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Posts Tagged ‘Android’

Radxa Rock 2 Square Beta is Now Available for $99 (In Limited Quantities)

March 30th, 2015 8 comments

Radxa Rock 2 Square is the low cost version of Radxa Rock 2 Full development board. Both board are based on Rockchip RK3288 quad core Cortex A17 processor, but the former has not quite as many features as the full version. The good news is that about 90 samples of Rock2 Square Beta can now be purchased for $129, with the price dropping to $99 with ROCK2^2BETA coupon (to be used after login to Paypal).

Radxa_Rock2_SquareThe price include a Radxa RK3288 system-on-module with 2GB RAM and 16 GB eMMC, but a 4GB/32GB version is also planned for later.

Rock2 Square board specifications:

  • Processor/Memory/Storage –  Via Rock2 SoM including Rockchip RK3288 quad core Cortex A17 processor, 2 to 4 GB RAM, and 16 to 32 GB eMMC.
  • External Storage – SATA and micro SD slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0, LVDS connector
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, headphone jack, built-in microphone, and optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45),  Dual band Wifi 802.11 ac/b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.0 (AP6335 module)
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports + 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Debugging – 4-pin UART for debug console
  • Expansion Headers – 50 pin 2mm LVDS with touch signal header, 40-pin GPIO/UART/SPI header (2.54mm pitch)
  • SoM Connector – 314-pin MXM edge connector
  • Misc – Power and reset buttons, status LEDs, IR receiver, RTC + battery slot
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A
  • Dimensions – N/A

The SATA port supports both 2.5″ and 3.5″ hard drives, but the latter requires external power. Beside the baseboard and SoM, the kit includes four M2.5 screws, a Wi-Fi antenna, a DC to USB cable, a simple acrylic case, and a SATA cable.

The boards are shipped with Android 4.4, and good progress has been made on Android 5.0 but more work is need for proper audio/video support. A Linux distribution based on Debian 8 (Jessie) will be release, and the company calls it Rabian with the aim of making updates easier for users. Normally you won’t need to flash a new image for each release, but instead you’ll be able to update from an online package repository. Rabian distribution is said to have most packages working, including Wifi/Bluetooth,  but hardware video decoding, and 3D acceleration are not implemented yet. If you have an older Radxa Rock port, you’ll be pleased to learn that Rabian will also be ported to Rockchip RK3188 boards.

You may find a few more details on Radxa blog.

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Wi-Fi SD Card Adapter for micro SD Cards Sells for $15 and Up

March 30th, 2015 12 comments

Wi-Fi SD cards are mostly used with camera in order to wirelessly transfer photos or/and videos to your computer or mobile device without having to take out the card or transfer them via a micro USB cable. I first discovered this type of card with Toshiba FlashAir in 2011, but now EyeFi seems to be the most popular brand, and comes in different sizes with the 8GB Wi-FI SD card selling for $44 on Amazon US. There are cheaper alternatives with some Wi-Fi SD card adapters accepting micro SD card selling for about $15 and up on Aliexpress or Buyincoins, and DX calls it CY EP-027, but sells it for $23. It does not come with storage but since a 8GB class 10 SD card now costs about $8, it’s still nearly 50% cheaper compared to the 8GB EyeFi SD card.

Wi-Fi_SD_Card_AdapterSome features of the card:

  • Max micro SD card capacity – 32GB (SDHC/SDXC)
  • Connect up to 3 devices simultaneously
  • Supports “with the beat-per-view” feature, which probably mean “Shoot and View” so that you’ll see the picture on a bigger display, as soon as you take it with your camera.
  • File formats supported:  Photo (JPG, PNG, BMP),  Video (MP4, AVI, MOV) and Music (MP3, WAV)
  • WiFi/SD settings: WiFi password, AP Mode and Station Mode switch, IP, channels, number or users, SSID.
  • Default passwords –  Wi-Fi: 99999999; App credentials: admin/admin

The card is said to work with Android and iOS devices, as well as computers.

To use it, you need to insert a micro SD card in the adapter, insert the adapter into your camera, then locate the Wi-Fi hotspot with your device or computer and login with the default password. Now open you browser, and you should be able to download the app. Alternatively, you can also download WiFi@CFCF app from Google Play or iTunes.

WiFI_SDCFI could not find the manufacturer, and the app developer “Key Technology” only setup a place holder blog, probably to comply with the app stores’ requirements to have a support page.

Thanks to Onebir for the tip.

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Categories: Android, Hardware Tags: Android, camera, ios, sd card, wifi

Howchip is Teasing ExSOM-7420SB Development Board Based on Samsung Exynos 7420 Processor

March 27th, 2015 1 comment

We’ve already seen a few Cortex A53 boards announced in the last few months with Nobel64, as well as Hikey & DragonBoard 410c 96Boards, but none of them are based on the more powerful Cortex A57 cores. Howchip is going to change that with the upcoming ExSOM-7420SB single board computer featuring Samsung Exynos 7420 processor used in Galaxy S6 smartphone.

ExSOM7420 Block Diagram

ExSOM7420 Block Diagram

The company has released very few details about the board, except the block diagram above that shows Exynos 7420 with 3GB LPDDR4 PoP memory, and various interfaces such as USB 2.0/3.0, UFS/eMMC, Ethernet, HDMI, MIPI DSI, Camera, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. The board will support Android 5.0 Lollipop 64-bit. No word about Linux.

That’s the video teaser, but you won’t learn much…

More details should eventually be published on ExSOM-7420SB product page. Alternatively, Hardkernel will also probably launch an ODROID-XU4? board based on the latest Exynos 7 processor in due time.

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PiPO X7s mini PC Dual Boots Windows 8.1 and Android 4.4 for $130

March 27th, 2015 4 comments

Pipo X7 Bay Trail-T mini PC was very popular at the beginning at it sold with an apparently valid Windows 8.1 license for $90, even including one-year subscription for Office 365, which normally sells for $99. Unfortunately, it turned out the Windows license was not so valid, as Pipo used the free Windows 8.1 with Bing for tablets, something that Microsoft did not allow, and mini PCs instead need to use another $25 to $30 license (Windows 8.1 with Bing NTE), which brought Pipo X7 price to around $120, closer to its main competitors. There’s now Pipo X7s, another version based on the same hardware, that can boot both Windows 8.1 (with proper license) and Android 4.4, and can be pre-ordered on GeekBuying for $129.99.

Pipo_X7sThe hardware specifications appear to be identical to the Windows only version:

  • SoC – Intel Atom Bay Trail Z3736F @ 1.33 GHz (Burst Freq: 2.16 GHz) with Intel HD graphics.
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3L
  • Storage – 32GB eMMC + micro SD slot (up to 64GB)
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI up to 1080p
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, earphone jack, built-in stereo speakers and microphone
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi with external antenna, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – Power button
  • Power Supply – 12V/2A
  • Dimensions – 188 x 150 x 24 mm (Aluminum enclosure)
  • Weight – 390 grams

The PC only comes with an AC power adapter, and the only hardware different appears to be the Golden enclosure instead of the white or black case for the original Pipo X7. GeekBuying also claims one-year subscription to Office 365 is included, but I’m not so confident it should be part of the deal… I’ve found out with MeLE PCG03, another Intel mini PC running Windows 8.1, that the 32GB can get filled pretty quickly, even with Windows alone, so depending on your usage, you might end deleting files or uninstalling programs for extra space fairly often with a dual boot system.

Via Home Theater Life on Google+ mini PCs community.

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KEECOO 1080p Wi-Fi Action Camera Goes for $49.99 (Promo)

March 26th, 2015 5 comments

KEECOO is yet another full HD action camera with Wi-Fi connectivity that provides most of GoPro functionalities, and while it normally sells for about $90 to $95 on sites like GeekBuying or GearBest, Focalprice is currently offering a steep discount by selling it for just $49.99 for a limited time period (1 day remaining).
It looks like they changed their mind, and it’s now $79.99…
Keecoo_CameraKeecoo sports camera features and specifications:

  • SoC – Alpha Imaging Technology AIT8427 32-bit processor @ 500 MHz
  • Storage – micro SD slot up to 32GB – Class 6 or above recommended
  • LCD screen – Tiny grayscale LCD display on the front
  • Camera
    • 12MP CMOS
    • 170° wide angle lens;
    • LENS F2.8 , f=4.93mm, M12, 7G+1IR
    • Image resolutions: 4000×3000(12M) 2592×1944(5M) 2048×1536(3M) 1600×1200(2M); JPEG format
    • Video resolutions: 1080p30fps,  720p60/30; H.264 video codec, AAC audio codec, MOV container.
  • Video Output – mini HDMI and AV out (PAL / NTSC)
  • Audio – Built-in microphone and speaker
  • Connectivity – Built-in WiFi controlled by WiFi APP in smart phone (iOS and Android)
  • USB – 1x non-standard? USB port for charging and transfer media files to PC
  • IP Rating – N/A; Waterproof up to 30m (with enclosure)
  • Misc – Power button, recording/mode button
  • Battery – 1,050mAh Li-ion Battery (rechargeable and replaceable); Good for 2h30 on a charge
  • Dimension – 59 x 41.5 x 21.4 mm
  • Weight – 75g

Keecoo_Camera_AccessoriesThe camera should come with various accessories including a micro USB Cable, a power adapter, the battery, a bike holder, a waterproof shell, two 3M Double-sided adhesive, one wipe cloth, a J-Style short base screw, a connector, a base, two Tripod adapters, four cable ties, two multi-purpose binds, as well as a user’s manual in English and Chinese.

The camera has been reviewed by PC Advisor which concludes with:

At a little over £60, the Keecoo WiFi Sports Camera is good value. It may not quite have the image quality of the latest GoPro, but it has Wi-Fi, supports FPV and has a long-lasting battery. It’s just a shame it doesn’t have a standard microUSB port and better quality audio.

Thanks to Onebir for the tip.

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Radxa Rock 2 Square is a Rockchip RK3288 Development Board for Hobbyists

March 25th, 2015 2 comments

When Radxa Rock 2 was first unveiled, it became clear it was not aimed at the hobbyist market, as it includes lot of features such as SATA, 3G modem, dual Gigabit Ethernet, up to 4GB memory and so on, and is likely to cost a few hundred dollars. The company is now working a cheaper baseboard called Radxa Rock 2 Square leveraging the same Radxa Rock 2 SoM used with the full-featured baseboard (now also called Radxa Rock 2 Full), but with less features and at price point that should be more affordable to individuals.

Radxa_Rock_2_Square

Rock 2 Square Board (Alpha revision)

Preliminary Rock 2 square specifications (derived from picture above):

  • Processor/Memory/Storage –  Via Rock2 SoM including Rockchip RK3288 quad core Cortex A17 processor, 2 to 4 GB RAM, and 16GB eMMC.
  • External Storage – SATA and micro SD slot
  • Video Output – HDMI, LVDS connector
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, headphone jack, built-in microphone, and optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – Ethernet (RJ45) and most probably Wi-Fi (I can’t see the module, but the Wi-Fi antenna connector gives a clue…)
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports + 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Debugging – 4-pin UART for debug console
  • Expansion Headerss – 40-pin female header for GPIOs, I2C, UART, SPI, etc.., male connector for LVDS displays.
  • SoM Connector – 314-pin MXM edge connector
  • Misc – Power and reset buttons, status LEDs, IR receiver, RTC + battery slot
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A
  • Dimensions – N/A
Radxa Rock 2 System-On-Module

Radxa Rock 2 System-On-Module

The new low cost baseboard is still being developed, and the company have now manufactured 100 beta boards, 90 of which will soon be send out to customers and developers, so the public launch should occur in a few weeks or months.

You can find more details, including instructions to build Android 4.4 from source, and follow the development progress on Radxa Rock 2 Square product page.

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CSQ CSW9 is a $200 Intel Celeron J1900 mini PC with an Internal Hard Drive

March 24th, 2015 3 comments

CSQ CSW9 is a thin Intel Celeron J1900 “Bay Trail” based mini PC that also comes with a 500GB internal hard drive, 2GB RAM, VGA and HDMI video output, and sells for a little over $200 on Aliexpress.
CSQ_CSW9_mini_PC
Complete hardware specifications are as follows:

  • SoC – Intel Celeron J1900 Quad core processor  @ 2.0 GHz (base) / 2.41 GHz (Burst) with Intel HD graphics (10W TDP)
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR3L (Apparently SO-DIMM, so it might be upgradeable?)
  • Storage – 2.5″ 500GB SATA hard drive + micro SD card slot + optional 32GB to 128GB eMMC flash
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4a + VGA
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet (Gigabit Ethernet as option?), 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Audio – Realtek ALC269 HD audio codec, 1x headphone jack
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB 3.0 port.
  • Misc – IR receiver, power button, and power LED
  • Power Supply – 19V/2.1A
  • Battery – 2,000 mAh (only claimed by one seller)
  • Dimensions – 153.4 x 153.4 x 38 mm
  • Weight – 440 grams
The computer is said to be “dual OS” with Android 4.4 and Windows 8.1, but this does not actually say which one, if any of these two operating systems are pre-installed, as we’ve seen in the past with other Intel mini PC sold on Aliexpress and other Chinese e-retailers. The mini PC only ships with its 19V/2.1A power supply and power cord, and all other cables. It’s also one of the few Intel mini PCs featuring an IR receiver, which could be nice if you plan to use as an HTPC running Kodi.

Intetl_Celeron_J1900_Hard_DriveThere are quite a few optional features, so it’s not always clear what’s included, but I understand you should at least get an Intel Celeron J1900 system with 2 GB RAM, 500 GB HDD (no eMMC), Ethernet, and all other ports show on the pictures.

Via AndroidPC.es

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Iocean M6752 Smartphone Review

March 24th, 2015 No comments

Last week I provides specs, took some pictures, and run Antutu benchmark on Iocean M6752, a 64-bit ARM smartphone powered by Mediatek MT6752 octa-core Cortex A53 processor with 3GB RAM, 16 GB eMMC, and a 5.5″ FullHD display. I’ve been using the device as my main smartphone for over a week, and I’m now ready to write a full review for the phone.

General Impressions

At first the material and color used on the back cover feels a little strange, but I quickly got used it, and the build quality seems pretty good, and the phone is very light. I must have made one or two calls during the week, and I mainly use my smartphone to check emails, run social network apps, browse the web, play some casual games like Candy Crush Saga, watch YouTube videos, and make Skype calls, and for these tasks I could not really fault the tablet for any of these applications. I was not a believer in Full HD display for smaller phablet screen, but now that I have tried, I can say the 1920×1080 display looks significantly sharper than the 720p display on my older ThL W200 smaprthone.

Battery life is decent, although it might be a challenge to get a day of battery life at time. I also noticed the charge drop from 100% to 85% overnight with cellular and Wi-Fi enabled at night, which still seems a little more than I would have expected. The phone boot in about 20 seconds, and I have to say overall I could not fault the phone during my week of testing, except for GPS.

Benchmarks: Antutu, Vellamo, and 3DMark

I’ve alread shared the Antutu results last week, but here’s it is again today. With 37,008 points in Antutu 5.6.2, Iocean M6752’s score is not quite as high as the latest flagship models Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Meizyu MX4 or OnePlus One, but it’s still pretty good, as it places it between Google Nexus 5 and Samsung Galaxy S5 both based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 800.

Antutu 5.6.2 Results (Click to Enlarge)

Antutu 5.6.2 Results (Click to Enlarge)

It’s always better to run a few other benchmarks, as Antutu score is easily cheated, so I also ran Vellamo 3.1 and 3DMark’s Ice Storm Extreme benchmarks.

Vellamo 3.1 and Ice Stoerm Extreme Benchmark Results

Vellamo 3.1 and Ice Storm Extreme Benchmark Results

Vellamo 3.1 scores confirm the very good performance of the device, but 3Dmark benchmark score shows the limitations of the dual core Mali-T760 GPU used in the Mediatek processor, as for example Allwinner A80 gets around 6,500 points (PowerVR) and Rockchip RK3288 over 7,000 points (Mali-T764).

Vellamo 3.1 Comparison (Click to Enlarge)

Vellamo 3.1 Comparison (Click to Enlarge)

Internal Storage and Wi-Fi Performance

I used A1 SD Benchmark to test the performance of the internal storage. The results are pretty amazing, with 114.17 MB/s read speed and 77.79 MB/s write. However the utility reported “cache reads”, and this should obviously overstates the performance of the flash, but this is probably due to the 3GB RAM available in the system allowing for lots of caching.

Read and Write Speed in MB/s

Read and Write Speed in MB/s

Despite the probably inaccurate results, the flash is certainly fast, as the phone boots in 20 seconds. For reference, Infocus CS1 A83 tablet, second on the chart, boots in 15 seconds, and HPH NT-V6 (Rockchip RK3288) in 20 seconds, so the flash performance should still be at near the top.

Wi-Fi performance was tested by transferring a 278 MB file over SAMBA using ES File Explorer three times, and I placed the smartphone were I normally place TV boxes and development boards for a fair comparison.

Wi-Fi Performance in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

Wi-Fi Performance in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

Wi-Fi performance is excellent, as M6752 phone managed to transfer the file @ 4.1 MB/s on average (32.8 Mbps) only outperformed by two other devices, including one with 802.11ac Wi-Fi that’s not available with the phone.

Please note that the testing environment, including your router firmware, may greatly impact the relative Wi-Fi performance between devices.

It would have been nice to test 3G and LTE download/upload speed, but I don’t even have a 3G SIM card, and LTE is not supported yet where I live.

Rear and Front Facing Cameras

Rear Camera

The 14MP camera does an excellent job, just as good if not better than my Canon point and shoot camera, and better a very clear during day time, but as usual still pictures and videos in low light conditions are not very good. The auto-focus works well, and close shots including small text are clear. The  flash also does it job at night for close subjects. Video records only at 1280×720 by default, and I have not found a way to change the resolution in the camera app. Still picture default resolution is 4096×2304.

You can check photos samples, as well as video samples shot during day time, at dusk, and a night below that should be watch at 720p resolution. The original day and dusk videos are recording in 3GP format with H.264 video coded at 30 fps amd AAC stereo audio, but the night video drops to 17 fps.

Here’s the day time video.

Dusk video – http://youtu.be/POdcc-MUL1w

Night video – http://youtu.be/honLvSGV1Gk

Front-facing camera

The 5MP front-facing camera is OK, as long as the subject is not moving too much, and I’ve also used it in a Skype call without issues. Here are a few samples. Resolution is 2560×1440.

Video Playback

I installed Antutu Video Tester to test video playback on the smartphone, and results are mediocre with only 382 points against 700+ for the best device out there.

Antutu Video Tester Results (Click to Enlarge)

Antutu Video Tester Results

Many audio formats are not supported including wmav2, dts, ac-3, and flac. The processor also does not support 4K videos at all. It might be possible to improve video playback by installing thrird party media player apps like MX Player or Kodi.

Battery Life

I probably used the phone 3 to 5 hours a day browsing the web, checking email, watching YouTube video and playing some games, and a full charge in the morning would take me to the evening for sure, but maybe not up to late at night.

I used LAB501 Battery Life app to test battery life for web browsing, video playback (720p), and gaming. I started from a full charge until the battery  level reached about 15%, with Wi-Fi and Cellular on, and brightness set to 50%:

  • Browsing (100% to 14%) – 303 minutes (5h05).
  • Video (100% to 12%) – 255 minutes (4h15). So good for about 2 full movies on a charge.
  • Gaming (100% to 15%) – 166 minutes (2h46)

So this confirms the 2,300 mAh battery will be depleted pretty quickly, at least compared to the results I got with Infocus CS1 A83 tablet with a bigger 3,550 mAh battery, but also a larger 7″ screen.

It took the phone 3h30 to fully charge from 0% to 100%. You can however get a 90% charge is about 10 hours, so the last 10% may take a lot of time.

Miscellaneous

Bluetooth

I could pair with my other mobile devices without issues, and transfer pictures in either direction. Bluetooth Smart (BLE) also work, as I could retrieve fitness data from Vidonn X5 smartband.

GPS

When I ram Google Maps, and GPS test app at home (with Wi-Fi on), GPS seems to worked pretty well. But then I went for a short run, and checked GPS “performance” with Nike+ Running. This is a road around a stadium, so the tracking should look like an ellipse. Just for yourself…

Nike+_Running_Iocean_M6752I did wait for a GPS fix before running, and the phone was placed on my left arm, so it should have had line of sight to GPS satellites during the run. GPS is the weakest point of this smartphone. I just used the default settings, and I have not tried some Mediatek GPS hacks yet.

Gaming

Candy Crush Saga, Beach Buggy Bleach, and Riptide GP2 all played very smoothly, even with high graphics details thanks to the Mali-760MP2 GPU.

Others

The touchscreen supports 5 touch points according to Multitouch app.

The smartphone has stereo speakers on the back, but they sound quite poor, and are nowhere near the good quality I get with Infocus C2107 tablet, so if you plan to use that smartphone to listen music with other people, you’ll definitely want to use external speakers.

Video Review

If you want to get more details about the phone, I’ve filmed a video going through the user’s interface (mostly settings), showing some benchmark results, tryout a largish PDF in acrobat reader, playing Candy Crush Saga and Beach Buggy Racing, and more. The fisheye effect in the video is due to my using an action camera (SJ1000).

Conclusion

Iocean M6752 is really a great smartphone for the price, with a large and sharp screen @ 1920×1080 resolution, excellent Wi-Fi performance, a fast processor, lots of RAM, provides performance close to flagship models from better known brand, and most features works very well. Unfortunately, GPS does not seem reliable, video recording seems to be limited to 720p30, video playback is not so good (according to Antutu Video Tester), and it would be nice to have a couple extra hours out of the battery.

PROS

  • Relatively fast 64-bit ARM processor
  • Lots of memory (3GB RAM)
  • Clear and crisp 1920×1080 display
  • Outstanding performance for internal storage and Wi-Fi.
  • Pictures looks good in good lighting conditions, both for close ups and landscape shots.
  • Good gaming performance
  • OTA update (first time ever I get an OTA update on one of my Android phones…)

CONS

  • GPS is a disaster. It will lock relatively fast, but may not be very reliable.
  • Antutu Video Tester score is a little low (<400) mostly because of audio codec failures, and 2160p videos are not supported.
  • A slightly longer battery life would be nice, although it should be good enough from morning till evening.
  • Video recording might be limited to 720p, and quality is pretty poor at night.
  • Rear speakers do not sound very good

GearBest provided the Iocean M6752 smartphone for review, and if you think this might be a phone you’d like to get, the company offers the phone for $219.99 including shipping with Coupon “Iocean”. Other sellers include Tinydeal, Geekbuying, and Coolicool with price starting at $222.99.

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