Could This Be Amazon’s New Kindle Fire?

New Kindle Fire

After this morning’s news that the Kindle Fire is now sold out, The Verge received a leaked photo of what is purported to be the next Kindle Fire. Two models are supposed to be released, a 7-inch variant that will replace the existing device and a new 10-inch device that would put it in competition with Apple and the iPad. The Verge’s report lines up nicely with previous rumors that circulated before Amazon told its employees to stop talking to tech blogs.

The first generation Kindle Fire bore a striking resemblance to the BlackBerry Playbook since it was based on the same reference design, but if this image is actually legitimate, Amazon has clearly gone in a different direction.

This newly leaked image reveals the existence of a front-facing camera, as well as a rather cluttered-looking navigation bar running vertically along the display’s right edge. Still, Even though the keyboard and the touches of orange are reminiscent of Amazon’s user interface, it remains to be seen whether it is the actual device. Amazon will hold a press conference on September 6 where new e-reader Kindles alongside new Fire models are expected.

According to Amazon, the Kindle Fire captured 22 percent of the market share in the U.S. and its new version could be one of a series of highly-anticipated tablet models expected to be unveiled in September. Rumors of an iPad Mini introduction in the coming weeks are persistent and Apple would therefore commercialize another competitor for the 7-inch Kindle Fire model.

TechCrunch » Gadgets

IDC: Android-Crazy China Passes U.S. As Smartphone Leader, But India’s Growing The Fastest


The latest figures out from IDC confirm that this is the year that China will overtake the U.S. as the world’s biggest smartphone market, with its 25.5% share a significant lead over the U.S.’s 17.8%. The tipping point has been a long time coming: China is the world’s most-populated country, so it was only a matter of time before it would overtake the U.S. But the trend has been accelerated in the last couple of years with the rise of cheap sub-$ 200 devices built on Android.

But when it comes to growth, it’s another booming Eastern economy that is leading the pack: India, which this year will only account for 2.5% of all smartphones shipped and sold, is growing at a rate of over 57% in the next several years: but that still will only give it an 8.5% share by 2016. IDC notes that India has one of the lowest smartphone penetration rates in the region.

The trend for cheap, Android-based devices will continue to drive growth at China, too, which will see its share expand at a rate of 26.2%.

If anything the price is going to come down ever more: “Near-term prices in the low-end segment will come down to US$ 100 and below as competition for market share intensifies among smartphone vendors,” writes Wong Teck-Zhung, senior market analyst, Client Devices, IDC Asia/Pacific.

He believes that carrier subsidies and strong domestic vendors will continue to persist as trends in the market, too, and he believes 4G will be “another growth catalyst.”

Those cheap Chinese handsets are not just for Chinese, though. They are also making their way to other emerging markets like Brazil, which will see a much higher rate of growth than China, at 44% — although like India its share is just above 2% of all shipments at the moment.

In contrast, developed markets like the U.S. and UK will see growth at under 12%. In markets like these, the main trend will continue to be current feature phone handset owners upgrading to smartphones, but these countries are also much closer to smartphone saturation — which smartphones already in many cases outnumbering feature devices in current sales. Many analysts already note that the U.S. and UK are tipping into a smartphone majority. In the UK, the eventual launch of LTE will also be a driving force for sales. The first LTE services could launch as early as this year.

Another market that gets a mention by IDC, but which still doesn’t make it beyond the “rest of the world” category, is Mother Russia. IDC, in fact, believes it might be, along with Brazil, among the most hotly contested markets of all in the next five years.

The United Kingdom has been one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in Western Europe, driven by the high operator subsidies and long-term post-paid contracts. Over the forecast period, smartphone shipments will continue to increase due to the introduction of LTE and a new range of services that will appeal to heavy smartphone users. In addition, price erosion on HSPA devices will also attract feature phones users. Growth rates will slow in the later years of the forecast as penetration plateaus and operators seek out alternative subsidy models.

Top Five Smartphone Markets and Market Share for 2011, 2012, and 2016 (based on shipments)

Country 2011
Market Share
Market Share
Market Share
2011 – 2016
PRC 18.3% 26.5% 23.0% 26.2%
USA 21.3% 17.8% 14.5% 11.6%
India 2.2% 2.5% 8.5% 57.5%
Brazil 1.8% 2.3% 4.4% 44.0%
United Kingdom 5.3% 4.5% 3.6% 11.5%
Rest of World 51.1% 46.4% 46.0% 18.1%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 20.5%

Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, 2012 Q2 Forecast Release, August 30 2012

TechCrunch » Gadgets

Motorola And Intel May (Officially) Reveal Medfield-Powered Smartphone On 9/18


Motorola and Intel have been in cahoots since this past January, but so far their relationship hasn’t yielded any new gadgets to lust after. That should all change very shortly though, as the two companies have been busy sending out invitations to a big September 18 press event in London this morning.

As for what the two companies plan to share, well, that’s still tough to discern. The (frustratingly vague) invitation urges us members of the tech press to let them take us “to the edge” — should one succumb to the urge to read too much into things, it’s possible that the line is a not-so-sly reference to a smartphone or tablet design with an edge-to-edge display.

There is also the matter of that striking Medfield-powered smartphone design that first started making the rounds back in February — Motorola may finally be planning to push that little guy (or some variant thereof) into the market. Considering that Motorola and Intel told us to expect a Medfield device launch in 2012, this is likely our winner.

It’s worth noting that the newly-leaked Droid RAZR M for Verizon bears a striking resemblance to that early render though, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see an Intel-powered smartphone with a slightly different look to help differentiate it.

Even though other Intel-powered Android devices have beaten Motorola to market — there’s the oddly-named (and India-exclusive) Lava XOLO X900 for one — Motorola’s is the biggest hardware name attached to the chipset maker right now. Whatever those crazy kids end up unveiling is going to be worth paying attention to, although I imagine some people will still be too wrapped up in whatever Apple announces the week before that to care much.

TechCrunch » android

Western Digital My Book VelociRaptor Duo Review: An Expensive Drive That Makes Good Use Of Thunderbolt

Featured image

Short version: Western Digital finally has released a new Thunderbolt external hard drive to justify the existence of the Thunderbolt port on your laptop. The My Book VelociRaptor Duo is a desktop external hard drive, which uses two 3.5-inch 1 TB VelociRaptor hard drives. These disks spin at 10,000 RPM and are a good compromise between speed and storage inside a desktop computer. Yet, using them in an external enclosure comes with a major drawback: a hefty price of $ 899.


  • Two 1 TB 10,000 RPM WD VelociRaptor drives
  • Two Thunderbolt ports for daisy-chaining
  • A Thunderbolt cable in the box — a $ 50 value
  • Drives can be replaced
  • RAID 0 or RAID 1 options to have a 2 TB drive (RAID 0) or two 1 TB drives always in sync (RAID 1)
  • Western Digital Product Page


  • It’s fast
  • Daisy-chaining with Thunderbolt
  • You can replace a faulty drive


  • MSRP: $ 899
  • Noisier than a MacBook Pro 13″
  • No USB3

Long version:

Before diving into some read/write tests, let’s talk about the external features of the VelociRaptor Duo. It is a heavy and bulky desktop hard drive that will sit on your desk in a corner and never move again.

At the same time, due to its speed and limited capacity compared to some desktop external hard drives — you can easily get a slower but comparably sized 6 TB drive for the same price — you will have to find a special use for it aside from storing backups of your computer. An entry-level NAS is another alternative that could be considered at that price.

For example, it would be a good addition to a current-generation MacBook Air limited by its 128 GB or 256 GB SSD. But SSD prices will certainly drop in the coming years.

The exterior of the VelociRaptor Duo is made entirely of plastic. It looks fine when sitting on your desk, but feels cheap when you are moving the drive around. A discreet LED indicates that the device is plugged correctly. The drive is also noisier than the MacBook Pro used to write this review, even when not reading or copying files.

It gets warm, but that’s not very important for a desktop external drive. You can change the hard drives quite easily without using a screwdriver. Even though VelociRaptor drives are standard 3.5-inch SATA drives, there is a sticker that says “Only use VelociRaptor drives.” It remains to be seen if it is a serious claim as for the European patent-protected Nespresso coffee machine or only marketing advice. Finally, a Thunderbolt cable is in the box, a $ 50 value.

Daisy-chaining multiple Thunderbolt devices is a convenient feature when using a laptop. For example, the VelociRaptor Duo is currently plugged to a MacBook Pro and a display is plugged to the VelociRaptor using a DVI to Mini DisplayPort adapter. Only one port is necessary on the laptop to use those two devices.

When it comes to performances, the VelociRaptor duo is a nice surprise. In Raid 0, we could measure 352.3 MB/s and 374.1 MB/s respectively for writing and reading large files. Yet, dealing with a lot of small files was much slower with 13.2 MB/s for random writing. That is the disadvantage of mechanical hard drives, but the VelociRaptor Duo appeared faster than the Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt. Clearly, the bottleneck is not the connectivity but the drive.

In real-world use, copying a folder from the MacBook Pro to the VelociRaptor Duo would not be relevant because of the 5,400 RPM hard drive found in that Mac. That is why we copied a 69 GB folder containing small and big files already on the VelociRaptor Duo. It took 13’02″, at an approximate speed of 89 MB/s. The same test would have been many times slower using a USB2 drive.

The VelociRaptor Duo is a particular drive filling a particular need for those that feel cramped using a small SSD as their main drive. It is expensive but makes good use of the Thunderbolt interface. Yet, it is very hard to recommend the drive because of the price. As SSD capacities will increase a lot in future laptops, a cheaper desktop external drive with Thunderbolt might be good enough. The rest of the money could be saved to buy your next laptop with a bigger SSD.

TechCrunch » Gadgets

Sony Pumps Up Mobile Lineup At IFA With New Xperia T, V, And J Smartphones


After a bit of on-stage patter (and a rather pointless Wonderbook video), Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai officially pulled back the curtains on a slew of new Xperia handsets — the Xperias T, V, and J — at IFA in Berlin.

The Xperia T (previously known as the Mint, left) is the clear standout in this crowd with its 4.6 inch display, which also takes advantage of the company’s Mobile Bravia Engine to produce to eye-popping (some would say “lurid”) visuals.

Taking a look inside the T reveals a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Krait MSM8260-A chipset, and the whole package runs Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, though a Jelly Bean update is in the works. As previously reported, the flagship Xperia T also packs NFC and a 13-megapixel camera, which Hirai says can go from sleep mode to snapping shots “in just over a second.”

Sadly, the other two models didn’t warrant more than a sentence apiece from Hirai. The new Xperia V (center) packs support for LTE, and “highest level of water resistance” seen in a smartphone. Hirai didn’t dive into much detail about how exactly that works — he’s bounding from topic to topic like a madman — but expect more to come shortly. The slightly-tinier V keeps the same 13-megapixel camera and Ice Cream Sandwich build as its big brother, but Sony opted for a slightly smaller 4.3-inch display and a slightly different dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm MSM8960 processor.

Meanwhile, Hirai didn’t have much to say about the Xperia J (right) aside from pointing out that it’s cheap, which I suppose is better than nothing. A recent leak revealed that the wallet-friendly J features a single core 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a 4-inch display, and 512MB of RAM, which explains why Hirai was so quick to talk about something else.

Of course, hardware is only part of the equation, and Sony has plenty of audio and video content at its disposal. Just to get people on board with Sony’s oft-overlooked Music Unlimited service, anyone who purchases one of these new Xperia handsets will get a 60-day premium service trial.

No word yet on pricing and availability yet, so on the off-chance you’re downright smitten with one (or more) of these things, you may be in for a bit of a wait. In the meantime, you may want to peek at these promo videos that Sony has whipped up to help keep the heartache at bay:

TechCrunch » android