Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Specs Revealed?

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Initial information on the follow-up to last year’s Samsung Galaxy Note has emerged. UbuntuLife are stating that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will offer up a larger screen, better processor and a number of new features and services when it launches in October time later this year.

As alien as the concept of the original Samsung Galaxy Note was at the time, we quickly grew to love that huge 5.3-inch display along with its implementation of stylus/touchscreen input on a smartphone. The tablet-smartphone concept isn’t for everyone, but the Note, which launched some six months ago, has already accumulated a large following, with 7 million handsets already sold and Samsung gunning for a target of 10 million by the time its successor arrives.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (as it will most likely be named) is expected to sport an even larger display than its 2011 brother. Word has it the Note will utilise a 5.5-inch WSXGA+ (1680×1050) Super AMOLED display with a pixel density of 360ppi. Samsung could of course opted for a FullHD display, but with the human eye struggling to determine individual pixels past the 300ppi mark at the distances the device will most likely be held from their face, FullHD would be somewhat overkill.

Other specs rumoured to be making their way to the Note 2 include Samsung’s newly announced Exynos 5 Dual (a.k.a. Exynos 5250) dual-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel camera and in select markets LTE connectivity. Samsung services will feature on the Note 2 as well, including S Voice and S Beam which we first saw on the new Galaxy S3.

It seems as if the Samsung Galaxy S3 rumours have only just subsided following the launch of the company’s new flagship smartphone, but the Note brand has fast become another key player in Samsung’s smart device portfolio and as such we can expect to be hearing about the Note 2 right through until its expected October arrival.

UPDATE 29/6/12: The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is still a twinkle in Samsung’s eye as far as consumers are concerned, but GSMArena have received a tip from a highly reliable source, reaffirming the existence of the upcoming device as well as noting a few key pieces of information. For one, their tip matched up with our previous suspicions of a 5.5-inch WSXGA+ display and rather logically, the Note 2 will take is styling cues from the Samsung Galaxy S3, much as the original Note must tip its hat to the S2. Following Google I/O’s announcement earlier this week, it’ll likely run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box too.

Most notably, arrival of the Galaxy Note 2 is said to be September time this year, rather than our previously anticipated October. The shift goes against our previous suspicions but for much the same reason. We originally thought Samsung were planning to release the Note 2 at the same time as Apple’s iPhone 5 to draw attention away from sales of it, but now it would seem that Samsung are getting in early, to drum up interest well before the new iPhone arrives. As always take these tidbits with a pinch of salt and whichever device you’re looking forward to, keep your eyes peeled, we should find out more as the year progresses.

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Google Glass On Sale For £1000

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Google has begun selling its augmented glasses to developers for just under £1000, but company co-founder Sergey Brin insists Glass is 'not for consumers'.

Only the elite will be afforded the opportunity of being bombarded with on-lens information while walking down the street is the message from Google, who showed off their futuristic specs at the annual Google I/O conference yesterday.

'This is not a consumer device,' Sergey Brin told a cheering audience in San Francisco.

'You have to want to be on the bleeding edge. That's what this is designed for.'

The very first Google Glass eyewear units will be shipped only to Google I/O attendees from the US, as different countries have different radio-frequency emissions requirements.

The Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled glasses allow wearers to view and interact with information displayed on the lenses, as well as capturing pictures and video.

The latter function was shown off at the conference with a dramatic live Google+ hangout in which four parachutists wearing Google Glass jumped from a blimp above San Francisco's Moscone Center where Google I/O was taking place before landing on the roof.

They captured the descent using the specs, as did cyclists and climbers who rappelled down the walls of the building, all convening with Brin on stage at the end of the publicity stunt.

The co-founder said of the action-packed demonstration: 'You've seen demos that were slick and robust.

'This will be nothing like that, this could go wrong in about 500 different ways.'

Google also launched their new Nexus 7 tablet at the conference, which is expected to retail at £159 in the UK.

Aston Martin Unveil The New Vanquish

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Aston Martin‘s new DBS successor has been renamed the AM310 Vanquish and it borrows heavily from the spectacular One-77 coupe.

Built on the latest version of Aston Martin’s VH (vertical horizontal) architecture, the car’s components make use of materials such as bonded aluminium and carbon-fibre, improving overall rigidity by 25% over the outgoing model and reducing weight.

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It is powered by a significantly upgraded 6.0 litre V12 engine mated to the proven Touchtronic 2 six-speed automatic gearbox it is capable of 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds and can reach a top speed of 183mph.

The Vanquish will be sold in two-seater or 2+2 seating configurations and will have increased leg and shoulder room.

Stylists have drawn inspiration from the One-77 for the interior. The sweeping center console, for example, is almost identical to the design seen on the former flagship.

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Other interior amenities include full-grain leather upholstery, heated power front seats, a Garmin navigation system with a 6.5-inch pop-up LCD screen, Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, and a 1,000-watt, 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system.

Priced from $279,995, first deliveries of the new sports car are expected to begin across the Americas in early 2013.

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Android Jelly Bean 4.1 Confirmed: Launching July

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Google has confirmed the next version of its operating system will be Android 4.1 Jellybean, which will roll out in mid-July to handsets including the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S and Motorola Xoom, with the SDK available to developers today.

The announcement was made at Google Developer conference Google I/O taking place in San Francisco. The news is not really a shock – there have been leaks over the last few weeks and earlier today a Droid filled with Jelly Beans appeared on the lawn at the conference centre.

Head of product Hugo Barra introduced Jelly Bean, which he described as the ‘fastest and smoothest version of Android yet’ Jelly Bean includes: resizing widgets, improved text input, offline voice typing and an enhanced keyboard.

Google also released some interesting figures, Android has seen 400 million activations over the last year, a huge increase from 100 million last year, with 1 million handsets activated every single day. Activations rose 300% in Japan and interestingly developing markets grew at a rate of 500%.

At the keynote Google confirmed the first device to run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean will be the Google Nexus 7, launching in July for $199. Other news includes a tablet optimised version of Google Plus and Google Glasses.

Classic: Fiat X1/9

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Don’t for a second fall for that nonsense about X1/9s being prone to bad electrics and rust.

My brother has owned one for well over 10 years and even though it’s been sitting under a cover in our drive for the past five, there isn’t a single sign of any oxidisation whatsoever. Other than a bit on the corner of the rear left wing… And a spot between the bonnet and windshield. Just don’t believe it — these Fiats simply don’t decay and certainly don’t have electrical issues. OK, so one indicator light flashes quicker than the other… but it’s endured freezing temperatures, battering rain, sleet, snow and ice on an almost daily basis (you get it all in a day in England) yet it hasn’t keeled over on its side.

And, judging by the last time we fired it up a month or two ago, it ran as strong as the day it left the production line in 1989. It’s a cracking little car, with a mid-mounted 85bhp 1.5-litre four-pot mated to a five-speed manual, a crisp go-kart-like steering and it’s finished in navy blue on silver with a beige leather interior. That wedgy shape, long straight bonnet, removable roof and angry exhaust note make it a real head-turner.

These Fiats were just the ticket for those looking for some affordable, open-top thrills and spirited performance about four decades ago. Often referred to as the ‘baby Lambo’, the X1/9 was first seen in the late Sixties as a concept called the Autobianchi Runabout and it wasn’t long before it was put into development. Penned by the same chap who gave us the Countach and the Miura — Marcello Gandini of design house Bertone — the X1/9 was fortified with some very impressive DNA.

Powering the roadster in 1972 was the Fiat 128s 75bhp 1.3-litre all-alloy straight-four motor, positioned towards the back with the fuel tank just behind the cockpit, thus creating an almost perfect weight distribution. It was a little whippet and an immense pleasure to drive. Best of all, its pop-up headlights gave it even more charisma and added to its overall appeal. Fiat produced the two-seater from 1972 until 1982 adding a larger engine in the process and then Bertone took over production until 1989.

The Bertone X1/9s featured revised footwells and had more head and legroom than the originals while the last of the lot, the Grand Finale editions, added a rear spoiler and special badges.

You can pick these charming beauties up for as little as £1,000 but very well-maintained and low-mileage examples can fetch as much as five times that. But what separates these from all those Spitfires and TVRs is the simple fact that X1/9s are becoming increasingly difficult to find.

There’s more chance you’ll see either of those Triumphs buzzing down an empty road on a lazy Sunday afternoon than an X1/9.

And this makes the Fiat all the better for it.

Tuscan Village Goes Up For Sale On eBay

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For just €2.5m the medieval village of Pratariccia, blessed with stunning views over the Casentino valley, could be yours.

Proving that property deals in Tuscany are not just the preserve of rock stars and aristocrats, an entire Tuscan village has gone up for sale on eBay.

Nestled among oaks at 850 metres altitude and blessed with stunning views over the Casentino valley, the medieval village of Pratariccia has stood empty for 50 years, ever since its population of farmers and shepherds abandoned their stone cottages for factory jobs during Italy's economic boom.

Now the owners of the remote village – reportedly a religious order – are seeking to cash in with an online sale.

"They tried and failed to sell the village through agencies for years but have got a lot of attention by putting Pratariccia on eBay and should get a result," said Luca Santini, mayor of nearby Stia, who walked in the woods around the village as a child picking mushrooms.

The price tag of €2.5m may put off most holiday home buyers, but the deal does include 25 cottages and eight hectares of land where deer, wild boar and even wolves roam.

Local estate agent Carlo Magni, who is handling the sale through eBay's classified section, admitted another €1m would be needed to do up the crumbling cottages, provide electricity and add a road. "Right now you can get to within 800 metres in a jeep, then you're walking," he said.

Talks with a group of artists, who were hoping to turn the village into a retreat, had come to nothing, he said, adding: "They were put off by the costs."

But, he added: "It's a stupendous location, 40km from Florence, with hermits still living in the nearby hermitage of Camaldoli and all the castles you'll ever need, dating from when Siena and Arezzo fought over the area."

Pratariccia is one of hundreds of abandoned or semi-abandoned hilltop villages in stunning locations in Italy that are now being eyed by developers as potential hotels – where guests get their own cottage – or health spas, or boltholes for Italian émigrés to return to for retirement, like San Basile in Calabria, which has been selling empty cottages cheaply.

"Italy is deep in an economic crisis and needs to sell," said Magni. "Finding buyers through the trade press costs, whereas eBay is free and reaches a huge public. It's good for selling small things, but I think we will see a lot more Italian villages and even castles coming up for sale."