Intel 8th Generation Core Series Launched With ‘Kaby Lake Refresh’ CPUs for Laptops

We’ve known for a while now that Intel will be shipping more than one processor architecture under the 8th generation Core brand. We’ve been expecting a fourth 14nm generation codenamed Coffee Lake this year and the much-delayed 10nm Cannonlake generation in early 2018, but now it has come to light that a third architecture will be clubbed into the 8th generation as well. Simply called Kaby Lake Refresh, this will be the basis of the 8th gen’s U-series processors, which are targeted at mainstream and slim notebooks.

Two weeks ago, Intel announced that the first 8th gen Core CPUs will launch at 8:30pm IST tonight, and while the codename ‘Coffee Lake’ was not specifically brought up, it was widely expected that these would be the first models out of the gate. However, Intel has chosen to unveil Kaby Lake Refresh a few hours before the scheduled event.

Four new U-series 15W processors for laptops are being announced: the Core i7-8650U, Core i7-8550U, Core i5-8350U, and Core i5-8250U. While Kaby Lake Refresh is not a major new architecture, Intel is promising a 40 percent performance improvement compared to the 7th generation and up to 200 percent compared to a five-year-old machine. The most significant reason for this is the doubling of core counts from two to four, while actual design and manufacturing improvements contribute to a lesser extent.

Base speeds range from 1.6GHz to 1.9GHz, while boost speeds range from 3.4GHz to 4.2GHz. Cache sizes are also doubled, to 6MB on Core i5 CPUs and 8MB on Core i7 ones. Hyper-Threading remains exclusive to Core i7 models. The integrated GPU is now called Intel UHD Graphics 620 and is completely unchanged compared to Kaby Lake, except for the name change from HD to UHD to reflect its capabilities. The GPUs of Core i5 models run at 1.1Ghz while those of the Core i7 models run at 1.15GHz.

Intel 8th Generation Core Series Launched With 'Kaby Lake Refresh' CPUs for LaptopsAccording to Intel, users can expect up to 10 hours of 4K video playback per charge on a laptop powered by one of these processors, as tested with a 70WHr battery and Windows 10. The company also says that tasks such as photo editing and video rendering are up to 48 percent and 14.7 percent faster on these processors compared to previous-generation ones. However, the major target will be people upgrading from laptops that are several years old. The company is also playing up the benefits of modern experiences such as Windows Hello authentication, voice interaction such as with the Cortana assistant, and stylus input which would not work as well on an older device.

Intel expects that 145 laptop models featuring these four new CPUs will be available in time for this year’s holiday shopping season. There’s no information about how the rest of the 8th generation will shape up, except for a note that desktop processors will launch in fall this year. It is not yet known how different Coffee Lake will be from Kaby Lake Refresh, but it is quite likely that core counts will increaseacross the board both due to improvements in power efficiency and because of competition from AMD’s Ryzen series. It is also likely that Intel will reserve its 10nm process for ultra-low-power fanless Y-series chips.

Attacking the mainstream laptop segment first is an interesting choice for Intel. Previous generations have focused on Y-series models for ultra-light fanless tablets and 2-in-1s, or S-series models for desktops. Releasing these four CPUs under the 8th Generation banner allows Intel to target buyers during the busy US holiday shopping season.

Acer Nitro 5 Spin Affordable Gaming Laptop Launched With Eighth-Gen Intel Processors

Acer on Sunday launched its ‘Nitro 5 Spin’ entry-level gaming laptop and it seems like the company doesn’t want casual gamers to feel left out. The new Nitro 5 Spin has been launched with a starting price of $999 (roughly Rs. 64,000) and EUR 1,199 (roughly Rs. 76,800), which makes it fall in the affordable range among gaming laptops. The Acer Nitro 5 Spin will be made available for purchase in North America and Europe from October.

The Acer Nitro 5 Spin runs Windows 10 and sports a 15.6-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) rotating display and as mentioned earlier, is powered by eighth-generation Intel Core processors. The new gaming laptop from Acer comes with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics and should be suitable for playing games like Dota 2, Overwatch, League of Legends, as per the company. The Nitro 5 Spin is available with PCIe SSD of up to 512GB storage.

“With a convertible design that features four modes, the Acer Nitro 5 Spin is a versatile gaming device that opens up exciting new usage scenarios for casual gamers on the go,” James Lin, General Manager of Commercial & Detachable Notebooks, IT Products Business at Acer, was quoted as saying in the company’s release. “Power users will also appreciate the great performance and battery life of the Nitro 5 Spin, while enjoying the superb visuals and immersive audio that it delivers,” he said.

Acer Nitro 5 Spin Affordable Gaming Laptop Launched With Eighth-Gen Intel ProcessorsThe Acer Nitro 5 Spin has been claimed to provide up to 10 hours of battery life by the company. The new convertible laptop from Acer comes with two-front facing speakers and a subwoofer as well. The Nitro 5 Spin includes a fingerprint reader to help quickly and securely verify an owner’s identity through Windows Hello, logging them on with a touch of the finger.

“Our new 8th Gen Intel Core processor family is the most powerful processor designed for what’s coming next,” Chris Walker, Vice President, Client Computing Group at Intel Corp, was quoted as saying. “Acer’s new Nitro 5 Spin notebook capitalizes on the up to 40 percent performance boost over just last year, making it possible to take casual gaming and rich entertainment on the go in a flexible, sleek device,” he added.

Google Tipped to Unveil New Chromebook Pixel, Mini Home Speaker Alongside the Pixel 2 Launch

After finally revealing the name of the next Android mobile operating system, v8.0 Oreo, we can now look forward to Google’s next Pixel smartphones. We’ve seen some rumours in the past about the upcoming Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 smartphones, but it now looks like Google has a few more products in the pipeline – namely, a new Chromebook Pixel and a mini Google Home smart speaker.

Google could be unveiling a bunch of new products at its next hardware event this fall. According to Android Police, we could see a new Pixel-branded Chromebook. This is interesting considering reports back in March that Google was ending Chromebook Pixel devices. Google has responded to the reports back then that the company hadn’t ruled out making laptops.

While the latest report mentions a new Chromebook Pixel in the works, Android Police could not confirm if the upcoming laptop will be based on Google’s old project code-named Bison. Reports last year mentioned Project Bison to be a highly-modified version of Android termed Andromeda. However, the new report says the upcoming laptop will be a Pixel Chromebook running on Chrome OS.

google home ge home

Google Home

Separately, the report also claims that a new miniature version of the Google Home smart speaker, details of which are scarce at the moment, would be launched at the event. A smaller version of the Google Home could be a direct response to the Amazon’s Echo Dot, a hockey puck-shaped speaker that’s leading smart speaker sales, according to a report by Adobe. Echo Dot’s success may reach new heights as Amazon plans to bring the mini speaker to India along with Prime Music, Gadgets360 reported last week.

Speaking of Google Home, the smart speaker is finally getting support for Bluetooth audio playback, a feature the search giant announced back in May during Google I/O. Bluetooth support means the Google Home will now be able to play audio from any Android or iOS device, and will no longer be restricted to apps that support Google Cast.

HP Launches Its First Omen X-Branded Gaming Laptop, Sports a GeForce GTX 1080 GPU

Remember HP’s cube-shaped Omen X desktop from last year? Now, the company has gone ahead and launched its first laptop with the Omen X branding. As you might expect from an Omen X branded product, the new laptop is aimed at gaming enthusiasts. Interestingly, the new Omen X laptop comes with thermals to support unlocked CPUs to allow overclocking and factory-overclocked GPUs, as per the company. The pricing for the Omen X gaming laptop starts from $2,299 (roughly Rs. 1.47 lakhs) and it will be made available for purchase from HP’s website from November.

The new Omen X laptop from HP is aimed at the e-sports athletes and comes with seventh-generation unlocked Intel Core i7 processors, XMP memory options for memory overclocking and tested profiles up to DDR4-2800, and factory-overclocked graphics cards up to Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, HP said in its release. The laptop will be offered with screen options up to 4K resolution with 120Hz (with G-Sync) frequency.

The new gaming laptop from HP comes with “Omen Command Center Software to custom tune and push hardware to its limits, with the ability to manage CPU and RAM overclocking,” HP said in its release. This new software also moves the gaming network traffic with a network booster for reduction of latency in online games. The Omen X laptop from HP will be made available with “RAID0 SSD” option to provide “ultra-fast boot” and improve loading time for games. There will be option for PCIe SSD+HDD storage that would allow for “quick responsiveness and massive storage capacity, or standalone 1TB 7200 rpm HDD option,” HP said.

HP Launches Its First Omen X-Branded Gaming Laptop, Sports a GeForce GTX 1080 GPUIn terms of connectivity options, the new gaming laptop offers options including three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, two Thunderbolt 3-certified USB 3.1 Type-C ports, an HDMI 2.0a port with HDR support, Mini DisplayPort, RJ45 and a multi-format media card reader.

The Omen X gaming laptop comes with an “integrated vapor chamber” that has four 3.5mm heat pipes to improve the heat transfer from GPU and CPU to the rear corner-mounted radiators, as per the company’s release. As you might expect from a high-end gaming laptop, it features a mechanical and RGB LED-per key backlit keyboard. The keyboard on the Omen X laptop comes with 2.5 mm travel with tactile feel and mechanical switches to provide instant feedback, the company said in its release.

“E-sports is one of the fastest growing categories in gaming and we are excited by the popularity of HP’s OMEN family of products,” said Kevin Frost, vice president and general manager, Consumer Personal Systems, HP Inc. “With the release of the OMEN X Laptop, HP is bringing key innovations to performance, industrial design and customizability that were once only possible on a desktop, to give gamers a competitive edge,” he said.

Google Launches Chrome Enterprise, Takes Aim at Large Businesses

To expand its market reach, Google has launched a new initiative with the aim to get large businesses to use Chrome OS, instead of Windows. Chrome Enterprise looks to promote Chrome OS and the devices that run on it. The new Chrome Enterprise subscription is priced at $50 (roughly Rs. ) per device per year.

Chrome Enterprise is aimed at large organisations and offers a host of features, including access to enterprise app store fronts, deep security controls, 24×7 support, as well as integration with cloud and on-premise management tools, VMware Workspace ONE, and Microsoft Active Directory integration. This is mainly aimed at enterprise users looking to adopt Chrome OS devices, and give them an option to manage employee Chromebooks more efficiently. This means that for the above subscription price, enterprise users get Chrome OS but with added abilities. The subscription also offers theft protection, single sign-on support, printer management, managed networks, proxies, and OS updates as well.

Google Launches Chrome Enterprise, Takes Aim at Large BusinessesAs mentioned, Chrome Enterprise is fully compatible with on-premise infrastructure through Microsoft Active Directory. This integration allows employees to use their native credentials to authenticate across devices and Google Cloud Services like Google Play while centralising management of user and device policies for IT admins.

Furthermore, VMware Workspace ONE management solution gives customers the ability to manage all their Chrome devices from a single management solution. Using this third party solution, enterprise users will be able to deploy device policies using customisable assignment of groups based on geography, device platform, department, role, and more – simplifying policy enforcement across the company.

Google also notes on its blog that Google Play (i.e., access to enterprise apps) is now compatible with more than 25 Chrome devices including the Acer 14, HP 13, Lenovo 13, or mobile devices such as the Samsung Chromebook Pro and Asus Flip. See the entire list of compatible devices here. Needless to say, the Chrome Enterprise subscription will only work these Chromebooks for now.

Intel Unveils Drones for Advanced Pitch Analysis at ICC Champions Trophy 2017

Intel on Tuesday unveiled three new technologies that will be used during the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 — a major cricket tournament that begins in the United Kingdom on June 1. The new technologies announced on Tuesday are advanced pitch analysis via an Intel drone, a bat sensor powered by an Intel Curie module, and a virtual reality experience for cricket fans who visit stadiums.

The Intel Falcon 8 Drone has been equipped with infrared and HD cameras to be used for pitch analysis during Champions Trophy matches. The drone will offer data on grass cover, grass health, and topology. This will help generate daily pitch reports and commentators will use that to analyse the pitch during live broadcasts of the match on TV and over the Internet. The pitch is one of the most important aspects of cricket and it has the power to decide which way each game swings, so this analysis is likely to prove useful.

Intel Unveils Drones for Advanced Pitch Analysis at ICC Champions Trophy 2017Intel, which is the Official Innovation Partner for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, says the new bat sensor, called Speculur BatSense, can be mounted on any cricket bat and will be able to measure back-lift, bat speed, and follow through for every stroke a batsman plays. Many players will be using this during the Champions Trophy and it will allow for data such as speed of the ball after it hits the bat to be shown on TV.

Intel has plans for these sensors beyond the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. In a statement, Speculur Managing Director Atul Srivastava said, “Coaches can use their insights and expertise along with the bat sensor data to make specific adjustments to a batsman’s technique ultimately helping him perform better.” The company will bring this technology to the market later in 2017 and it will first be available in Australia, India, US, and UK.

Finally, Intel is also going to showcase VR cricket experiences at The Oval (London) and Edgbaston (Birmingham) stadiums. This is a fun experience where people will be able to play cricket in virtual reality. With a VR headset mounted, people can test their batting skills against virtual bowlers. The bat used for this will use Intel’s Curie module and offer data on people’s bat speed and back-lift, among other stats.

Nikon Coolpix W300 Rugged Compact Camera With 4K Video Recording Launched in India

Nikon India has launched the Coolpix W300 rugged compact camera which is weatherproof and can survive drops from up to 2.4 meters. The camera will go on sale from June onwards, which is when we should get the final price and exact availability details. In the US, it’s priced at $395 (roughly Rs. 25,500). The camera boasts of being waterproof from up to a depth of 30 meters and can withstand extreme cold temperatures up to -10 degrees Celsius. It will be available in four colour options.

The Nikon Coolpix W300 features a 16-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch sensor with 5x optical zoom. The aperture ranges from f/2.8 at the wide end to f/4.9 at the telephoto end. The camera uses a contrast detection autofocus system with an ISO sensitivity range of 125-1600 (expandable to 6400), about 7 frames per second burst shooting, and various shooting modes. Despite its compact and rugged nature, the W300 also supports up to 4K video recording at 30fps and full-HD recording at 60fps. There’s a 3-inch LCD screen around the back with a 921K-dot resolution. The camera also supports Nikon’s SnapBridge photo sharing feature via Bluetooth and you even get Wi-Fi and GPS built-in.

Nikon Coolpix W300 Rugged Compact Camera With 4K Video Recording Launched in India“With an ever-growing interest in adventure sports and activities, Coolpix W300 is the perfect camera for all photography expeditions & family holidays.” said Kazuo Ninomiya, Managing Director, Nikon India. “The camera is waterproof and has been designed with a rugged body to withstand extreme temperatures to enable all enthusiasts to continue exploring their passion without any hurdles,” he added.

Nikon also announced three new lenses for the Indian market. The first is the AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR lens, designed for shooting landscapes. This ultra-wide-angle lens features a stepping motor for smoother focus and built-in vibration reduction for DX format cameras. The AF-S Fisheye NIKKOR 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E ED is the first Nikkor fisheye zoom lens with a minimum focus distance of 0.16 meters. The lens adopts two aspherical lens elements to effectively reduce sagittal coma flare thereby enhancing the reproduction of point light sources located at the peripheries, even with the lens’ aperture set to the maximum. Finally, we have the AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED which is designed portraits and landscapes. The lens also has a fluorine coating to repel dust, water, and dirt.

Netgear Arlo Pro Wireless Weatherproof Security Camera Launched in India

Netgear has launched the Netgear Arlo Pro smart camera for home security in India. Netgear calls the Arlo Pro a “wire-free, weatherproof HD camera” and claims that it has a wide 130-degree field of view. The Arlo Pro uses two rechargeable batteries and that means you can place it inside or outside your home. There’s no need to connect the camera to a power socket but in case you want to do that, the option is available. The Arlo Pro system launched in India is model VMS4230, which comes with two security cameras (with rechargeable batteries) and one base station, and it has been priced at Rs. 44,900.

An interesting feature of the Netgear Arlo Pro is two-way audio. This means that you can use this camera to talk to people standing near it, which could prompt some people to use this as a video doorbell. You can even monitor children from a different room such as the kitchen and keep talking to them while you cook.

Netgear says the Arlo Pro has instant motion alerts and a smart siren, which are targeted at alerting you about intruders. The siren is rated at over 100 decibels and could be an important deterrent for potential intruders. The camera also has night vision so it is useful both during the day and night. The camera is capable of providing HD video in complete darkness, thanks to its RGB-IR night vision technology. Netgear claims this tech illuminates the scene evenly and provides crisp details about things happening both near and far from the camera. Its passive motion sensor can detect movement up to 7 metres away from the camera and send an alert to your phone.

Netgear Arlo Pro Wireless Weatherproof Security Camera Launched in IndiaThe companion app for Netgear Arlo Pro also has some new features. It now lets you arm or disarm the camera based on your location or schedule. The app is also available on Apple TV, which can be used to view camera feeds on the big screen. Netgear says Arlo can be connected to other smart home devices through services such as IFTTT and Samsung SmartThings.

Netgear claims that the Arlo Pro will get smart motion recognition technology later this year, which will use machine learning algorithms to identify people, cars, animals, among other things. This will allow the camera to send alerts for specific objects, species, or people, Netgear says.

Arlo’s free cloud storage allows you to record and store videos for seven days for free. You can connect up to five Arlo cameras to the cloud without paying any subscription fees. Additional storage can be purchased with a fee.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II Full-Frame DSLR, EOS 200D Entry-Level DSLR Cameras Launched

Canon is celebrating National Camera Day in the US, with the launch of the EOS 6D Mark II full-frame DSLR and the EOS Rebel SL2, which will be known as the EOS 200D outside the United States. The EOS 6D Mark II comes nearly five years after Canon first introduced the EOS 6D back in 2012, and the new model will go on sale in late July starting at $1,999 (roughly Rs. 1,35,900). We don’t have any India price or availability for the 6D Mark II at the moment. On the other hand, Canon India has announced that the EOS 200D is will also go on sale late July in India for Rs. 47,495 with the EF-S18-55 IS STM kit lens. It will also be available with the EF-S18-55 IS STM plus EF-S55-250 IS STM lens combo for Rs. 60,495.

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is designed for enthusiast-level photographers in mind thanks to its full-frame sensor and brand new 26.3-megapixel CMOS sensor. Other features include a 45-point, cross-type autofocus system with Dual Pixel autofocus for live mode. The camera also uses the new DIGIC 7 image processor and boasts of an ISO 100-40000 range. It has a articulated, 3-inch touchscreen panel, continuous shooting of up to 6.5fps, built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth and is dust and water resistant. Sadly, video recording still maxes out only at 1080p at 60fps, as there’s no 4K support.

canon 6d markII thumb canonThe Canon EOS 200D

On the other hand, the Canon EOS 200D is an entry-level DSLR designed for beginners in mind but doesn’t skimp much on the features. It boasts of a 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, Dual Pixel autofocus, DIGIC 7 image processor, 9-point autofocus system, full-HD video recording and built-in wireless connectivity features. The big appeal of the 200D is the small and lightweight body, which should help ease smartphone photographers stepping into the world of DSLRs.

Commenting on the launch, Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO, Canon U.S.A said, “In an industry where choices are abundant, providing consumers with the photographic tools that match their developing skill levels as they continue to embrace their passion for photography is a long-standing goal of Canon and stands at the core of our research and development. The new EOS 6D Mark II and EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR cameras are the result of Canon’s dedication to providing a wide range of camera choices for photographers of all skill levels, whether it’s someone taking their first picture or video with a DSLR camera or those looking to make the jump to a Full-Frame sensor camera.”

Hydrogen One Is Camera Maker Red’s First Smartphone

Camera maker Red is making its foray into the smartphone space. On Wednesday, the company announced a phone called the Hydrogen One, which, the company claims, will be “the world’s first holographic media machine.”

In a jargon-laden blog post, the company boasts of the Red Hydrogen’s display, camera capabilities, sound system, and support for modularity, a familiar feature that several companies including Motorola and LG have explored in recent years. At least one module will focus on higher quality motion.

The Red Hydrogen One smartphone features a “retina-riveting” display, which supposedly springs between “3D” and 2D modes depending on the content. One would be able to enjoy such content with wearing glasses, the company claims. About that, Red has also announced a channel where it will offer “4-view holographic” content.

Hydrogen One Is Camera Maker Red's First SmartphoneThe Red Hydrogen One will work with Red’s professional camera program (it’s unclear if one would actually be able to plug their Red DSLR cameras), and offer familiar user interface and monitor. Much like several recent flagship phones, the Red Hydrogen One will also comes equipped with a USB-C port, but interestingly also has a microSD card should you need more storage. A 3.5mm headphone jack will also be present.

The Red Hydrogen runs Android with several proprietary features such as “H3O algorithm that converts stereo sound into multi-dimensional audio.” We will have to wait to find out what exactly that means but the company says that the sound experience would be as good as plugging 5.1 audio out headphones.

Which brings us to the least exciting parts about the Red Hydrogen One. The phone comes in two variants: Aluminium, which will retail at $1,195 (roughly Rs. 77,350); and Titanium, which will retail at $1,595 (roughly Rs. 103,250). No word on the phone’s India availability, though readers in the US can expect it to arrive in Q1 2018. Pre-orders for the phone begin today.