by menarate
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Smartphone Boom in MEA

In 2015, smartphone shipments in the MEA region (Middle East and Africa) are expected to total 155 m units, already exhibiting growth of 66% as compared to the last year. The fastest growing markets include Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Pakistan, with Samsung, Apple, and Huawei taking up the three top supplier positions.

Overall, the region’s most popular operating systems are Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, jointly making up 95% of the smartphone market. In the Middle East, Android accounts for 80% of the market, and iOS –for 17%, while, in Africa, the figures are 89% and 7%, accordingly. Such an impressive market success of Android devices is probably due to their low cost. In general, the region’s consumers tend to be more willing to buy devices within the price range of $100 - $200. Preferred screen sizes range from 4 to 5.5 inches.

Meanwhile, feature phones have suffered a decline of 20%. By 2019, their share is expected to be as low as just some 27% of the total MEA handset market. BlackBerry, despite all the new models launched, has also performed way less successful, perhaps, because it has lost much of its corporate market.

by Scomputers
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How to care for your laptop's battery

Who doesn’t have a love/hate relationship with their laptop battery? It lets us be mobile, but it also chains us to that little battery life gauge and the dreaded decay of performance as time goes on. But with the right practices, you can move the relationship more firmly toward the “love” side: Here’s how.

Save cycles, save your battery

All laptop batteries are built to handle a certain number of usage cycles, usually somewhere around 500, and often more. Each cycle of use decreases the battery’s capacity, so the less you drain it, the longer it’ll last — all other things being equal.

So where do you start? Begin by visiting the Power Settings corner of your laptop. Many computers offer the ability to switch to an “eco mode” that automatically adjust the way power is used (such as dimming your screen brightness) to conserve battery energy.



William Hook / Flickr

Also pay attention to hibernation modes. Ideally, you want your laptop to enter into hibernation before the battery is totally drained – as well as during downtime when you won’t be use the laptop for a while.

To save even more power, take a tour of your apps and quit any background apps that are steadily eating into your battery energy. In Windows computers you can look at your System Tray, your Task Manager, and your Processes tab to see which of those little icons really isn’t necessary. In OS X you can see what’s running both in the taskbar to the upper right and the pop-up menu – cloud storage services or video players that you aren’t using can be safely shut down. Both Microsoft and Apple have guides explaining the process further.

Keeping your battery in zone

In ancient, less enlightened times, there was a problem called “battery memory” which caused batteries to “forget” their full charge capacity and start charging at lower and lower levels. This problem doesn’t exist anymore thanks to modern lithium-ion batteries, but it has led to a lot of poor advice and arguments about battery care based in information many years outdated. It’s time to clear the air.

You don’t need to totally discharge a battery and let it die to somehow reboot it – this is a dangerous practice that’s very hard on your battery. It is a smart idea, however, to do a healthier battery discharge a couple times a year. Let your battery energy grow low (without bottoming it — aim for around 5 percent) and then fully recharge it, all in one go. This maintenance helps calibrate the battery gauge.

While you can leave your battery plugged in for as long as you want (heating issues aside), there is a sweet spot for battery life that you can use to get the most cycles. You see, letting a battery charge to 100 percent all the time does tend to wear the battery out more quickly, while letting it fall too lower in the other direction too often can also be bad news – sort of like forcing yourself to run until your knees hurt. The happy middle ground is, according to Battery University funder and Cadex Electronics CEO Isidor Buchmann, is somewhere between 40 percent and 80 percent battery life.

So the best thing you can do for your battery is charge when it reaches 40 percent, and unplug it when it goes past 80 percent. Obviously this means applying a little OCD to when you plug and unplug your charger, but your battery will thank you in the long term by lasting longer.




Environmental concerns: all about temperature

Today’s lithium-ion batteries are durable little guys, but they can only take so much heat. Anything above 95 degrees Fahrenheit can damage your laptop battery permanently.

This leads to some common sense suggestions. For example, if you are charging up your battery and it starts to get seriously hot, pop the battery out and give it a break so it can cool down or you can move to someplace with a lower temperature. Likewise, keep the laptop off your actual lap. If testicular damage and discomfort weren’t good enough reasons, you’re also making the problem worse and often block vents.

Cold temperatures usually aren’t a problem, and storing a battery in a cool place is recommended, but don’t leave your laptop in freezing temperatures, ever. Too much cold can kill the battery permanently.

If you want to watch temperature even more closely (say, you live in a particularly hot climate), there are a number of apps you can run that will monitor laptop heat. This includes CoreTemp and Real Temp, which you can download for free.

Giving your laptop some TLC

Most people just let their laptop battery sit, snug inside the laptop, doing its job. But it’s a good idea to take your battery out from time to time and show it a little love. Every few months, detach your battery and give it a careful wipe with a soft cloth – get rid of any dust, and make sure the contact points are especially clean.

Exploding laptop battery


J Aaron Farr / Flickr

Note that this only replies to models with removable batteries. The newer MacBooks in particular have infamously trapped batteries. But if your battery can’t be easily removed, you don’t need to worry about it getting dirty.

Things to avoid

Want the best battery? Here’s a quick list of bad practices.

  • Full discharges: As mentioned, when a laptop battery discharges fully – forcing a shutdown – the battery struggles to return to its full charge. If it happens frequently, the battered battery will eventually give up the ghost. Even when running a discharge cycle, don’t let the battery drop to zero percent. Instead, use hibernation modes that trigger around five percent battery life.
  • Reliance on hibernation modes: This is a similar point to the first. If you are constantly forcing your laptop to hibernate in order to save the battery, you aren’t keeping your battery at the ideal percentages. Rethink your laptop habits.
  • Long periods of inactivity: If you have to leave your battery unused for long periods of time, then make sure it has around a half charge. A depleted battery can die forever if not recharged soon enough. But generally, batteries need a fitness regimen to stay in peak condition. If possible, keep using and properly charging your battery as long as you have it.
  • Hot summer days: Obviously you can’t always avoid hot summers, but you know what this means: Keep your laptop cool. Store it indoors, avoid direct sunlight, and keep it out of hot cars during warm days.

Software and your battery

Finally, a note about your software: Update it. Companies, notably Apple, work on improving the way that programs use power via software patches. The same operating system on a later patch could well use less battery energy, giving you more battery life without changing anything. So review your OS and keep your battery on a healthy diet of updates.

by Scomputers
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APU, GPU, WTF? A guide to AMD’s desktop processor line-up

AMD’s line of desktop processors isn’t all that straightforward. There are five current product lines split across two categories, powering everything from tiny Mini-ITX small form factor PCs to high-end gaming machines. Naturally, different individual processors are separated by price and performance. Here’s a broad breakdown of the company’s main lines.

APU versus CPU

AMD’s acquisition of graphics card manufacturer ATI in 2006 boosted the company’s ability to produce and innovate in graphics hardware. As a result, AMD offers three unique lines of “APUs,” or Accelerated Processing Units. These designs combine a CPU and GPU onto the same chip, so motherboards with an APU design don’t need integrated graphics (like Intel’s soldered-on GPU options) or discrete graphics (via a conventional graphics card).

APUs tend to be the less expensive options in AMD’s lineup, often intended for smaller and more energy-efficient machines. The company still offers two lines of traditional CPUs, and these chips require external graphics solutions. AMD CPUs are a better option for system builders who intend to create a conventional workstation or dedicated gaming PC.

Related: What’s an APU, and should you buy one for your PC?

Sempron APUs

sempron apu



The Sempron line of APUs is AMD’s cheapest option for desktop computers. At the time of writing only two Sempron APU models are sold, the 2650 and 3850. The 2650 is the low-end option, with a dual-core design clocked at 1.45GHz, a 400MHz integrated GPU, and 1MB of L2 cache. The quad-core 3850 runs at 1.3GHz, with a slightly boosted GPU of 450MHz and 2MB of cache. It also supports slightly faster 1600MHz RAM. Both chips use the AM1 socket design and 128-memory core GPU architecture, and can be purchased for less than $30.

You’ll find these chips a good option if you’re building a very basic, low-cost system, or a system that doesn’t require much direct user interaction (like a home file server).

Athlon APUs

athlon apu



AMD’s mid-range APU lineup gets the Athlon product line name. These chips use faster quad-core processors and zippier GPU clock speeds, but don’t offer a dramatic boost over the Sempron line. The Athlon 5150 runs at 1.6GHz, while the Athlon 5350 runs at 2.05GHz, but otherwise these AM1 socket chips are identical, with 2MB of L2 cache, 600MHz 128 GPU memory cores, and support for RAM at speeds of up to 1600MHz.  Athlon APUs retail for under $50.

Athlons are a solid choice for a cheap, general-purpose computer.

A-series APUs

a series



The top of the line of AMD’s integrated chips is the A-series. About two dozen variations of the A-series are currently sold, with CPU cores ranging from two to four and GPU cores from two to eight — the highest-end A-series APU is technically a 12-core monster with 4 dedicated CPU cores and 8 dedicated GPU cores. All of them run at significantly higher wattages than the 25W Sempron and Athlon line, ranging from 45-100 watts (making them much heavier hitters on your power bill). Clock speeds for the CPU cores go as high as 4.1GHz for the top model A10-7870K chip with a maximum of 4MB of L2 cache, and GPU clock speeds range from 433MHz to 866MHz. Maximum supported RAM speed varies from 1600MHz all the way to 2133MHz.

The line is broadly separated into A4, A6, A8, and A10 chips, increasing in CPU power, GPU features, and price as you go up. Prices for the slowest A4 chips can be below $50, while the top of the line A10 sells for more than $150. A-series APUs require a FM2 or FM2+ CPU socket.

An A-Series is a good choice if you want a reasonably powerful, yet affordable system, with modest gaming capability. These APUs can’t handle the latest games at high detail settings, but they can play most titles at low-to-medium detail and 1080p resolution.

Athlon CPUs

athlon cpu



Athlon CPUs (not to be confused with the APUs above) offer a good price to performance ratio for computer builders who want to create standard work or gaming machines, especially when compared to their more expensive counterparts from Intel. The Athlon series comes in dual-core and quad-core variations, labeled Athlon X2 (1MB of L2 cache) and Athlon X4 (4MB of L2 cache). CPU speeds range from 3.6GHz to 4.1GHz, and at the moment a a variety of architectures and wattages are represented. The cheapest Athlon X2 can be had for around $50, while the most expensive X4 costs about $75. Both use the FM2+ CPU socket, and some are backwards-compatible with the original FM2.

These chips are a good choice for mid-range systems and budget gaming systems if a discrete graphics card is already available. They’re not a good choice for high-end gaming, however, as they simply don’t offer the CPU performance the most demanding games require.





AMD’s 8-core FX series are the fastest and most powerful offered by the company. All of the current chips run at high wattage (95-220 watts) on the AM3+ socket, with speeds ranging from 3.6GHz for the FX 4100 to a blistering 5GHz for the FX 9590. L2 cache ranges from 4MB to 8MB. At the time of writing all FX CPUs use the slightly older 32nm architecture and the maximum DDR3 speed is 1866MHz – DDR4 is not supported as of the FX-8 generation.

by menarate
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The launch of the new payment service is expected to take place this autumn already, just at the time of iPhone 6 premier. The service will be integrated into iOS8 and is to use existing iTunes accounts. Purchasing books, software and films through the Apple store is to become still easier, with all the required payment data entered automatically. Under the project, Visa will be responsible for payment transactions and anti-fraud protection.

Apple has long been talking about launching its own mobile payment system. In particular, it is supposed to use the iBeacon service and a fingerprint sensor. The iBeacon will allow keeping users informed about discounts and rebates, while the sensor will protect those from intruders.

According to Josh Beck, an analyst for Pacific Crest, Apple has been closely collaborating with Visa, using great many of its accounts, which provides for an opportunity to further expand the payment platform. The new payment system is to become a ‘Passbook on steroids.’

by menarate
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The new U32D970Q Samsung monitor boasts ultrahigh resolution (3,840х2,160 px) and a 10-bit PLS matrix of 31.5-inch diagonal. Besides, the monitor has 4 digital video ports and a USB hub with four USB3.0 outputs. Among its other specials are the Picture-by-Picture mode and the innovative Quad Picture-by-Picture function providing for simultaneous signal processing from four sources. The special design stand makes it possible to adjust the monitor for height, to tilt it, rotate it tablewise and use it in the portrait mode.

Supporting over 1 billion colours and 11 colour models, including sRGB, AdobeRGB, DICOM, DCI, the monitor is an asset to professionals in graphics, photo and video. Additionally, it offers the DualColor mode for advanced color correction, enabling simultaneous display of two colour models. Users can also adjust gamma, backlight uniformity and white balance at their option.

by menarate
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The answer is positive, at least, when it comes to nano-sized ones, which are actually controlled sound ripples.

A research team from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology found out that these ripples could change electronic properties of substances. Thus, when the researchers tested it on a photoluminescent 2D material, the material tended to emit more light as the sound ripples grew more intensive.

The discovery can be useful for enhancing performance of cellphone cameras under dim light conditions, efficiency of solar cells and smart windows, and for a lot of other purposes. All the more, the above effect of sound waves is not permanent and disappears as soon as the “earthquake” stops.

by Ziad
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According to Sean West, an American, this time is enough to charge his newly invented battery, which is based on lithium-ion capacitors. And it is not only the charging speed that makes the battery stand out but also its safety and diversity of possible applications. The battery, while being the same size as a regular AA battery, lasts just as long as any conventional battery of the same type.

However to be able to use the battery users also need a special charging device as no regular ones are suitable for the purpose. Anyways, the set of a battery and a charging device is expected to cost not more than 25 USD.

The inventor intends to present his first products this October already, the range including both standard AA batteries, AAA batteries and batteries of other typical sizes.

by menarate
Comments: 0
Ultra HD TV Hitting Top

By end-year 2014, Ultra HD TVs are expected to gain a bigger market share against Innolux predictions. Indeed, popularity of the technology is skyrocketing.

According to earlier forecasts, the UHD segment was supposed to make up 6% of the total sales volume by end-year 2014. However, the share has proved to be substantially more significant, reaching 10%, with total quantities to be sold estimated at 20 million units.

Market demand for the technology is growing at a break-neck pace. In January, the technology’s total market share was as big as 1%, while, by April, it reached 6,8%. So, with consumers increasingly interested in the technology, UHD-devices are likely to gain a 10% market share by the end of the year.

This is mainly due to Korean giants, such as LG and Samsung, replacing their conventional OLED technology with Ultra HD, the reason for it being OLED inefficiency resulting in high reject rates. Now that the competition between these two major players is really severe 4K LED TV sets are becoming sales hits.

Both Samsung and LG boast sustainable shares of European, American and Asian markets (except for China and Japan where they have to really fight for consumers with local manufacturers).

by menarate
Comments: 0
BlackBerry is launching unusual smart phones

We have used to Canadian BlackBerry smartphones, which are always distinguished by their design and “stuffing”. The most common distinguishing features include the presence of QWERTY-keyboard, rather classic design, the presence of the most important functions. However, the new release is something great. On the photo above - John Chan - CEO of BlackBerry. He has shared with two completely new and unlike communicators, as an annex to the quarterly financial report.

The release of these models is scheduled for the autumn. In his left hand John Chen holds BlackBerry Classic, which is a final design of smart phone Q20, announced in the beginning of 2014 (February). It looks like an ordinary Canadian communicator, which has QWERTY-keyboard, 3.5-inch display, touch control etc. This model, users can purchase in September this year. In his right hand, John Chen holds BlackBerry Passport. The prototype has been called Windermere. Like all Canadian smartphones, it is equipped with QWERTY-keyboard, all the main functions, only it has quite unusual appearance. The display is in the form of a square, just like a passport.

The communicator BlackBerry Passport will certainly have all the necessary specifications for the smartphone: 4.5-inch display, photo resolution 1440x1440, 454 ppi, and software BlackBerry OS 10.3, support of android apps from Amazon Appstore. Thus, the owners of these smartphones will get the access to 240 thousand of applications, compared with 130 thousand at BlackBerry Store, but the majority of these applications has forgotten what an update is. Therefore, IT Company will not have to spend money to broadcast the music, videos, pictures, etc.; they can be simply borrow them from Amazon. The release of this model is scheduled for November this year.

It is surprising that this company once was a giant, but in spite of its downfall, it is gradually reaching its rightful place in the IT and mobile devices market. This year for the BlackBerry can be considered as the starting one, and in the following, the company will be able to compete with the global companies. A new smartphone Manitoba will become a worthy assistant in this difficult task: 5.2-inch display, 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, 8 cores, improved OS 10.4. The release is scheduled for the third quarter of next year.