In a recent blog post, Google announced two new features it would be adding to the beta builds of its Chrome 11 Web browser: speech-to-text and hardware accelerated 3D CSS. With the newly included HTML speech-to-input API, developers can enable Web applications to translate voice input into text. “When a web page uses this feature, you simply click on an icon and then speak into your computer’s microphone,” writes Google. “The recorded audio is sent to speech servers for transcription, after which the text is typed out for you.” The company has also added a GPU-accelerated CSS engine. And if you’re looking for a more superficial change, the icon has been updated to look more contemporary, too. More →
Today, Adobe announced the release of its Flash Player 10.2 beta software via its Labs website. The new bits aim to shore-up the speed and efficiency of the internet video player. As Adobe explains:
Flash Player 10.2 beta introduces a number of enhancements we’re excited to share, including Stage Video, a new API that delivers best-in-class, high performance video playback across platforms. The new beta also includes Internet Explorer 9 hardware acceleration support previewed earlier (in Flash Player “Square”), enhanced text rendering, and two popular requests from the community: a native custom mouse cursors API and support for full screen playback with multiple monitors.
As you can see from the above statement, the new player will support GPU acceleration when used in conjunction with the Internet Explorer 9 web browser. Adobe boasts that with its new Stage Video API and GPU acceleration the have “seen laptops play smooth 1080p HD video with just over 0% CPU usage.” Hit the read link to grab the new goodies. More →
Those sleuthing Apple informants seem to have struck gold once again. After noticing a continuous stream of AMD bosses and representatives travelling to and from Apple’s Cupertino campus, they’re now reporting that Apple is seriously considering the #2 chipmaker as a replacement for its current Intel offerings. Apple is thought to be unhappy with Intel, whose prolonged chip development cycle has slowed the pace of Apple’s hardware refresh and whose incompatibility with Nvidia has forced Apple to use the less than optimal integrated Intel graphics chipset. In fact, Apple’s dissatisfaction with Intel’s GPU performance is what prompted the company to develop the novel automatic graphics switching utilized by its recently refreshed MacBook Pro line-up. The hardware work-around allows the notebook to switch from the integrated Intel chipset to the more powerful NVIDIA GT 320M and GT 330M cards when needed. AMD, with its strong ties to ATI, could seemingly offer Apple greater flexibility over its future products which might one day include a powerful graphics subsytem worthy of the Apple name. Before you get too excited and sell your new Core i5 and Core i7 MBPs on eBay, keep in mind that all of this is speculation based upon the rather ambiguous, yet highly referenced “people familiar with the matter”. Respond appropriately. More →
As the prophet Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor used to ask his audience, “what do we want?” More. Power. AMD has just released its dual-GPU ATI Radeon HD 5970 graphics card, and the specs are pretty ridiculous. Aside from having two GPUs capable of 4.64 teraflops of number-smashing goodness, the 5970 also comes standard with a 725 MHz engine processor (which can be overclocked), a 1 GHz memory clock, and 2 GB of GDDR5 RAM. Now, for those of you with 90-inches of screen real estate to fill, the 5970 can output in resolutions all the way up to 7,680 x 1,600. Direct X11, Open GL 3.2, and Open CL 1.0 compliance also made their way onto the stat sheet. Makes you want to fire up Mindsweeper and really put this puppy through its paces, doesn’t it? $599 is the number for this monster, if you haven’t fallen off your chair yet.
P.S. In addition to two DVI ports, the Radeon HD 5970 also includes a Mini DisplayPort More →
As of this week, it’s no longer business as usual for NVIDIA as the company has halted the production and development of its nForce line of chipsets until its legal issues with Intel are sorted out. Although the two companies have played well so far in Mac hardware, Intel brought a lawsuit against NVIDIA earlier this year to prevent it from making Intel-compatible chips. Not a very nice move from Intel, but NVIDIA has been making a pretty penny at Intel’s expense. We’re hoping this gets sorted soon because Apple’s use of Intel processors isn’t going to end any time soon, and it’s clear that the Mac line has done well with NVIDIA GPUs. Robert Sherbin of NVIDIA has this to say:
We firmly believe that this market has a long healthy life ahead. But because of Intel’s improper claims to customers and the market that we aren’t licensed to the new DMI bus and its unfair business tactics, it is effectively impossible for us to market chipsets for future CPUs. So, until we resolve this matter in court next year, we’ll postpone further chipset investments.
In the meantime, what’s a chipmaker who won’t be making chips supposed to do?
It’s that time of year when Adobe gets set and makes some huge announcements for its future plans, partnerships and products. With Adobe MAX 2009 under way, there is some good news lined up for the mobile world. Adobe just made it official that full Flash Player support is coming to handsets like BlackBerry (just like we told you a while back), Palm (for webOS) and Windows Mobile handsets. Flash Player 10.1 is also going to be hitting several other smartphones as well as PCs and netbooks, so fret not. We know what you’re thinking – won’t this kill battery life and drain system resources? Adobe assured us that the coming version of Flash is optimized to conserve battery life and keep resource usage to a minimum, which means no lag or freezing up or instantly dead batteries. Another feature Adobe brings to mobile-optimized Flash is the ability to make use of native input methods, whether touchscreen or physical keys, multi-touch, accelerometer and screen orientation. It looks like Adobe is really pushing forward with the Open Screen Project, with RIM joining the ranks amongst other big companies, and making Flash a seamless experience across all devices. Sadly there’s no timetable on RIM’s Adobe support, but a public developer preview for webOS is expected to be out before the end of the year.