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Dell dumps standalone XPS 10, only offers it with keyboard dock now

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 19, 2013 11:31 pm

As sales of Windows RT-based devices continue to decline, Dell has announced that it will no longer be selling the standalone version of its XPS 10 tablet. The Windows RT-based device first saw signs of trouble when the company slashed its price to $299 back in May, but that deal is no longer available as users are only able to pick up an XPS 10 in a bundle version that includes a keyboard dock.




This keyboard dock increases the price by more than $179, bringing the total price up to $479.99 for either the 32GB or 64GB model. A version with integrated LTE can be had for $579.99. Industry analysts suspect that Dell has nixed the standalone version in hopes of promoting the XPS 10 as more of a productivity device over a content delivery package.


In my opinion, Windows RT will never catch on as its lack of x86 compatibility is a major drawback for anyone wishing to use the tablet for anything other than simple Office functionality or Internet browsing. With Microsoft writing off $900 million on its Surface RT inventory, this is just another nail in the coffin for Windows RT.

Sony releases 12GB flash-based PS3 in the US, Canada and UK

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Aug 19, 2013 11:03 pm

Sony's 12GB flash-storage-based PlayStation 3 was originally only expected to launch in Europe and Hong Kong, but someone in Sony made a decision to release the device not only in Canada, but in the United States as well.




Today, Sony released the new ridiculously low storage PS3 console to the US via its PlayStation online store. The device retails for $200, which is just $70 cheaper than the normal PlayStation 3 with over 480GB more storage. While flash-based storage in a console is a good idea, the thumb drive I was given as a freebie by my insurance company contains more than 12GB of storage.

LeakedTT: HTC One Max will feature fingerprint scanner under rear cam

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 19, 2013 10:35 pm

With rumors of a fingerprint scanner on Apple's iPhone 5S debunked, the rumor mill has turned to a new smartphone and leaked photos that are said to be of a fingerprint scanner on HTC's upcoming One Max smartphone. In the image below, you can see what appears a black square below the One Max's camera lens. The photo is quite pixelated, which instantly throws red flags for me.




For now, we will take website ePrice's word and assume that the HTC One Max will indeed feature a fingerprint scanner and assume that this photo is the real deal and that it's not just a black piece of tape. Assuming that it is real, I am left asking the question, "what would we use a fingerprint scanner for?" It may be cool to unlock your phone with your fingerprint or use it for password authentication, but is it really needed in today's smartphones?


Before I close this article out, I really would like to send a request out to all those leaksters out there who provide the world with early photos of unreleased devices. Please take higher quality photos! In the case of this photo, there is a perfectly good HTC One right beside the One Max. As a One owner, I know that the image quality would been far better than what was posted.

Beats wants to part ways with HTC, looks for investor to buy stake

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 19, 2013 10:02 pm

Headphone maker Beats by Dre is looking to sever its partnership with smartphone manufacturer HTC in hopes that it will pick up a new investor who can pump new money into the company. The midrange audio accessory manufacturer is said to be planning to buy out HTC as it begins talks with an investor that will provide debt financing and who will take a minority ownership in the company in the coming weeks.




The two companies first partnered up in 2011 when HTC began losing ground to rival Samsung. The partnership was expected to breathe new life into sales of the Asian smartphone manufacturer's products, but the numbers that were predicted never materialized. HTC invested $300 million for a 50 percent stake in the company as well as exclusively of the Beats audio IP used in smartphones.


Earlier this year, HTC sold back 25 percent of its stake to Beats for $150 million but retained the mobile exclusively rights. With a final buyback imminent, sources are saying that HTC will most likely retain those exclusivity rights after the deal is finished. On the bright side, the deal will inject some much-needed cash into HTC's coffers, which could set it up to once again claim the top spot in the mobile market.

Barnes & Noble slashes Nook Simple Touch prices amidst poor sales

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 19, 2013 9:31 pm

Over the weekend, Barnes & Noble quietly slashed the price of its Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight for the second time. This price cut drops the eReader from $119 to just $99 and is most likely the result of dwindling sales. This new price does bring it on par with Amazon's Kindle Paper White eReader, though, and could provide some competition during the holiday sales season.




Usually price cuts on a mobile device that is over a year old signify an upcoming model refresh, but unfortunately we do not expect a new Nook to be released anytime soon. The price drop almost certainly comes as the company hopes to liquidate inventory of one of its flagship products in a dwindling market. Cheap tablets such as the Nexus 7 from Google and Amazon's Kindle Fire HD have all but crippled the eReader sales in the US.

LinkedIn debuts new pages for universities to help HS students

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Social Networking | Posted: Aug 19, 2013 8:32 pm

Today, LinkedIn announced that it has launched a new Page for Universities feature that allows post-K-12 educational institutions to have their own featured page similar to the pages companies currently have. LinkedIn is hoping that this new feature will better help high school students choose the right university for them.




The program launched today with over 200 universities participating worldwide. Each university's page displays very important metrics such as where the majority of the institution's alumni work and what careers many of its alumni go into. Universities can set up their respective page for its community similar to how pages on Facebook work. They can then assign page managers who can post announcements and updates to the page for anyone that is following. LinkedIn's Christina Allen officially announced the new Pages for Universities in a blog post that I have copied below (source #2).

Continue reading 'LinkedIn debuts new pages for universities to help HS students' (full post)

SpaceTT: 60 second timelapse of the Perseid Meteor Shower is amazing

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Aug 19, 2013 7:44 pm

Some of you might remember a post that I did a little over a week ago about the Perseid meteor shower. If you did not have a chance to view it with your own eyes, you truly missed out on something special. Luckily, it happens every year and you can plan to check it out next year. In any event, reliving such a wonderful astronomical event is always fun and Vimeo user Kai Gradert has uploaded a time lapse video of the event from the nights of August 10 and 11.



The video was shot during a photography workshop that was held in the Joshua Tree National Park. Gradert captured the footage with a Canon 6D using 14mm and 16mm wide angle lenses on a Kessler CineSlider mount. The stunning footage of the Milky Way, along with the incoming meteors and a few planes and satellites coming from the opposite direction, make this one of the best Perseid meteor shower videos I have seen to date.

Continue reading 'SpaceTT: 60 second timelapse of the Perseid Meteor Shower is amazing' (full post)

Windows 8 gets banned from HWBot amidst faults in its RTC

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Tweaking & Overclocking | Posted: Aug 19, 2013 6:24 pm

Every PC in use today has a small piece of hardware built into the chipset that is known as a real-time-clock. This is a piece of hardware that keeps accurate track of time even when the PC is turned off. This little piece of hardware is used by all benchmarking programs to keep an accurate track of time to determine how well a system performs. Unfortunately, Microsoft decided to change things up in the way their software accesses the real-time-clock in Windows 8, and as a result, popular benchmarking results website HWBot has made the decision to ban the operating system from their results.



The issues arise when users attempt to change their clock frequencies in software and not at boot time. By changing the CPU-based clock frequency , the software algorithms that Windows 8 employs to keep track of time are massively skewed, which greatly hinders Windows 8's ability to keep accurate time. YouTube user Massman89 has posted a video that demonstrates this by underclocking the BLCK from 130 MHz to 122MHz. In the video, Windows 8 loses track of time by 18 seconds over a five minute period. If you increase the clock rate by 6 percent, Windows 8 internally gains 18 seconds.


These extra 18 seconds per five minutes means that a benchmark that is set to run for five minutes will actually run for five minutes and 18 seconds, giving the benchmark an extra 18 seconds to render 6 percent more frames or complete 6 percent more floating-point calculations. This skews the benchmark score by around 6 percent. While some may see this as an easily fixable issue, HWBot is taking things quite seriously and has decided to ban Windows 8 results altogether.

Continue reading 'Windows 8 gets banned from HWBot amidst faults in its RTC' (full post)

Microsoft announces new boomerang shaped Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Peripherals | Posted: Aug 19, 2013 5:21 pm

As many of us are either gamers or PC enthusiasts, we often overlook the more office / productivity oriented mice and keyboards that are available on the market. Today, Microsoft unveiled two new keyboard and mice combos to its Sculpt line of Ergonomic peripherals. The company designs these new models based on the input from more than 5,300 workers that say they experience discomfort on a daily basis when working with traditional keyboards and mice.




First, we have the boomerang shaped Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop bundle, which features an oddly shaped key layout with a wide split in the middle. Microsoft says this split provides the perfect angle which allows users to rest their hands more naturally on the keyboard. This set also includes a separate wireless number pad and wireless mouse, which has also been redesigned to fit more naturally in the user's hand.


The second offering unveiled today is dubbed the Sculpt Comfort Desktop Bundle and features a more traditional looking keyboard with a curved typing service and flat numerical keypad. A detachable palm rest is present alongside a split spacebar. The mouse included in this set also features a new design that integrates a Windows touch tab that allows users to swipe over this blue button to view or cycle through open applications.

Continue reading 'Microsoft announces new boomerang shaped Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard' (full post)

RumorTT: Apple may release iPhone 5S in gold trim according to report

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 19, 2013 3:55 pm

Every time a new iPhone launch approaches, rumors of a gold-plated version begin circling, and while third-party companies have offered the gilded smartphones in the past, Apple has never officially released a gold version of the iPhone. All of that could change with the upcoming iPhone 5S, if a new report from VR-Zone is correct.




Citing recent leaks and a photo of what appears to be an image of an anodized gold iPhone 5 casing,the report says that Apple is looking at releasing the gold version in the Chinese and Indian markets where custom colored smartphones are becoming a bit of a status symbol.


For those of you were worried that the gold color may be too gaudy, several sources have reported that the color will be less gold and will have more of a champagne hue, which should be appealing to a much larger crowd. All reports indicated Apple will be launching the new iPhone 5S on September 10, and we might even see the budget friendly iPhone 5C on the same day. As always, stay tuned to TweakTown for the latest coverage.