Thursday, December 6, 2012

AnandTech Article Channel

AnandTech Article Channel

TeamViewer 8 Released, with Windows 8 and Retina Support

Posted: 05 Dec 2012 10:24 PM PST

TeamViewer is one of those applications that some people have heard about and love, while others have no idea what it is. At its core, TeamViewer a remote control utility for Windows and OS X computers—and unlike Windows Remote Assistance (WRA), in my experience it works well and it’s extremely easy to get connected. I first stumbled on TeamViewer when I couldn’t get WRA working to help my mom with a computer problem; trying to explain to a computer neophyte how to start WRA, save an invitation file, find the file they just saved, then email the file is not exactly a simple process; what makes it truly frustrating is when you go through all the steps and then the connection still doesn’t work. When WRA does work, I have no complaints, but my experience has been very hit or miss.

After trying for a few hours to get WRA working, I gave up and started looking for other options, and that’s when I stumbled upon TeamViewer. Literally 15 minutes later, I had connected to the other laptop, fixed the problem (which involved making some registry edits), and we were done. The quick connect options on TeamViewer was particularly handy, as it skips past the installation process and lets you get straight to helping someone.

Long story short, after having used TeamViewer to help several friends and family members over the past month, I received a press release announcing the new TeamViewer 8 with Windows 8 support (available as of December 4). Since Windows 8 adds a few new items to the mix—e.g. the Start Screen and Charms Bar are now accessible through the TeamViewer menus. It might seem like a minor thing, but given the UI overhaul in Windows 8 it’s something that will likely prove necessary. Windows 8 isn’t the only OS with new features; on OS X, the Retina displays are now supported. TeamViewer also has their remote access app available on iOS, Android, and Windows RT

The above features are available in all versions of TeamViewer 8. For the non-free (e.g. Business, Premium, and Corporate) versions, other new additions include an improved user management interface, connection reporting of all sessions, browser-based connections, session handover, (improved) remote printing (VPN is no longer required), deeper MS Outlook integration, transmission of remote sound and video (video will require a fair amount of bandwidth, naturally), and enhanced session recordings.

TeamViewer’s Magdalena Brzakala (Public Relations Manager), Andre Schindler (Business Development Manager), and Tom Carpenter (Account Manager) took some time today to run me through some of the new features, and basically everything worked as expected. The fully licensed version, while expensive, also adds some functionality that I can certainly see as being useful for IT shops in particular, as well as telecommuters or those who need access to their home data and documents. I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest TeamViewer is unique in any of these areas, but I can say that it has worked well when I needed it and it’s definitely one of those utilities I now keep in my software toolkit.

Hands on with the Analogix SlimPort microUSB to HDMI and VGA adapters

Posted: 05 Dec 2012 05:23 PM PST

In my Nexus 4 review, I noted that the device was the first shipping handset to include support for SlimPort via an Analogix ANX7808 SlimPort transmitter. When I wrote that review it wasn't immediately clear what advantages SlimPort offered over MHL, which has become relatively ubiquitous in the year or so since its introduction. Since then I've acquired the SlimPort microUSB to HDMI 1.4 SP1002 and VGA (D-SUB) SP2002 adapters from Analogix for testing out SlimPort on the Nexus 4.

SlimPort is a new video output standard which works over microUSB, and is effectively an MHL alternative based on the DisplayPort standard administered by VESA. SlimPort is offered both license and royalty free, and supports up to 1080p60 or 1080p30 with 3D content over HDMI 1.4 (up to 5.4 Gbps of bandwidth), in addition to support for DVI, VGA (up to 1366x768 and 720p at 60 Hz), and DisplayPort. What's different about SlimPort from a user-facing perspective is that external microUSB power is not required for the adapter to work and is instead only required for optional charging. At the same time, the adapters draw no power from the source to operate. 

SlimPort over USB - From Analogix SlimPort Whitepaper (PDF)

I've spent some time playing around with the SP1002 HDMI adapter, which I believe is based on ANX7730, and the SP2002 VGA adapter, which is likely based on ANX9832. As of this writing, the Analogix SP1002 adapter is available on Amazon for around $30 USD. I haven't seen the SP2002 available online anywhere yet, however.

When connected to the Nexus 4, the HDMI adapter rotates the UI into landscape and mirrors the display just as expected. Resolution is scaled to 1080p60 on the Nexus 4 up from the panel resolution of 1280x768, which results in some letterboxing. As expected there's no requirement to have microUSB power connected to the adapter, I tested it with and without external microUSB power, all this does is just enable charging.

I posted a video review (shot on the Samsung Galaxy Camera) demonstrating the Nexus 4 doing mirroring with the SlimPort SP1002 adapter and received a query about whether the combo enables multichannel audio over HDMI as well. I tested VLC for Android with some .MKVs I had laying around with 5.1 AAC tracks and found that VLC will decode the multichannel audio and ship it over as 5.1 PCM to my A/V Receiver, so this does work, surprisingly enough. There's no bitstreaming support as far as I can tell, however. As an aside I was able to playback a number of 720p MKVs with hardware decoding checked in VLC for Android and 5.1 audio out with no dropped frames. The Nexus 4 seems to be a passable platform if you're looking to play the occasional 720p video over HDMI — provided you have the free storage for it.

I also tested out the SP2002 microUSB SlimPort to VGA adapter, which has a longer cable and correspondingly beefier module for accommodating the D-SUB connector on the end. I tried with a Dell G2410 LCD display and XGA resolution DLP projector and saw an output resolution of VGA (640x480 at 60 Hz), which wasn't quite what I expected. The SP2002 should work just fine with 720p60 over VGA, and I know both monitors expose the proper EDID, it seems as though the Nexus 4 just defaults to this mode. Just like the HDMI adapter there's a microUSB port on the back for optional charging, though the dongle doesn't require external power to operate. 

Thus far I'm fairly impressed with SlimPort. I enjoyed discrete microHDMI connections on devices when that was the norm, though finding a microHDMI to HDMI cable was always the challenge. Later MHL seemed a step in the right direction, but requiring three cables to do display mirroring seemed like a bit much. With SlimPort I think we've finally arrived at something close to ideal with the standard not requiring external power to function. It will be interesting to see how SlimPort, MHL, and Miracast adoption fare in the coming year as mirroring to a larger display is in the cards as a convergence trend for smartphones and tablets. 

Qualcomm Announces S4 Play MSM8x26 and WTR2605 - Quad Core ARM Cortex A7

Posted: 05 Dec 2012 03:27 PM PST

Yesterday, Qualcomm announced a new SoC for its Snapdragon S4 Play category, the MSM8x26, and alongside it a new transceiver, WTR2605. The announcement was a little light on detail and I waited until confirmation of a few details, but now know more about these two new parts geared at the growing entry-level Chinese handset market.

First off, MSM8x26 is a 28nm SoC consisting of four ARM Cortex A7 CPUs running at (1.2 GHz) alongside an Adreno 305 GPU. This is to my knowledge the first Qualcomm SoC using a Cortex A7 for CPU, previously we've seen a lot of Cortex A5 use at Qualcomm in parts like MSM8x25 (dual A5s), MSM8x25Q (quad A5s), and also onboard baseband as an optional AP for managing things like a router. MSM8x26 is the spiritual successor to MSM8x25Q, which was again quad core ARM Cortex A5s at 45nm with Adreno 203 graphics. MSM8x26 should bring a nice jump in performance on both CPU and GPU over that part, in addition to supporting 1080p video encode and decode, and support for 13 MP cameras. MSM8x26 will come in two flavors, 8226 with UMTS and TD-SCDMA, and 8626 with UMTS, CDMA, and TD-SDCMA, consistent with Qualcomm's part numbering scheme. 

The other part of the story is the new transceiver, WTR2605, whose name suggests a wafer-level package (W for wafer) and includes necessary improvements to accommodate dual SIM active and standby modes (DS-DS operation) popular in the entry level Chinese market MSM8x26 is geared at. I don't know anything further about the WTR2605 or how it compares in terms of RF ports to WTR1605L, which is Qualcomm's current flagship transceiver, but suspect it's an evolution of that design with changes to accommodate the dual SIM modes. We'll have a piece ready later in the week about WTR1605 and the state of Qualcomm's modem portfolio.

Source: Qualcomm

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