ISRO Rockets Can Take 400 Satellites to Space at a Time, Says Former Chairman

Noted space scientist G Madhavan Nair on Wednesday said ISRO’s feat of launch of 104 satellites in one go was achieved by proven technology, and the rocket has the capability to launch even 400 nano spacecraft.

ISRO Rockets Can Take 400 Satellites to Space at a Time, Says Former Chairman

“This is no new technology. We (Indian Space Research Organisation) started with ten satellites (on board a single rocket), then went to 18 or something; then it’s 35. Now it’s 100. If you make 3 or 4kg satellite, it (PSLV) can take 300 to 400 satellites at a time,” the former ISRO Chairman told PTI.

India today successfully launched a record 104 satellites – all but three of them foreign – from Sriharikota and put them into orbit in a single mission onboard its most dependable Polar rocket.

The PSLV Wednesday first launched the 714kg Cartosat-2 Series satellite for earth observation and then injected 103 co-passenger satellites, together weighing about 664 kg at lift-off.

“This number (104 satellites) has not demonstrated any new technology; it’s a proven technology which is being used,” said Nair, apparently refusing to share the euphoria over the launch.

“Cartosat is the real thing, the country needs it; it’s the main passenger and the spare capacity (of PSLV) was used to carry this many (the remaining 103) satellites. That’s all,” said the former Secretary in the Department of Space and ex-Chairman of Space Commission.

“Certainly, it (the launch of 104 satellites on board a single rocket) is a very significant milestone as far as ISRO is concerned. Of course, the technology we have proven earlier. About 30 satellites have been launched (at one go) earlier also. It’s an extension of that. But when you count it in numbers, it’s huge,” he said.

But the usefulness of the satellites that were launched is the most important, according to him.

“One worry is that these (103 satellites) are tiny satellites which at the best can have a life of one or two years; after that it really become space debris. Since they are small in size, they may not be amenable for tracking and finding out their positions and things like that. They become passive. To that extent, that worry is there,” he said.

Huawei Catches Up With Samsung, Apple in Smartphone Market: Gartner

Chinese smartphone maker Huawei managed to gain ground on Samsung and Apple in terms of market share last year, following the problems encountered by the two sector giants, the Gartner consultancy group said on Wednesday.

Huawei Catches Up With Samsung, Apple in Smartphone Market: Gartner

Over the year as a whole, the Chinese maker saw its sales leap by 26.7 percent, while the South Korean and US rivals both saw their sales decline by 4.3 percent, Gartner said in a study.

As result, Huawei was able to increase its share of the smartphone sector to 8.9 percent in 2016 from 7.3 percent a year earlier, while Samsung saw its market share shrink by two full percentage points to 20.5 percent and Apple’s contracted to 14.4 percent from 15.9 percent.

“Chinese makers succeeded in winning market share over last year and Huawei now seems to be the main rival to the two giants, even if the gap remains large,” Gartner analyst Annette Zimmermann told AFP.

Among the other Chinese smartphone makers are Oppo, BBK Communication Equipment (with its OnePlus and Vivo brands), ZTE, Xiaomi and Lenovo.

“We’re seeing a very real progression compared with earlier years, when the number three maker and the others had struggled to hold on to a market share of more than four percent,” Zimmermann said.

“Huawei looks likely to strengthen its position again this year,” she added.

In the fourth quarter of 2016 alone, the launch of the iPhone 7 and Samsung’s difficulties with its Galaxy Note 7 model enabled Apple to take top slot in the market with a share of 17.9 percent or 77 million units sold.

Samsung sold 76.8 million smartphones in the October-December period, giving it a market share of 17.8 percent, while Huawei sold 40.8 million phones or a market share of 9.5 percent.

“Preliminary data for the current quarter suggest that Samsung will overtake Apple again. But it’s remarkable that Apple can hold on to that sort of share of the market with a closed eco-system,” the analyst said.

With regard to the different operating systems, Android, which is used by the large majority of smartphone makers, commands a market share of 81.7 percent, while Apple’s iOS operating system of its iPhones and iPads accounts for 17.9 percent of the market.

How AI Could End Stupid Thanksgiving Arguments

I’m writing this before Thanksgiving, which I used to hate and now don’t — largely because I no longer spend the day arguing with family. I’ve been listening to a lot of friends and relatives dread this year’s event because of political discussions that are likely to occur, and the equally annoying comments and critiques from those who supported both candidates.

I have no doubt that both sides will use fake news, quotes taken out of context, and false facts to make their points to the annoyance of those of us who just want to have a nice big meal and then drop into a food coma for a few happy hours afterward.

Perhaps my own most memorable Thanksgiving was going over to my then steady girlfriend’s house, having her compare herself to a Playboy playmate, and making the unfortunate comment “you wish,” to the glee of her brothers, and effectively ending the relationship. My defense of “trying to fit it,” I’m afraid, fell on deaf ears.

The week before Thanksgiving, Intel presented a fix that could be applied to this problem — an artificial intelligence tool that could prevent you from saying or tweeting something stupid. Hell, it likely could make more than a few politicians look a lot smarter than they currently do.

I’ll explain, and end with my product of the week — well, book of the week — which is an ex-Amazon employee’s take on how Amazon is going to take over the retail world. A lot of us catch up on our reading over the holidays, if only to avoid some of our more outspoken relatives and friends.

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Your Personal AI Guardian Angel

In a column this summer, I referenced the two models that car makers like Toyota were using to define the future of autonomous cars. One — which drivers hate — takes the steering wheel out of the car and makes you a passenger, but the other, called “guardian angel,” just keeps you from doing stupid things.

As soon as you start doing something stupid, it disconnects you from the car and keeps you safe. For instance, a drunk driver would be no different than a child in a child seat with a fake steering wheel. Drunk drivers might think they were in control, but the car would be getting them home safely instead.

Consider this same concept applied to all of your correspondence — whether comments in email or over social media. The tool could operate in one of two modes: in one, it would insert a pause when you hit send, and ask if you really want others to view your remarks, listing the implications. Another option would be for it to reword your message or post, taking out all of the bigotry, inappropriate language and false information.

Now imagine this same capability in a Siri-like application on your phone, tied to a wireless headset. It would be listening to the same thing you were hearing, and it could do one of several things:

  • It could warn you that you were likely to say something you’d regret, because its sensors would read a change in your biometrics indicating you were both angry and intoxicated.
  • It could suggest an appropriate response to defuse rather than escalate a dispute — for instance, “that’s interesting, did you notice there is a bug in your potatoes?”
  • Depending on the setting, it actually could provide that zinger that you otherwise wouldn’t think up until hours — if not weeks — had passed, along with the suggestion you step back to avoid being slapped or slugged.

Regarding this last possibility, and by way of personal experience, when I was around 11, my then-stepmother wanted me to go to bed at 10 on a Friday, and I wanted to stay up and watch Star Trek (yes, I’m that old). She told me that “all smart people went to bed at 10 o’clock,” to which I responded “oh yes, what time are you going to bed?” Had I stepped back, my jaw would work a lot better today. I still smile about this, granted a tad lopsided.

Wrapping Up: AI as Enhancement Rather Than Replacement

Many of today’s concerns surround the idea of AI as a human replacement. In a lengthy GAO report, and a far more concise paper from my old friend and futurist Brian David Johnson, these concerns are brought forward, and they are real.

We really aren’t ready for the sudden unemployment of millions — but what if, rather than replacing people, we instead focused AI on making people better? Kind of like the old Six Million Dollar Man, we have the technology. We can make all of us smarter and better people. Granted, it might mean the end of politics as we know it — but frankly, after the last several months, I’d say good riddance to that.

AIs could provide advice that will help us avoid mistakes, respond to difficult situations in both more timely and more appropriate ways, and either help us safely avoid nasty arguments — or if we choose, help us win them. In all cases, they could help us be better people.

That is likely a far better focus than creating AIs that will put most of us out of work, which is where the industry is mostly headed. Thankfully, Intel folks like Brian David Johnson and Intel’s resident ethnologist Genevieve Bell are working to make the right things happen. Let’s pray they are successful.

If nothing else, it could keep you from avoiding Thanksgiving family events like I do. Happy holidays from an undisclosed location in the Northwest.

I get a lot of inquiries on IoT and why it is disappointing. I’ve been working in this space since the 1970s and certainly long before Cisco termed IoT, or “Internet of Things,” as a concept. Generally speaking, it continues to be defined more by security problems, interoperability issues, and just horrid user experiences than by successes.

One firm that at least does seem to get the concept right is Amazon. I was thinking it would be great if someone wrote a book, and someone did. It is by John Rossman, who as an executive at the company, launched the Amazon Marketplace. He has a unique insight into why products like the Amazon Echo are so good. (By the way, the Amazon Dot, my favorite Echo product, is down to US$49 and makes a great Christmas gift.)

In the book, The Amazon Way on IoT: 10 Principles for Every Leader from the World’s Leading Internet of Things Strategies, Rossman speaks to the fact that Amazon’s goals are much closer to what the user experience should be, and less about just connecting stuff and leaving the user to figure out the mess. (Samsung should be the poster child for that.)

Rossman explains how Amazon uses the analytics that IoT products generate both to build better versions and to provide better services to its customers, which is the true benefit of IoT done right, and how to create a product like the Echo with little initial risk and huge potential upsides.

If you’ve ever wondered why the Amazon Echo is so great, how to build a successful IoT product, or just wanted something interesting to talk or read about over the holidays, The Amazon Way on IoT is the book for you, and it is a very reasonable $9.99 on your Kindle (and yes I still love my Kindles).

SF Muni Hack a Wake-Up Call for Public Systems

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority, or SF MTA, was hacked on Friday.

“You Hacked, All Data Encrypted,” was the message reportedly displayed on computer screens at the authority’s stations throughout the city. “Contact for Key (cryptom27@yandex.com)ID:681 , Enter.”

Fare payment machines at underground stations were out of order, resulting in free rides on the subway and light rail system known locally as “SF Muni.”

Some SF MTA employees’ email systems did not work, The San Francisco Examiner reported.

The MTA locked its subway fare gates in an open position to enable free riding, according to the paper.

The agency was hit by a ransomware attack that disrupted some of its internal computer systems, including email, according to spokesperson Kristen Holland.

The attack didn’t affect transit service or buses, she noted. Neither customer privacy nor transaction information were compromised, and the situation was contained.

 san-francisco-muni-ransomware-attack

All About the Dough

A person at the email address provided by the hacker, who identified himself as “Andy Saolis” to the Examiner, demanded 100 bitcoins — equal to about US$73,000 — to release data captured from the MTA.

The MTA payment system was inaccessible over the weekend, according to the Examiner, and employees were concerned that the personal data of the agency’s nearly 6,000 employees was at risk.

Saolis indicated the attack was “for money, nothing else.”

“Andy Saolis” is the name used by the attacker who launched a full disk encryption ransomware package that Morphus Labs discovered earlier this year and dubbed “Mamba.”

Open Muni

The MTA’s network was penetrated after an employee downloaded a torrented computer file that contained a software key code generator, Saolis reportedly said. That automatically launched an admin-level infection.

The SFMTA network was very open, he maintained.

Saolis threatened to close the email Monday if he hadn’t heard from the MTA, which would lock the agency’s infected computers out of its network permanently.

“It looks like the Muni scheduling and billing systems are running on the same machines as the employees’ email systems,” said Michael Jude, a program manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

“This implies that the Muni operations are exposed to external attack,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Muni “should have critical operations and management systems running in a secured environment, ideally one not exposed to outside access,” Jude suggested.

The Very Real Public Threat

Penetrations of this sort “can easily escalate to life-threatening events,” Jude warned. “Simply messing with route scheduling could lead to confusion or, possibly, collisions.”

Mass transit and passenger rail systems, including buses, light rail and subways, are one of the seven key subsections in the United States Transportation Systems Sector.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the sector jointly with the U.S. Department of Transportation, has issued a cybersecurity framework implementation guidance and a companion workbook for owners and operators in the sector to help reduce cyber risks.

Keeping Transit Systems Safe

“The threat environment warrants evaluating security controls for any organization that relies on computer systems for providing a service or running a business,” said Tim Erlin, senior director of IT and security at Tripwire.

Ensuring adequate network separation “is a good first step,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “Other basic best practices include monitoring for and patching vulnerabilities, validating secure configurations are in place, and watching system logs for indications of malicious activity.”

Xiaomi’s In-House Pinecone Processor Gets an Official Weibo Page

Chinese electronics firm Xiaomi has been working on its in-house processor for quite some time. The Xiaomi 5c smartphone has been tipped to be the first to come with the in-house Pinecone processor, and is now expected to be unveiled sometime this month. Ahead of its rumoured launch, the official page of Xiaomi’s Pinecone processor is now live on social networking site Weibo. The official Pinecone page has minimal information, and apart from the processor name and logo, it reveals little else as of now.

Xiaomi's In-House Pinecone Processor Gets an Official Weibo Page

China site Anzhou.cn reports that the new Weibo page of the Pinecone processor indicates that the Xiaomi Mi 5c is not far away. Xiaomi’s partnership with chipmaker Leadcore has given birth to Pinecone. A few years ago, the company did launch the Redmi 2A with a Leadcore chipset, and now looks like it is finally ready to ship devices with its own chipset. Rumours indicate that Xiaomi will launch two processor models – the Pinecone 1 with an octa-core Cortex-A53 CPU, and the Pinecone 2 with four Cortex-A73 cores and four Cortex-A53 cores. There’s no clarity on the GPU, but the chip is expected to be made in the cutting edge 10nm process.

As is the case with most OEMs, Xiaomi has been relying on Qualcomm and MediaTek for processors till now; however, it looks to introduce one more offering with Pinecone, joining the ranks of Samsung, Apple, and Huawei. As mentioned, the first smartphone tipped to launch with the new Pinecone processor is the Xiaomi Mi 5c – the affordable variant of the Xiaomi Mi 5 smartphone. However, the device is also been alternatively rumoured to sport a Snapdragon 625 processor as well.

Past leaks further indicate that the upcoming Xiaomi smartphone will sport 3GB of RAM and offer 64GB of inbuilt storage. As for optics, the Mi 5c is tipped to sport a 12-megapixel sensor at the rear, and an 8-megapixel sensor at the front for selfies. The Xiaomi smartphone is said to pack a 3200mAh battery and run on MIUI 8 out of the box.

The Xiaomi Mi 5c is tipped to come with really narrow bezels, and a 5.5-inch full-HD display with 2.5D curved glass protection. Live images of the device have also been leaked showing us how the Xiaomi budget smartphone is supposed to look from all angles. The smartphone was first tipped to launch in December, but that didn’t happen, and we now expect it to see the light of day this month.

Asus ZenFone 3S Max Launched at Rs. 14,999: Release Date, Specifications, and More

Asus has launched a new ZenFone 3 series smartphone in India on Tuesday – the ZenFone 3S Max (ZC521TL). The smartphone, named Asus Zenfone 3S Max (ZC521TL), has been priced at Rs. 14,999 and will be available from via both offline and online retail channels starting Tuesday itself in Black and Sand Gold colour variants.

Asus ZenFone 3S Max Launched at Rs. 14,999: Release Date, Specifications, and More

The highlights of the Asus ZenFone 3S Max (ZC521TL) are its metal unibody design made of aluminium, a fingerprint scanner on the Home Button that’s claimed to unlock the smartphone in under 0.5 seconds, apart from a 5000mAh battery that’s rated to deliver up to 3 days of normal usage, and is coupled with a reverse charging feature that allows the handset to be used as a power bank. Asus says the ZenFone 3S Max (ZC521TL) is a more powerful variant of the 5.2-inch Asus ZenFone 3 Max (ZC520TL).

Running ZenUI 3.0-based on Android 7.0 Nougat, the dual-SIM (Micro + Nano) Asus ZenFone 3S Max (ZC521TL) brings features such as ZenMotion Touch Gesture, Bluelight filter, Audio Wizard, and GameGenie over and above the improvements that Android 7.0 Nougat brings.

The Asus ZenFone 3S Max sports a 5.2-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) display with 2.5D curved glass and a brightness of 450-nits, and it’s powered by a 1.5GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6750 SoC that’s coupled with 3GB of RAM and the Mali T860 GPU.

As for optics, the new ZenFone 3S Max smartphone bears a 13-megapixel rear camera with an f/2.0 aperture, 5P Largan lens, PDAF, and dual-LED real-tone flash. Rear camera of the new Asus smartphone features include super resolution mode, low-light mode, panoramic mode, backlight HDR mode, and beautification mode. On the front, it sports an 8-megapixel camera with an 85-degree wide-angle lens – features include HDR, low-light mode, and beautification mode.

The ZenFone 3S Max comes with 32GB of inbuilt storage that’s expandable storage via microSD card (up to 2TB) in a hybrid dual-SIM design. Connectivity options on board include 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth v4.0, and GPS/ A-GPS. Asus is also touting a dual-microphone setup for noise cancellation, and an ICEpower-enhanced mono loudspeaker. It’s 8.5mm thick and weighs in at 175 grams.

Google Releases February Android Security Update for Pixel, Nexus Devices

Google has released its monthly Android security update for the month of February for its Pixel and Nexus devices. The company however was second to rollout the security update as Sony released the update to its Xperia devices last week. Similar to previous releases, Google’s February Android security update focuses on fixing security issues in the operating system.

Google Releases February Android Security Update for Pixel, Nexus Devices

The February security update includes two patch levels, as per Google, the first was released on February 1 and it fixes critical security vulnerability that could enable remote code execution on an affected device through media files. The second patch level string was released on February 5 which fixes the rest of issues. Google adds that supported devices will receive a single OTA (over-the-air) update with the February 5 2017 security patch level.

The latest security bulletin for February fixes eight critical issues while 18 issues are rated as high severity, and nine issues are rated as moderate. Some of the critical security vulnerabilities fixed in the update by Google include remote code execution vulnerability in Surfaceflinger, remote code execution vulnerability in Mediaserver, remote code execution vulnerability in Qualcomm crypto driver, elevation of privilege vulnerability in kernel file system, elevation of privilege vulnerability in Nvidia GPU driver, elevation of privilege vulnerability in kernel networking subsystem, elevation of privilege vulnerability in Broadcom Wi-Fi driver, and vulnerabilities in Qualcomm components among others.

The February Android security update changes build numbers of the devices including the Pixel and Pixel XL which will receive update with NOF26V build. The Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X will receive an update with build number N4F26O while Nexus 6 will receive update with NBD91Y. The Nexus 9 and Nexus Player will receive update with build N4F26Q and NMF26X respectively.

Google says that OEMs were notified of the issues in the latest bulletin last month and source code patches for these issues have been released to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository.

LG Watch Sport, Watch Style User Manuals Spotted; Leaked Retail Packaging Tips Google Partnership

Ahead of the expected launch of Android Wear 2.0 on Wednesday, the user manuals for LG Watch Style and Watch Sport smartwatches have been leaked online. Apart from the user manuals, the retail packaging for the Watch Style variant has also been leaked and mentions the South Korean company’s partnership with Google to design the device.

The leaked user manuals for both LG Watch Style and Watch Sport, shared by Droid Life, do not reveal all device specifications but do mention features like Google Assistant, a digital crown for browsing through apps, and a USB Type-C charging dock.

lg watch sport story2 LG Watch Sport Story 2

LG Watch Sport
Photo Credit: Image via Droid Life

Google Assistant can be accessed by saying “OK Google” or pressing and holding the power button on the smartwatches. Both smartwatches will come with a rotating digital crown to help users browse through the apps but the Watch Sport, which has been tipped to be the higher-end variant, will come with two additional buttons. The function of these buttons can be customised, but by default the top-right button takes you to the Fit Workout app while the bottom-right button takes you to Android Pay by default.

The LG Watch Sport’s manual suggests that the smartwatch will come with a heart rate sensor, GPS, NFC support, and a barometer while LG Watch Style lacks these features. Notably, these specifications fall in line with earlier leaks regarding the smartwatches.

lg watch style story3 LG Watch Style Story 3

LG Watch Style
Photo Credit: Image via Droid Life

While the Watch Sport will come with a charging cradle, the Watch Style variant will use a flat charging pad. Both these charging pads will come with USB type-C port. The LG Watch Sport additionally comes with a removal tool to open the rear casing of the watch while putting the SIM card into the slot.

Apart from the user manuals, the retail packaging for LG Watch Style has also been leaked. The leaked packaging, obtained by GSMArena, interestingly says, “Designed with our friends at Google.” Although it was already tipped that Google has formed a Nexus-like partnership with LG to develop the smartwatches, it seems like the South Korean company will be displaying the search giant’s moniker right on the packaging of the smartwatches.

lg watch style retailpackaging gsmarena LG Watch Style Retail Packaging GSMArena

Photo Credit: Image via GSMArena

The LG Watch Style has been tipped to be priced by the company at $249 (roughly Rs. 17,000) while the pricing for LG Watch Sport is tipped to start from $349 (roughly Rs. 23,500). The Android Wear 2.0 wearable platform is expected to be launched alongside the two smartwatches on Wednesday.

Apple Sees Decline in China Smartphone Shipments, Oppo Leads: IDC

Corporation (IDC) has revealed.

According to IDC’s Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report, Apple dropped from 58.4 million iPhones in 2015 and Xiaomi from 64 million Mi phones, drops of 23 percent and 36 percent, respectively.

Apple Sees Decline in China Smartphone Shipments, Oppo Leads: IDC

Oppo, which shipped 78.4 million phones – more than double the 35.4 million it shipped in 2015. Huawei came in at second, shipping 76 million phones, while Vivo managed to almost double its shipments, going from 35 million in 2015 to 69 million last year.

“Increased dependence on mobile apps has led to consumers to seek phone upgrades, thus helping drive the large growth in fourth quarter of 2016. In lower tiered cities, there was a similar demand by consumers, which Oppo and Vivo met by aggressively pushing mid-range smartphones in these cities,” said Tay X iaohan, Senior Market Analyst, IDC Asia/Pacific’s Client Devices team, in a statement.

Despite the decline, IDC does not believe Chinese vendors have actually eaten away Apple’s market share. Most Apple users are expected to be holding out for the new iPhone that will be launched this year, and that will help the brand to see a growth in 2017.

Apple’s 10-year anniversary iPhone will also likely attract some of the high-end Android users in China to convert to an iPhone.

“The smartphone market in China saw a 19 percent year-on-year growth and 17 percent quarter-on-quater growth fourth quarter of 2016. For the full year of 2016, the market grew by nine percent with top Chinese smartphone vendors taking up a larger share of the market,” the findings showed.

At present, out of the top three Chinese vendors in China, Huawei is the most successful with half of its shipments coming from markets outside China in fourth quarter of 2016.

Dell Launches New Alienware and Inspiron 7000 Gaming Laptops Ahead of CES 2017

Dell ahead of CES 2017 has launched the 2017 models of its Alienware laptops, as well as the new Inspiron 7000 Gaming laptops. Separately, the company also launched the Latitude 5285 2-in-1 for business customers.

Dell Launches New Alienware and Inspiron 7000 Gaming Laptops Ahead of CES 2017Starting with the Alienware offerings, Alienware 13 R3 (2017) laptop has been priced starting $999.99 (roughly Rs. 68,300), the Alienware 15 R3 (2017) laptop has been priced starting $1,199.99 (roughly Rs. 81,990), while the Alienware 17 R4 (2017) laptop has been priced starting $1,349.99 (roughly Rs. 92,300). All three will be available from Thursday, January 5 in the US.

As for the new Inspiron 7000 Gaming laptops, Dell has launched two models – the Inspiron 14 7000 Gaming and the Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming. For now, the company has only provided pricing and availability details of the latter, larger laptop, which starts at $799 (roughly Rs. 54,600) and will be available from Thursday in the US.

Getting back to the Alienware (2017) laptop models, the company says the new lineup features build materials such as anodised aluminium, magnesium allow, steel, and copper, making the laptops both strong and as lightweight as possible. Users can now also easily access laptop internals with the new bottom door mechanism, while Tobii IR Eye-tracking configurations will also be made available on the Alienware 17 model. The laptops all offer support for the Alienware Graphics Amplifier, which levers the power of an external graphics card. All three also feature the steel-reinforced Alienware TactX Keyboard with 4-zone multi-colour RGB lighting and AlienFX lighting controls (8 to 13 programmable zones).
dell alienware 15 r3 2017 dell

The new Alienware laptops also sport a brand new speaker design with “internal smart-amps” that monitor waveforms to ensure the entire thermal margin of the speakers is utilised. All configurations also include Killer Networks Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity. The designs are very similar to the third generation Alienware laptops unveiled in September last year, but coupled with the new seventh generation Intel Core ‘Kaby Lake’ processors. All three laptops ship with a choice of 64-bit Windows 10 or Windows 10 Pro. While the Alienware 13 and Alienware 15 feature a stereo speaker configuration, the Alienware 17 adds a sub-woofer. All three are only available in Epic Silver colour variants.

The Alienware 13 R3 (2017) comes in 13.3-inch HD (1366×768 pixels) TN display, full-HD (1920×1080 pixels) IPS display, and QHD (2560×1440 pixels) OLED display variants. Processor configurations include an Intel Core i5-7300HQ or Intel Core i7-7700HQ, with up to 32GB 2400MHz DDR4 RAM. As for graphics, the base model ships with Intel HD Graphics 630 + Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 with 2GB GDDR5 video RAM, and goes up to GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5 video RAM.

While storage options on the Alienware 13 R3 (2017) start at 180GB M.2 SATA SSD, they go up to 1TB PCIe SSD (boot) + 1TB PCIe SSD (storage). Ports on board include Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, one USB 3.0 Type-C port, one Thunderbolt 3.0 port, one Alienware Graphics Amplifier port, one HDMI 2.0 port, one Mini-DisplayPort 1.2, one audio out port, and one headphone port. It measures 330x269x22mm and has an average weight of 2.6kg. It sports a 76Whr battery with an 180W adapter.

The Alienware 15 R3 (2017) has 15.6-inch full-HD (1920×1080 pixels) IPS display, full-HD (1920×1080 pixels) 60Hz IPS display with Nvidia G-Sync, full-HD (1920×1080 pixels) 120Hz TN+WVA Nvidia G-Sync display, and UHD (3840×2160 pixels) IGZO IPS display variants. One can choose between an Intel Core i5-7300HQ, Intel Core i7-7700HQ, or Intel Core i7-7820HK processor, with up to 32GB 2400MHz DDR4 RAM. Base model graphics include Intel HD Graphics 630 + Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 2GB GDDR5 RAM, and go up to a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 with 8GB GDDR5 video RAM.

dell alienware 17 r4 2017 dell

The Alienware 15 R3 (2017)’s base model has a 180GB M.2 SATA SSD, one can opt for up to 1TB PCIe SSD (boot) + 1TB PCIe SSD (storage) + 1TB 7200RPM SATA HDD. Ports on board include Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, one USB 3.0 Type-C port, one Thunderbolt 3.0 port, one Alienware Graphics Amplifier port, one HDMI port, one Mini-DisplayPort 1.2, one audio out port, and one headphone port. It measures 389x305x25.4mm and has an average weight of 3.49kg. It ships with a 68Whr battery and 180W adapter, though a 99Whr battery and 240W adapter is also an option.
The Alienware 17 R4 (2017) is offered in 17.3-inch full-HD (1920×1080 pixels) IPS display, full-HD (1920×1080 pixels) IPS display with Tobii IR Eye-tracking, full-HD (1920×1080 pixels) 120Hz TN+WVA Nvidia G-Sync display with Tobii IR Eye-tracking, and UHD (3840×2160 pixels) IPS display with Tobii IR Eye-tracking variants. Users have the choice of a quad-core Intel Core i7-7700HQ processors or Intel Core i7-7820HK processors, with up to 32GB 2400MHz DDR4 RAM. Base model graphics include Intel HD Graphics 630 + Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 2GB GDDR5 RAM, and go up to a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 with 8GB GDDR5X video RAM.

The base model of the Alienware 17 R4 (2017) comes with a 180GB M.2 SATA SSD, though options up to a 1TB PCIe SSD (boot) + 1TB PCIe SSD (storage) + 1TB 7200RPM SATA HDD configuration exist. Ports on board include Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, one USB 3.0 Type-C port, one Thunderbolt 3.0 port, one Alienware Graphics Amplifier port, one HDMI port, one Mini-DisplayPort 1.2, one audio out port, and one headphone port. It measures 424x332x29.9mm and has an average weight of 4.42kg. It features a 68Whr battery with an 180W adapter, though a 99Whr battery with a 240W or 330W adapter can be chosen as welll.

dell inspiron 15 7000 gaming side dell

As for the Dell Inspiron 14 7000 and Inspiron 15 7000 laptops, the company calls them the most powerful Inspiron laptops ever. Dell says they are less than 1-inch in thickness, sport dedicated forward as well as rearward thermal vents, bear a subwoofer, provide Waves MaxxAudio Pro audio processing, and also come with an oversized service bay door on the bottom to simplify access to internal components. The new gaming laptops are said to “feature the most aggressive performance design and components offered within the entire Inspiron laptop family.” While both laptops ship with Windows 10, the Inspiron 15 7000 also comes with an Ubuntu option.

The Dell Inspiron 14 7000 and Inspiron 15 7000 share several specifications, such as the choice of processors – Intel Core i5-7300HQ and Intel Core i7-7700HQ – and up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM. The standard memory configuration is 4GB of DDR4 RAM. Other common specifications include Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth v4.2, and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, and the same ports – one HDMI 2.0, three USB 3.0 ports, one SD card reader, one Ethernet port, and a combo headphone and microphone jack. Both laptops will also be available in Matte Red or Matte Black colour variants.

Getting to the specifics, the Dell Inspiron 14 7000 only comes with a 14-inch full-HD (1920×1080 pixels) LED-backlit display, and no other display options. Apart from integrated Intel graphics, users will get the choice of GeForce GTX 1050 4GB GDDR5 video memory dedicated graphics. The base configuration sports a 128GB SSD with a 500GB 5400RPM HDD, going up to a 256GB SSD.

dell inspiron 14 7000 gaming side dell

The Dell Inspiron 14 7000 ships with a full-size spill-resistant keyboard, though users have the option to go in for a backlit keyboard (with Red colour available in some regions). It bears a 56Whr 4-cell battery and ships with a 90W adapter.

On the other hand, Dell Inspiron 15 7000 ships with a choice of 17.3 full-HD (1920×1080 pixels) LED-backlit display, full-HD (1920×1080 pixels) IPS Truelife LED-backlit touch display, or UHD (3840×2160 pixels) IPS LED-backlit display. Apart from integrated Intel graphics, users will get the choice of GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5 video memory or GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB GDDR5 video memory. The base configuration sports a 1TB 5400RPM HDD and goes up to a 512GB PCIe SSD.

The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 ships with a full-size spill-resistant keyboard with numpad, though users have the option to go in for a backlit keyboard (with Red colour available in some regions). It bears a 74Whr 4-cell battery and ships with a 130W adapter.