Category: Hardware


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When you come to talking about a major revision to the most popular smartphone operating system, it’s hard to find a place to start because there is simply so much to cover. Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” is perhaps the second largest step Android has taken in terms of major revisions, the largest of course being Android 2.0 back in 2009 which brought a wealth of new features.

Ice Cream Sandwich (or ICS) has included a huge amount of things to Android, from a new design and unified stylings to new functionality and features. Google has followed in the footsteps of Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” for tablets by shifting to blue as the primary color, as opposed to green in Android 2.3 “Gingerbread”. The blue design glows in a somewhat futuristic way, and interface elements are squarer and more angled than before.

Throughout all stock applications on ICS is seems like they have gone for several major styles, most of which differ to previous versions:

Sharp angles and lines are commonplace. In the app drawer, around the search bar, under the text entry bay and even in the onscreen buttons, smooth curves or gradients have been replaced with single-color lines and sharp corners. The Roboto font is modern and clean. Thanks to the 720p display on the Nexus, it appears very sharp and it’s very easy to read. The sans-serif and simple design makes it feel at home in a 2011/2012 world. Black, grey and blue are the colors used, along with transparency. The notification pane uses blue/grey icons on a black background, sliding it down reveals a semi-transparent background with blue highlights. In apps, buttons are grey on semi-transparent black with blue highlights.

For the first time in my history of using Android (and I’ve used it since the Google G1), a unification has been achieved. It is absolutely essential these days in a mobile operating system that moving between included applications feels like you are still “in” the OS, and never before has Google achieved this.

With Gingerbread Google may have updated the Calendar to a new style, but left Gmail with the same style from original Android. It was an awful mess of old and new, but going through ICS feels like everything is in place. I always see the same button styles, the same layouts, the same designs and the same colors used in every single included application, and it actually makes me smile at an Android design for once.

Now this may be somewhat controversial, but I really believe that the push to the ICS style was due to the threat of Windows Phone. Using Windows Phone’s style is simply outstanding because every single application uses the Metro design language, so browsing from Messaging to the Browser feels like you haven’t left Microsoft’s world. Fonts are crisp and clean, designs are angled and minimalistic and there is a focus on text over imagery.

Of course not everything in Metro has influenced Android, in fact many, many things are quite different, but it seems more obvious than ever before how influential Microsoft have been in the mobile space. In all honesty, I don’t care that Google borrowed some aspects of Windows Phone, such as the angular design, minimalist icons and swiping panes, because in the tech industry this happens all the time.

The point is Ice Cream Sandwich feels like the first Android revision that actually has a style. A proper, unified and beautiful style that feels modern, clean and even futuristic. I love it, almost to the point where it pushes out Windows Phone from my mobile OS design preference.

Thanks: Neowin & Tim Schiesser

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Retail outlets looking for new, innovative ways to get hands-on with their customers will soon have a new tool – the Samsung SUR40.

Companies are already using Microsoft Surface to give potential customers virtual tours of plane interiors, help them plan flights, provide them with the ability to create immersive photo books, and entice bank customers into brick and mortar branches. Those experiences only hint at how the new Surface device will be able to help businesses engage with customers, said Somanna Palacanda, director of Microsoft Surface.

“With what’s happening in the world of touch and the fact that touch is becoming ubiquitous, people are looking for more immersive relationships with screens,” he said. “The new Surface takes technology that’s always existed in the backs of stores and brings it front and center. So now customers and retailers can interact together, a doctor and a patient can have a more immersive consulting experience, and a banker and a customer can sit together and work on a simulation where in past the banker would be the only one in control.”

Samsung and Microsoft announced today that a new, more versatile Microsoft Surface device is now available for pre-order, the near final stop on its journey from lab to marketplace. Now, businesses in 23 countries can visit the Samsung website to find a local reseller and place an order for the Samsung SUR40. Shipments are expected to start early next year.

The Samsung SUR40 was just named a2011 “Best of What’s New” award winnerby Popular Science magazine and is featured in a special awards issue currently on newsstands. Corinne Iozzio, senior associate editor at Popular Science, said the magazine’s editors were impressed with the update to the original Surface, a 2008 “Best of What’s New” winner.

“We very much liked the idea of the package of the Surface, which had packed so much computing intelligence and so much sensor technology into such a thin package,” she said. “It’s a tabletop that can be put anywhere without harming the functionality and in fact makes a system like the Surface much more accessible.”

The Samsung SUR40 also earned strong praise by the likes of Forbes and Gizmodo when released at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year.

Palacanda said the new Surface device incorporates all the key features of the original – a massive multi-touch screen, the ability to recognize fingers, blobs, and objects – as well as PixelSense, a new technology that lets LCD panels “see” without the use of actual cameras. The technology has helped slim down the second version of the Surface device and enables a new form factor – one that can be turned on its side. With a screen that’s only four inches thin, customers will have the option to use the Samsung SUR40 horizontally as a table, hang it on a wall, or embed it into furniture, Palacanda said.

“We listened to our partners and customers’ requests for a lighter and thinner form factor that gives them flexibility because there’s no one-size-fits-all in the retail space,” he said.

Several existing Surface customers, including Dassault Aviation, Fujifilm Corp. and the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), plan to use the Samsung SUR40 in locations around the globe early next year. RBC is already using the first version of Surface as a new medium to engage with its customers, Palacanda said.

He explained that RBC is redesigning their stores to offer customers a new retail experience, where Surface is playing an important part. For example, RBC launched a direct mail campaign to invite their customers into their stores through a sweepstakes. When customers visit, they drop their brochure onto the Surface machine to find out if they’ve won a prize. At the same time, RBC employees can use Surface to highlight the bank’s products and services.

The results encouraged RBC, Palacanda said. A typical direct mail response rate is less than 1 percent; RBC is seeing a conversion of above 10 percent.

“We’ve always spoken about collaboration from a computing standpoint, but before Microsoft Surface we truly did not have a device where two or more people could actually engage together with the same piece of digital content,” Palacanda said. “I think this announcement is the first step in delivering a next generation device that improves even further on the original Surface experience, which enables two or more people to collaborate in a very meaningful way.”

The new device is also popular with developers, said Luis Cabrera-Cordón, senior program manager for Microsoft Surface. The Surface 2.0 software developer kit (SDK) was released at MIX11 in April, and already it’s been downloaded more than 7,000 times.

The SDK features an input simulator that enables developers to write Surface applications on any Windows 7 PC, an approach Cabrera-Cordón called “Write once, touch anywhere.”

“The SDK allows developers to write a single application that can adapt to all sorts of types of hardware,” he said. “That makes for a great investment: they can target Microsoft Surface hardware as well as any Windows 7 touch-enabled PC. This is a flexible platform so developers can create the best user interface for the person actually using the computer.”

Cabrera-Cordón encouraged developers to download the SDK and start building apps as the Samsung SUR40’s release date draws near.

“Touch apps are an area that is new. There is a lot to discover and innovate on,” Cabrera-Cordón said. “And I hope that by playing with the Surface 2.0 SDK, they’ll discover they can innovate and create things that we don’t have today.”

Thanks: Microsoft

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TP-Link has expanded its 802.11n router lineup with a new pocket router and a portable router for 3G modems. The pocket router enables users create a Wi-Fi network after connecting it to a network or modem via Ethernet. Users can also configure the device to work as a range extender or a wireless bridge to expand the connectivity of existing Wi-Fi networks.

The portable router provides a USB port that is compatible with many 3G modems that utilize HSPA, UMTS or EVDO standards. The device does not provide an internal battery, requiring power to be provided via USB or an external adapter. Aside from the 3G router functionality, it can also be used as a traditional Wi-Fi access point, range extender or bridge.

The pocket router is expected to ship on November 23 for $30, while the 3G router will not arrive until December 14 for $40.

Thanks: Electronista

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As smartphones get thinner, lighter and increasingly powerful, manufacturers somehow find new ways to make the technology in our mobile devices ever more compact. The bits of tech that we slot in to our devices keep getting smaller too; users across the globe routinely insert microUSB chargers, microSD storage cards and microSIM cards into their handsets, to unleash the capabilities of the technology within.

While microSIM has been around for a couple of years now, it hasn’t been implemented much beyond Apple’s newer iPhones and its iPad tablets. Just as other manufacturers seem poised to widen the scale of microSIM adoption – Nokia’s Lumia 800 Windows Phone, due for release this week, has a microSIM slot, for example – a new format has been announced that’s set to reduce the size of the humble SIM once again.

The nanoSIM has been designed by German firm Giesecke & Devrient, specialists in developing smart cards and banknote production systems. The new card is 30% smaller than the microSIM, and a whopping 60% smaller than the cards currently used in the majority of mobile devices. Pocket-lint notes that compatibility of the nanoSIM with current and older devices is provided through an adapter caddy into which it can be placed.

G&D is actively working with manufacturers and network operators on finalising standards for nanoSIM implementation, and believes that the first mobile devices with nanoSIM slots will be on the market in early 2012. SlashGear suspects that the first such device could be Apple’s next-generation iPhone, but that seems to be little more than speculation and supposition at this stage.

SIM card technology has certainly advanced since the early days of mobile telephony. Neowin’s youngest readers may not recall some of the early mobile phones that came with a SIM-chip embedded in something the size of a credit card, the entirety of which had to be inserted into the handset.

Things have come a long way since then, although perhaps the technological leaps for SIM are getting a little smaller these days. Still, just imagine: by this time next year, your phone could be a fraction of a gram lighter thanks to the switch from microSIM to cutting edge nanoSIM technology.

Thanks: Neowin

Review: Droid Razr

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The Droid Razr is a phone that is using a name that helped to define Motorola in the mobile phone segment. By taking on this branding, Motorola is betting big that this device will not tarnish the name that the original Razr established. The Droid Razr retails for $649.99 or is $299.99 on a two year contract.

Hardware:

The Droid Razr comes in at 7.1mm and it definitely feels like a slice of mechanical joy that the original Razr first introduce. Coming in at just over a quarter inch thick, you begin to realize that this phone is pushing the boundaries of how thin a device can be and still retain the quality that doesn’t make it feel cheap in your hands. One thing did become clear during our review, design was placed over functionality for this device. Does the device turn heads? Yes, but is that always a good thing?

Just because a device is thin, does not mean it isn’t wide. The 4.3 inch device has a bezel that makes the device feel as if the screen is larger than 4.3 inches. With the extended bezel, the device does feel rather wide at times and those with tiny hands may not be able to firmly grasp the device.

The one thing that does separate this phone from other Android devices but does link it closer to that of the iPhone, is that the battery is not user replaceable. For some this may be a deal breaker for others, it’s a non-issue. For us, it goes both ways as if you compare it to an iPhone, it’s not a big deal but then again, in the Android community, user replaceable batteries are rather common.

Display:

Motorola is packing in the goods with the display as it comes in with a resolution of 960 x 540 Super AMOLED display which allows you to make the most of the 4.3 inch real estate provided by the Droid Razr. The screen is beautiful, but one thing to note is that it’s not the best display that we have seen as there is something awkward about how text is handled when scrolling as it becomes a bit jaded when compared to other devices.

For the average user, most will not notice the small imperfections of the screen and it does work well on this device. Those who are overly sensitive and notice the finer things in life may get annoyed with some of the blurring of text when scrolling but it is far from a show stopper.

Software:

Victory! Motoblur is not on this device, well, at least the naming of the skin is not. For the most part, a lot of Motoblur has been removed from the skin but elements of the theme are still hidden in the cracks and can still be found when using the device. There are also many free apps that come on the device and Verizon is pushing its free NFL mobile app for those on 4G for the 2011 season. There are the usual other apps such as Vcast, Blockbuster and a few others. Motorola also includes Motocast which is similar to the iCloud service.

Another interesting and useful app is the “Smart Actions”. These location based tasks are clever and quite useful. You can set them up to turn specific features on and off depending on many different metrics. You can have it adjust device settings when at work, turn off certain features when the battery hits a denoted percentage, or even automatically silence the ringer in certain locations such as the office (it can change settings based on location). They take some time to setup, but once done, they reduce the amount of times you have to change particualr settings in your daily routine.

Battery:

Motorola made big claims when introducing the phone that the battery would not be short sided in use, but we have yet to use a 4G device that doesn’t kill the battery when pulling down data. We can’t give a full breakdown of battery usage yet as we have limited time with the device but it does have a 1780 mAh battery. We noticed, as one would expect, that heavy use of 4G does impact the battery, but in a single day we made several calls, checked email, and of course, browsed the web.

The battery appeared to be standing up to this punishment but we were not exactly heavy on the 4G use either.

Camera:

Not surprisingly, Motorola is using an 8 megapixel shooter in this device. If that sounds familiar, it’s because Motorola has been using this same camera in the Bionic. There is also a 1.3 megapixel camera upfront that and as you have guessed, is used for video calling.

Overall we were generally pleased with both of the cameras. The rear camera was modest in its color reproduction and focus time was acceptable to the point that it should not impede use. It was not the fastest focusing camera we have ever used on a mobile device but it is far above the worst we have seen too. It’s well above average, especially in well lighted areas but low light pictures did begin to show noise at even modest darkness.

Video capture is above average as well. The device comes pre-set to 720P but you can bump it up to 1080P. We might suggest that if you require high quality 1080P video to purchase a dedicated device, but for a cell-phone, it does reasonably well. Personally, we will keep it at 720P as 1080P video will fill up your internal storage rather quickly.

Performance:

The device feels great in use, but is far from perfect. Actually, the only time we really saw a slowdown with the device was occasionally while browsing the web. Quadrant came back at 2700 on average over a series of tests during the day which puts it in company with many other high end smartphones.

If you were thinking that it’s really thin and that Motorola must have sacrificed on the performance to get it this thin, you were wrong. However, if you are watching a movie or any other intensive action, the device does get a bit warm.

Call Quality:

The Droid Razr is an average performer in this category. Sure, calls were easily heard and understood on both ends but definitely had a tint of tin to them. The same can be said for the speakerphone; it’s clear the thinness of the device plays into quality but it doesn’t render the device unusable, far from it.

Conclusion:

The Droid Razr is a device that will turn heads but also makes a few sacrifices to get the job done. It is by far one of the best looking devices on the market with its sleek profile and Kevlar back plate. But to get that thin profile, the device is rather light and almost (almost!), feels cheap and the display does leave some room for improvement.

What Motorola has done proves that it can compete in the design game and produce a fantastic looking device. If you need a gorgeous device that runs Android but cuts only a few corners, this is your device. But at the same time, with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus right around the corner that will also be on Verizon, it makes the decision a little bit harder.

Thanks: Neowin

Review: Amazon’s $79 Kindle

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Although Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet stole the show last month at the company’s launch event, the company also introduced an update to its traditional Kindle reader. The fourth-generation model brings a smaller housing and improved E Ink display, but without the hardware keyboard that was present on each of the earlier models. In our full review, we determine how the new Kindle stacks up against the earlier models and competing devices.

Design

The new Kindle maintains the same six-inch display size and 600×800 resolution as its predecessor. Removing the keyboard shaved nearly 20 percent from the overall size, inspiring Amazon to claim the reader “fits in your pocket.” We like the compact form, though the 6.5×4.5-inch housing is still a bit large for most pockets.

We did not have any complaints about the last Kindle’s weight, which was been cut by 30 percent for the new model. The new design weighs in at a scant six ounces, considerably lighter than the print versions of most books that will fill its digital library. We found the reader to be extremely comfortable to hold during long reading sessions, usually with only one hand holding the device.

Our only minor complaint regarding the new design focuses on the buttons, which are small and placed directly on the edge of the housing. We were fans of the third-generation design, with slightly larger buttons, however the new layout is easy to get used to.

Display

The E Ink display has always been one of the Kindle’s top features, and the fourth-generation model is claimed to bring modest improvements to the touchscreen performance. Page-turn speed is said to be shortened, however we did not notice any considerable difference between the fourth-and third-generation models. Both operate with enough haste for a pleasant reading experience.

We did notice slight “ghosting” when flipping between pages of text, which left faint images from the previous page. Amazon appears to have switched to a new strategy that only initiates a complete refresh after several pages, unless the content includes images. Ghosting was barely noticeable, but we were happy to see an option in the v4.0.1 firmware to force a full refresh after each page turn.

Like many E Ink displays, the Kindle screen offers an appearance that is close to a traditional print book. Contrast improves as light levels increase, unlike typical LCDs that become washed out when brought into direct sunlight. Many users also report less eye strain when reading on an E Ink display rather than backlit panels.

Software

The fourth-generation Kindle brings the latest version of the Kindle OS, however the user experience remains mostly unchanged. The interface is simple and straightforward, leaving little to distract from reading and content browsing. We found the OS to be well suited for a dedicated e-book reader, complete with options for font type and size, but cumbersome for other uses.

The lack of a hardware keyboard forces users to enter text via the virtual keyboard. As expected, using the directional pad to enter text takes much longer. Anyone who frequently uses the hardware keyboard on the previous-generation Kindles may find the omission to be frustrating. Without a touchscreen or hardware keyboard, the new Kindle is not the best choice for taking notes.

Users can take advantage of a WebKit-based browser, however the feature is appropriately listed as an “experimental” add-on. The browser is particularly difficult to manage on the new Kindle, due to the keyboard limitation, though it might find more use on the upcoming Kindle Touch.

To slide below $100, the $79 Kindle “with special offers” is sold as an ad-supported platform. We were curious to see if the banner ads detracted from the experience, but we found the ads to be easily ignored. The sponsored ads are only presented on the screensaver and home screen, rather than interrupting pages in books.

Final thoughts

Now that Amazon has split its Kindle lineup into three different categories, the basic model serves as a great entry-level reader and an excellent gift. Aside from its smaller size, however, it does not offer many reasons to switch from the third-generation model.

The Kindle currently competes with the Nook Simple Touch, however the latter device costs nearly twice as much. We haven’t had a chance to try out the upcoming Kindle Touch, but it will likely serve as a strong rival to the Nook. The ad-supported Kindle Touch ships in November for $99, making it a better choice than the entry model for anyone who wants a high-end E Ink reader with easier text entry.

Thanks: Neowin

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If you want to build a desktop PC that has super fast performance for, say, playing Battlefield 3, you will almost certainly want to include a solid state drive as your Windows boot drive. Are they still much more expensive to purchase than your normal mechanical platter-based hard drive? Yep. Will they continue to be more expensive for some time to come? Most likely.

However, the benefits of getting even a small 256 GB SSD inside your gaming PC rig in terms of overall performance makes a lot of sense if you have a few hundred dollars to spend.

But what if money was truly no object and you wanted to get a SSD drive that had the storage space of a top of the line mechanical hard drive? Then OCZ Technology is coming out with a product that might be to your liking. The company announced a few days ago it will release a new SSD product line called Octane. OCZ says the Octane is “the world’s first SSD to achieve up to a 1 TB capacity in a compact 2.5 inch format.”

Let that sink in for a moment. A 2.5″ 1 TB SDD. Wow.

With that kind of storage space with a SDD solution you really don’t need to have a regular hard drive anymore for storage of video and music files, like many people do when they get a smaller SSD for their PC combined with a much larger hard drive.

OCZ says that the Octane will be available starting November 1. Pricing has yet to be announced for the 1 TB version but we suspect that it won’t sell for less than $2,000 considering 512 GB ones go for >$800 currently. You could easily buy an entire PC with that kind of money. However, if Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg is reading this article and wanting a new storage drive for their own PC, we would say, “go for it”.

Thanks: Neowin

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For Google and Android fans around the world, today has been a big day, as Google teamed up with Samsung to announce the Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich”. Many new features were shown off today at the event, including the Galaxy Nexus, so we have compiled a list of everything to know from the Google event in case you missed it or were asleep.

Galaxy Nexus

The Galaxy Nexus specifications were fully leaked an hour before they were unveiled at the event in Hong Kong. They include:

A 4.65-inch 1280 x 720 HD Super AMOLED display HSPA+ or LTE (depending on region) 1.2 GHz dual-core processor (TI OMAP 4460) 1 GB of RAM 16 or 32 GB of internal storage 5 MP rear camera with flash; 1.3 MP front camera Full HD 1080p video recording at 30 FPS; zero shutter lag Bluetooth 3.0 and dual-band WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n NFC and a barometer 8.94mm thin; 135g light 1,750 mAh battery

We also have a convenient comparison table between the Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy S II, iPhone 4S and HTC Sensation. In most cases, the Galaxy Nexus is the victor.

The Galaxy Nexus will be available in the United States, parts of Europe and Asia starting in November; more regions to follow. You can register your interest in the device at Google’s Nexus website.

Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich”

Google announced a plethora of new features in Android 4.0, and while many improvements are visual, there are still core enhancements being made. Below we have listed some of these new features so you can quickly get an idea what Google has introduced in Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS).

Honeycomb-styled interface New Roboto typeface used throughout the UI New lockscreen featuring quick unlock to camera and notification pane access Improvements to multitasking and the notification pane Resizable widgets Quick SMS responses when rejecting incoming calls Improvements to text input, autocorrect and copy & paste Real-time voice-to-text input Full control over data usage, including usage notifications New contacts app featuring better social integration and “Me” profile More advanced Calendar and Gmail apps Improved Gallery featuring a photo editor Improved Camera app including panorama mode and easy sharing Cloud connectivity with automatic Google Chrome bookmark sync Offline access to emails (past 30 days by default) and web pages (when you save them) Face unlock using facial recognition technology Android Beam for NFC sharing of loads of content Integrated visual voicemail and appropriate APIs Integrated screenshots from hardware button combination Support for high-density mobile displays such as the Galaxy Nexus’ 720p display Many, many new APIs

For developers out there, the Android 4.0 SDK with all the improved and new APIs is now available from Google’s developer website.

The first device to be loaded with ICS is, obviously, the Galaxy Nexus, but the OS is also heading to the Nexus S at some point. It is unclear, however, if ICS will make its way to the older Google Nexus One. It is also unclear whether smartphone manufacturers will update their devices to ICS, or which devices will end up being updated. Hopefully carriers and manufacturers will announce their intentions soon.

Thanks: Neowin

Acer Allegro Windows Phone coming soon

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Now that Windows Phone 7.5 – or Mango, to its friends – is here, the first wave of new handsets running the latest version of Microsoft’s mobile OS are starting to arrive. HTC’s stylish Radar and mighty Titan have recently gone on sale; Samsung recently announced its Focus Flash and Focus S devices for the US, and its mid-range Omnia W for other markets; and LG recently announced its new E906 handset, in conjunction with minimalist fashion designer Jil Sander.

Although Dell appears to be taking a step back from Windows Phone production, for now at least, other manufacturers are preparing to launch their first devices on the platform, including ZTE, which recently announced its WP7 debut with the Tania; and Acer, which will shortly release its first Windows Phone, the Allegro.

Telecompaper reports that Acer has confirmed its plan to put the device on sale in Europe before Christmas, and that it will carry a budget-friendly price tag of just €299EUR (just over $400USD or around £260GBP) off-contract. To put this into perspective, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) in many European markets for HTC’s new Titan is double that, at €599 ($800/£520).

But does the aggressive pricing of the Allegro mean that compromises have been made in its design or specification? So far, Acer hasn’t publicly issued any confirmation about the Allegro’s spec list, but the company did reveal a Windows Phone during the summer at Computex called the W4 (also known within Acer as the M310), before showing it again at IFA in September.

That device’s specifications were fairly unremarkable for the second-generation Windows Phones, with a 3.6” WVGA display, 1GHz Snapdragon and 8GB of storage, along with the usual suspects such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and A-GPS, and a 5MP camera. It also includes DLNA media streaming with compatible devices, and Acer’s FastCharge system which claims to offer an accelerated battery charging facility when the handset is connected to an Acer computer.

Acer has previously confirmed its plans to launch the W4 with Mango, so it would certainly make sense if that model has become the Allegro that the company is now getting ready to put on sale.

The availability of new Windows Phones at more accessible price points will be an important part of increasing the market share of the mobile operating system, which has so far seen sluggish sales. Acer won’t have this end of the market all to itself, though, as Nokia has declared its intention to compete at the entry level with some of its new Windows Phones too, the first of which are expected to launch later this month.

Thanks: Neowin/Engadget

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AMD’s integrated graphics received a new lease on life when the company unleashed its 32nm “Llano” desktop processors earlier this year. Sporting an on-die Radeon HD 6550D graphics processor, the AMD A8-3850 APU rendered many low-end discrete graphics cards obsolete and made Intel’s HD Graphics 3000 engine look foolish in the process.

In addition, the Llano platform offers a plethora of affordable AMD A55 and A75 motherboards. A75 products are particularly appealing as they boast of extensive support for USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s (up to four and six ports, respectively). By comparison, Intel’s H67/P67/Z68 only support two SATA 6Gb/s ports and no USB 3.0.

Although AMD A75 boards start at around $70, we’ve decided to check out three more attractive, and inherently pricier options. Some of the best-equipped A75 motherboards include the Asrock A75 Extreme6 ($130), Asus F1A75-V Pro ($130) and Gigabyte A75-UD4H ($123). Currently, the Asus F1A75-V Evo is the most expensive A75 board at $140.

Thanks: Neowin/Techspot