Microsoft to Update Surface Devices

Redmond isn’t giving up on RT; and will also update Surface Pro in FY2014

mwpMicrosoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference concludes today (2013-07-11). There’s been a ton of information that has been disseminated, but one of the most interesting points came during a presentation from Microsoft’s COO, Kevin Turner – Microsoft is planning some updates to both its Surface tablets during FY2014.

When you look at the slide, it’s clear that not only is Microsoft planning to introduce new Surface RT and Surface Pro accessories, in multiple colors, but its planning on updating the tablets as well. Intel recently released its Haswell processors, and I would expect the next version of Surface Pro to use this processor.

Surface RT, which uses ARM based processors, doesn’t have a clear upgrade path at this time.  The Verge is reporting that MS is giving serious consideration to using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor in the next version of the consumer tablet.  According to The Verge, Microsoft has been testing Windows RT 8.1 on RT tablets powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor.  The chip has LTE connectivity on-board, so Microsoft may be planning to include mobile broadband support with the next version of Surface RT.

Nearly everyone who uses a Surface RT or Surface Pro tablet likes the clickable Touch and Type keyboards that are available for them. However, the devices, Surface Pro specifically, lacks a docking station.  Microsoft has officially stated that it won’t be releasing one. However, third party providers may release one.  MS has promised, however, “future peripherals that can click in and do more.”  What that means, specifically remains to be seen, but we should know well in advance of the Holiday Buying Season.

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Use all of your older, DOS-based software on your modern computer with DOSBox DOS Emulator

dosbox-iconBack in the day, text based applications were all the rage, largely because graphics adapters hadn’t really seen a lot of innovation yet. At the time, there were some really powerful productivity apps like Dbase and WordPerfect for DOS that did a great job but weren’t very sexy.  Using older software like that isn’t always possible with today’s much faster, much more sophisticated computers. This is why I like DOSBox DOS Emulator.  It’s a cool Windows utility.

DOSBox is a DOS-emulator that uses the SDL-library.  This makes it very easy to access and port DOS based applications to other platform use. You can use DOSBox not only on Windows, but on BeOS, Linux, MacOS X to name a few.

DBDE-01

DOSBox emulates an Intel compatible 286/386 processor PC in both real mode and protected modes, It supports Directory File System/XMS/EMS, Tandy/Hercules/CGA/EGA/VGA/VESA graphics and a SoundBlaster/Gravis Ultra Sound card for excellent sound compatibility with older games.  Provided you have access to drives that can read older media types – 5.25″ and 3.5″ floppies, for example: – you can use the app to run just about any DOS based application you can get your digital hands on.

The application is interesting to say the least.  Finding applications that are still accessible isn’t easy, but you can check the app’s home page and its Compatiblity page for a list of games and apps that you might be able to find download links for.  The application is free; and you may be required to roll up your sleeves and dig into the command prompt a bit in order to get the most value out of it.  In today’s modern computing environments, those not comfortable with Terminal or the Windows Command Prompt may find DOSBox DOS Emulator a bit intimidating.

download DOSBox DOS Emulator

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Google Android Platform will be optimized for Intel Architecture

Intel and Google announced their new collaboration project starring the almighty Android platform which will be optimized to run on Intel architecture. The first step will be made for Intel’s family of low power Atom processors but the future versions of the Android platform will support the whole Intel technology. The vice-verse effect is that  Intel architecture will be present on Google products, which include Chrome OS and Google TV along with the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) and Native Development Kit (NDK).

The joint effort is designed to speed time-to-market of Intel technology-based smartphones running the Android platform. Intel will take advantage of the open-source accessibility of the Android platform to provide its customers with technology products that inspire continued innovation and also help enable powerful personal computing experiences that fully leverage Intel technology across a range of devices. This work will enable mobile device OEMs and wireless operators to draw upon the performance and low power capabilities of Intel® architecture and tap into the scale of the x86 developer ecosystem to further drive the adoption of the Android platform.

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MacBook Air refresh and OS X Lion to be launched next week

It seems the new MacBook Air and the new OS X Lion from Apple will be launched at the same time next week (probably on 14th of July), rumors say. So Apple will ship the new Macs along with Lion.

It makes sense, because the new OS X Lion will bring plenty of enhancements and new features, that complements very well the new Macbook Air, including iCloud services, iOS-style Launchpad, full-screen apps, Mission Control that comes up with a three-finger swipe, automatic tracking of document version history, and a resume feature that picks up where the user left off. Lion will only be available via Apple’s Mac App Store only for just $30. Many users with multiple Macs may need to take note of instructions here to help ease the installation process.

The MacBook Air refresh will probably include 19nm 400Mbps mSATA. The mSATA connector allows a flash drive to be slotted directly on to the motherboard taking up very little space, reaching speeds of 400Mbps while using less power. The MacBook Air refresh will come with the new Thunderbolt, the fastest I/O technology that supports high-resolution displays and high-performance data devices through a single, compact port. Also the processors will be upgraded to the latest Sandy Bridge microprocessors and integrated Intel graphics: Core i5 and i7.

If you’re thinking about buying a Mac or a MacBook, wait for a few more days. I know I will 🙂 .

MacBook Air

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Intel Reinvents Transistors Using New 3-D Structure

Intel Corporation announces a significant breakthrough in the evolution of the transistor. For the first time since the invention of silicon transistors over 50 years ago, transistors using a three-dimensional structure will be put into high-volume manufacturing. Intel will introduce a revolutionary 3-D transistor design called Tri-Gate, first disclosed by Intel in 2002, into high-volume manufacturing at the 22-nanometer (nm) node in an Intel chip codenamed “Ivy Bridge.” A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.

Intel’s 3-D Tri-Gate transistors enable chips to operate at lower voltage with lower leakage, providing an unprecedented combination of improved performance and energy efficiency compared to previous state-of-the-art transistors. The capabilities give chip designers the flexibility to choose transistors targeted for low power or high performance, depending on the application.

The 22nm 3-D Tri-Gate transistors provide up to 37 percent performance increase at low voltage versus Intel’s 32nm planar transistors. This incredible gain means that they are ideal for use in small handheld devices, which operate using less energy to “switch” back and forth. Alternatively, the new transistors consume less than half the power when at the same performance as 2-D planar transistors on 32nm chips.

The performance gains and power savings of Intel’s unique 3-D Tri-Gate transistors are like nothing we’ve seen before,” said Mark Bohr, Intel Senior Fellow. “This milestone is going further than simply keeping up with Moore’s Law. The low-voltage and low-power benefits far exceed what we typically see from one process generation to the next. It will give product designers the flexibility to make current devices smarter and wholly new ones possible. We believe this breakthrough will extend Intel’s lead even further over the rest of the semiconductor industry.

The 3-D Tri-Gate transistor will be implemented in the company’s upcoming manufacturing process, called the 22nm node, in reference to the size of individual transistor features. More than 6 million 22nm Tri-Gate transistors could fit in the period at the end of this sentence.

This silicon technology breakthrough will also aid in the delivery of more highly integrated Intel® Atom™ processor-based products that scale the performance, functionality and software compatibility of Intel® architecture while meeting the overall power, cost and size requirements for a range of market segment needs.

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The new iMac goes all out

The new iMac from Apple has arrived in a new form and hardware configuration. Based on a new quad-core processor, a new AMD HD graphics card, Thunderbolt technology, FaceTime HD webcam, the new iMac is a desktop workhorse disguised as an all-in-one wonder.

Powered by quad-core processors, the new iMac is the fastest yet with up to 70 percent faster than the previous generation. Every model in the lineup comes standard with the latest Intel Core i5 quad-core processor. You even have the option to configure the 21.5- or 27-inch iMac with the Intel Core i7, the fastest quad-core processor available.

Besides the powerful processor, you can add up to 16GB of DDR3 memory and an ultrafast 256GB solid-state drive, and you’ve got a modern rig that can handle just about anything.

With the AMD Radeon HD 6750M or the AMD Radeon HD 6970M for the top of the line, iMac performs even better than before. So you see more frames per second in 3D games, and you can edit HD home videos with more speed and responsiveness than you ever thought possible.

Ultrafast and ultraflexible, the Thunderbolt port features two 10-Gbps data channels for data transfer that’s up to 12 times faster than FireWire 800 and up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0. And it offers unprecedented expansion capabilities for a new generation of high-performance peripherals. The new 27-inch iMac gives you not just one but two Thunderbolt ports.

Get more of your friends in the picture with crisp, widescreen HD video. The new FaceTime HD camera lets you make FaceTime video calls in 720p resolution. Make HD calls from one new iMac to another or to a new MacBook Pro. You can also make video calls to other Intel-based Mac computers, iPad 2, iPhone 4, or the latest iPod touch.

An interesting fact is that when you buy your new iMac from the Apple Online Store, you have the option to swap Magic Mouse for Magic Trackpad at no extra cost. With Magic Mouse, you can perform simple gestures across its smooth, seamless top shell. Scroll in any direction with one finger, swipe through web pages and photos with two, and click and double-click anywhere. For full gesture support, opt for Magic Trackpad. Made with a touch-friendly all-glass surface, Magic Trackpad is the largest Multi-Touch trackpad made by Apple. So there’s plenty of room for scrolling, swiping, pinching, or rotating.

The price for the 21.5-inch iMac starts at $1199 while the price for the 27-inch iMac can come up to $1999 (with full specs). Not cheap I might say.

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Intel is porting Google’s Android 3.0 (aka Honeycomb) over to its x86 architecture

During a conference call with reporters and analysts, Intel president and chief executive Paul Otellini said that the company is currently hard at work porting Google’s tablet-oriented Android 3.0 operating system (aka Honeycomb) to the x86 architecture. He added that Intel expects to ramp those Honeycomb-based devices over the course of the year “for a number of our customers.”

Reports indicate that Intel will reveal its Android-based x86 platform sometime during Q3 2011 as “PRC Plus,” yet Acer, Asus and Lenovo have reportedly already signed on to produce devices based on this particular platform, with manufacturing kicking off during the second half of 2011. Cisco will supposedly use the Oak Trail platform with Honeycomb for the enterprise sector.

As for Intel and its Android plans, reports indicated that the OS will be fitted to take advantage of the x86 architecture. Intel is reportedly “improving” Android’s user interface and overall experience. More news is expected to arrive sometime during Q3 2011.

Source Tomsguide.com

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Intel intros third-generation SSD – Intel Solid-State Drive 320 Series

Intel Corporation announced today its highly anticipated third-generation solid-state drive (SSD) the Intel Solid-State Drive 320 Series (Intel SSD 320 Series). Based on its industry-leading 25-nanometer (nm) NAND flash memory, the Intel SSD 320 replaces and builds on its high-performing Intel X25-M SATA SSD. Delivering more performance and uniquely architected reliability features, the new Intel SSD 320 offers new higher capacity models, while taking advantage of cost benefits from its 25nm process with an up to 30 percent price reduction over its current generation.

The Intel SSD 320 is the next generation of Intel’s client product line for use on desktop and notebook PCs. It is targeted for mainstream consumers, corporate IT or PC enthusiasts who would like a substantial performance boost over conventional mechanical hard disk drives (HDDs). An SSD is more rugged, uses less power and reduces the HDD bottleneck to speed PC processes such as boot up and the opening of files and favorite applications. In fact, an upgrade from an HDD to an Intel SSD can give users one of the single-best performance boosts, providing an up to 66 percent gain in overall system responsiveness.

The Intel SSD 320 Series comes in 40 gigabyte (GB), 80GB, 120GB, 160GB and new higher capacity 300GB and 600GB versions. It uses the 3 gigabit-per-second (3gbps) SATA II interface to support an SSD upgrade for the more than 1 billion SATA II PCs installed throughout the world. Continuing to offer high-performing random read and write speeds, which most affect a user’s daily computing experience, the Intel SSD 320 produces up to 39,500 input/output operations per second (IOPS) random reads and 23,000 IOPS random writes on its highest-capacity drives. In addition, the company has more than doubled sequential write speeds from its second generation to 220 megabytes-per-second (MB/s) sequential writes and still maintains one of the highest read throughputs at up to 270 MB/s sequential reads. This greatly improves a user’s multitasking capabilities. For example, a user can easily play background music or download a video, while working on a document with no perceivable slow down.

Intel SSD 320 prices, based on 1,000-unit quantities, are as follows: 40GB at $89; 80GB at $159; 120GB at $209; 160GB at $289; 300GB at $529 and 600GB at $1,069.

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