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Thread: Anandtech News

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    #971

    Anandtech: Toshiba Unveils Thrive 7" Tablet

    Now that the 10” tablet market is pretty well fleshed out, the new hot device to have this season is a smaller tablet in the 7-9” range. Toshiba came to the 10” game later than many of the other industry giants, but it’s looking to be more timely with it’s newer tablets. To that end comes the Thrive 7”, the smaller companion to the earlier Thrive 10”, of which we should have a review posted in the coming days (it got delayed, sorry Toshiba!). Like its larger sibling, the Thrive 7” is built around the now-ubiquitous Tegra 2 platform. Rounding out the specs are a 7” WXGA (1280 x 800) display, Android 3.2, 2 and 5 megapixel cameras front and back, an LED flash, a non-removable 15 Wh battery, and your choice of 16GB or 32GB of onboard NAND. Ports are much scarcer than on the original Thrive, with only mini-USB, micro-HDMI, and microSD included. The screen is a pretty interesting one, in that it’s the only 7” device thus far with a full WXGA resolution on tap. Of course, the directly competing Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7” also has a WXGA screen, but it’s a distinction currently enjoyed only by these two devices.
    The form factor is much more competitive than the original Thrive, with a thickness of 11.9mm (0.47”) and a weight of just under 400g (0.88lbs). For comparison, the 7” Acer Iconia A100 measures in at 13.1mm (0.52”) thick and 470g (1.04lbs), while the Galaxy Tab 7.7” looks downright anorexic at 7.89mm (0.31”) and 335g (0.74lbs). My biggest complaint with the original Thrive was the sheer size of the device, so I’m pretty happy to see that the 7” has slimmed down significantly.
    Many of the design touches remain; the chrome webcam surround and textured rubber-coated back cover, for example, are direct carry-over pieces. This time around though, the back cover doesn’t come off, which is why the battery isn’t removable like on the 10”. The only colour on offer is black, which is a bit of a shame. I rather liked the loudly coloured replacement lids offered for the larger Thrive. The dock connector is also still there, so the existing docks should work with the Thrive 7” as well.
    The Thrive 7” will hit store shelves in December; price is as yet unannounced, but somewhere in the $350-400 range would be a good bet. We’re on the list to receive an evaluation unit, so we’ll update you with a review when we get it.


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    #972

    Anandtech: Introducing the Tizen Project

    When Intel first announced its intentions to enter the smartphone space it needed an OS that demanded the additional silicon Intel was willing to invest in this market. With PCs Intel had Microsoft Windows, an OS that could seemingly always use more processing power. Newer versions of Windows helped Intel sell newer versions of its processors. There was no analog to that in the smartphone market when Intel first started making noise. It was software and styling, not SoCs that differentiated most Android smartphones early on. Obviously times are changing (hence Intel's recent public commitment to Google) but back then Intel needed a mobile OS that would demand greater performance from its SoCs. Intel settled on Moblin: a version of Linux originally intended to be deployed on mobile internet devices and netbooks.
    Intel eventually partnered up with Nokia. With the partnership came a rebrand: Moblin got folded into MeeGo and was given support for smartphones and ARM architectures as well. Unfortunately, market pressure eventually caused Nokia to give up on MeeGo and move to Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. Nokia could have been successful with MeeGo but it's a tough job building up marketshare from scratch with a brand new, unproven OS. Nokia decided to do what it felt was best for the company, although the long term impact isn't incredibly clear.
    Intel's close relationship with Nokia pushed away many of its other hardware partners. Nokia's abandonment of MeeGo left Intel alone. With Nokia gone and no other hardware vendors immediately eager to work with Intel, things had to change.
    Intel embraced Android and wants to be a competitor in that space. Hardware vendors are back at the table and Intel is expected to finally have a design win in early 2012. I suspect Intel's focus will mostly be in smartphones and it will look to Windows 8 to be the tablet platform of choice.
    Where does this leave MeeGo? Intel is focused almost entirely on Android for smartphones and with Nokia gone there really isn't a MeeGo anymore. As a result, the MeeGo Project is pretty much done with and the Linux Foundation has announced its successor: Tinzen.
    Tinzen will pick up where MeeGo left off but with an increased emphasis on HTML5 development. Details are scarce but Tinzen APIs are apparently much less rigid and designed explicitly with HTML5 in mind. There will be support for native code as well for applications that require it, but for most everyone else the path to success will be HTML5.
    The Tinzen project is based on Linux and will reside within the Linux Foundation. The OS is completely open source. Development is led by a technical steering team comprised of engineers from Intel and Samsung.
    Why would Intel and Samsung support the Tinzen project? To facilitate competition and offer a truly open alternative to Android, iOS and Windows Phone. The support of these two companies doesn't guarantee Tinzen will be a success (nor is either likely counting on it), but markets tend to evolve differently when there are open competitors in the mix.


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    #973

    Anandtech: Lian Li's PC-V353: Lighter Than Air

    We've been wanting to get Lian Li enclosures in house for review for a while now, and we're pleased to report we finally have a contender on hand (with more on the way!) in the form of the PC-V353. Lian Li touts this case as having been designed to cool through use of extensive ventilation instead of fans, but surprisingly they don't advertise what may be one of its more interesting aspects: the enclosure is comprised almost entirely of aluminum and is likely to feel surprisingly light. Can an aluminum, well-ventilated enclosure take the place of steel and fans?

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    #974

    Anandtech: Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" Update Now Available

    Microsoft has been hyping the Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" update for quite some while now. They have been claiming that it will be the biggest update for WP7 platform, so the hype is understandable. We took a quick look at WP7.5 in May, but didn't have chance to go deeper. Today, Microsoft has announced that they have finally started pushing the WP7.5 "Mango" update to their customers.
    There is one obstacle though. Microsoft says they will be releasing the update gradually, meaning that only certain phones and carriers will get the update today, while others will get it sometime between now and the end of October. Microsoft has not published which models and carriers will get the update first, but by the end of this week, roughly 10% of WP7 owners should be able to update to WP7.5. The availability will then improve progressively during the four week period if no major bugs are found.
    Microsoft is claiming that this is because most smartphone OEMs want to customize the update with their own apps - hence Microsoft isn't delivering just one update, but many slightly different ones. It also helps them to isolate and fix possible issues quickly and without affecting the whole user base. This easily brings you the idea that Microsoft is using the early adopters as beta testers, but hopefully this is not true.
    We covered some of the new features in our preview (linked above) but Microsoft has also released a longer list of new features, and it's available here.
    If you own a WP7 phone, please share your WP7.5 update experiences in the comments. We can then update this article with phones and carriers which have already received the WP7.5 update.
    Source: Microsoft


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    #975

    Anandtech: Amazon Kindle Fire: A $199 Kindle Tablet

    In a move that has been anticipated for sometime, Amazon has introduced their own branded Android tablet, the Kindle Fire. Though based on Android, you won't be confusing this device with any of the growing army of Android tablets joining the market, nor will you see much of the Android you've come to expect. The 7" slate is designed to deliver Amazon services in a user friendly walled garden that bears little resemblance to vanilla Android. We've got first impressions and details along with a gallery after the break.


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    #976

    Anandtech: Microsoft Details SkyDrive Integration for Third-Party Developers

    Microsoft's Mike Torres digs into some code today on the Building Windows 8 blog, showing third-party developers how to integrate SkyDrive functionality into their programs using the Windows Live SDK.
    This functionalty ties in with Microsoft's last blog post, which laid out the benefits of syncing content between Windows 8 systems using your Windows Live ID. By tying their programs to Windows Live, third-party developers can not only use SkyDrive to work with files users have saved to the cloud, but can also give users the benefit single-sign in to apps via their Windows Live ID.
    For complete details, as well as some actual lines of code (which Steven Sinofsky says we can "expect more" of), you can as always read through the exhaustive post on the Building Windows 8 blog.
    Source: Building WIndows 8 blog



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    #977

    Anandtech: AMD Confirms 32nm Yield Issues at Global Foundries

    AMD just announced revised revenue projections for Q3. Revenue is up compared to Q2 by 4 - 6%, but AMD had originally expected an increase of 10%. The reason for the revised projections? Llano supply is limited by apparently poor yields on Global Foundries' 32nm process. We had heard rumors to this effect for a while, but now they're officially confirmed by AMD.
    The official statement is below:
    The less-than-forecasted preliminary third quarter 2011 revenue results are primarily due to 32 nanometer (nm) yield, ramp and manufacturing issues at GLOBALFOUNDRIES in its Dresden, Germany factory that limited supply of "Llano". Additionally, 45nm supply was less than expected due to complexities related to the use of common tools across both technology nodes. AMD continues to work closely with its key partner GLOBALFOUNDRIES to improve 32nm yield performance in order to satisfy strong demand for AMD products.
    The bigger concern in the near term is the impact this will have on the ramp of Bulldozer. Llano wasn't a huge chip, Bulldozer is.



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    #978

    Anandtech: L.A. Noire Coming to PCs This November

    L.A. Noire, Rockstar’s gritty 1940s crime drama adventure from developer Team Bondi, is headed to PCs next month. It will release in North America on November 8 and in Europe on November 11 for $49.99. No word yet on a Mac version, though Mac players will be able to access the game via OnLive.
    Dubbed L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition, this package includes all downloadable content previously released on consoles. It will also add support for NVIDIA 3D vision and will be controllable with either keyboard/mouse or a gamepad. Rockstar claims it will run on a “wide range of PCs,” though you may want to double-check their specifications to be sure your PC is up to snuff:
    · Operating System: Windows 7 / Windows Vista Service Pack 1 / Windows XP Service Pack 3 / OnLive for PC or Mac
    · Processor: Intel Dual Core 2.2GHz to Quad Core 3.2GHz / AMD Dual Core 2.4Ghz to Quad Core 3.2Ghz
    · RAM: 2GB to 8GB
    · Hard drive space: 16GB
    · Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT 512MB to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 1536MB / Radeon HD 3000 512MB to Radeon HD 6850 1024MB
    · Sound Card: 100% DirectX 9 Compatible
    L.A. Noire was an impressive but uneven experience on consoles, dragging at times and sometimes resorting to prolonged periods of frustrating trial-and-error gameplay. It's still a game worth trying for its modern take on the adventure game and remarkable facial animations, and the additional content for the price makes The Complete Edition an appealing offer.
    Source: Joystiq



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    #979

    Anandtech: Intel Engineer Ports QuickSync Video Decoding to FFDShow

    An Intel engineer by the name of Eric Gur started an AVSForum thread indicating he had begun work on enabling Quick Sync support in FFDShow's video decoder. Quick Sync is typically known as Intel's hardware accelerated transcoding engine found in Sandy Bridge, however there are both encode and decode aspects to the engine. Gur's work focuses on the latter.
    To access Intel's hardware video decode acceleration application developers typically turn to the DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA) API. Sandy Bridge's hardware decode engine interfaces with DXVA and can return decoded frames not run on the x86 CPU cores. As we've lamented in the past, open source DXVA decoders haven't typically worked all that great for Sandy Bridge (or previous generation Intel GPUs, for that matter). FFDShow users have often avoided DXVA solutions as they can't be used with any custom post processing FFDShow filters.
    Gur's Quick Sync filter for FFDShow gets around all of this. By accessing SNB's video decoder through Quick Sync, FFDShow gets full hardware acceleration by going through the Intel Media SDK and not through DXVA directly. It can also be used on non-Sandy Bridge systems, but, with higher CPU usage. The filter is obviously unsupported software but head on over to AVSForum if you're interested in checking it out. If you want more technical details check out the related thread on the Doom9 Forums.



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    #980

    Anandtech: Rick Bergman Resurfaces...as the CEO of Synaptics

    Last week I regrettably posted that AMD's Products Group GP, Rick Bergman, had left the company for unknown reasons. Tonight I got an email from Synaptics telling me that Rick Bergman has been named their new President & CEO, effective immediately.
    This could shed some light on Rick's reasoning for leaving AMD. For a person in Rick's position, especially at a company that didn't have any intentions of selecting a CEO from within, the move makes a lot of sense. Synaptics as a company could use someone of Rick's talents. With a number of touchpad products, Synaptics now has the challenge of moving into an age where touchscreens are quickly becoming the norm.
    Hopefully this means there isn't max exodus of key talent from AMD and just a single, although quite important, person pursuing a good career opportunity.



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