Computers

Top 5 things to expect from Computex 2017

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Now that GadgetMatch has confirmed its full participation at Computex 2017, we’re rounding up the biggest announcements we’re expecting at the multi-day tech convention in Taipei, Taiwan.

The event will run from March 30 to June 3, but you can anticipate most of the major news to pop up right before the start until midway through the official dates. Although there’ll be hundreds of brands at the showcase — from the major players to the most obscure startups — these expected launches should be the highlights.

Please don’t hold us accountable if we get a few (or all) of these wrong:

No next-generation ZenFone from ASUS

Despite rumors saying there’ll be a new generation of ZenFones to be announced during Computex, we’ve learned that only the ZenFone AR will be given the spotlight. Yes, it’s the same ASUS smartphone with augmented reality tech we got our hands on at CES last January, but this upcoming announcement will be for its regional pricing and availability.

Having a new ZenFone lineup this soon wouldn’t make much sense either. The ZenFone Live just came out, the ZenFone 3 Zoom is still reaching consumer hands, and the ZenFone AR (which is based on the ZenFone 3 design language) needs to build its own steam. Instead, expect ASUS to show off refreshed notebooks from its Republic of Gamers (ROG) and ZenBook lines like in earlier shows.

More on AMD’s Vega graphics cards

AMD has been feeding us leaks of its next-generation graphics cards bit by bit for the past few months, but with nothing more than possible specs to look at. We might be seeing something tangible at Computex with working units of the manufacturer’s high-end Vega line of GPUs. AMD better hurry, because NVIDIA has been eating up the hardcore gamer segment for a while now.

Another refresh from Acer?

Taipei may be Acer’s home turf, but the Taiwanese company already launched several of its Swift- and Predator-branded notebooks in New York last April. The Swift 1 and Triton 300, in particular, were the showstoppers Acer needed, but that leaves us with the question: What do they have left for Computex?

Notably absent from [email protected] was an update to the Swift 7, still the world’s thinnest laptop. This could experience a refresh. At the same time, we wouldn’t be surprised if Acer uses Computex as a springboard for IFA Berlin in September; IFA 2016, if you recall, became the stage for the humongous Predator 21 X.

Gigabyte and MSI turn up the RGB

Computex has traditionally been known as the breeding ground for PC components and accessories, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see local brands Gigabyte and MSI introduce several new motherboards and graphics cards to keep up. RGB lighting is still considered cool, so expect the pair and all blatant copycats to dish out all the colorful LEDs they can muster.

A possible bombshell from Intel

As surprising as it may be, the biggest announcement could come from Intel. Leaks have shown the chip specialist planning to release its most groundbreaking processor series to date, the Core i9 line. It’s been discussed ever since the first Core i7 launched in 2008, and now we may finally expect something concrete at Computex.

Based on a leaked presentation, the Core i9 series could see a processor with as many as 12 cores and another with as few as only six (still more than any present Core i7). This may seem like overkill considering how great Core i7 processors have been, but the extra compute power will be vital once 8K video and graphics rendering become the norm.

SEE ALSO: GadgetMatch is an official media partner of Computex 2017

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Computers

Windows 10 touch keyboard is getting GIFs, updated emoji picker

And new Voice Typing!

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Have you tried using Windows 10’s touch keyboard on your laptop or tablet? Laptops have a handy physical keyboard, but an increasing number of users rely on the software option while using devices like the Surface Pro. To make the Windows 10 experience cooler, Microsoft is rolling out a few nifty features.

The new touch keyboard is based on the company’s work with Windows 10X, bringing in better animations, sounds, and GIF support. Microsoft is calling it WonderBar, which sounds very similar to Mac’s Touch Bar but is limited to the on-screen keyboard only.

It also includes the ability to move the cursor through the space bar on the touch keyboard. A similar setup is found on iOS for cursor navigation and even BlackBerry 10 relied on this feature for a better typing experience.

The user can also search and insert GIFs directly from the keyboard, a feature that has now become mainstream on Android keyboards. There’s also an updated emoji picker which can be activated via the Winkey + period.

Microsoft is working on implementing a Fluent Design system that’ll bring together emoji search, GIF support, and your clipboard history. Lastly, the company is working on a new dictation system called Voice Typing. It has been completely revamped with a new design, auto punctuation, and an updated backend.

The changes are currently rolling out via Windows Insider Dev Channel and may not show up for all testers. The update is expected to roll out publicly in the first half of 2021 for Windows 10.

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Computers

Intel announces 11th-Gen chips with new company branding

Directly competes with AMD Ryzen series

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Intel 11th Gen

Intel has finally announced their newest 11th-gen chipsets that directly rival AMD’s powerful yet inexpensive Ryzen series. Though these aren’t the new 7nm processors that are rumored to come as late as 2022, these are still new chips based on their 10nm SuperFin process technology.

Other than the annual chipset announcement, Intel also announces a major rebrand after almost a decade — all before Apple ditches Intel with their first in-house ARM-based Apple Silicon chipset that will run on the new MacBook by the end of 2020.

New branding

Image by GadgetMatch

For half a century, Intel has undergone three major logo overhauls. The oldest logo was used for 38 years while the post-millennium logo was utilized for just 14 years. In this new decade, they decided to re-do their logo. Just like any other manufacturer, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t stopping them from doing a major rebrand.

Image by GadgetMatch

Alongside the company logo, they also did several iterations of the “Intel Inside” campaign that was launched in 1991. The new logo leans more into a flat, minimalist style — a trend you can see among company logos nowadays.

Image by GadgetMatch

While the new branding may not be totally flat because of the gradient styling, it’s still a major rebrand that changes the overall look of their chipset lineup in contrast to the older generation that heavily relied on images of system internals and silver gradient combinations that imitate the metallic texture of processors.

New chipset lineup

As expected, Intel has revealed their latest Intel chipset lineup. It uses Willow Cove cores with a maximum speed of up to 4.8GHz (faster than last year’s 3.8GHz) but still at 4-cores and 8-threads. Future motherboards can support up to two 64GB of DDR4 RAM on PC rigs, while four 32GB LPDDR4x RAM on portable machines.

The new Tiger Lake architecture equips the 11th-gen chipsets with the next-gen Wi-Fi 6 standard for faster internet/wireless transfer speeds. The PCI Express 4.0 support will also be able to handle the latest SSDs and discrete graphics cards with low latency and higher bandwidth.

For video editors and content creators, the new chipset has a Thunderbolt 4 support that can plug one 8K/60Hz display or up to four 4K/60Hz displays altogether. It will also be able to read 4K/90p videos and up to 42-megapixels of still image. The new Thunderbolt standard can also reach 32GB/s of transfers and faster charging in higher voltages through Power Delivery.

There’s also an integrated AI-based engine that reads tasks faster such as image and text processing or video playback.

New (real) integrated graphics

As said earlier, Intel is directly hitting AMD with their new line of chips. A diagram shows that everything’s faster with the latest 11th-gen Core i7 chipset — that’s in comparison with AMD’s latest Ryzen 7 4th Gen. A significant boost can be seen when running Office apps and Adobe apps. It also shows that there are improvements while browsing and downloading files.

With Intel’s Iris Xe graphics integrated into the new-gen Core chipsets, 1080p Full HD gaming will be more accessible. Mainstream games such as Valorant, League of Legends (LoL), Dota2, CS:GO can be played over 100 frames per second (fps) .

Moreover, graphics-intensive games such as Grand Theft Auto (GTA) V, Overwatch, Fortnite, PUBG, and other titles can run around 40-60fps depending on game settings and processor power. Playing these titles usually require dedicated graphics card such as NVIDIA’s GeForce and AMD’s Radeon series.

The new integrated graphics will also be able to read 4K HDR10 and Dolby Vision-certified videos with minimal power consumption.

New platform

Evo is Intel’s new platform that can fit in upcoming thin and light ultrabooks without compromising their overall performance. With the new chips’ improved power-efficiency, you can expect no less than nine hours of use with Full HD displays. 40% responsiveness will also be present via Instant Wake.

Cuts in cords doesn’t mean you will be less connected. The platform will also support Thunderbolt 4 through USB-C ports and Wi-Fi 6 for consistent internet and data transmission.

Machines that will run this platform will feature either an 11th-Gen Core i5 or i7 chipset coupled with Iris Xe graphics. That’s a better alternative for bulky gaming laptops that are equipped with thick dedicated graphics cards.

New machines

Intel’s 11th-generation chipsets are expected to be shipped by the end of 2020 alongside brands like Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Razer, Samsung, and many more in the list. Sourced from a tweet, there will be 50 new machines that will run Intel’s latest chipset family — including 20 devices that run the Evo platform.

It is expected to run most (if not all) Windows 10 laptops in the coming months and years plus several ChromeOS-based Chromebooks as well.

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Computers

Apple accidentally approves a known malware to run on macOS

It could affect as many as one in 10 macOS devices

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Apple has a solid reputation in the cybersecurity space and in recent times, it has increased emphasis on its privacy-centric operating systems. iOS has a host of features that let you monitor and control app data collection while macOS is generally known to be virus-immune.

In recent years, macOS has come under increasing attack via ransomware and adware. To protect users, Apple announced a new process called “notarizing.” It basically scans the software for security issues and malicious content. The software can run on macOS only if it has cleared notarization.

However, Peter Dantini, who works with well-known Mac security researcher Patrick Wardle, has discovered a malicious program that’s disguised as an Adobe Flash installer. The malware was accidentally notarized by Apple and officially made its way into the Mac ecosystem.

Also called the “Shlayer” adware, it could affect as many as one in 10 macOS devices. Wardle has confirmed that Apple approved the code and it can run on the unreleased Beta version of macOS Big Sur.

Keep in mind, the program does not steal your data or set up a backdoor entry. It’s essentially an adware program that generates a lot of annoying ads. It isn’t clear how the program was able to get past Apple’s notarization, but this is the first case of malware directly getting approved.

“Malicious software constantly changes, and Apple’s notarization system helps us keep malware off the Mac and allow us to respond quickly when it’s discovered,” Apple said in a statement. “Upon learning of this adware, we revoked the identified variant, disabled the developer account, and revoked the associated certificates. We thank the researchers for their assistance in keeping our users safe.”

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