Well, it's officially here. The iPhone 4 officially launched today, to the delight of thousands of people. Reports are flooding in from all of the initial launch countries (USA, UK, France, Germany and Japan) of long lines, crowded stores, and joyous people clutching their prizes like a 6 year old getting their favorite toy at Christmas.
But the story is not all happy-go-lucky. Reports of retail stores having no where near the expected stock on hand of iPhones and various problems with the unit itself have been cropping up all over the internet. Walmart, Radio Shack, and best Buy, the biggest in the chains expected to carry the phones, only had them in limited supply at select stores. Best Buy seemed to only have them available for the preorder crowd and Walmart is reported to have only had 8,000 total phones spread across 1,500 of their over 4,000 stores.
Then there are the issues with the phone itself. The biggest complaint has been the loss of signal when holding the phone a certain way, as the metal that rings the outside of the phone also acts as an antenna. Most people are getting "don't hold it that way" as their answer to the problem, although getting a rubber case also seems to help the issue. Other complaints have included yellow spots on the screen (residue from the manufacturing process reported to go away with time) and lack of Bluetooth connectivity.
When you have multiple companies operating in the same product category each wants to claim that their widget is faster than or better than the completion for one reason or another. This was the case when NVIDIA crafted its GPUs to run applications that were before that point only able to run on a CPU.
Developers have claimed that the GPU is as much as 100x faster in some applications that the CPU. NVIDIA says that Intel has unveiled a paper at ISCA in France called "Debunking the 100x GPU vs. CPU Myth."
The catch is in debunking the 100x myth in Intel's mind; the company admitted that the NVIDIA GTX 280 GPU was 14x faster in the benchmarks it ran than its own processor. Intel didn't say specifically which benchmarks it ran to arrive at its conclusion.
Etymonic has unveiled a new line of in-ear noise canceling headset in a variety of colors. Their MC3 and M5 lines, retailing for $99 and $79 USD respectively, feature an inline control pod and a noise isolating microphone with adjustable volume for music and other things like phone calls. The top of the line MC series for $179 feature an expanded control 3-button pod that's inline with the audio cable and are designed for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
The coolest feature included for these products is the ability to get fitted for custom eartips to match your ears. Buyers can sign up for a voucher for a free visit to an audiologist who will fit your ears with a mold, then send those impressions to a lab "where your impressions will become custom-molded, Etymotic-compatible eartips." The custom eartips will set you back $100 USD and carry a one year warranty. This program starts July 1st and is available for all Etymonic products.
With all of the leaks, pictures of features in the Droid eye, and other not-so-mysterious stuff surrounding the Droid X, it's about time we have something set in stone. Motorola and Verizon did just that with the official Droid X announcement at the Droid event today.
Here's some hard specs: a huge 4.3″ 854×480 screen, an 8mp camera capable of shooting 720p video with a "super slow mo" feature, metal casing, and Android 2.2 onboard later this summer. It even has HDMI out that will play back any media without DRM on your TV. The Droid X also has the ability to create a wireless hotspot for up to five devices, but you'll pay a $20 USD fee for 2GB of data with a 5 cent/mb overage fee. Need storage? They've got you covered with 8GB onboard and a 16GB microSD card included.
The Droid X is slotted to be available on July 15 for $199 USD after a $100 USD mail in rebate with a two year plan and $30 unlimited data fee. CDMA means Verizon only for now, but there may be an international version around the corner.
Nintendo's handheld 3DS system has gotten a lot of attention at E3 this week, and they had an actual game cartridge on hand to give the crowd a look at what the carts will look like. Slimmer than Nintendo DS carts, they also have a tab on one corner to set them apart from previous cartridges.
This was not the only news about the device though. It's ben reported that Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata spoke with Nikkei and gave the possibility that the wireless connection of the 3DS could possibly lead to ereader functionality, including downloading e-books, newspaper articles, and magazine. The 3DS also has the ability to connect to any WiFi network which would help make e-reader functions more available.
We have seen a lot of news about a lot of tablets on the horizon, but if you're not into the iPad, what's a guy gotta do to get his hands on a tablet right now? Well, for about 400 dollars, you can build your own "iPad killer" from the comfort of your own workshop.
Liquidware a company dealing in open source hardware, has released a tablet starter kit called the "Beagle." With a 4.3" OLED screen that mounts on a "BeagleBoard," the kit also includes a 1 Ghz processor, a battery module, and 4GB pre-formatted SD card to boot Angstrom Linux. Android is said to be supported on the system as well. There is no onboard storage past the SD card, but a USB port is included to connect an external device or pop in a larger SD card. Battery life is said to be from 3-6 hours. Everything from loading the OS to all the applications is up to the end user.
"The Beagle tablet is a portable modular open source handheld computer," says Justin Huynh, director of product development at Liquidware. "It's all about customizability and embedded development. With the iPad, you would have a hard time hacking it to read from a specialized sensor such as a temperature sensor or add your own custom hardware," he says. "The Beagle tablet is all about innovation."
Some interesting figures came out of the Untethered Conference in New York City today, with Sarah Rotman Epps of Forrester Research providing projections that Tablets will outsell netbooks by 2012 and desktop computers by 2013. Tablets have only begun to surface with the iPad, but with the strong popularity of the Apple tablet along with the plethora of products on the horizon tablets look to be the wave of the future.
Epps expects 3.5 million tablets to be sold in 2010 (which is a VERY conservative estimate considering the iPad has already sold 2 million units all by itself) and will make up 6 percent of total PC sales. The market share is projected to more than double to 13 percent next year, eventually growing to nearly a quarter of the PC market by 2015. According to the figures, tablets are chewing almost exclusively into the desktop computer market, as the percentages for laptops (which will have the highest percentage as early as next year) and netbooks stays about the same throughout the graph. This goes against many beliefs that tablets would end up the replacement for netbooks.
The numbers here show units sold and not total money made in sale, but with the numbers stating 59 million people will be using tablets in the next five years, the rapid growth is stunning. Then again, with smartphones also becoming so capable, they may become a direct tablet competitor as well. But 2015 is a long way off, and who knows what we'll have on the horizon by then. It's still fun to project though, right?
The german folks over at Hardware-Infos have managed to get a good scoop on NVIDIA's next dethroning weapon to the GTX 480; a mild leap forward to make it worthy of its GTX 485 SKU. NVIDIA's own chief developer Bill Dally was apparently the source for Hardware-Info's news about the card's existence, who says it will see light of day this fall.
Running quickly over the specs provided, the card looks to get mild increases in all the right areas; 512 CUDA processors (vs. 480 on the GTX 480), a 20MHz higher GPU clock speed and 40MHz higher Shader clock. Whilst the ROPs remain at 48 vs the GTX 480, there are four more texture units aboard the 485.
Perhaps one of the most praised enhancements to the 485 will be the supposed superior reference cooler going on this model, said to be more efficient and quieter of which anyone who's heard a stock 480 under load will definitely appreciate any efforts made to improve in this area.
It's time again for another ATi Catalyst Driver update. Version 10.6 is out and listing some minor bug fixes as well as OpenGL 3.3 and 4.0 as well as GPU acceleration of H.264 video in Flash 10.1. No gaming improvements were noted in the link, but give them a try and check it out for yourself! Download links at the Source link below.
List of improvements according to ATi:
New Windows Features
Blimey Charlie! Words that not all of you will understand. But let us just say when I just got word now of Lsdmeasap aka Ed, GIGABYTE volunteer tech support and all-round great guy from our forums, hitting a 2700MHz DDR3 memory speed, I got just a little excited. We all know this guy knows his motherboards inside out, but even I didn't know he was really into extreme overclocking.
Using a GIGABYTE X58A-UD7 motherboard and a Mushkin 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3 1600MHz Blackline triple-channel kit, oh and of course some lovely cold dry ice, he managed to hit an incredible memory speed of 2700MHz DDR. This was with the memory set at a 2:16 ratio and the timings set at 9-12-11-31. And remember this is in triple-channel mode!
And you thought you had to buy G.SKILL, Corsair or OCZ RAM to get the big clocks. Welcome back Mushkin! Head on over to this forum thread for the full details and more impressive photos.