In today's news roundup:

  • A small blast has reportedly occured at Intel's Arizona fabrication plant, and has left three workers hospitalized and one suffering from "severe burns", 
  • HP is threatening to sue Oracle for halting support for both Intel's Itanium architecture and its own HP UX operating systems;
  • Microsoft has raised quite a few eyebrows by claiming that the new features Apple showed off in its iOS5 operating system were copied from what Windows Phone 7 already had for some time;
  • Leaked images have suggested that Dell's new seven-inch tablet will sport a slide-out split keyboard;
  • Rumour has it that Nintendo's upcoming Wii U video game console will boast hardware specifications that could easily outclass that of the Xbox 360 and PlsyStation 3, at least where raw graphics processing is concerned, and
  • EA Games president Frank Gibeau dropped some not-so-subtle hints that Respawn's game will indeed be a sci-fi action title–one he believes will be able to compete with some of the top titles in the genre.

Hardware news

Seven Injured in Explosion At Intel's Arizona Plant
Description: Reports say three people have been hospitalized and one severely burned following a blast at Intel’s Arizona fab. Three more injured members of staff were treated at the scene and released yesterday afternoon. Fire officials are describing the incident as a ‘small blast’ and ‘flash explosion,’ while an Intel spokesman referred to it as a ‘small fire.’

HP Vows to Take Legal Actions to "Protect Customers' Investments" into Itanium Hardware
Description: Hewlett-Packard this week sent a letter to Oracle Corp. demanding to reverse the latter's decision to stop designing new software for HP's servers that are based on Intel Corp.'s Itanium microprocessors and use HP UX, OpenVMS or NonStop operating systems. In case Oracle does not reverse its decision, HP threatens to take a legal action against its partner, which is also its competitor.

GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7 (AMD 990FX) Motherboard Review
Description: Over the coming months as we build up towards finally getting our hands on the Bulldozer platform, we'll no doubt be looking at plenty of 990FX based motherboards from companies. Having already looked at what ASUS offered us in their ROG Crosshair V Formula board, today we'll take the time to check out the GIGABYTE option. While GIGABYTE do have a few 990FX options, we've gone straight to the top today and will be checking out the 990FXA-UD7 which carries with it those lovely aesthetics we're used to seeing from the UD7 series.

Exceleram 6GB EP3001A DDR3-1333 CL9 Memory Review on Technic3D (German)
Description: (Machine translation) The Exceleram 6GB EP3001A DDR3-1333 CL9 Memory arrived Technic3D. Technic3D will see as good they are on Windows 7 64 Bit, Ubuntu 10.10 and the Gigabyte X58-UD7 Mainboard. You can see 2.133MHz (1,6V) with 9-10-10-25 (1T) and more in the following Review.

ASUS P8Z68-V PRO: All Cards Onto The Table @ InsideHW
Description: This chipset was touted as the ultimate overclocking toy, as it offers the iGPU overclock as well as CPU overclock. Some would propose that this isn’t such a drastic improvement after all, as very few users who buy motherboards this expensive use the integrated GPU, but Intel’s been packing two other surprises for those users: first, SSD caching, and second, the additional Virtu software made in conjunction with LucidLogic, the company known for their Hydra chips that enable AMD and NVIDIA cards to work together; this time around, they’re enabling integrated Intel graphics to work in conjunction with discreet solutions. Although this isn’t something that’s come out of Intel’s kitchen, most manufacturers will include Virtu software onto their motherboards in order to distance them from P67-based ones. But first things first…

Lantic GeForce GTX 550 Ti review (Italian)
Description: (Machine translation) Graphics cards GeForce GTX 460 series have made ??history and for that NVIDIA is trying to properly replace them with a new best-selling . In fact, the card GeForce GTX 550 you , just hit the market solution, not going to take the place of the GTX 460 but the GTX 460 SE: Which of you has ever seen you around, raise your hand!

Cubitek M4 Mid-Tower Case Review @Hi Tech Legion
Description: The Cubitek M4 midtower case comes in two variants. The Cubitek M4 is a midtower case designed to hold the latest PC hardware and support for additional cooling, while the Cubitek M4 Silencer is a midtower variant that forgoes the two side panel fan options for sound dampened panels. Even high end components, like large 1000W+ power supplies and graphic cards longer than 13 inches, can be installed inside the Cubitek M4. The Cubitek M4’s front bezel takes cues from the M4 carbine and is designed to be aggressively stylish while being functional, having perforated front covers for extra ventilation and equipped with a fold-down accessory tray."

Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 PC Case Review @ Real World Labs
Description: The latest Chaser MK-1 by Thermaltake packs quite a few innovative features including a top hot-swap docking station, USB 3.0 connectivity, mainboard USB 3.0 cable, 8 PCI expansion slots, top radiator space and also comes with plenty of room for even the biggest hardware components such as graphics cards up to 330mm in length and 180mm tall CPU Coolers.


Consumer Electronics and Software news

Apple’s iCloud punishes honest iTunes users with DRM
Description: Apple has rolled out phase one of its cloud music offering this week, allowing iTunes users to download additional copies of past purchases on up to ten devices. However, users that bought their music on iTunes before Apple abandoned DRM some two years ago better get ready for an unexpected surprise: Files originally bought with Apple’s Fairplay copy protection are also once again downloaded with DRM.

Spy Shots: Dell’s 7-Inch Tablet Has a Slide-Out Split Keyboard
Description: What the tablet world needs is innovation, and from these newly uncovered spy pics, it looks like Dell is the one stepping up with a design that’s unlike any other. Rather than copying the look and feel of the iPad as so many other tablet manufacturers have done, Dell has apparently pinpointed one of the iPad’s weakest characteristics and improved upon it: its keyboard.

Elgato EyeTV Hybrid USB Tuner Review @MissingRemote
Description: When home theater computers first came to market almost 10 years ago, the television tuners that were available were few and far between, all internal, and featured a whopping single tuner. How times have changed. Now, dual tuners are a given and hybrid tuners seek to accomplish the duty of one-size-fits-all for all customers. The Elgato EyeTV Hybrid is one of those that within its tiny dongle of a body contains an NTSC, ATSC and DVB-T tuner for $129, and works with both Windows and Mac computers. With competition so steep in the tuner world however, how does it match up in a real world evaluation?

Microsoft says Apple is playing catch up, but it might be right
Description: In one of the more ironic tweets of the year, Microsoft corporate vice president Joe Belfiore claims that Apple's new iOS features just copied what Vole already has. As Steve Jobs was thrilling the faithful with what he just invented, Belfiore was twittering that he was somewhat flattered because lots of great Windows Phone ideas had been installed into Apple's iOS.

InFocus Mondopad is a 55-inch multitouch display with an identity crisis
Description: What do you get when you mix buzzwords like "cloud" and "tablet" with an enourmous multi-touch monitor? The InFocus Mondopad, that's what. The company anticipates that this 55-inch 1080p high-definition pane "wall tablet", equipped with WiFi and a 720p webam / soundbar, will bring pad-like functionality to your next presentation in a big way. The proprietary software mimics the feel of a mobile OS — only bigger and blander looking — with basic apps like a whiteboard and web browser, as well as support for Office, JPG, and PDF files. Also inside is Intel's vPro tech, enabling remote access and file sharing with mobile devices — or having dual-screen sessions with a 58-inch iPhone table, for instance.

Motorola giving away free wireless keyboard with Xoom tablet
Description: If you’ve been looking for an excuse to purchase the Motorola Xoom tablet over the Android Honeycomb tablet offerings from other manufacturers, you might be pleased to know that Motorola is trying to change your mind. The company has just announced that for a limited time, it will be offering a free, brand new, wireless keyboard with every purchase of the Motorola Xoom.

Acer planning AMD Z-series tablet?
Description: According to reports, Acer has placed a substantial order for AMD's Z series APUs for its next generation of Windows 7 tablets. AMD's newest mobile CPU is an x86-based platform tailored to Windows 7, with support for DirectX 11, Adobe Flash 10.2 and HTML 5. The Z-series offers lower power consumption that Intel's competing Oak Trail platform, which would provide longer battery life and run time for tablets.


Gaming news

Wii U Specification Rumours @ XSReviews.co.uk
Description: There are some specifications floating around for Nintendo’s Wii successor, the Wii U. They are as of yet unconfirmed, but it proves to be true, the console could easily outstrip its competitors – Xbox 360 and PS3 – in terms of graphical power.

Respawn sci-fi shooter hinted at by EA president
Description: EA Games president Frank Gibeau dropped some not-so-subtle hints that Respawn's game will indeed be a sci-fi action title–one he believes will be able to compete with some of the top titles in the genre.

Assassin's Creed: Revelations multiplayer preview: POP, POP!
Description: Pouncing on unsuspecting victims is as thrilling as ever in Assassin's Creed: Revelations. Earlier this week, Alexander and I reformed our effective stabbing partnership and got to experience the multiplayer follow-up's notable additions — and a few subtractions. Though we didn't see for ourselves in our hands-on session, AC: R's multiplayer features more story wrappings than ever before. Beyond the conceit in the last game — Templar agents training in the ways of assassination — AC: R ups the ante with cutscenes about the world of Abstergo, the modern-day, Templar-run corporation.