Saturday, August 31, 2013

Asus teases new Transformer Pad, will be officially announced at IFA

Asus teased an image of a tablet on Facebook, which might be a new Transformer Pad. The image mentions that the tablet will be revealed in four days, which is just in time for the IFA.

Sony is set to announce the Z1, and Samsung the Galaxy Note III and the Galaxy Gear at the IFA in Berlin on September 4th. Other manufacturers will also announce new gadgets next week at the technology conference. Asus has joined these ranks, and looks set to announce a new tablet at the event.

An image the manufacturer shared on Facebook shows the moniker, “We Transform Your Mobility.” Combined with an earlier leak of a new Asus tablet with a model number K00C caught undergoing testing at the FCC last week, we can safely assume that Asus will announce the next Transformer Pad at the IFA in four days’ time.

Not much is known about the Transformer Pad at this stage, although it is likely that the tablet might feature Tegra 4 and run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean or later.

Source: Facebook, FCC

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LG officially announces the G Pad

LG has announced the G Pad tablet today with a scheduled availability of Q4 2013. The 8.3-inch tablet features a full-HD screen.

The G Pad is the first tablet to come out of LG since the ill-fated Optimus Pad. LG teased the tablet in a trailer earlier this week on YouTube, and has officially announced the G Pad today. The 8.3-inch tablet is targeted to be an iPad mini rival, and comes with great internal hardware.

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LG’s G Pad features an 8.3-inch full-HD screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1200. The tablet contains Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 SoC, which comes with a 1.7 GHz quad-core CPU and Adreno 320 GPU. The G Pad comes with 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal memory, 5.0 MP camera at the back and a 1.3 MP at the front and a 4,600 mAh battery. It is available in black and white colour variants and runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with a few custom tweaks from LG.

One of those tweaks is a utility known as QPair, which allows for interconnectivity between devices. Through QPair, every text and call you get on your smartphone can be seen on your tablet screen. You can then respond to text messages directly from the G Pad. Another feature is QMemo, which is a note-taking utility that comes with a facility to sync data across devices.

LG is also bringing additional software it has debuted with the G2 onto the G Pad, like Slide Aside and Qslide. These features allow for easier multitasking. KnockON, a feature through which you can turn the device on and off easily, is also available.

LG has announced that the G Pad will be launching in all key markets by Q4 2013. Pricing details for the tablet have not been divulged yet.


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HTC's design team arrested for fraudulent activities and stealing trade secrets

A handful of HTC’s employees*have been arrested*on charges of fraudulent activities and stealing trade secrets of the company.

Recently, several employees of the Taiwanese manufacturer have been arrested in Taipei for committing fraudulent expenses as well as for stealing trade secrets before leaving the company to start their own design firm in China. The employees include VP of Product Design Thomas*Chein, Research and Development director Wu Chien Hung and senior design team manager Justin Huang. If you don’t know, Justin Huang is the same guy who sketched the design of*HTC’s current flagship devices, HTC One.

The report against the employees*was filed*by HTC’s*chairwoman*Cher Wang to Taiwan’s Investigation Bureau. *The bureau later found that the three suspects were planning to launch their own design firm in China under the name “Xiaoyu” that aims to target the mainland Chinese markets. The employees were planning to resign from their jobs after claiming their mid-year bonuses this week.

The complaint filed also alleges the three suspects for making false commission claims for*HTC*One’s aluminum design and contracted an external firm to invoice*HTC*for a whopping $334,000 for the design that was created in-house.* The money was collected between the month of May and June this year and was split between the trios.

Interestingly,*Chein*was also caught*downloading secret trade files from company’s servers including the files related to the design of the upcoming*HTC*Sense 6.0 UI, and distributing them to external contacts via email. It seems that there is not only one charge but a list of charges. If proven guilty, the trio will face the most difficult times in their careers.

When asked for comment from the Taiwanese manufacturer by the folks at Engadget, they said,
The company expects employees to*observe*and practice the highest levels of integrity and ethics. Protecting the company’s proprietary and intellectual properties, privacy and security is a core fundamental responsibility of every employee. The company does not condone any violation. As this matter is*currently*under investigation by the relevant authorities, we therefore refrain from further comments.

Now, this seems like a big problem just before one of the biggest gadget shows of the year – IFA 2013. The company*is expected*to launch its*highly rumored*HTC*One Max which might feature the alleged*HTC*Sense 6.0 UI. However, there is no official word from the company about the launch until now.

Let’s just hope that this issue won’t affect the future plans of the firm or its upcoming products. Though, it might be a time consuming task for the firm to replace its design talent.


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Biofuel implants can turn snails into spies

Snails are slimy things that most of us would want to be kept out of sight, and for that exact reason they should be used as spies.

A slow moving snail that leaves behind sticky footprints is no 007, but its ability to go squirm around unnoticed makes it an ideal prospect for future government spying endeavors.* Tag that onto the fact that Evgeny Katz, a chemist at Clarkson University, is devising a type biofuel cell contraption that can extract energy off a snail’s body, and you can have an almost undetectable spy agent in anyone’s yard.
“Our biofuel cell generates power from glucose sugar in a snail’s body. We drill holes through the shell and implant enzyme-coated electrodes in the hemolymph, or snail blood, that naturally collects between the snail’s body and shell. Like any battery, ours is based on chemical reactions that create a flow of electrons. One electrode grabs electrons from glucose in the hemolymph. The electrons then travel through an external circuit—including any device we want to power—and end up at the opposing electrode. There, the electrons react with oxygen in the hemolymph to form water. The power output is small, in the range of microwatts, and runs out after a few minutes as the glucose is depleted. After harvesting energy, the snail eats and drinks, restoring glucose levels in its body, and it can then generate power again. The snails don’t appear to be harmed by the biocell.”

There are, of course, limiting factors in using a snail as spy agents, because of the minute amount of harvestable energy on their body, and that it takes time for the glucose to diffuse to the implanted electrode.* The idea isn’t to have snails charge a cellphone while they’re in the field, but rather to have them carry small sensors which can collect data and transmit them back to HQ.
“A snail couldn’t charge a cellphone, but it could power small sensors.* That’s another idea—to employ snails, worms and insects for environmental monitoring and homeland security.”

Next up is for researchers to create an anti-dehydration suit to protect these unsuspecting snail agents from salt-bearing kids, and rigorous training to prepare them for the fast life.

Source: popsci

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Moto X gets $100 price cut, signaling weak demand?

When a flagship smartphone gets a price cut, it’s usually because there’s a new handset just over the horizon or that demand for the phone is mediocre.*In the case of the Motorola Moto X, the latter is probably the case since the relatively accurate leaker @evleak has tweeted that the price will drop by a cool $100 from its current prices of $199 for 16GB and $249 for 32GB.

User and critic reviews of the Moto X have been on par in terms of overall satisfaction and functionalities.* As far as press hype go, however, the phone has been lacking a lot of attention.* Motorola says that it’s willing to spend to promote the Moto X, but just not as much as Apple and Samsung.

While Samsung has a big “launch event” for just about every handset, Apple is a bit more reserved when it comes to unveiling a new iPhone.* Regardless, the two companies have spent billions within the last two to three years promoting their handsets, which then correlate to their high market share.
Moto X price drop to $100 coming in Q4, along with wooden back configurations (for $50)

— @evleaks (@evleaks) August 31, 2013

One could also speculate that the price drop has something to do with the rumor that Apple will unveil its latest iPhone 5S refresh soon.* Toss in the Samsung Galaxy Note III into the mix, and we can see that Motorola will have to deal with some goliaths later this year and on.

A $100 smartphone with a two year contract isn’t at all a pocket burner, and considering the Moto X has some decent specs and dedicated hardware to drive its speech interface, maybe the move (if the rumor proves to be true) to lower the price of the handset in Q4 will help Motorola in some much needed brand-building.

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Evangelion character designer Yoshiyuki Sadomoto draws Hatsune Miku album cover

It’s Hatsune Miku’s birthday!

And now, yet another popular artist draws a cover for a CD featuring the virtual diva Hatsune Miku!

Earlier, Fairy Tail manga artist Hiro Mashima drew Miku for a collaboration CD with Family Mart, and now, Evengelion‘s character designer and Gainax co-founder Yoshiyuki Sadomoto joins the fray.


*Sadomoto, who also designed the characters for The Girl who Leaped Through Time and Summer Wars, did the *cover art for the very first album of vocaloid artist Mitchie M titled The Greatest Idol.

If you look at the album cover, you can see the Evangelion-ish design of Miku

Mitchie M is a renowned vocaloid artist known for songs like City Boy, Cosmic Ballad, Birthday song for Miku and more, including this one titled FREELY TOMORROW.

The album will be released on November 6, 2013 and is published by Sony Music. The album will contain 13 songs and will cost 4,095 yen.

Read more on your favorite Vocaloids*here on SGCafe.*Also join in on the community’s discussions at*

Via Kai-You

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Bandai previews new Tamashii Nations product line in Hong Kong

Bandai has always been known for their quality action figures for years. Now, Bandai is currently previewing their latest action figure lines from Tamashii Nations, Robot Spirits and S.H. Figuarts in Hong Kong with*Tamashii Feature’s Vol.7.

A multitude of mecha anime series have been represented in their popular Robot Spirits line from Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion to of course, Gundam.

Speaking of Robot Spirits’ Gundam line, here are their latest articulated figures which includes the Hi-Nu Gundam, the Kshatriya, The Wing Gundam (original version) and the Gundam Astray Out Frame.

The event also displayed the extremely expensive solid gold Sagittarius Gold Cloth figure worth approximately 60 million yen. It was displayed along with other Saint Seiya figures.

Of course, S.H. Figuarts is not far behind and they proudly showed off their popular Sailor Moon Figuarts line along with their extremely popular Kamen Rider line and their Armor Girls Project featuring the girls from IS: Infinite Stratos.

The event starts today, August 31 until tomorrow, September 1, 2013. It is held in InnoCenter in Hong Kong’s Kowloon side.

Read more on figures*here on SGCafe!

Also join in on the community’s discussions at*

Via Cybergundam

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Haswell in a cube-sized PC

Shuttle lets users build a tiny Haswell powerhouse with its new*SH87R6 XPC* barebones PC.

Ask a PC-builder what the go-to company for a barebones PC is, and the answer will likely be Shuttle. It’s impossible to deny that Shuttle is the most responsive company out there to the changing chipset market, announcing new barebones PCs compatible with whatever the most recent development is in the chip market.

As Intel’s Haswell processor emphasizes performance while maintaining a small power and thermal footprint, a pairing with a power efficient form factor — like a mini-ITX case — makes sense.

There’s a lot of stuff you can’t put in a case with such a petite form factor: monster graphics cards chained in SLI or a bulky cooler just won’t fit in the case. But that’s not the point of such a wee thing — its all about portability. After a carpal tunnel syndrome inducing marathon of Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Shuttle’s SH87R6 XPC is a sinch to pack up and move owing to its light weight and small form factor. While other gamers will struggle to move their mega sized E-ATX cases, the SH87R6 just takes one hand.

With a barebones PC everyone’s experience will be different, as customizability is the name of the game. Because of this a traditional suite of benchmarks would not be an accurate barometer of the machine’s performance as it changes depends depending on the loadout.


Not much has changed in the design of the SH87R6 compared to previous barebones PCs Shuttle has put out under the XPC line. That doesn’t mean the sleek design of the SH87R6 isn’t exceptional and smartly minimalistic. The front panel of the PC has a 5.25-inch slot for an optical drive, with a 3.5-inch SSD or HDD bay below it with a pop down cover.

As far as connectivity goes on the front the PC comes with a quick charge USB 2.0 point (that feeds 5V/2A), a regular USB 2.0 port and two USB 3.0 as well as standard audio inputs. On the back there are four USB 2.0 ports and three USB 3.0 ports, eSATA, 7.1 audio output, as well as HDMI, DVI-D and gigabit Ethernet.

While the design of the XPC hasn’t changed much since previous iterations, but that doesn’t mean it’s worse for wear or looks outdated. The design still looks clean and modern, up to the high standards that Shuttle has set with previous products.

Looking inside

While the PC’s design is clean and modern, inside is something of a cluttered affair. Granted, given the fact that this is a small form factor PC things are going to be a tight fit. However, once components start getting put in things can become downright claustrophobic.

As such, system builders need to take particular care when building their rig as installing the components needs to be done a certain way in order for everything to fit.

Case and point: the CPU cooler, while effective, is a bit unwieldy to maneuver in such tight confines. As long as proper care is applied when building the system this shouldn’t present a problem. In addition, without proper care airflow will be a problem as the close confines of the case don’t leave much margin for error. However with proper care and tied down cables airflow won’t be a problem. *Do it haphazardly however, and cooling issues will most certainly arise.

Despite the close confines of the SH87R6’s case, it’s very much possible to fit RAM,an optical drive, a SATA drive and a mid-range video card like a Nvidia GTX 680 or a Radeon 7970 in the box. Builders shouldn’t be intimidated by the small size of the SH87R6 but rather see it as a challenge.

Included circuitry

Inside the PC is Shuttle’s custom FH87 motherboard that supports Intel’s socket 1150 protocol, meaning Intel’s i3, i5 and i7 chips are supported with a max power draw of 95W.

Shuttle includes a 300W power supply which comes with 80 Plus Bronze certification. Any half decent video card and CPU may strain the PSU under intense loads. Fear not, Shuttle includes the option to upgrade the PSU to the PC63J which can push 500W.

The FH87 motherboard provides four RAM slots, four SATA600 connectors, a PCI Express x16 slot and as well as a plain old PCI Express x1 slot. This might seem spartan compared to some high-end motherboards, but considering the form factor its more than enough for the intended purpose.

Conclusion: A well built PC-on-the-go

Shuttle has a long history of excellence in building barebones PC, and its SH87R6 is no exception. While PC builders who have never worked with a small form factor case before might find the tight confines something of a challenge, with some patience a build with good airflow will be no problem.

The only discernible downside to the SH87R6 is the rather small PSU. It will certainly be enough to satisfy most builders, but with a heavy hardware loadout it won’t provide enough power.

Aside from the relatively weak PSU, Shuttle has built a great barebones PC that will more than satisfy the needs of most users.


  • Design is eye pleasing and sleek.

  • Minimal tools required for construction.

  • More than enough ports.

  • Enough space for most midrange graphics cards.


  • PSU may not provide enough power for some users.

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