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Posts Tagged ‘Android’

TouchPico Android Projector Transforms Your Wall into a Touch enabled Display (Crowdfunding)

July 29th, 2014 No comments

Android based projectors are nothing new, and I’ve covered a few with products such as Smartbeam, EPICT EPP-100, or Zeco CX5, but TouchPico brings something extra in that you can also tap on your wall with a stylus, in a similar way that you would tap on a tablet or smartphone with your finger or a capacitive stylus. It will also let you stream videos, display PowerPoint or Impress presentations, and anything else you can think of, on a display up to 80″ in size, and is portable with a built-in battery lasting up to two hours and a half.

TouchPicoTouchPico hardware specifications listed in Indiegogo comments’ section:

  • SoC – Dual core cortex A9 processor @ 1.6 GHz (Probably Rockhip RK3066)
  • System Memory – 1GB RAM
  • Storage – 4GB flash  (no micro SD slot)
  • Projector
    • 0.3″ DLP; RGB LED; native resolution: 854 x 480; aspect ratio: 16:9
    • Contrast Ratio: 1000:1; .Throw Ratio: 1.6; Color Temperature: 6500 Kelvin;
    • Screen Size: 12″-80″; Screen Distance:0.5-6m;
    • Brightness: 100 lumens (normal mode)
    • Lamp life: 20,000 hours.
  • Touch Support – Optical touch sensor built in, support stylus single point touch, touch input compatible with all Android apps.
  • Video Inputs – HDMI and AV
  • Audio – Stereo earphone jack, built-in speaker
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wifi
  • USB – micro USB OTG
  • Battery – Li-Po battery. Capacity not disclosed, but good for 1h30 to 2h30 according to the CEO.
  • Power Consumption – Typical: 5V/2.5A

This projector mini PC runs Android 4.4, with Google Play pre-installed. That’s according to the specs listed in comments, but the actual Indiegogo page refers to Android 4.0, which hopefully is incorrect.

TouchPico_StylusThe stylus pictured above enabled single touch capability for the projector. It embeds an infrared emitter that sends data captured by a tiny infrared camera located in the projector, where the signal is processed to convert it into coordinates.

You can watch the video to see what can be done with this projectors. In some scenes, the projected image seems just too bright to be real though (e.g. Skype call scene).

The company behind the project is now looking for funds ($55,000) via Indiegogo (flexible funding), and at the time of writing they got 98% of funding with 29 days to go. You can now pledge $309 (early bird #4) to get the projector on October, in about in about 3 to 4 months time. Shipping costs $30 outside of the US, and the retail price is expected to be $499.

Via Liliputing

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AllWinner A33 Quad Core Tablets Are Now Available for $60 and Up

July 29th, 2014 5 comments

AllWinner A33 is a new quad core Cortex A7 processor pin-to-pin compatible will AllWinner A23 dual core processor, that costs less than $5 with the power management IC (AXP223). Tablets based on the new processor are now available for sale, and just as low as $60 including shipping on Aliexpress. All models currently listed feature 9″ to 10″ displays, so it’s safe to expect 7″ tablets to be close to $50.
AllWinner_A33_Tablet
Let’s check the specs of one of the no-name 9″ tablets currently available:

  • SoC – AllWinner A33 quad core Cortex A7 processor @ 1.3 GHz (Overclocked to 1.5GHz???) with Mali-400MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 512MB RAM
  • Storage – 8GB NAND FLASH + microSD card slot (Up to 32GB)
  • Display – 9″ capacitive touch screen (800 x 480 pixels, 5 points touch)
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. 3G is supported via external 3G USB dongle.
  • Camera – 0.3M front camera,  1.3MP rear camera
  • USB – 1x micro USB 2.0 port
  • Audio – Speakers, earphone jack
  • Video Codecs - H.264, VP8, RV, WMV, AVS, H.263, MPEG4 up to 1080p
  • Audio formats – MP3, WMA, WAV, ACC, ACC+
  • Sensors – Gravity sensor
  • Battery – 3000 mAH Lithium battery
  • Dimensions – 263 x 165 x 11.5 mm
  • Weight – 650 gram???

The tablet runs Android 4.4.2, and comes with a 5V/2A power adapter, a OTG cable, a micro USB to USB cable, and a user’s manual. 512 MB RAM used to be a limitation in previous version of Android, but that might be OK with Android 4.4, as Google optimized Android for device with 512 MB RAM. I’d expect 800×480 resolution for a 9″ display will be somewhat pixelated, and the dual cameras to be a disaster. But if it’s for a first tablet, for a kid, or for tablet used as a control panel it could be an option. I and a few people around me purchased low cost tablets in the last few years, and I found them to be mostly usable, but you can’t expect to keep them to last very long because of the battery which will survive 6 months to a little over a year depending on your usage…

You may also want to read the press release for details about SmartColor image processing technology, video decoder performance, and power consumption (up to 300 hours in standaby mode with a 4,000 mAh battery).

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APK Downloader Retrieves an App APK with its Google Play Link

July 29th, 2014 2 comments

Let’s assume you are unlucky, and frequently end up with Google Play saying “Sorry, this app is not compatible with your device”. The usual way is either to patiently wait for a new firmware, or actually go through Android configuration files to change the behavior by, for instance, emulation a “Samsung Galaxy S4″. It’s also possible you somehow ended up with a device without Google Play. There’s now another solution thanks to APK Downloader.

APK_DownloaderThe way it works is that you just go to APK Downloader website, look for the app in Google Play website in your PC or device, copy the URL to APK Downloader website, and click on “Generate Download Click”. After a few seconds, or minutes depending on the APK size you’ll be able to download the APK. I used Antutu for testing as shown in the screenshot above. There’s a total limit of 250 new cached APK per day, so they’ve also come up with “Chrome APK Downloader Extension” so that you can download APKs using your own account via Google Chrome browser.

Via Mike Cane’s blog.

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Categories: Android, Testing Tags: Android, apk, how-to

Skytecx SK-R68b Android TV Box Comes with Three Wi-Fi Antennas

July 28th, 2014 3 comments

There’s now a pretty long list of Android media players powered by Rockchip RK3288, and they keep coming up. While I don’t cover most of them, Skytecx SK-R68b is a little more interesting because for some reasons, the manufacturer has decided to go with not only two, but three Wi-Fi antennas, and the product is the type that you place directly on top of your TV.

Skytecx_SK-R68bThe rest of the specifications looks pretty standard:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3288 quad core CortexA17 @ 1.8 GHz with ARM Mali-T764 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8 to 32GB NAND flash (8GB by default) + micro SD card slot (up to 32 GB)
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band WiFi 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz/5GHz) and 802.11 a/c with triple Wi-Fi antennas, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.0 output (female) up to 1080p (sic), AV output (3.5mm jack)
  • Video Codecs
    • Decoding – MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4,H.263, H.264, H.265,AVS, VC-1, RV, VP6/VP8, Sorenson Spark, MVC
    • Encoding – H.264, H.265, VP8, MVC (1080p)
    • H.264, H.265 Data Rate – Up to 60Mbps
  • Audio Codecs/Formats – MP1, MP2, MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG, OGA, APE, FLAC, AAC, M4A, 3GPP
  • USB – 2x USB Host port
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – N/A

A power adapter, an IR remote control, an HDMI cable, and user’s manual are included by default with the device, and optionally an AV cable, air mouse, and/or wireless mouse can be provided.

The box is listed on Aliexpress for about $100 including shipping. The seller, Skytecx, has zero feedback, but they might be the manufacturer of the device as they also have a page on ec21.com with the full name “Shenzhen Skytecx Electronic Co.Ltd”. Although the product is listed on Aliexpress, you should not expect the TV box to be available right now. The latest news about RK3288 products are that there are still quite a few software bugs, HDMI is not working properly right now, and HDMI 2.0 may not be supported at the beginning. Wi-Fi support may also be the part of the specs where specs could be wrong. I’ve seen boards with AP6330 or AP6635 Wi-Fi modules, but most sellers claim support for 802.11ac, which you won’t get with AP6330.

Unrelated, but useful, here’s a list of Ampak module features I found while looking up for AP6335: (Source: 1688.com)

  • AP6181: WiFi
  • AP6210: WiFi/BT4.0
  • AP6251: WiFi/GPS (GLNSS)
  • AP6330: WiFi 2.4G,5G/BT4.0/FM
  • AP6476: WiFi/BT4.0/FM/GPS (GLNSS)
  • AP6493: WiFi/BT4.0/NFC
  • AP6441: WiFi2.4G,5G/BT4.0/NFC
  • AP6234: WiFi2.4G,5G/BT4.0
  • AP6335: WiFi 11ac 2.4G,5G/BT4.0/FM

Provided this list is correct, that means only products based on AP6335 module will support 802.11ac, all others AP6xxx modules only support 802.11 b/g/n. There will probably be other 802.11ac modules from other brands though.

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Testing VolksPC’s MicroXwin Android & Debian Distribution in MK808 mini PC

July 27th, 2014 7 comments

Earlier this week, I wrote about VolksPC mini PC running Debian and Android simultaneously, and the developers decided to send me a unit for testing. The hardware I received is the popular MK808 mini PC based on Rockchip RK3066 with 1Gb RAM, and 8 GB RAM, but loaded with MicroXwin unified distribution. MicroXwin is an implementation of Windows X that’s not using a client/server protocol, for instead communicates directly with the drivers for better performance, especially on low-end hardware.

I connected MK808 to my HDMI TV, added a USB hub to connect a USB keyboard as well as Mele Air Mouse, and powered up the device. The boot to Debian takes about 30 seconds, and 50 seconds for Android.

Debian with XFCE using microXwin (Click for Original Size)

As you boot it will enter in Debian with XFCE desktop environment, and you’ll notice two files, namely the Quick Start Guide and Release Notes that explain how to get started and configure the system. All configuration is done in Android, where you can configure the network, language and input, and date and time. The release notes provides the login credentials desktop/desktop and root/root in case you need them, explains how to start and start Android from a terminal window in Debian (stop  zygote / start  zygote), and lists some known bugs. To switch between Android and Debian, press Ctrl+Alt+F7, and as you’ll see in the video below, it’s truly instantaneous.

Android in MK808 (Click for Original Size)

Android in MK808 using microXwin (Click for Original Size)

Both operating systems share the same file system, so you can edit files in Debian, and use them in Android, and vice versa. However, I’ve noticed some directories and files may become invisible in Android, such as the Pictures and Documents directory in the user’s directory (/mwinx/home/desktop). For some reasons, I have not been able to login to a SAMBA share in ES File Explorer although a scan can find my server, and plugging in a USB card reader will crash Debian, and sometimes reboot the system. From time to time, I may also lose control of the USB keyboard, and Wi-Fi disconnects pretty often, so stability is not that great with that firmware.

However, I’m been pleased with the performance in both Debian and Android. Programs such as LibreOffice Writer, and Chromium browser both load under 10 seconds in Debian, and the system feels more responsive that I would expect from such hardware. I wanted to install es2gears and glmark2-es2 to test hardware GPU acceleration, but the packages normally used (mesa-utils-extra & glmark2-es2) could not been found by apt-get.

VolksPC_Debian_Chromium_Libreoffice

Back in Android, I’ve tried several apps (ES File Explorer, Google Play, Youtube..), also including games such as Buggy Beach Blitz, and they all work as expected. Running Antutu 4.x benchmark gives a score of 10521 points, which seems about right for a dual core processor with Mali-400MP4 GPU. If you start playing a Youtube Video in Android, and switch to Debian, the video still plays in the background and you can hear the audio. This means for example, that you can start playing music in Android, and work in Debian, or start a task in one OS, and it will still run, if you switch to the other one.

You can watch the video below to check out he boot time for Debian and Android,  the speed of the switch between Android and Debian, Wi-Fi disconnecting, and the loading times of LibreOffice and Chromium.

I’ve also run a few commands in a terminal windows to check memory and storage:

root@localhost:~# uname -a
Linux localhost 3.0.36+ #173 SMP PREEMPT Wed Jul 2 11:53:59 PDT 2014 armv7l GNU/Linux
root@localhost:~# df -h
df: cannot read table of mounted file systems: No such file or directory
root@localhost:~# free -m
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:           853        815         38          0         24        441
-/+ buffers/cache:        349        503
Swap:            0          0          0
root@localhost:~# lsblk
NAME      MAJ:MIN RM   SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
loop7       7:7    0   2.2G  0 loop 
mtdblock0  31:0    0     4M  0 disk 
mtdblock1  31:1    0     8M  0 disk 
mtdblock2  31:2    0    16M  0 disk 
mtdblock3  31:3    0    32M  0 disk 
mtdblock4  31:4    0    64M  0 disk 
mtdblock5  31:5    0   128M  0 disk 
mtdblock6  31:6    0     5G  0 disk 
mtdblock7  31:7    0     4M  0 disk 
mtdblock8  31:8    0   512M  0 disk 
mtdblock9  31:9    0   1.7G  0 disk 
root@localhost:~# 

It’s running an older 3.0.36+ as is common with RK30xx and RK31xx based devices, about 853 MB total RAM is available to the system, and df -h does not work because /etc/fstab is empty.

The take away from my testing is that this unified distribution has great promise, as performance is good, and I did not encounter display issues, but some serious work needs to be done to debug the whole system, as well as improve its stability. It’s not entirely clear however, whether the stability issues are related to microXwin implementation, or the underlying Android firmware for MK808.

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Geniatech Unveils ATV585 Enjoy TV Box Powered by Amlogic S805 with HEVC Hardware Decoding

July 26th, 2014 6 comments

After Eny Techology EM6Q-MXQ, there’s at least another Amlogic S805 based media player with Geniatech ATV585 Enjoy TV powered by the quad core Cortex A5 processor, with 1GB RAM and 8GB flash. Compared Amlogic S802 based STBs, you’ll get slower CPU and GPU performance, and lose 4K video decoding and output, but gain HEVC hardware decoding up to 1080p, if you’re lucky, you’ll get Gigabit Ethernet, and in theory, the price should be cheaper.

Geniatech_ATV585_Enjoy_TVATV585 Enjoy TV specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S805 quad core Cortex-A5 @ 1.5GHz with quad core Mali-450MP4 GPU @ 600MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC FLASH + micro SD/MMC card slot up to 32GB
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 1.4 and CVBS
  • Video Codecs / Containers – MPEG1/2/4, H.264, H.265, VC-1, WMV, AVI, MKV, MOV, etc…
  • Audio Formats – MP3, WMA, AAC, etc…
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, Wi-Fi with external antenna
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – IR receiver, Net and status LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A (Typical power consumption: 4W)
  • Dimensions – 100 x 100 x 15 mm
  • Weight – 160g

Geniatech_ATV585_Enjoy_TV_Front_PanelThis media player runs Android 4.4 KitKat, and comes with an HDMI cable, a power adapter, an IR remote control with mouse function, and a user’s manual.

ATV585 Enjoy TV appears to be available to resellers right now, but I could not find it listed on any Chinese e-retailer yet. For reference, Eny EM6Q-MQX currently sells for $76 to $80 on Aliexpress. That’s less than most Amlogic S802 based Android TV boxes, but not all. You can find more information on Geniatech ATV585 Enjoy TV page.

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Lemaker.org is Giving Away Banana Pi Development Boards to Developers and Fans

July 26th, 2014 1 comment

Banana Pi is a development board powered by AllWinner A20 dual core SoC with 1GB RAM, and with expansion headers and a form factor very similar to the Raspberry Pi. It can run Debian, Lubuntu, Android 4.2, Arch Linux ARM, Scratch OS, and OpenSuse, but Lemarker.org community would like more educational materials such as open source software or hardware projects, tutorials, etc.., so they’ve launched a program to give away boards to developers and people who can help writing and maintaining documentation.
Banana_Pi_Board

There are three categories of projects:

  • STEAM – “Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics” educational, open source projects running on the the Banana Pi
  • Hardware or Software Project -  Open source projects based on Banana Pi which could be helpful to the community, including open source hardware peripherals projects;
  • Banana Pi Fans – You don’t need to be as technical as for the two others categories, but you must be committed to write tutorials or user guides, participate to the Wiki, upload video guides, etc.., under CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

To apply, you just need to create a poll in the forums in the category that matches your project, describe the project, the licenses used, links to existing documentation if any, etc…Other members of the community can then comment or/and vote for your project for two weeks, and you’ll be send a board if accepted.Current projects include a Self-Managing Uninterruptible Power Supply for Banana Pi, and WTherm web connected thermostat.

Selected applicants will have to bear the cost of shipping via SF-Express, DHL (Priority), UPS, FedEx, or China Post depending on the applicant’s preference.

All details and conditions are available on Apply for Banana Pi page.

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