having more contrast and more rich colors than a certain 3.5" display. Motorola's not pulling any punches, they want you to know that this is faster and with a better display than the iPhone 4S.
    In addition to the hardware, Motorola wanted to show off a few software innovations, no doubt wanting to hedge against the Ice Cream Sandwich announcement later this evening. The first, is what they're calling evolved Webtop, it's unclear how different this is than the Webtop we know and . . . well . . . like, but we'll be sure to investigate further. Next was Smart Actions, a battery sparing system that automatically adjusts device settings for optimum battery life based on conditions including location and battery life. For instance, if you're home, you probably don't need your BT and GPS to run, so it shuts those off. MotoCast is their push to cover the 'personal cloud' market. As they describe it, only 15% of smart phone users devote all their files to the 'cloud,' with the vast majority saving their files in a laptop or desktop that sits at home. This software tunnels your phone to your computer and allows you to retrieve and send files from your phone. The notion of the personal cloud will be big in the future so this may be a real boon if it works as flawlessly as they hope. Lastly, they discussed their Enterprise software, this is an ongoing theme for all new product announcements of late, and no doubt a reaction to the number of iPhone's being tied into business networks.
    All of this will be running on Verizon's 4G LTE network and the speed benefits of this network were showed off prominently. If the weight, thinness and battery life claims pan out then this could be the first LTE phone to not be bulky and aching for a spare battery. We are skeptical about any incredible battery life claims given that we're likely looking at the same underlying hardware that has powered previous 4G LTE phones. We'll have more coverage shortly after we get some up close time with the device, but in the interim enjoy some shots from the event.
    Preorders start on October 27th, and the Droid RAZR will be available in store and on-line in November for $299 on-contract, par for the course for halo phones of late.
    Gallery: The Motorola Droid RAZR: 4G LTE, thinner, faster, stronger smarter.





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    #1058

    Anandtech: Time for Unification: RIM Announces BlackBerry BBX for Smartphones & Table

    With its PlayBook tablet RIM introduced a brand new mobile platform built on QNX's Neutrino 6.5 OS. The result was an extremely smooth user experience with great multitasking support (reminiscent of webOS) on a platform that simply needed more apps and maturity. At the time, RIM indicated future Blackberry smartphones would be based on a QNX derived OS although this year we only got BlackBerry OS7 devices.
    At its developer conference today RIM announced BlackBerry BBX, an upcoming QNX based OS for future BlackBerry smartphones and tablets. It's too early to know when we'll see devices but the obvious assumption is it'll be in 2012.
    RIM also released a beta version (2.0) of its PlayBook OS to developers with support for running Android apps, a feature we originally discussed in our PlayBook review.
    Today's announcements do signal continued commitment to the market by RIM. Although Apple and Google have done their best to convert BlackBerry users, this is still anyone's game. RIM definitely has a lot of the right pieces in-house (QNX, webkit team, etc...) to make for a serious revival in the mobile market, but ultimately it boils down to execution and iteration. A BBX launch in 2012 isn't too late, assuming it can execute quicker than the competition. It's the latter that makes this a tall order.



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    #1059

    Anandtech: Motorola Droid RAZR Performance Preview: A Faster Browser

    When we published our preliminary iPhone 4S performance results we pointed out that the current state of stock Android (2.3.x) browser performance is pretty bad. Google improved browser performance significantly in Honeycomb, and will likely bring those optimizations to smartphones with Ice Cream Sandwich due to be announced later today. As we all know, Google picks an SoC and a hardware vendor for each major Android release - giving them early access to code as they work on developing the next version of Android. For ICS the hardware partner is obviously Samsung, which puts Motorola at a bit of a disadvantage for today's Droid RAZR launch.
    There is good news however. Based on our hands-on time with the Droid RAZR it appears that Motorola has updated its browser with the move to Android 2.3.5. Browsermark and Sunspider numbers are now in-line with Honeycomb based tablets as well as the iPhone 4S - perhaps a preview of what we can expect from Ice Cream Sandwich. Note that these are all numbers we've produced, including the 4S numbers (from our upcoming iPhone 4S review).
    Obviously this is only measuring javascript performance and not the full web browsing experience (much less Flash), but it's definitely a step in the right direction. Once we get our hands on a review sample we'll dive much deeper into the performance of Motorola's 7.1mm 4G LTE smartphone.
    Gallery: Droid RAZR Hands-On





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    #1060

    Anandtech: ASUS Zenbook UX21 First Results: MBA-Like Battery Life Under Windows 7

    FedEx dropped off our first Ultrabook this morning: the beautiful 11.6-inch ASUS Zenbook UX21E-DH71. We just got the first battery life results out of the machine and, as expected, they are near-identical to the 11-inch MacBook Air under Windows 7. Given the similarity in platform and identical battery capacities, similar results here aren't surprising. We'll be running more tests over the coming days but I just wanted to share the first results here before I got too far along.

    Performance is also in-line with expectations. The model we have features a 128GB SF-2281 (SandForce) based SSD and a faster CPU than the base 11-inch MacBook Air model giving it the edge in PCMark 7. Although the system is configured to sleep rather than shut down by default, a full boot from scratch (not hibernate/STR) takes only 16.7 seconds. That's actually in-line with how long an 11-inch MBA takes to get into OS X (17.2s). Very impressive indeed.
    The machine feels extremely well built and is quite snappy thanks to its Sandy Bridge + SSD combo. More details soon!


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