Amazon Set To Release New Tablets In October

Amazon is known for a lot of things, ranging from their online store and their music stores to their Prime membership offering access to Movies and next day delivery on a range of their offered products. In recent years, their hardware has also taken the market by storm, with people buying up the Kindle and then their Kindle Fire which offered a tablet with Ebook bonuses. Now they seem to be expanding their market with a whole slew of new products.

Four new tablets are set for release in October, titled the Fire HD8, the Fire HD10, The Fire and the Fire Kids edition. Not surprisingly the Fire HD8 and HD10 will feature 8-inch and 10.1-inch screens respectively with metal backing and Gorilla glass to survive those unfortunate drops. The Fire HD8 packs 8GB while the HD10 will come with 16GB, but both are capable of being expanded with a microSD card of up to 128 GB. Priced at $150 and $230 they are not the most expensive devices on the market.

The Fire, however, has drawn the most attention, with a slower 1.3GHZ processor and 1GB of RAM the device is shown off by a 7-inch screen but comes in at only $50. Following the Fire is the $99 Fire Kids edition. A version of the Fire the Kid edition comes with a case and a 2 year no worry guarantee. This guarantee offers parents the option to send back their device, even if the kids got angry and threw it against the wall, for free.

Supporting the new devices are a slew of new features, such as the Fire OS5 which will come and show off several new features. With a variety of programs to support it, such as a year of “FreeTime Unlimited” service with the new Fire Kids edition. This offers a selection of books, shows and games that have been checked by child advocacy group Common Sense Media to make sure that your kids are only on what’s suitable for them.

An interesting new piece of software is titled “On Deck”, designed to help solve that problem when your about to get on a plane or out and about and have forgotten to download that TV series or movie you wanted to watch. On deck aims to solve this by downloading movies and shows automatically when the tablets are plugged in, deleting the content when you try to download something and run into store troubles. It should be noted that On Deck can be disabled.

With all these new features, who is tempted to buy a brand new Fire Tablet?

Thank you Ars Technica for the information and the image.

ASUS Z170 Maximus VIII Hero (LGA 1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction


The Z170 chipset and Skylake CPU’s have been around for just over a week now and we have seen pretty much everything that each manufacturer has to offer. We now know that the huge connectivity options presented by the Z170 chipset that some manufacturers have included not one, but two, sometimes even three M.2 slots and multiple USB 3.0 ports. Along with those, you also have USB 3.1 Type A and Type C as standard on the vast majority of the Z170 series boards.

Today on the test bench, we take our first look at an ASUS Republic of Gamers (RoG) motherboard in the form of the Maximus VIII Hero (M8H). If you’ve heard anything about the RoG range, you’ll know that it is the go-to motherboard range if you want the highest performance, best quality components, more accessories than you could ever use and some of the best looks available.

Specifications

The M8H follows a similar process to the RoG ranges of old with huge amount of features, but things have changed slightly, ASUS has decided to almost ditch the red colour scheme; I’ll let that sink in. So instead of the red theme, ASUS has gone for a simply stunning grey with subtle red detailing. I think this is a step in the right direction because of every manufacturer jumping on the red scheme recently.

Manufacturers nowadays need to find innovative ways to stand out from the crowd, ASUS is no exception and has crammed a huge array of features into this motherboard.

RoG Key Features

  • Extreme Engine Digi+
  • OC Zone
  • RoG RAMDisk
  • RoG RAMCache
  • RoG Overwolf
  • KeyBot II
  • UEFI BIOS

Key Features

  • Dual Intelligent Processors 5
  • ASUS Exclusive Features
    • AI Suite 3
    • USB 3.1 Boost
    • AI Charger+
    • Push Notice
    • Disk Unlocker
    • Pc Cleaner
    • HyStream
    • Media Streamer
    • Mobo Connect
  • EZ DIY
    • USB BIOS Flashback
    • Crashfree BIOS 3
    • EZ Flash 3
    • Mem OK!
  • Q-Design
    • Q-Code
    • Q-Sheild
    • Q-Connector
    • Q-LED
    • Q-Slot
    • Q-DIMM

Packaging

The M8H is a key asset to the RoG series, the box itself is almost a direct replica of older RoG boxes with the changes to the features along the bottom and the name.

The back of the box has a small diagram of the board and the key features in detail.

Inside the box is a huge amount of accessories, including driver disk, install manual, door hanger, cable labels, case sticker and fan stickers.

Along with those are 6x SATA 6 Gb/s cables, 2 way SLI bridge, I/O shield, M.2 riser and screw, front panel connector riser and CPU locator.

New ‘8Pack’ Product Teaser Video Released

Ahh OverclockersUK, you like your teaser videos don’t you; teasing us mere peasants with technology we can only dream of. Well since the introductions of 8Pack to the OCUK team, the amount of ‘8Pack’ branded hardware to come out of there has been consistent in terms of quality and performance. Starting off with the 8Pack highly overclocked super systems and then onto the world’s first SuperFlower 2000w PSU with 8Pack branding; he seems to be offering the top end market exactly what they want.

Let’s take a look at some of the previous 8Pack teaser videos.

Very choppy, very little information apart from the PSU one. Something tells me that a new product is coming with the new video, but what could it be?

From first impressions, it is definitely a fan of some kind, is that steam/ LN2 fog being pushed out to the bottom left or just the shine of the fan fins? Could this be a new cooling unit, maybe an 8Pack liquid cooling unit, or maybe even a graphics card cooling unit? Who knows.

What’s that at the end of the video, a subliminal message of some sort? Play the video back and let us know what you think you can hear in the comments.

Twitter CFO: We Lost 4 Million Users Because of iOS 8 – Then Denies It

In the last quarter, Twitter’s user base grew by 4 million – half of their predicted 8 million. So why was that? Well, during their earnings call, the company said it was because of Apple’s iOS 8. Yes, apparently a ‘bug’, or at least a change in the way iOS 8 handled Twitter, meant that their growth figures were lower than expected.

CFO Anthony Noto said that “an unforeseen bug” caused the loss of users. The big question is – how? Well he said that 1 million of that 4 million either simply didn’t log back into Twitter after updating to iOS 8 or they forgot their passwords (what this has to do with iOS 8 we don’t know). He then said the other 3 million were lost because iOS 8 had what they called a “bug” that meant the reader function in Safari no longer included Twitter.

If you like the rest of us can’t understand that, it seems Twitter doesn’t anymore either. They since tweeted this bellow, saying that the issue was their fault and not Apple’s fault.

Source: Re/code

Toshiba Introduced Encore 2 Write Tablets with Precision Pen

Toshiba announced the new Encore 2 Write tablets with a pressure sensitive pen and ultra-responsive screen for a more paper-like precision. The tablets are powered by Windows 8.1 and the pens are made with Wacom’s latest feel pen technologies.

“Whether you’re a compulsive scribbler, sketch artist or simply prefer handwriting notes in meetings, this tablet features technologies that make writing on screen feel more natural than ever. And because it’s a Windows tablet, it’s compatible with your favorite Office programs and apps, so you can get going right out of the box,” said Philip Osako, senior director of product marketing, Toshiba America

The 8-inch and 10.1-inch tablets are powered by a Intel Atom quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Network is covered by dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi and support for wireless display right out of the box. The bigger model also has a micro HDMI port for direct connection.

The tablets offer up to an 11-hour battery life for general usage and up to 8 hours of video playback. The built in stereo speakers support Dolby Digital Plus, so several movies in a row shouldn’t be a problem. It also has GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope and e-compass, a micro USB 2.0 port for power, sync and sharing, and supports microSD cards up to 128GB.

 

Toshiba’s TruPen that is included, is a “pro-grade” pen with a fine tip and 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. This enables sharp strokes while minimizing lag for greater precision and accuracy. It is said to “virtually feels as natural as writing on paper”.

You’ll also get a one-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Personal and with unlimited storage through OneDrive. It also comes with a couple Toshiba apps for better photo capturing, recording meetings and taking notes.

The Encore 2 Write tablets should be available for purchase now at select retailers, including Microsoft Stores and on toshiba.com/us. The 10.1-inch Encore 2 Write is priced at $399.99 and the 8-inch model is priced at $349.99 MSRP.

Thanks to Toshiba for providing us with this information

iOS 8.2 Beta 2 Now Available

iOS 8.2 Beta 2 has been released to beta testers.

The update, which should be available to testers now, arrived just a day after the release of iOS 8.1.2 to the public. That just brought some bug fixes, but it’s believed iOS 8.2 will bring a whole lot more. Rumours suggest that this will be the version to include support for the long-awaited Apple Watch, due out early next year. This is probably true considering 8.2 includes support for Apple’s WatchKit. This is the SDK released to developers just a few weeks ago, and allows them to build apps for the device.

Although, Apple has yet given them full access to the hardware, only giving them access to the features which allow interactivity between the iPhone and the watch. It’s not yet known when Apple will give full access, but it’s generally believed that this will be early next year – when developers can finally have access to the hardware itself.

Source: MacRumors

iOS 8.1.2 Update Released

Apple has just released iOS 8.1.2 with bug fixes and help for those who lost ringtones downloaded from iTunes.

The software, which carries a build number of 12B440, resolves an issue where ringtones purchased from iTunes were deleted without the user’s permission. Users who have installed the update are told to visit itunes.com/restore-tones to restore any that may have been removed.

Other than that, the update just brings plan old bug fixes and security updates.

“This release includes bug fixes and addresses a problem where ringtones purchased through the iTunes Store may have been removed from your device. To restore these ringtones, visit itunes.com/restore-tones from your iOS device.”

Source: MacRumors

Download iOS 8.1.1, Get 500MB Free

Remember how a number of people complained about iOS 8 requiring a massive 5GB of extra storage space?

Well it appears that Apple is trying to pay everyone back, slightly. According iMore, an iPad owner could on average get back an extra 500MB of storage space, with some devices, such as the iPad 2, getting up to 2GB back.

It appears that Apple has been working hard on compressing the operating system, throwing out unnecessary bits and pieces, in an effort to save everyone’s storage space – something that can be quite vital on a 16GB iPad or an 8GB iPhone 5c.

 Source: iMore

iOS 8.1.1 Brings Fixes For iPhone 4s and iPad 2

Apple released updates to both of its operating systems yesterday (Monday). The updates bring a number of bug fixes and tweaks that should solve a few of the usual teething problems a new OS brings.

For most iOS users, there won’t be much in the way of a difference, except for those using the iPhone 4s and iPad 2 – the two oldest devices capable of running the new version of iOS.

The release notes say that there are “increased stability and performance improvements” for the two ageing devices. These tweaks should be welcomed by those holding onto their 4s and iPad 2, as there have been a number of complaints concerning how sluggish the new OS can be on them.

On another related note, the company also released OS X Yosemite version 10.10.1 at the same time, bringing some fixes to WiFi issues some users were experiencing, among other smaller tweaks.

Source: TechCrunch

ASUS Debut Windows Laptop for $179 US

Quite often University or High School students are looking for a simple solution to type up their reports and complete various simple processing tasks to get them through the day-to-day grind.

ASUS have replied with their sub-$200 category laptop, the X205TA Signature Edition. Coming in at $179 US on the Microsoft stores (lower than the $199 announced RRP), this laptop should complete the task with ease.

Coming complete with Windows 8.1 displayed on an 11.6-inch panel at 1366×768 resolution, the Signature Edition utlizes Intel’s Z3735F Quad-Core processor running at 1.33 GHz. There’s also the standard turbo options up to 1.83 Ghz available and comes with a handy secondary cache of 2 MB. The laptop functions through 2GB of DDR3-1333 memory, built in eMMC storage and an expandable microSD card slot.

Given all of the specifications above and the overall look and ‘feel’ of the product, it seems that it will be $179 well-spent. We’d like to see it included with a little more ram however, as windows 8.1 might start to chug when running on only 2GB.

As for accessory and connection options, this model comes with two USB 2.0 ports, a 480p webcam, a combined audio and microphone port, HDMI output, 802.11n WiFi and Blutooth 4.0. Measuring at a total 11.25 x 7.61 x 0.68 inches at a weight of 2.11 pounds (0.96kg), this laptop will be small and light enough to carry around for days on end around campus.

This system is listed not only in the Microsoft shop, seeing an addition to the Amazon online store also.

Images courtesy of Chiphell

Windows 8 Market Share Finally Bigger than XP’s

Windows 8 hasn’t had it easy since it launched and is far from as bad an OS as Vista. It can actually have many benefits, but in the end it’s a matter of choice and liking which operating system you pick.

Now, for the first time, Windows 8 has surpassed Windows XP in users. This might partly be due to Microsoft halting the support, but also with the improvements made in the 8.1 update. In August Windows 8 accounted for 7.35% and Windows 8.1 for 8.2% of the market, making a total of 15.55% for Windows 8. Windows XP has dropped down to a new low point of 14.31% market share according to the latest figures and it most likely won’t be long before it goes below the 10% mark.

It’s also noteworthy that MacOS X takes up a good spot in the lists by now ending up on a 4th place when counting Win 8 and 8.1 as one. It will be interesting to see if Windows 9 can shake up the statistics once released and and again prove the Microsoft’s every second operating system is good’ rule.

Thank you cnbeta for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of StatsCounter.

Latest Windows 8.1 Update Causing Major Issues

Last week on ‘patch Tuesday’, Microsoft released Windows Updates which instantly started causing issues. Even though this wasn’t the “Update 2” for Windows 8.1 that we’ve been waiting for, this relatively minor change has caused major BSoD issues for many.

We’ve learned that four individual updates are causing these BSoD issues for its users. The biggest culprit being KB2982791, a kernel related driver.

Because of the severity of this issue, Microsoft are encouraging all users experiencing problems to uninstall these updates directly or use Windows Restore to rollback your system. The four culprits are as follows:

  • 2982791 MS14-045: Description of the security update for kernel-mode drivers: August 12, 2014
  • 2970228 Update to support the new currency symbol for the Russian ruble in Windows
  • 2975719 August 2014 update rollup for Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2
  • 2975331 August 2014 update rollup for Windows RT, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2012

These updates can be uninstalled by navigating to your “Programs and Features” section, clicking on “view uninstalled updates” and individually right clicking these updates and clicking uninstall.

As we said previously, it’s KB2982791 that is causing the bulk of the issues. You can choose to remove solely this or all four just to be safe.

What are your thoughts on keeping your operating system updated? Browsing online you can see many conflicting opinions – some proclaiming the benefits of automatic updates and others arguing the issue due to issues such as this.

Image courtesy of Hot Hardware

Cortana Personal Assistant Integrated in Skype for Windows Phone

Microsoft has announced some new features coming to Skype for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8.1, namely the Skype 2.19 update, which includes video improvements, fast app resume, increased language support and improved notifications.

The most interesting feature in the update however is the Cortana personal assistant. The personal assistant was first rumoured earlier this year, followed by the official presentation of the feature at Microsoft’s BUILD conference alongside Windows Phone 8.1.

Cortana is said to bear deep roots inside the Windows Phone platform, therefore its integration into Skype makes sense, since the application is currently owned by the same company. However, people might be skeptical about its usefulness in Skype, but there are ways users can enhance their interactions with the application.

For example, users would be able to start video and audio calls by interacting with Cortana by simply stating “Cortana, voice call on Skype.” or “Video call on Skype.”. Though it might sound appealing to some, there are some limitations to this, having Cortana currently available only in the US and on Windows Phone 8.1.

Nevertheless, Microsoft did state that the personal assistant along with the Windows Phone 8.1 update will eventually roll out to the rest of the world. In the meantime, the company apparently has made the application available for download in the Windows Phone store.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

iOS8 to Include MAC Address Spoofing – Marketing Data Will be Heavily Affected

With Apple’s latest iOS8 platform drawing nearer and nearer to its release date – which even at this time is not confirmed (although we do estimate a date of around three months time), information regarding what the new OS will have featured is very much in the open.

Whilst Apple’s keynotes have displayed all of the latest and greatest features that users will have at their fingertips, information has been discovered which relates to user privacy and the way in which iOS 8 tackles this growing concern for some users. The adjustment that I’m referring to here comes down to the collection is user data when they are out in public and marketing analysts are scanning for data to help them build up a shoppers profile as part of market research. To collect data at the moment, information is collected through wireless networks – whether you are actively connected to them or not – and in particular the key piece of information that analysts are after is the devices MAC address – the unique identifier which is much like the chassis number on a car for example.

Now as the user is becoming more conscious of their privacy in the open world, there has been a growing demand to have this information withheld rather than being freely available. To combat this, Apple have introduced MAC spoofing into the latest iOS, which scrambles and masks the devices actual MAC address, resulting in false data being collected on the other end. What does this mean for the analysts? Simply put it means that, even with the collaboration of store inventory and video records, the whole integrity of their operation to build up a picture of the shopper is under threat – MAC spoofing results in false data and therefore false statistics.

As the awareness of user privacy continues to grow and the consumers demand grows on what data they share, Apple’s move has started what could be a massive turn in user privacy – and what will Apple users need to do? Simply update their phone to iOS 8 – that’s all.

Source: AppleInsider

Samsung Ativ Book 9 Lite Notebook Review

Introduction


Before I even start this review, I’m going to lay down the law so to speak. The term Ultrabook adheres to a device that follows Intel’s strict guidelines and while the device that we’re looking at today may look Ultrabook-esque, it features AMD CPU architecture and therefore cannot be claimed as an Ultrabook, though for the most part (barring the exclusion of an Intel processor) it pretty much is an Ultrabook.

What Samsung have done to create this notebook is to take the fundamental aspects of their Ultrabook range (Ativ Book) and given it the same treatment as its big brother; the Ativ Book 9 Plus, but to keep costs down an AMD quad-core processor has been used as opposed to the more expensive and slightly more powerful Intel equivalent. While Intel fan-boys across the world will be shouting at their screens right now, you have to remember that a device such as this has limited purposes and no matter what CPU the manufacturer favours, it will not see Crysis 3 being  run with all the settings turned right up to the max.

The term Ultrabook and the very similar AMD equivalent offer an unrivalled range of features in a convenient, small form factor that allows for superb battery life, fantastic connectivity options and of course the added portability factor due to the size and most importantly, the weight of a lightweight product like this.

As a journalist (as that is effectively what our line of work falls under) you’ll generally have a stereotypical view in your mind of me sitting in Starbucks with a Macbook Air/Pro in front of me and a large Americano steaming away as I ponder the latest happenings in the tech world; but whilst I am a typical journalist and I have coffee running through my veins, I don’t spend all my hours sitting in a coffee shop such as Starbucks or Costa waiting to chase the news. What I do instead is to attend pre-arranged press conferences and launches – typically in London and to get the news out as soon as possible or to make taking note down easier, I prefer to take either a tablet or more ideally a small laptop with me to type my notes on to – I still keep my trusty notebook and pen in the bag though!

This scenario is exactly where the Ativ Book 9 Lite comes into play. With a lightweight design, lightning fast performance and small form factor, on paper it ticks all the right boxes and to top that all off that it features a touchscreen panel. What’s more the Ativ Book 9 Lite retails at just a fraction of the price of an equally spec’d Ultrabook the features an Intel CPU at its heart.

This notebook that I’m having a look at today comes in one of two almost identical specifications, but with one component that is different between the two, but one that also affects the price quite considerably. This sole item that I’m referring to is the screen. Many laptops, notebooks and Ultrabooks that are coming to the market are now featuring touch-screen capabilities and the Ativ Book 9 Lite is yet another system that has this option available, although if you’re not a fond user of this new feature, or you simply don’t need it, then the Book 9 Lite does offer a non touch panel for a slightly lower price point.

In terms of the specifications, Samsung are a bit vague as to the CPU but after some digging we can see that it’s Socket FT3 (BGA769) A4/A6 APU 1.4GHz Quad Core offering which of course supplies the GPU side of the machine too.

The box in typical Samsung stylish is clean, crisp and to the point with a large image of the device and subtle branding. The image on the front showcases the Mineral Ash Black colour, though the model we have today is Marble White.

QNAP TS879-Pro 8-Bay NAS Review

In a similar fashion to my last review of a Thecus NAS, it has been a little while since I’ve looked at a QNAP system, but this is not to say that stocks have run dry of NAS samples and now we’re back in full swing now with another system from one of the major players in the NAS market.

We’ve looked at an eight bay desktop system from QNAP before, namely the TS869-Pro and whilst both of these units look pretty much the same and in general specs they are pretty much the same, as you can guess by now, they’re a little different and by that, the 879Pro that we’re going to look at today has a little bit extra to offer over the older 869Pro that I looked at nearly a year ago.

So the question is really, what is the difference? Well on the basic part, the 869Pro is set and equipped for the SMB market with it’s dual core Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM and no space for network expansion, whereas on the other hand, the 879Pro is grouped into the high-end sector of QNAP’s product range and features a similar specification bar an Intel Core i3-2130 3.2GHz processor, 2GB or RAM and capacity to upgrade the network connectivity with either an additional two Gigabit Ethernet ports or two 10 Gigabit port via Fibre or Ethernet.

To accompany the NAS itself we do get a typical accessory pack from QNAP which includes a pair of patch leads, power cable, driver CD, quick installation guide, firmware note and most importantly two sets of screws for securing the drives into the trays.

Huawei W1 on Sale With O2-UK from 7th March

Huawei are not a company that one would typically jump straight towards when looking for a new phone, but the company has today announced that they will be launching the W1, an entry-level smartphone that runs on the Windows Mobile platform. The handset will be available both online and in stores on both PAYG (Pay-As-You-Go) and Pay Monthly contracts from as little as £13.50 per month or for £119.99 on PAYG SIM deals.

By utilising the popular Windows Mobile interface, Huawei aims to give users a phone that is easy to use and ideal for novice users to smartphones. The iconic tile based layout will be displayed on a 4-inch 480×800 IPS screen, powered by a combination of a dual core 1.2GHz Qualcomm CPU and an Adreno 305 GPU. The phone will also feature a 1950mAh battery, supposedly giving it the best standby time see to date when compared to other handsets in its class and it also offers up a 5 megapixel camera on the back with LED flash and a 4GB memory which can be expnded to 32GB through the microSD slot on the side of the phone.

The W1 will be available solely in ‘Electric Blue’ to start as shipments roll out, however there will also be an ‘Electric Pink’ variant that will become available as well from the 18th March. Huawei are keen to push the W1 right into the heart of the markets and they plan to have an extensive advertising campaign across the UK media to promote the newcomer to the entry-level markets.

Windows Phone 8, offers users a simple to use tile based animated home screen that seamlessly integrates with their other Windows 8 devices such as tablets and PCs giving a unrivalled experience in its class where users can customise all their devices as one with real-time updates and give easy access to information, entertainment and updates in the news and social worlds.

A white handset is also in production, but at this moment, only the blue and pink models will be available to buy, ideal for the teenage generation where an inexpensive smart-phone with a bit of colour and style is key.