Posts Tagged ‘Android’

Rockchip RK3399 Benchmarks Appear on GeekBench

September 28th, 2016 17 comments

Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core processor with ARM Cortex A72 and A53 cores and a Mali-T860MP GPU will soon be found in TV boxes, development boards, tablets, Chromebooks, virtual reality headset and more, and is widely expected to offer a significant performance boost against previous Rockchip processors, including RK3288, and outperform SoCs from competitors like Amlogic and Allwinner.

We can have a first clue about the performance as Rockchip RK3399 boxes and one tablet are now showing up on GeekBench.


The box is clocked at 1512 MHz, while the tablet is limited to 1416 MHz, but overall single-core score is about 1350 points, while multi-core score hovers around 2,550 points. I’m not that familiar with GeekBench so number don’t tell me anything. Let’s compare it against RK3288 which CPU-wise is the fastest processor I known of from Chinese silicon vendors targeting TV boxes.

rk3399-vs-rk3288There’s a significant single-core performance boost (+73%), and lower multi-core delta (+30%) as expected since RK3399 has 2 fast Cortex A72 cores, 4 low power Cortex-A53 cores, against 4 fast Cortex-A17 cores for RK3288. If you look into the details AES is over 10 times faster on RK3399, so there must be some special instructions used here, or AES hardware acceleration.

Rockchip RK3399 “reference” TV box also has 4GB RAM, so I’m expecting RK3399 devices to come with 2 and 4 GB versions.

RK3399 vs Tegra K1

RK3399 vs Tegra K1

Rockchip RK3399 is also faster than Nvidia Tegra K1 quad core Cortex A15 @ 2.2 GHz for single thread performance, and about equivalent for multi-core tests.

[Update: I also found GFXBench 3D graphics results for RK3399, and compared it to Nvidia Tegra K1.

rk3399-gpu-benchmarkThe Mali-T860MP used in RK3399 is still far from the performance delivered by the Kepler GPU in Tegra K1.

Now if I compare the results to RK3288 (Mali-T764 GPU) based Ugoos UT3s TV box, the score on RK3399 (Mali-T860MP4) is also lower.

rk3399-vs-rk3288-gpuWe’ll have to wait and see here, as we don’t know at which frequency the GPU is running. Both GPUs are supposed to have the same performance according to Wikipedia.]

Thanks to Feelgood for the tip.

Tbee Android TV Box Supports Voice Command and Gesture Control

September 28th, 2016 2 comments

The first thing you notice with Tbee TV box is the beehives inspired hexagonal enclosure, as we’ve already seen with T95Z Plus TV box, but the features that really stand out are voice command, and especially gesture control thanks to the built-in microphone and camera.

tbee-tv-boxTbee TV box specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S812 quad core Cortex A9r4 processor @ up to 1.99 GHz with octa-core Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB
  • Storage –  8GB eMMC flash + SD card slot
  • Video & Audio I/O – HDMI input, HDMI output
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n (2.4 GHz) and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – IR receiver, built-in HD ready camera and IR receiver
  • Dimensions – 28.5 x 8.5 cm (full package)
  • Weight – 860 grams (full package)

The box ships with an air mouse with QWERTY keyboard and its RF dongle, a HDMI cable, a power adapter, a micro USB cable, a stand, and a quick start guide. The box runs Android 4.4 with a launcher inspired from beehives. There’s no mention of what the HDMI input does, and it could just be a pass-through input to connect a set-top box.

The demo video shows the user interface, apps support, voice command, and gesture control capabilities.

The device is intriguing enough to make you want to purchase the box on Tbee website, until of course, you click on the buy button and discover the “promotional price” of 199 Euros inc. VAT with free shipping to Portugal, and 20 Euros shipping to Europe.


TV Box Market Data (for China): Weekly Sales, Average Prices, Most Popular Devices & Streaming Services

September 28th, 2016 5 comments

I’ve recently seen a tweet from IloveRockchip twitter account about the weekly sales data, and market share of octa-core, quad-core, and other OTT TV boxes. The chart below shows 108,000 Android TV boxes were sold on the 37th week of 2016 (September 12 – 18), and that while quad core TV boxes still held 77% market share that week, octa-core sales grew by 108%.

android-tv-box-market-shareThe downside is that the data is only for the Chinese market. But I still found interesting to investigate whether I could get more information. The research company, All View Cloud, will release weekly data to their paid customers, but a free sample report for Week 21 (16-22 May) can be downloaded from their website (N.B.: The link does not work in Firefox for me, but it does in Chrome).

android-tv-boxes-sales-report“SALES” must be the quantity, roughly between 100,000 and 150,000 units sold per week, and if we extrapolate with the 5-week data above, that means about 6.5 million OTT TV boxes are sold each year in China, not that big a number considering China population. “SALES VOLUMES” is the amount in Chinese Yuan.

The next chart shows the average price of OTT TV boxes (blue line) is about 220 RMB ($33).

ott-tv-box-average-sales-priceThe red line correspond to the average price for Android TV boxes, and the yellow line the average price for Aliyun OS (aka YunOS) TV boxes.

Back in May, the quad core TV boxes enjoyed an 88% market share against 12% for octa-core TV boxes, and 4% for others, and at the time. Aliyun OS (阿里云) had the biggest market share with 59%, against 30% for Android (安卓), and 1% for others. Android was however growing at 23.6 %, while Aliyun OS TV share decreased by 6.6% against the previous week.


The report goes on with the most popular videos streaming services with 华数 ( by far the most popular with 64% market share, followed by CNTV, 湖南广电, CIBN and GITV.

They also have a list of the top 20 TV boxes in China based on online usage, and the top 5 have dominated by three companies:

  1. Tmall M13
  2. Tmall TMB300A
  3. Xiaomi Mi Box Pro (MDZ-09-AA)
  4. Xiaomi Mi Box Mini
  5. Diyomate X5

The brands and models are completely different from the ones popular overseas, and only Xiaomi models are relatively easy to buy (but not to use) outside of China. I wrote about older Diyomate TV Box models in the past (2012) based on Telechips processor, so the company has been around for a while.

Categories: Android, Hardware Tags: Android, china, TV box, yunos

VR SKY CX-V3 Android VR Headset Review – Part 2: GUI, 360° and VR Videos, and Issues

September 25th, 2016 5 comments

VR SKY CX-V3 is an Android virtual reality headset powered by Allwinner H8vr processor and featuring a 1080p display. I had read VR requires 2K or 4K displays to be useful, but since that’s my very first VR headset, if we don’t count the a Google Cardboard clone as one, I did not mind testing one with a 1920×1080 display, and it ended up being an interesting learning experience.

I’ve already shown the hardware with the various buttons, touch interfaces and lenses in the headset, as well as accessories like the charger and headphone in the first part of the review, so today, I’ll go through the interfaces, what works, and mention the issues I had with the device.

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If you’ve never used a virtual reality headset before, you’ll definitely want to read the user manual, which for once is written in proper English, both for entertainment value, and learn how to actually use it. They must have been inspired from other VR headset manuals, as the health and safety warnings have a North American touch to them.

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You are even suggested to consult your doctor if you are pregnant, elderly, or suffer from a list of various diseases. Other pages mentions convulsions occurring for one in 4000 persons, and all sort of potential for injuries. It almost makes you regret your purchase, and give second thoughts about actually using the device.

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Childern under 13 years old should not use the headset without adult supervision, and avoid prolonged use. I totally agree with the latter though, but it’s not really comfortable to use for extended period of times due to head and eye strains. There are about ten pages about potential hazards and health issues.

The manual also explicitly warns that:

When you are wearing glasses, do not wear VR Sky. Doing so may lead to facial injuries. If you need vision correction lenses, it is recommended, it is recommended that you wear contact lenses using VR Sky.

My myopia is too strong to use the headset without correction, and since I’m not going to wear contact lenses, I called the warning “BS”, and tried using it with my glasses.

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I had no particular issues doing so, but obviously it’s tight, and how well it fits will depend on your glasses’ dimensions. The headset does not push the glasses down, so there’s no added pressure on the nose, as long as you set the head straps properly.

After having charge the headset with the provided charger, or any 5V phone charger, it’s time to press the power button to get started. The boot should complete in less than one minute, and you will be in Nibiru 360 degree user interface.


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Since we have a 1920×1080 display, you’ll have one 960×1080 image in each eye, which explains the look of the screenshot above. You are located in a room with sofa, tables and lights on the back, and large windows with night view on the city, and you can move head left and right and up and down will allow you to navigate in the menu with five icons: Apps, Theater, Pano, Photos, and Tools. Theater app will put you in an actual theater and stream from a list of 2D or 3D videos, and Pano app (shown below) will do something similar but for 360 & VR videos, and requires you to download videos before playing. All preinstalled apps worked well, but content is not really exciting, as those are only demo videos.

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Before going a bit more through the user interface and apps, let’s get familiar with the user inputs on the headset.

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On the left side of the headset, we have the switch button (power on/off & standby), and the Nibiru button used to enable/disable the mouse pointer, brightness adjustment, switch to VR mode (aka 3D mode), and close the app.


Nibiru Button Options

On the right side, we’ll find the touchpad, similar to a D-Pad with OK button in the center, and used browsing menu left <-> right, and up <-> down, the back button, as well as the volume buttons.

Nibiru main user interface always have a selection dot, so you don’t need to enable “head mouse” mouse, but in many apps you’ll need to enable the mouse pointer and control it with head movement.

In order to do anything useful with the headset, you’ll need to configure WiFi first. To do so, enter Tools->Settings menu, and select WiFi.

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It should list available access point, and you can input the password using the software keyboard using both head movement, and the center of the touchpad to validate each character.

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Software Keyboard used with YouTube – Click to Enlarge

I had no problem connecting to WiFI. The first time it’s quite fun to type text that way, but it’s quite slow, and very soon it will become frustrating. So I connected a USB keyboard instead, and look though the opening around the nose, or lifting the headset, in order to type. That’s where using a smartphone + VR headset kit proves more convenient than all-in-one solutions, as first setup and app installation is much easier that way. In theory voice search would help, but Google Search app could not hear me at all through the provided headset which appears to include a microphone.

I went to the list of app, start Google Play Store, logged in with my credentials, and went to my PC on to installs to “Allwinner Eagle” device, which is how SKY VR CX-V3 is recognized.

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It worked quite well as I could install Cardboard, a few other virtual reality apps, Asus File Manager to copy files to/from my computer, Kodi 16.1, CPU-Z, and Antutu, but no Antutu 3D.

CX-V3 kit is also supposed to supported OTA firmware update, and when I click on “Check online”, it’s telling it has add a file to the download queue, but after one day, I still did no get a new firmware. Maybe I missed something here.

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So I used the default firmware for review: Nibiru 2.00.001 apparently released on June 14, 2016. The model number is VR0061.

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Let’s play with Google Cardboard app now, which had no problem detecting my VR kitas Nibiru OSVR0061.

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But then I would see two nearly identical mirror images in each eye with a bar in the middle. That’s where you need to press the Nibiru button and enable VR mode in order to enter 3D mode. The only problem is that if I keep my two eyes opened the results will show an overlapped image, and that’s when I discovered a big problem with that headset: fixed IPD (Inter-pupil distance) allegedly set to 64mm, which means it can’t be calibrated. I asked somebody else to try, and they said it worked just fine for them. We measured the distance between the center of each pupil to be 65mm for me, and 60 mm for the other person. So when you purchase a virtual reality headset make sure it supports “adjustable IPD”, or it may not work properly with virtual reality applications. This won’t be a problem to navigate the menus, watch 360 degree videos, or even 2D videos. Some 3D/VR video play just fine, while others will exhibit the same issue.

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I tried again with another Virtual Reality app from the Google Play store, namely, VR Roller Coaster, and I had the same issue.

So I can’t use VR applications due the space between my eyes being too bad, but I surely can play 360° Videos in YouTube. Except I could not do that either. The cardboard icon normally shown in  360° Videos in  my smartphone (as shown below) could not be seen in the YouTube app running in the virtual reality headset.


No Cardboard Icon for Nibiru

That means I would see all pixels of the video in a rectangle, so pretty much useless.

I could also install Kodi, and play 2D videos without issues, except they all look like SD resolution to due the display. I tried some 3D videos stereoscopic videos (under/over and side-by-side) and 3D MVC videos, but It did not work even after enabling 3D support in the app. I think this type of device is not suitable for this type of videos. I’m here to learn, if you know do let me know what kind of 3D video I could use…

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Click to Enlarge

Finally, in the name of science, I side-loaded two apps for people old enough to drive without being accompanied, and while the apps could run, and I could navigate through the list of videos, both would crash when starting streaming…

I’ll complete this review by showing some of the information returned by CPU-Z app.


Allwinner octa-core processor up to 1.8 GHz with PowerVR SGX544MP GPU…sky-vr-cx-v3-cpu-z-device

The model is called Eagle (eagle_fvd_p1) as reported in Google Play store, the brand is Nibiru, the resolution 1920×1080, and there’s 1761MB RAM in total, and 12.04GB storage available to the package clearly states CX-V3 is running Android 5.1, but CPU-Z disagrees as it is instead reporting Android 4.4.2 running on top of Linux 3.4.39 kernel. The device is rooted. I have not been able to find the developer settings, and could not enable adb. [Update: adb over WiFi is not working, but it’s enabled over the micro USB port. You can also access Android settings & developer options by clicking several times on “VR Version” row in “About Device” section of Nibiru interface]

While in Nibiru interface you have 960×1080 pixel in each eye, non-VR apps like CPU-Z will be shown using 864×486 per eye.

I’d like to thank GearBest for sending a Android VR headset for review, and in case you are interested in the device, they sell it for 117.74$ with coupon LHSKY. VR SKY CX-V3 Android VR Headset can also be bought on DealExtreme, eBay, Aliexpress, and GeekBuying for various prices.

LeEco Le Pro 3 Snapdragon 821 Smartphone Sells for $270 and Up (in China)

September 22nd, 2016 10 comments

Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 is possibly the fastest mobile application processor available today, and a few smartphones have started to launch with the processor including Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe selling for about $575 in Taiwan, and the phone I’m going to cover in this post – LeEco  Le Pro 3 – has just launched in China starting at 1799 CNY ($270) with 4GB RAM and 32GB flash, and up to 2999 CNY ($540) with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage.


LeEco Le Pro 3 smartphone specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad core Kryo processor with Adreno 530 GPU and Hexagon 680 DSP
  • System Memory/Internal Storage – 4GB/32GB, 4GB/64GB (Zhang Zimou Edition), 6GB/64GB, or 6GB/128GB (Zhang Zimou Edition); Storage devices are all UFS 2.0 flash.
  • Display – 5.5″ FHD (1920×1080) LCD display
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • 2G – GSM:2/3/5/8; CDMA: BC0/BC1
    • 3G – WCDMA: B1/2/4/5/8 TD-SCDMA: B34/39; EVDO:BC0/BC1
    • 4G – FDD-LTE: B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/20; TDD-LTE:38/39/40/41
    • 2x Nano SIM card slot
  • Wireless Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi 2-stream MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS/A-GPS/GLONASS/Beidou
  • Camera – 8MP front-facing camera, 16MP rear camera with flash capable of recording 720p @ 120p, 1080p / 4K @ 30 fps
  • Audio – CDLA support, speaker and microphone
  • USB – USB Type C port
  • Sensors – Fingerprint scanner, IR transmitter, gravity sensor, 3-axis gyroscope, compass, light sensor, proximity sensor
  • Battery – 4,070 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0
  • Dimensions – 151.4 mm x 73.9 mm x 7.5 mm
  • Weight – 175 grams

The phone runs Android 6.0 with the company’s EUI 5.8 skin. Just like previous LeEco devices, it does not come with a 3.5mm audio jack, and it’s also missing micro SD card support. There four memory and storage configurations with the two other models with 4GB/64GB and 6GB/64GB selling for respectively 1,999 CNY ($300) and 2,499 CNY ($375). The two more expensive models ($375 and $540) are “Zhang Zimou Editions”, but apart from featuring the name of a famous Chinese filmmaker, I could not find which features they add specifically (if any).

More details can be found on LeEco Le Pro 3 product page (Chinese language only).

Via XDA developers

YUNDOO Y7 Amlogic S905X TV Box comes with Faster DDR4 Memory

September 22nd, 2016 23 comments

Most TV boxes on the market comes with DDR3 memory, but YUNDOO Y7 TV box based on Amlogic S905X processor instead comes with 2GB DDR4 memory, with the company claiming 50% higher bandwidth compared to DDR3 memory.

yundoo-y7YUNDOO Y7 specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S905X quad core Cortex A53 processor @ 1.5 GHz with Penta-core Mali-450MP GPU @ 750MHz+
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR4 (bandwidth up to increased 50% compared to DDR3)
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash + micro SD port
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 with HDR and CEC support up to 4K2K @ 60 Hz, AV port
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV, and coaxial S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual band WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 2 x USB 2.0 port
  • Misc – Power button, IR receiver, LED screen
  • Power Supply – 5V
  • Dimensions – TBD (metal housing)

yundoo-y7-ddr4-tv-boxThe device runs Android 6.0, and is said to come with a user interface designed by XPoloV designer team based in the USA.

Which applications will benefit from higher memory bandwidth? I’m not entirely sure, but I’d assume applications moving a lot of data, such as 4K video players and possibly games should benefit from faster memory.

XPoloV Designed User Interface

XPoloV Designed User Interface

I could not find availability nor price information for the device, but you’ll find some more details on Yundoo Y7 product page. Yundoo and Nexbox brands appear to be managed by the same company. [Update: Yundoo Y7 is up for pre-order on GeekBuying for $57.99 with 2GB+16GB, and $43.99 with 1GB+8GB. Shipping is scheduled for next week (1GB RAM) and next month (2GB RAM)]

$16 and Up RGB LED Bluetooth 4.0 Light Bulbs include Speakers

September 20th, 2016 1 comment

I’ve just stumbled upon “H1007 Smart E27 Bulb Bluetooth 4.0 Speaker” on GeekBuying. It’s a smart Bluetooth 4.0 RGB LED E27 light bulb that also include a speaker, and sells for $22.59 shipped. I find it’s a good idea, and after looking for other models, I’ve found the $99 Twist light, as well as a much cheaper “OY-QP-BM13” model on eBay going for $15.99.


H1007 (left) vs OY-QP-BM13 (right)

I’ll look at (HZ-)H1007 specifications first:

  • Light Bulb
    • 5W; adjustable RGBW; 330 Lumens; Color temp: 6500K
    • Screw Type – E27/E26
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0 LE up to 20 meters range
  • Audio – 3W amplifier; 3D surround audio
  • Voltage – 100 to 240V 50/60Hz
  • Dimensions – 72 mm diameter x 136 mm length
  • Weight – 146 grams

The body of the light bulb is available in white, red, golden, and blue, and it ships with a user’s manual in English and Chinese. I could not find the app on GeekBuying, but after a quick search I found a GearBest video showing how it works, and also discovered they sell it for $15.99.

The app is called Hlight and works for Android 4.3+ and iOS 4.0 or greater. Unfortunately, the reviews of the app on the Google Play Store are mostly negative with people complaining that the app does not work anymore, or pairing issues. The sound quality did not feel that good in the video either, and some people mentioned the light is a bit dim.

The “eBay” model should be brighter since it’s supposed to emit 800-840 lumens with a 6W white LED, and 3W RGB LED. It ships with its own basic remote, and Bluetooth range is said to be 5 to 10 meters. There’s very little information about the light bulb on the web, and I could not find the app.

Categories: Android, Audio, Hardware, Video Tags: Android, audio, ble, bluetooth, ios, IoT

Sonoff TH10/16 WiFi Relays Support Temperature and Humidity Probes

September 19th, 2016 3 comments

Sonoff are dirt cheap WiFi AC/DC relay systems based on ESP8266 selling for about $5 with board and case. They are made by ITEAD Studio, and the company has now new versions supporting up to 16A @ 250V, and with a 2.5mm connector to connect external temperature and humidity probes.

sonoff-th10-temperature-humidity-probeTwo models are available Sonoff-TH10 (10A max) and Sonoff-TH16 (16A max) with the following specifications:

  • SoC – Espressif ESP8266 Tensila L106 32-bit MCU up to 80/160 MHz with WiFi
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi with WPA/WPA2 support
  • Relay
    • Sonoff-TH10 – HK3FF-DC5V-SHG supporting 90 to 250 VAC input, up to 10A (2200 Watts)
    • Sonoff-TH16 – Hongfa HF152F-T supporting 90 to 250 VAC input, up to 16A (3500 Watts)
  • Terminals – 6 terminal for mains and load’s ground, live and neutral signals.
  • Misc – 4-pin 2.5mm jack for external probes, LEDs for power and WiFi status
  • Dimensions – PCB: 89.1 x 45.0 x 1.2mm
  • Temperature range – -40 ℃ to 125 ℃

The company also offer two probes to connect the sensor jack: one based on AM2301 sensor for temperature (-40 to +80 °C, +/- 0.5 °C) and humidity (10 to 90%, +/- 3%), and an a waterproof temperature probe based on DS18B20 supporting  -55 to 125 °C range.

sonoff-th16-connection-diagramThe wireless relays can be controlled with eWeLink app for Android or iOS, where you can manually turn on and off the load, but also set temperature and/or humidity threshold to start and stop a device. Some technical details, most related to the hardware like PDF schematics, can be found on the Wiki.

ITEAD Studio now have a nice portfolio of inexpensive device for “smart home”. Please note that (AFAIK) none of the items have UL or TUV safety certifications, so use them at your own risks.

itead-smart-home-productSonoff-TH10/TH16 and sensor probes can be purchased on ITEAD Studio’s Sonoff-TH page with Sonoff-TH10 selling for $7.50, Sonoff-TH16 for $8.60, Sonoff Sensor-AM2301 temperature & humidity sensor for $4.30, and Sonoff Sensor-DS18B20 waterproof temperature probe for $3.50. Shipping is not included but only adds a couple of dollars, if you select the cheapest (and slowest) options.

Thank to Harley for the tip.