Google unveils new JavaScript browser benchmark, 'Octane'

Anthony Garreffa | Software & Apps | Aug 22, 2012 8:30 PM CDT

Google, in their grasp for browser domination, have unveiled Octane, a JavaScript benchmark suite. Octane is a browser benchmark that measures performance when running the "complex and demanding web applications that users interact with daily".

Google unveils new JavaScript browser benchmark, 'Octane' | TweakTown.com

Google have noted that the previous JavaScript-based benchmarks run artificial tests that were "created on an ad-hoc basis to stress a specific JavaScript feature". Where Google have steered Octane is different, as it extends the former V8 Benchmark Suite with 5 brand new benchmarks created from "full, unaltered, well-known web applications and libraries". Google have given a run down on the new tests:

Continue reading: Google unveils new JavaScript browser benchmark, 'Octane' (full post)

Spotify to launch in Canada shortly, possibly looking at Asia and South America next

Anthony Garreffa | Software & Apps | Aug 22, 2012 8:05 PM CDT

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, music streaming service, Spotify, looks to be launching in Canada shortly, with a hint of an expansion into "countries in Asia and South America", too. The news comes from Spotify's annual accounts that were published this week.

Spotify to launch in Canada shortly, possibly looking at Asia and South America next | TweakTown.com

A Spotify spokesperson talked to The Wall Street Journal, bu refused to discuss the Canadian launch plans, saying that Spotify "plans to launch in new countries". Spotify's tentacles only recently reached Australia and New Zealand back in May, and the latest news from the company was the unlimited free radio on Android for users based in the US.

Spotify now sports over 15 million active users, with 4 million being paid subscribers, myself included. Once Spotify begins launching in other countries, these numbers should only increase.

Continue reading: Spotify to launch in Canada shortly, possibly looking at Asia and South America next (full post)

International version of Samsung's Galaxy S III to get Jelly Bean update next week

Android Central have quite the exclusive today, where they've revealed that the international Samsung Galaxy S III (GT-i9300) will receive its Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update next week, after Samsung's Mobile Unpacked event which is being held in Berlin, Germany.

International version of Samsung's Galaxy S III to get Jelly Bean update next week | TweakTown.com

Android Central report the news from "sources familiar with Samsung's plans" that the firmware for the S III is in the "final stages of testing". We should expect the JB update to arrive within days of the Mobile Unpacked event, which starts next Wednesday, August 29. We should also expect Samsung to unveil their Galaxy Note II at the event, which means it should be quite the explosive event once things get underway.

After Mobile Unpacked, Android Central report that the update should roll out to several countries, including the UK. There's currently no information on whether the LTE-capable Snapdragon S4-powered Galaxy S III will receive Jelly Bean updates, but we should expect Samsung to give the same JB love to their US-based customers, too. More information as it happens.

Continue reading: International version of Samsung's Galaxy S III to get Jelly Bean update next week (full post)

Flash Memory Summit 2012: Virident FlashMax II Pictured - 2.2TB in a half height form-factor

Paul Alcorn | IT/Datacenter & Super Computing | Aug 21, 2012 10:32 PM CDT

One of the neatest aspects of attending industry shows like the Flash Memory Summit is that you never know just what the guy sitting next to you has in his pocket. While attending the seminar on NVMe (an emerging specification and subject of another article soon), we managed to strike up a conversation with a fellow attendee. After mentioning that we had previously done a write up of the Intel 910, which he had also happened to have read, he produced something that he claims to be much more interesting.

Flash Memory Summit 2012: Virident FlashMax II Pictured - 2.2TB in a half height form-factor 01 | TweakTown.com

Considering that this device is unreleased and holds 2.2 TB of raw NAND flash, he most certainly did open our eyes. This is the Virident FlashMAX II, which is a PCIe SSD aimed for the datacenter. With read speeds of up to 2.7 GB/s and write speeds up to 1.6GB/s, these cards deliver monstrous performance. 1.5 Million IOPS of random read is simply astounding, especially considering the attention given to solid, sustainable performance over a long period of time. With MLC NAND, and a hefty bit of overprovisioning, Virident is looking to bring sustainable performance to their customers.

Flash Memory Summit 2012: Virident FlashMax II Pictured - 2.2TB in a half height form-factor 02 | TweakTown.com

Unfortunately their primary competitors can suffer high levels of performance degradation after extended use. The Virident FlashMAX II is designed specifically to avoid these pitfalls, operating at full speed even after years of continuous load.

Continue reading: Flash Memory Summit 2012: Virident FlashMax II Pictured - 2.2TB in a half height form-factor (full post)

Is the end of HTC near? Troubled phone maker has Taiwan Central Bank propose a bailout

Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Aug 21, 2012 9:56 PM CDT

We know HTC are struggling, as the competition from Samsung and Apple not slowing down, it seems that HTC can't release a product that really sticks with consumers. My first Android-based product was a HTC Desire, so I'm fond of the company.

Is the end of HTC near? Troubled phone maker has Taiwan Central Bank propose a bailout | TweakTown.com

But, we've seen the phone maker go from one bad report to another, with recent financial reports showing extremely low profit margins across more than one sector, where they were forced to sell off 50% of their share in Beats Audio just so they could meet some financial obligations. The company also took a $40 million arrow to the knee from the OnLive restructuring, where they invested the money in February of last year.

The big news here is that Taiwan Central Bank have proposed a bailout in an effort to save the struggling company, and we know that when the word "bank" and "bailout" are used, there's trouble brewing. HTC is still profitable, but we're not seeing anywhere near the numbers that rival Samsung are making, and I think right now HTC could all but dream of the numbers Apple are pulling off. What do you think? Are we looking at the beginning of the end of HTC?

Continue reading: Is the end of HTC near? Troubled phone maker has Taiwan Central Bank propose a bailout (full post)

RumorTT: Intel's Haswell package options for desktop and mobile

Trace Hagan | CPU, APU & Chipsets | Aug 21, 2012 6:07 PM CDT

CPU World is reporting the different configurations that Intel's upcoming Haswell processors will come in, with respect to graphics core, memory channels, and processing cores. Some of the configurations break from the current Ivy Bridge in that the highest performance CPUs don't have the highest performing GPUs.

RumorTT: Intel's Haswell package options for desktop and mobile | TweakTown.com

This actually makes sense in that a user who buys a top CPU will likely be running a discrete GPU. Intel is offering at least two different graphics configurations which will be joined to dual- and quad-core parts. The dual-core parts will also have a variation in that they may only come with one memory channel.

The graphic above summarizes the different configurations we are reportedly going to see with Haswell. Each memory channel will support either one or two DIMMs, with the ULT (low power) chips seeing the one DIMM per channel memory controller. Each DIMM will have a maximum capacity of 8GB, so the lowest amount of memory (or highest, depending on point of view) will be 8GB on the ULTs.

We're still a good distance from the release of Haswell, so it's a good idea to take these configurations with a grain of salt. That said, they do make sense, so it's not unlikely that they are accurate.

Continue reading: RumorTT: Intel's Haswell package options for desktop and mobile (full post)

Instacube: a digital photo-frame for your Instagram pictures

Trace Hagan | Displays & Projectors | Aug 21, 2012 5:28 PM CDT

Those digital picture frames were all the rage a few years ago. Instead of having just one picture displayed 24 hours a day, you could insert a memory card and it would automatically cycle through the pictures. D2M has taken that idea just a bit further with a new product they are pitching on Kickstarter called Instacube.

Instacube: a digital photo-frame for your Instagram pictures | TweakTown.com

It's an Android-powered picture frame that shows Instagram pictures at their full 600x600 native resolution. It's operated by a touchscreen and three buttons along the top. Measuring in at 7.5-inches, with a 6.5-inch screen, it will fit most places. Better yet, the cube is themed as the Instagram app icon.

While you will usually have it hooked up to an A/C adapter and located on a shelf, the company is packing in a battery so that it can be taken on the move with you. Only problem is that it needs your help to get into production. As it sits, we only have a proposed spec list and some renders of what it would look like.

You can support it, and find out more, at the Kickstarter page.

Continue reading: Instacube: a digital photo-frame for your Instagram pictures (full post)

Researchers want to turn your WiFi into an emergency network for emergency crews

In an emergency, everyone seems to pull out a cellphone to try and contact both emergency personnel and family members. This causes problems for emergency crews who are trying to communicate. This is why researchers in Germany have suggested using personal wireless routers as a backup network.

Researchers want to turn your WiFi into an emergency network for emergency crews | TweakTown.com

The idea is that emergency crews could flip a switch that would open up a network, similar to guest networks present on some routers, that could be used for voice and data services. The whole premise of this idea hinges on having near 100 percent coverage, which wouldn't be a problem in most medium-to-large cities.

"With a communication range of 30 meters, a mesh network could be easily constructed in urban areas like our hometown," said the research team. An "emergency switch would enable an open guest mode that on the one hand protects people's privacy, and on the other hand makes the existing communications resources available to first responders," says the paper.

However, potential security risks may prevent this from ever being instituted, though it will likely be investigated further. If a hacker were to gain access to the "emergency switch," they theoretically could have a network of access points from which to do other nefarious activity. And it's likely there would be no trace.

Continue reading: Researchers want to turn your WiFi into an emergency network for emergency crews (full post)

CyberpowerPC announces Pro Gamer FTW desktop PC series, powered by AMD or Intel

Trace Hagan | Computer Systems | Aug 21, 2012 4:29 PM CDT

CyberpowerPC has announced a new desktop PC called the Pro Gamer FTW. This new line of systems is "tailored for the seamless integration of gaming and live HD broadcasting." The new line features six different base models, the cheapest of which starts at a mere $1085. The systems also feature the option of NVIDIA or AMD graphics.

CyberpowerPC announces Pro Gamer FTW desktop PC series, powered by AMD or Intel | TweakTown.com

"They are powered by a choice of Intel's X79 Sandy Bridge-E platform, Z77 Ivy Bridge or AMD's FX Bulldozer processors; equipped with NVIDIA's overwhelming Kepler-powered GTX or AMD's astounding Tahiti series, and feature AVerMedia's innovative Live Gamer HD." This way, if you're in the Red, Green, or Blue camp, Cyberpower has you covered.

Cyberpower brags that "every system is meticulously built with precise cable routing to ensure optimal airflow and a clean aesthetic appearance" and this one should be no different. Housed in the massive Azza Genesis 9000, there's plenty of rooming for cooling and high-end components. The machines are also highly configurable:

All Pro Gamer FTW systems can be customized with a number of performance hardware and components such as CyberpowerPC's advanced hydro liquid cooling kit, Solid State Drives, Blu-ray drives, performance gaming memory, gaming peripherals, business and productivity software, and more.

For more information, or to order your own, head on over to CyvberpowerPC's website.

Continue reading: CyberpowerPC announces Pro Gamer FTW desktop PC series, powered by AMD or Intel (full post)

Nokia holds 59% of global Windows Phone market, 32% in US

Trace Hagan | Business, Financial & Legal | Aug 21, 2012 3:30 PM CDT

Nokia is doing its best to hang in the smartphone market and has placed a large bet on Windows Phone. Instead of investing in Android like many of Nokia's competitor's did, they opted to stick with Microsoft's Windows Phone. And while they have the largest market share of Windows Phone phones, their overall market share is still really low.

Nokia holds 59% of global Windows Phone market, 32% in US | TweakTown.com

As you can see in the graph above, total Windows Phone sales increased for nearly every manufacturer as the market grew, but Nokia managed to pull way away from the competition with their Nokia Lumia line of Windows Phone. This resulted in lower market shares for the other companies, such as Samsung dropping from 23 to 13 percent or HTC dropping from 44 to 21 percent.

However, in the US market, HTC is still the leader with 36 percent of the market. Nokia holds a close second at 32 percent and Samsung is in third with 26 percent. Nokia didn't launch a phone in the United States until January and you can see how much their sales took off between then and July. Localytics explains how Microsoft has a partner in Nokia:

Rather than relying on partners like Samsung, who is heavily invested in expanding Android's dominance, Microsoft has in Nokia a partner with as much riding on mobile Windows success as the Redmond-based software giant.

Microsoft and Nokia are holding a joint press conference on September 5, at which it is suspected they will jointly launch Windows Phone 8 and a new line of Lumia phones.

Continue reading: Nokia holds 59% of global Windows Phone market, 32% in US (full post)

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