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Unity 4.0 Game Engine Launched

Unity Technologies, provider of the Unity multi-platform engine and development tools, is proud to announce Unity 4.0 is now available for download. Unity 4, announced in June, will consist of a series of updates designed to improve the product through an extensive improvement of existing tech and the rollout of new features. The first in a series of updates for Unity 4, this version includes significant additions such as DirectX 11 support and Mecanim animation tools. In addition users will have access to a Linux deployment preview and the Adobe Flash Player deployment add-on.

"Unity 4 will see the addition of an incredible number of new, highly advanced, features and continuous improvement across the tech to be released in smaller, faster increments than Unity has seen in the past," said David Helgason, CEO, Unity Technologies. "It's an exciting time for Unity and the 4.0 release marks the beginning of a great new era for our technology."

AMD and Adobe Creative Suite 6 Innovate With OpenCL and GPU Acceleration

AMD today announced a collaboration with Adobe Systems Incorporated to optimize a new set of GPU-accelerated features for Adobe products including the newly announced Adobe Photoshop CS6. Implementing GPU acceleration and incorporating OpenCL optimization improves the end-user experience by dramatically speeding up critical imaging features and generating real-time results when editing with key tools in Adobe Creative Suite 6.

"AMD brings its expertise in GPU and APU compute in the latest release of Adobe Creative Suite," said Winston Hendrickson, vice president products, Creative Media Solutions, Adobe. "This technology integration allows us to provide creative professionals with exciting new creative options and lightning-fast performance."

Firefox 11 Launches Today

Over two months after launching Firefox 10, and backing it up two two security updates (10.0.1 and 10.0.2), Mozilla is almost ready with the stable version of Firefox 11, which it is reportedly launching later today. Mozilla posted what was supposedly Firefox 11 stable on its FTP, before redacting it, citing that the build is not actually stable, and that QA was still on.

Firefox 11 will introduce several new features, including performance improvements. To begin with, Firefox 11 supports the SPDY protocol, all pages are loaded on SSL with SPDY, which is both faster and more secure. Firefox' bookmarks and preferences migration assistant will now support Google Chrome, letting users migrate from Chrome to Firefox. Firefox Sync will now also synchronize addons between sync'd PCs. Lastly, Firefox 11 is said to include more feature-rich developer tools. The Android version of Firefox 11 will ship with Adobe Flash, for Android 2.3 and earlier.Source: PCWorld

Leak: The Intel Medfield Files

VR-Zone have been having a little chat with Intel 'sources', who have leaked some juicy tidbits for us to enjoy in the form performance and power news. The upcoming next generation Medfield platform is Intel's first true System on a Chip (SoC) and is designed to compete with various low power ARM offerings in the tablet space. To help achieve this, they've gone through an internal restructure, merging four business units into just one: Ultra-Mobility, Mobile Wireless, Mobile Communications and Netbook & Tablet PC. The business unit is now simply known as Mobile and Communications. It's being run by Mike Bell and Hermann Eul and the first product to emerge from it will be is the 32 nm Medfield SoC solution.

VR-Zone explained that the competition will be "Apple's A-Series, NVIDIA Tegra, Qualcomm Snapdragon, Samsung Exynos, Texas Instruments OMAP and the likes. Out of all the chips mentioned above, only Samsung's Exynos is currently manufactured in 32nm process, just like Medfield."

Group Seeks to Make the World Uninstall Flash Player

When webpages weren't much more than text and images peppered with hyperlinks, and when animated elements were limited to slideshow-like animations by Compuserve GIF, Macromedia Flash (now Adobe Flash) transformed the web, making it visually engaging. Even PCs with first-generation Pentium processors and 56K internet connections had access to a much superior internet experience thanks to Flash. According to Adobe's own statistics, over 90% of internet-enabled PCs have the Flash Player browser plugin installed. Apparently the "open/free everything" proponents want the world to get rid of the Flash plugin. Why? Because it's not "open", not all platforms can use it, and it poses security hazards.

Brandishing an extremely original name, "Occupy Flash" calls itself to be a "movement to rid the world of Flash Player plugin," because "Its time has passed. It's buggy. It crashes a lot. It requires constant security updates. It doesn't work on most mobile devices. It's a fossil, left over from the era of closed standards and unilateral corporate control of web technology." Occupy Flash argues that with HTML5, Flash is redundant and "free". Not quite; people don't pay for Flash Player plugins, those who create Flash content do, for the Adobe Flash software. It's not like a transition to HTML5 is going to change that equation much. People still won't have to pay to be able to consume public HTML5 content, while those creating it will still need to use proprietary software to create quality content, it's just that they'll end up with more vendors to sell them that.

AMD Catalyst 11.11 WHQL Driver Suite Released

Well, this 11.11 release doesn't list any performance improvements unfortunately. It contains just one new unexciting feature and a few fixes, but still has quite a long list of known issues. The new feature is Adobe Flash Player 11 hardware accelerated graphics support, including the A-series and E-series APUs. Fixes include things like Rage texture corruption, bezel compensation working correctly in Far Cry 2 and a screen tearing fix for displays in clone mode. Therefore, if your setup is working fine, there's no rush to update to this driver in case it breaks something. Note the following CAP 1 profile updates added to this release:

- Battlefield 3: Tweaks to the CrossFire profile
- Global Ops: Commando Libya: Improves CrossFire performance
- Driver San Francisco: Disables CrossFire

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 11.11 WHQL for Windows 7/Vista 64-bit, Windows 7/Vista 32-bit, Windows XP 32-bit, Windows XP 64-bit

DOWNLOAD: Release Notes

Adobe Flash Player 11, AIR 3 Out in Early October

In early October, content technology major Adobe will release Flash Player 11, the next major release of the Adobe Flash client-end software. The new browser plugin promises a platform that allows 1,000 times faster 2D/3D rendering performance over Flash Player 10, using full hardware-acceleration. Right here we see Adobe waking up to the HTML5 threat. Angry Birds on Google Chrome, anyone? The next key area addressed by Flash Player 11, is full native 64-bit (x86-64) web-browser support. This move will potentially cause the long-overdue decline of 32-bit web-browsers on 64-bit operating systems, since you already have HTML5 and Java on 64-bit browsers.

Next up, Adobe will pack its AIR platform, a Flash-based application runtime environment that uses the "superior user-interface" plank. AIR 3, which accompanies Flash Player 11, will support native extensions, that gives AIR applications added functionality. These include hardware capabilities including access to device data, vibration control, magnetometers, light sensors, dual screens, near field communications (NFC) and more. You know what adobe is getting at, future portable devices that are extremely powerful and functional.

ZOTAC Announces ZBOX Nano AD10 Mini-PC

ZOTAC International, a leading innovator and the world’s largest channel manufacturer of graphics cards, motherboards and mini-PCs, today debuts the palm-sized ZBOX nano AD10 series mini-PCs. The new ZOTAC ZBOX nano AD10 series shrinks the standard ZBOX form factor and adds more home theatre PC friendly features for your digital media needs.

Powered by the AMD “Brazos” E-350 APU Platform with Discrete-Class AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics, the ZOTAC ZBOX nano AD10 series packs plenty of performance with hardware video decode acceleration technologies for popular high-definition video formats, including Blu-ray and Adobe Flash, into a miniature 127mm x 127mm x 45mm form factor that fits in the palm of your hand.

ASUS Continues to Lead the Pad Trend with the Eee Pad Slider

ASUS today launched the ASUS Eee Pad Slider, a tablet that builds on the great success of the Eee Pad Transformer. Prior to its launch, the Eee Pad Slider has already made its mark with its winning design at the International Design Excellence Awards 2011. The Eee Pad Slider, which comes in either pearl white or metallic brown, features a slide-out keyboard, the new Google Android 3.1 operating system (Android 3.2 upgradable), as well as a plethora of powerful multimedia features. In pad mode, users can experience rich visuals on the 178° wide viewing angle IPS display. Connectivity is a breeze too, with the built-in USB port, Micro SD card reader, and mini-HDMI port. In slide-out mode, users can take advantage of the keyboard to compose emails and blog posts faster than ever.

Acer Debuts AC700 Chromebook

Acer America today debuts the Acer AC700 its first Chromebook in the United States and its first product running Google's Chrome-based operating system. The Acer AC700 ultraportable delivers blazing boot times and instant access to the Internet.

The first in a planned line of products that will utilize Google's Chrome operating system, the Acer AC700 Chromebook is ideal for savvy mobile consumers, educational institutions, and business people that spend most of their time on the Internet for cloud computing such as using web-based email, uploading photos to sites like Flickr and Picasa, and keeping up-to-date on the latest news and events. The new Acer AC700 provides WiFi connectivity, a sleek thin and light form factor, long battery life and excellent HD playback.

Acer Introduces Revo RL100 Media Center; the Digital Heart of the Living Room

Acer America Corp. announced today that the slim and stylish Acer Revo RL100 media center is now available at leading technology retailers in the United States. A digital hub for a den or living room, it connects to a flat-screen TV and comes with a dual-mode wireless touchpad/keyboard for smooth navigation from the comfort of the couch. There are two models available, including one with Blu-ray.

Outfitted with Acer clear.fi, the Acer RL100 automatically interconnects all Acer home-based and mobile devices, including smartphones, making it easy to consolidate and share HD multimedia throughout the household. This means users can access HD movies and personal content from any Acer device in the house for enjoying on a big screen TV.

New Acer TimelineX Notebook PCs Deliver Style, Mobile Performance, Long Battery Life

Acer America today elevates its highly-touted Acer Aspire TimelineX series notebooks with a new sleek and stylish, thin and light design complemented by long battery life and the latest technology and new entertainment features, including Dolby Home Theater v4 Audio. Models are available now in the United States.

The Acer Aspire TimelineX Series is a best-in-breed notebook line that combines performance and portability in an incredibly beautiful and refined form factor. The notebook's upscale look and feel centers around its uncluttered, elegant design. The notebooks have a clean layout with a large touchpad and chiclet keyboard to promote both enjoyment and productivity. Available in three sizes -- the 13.3-inch 3830T, 14-inch 4830T and 15.6-inch 5830T -- the designs measure about an inch thin and are very lightweight.

NVIDIA GeForce 270.61 Software Suite Released

NVIDIA today released its first WHQL-signed 270 Series GeForce software suite. The package provides the latest driver software for GeForce discrete, integrated, and notebook GPUs, ION GPUs, GeForce HDMI audio, and the latest stable releases of NVIDIA PhysX, and NVIDIA 3DVision. Version 270.61 WHQL packs official support for the recently released GeForce GTX 590, GTX 550 Ti, GTX 560 Ti, supermassive performance increases (such as 516% in Dragon Age 2 (GTX 580 SLI 2560x1600 8xAA/16xAF Very High, SSAO on)) specific to GeForce 400 and 500 series; and of course, a stable version of NVIDIA's driver auto-update software.

DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 270.61 WHQL.

A list of changes follows.

ZOTAC Expands ZBOX Lineup with New ZBOX DVD Series

ZOTAC International, a leading innovator and the world’s largest channel manufacturer of graphics cards, motherboards and mini-PCs, today reinvigorates the DVD-format with the new ZBOX DVD series mini-PCs powered by Next-Generation NVIDIA ION technology. The new ZOTAC ZBOX DVD series packs energy-efficiency, hardware high-definition streaming acceleration and advanced video processing capabilities into a slim chassis to create the perfect home theater PC for DVD aficionados.

A power-packed combination of Next-Generation NVIDIA ION graphics processor and dual-core Intel Atom D525 processor power the ZOTAC ZBOX DVD series for superior graphics performance, system responsiveness and energy-efficiency. The Next-Generation NVIDIA ION graphics processor is the heart of the ZBOX DVD series and delivers hardware decode acceleration and Adobe Flash acceleration for smooth playback of online and offline high-definition media.

AMD Releases ATI Catalyst 10.9 WHQL Driver Suite

AMD released the latest version of the ATI Catalyst software suite. Version 10.9 WHQL comes rather early for this time of the month, when normally it's out towards the end or last week. ATI Catalyst installs drivers and system software for ATI Radeon graphics processors (HD 2000 series and above), AMD chipset integrated graphics, and other ATI multimedia products. Although Catalyst 10.9 does not mention any notable feature changes, it does offer some game-specific performance improvements across the board, as well as CrossFireX profiles that make the graphics driver take advantage of CrossFireX specific to games. Notable improvements include up to 20% in STALKER: Call of Pripyat Benchmark on Radeon HD 5800 series, and up to 6% on The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, when running Radeon HD 5970 single or CrossFireX. A usual load of bug fixes goes with this version.

DOWNLOAD: ATI Catalyst 10.9 WHQL for Windows 7/Vista 64-bit, Windows 7/Vista 32-bit, Windows XP 32-bit, Windows XP 64-bit

A complete list of changes follows.

Toshiba SmartPad Officially Named Folio 100

Toshiba has decided to name its tablet which has come to be known as "SmartPad" officially as Folio 100. The Folio 100 is Toshiba's tablet device that's based on NVIDIA's Tegra 2 processor, running Android 2.2 operating system. Also revealed are its final hardware specifications, which include 10.1" touchscreen with 1024x600 pixels resolution, 2W internal speakers, 16 GB storage, WiFi b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity, USB 2.0 standard and mini ports (one each), SD/MMC card slot, Opera Mobile web-browser with Adobe Flash 10.1 support, 1.3 MP webcam, and 7 hours battery life on a full-charge. Toshiba will officially announce Folio 100 at the IFA event.

Source: Notebook Italia

New Dual-Core Intel Atom Processor-Based Netbooks Hit Shelves Today

Intel Corporation announced today that a dozen of new netbooks based on its new mobile dual-core Intel Atom processors are available in stores today. The netbooks – available now and through the end of the year from manufacturers including Acer, ASUS, Fujitsu, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, MSI, and Toshiba – enable new levels of support for applications like games, as well as Adobe Flash technology for access to a number of Web pages including online hotel booking systems and multimedia sites such as YouTube and Hulu.

"Acer strives to continually improve on our customers' total mobile experience, whether it is increased responsiveness or extended Internet interactivity through longer battery life," said David Lee, associate vice president of Acer's Mobile Computing Business Unit. "We are pleased to select dual-core Intel Atom processors for Acer netbooks, helping to empower netbook users achieve even more – both at work and at leisure."

Government of India Unveils Sakshat $10 Tablet PC for Students

The Government of India today unveiled the much talked about 10 Dollar Tablet PC for students. Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal unveiled the tablet which is initially priced at 1,500 Indian Rupees (US $30), but is expected distributed for 500 Rupees ($10) once manufacturing is streamlined. The device is named Sakshat (meaning "personification" in Sanskrit), and boasts of performance-grade hardware for a device of its class. It has a 10.5-inch multi-touch colour screen, ARM processor, 2 GB of memory, cloud storage, WiFi b/g and 10/100 Ethernet for connectivity with school networks, a highly-customised OS based on the Linux kernel, supporting Adobe Flash for online videos and interactive educational content, and a digital camera.

School curriculum will be distributed to students in an interactive format, as well as drive "e-classrooms" for live-streaming classes from eminent teachers to students from across the country. The device supports OpenOffice.org and open document formats, as well as Adobe PDF, and various multimedia formats. Sakshat was developed by students of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) from various IIT institutes across the country. As part of the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology, Sakshat will be backed by a network connecting 18,000 educational institutions and 400 universities.

Sources: IBNLive, PCWorld India

Firefox to Get Direct2D Rendering, Out of Process Plugins

The most popular alternative to Internet Explorer, Firefox, may get an overhaul of its feature-set that could make its performance a lot more competitive with that of Google Chrome. Firefox may finally embrace out of process plugins, and a new rendering engine that makes use of Microsoft Direct2D, with which it can offload a big chunk of rendering to the GPU. While this may not speed up page load times for the bandwidth-constrained, it will certainly make the browser more responsive, especially as web-page complexity grows with new technologies such as HTML5.

As of now, the inclusion of GPU-accelerated rendering is only slated to be in the form of an alpha release, which could make it to a stable release around an year's time, and not part of Gecko's next release, version 1.9.3. A stable Firefox based on Gecko 1.9.3 will be released only by October. Developers hope that the next release of Gecko will be able to include GPU-accelerated rendering. The other major feature addition is out-of-process plugins. Not to be confused with multi-process rendering, out-of-process plugins feature runs plugins such as Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat, Sun Java, Microsoft Silverlight, etc., in processes separate from the browser's main process. So in case there is an erratic page element, it could be ended without crashing the entire browser. Developers aim to have a stable release with this feature by the end of this quarter on both Windows and Linux, with a Mac release a little later.Source: Softpedia

ZOTAC Unleashes World’s First ION Upgrade Kits

ZOTAC International, the world’s largest manufacturer graphics cards, mini-ITX motherboards and mini-PCs in the channel, today unveils the world’s first ION Upgrade Kits featuring a ZOTAC small form factor motherboard and ZOTAC ION graphics card for a combination that delivers phenomenal value with premium graphics and outstanding user experience.

A ZOTAC ION graphics card with 16 unified shaders and 512MB of DDR3 memory empowers the ZOTAC ION Upgrade Kits with high-end features such as NVIDIA CUDA and PureVideo HD technologies, DirectX 10.1, DirectCompute, OpenGL and OpenCL compatibility for a high-performance and feature rich experience.

NVIDIA Optimus Technology Delivers Perfect Balance Of Performance And Battery Life

NVIDIA Corp., announces NVIDIA Optimus technology, a breakthrough for notebook PCs that chooses the best graphics processor for running a given application and automatically routes the workload to either an NVIDIA discrete GPU or Intel integrated graphics – delivering great performance while also providing great battery life.

“Consumers no longer have to choose whether they want great graphics performance or sustained battery life,” said Rene Haas, general manager of notebook products at NVIDIA. “NVIDIA Optimus gives them both - great performance, great battery life and it simply works.” Just as a Hybrid car chooses between the gas-powered and electric car engine on-the-fly and uses the most appropriate engine, NVIDIA Optimus technology does the same thing for graphics processors. NVIDIA Optimus Technology instantly directs the workload through the most efficient processor for the job, extending battery life by up to 2 times compared to similarly configured systems equipped with discrete graphics processors (GPUs). When playing 3D games, running videos, or using GPU compute applications the high-performance NVIDIA discrete GPU is used. When using basic applications, like web surfing or email, the integrated graphics processor is used. The result is long lasting battery life without sacrificing great graphics performance.

ATI Radeon HD 5570 Graphics Brings a Big Visual Experience to Small Form Factor PCs

AMD today introduced the ATI Radeon HD 5570 graphics card, perfect for end-users seeking an energy efficient, low-profile DirectX 11 card for small form factor PCs. The ATI Radeon HD 5570 graphics card joins the award-winning line of AMD graphics that fully support DirectX 11, as well as ATI Eyefinity multi-display technology and ATI Stream capabilities. This latest offering completes a full DirectX 11 refresh of AMD discrete graphics products, bringing customers a choice of cutting-edge graphics cards to match every budget and form factor.

"AMD recognizes that small form factor PCs are becoming more popular and low profile graphics upgrade options have been limited to date," said Matt Skynner, vice president and general manager, AMD Graphics Division. "Customers purchasing small form factor PCs are looking for improved performance while gaming, watching HD video or working with the latest productivity applications. The ATI Radeon HD 5570 graphics card delivers all of this at a price that won't break the bank."

New NVIDIA Tegra Processor Powers The Tablet Revolution

NVIDIA today launched its Next Generation Tegra, the world’s first processor for the mobile web, specifically designed for the high-resolution needs of tablets. Consumers have been waiting for a truly portable, high-resolution, no-compromise Internet experience. NVIDIA’s new Tegra processor delivers that by combining lightning-quick browsing, streaming 1080p video and Adobe Flash Player 10.1 acceleration with an immersive 3D user interface and days of battery life.

“Without question, 2010 is going to be year of the tablet,” said Tim Bajarin, President, Creative Strategies, Inc. “The new NVIDIA Tegra processor has a unique feature set critical for tablets -- fast web browsing with fully rendered pages, uncompromised graphics, snappy user interface and HD video - all with the battery life we’ve only seen with cell phones.”

Next Gen. Broadcom Crystal HD Technology brings HD to the Intel Atom Netbook Platform

Broadcom Corporation, a global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications, today announced that its Crystal HD technology will be available to OEMs wanting to deliver best-in-class video playback on the new Intel Atom processor platform for netbooks. The Broadcom BCM70015 Crystal HD solution will be offered as an option for OEMs designing netbooks using the Intel Atom processor N450 and Intel NM10 Express chipset platform. Crystal HD technology provides netbook users with a rich multimedia experience by enabling cost effective, quality playback of multi-format, high definition (HD) video and will be featured on select 2010 netbook platforms from top-tier OEMs including ASUS, Dell and Samsung.

NVIDIA GeForce 195.62 WHQL Drivers Released

Just over a day after releasing it in the beta form, NVIDIA released the WHQL-signed version of its GeForce 195.62 driver package. The package provides drivers and related software for GeForce GPUs and the ION chipset. Usually, a WHQL-signed driver that trails a beta release has a different version number and includes some minor changes. With this release however, there are no changes whatsoever, except of course the WHQL certification. As a quick recap, this is what is new with GeForce 195.62:
  • Added GPU-acceleration for smoother online HD videos with the new Adobe Flash 10.1 beta.
  • Added support for OpenCL 1.0 (Open Computing Language) for all GeForce 8-series and later GPUs.
  • Added support for CUDA Toolkit 3.0 features and performance enhancements
  • Added SLI and multi-GPU support for many top new gaming titles including Borderlands, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, FIFA Soccer 10, and more
  • Includes numerous bug fixes
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 195.62 WHQL Windows 7/Vista 64-bit | Windows 7/Vista 32-bit | Windows XP 64-bit | Windows XP 32-bit
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