In addition to the new CPUs, AMD has also released its new flagship chipset: the AMD 890FX. This new chipset offers support for USB3, SATA6 and, perhaps most importantly for gamers, support for 4 PCI-E slots and great overclockability, giving an even better bang for your buck.
As well as adding the two extra cores, AMD has added a nifty feature that in fact, makes the Phenom X6 a 2-in-1 deal: Turbo Core. Similar to Intel's Turbo Boost, Turbo Core sets 3 of the CPU cores to a sleep state, while raising the frequency of the remaining 3, giving a very powerful Tri-Core setup. This is very useful for gaming where not all the cores are utilized, as well as video/photo editing, and similar applications. Turbo Core detects when some of the cores are not being used, and consequently sets them to sleep until they are needed again. Turbo Core is completely dynamic, using whatever cores are available at the time, meaning that it will not always the same 3 cores that are being overclocked - ensuring product longevity is sustained. One can read a little deeper and note that this also means that all cores within the CPU are capable of being overclocked - great news for enthusiasts and gamers alike.
While the new 6-core CPUs aren't as impressive as Intel's i7 980X in terms of pure power and speed, AMD is certainly maintaining its path of delivering performance at a great price. Turbo Core is a noteworthy feature, which gives the X6 more appeal even without software that cannot fully take advantage of the extra cores. Gamers won't benefit as much from Turbo Core as productivity in video editing/encoding, so if you already own a decent quad-core, and you only intend to game, you shouldn't shell out for the Phenom II X6 just yet.
Nokia today released an HD video sample, completely unedited, taken with the new N8 mobile that uses the brand-new Symbian 3 operating system.
Check out the video below:
It's an ultra-stylish new Nokia mobile in the fashionable form factor of a full-screen multitouch display. It's got a 12 (!) megapixel camera, perfect for those HD-seeking moments. It even allows you to edit the video on-device, a la iPhone 3GS. Furthermore, there's home-screen support for updating your favourite social networks, like Facebook and Twitter.
But it doesn't have just brains; no, Nokia has decided that the current software that powers their devices, Symbian S60, is in need of some serious makeover. Thus, enter Symbian 3, their all-new, fresh mobile OS armed and ready for any onslaughts Cupertino, Redmond or the Googleplex throw at it. If you haven't yet heard of it, here's a video Nokia posted earlier this year about their plans for this new OS.
Nokia seems to be playing their cards right this time, by focussing on making the operating system the focus, and not the device. This is key to survival in the mobile space, which has seen exponential growth and a surge in application production to specific platforms, which the Finnish mobile giant has not been able to cope with,
The N8 moniker seems to play on their media-centric line of smartphones, the Nseries, and perhaps is
targeted at this line. If so, we can be sure to see a huge overhaul of the popular Nseries line.
Success with the N97 also appears to have great influence in the design decisions of the N8 and Symbian 3. The N97 introduced Nokia's widget-based homescreen, an intuitive and useful feature that can be used to quickly access features such as updating your status to social networking sites.
The N8 is expected to be released in quarter 3 this year.
What do you think of the N8? Will you be in line to buy one, or will you choose to wait for later Symbian 3 devices? Let us know in the comments section!
However, as with most ventures, you need to have a clear understanding of the role of your product, the audience you're targeting, and most importantly, quality content.
A year later, one more writer on the team, and a lot of experience gained, and I've realised how important those three aspects are in being successful with this venture. You've got to have a thorough understanding of the product you're offering, and you've got to create something that people will want to come back to see more of, often.
Blogging is a very fine art, an intricate balance between creativity, technical knowledge and good old intuition.
Having a successful blog, as I've learnt, means having top-notch content. But not only must your blog provide information that your readers will find informative, interesting or helpful, it must provide this content in a unique way.
Some means of accomplishing this are:
- Having a well-designed blog. Let's face it: people don't like something that's ugly, and your blog deserves to look its best. Besides, having a stylish-looking blog will encourage you to write more, and it will tell your readers that you take your blog seriously.
- Have strong faith in your blog. The first step to being successful is to believe, within yourself, that your blog is worth all those hours of hard work behind the scenes to get it up and running. By you believing in your blog, your readers will understand that the content you're providing has been well thought-out, and is thus of a finer degree of quality.
- Ensure your English is well-written. Personally, I abhor blogs that are poorly written; it's the mark of a blogger that doesn't take care in what they do. So make sure that you've dotted your i's and crossed your t's; it'll go a long way to gaining readership, and retaining it.
- Write relevantly. Make sure you keep to the theme of your blog (for example, Byte Lounge is all about providing opinions and news on technology to everybody, and not just the techies. That's why all the posts are relevant to the topic of this blog). Sometimes it's OK to go off-topic, for example, writing posts in support of awareness campaigns like Bloggers Unite, but the bulk of your posts must be within the confines of your theme.
- Focus on the content, and the readers will come. It's the same analogy as "build it, and they will come". I can seriously vouch for this; when I started out with Byte Lounge a year ago, I was a nobody in the blogging world. But I focussed a lot of my blogging time on ensuring that the content on Byte Lounge was quality, and in time, my steady readership has increased. Mind you, it's not drastic, but it certainly goes a long way.
If you have and tips of your own, please feel free to share them in the comments.
Wanting more speed is the one driving force that has remained throughout the life of the PC. As the consumer, we want it better, faster (and if possible, cooler), and we want it yesterday.
The Need for Speed
The Processor MHz war is perhaps the most publicised, and consequently, many new buyers are blinded by numbers when looking for their next PC. However, true speed increases, that is, in a factor of ten, are very few and far between.
USB 2.0, launched at the turn of the millennium, has been the household high-speed connection used by most PCs. With a theoretical speed of 480Mbps (bits mind you, not bytes), and real world speeds plateauing at about 300Mbps (around 35 MB/s), it has provided a way to transfer very large amounts of data from Hard Drive to PC and back. The ability to Plug 'n' Play makes USB ideal in a variety of environments, but with external hard drives becoming larger and faster, USB 2.0 is beginning to hit its bandwidth limit. Transferring 100GB of data can take up to 50 minutes.
Meeting the Consumer's Needs
What is needed then, is a new USB architecture that far surpasses USB 2.0 in speed. Enter USB 3.0, aka Superspeed (I'm kid you not) USB. The first prototype was unveiled at the Intel Developer Forum way back in 2007, and it is only now that a few products are beginning to find their way into the market.
Unlike USB 2.0 however, Superspeed has been met with a fair competition. Firewire's S3200 is the main competitor, with Intel's Light Peak aimed at the multimedia buffs. Practically, Superspeed remains the best way forward for the PC user. Longer cables can be used (you don't know how convenient that is until you actually have it) and even though the ports themselves feature nine pins instead of four, any USB 2.0 will function when plugged into a USB 3.0 port, albeit without the bandwidth increase.
The Way Forward
It's fairly certain that Superspeed will become the norm when it gains widespread acceptance in 2011. I make such a bold prediction because of Superspeed's backward compatability with USB 2.0, and, perhaps more importantly, people understand how it works. On top of that, a 2TB hard drive goes for about 150Eur (around R1500.00), and slipping that into a compatible caddy is no great task. USB 2.0 just doesn't make sense when moving around with that amount of data, and Superspeed becomes even more amiable when you consider that not all motherboards come with eSATA (which still requires an auxiliary power cable). Intel is holding out on the controllers for USB 3.0, so the only way to get them is through a new motherboard form either ASUS or Gigabyte. you can buy a PCI Express Controller card for your desktop PC, however, you will need PCI Express 4x for this, and indeed devices that support it.
My advice would be to wait out the year before investing in USB 3.0 gear, mainly because Intel will have released the onboard controllers, but more importantly, device manufacturers would have ironed out many teething problems that comes with any new interface. Prices will consequently be lower, and that can only good for the consumer.
However, instead of marketing the phone in the conventional way - to business-orientated people, as with their Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile-powered devices, Microsoft has taken a novel approach at the mobile phone: pushing it as a gadget for teens and young adults.
There are two phones in the Kin range, under the Microsoft brand but manufactured by hardware maker Toshiba: the Kin One and Kin Two.
Both mobiles come with support for popular social networks like Twitter, MySpace and Facebook, and include a competent instant messenger app.
The mobiles are seen as a "perfect fit" for teens who are interested in taking their online social lives with them on-the-go, but don't want to shell out for an expensive smartphone like the Apple iPhone or Nexus One. Microsoft has even taken this idea one step further: it doesn't tie its users to an "app store", a fad that every mobile manufacturer has taken to since Apple's runaway success with its App Store on the iPhone.
Information is not currently available on when the phones are set to release in South Africa, but I'm sure that if it does, it will be a major success. This country alone has a huge market of teenagers and young adults who enjoy an online social life, and would love to have access to their friends from networks like Facebook and Twitter via rich applications on a mobile.
But what's so special about Opera Mini? It's a lightweight mobile web browser that's already gained much ground on other mobile phones, as a quick and cheap way of accessing full websites on a handheld device.
In fact, long before the iPhone came along with its "revolutionary" mobile browser (mobile Safari, as it's called), Opera Mini allowed users from as far afield as India to South Africa to connect to the Internet; some say it democratised the web by allowing people who would not be able to access the 'Net otherwise.
The controversy comes from the fact that Apple's approval of the Mini browser rides a thin line on their vague approval policy; from the outset, Opera Mini appears to provide competition to Apple's own native browser, mobile Safari.
However, Opera ASA, the makers of this cool piece of software, have very carefully designed and run through their approval process for Apple. Instead of accessing actual HTML web pages, Opera Mini processes web content through their own proxy servers, which render a binary file that's sent back to the browser, which then interprets and renders the content on your screen.
This results in 90% faster load times, and significant bandwidth reductions (effectively making it cheaper to browse the web).
Be warned, however, that browsing with the Opera Mini app is not going to be just like the experience on mobile Safari. Because Mini displays a binary web file, and not actual HTML (the markup language used to generate web pages), certain things like animated images will display as static. Oh, and forget viewing Adobe Flash content — you really think Apple would've approved it if Opera allowed Flash, when Apple's oh so against it?
The Opera Mini app is available today from the App Store, either via iTunes on your computer, or from the App Store on your mobile Apple device.
Twitter has for a long time supported developers of third-part applications that allow users of the site to access their tweets, post messages and interact with their friends (called "Followers").
This has enabled a "gold rush" for developers, who have sought their fortunes on building stylish apps for next-generation devices such as Apple's iPhone, and RIM's BlackBerry.
However, this recent move points to Twitter's focus on wanting to purchase existing brands, instead hiring engineers, with the $100 million boost they recently received through venture capital funding. This recent purchase of the successful application for iPhone will see the developer of Tweetie join forces with Twitter, to re-brand Tweetie as "Twitter for iPhone", and essentially create the "ultimate" Twitter application for
Apple's popular smartphone.
Bloggers across the 'sphere have been chronicling what seems to be the demise of third-party developers of mobile Twitter access.
The way I see it, though, is that this could actually be a good thing for us Twitter users, who like to get our daily dose of tweets whilst on-the-go. With Twitter being more actively involved in the building of these mobile apps, we as end users get a far more polished product with tighter integration to the micro-blogging service.
Think of Facebook and their apps for BlackBerry, iPhone and Android: the apps are stylish, polished, and have a great, seamless integration to the site.
And with new features coming soon from Twitter, it'll be interesting to see how they perform with the company now taking this deeper approach to developing for mobility.
One thing I hope will come out good from this, is if Twitter finally takes the step towards creating an official app for Symbian, and thus the large Nokia population. Us Nokia users have been left out cold for far too long now, with Facebook and the like not wanting to build natively for us; let's hope that, if Twitter makes the bold move, the others will follow.
So the cat's out the bag: Apple has opened-up their mobile operating system, iPhone OS, somewhat by allowing one of the most sought-after features, multitasking. Byte Lounge carried coverage of the event, chronicling the historic announcement.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has stated that the latest OS will be available for iPad users "this fall" (spring in South Africa).
Whether this will be a free update or not is not yet known.
However, this major new feature inclusion will bring a surge of new customers to the iPad. Once deemed "not powerful enough" to replace a regular laptop for smaller tasks like blogging, users who initially refrained from purchasing the iPad because of its lack of multitasking will rethink their opinion of the latest Apple gadget.
Multitasking on the latest iPhone OS brings the mobile operating system into the "modern age". Many criticised Apple's move for not initially including this feature in the first three iterations of the software, but the long wait seems to have definitely paid off: the way in which Apple implemented multitasking is, to sum it up in one word, stylish.
I can't wait to see what it looks like, and how it performs, on the iPad, what with its monster A4 chip powering it.
This was a clever and certainly calculated move by the Cuppertino-based company. Multitasking means that users of its mobile devices will become more productive in their work, and at the same time it pushes devices like the iPad further into the mobile computing field.
What are your thoughts on the announcements made today at the Apple campus? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
It's a mobile advertising platform that's designed to be more intuitive than other ad services that developers use to monetize their apps on the iPhone and iPod touch.
Unlike adverts from other networks, iAds, which will be sold from Apple, and will give developers 60% of the total revenue earned, will allows users to remain within the app, and they can buy other applications for their gadgets whilst still in the current app.
This is an incredible way to monetize apps, as it carries Apple's tight integration with the apps — iAds will be build right into the iPhone OS.
A social gaming network, and advertising. Seems to us Apple is moving it up in the social media space. Google better watch out.
You can now set a background image to your Home screen — the screen where all your applications are — instead of the dull black background.
The Dock at the bottom of your screen, housing four of you most important apps, now has a new look, akin to the iPad and the Mac OS X dock.
You can sort applications by folders. This is done by pressing and holding onto an icon, until the icons start wiggling. Then, start dragging apps you want to group together one on top of another, and they immediately form into a folder. This is great for organizing similar-themed apps like Games. The OS is so clever, that it can figure out what to name your folders for you, by what's stored in them. So, by creating a folder for games, your iPhone will immediately name that folder "Games". Pretty clever.
Enhanced Mail — the Unified Mailbox
You can now manage more than one email account on your iPhone, and receive all mail into your "Inbox", or organize mail by thread.
iBooks comes to iPhone
Not one of the most exciting additions, but the new iBooks app from the iPad now comes to the iPhone. Perhaps Apple wants to bask in the glory of their success with iBooks for iPad?
Over 1500 New APIs
This will help developers to build the best possible apps out there. Included in the new Application Programming Interfaces are 5x Digital Zoom for the camera application, support for bluetooth keyboards, "tap-to-focus" video, the ability to gift apps to friends, and the ability to create playlists in apps like iPod.
The new OS is set to launch this summer in America (winter for us South Africans), and will be available in its entirety to users of the latest iPhone (we expect). It'll also be available to users of the 3rd generation iPod touch, and the iPhone 3GS. Users of the iPhone and iPhone 3G can use it, but certain features, like multitasking, won't be available to them.
The iPad gets OS 4.0 this fall in America (spring in South Africa).
It's one of the seven new features that are coming to the iPhone OS 4, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system that powers the iPhone, iPod touch and now the iPad.
Steve Jobs said that "we weren't first to the party, but we're gonna be the best, just like with copy and paste". And rightly so: iPhone users have waited three years for this feature, which is available on other smartphones, to come to their device.
Here's how the new feature works:
While in an app, like Mail or iPod, simply double-click the "Home" key. This will bring up a new "dock" that shows all open apps. Then, you can select the app you want, and you're taken to it. Simple, and elegant. Pure Apple.
As Jobs said, "if you don't do it right, the phone will feel sluggish." Thus, Apple has managed to devise an innovative new way of enabling multitasking, without compromising battery and performance of your iPhone.
Perhaps you now deem Twitter "cool" to use, but realise it may be a little cumbersome to have to keep up-to-date with your followers via your computer.
Twitter is by nature a mobile service — it's designed, after all, to allow you to blog about what you're currently doing (or, as I've found with my use of it, to connect with people from around the world — especially useful if you're a blogger).
So here's a list of some great mobile applications you can use to keep up with your followers, and tweet your thoughts, whilst on-the-go!
It's a sad day for Mac fans everywhere: according to CrunchGear, Apple is ending one of the most successful advertising campaigns in recent history, the ever-popular and funny Get a Mac adverts featuring Justin Long and John Hodgman.
Long is reported to have said:
So long, Mac and PC. We'll miss you...
“You know, I think they might be done. In fact, I heard from John, I think they’re going to move on. I can’t say definitively, which is sad, because not only am I going to miss doing them, but also working with John. I’ve become very close with him, and he’s one of my dearest, greatest friends. It was so much fun to go do that job, because there’s not a lot to it for me. A lot of it is just keeping myself entertained between takes, and there’s no one I’d rather do it with than John.”
Take a trip down memory lane with this awesome compilation of the best "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" adverts.
AOL bought Bebo in 2008 for $850 million — the site was originally run by Michael and Xochi Birch. Once quite popular in Australia and the UK, AOL's plans for Bebo were to introduce it to the American market, which is dominated by Facebook.
AOL relied on advertising revenue to sustain the site, and unfortunately, this plan didn't seem to work out for the social network.
Advertising revenue relies on site traffic, and Bebo hasn't been seeing much of that lately. Recent stats point out a 45% decline in traffic to Bebo compared with last year. Facebook, on the other hand, received a 68% increase from last year, at 462 million unique visitors (Bebo only managed to clock in around 12 million).
In a memo to Bebo staff, AOL states:
“It is clear that social networking is a space with heavy competition, and where scale defines success.
Bebo, unfortunately, is a business that has been declining and, as a result, would require significant investment in order to compete in the competitive social networking space”AOL has come to the decision to either sell the social network, or shut it down.
For me, this is sad news, as I started my online social life on Bebo, and got most of my friends on there as well. However, for Bebo's own sake, it would be better to either shut down or change its tactics; competing with a Titan like Facebook is futile.
This notion comes as South Africa enters the free-internet age with Mweb, a popular ISP, introduced the first-ever uncapped internet package to South Africans last month.
The smartphone market in South Africa has taken-off considerably, and more South Africans are starting to communicate using newer technologies on BlackBerrys, iPhones and Android-based smartphones.
If Neotel, who has been experiencing a not-so-satisfactory run after launching not so long ago, is clever enough, they would choose to leverage this new phenomenon, and thus connect more South Africans in a more cost-efficient way.
Here's how I'd envision them to do this VoIP product: the Neotel VoIP app would be available from the various App Stores relevant to each mobile phone (e.g. Android Marketplace, Apple App Store, etc.). Users could then download the app for free (or Neotel could charge them, but this would be unwise, given that many other VoIP apps, like Skype, are free).
Within the Neotel Mobile app, users would have to enter their unique account and password. Thereafter, calls made and received within the app would be credited from their Neotel account. This VoIP app would be far better than having to carry around those bulky Neotel VoIP phones.
Furthermore, this would eliminate the need for users to own an additional physical phone (those bulky Neotel VoIP phones), and instead, the functionality of those phones would be replicated within the VoIP app for smartphones.
Now, I'm not saying that Neotel should just abandon their current business strategy in favour of going all-digital with a single software solution (that'd be suicide for them). This VoIP app idea would be a way for them to supplement their service, and provide something innovative to South Africans.
The event is set to showcase the features and improvements in the next version of the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch operating system, named iPhone OS.
About a year ago, Apple held a similar event to showcase the current edition of the software, iPhone OS 3.0. That edition brought to the table MMS support, SMS forwarding, and the much coveted copy & paste functionality, amongst other features.
With OS 4.0, we expect Apple to introduce their concept of multitasking on the iPhone. This has been a much sought-after feature that other smartphones already have. Apple's excuse for this feature omission has been that the current iPhones don't have sufficient processing power to support it. However, with the launch of the iPad and its new in-house designed A4 processor, we expect things to change drastically.
Of course, OS 4.0 may only be available for the next generation of the iPhone, expected to come out sometime in July this year at Apple's annual World Wide Developers Conference, according to previous product cycles.
OS 4.0 is also expected to be pushed as a free update to current iPad users, in much the same way OS 3.0 was free for current iPhone 3G customers. The iPod touch may only get this OS version when its next iteration comes out, expected around September 2010.
A few minutes ago, Apple Stores across the United States opened their doors, letting in the legion of devout fans of the fruity company. The main focus for the rest of today at these stores will be the sale of the iPad, and customers have been forewarned by Apple-related blogs that the company might be reluctant to retail anything but the iPad.
However, the economic climate has made its "hidden appearance" at the store openings, as according to the BBC, "Overall the queues were said to be considerably smaller than the crowds that gathered ahead of the launch of the iPhone in 2007".
As we approach the big day, when Apple will once again dominate the tech scene with yet another stylish device, last-minute rumours have begun circulating as to release date of the iPad internationally.
When CEO Steve Jobs announced the revolutionary device, he did state that it would initially be available to customers in the U.S. first, and that Apple plans on shipping out internationally "later in April 2010".