Archive

Posts Tagged ‘convergence’

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 Phablet: Up to 8GB RAM, Up to 256 GB Storage, Bezel-free 6.4″ Display, $1,095

April 20th, 2017 7 comments

Yesterday, Xiaomi introduced Mi 6 smartphone, in what looked like to be their premium model, but it turns out they have a more powerful (and expensive) model with Mi MIX 2 Phablet/Smartphone boasting the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, but equipped with up to 8GB RAM, 256 GB flash, and a 6.4″ display with 2560×1440 resolution and virtually without any bezels.

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 preliminary specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snpadragon 835 octa-core Kryo 280 processor with 4x cores @ 2.45 GHz, 4x cores @ 1.9 GHz, Adreno 540 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 3.2, OpenCL 2.0 full, Vulkan, DX12, Hexagon 682 DSP
  • System Memory – 4, 6 or 8 GB LPDDR4X dual channel memory
  • Storage – 128 or 256 GB UFS 2.0 flash; NO micro SD card
  • Display – 6.4″ capacitive touch AMOLED display with 2560×1440 resolution
  • Audio – Speakers; microphone; 3.5mm audio jack
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • 2G – 580/900/1800/1900 MHz; CDMA EVDO: BC0
    • 3G – WCDMA B1/2/5/8; TD-SCDMA: B34/39
    • 4G – FDD-LTE: 850/900/1700/1800/1900/2100/2600MHz;  TDD-LTE: B38/B39/B40/B41
    • Dual Nano SIM card dual standby
  • Other Wireless Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS
  • Camera –  19 MP dual rear camera with flash and auto focus;  13.0MP front-facing camera
  • USB – Micro USB port
  • Sensors – Ambient Light Sensor, Gravity Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Fingerprint scanner
  • Battery – 4,500 mAh Lithium battery
  • Dimensions – 15.80 x 8.19 x 0.79 cm
  • Weight – 209 grams

The phone will run MIUI 9 based on Android 7.1 Nougat, and ship with a power adapter, a USB cable, and a “SIM needle”. A few items in the specifications above are inconsistent with the features of Mi 6 smaprthone, so I guess they may be incorrect: 3.5mm audio jack is not part of Mi 6, the wireless module is probably 802.11ac + Bluetooth 5, micro USB port ? seriously? It must be a USB type C port. I also have a gut feeling the sensor list is incomplete. Nevertheless, that device looks just as powerful as some entry level to mid range computers or laptops.

The reason why we don’t have clear specifications is because Xiaomi has not formally launched the device, but GearBest has listed the phone/phablet on their website, with three models:

  • 4GB RAM / 128 GB flash – $848.91 shipped
  • 8GB RAM / 128 GB flash – $951.37 shipped
  • 8GB RAM / 256 GB flash  – $1094.81 shipped

It’s also possible, GearBest is playing it safe, and gave higher prices before the product is formally announced, and while they are gathering emails to send “Arrival Notices” later on. We’ll know the real price of the phone once Xiaomi introduces it in China.

Via AndroidPC.es

Mirabook is Laptop Dock for Smartphones, Development Boards (Crowdfunding)

April 17th, 2017 5 comments

Motorola Lapdock may have been ahead of its time, as laptop docks for smartphone are back in vogue with products like NexDock, and Apple could soon launch their own iPhone laptop dock. Another option is Miraxess Mirabook laptop dock with a 13.3″ display, and a battery lasting up to 24 hours, that works for smartphones, development boards, and HDMI TV sticks thanks to its USB type C port.

Mirabook specifications:

  • Display – 13.3″ IPS display with 1920×1080 resolution (non-touch, except if they raise $2 millions…)
  • Audio – Speakers, 3.5mm audio jack
  • Video Output – HDMI port
  • Storage – SD card slot
  • QWERTY keyboard & multi-touch trackpad
  • USB
    • Integrated USB type C cable to connect to phone, board or HDMI TV stick
    • USB type C port to charge the Mirabook battery
    • 2x USB type A host port
  • Battery – TBD capacity good for 24 hours while charging your phone
  • Dimensions – 320 x 220 x 15 mm
  • Weight – 1 kg

The solution relies on SlimPort to provide video & audio over USB as it works for many products, and does not require as much (CPU) resources as DisplayLink. The latter will however be considered as a stretch goal if the campaign raises over $300,000.

The company explains that “convergence” operating systems such as Windows Continuum, Samsung DeX, Auxens Oxi OS, or Remix Singularity, are particularly well suited for the Mirabook, as they provide a desktop experience when the phone is connected to a larger display. They also mentioned Leena OS which I had not come across before, and works on any Android 4.2 or greater smartphone with a free version supporting multi-window, web apps, and a browser, and a Pro version  adding some extra features like a native PDF reader, and the possibly to put icons on the desktop.

The project has launched on Indiegogo with Miraxess aiming to raise at least $50,000. A $180 Early bird pledge should get you a Mirabook, while the retail price after the Indiegogo campaign is expected to be $299. Shipping will add around $15, and delivery is scheduled for December 2017.

Via Liliputing

Canonical Refocuses Ubuntu Development Efforts on Cloud and IoT, Drops Convergence and Mobile

April 6th, 2017 15 comments

Mark Shuttleworth has published a new blog post in Ubuntu Insights, and this is not all good news, as the title “Growing Ubuntu for Cloud and IoT, rather than Phone and convergence” implies. Canonical has decided to drop Unity8, and replace it with Gnome in Ubuntu 18.04, and by extension stop any investment in Ubuntu phone and convergence.

The main reasons given for the drop were that few commercial partners were interested in the project, preferring to stick with the most popular mobile operating systems like Android, and the community did not see the work as innovation, but instead fragmentation, probably referring to the Mir vs Wayland saga.

On the better news, Canonical is still committed to work on Ubuntu desktop, and will focus on the Cloud and IoT applications such as automotive, robotics, networking, and machine learning, for which the company has gone well so far with multiple commercial partners.

The video below shows the work done so far on Unity8. Sadly it will never be used in a meaningful way.

Samsung Galaxy S8 & S8+ Smartphones Launched with Infinity Screen, Samsung DeX Desktop Mode, Bixby Assistant

March 30th, 2017 2 comments

Samsung has finally launched their latest Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895 processor, 5.8″ and 6.2″ screens , and some of the most interesting features include the “infinity screen” with ultra thin bezels, Samsung DeX allowing for a desktop experience on a large monitor when the phone is docked, as well as Bixby assistant.

Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ specifications:

  • SoC (one or the other depending on markets)
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor with four Kryo 280 cores @ 2.3 GHz, four Kryo 280 cores @ 1.7 Ghz;; Adreno 540 GPU; 10nm process
    • Samsung Exynos 8895 octa-core processor with four M2+ cores @ 2.35 GHz, four Cortex A53 cores @ 1.9 GHz, ARM Mali-G71 GPU; 10nm process
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 64GB UFS 2.0 flash; micro SD up to 256 GB
  • Display
    • Galaxy S8 – 5.8” quad HD+ (2960×1440), (570ppi)
    • Galaxy S8+ – 6.2” quad HD+ (2960×1440), (529ppi)
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio jack, speakers
  • Cellular Connectivity – LTE Cat.16
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), Bluetooth v 5.0 (LE up to 2Mbps), ANT+, NFC, GPS, Galileo, Glonass, BeiDou
  • Camera – Dual Pixel 12MP OIS (F1.7) rear camera; 8MP AF (F1 .7) front-facing camera
  • USB – USB Type-C
  • Sensors – Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, HR Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor, Iris Sensor, Pressure Sensor
  • Battery – S8: 3,000 mAh; S8+: 3,500 mAh; fast charging; wireless charging compatible with WPC and PMA7
  • Dimensions & Weight
    • Galaxy S8 – 148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm, 155g
    • Galaxy S8+ – 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm, 173g
  • IP Rating – IP68 water and dust resistance

Both phones will run Android 7.0, and support payment by NFC or MST. The main innovation from the hardware perspective is the Iris scanner that allows you login to the phone by just looking at it.

Let’s see what this “infinity screen” is all about:

Samsung calls is that way because the bezel on the left & right sides are barely visible, and very thin on the bottom and top of the phone, where they still managed to cram a camera and a few sensors.

The company has also decided to start working on convergence with Samsung DeX, a desktop mode triggered when you connect the phone to a dock – called DeX Station – itself connected to a big screen. You’ll get a start menu and multi-window support a bit like in Windows Continuum, and other Android phone desktop initiatives like Remix Singularity or Auxens OXI.

Samsung’s Bixby Assistant is described as “an intelligent interface that will help users get more out of their phone. With the new Bixby button, you will be able to conveniently access Bixby and navigate through services and apps with simple voice, touch and text commands. Contextual awareness capabilities enable Bixby to offer personalized help based on what it continues to learn about the user’s interests, situation and location. Users can easily shop, search for images and get details about nearby places with Bixby’s image recognition technology”. So it’s not only a voice assistant, but also learns about the user’s habit, and can leverage image recognition for example to translate signs written in a foreign language.

The phones can also be used for virtual reality using Gear VR with Controller powered by Oculus, or to capture 4K 360-degree videos, 15MP photos, or stream 2K live videos with Gear 360.

Samsung Galaxy S8 & S8+ pre-orders will begin on March 30, 2017, for respectively $750 & $850 (MSRP) with a free GearVR headset with controller. The phones will also be found in shop – in the US – starting on April 21, 2017, where you’ll also be able to buy Gear VR with Controller for $129.99,  or just the controller for $39.99. Visit Samsung S8/S8+ product page for further details.

Your Smartphone Could Become The Brain and Touchpad of Your Laptop (Dock)

March 29th, 2017 10 comments

Mobile desktop convergence is likely to happen sometimes in the next few years, at least for some users, when your smartphone will be the brain of your laptop or desktop computer. So far I imagined the smartphone would fit into a dock powering the phone – potentially wirelessly – and connects it to a large monitor, extra storage, and a keyboard and mouse. But based on a patent filled by Apple, it may also take another form: a laptop dock where your smartphone fits right where the touchpad is supposed to be.

The patent for an “ELECTRONIC ACCESSORY DEVICE” describes “various embodiments of systems and methods for providing internal components for portable computing devices having a thin profile. More particularly, the present application describes an electronic accessory device available to extend and expand usefulness of a portable computing device”.

The patent does not appear to describe the interfaces, but presents the general concept with the laptop dock and smartphone establishing a connection when the phone is inserted into a “port (112) having a size and shape in accordance with host device”. All processing power would be in the host device (smartphone), and the laptop dock would be a dumb device providing the communication interfaces between host and device, a keyboard, a display, speakers, and a battery.

The patent also include a block diagram of the host device, which looks like a typical smartphone to me. The data link (612) between the host and the accessories can be a wired or wireless connection.

Via Apple Insider

Auxens OXI Brings Windows Continuum Like Desktop Mode to Android Smartphones

March 9th, 2017 2 comments

Remix OS, Phoenix OS, LightBiz OS… are all Android based operating systems with desktop optimizations, but so far they mostly work on TV boxes, computers or tablets. If you want something that works on smartphones with a desktop mode while connected, your choice is more limited with solutions such as community based Maru OS, or the upcoming Remix Singularity. But there’s now a new player in town with Auxens OXI that works a little like Windows Continuum, but with modifications to the Android API.

OXI is based on CyanogenMod 13.1, with work being done to switch to LineageOS 14.1, and offers a desktop-like environment for Android with support for multitasking, multi-window support with resizing, notification support, and so on. It works by connecting the smartphone to a secondary screen via MHL, DisplayPort, or Miracast to get a desktop environment, while still being able to use your phone. Apps do not need to be modified to support windowed mode and resizing.

For the best user experience, the company recommends a phone with at least 2 GB RAM, and good performance (40 to 50k Antutu score at least). The more RAM the better, as you can open more apps simultaneously with more memory.

There are four apps to configure and use OXI:

  • OXI app – Launch OXI on main display (phone)
  • OXI Remote app – Launch OXI on the external display (Miracast, DisplayLink, DisplayPort, MHL, HDMI, Chromecast or other…)
  • OXI Control app – A basic tool replacing keyboard and mouse. Two modes, “Keypad” is a simple touchpad/keyboard, moving the mouse from the phone, and the “Pad” mode is a mirrored touchscreen surface.
  • OXI Overscan tool – If you are using OXI on some TV you might notice a part of app missing. You can use this tool to adjust the display.

Click to Enlarge

The company has implemented OXI on OnePlus 3, Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE Advance (ks01lte), LG Nexus 5X (bullhead), and Galaxy tab S2 9.7 lte (gts210ltexx), with more models coming in the future, including possibly Vernee Apollo 2 smartphone powered by Mediatek Helio X30 with 6 to 8 GB RAM as demonstrated at Mobile World Congress 2017 with NexDock laptop dock. Charbax manage to interview Vernee and Auxens at the event with the part specific to OXI starting at the 1:50 mark.

More information should be available on Auxens website, as well as getoxi.com where you’ll get more details, and the ability to download beta images if you happen to own one of the supported smartphones.

Remix Singularity to Bring Remix OS Desktop Optimized Operating System to Android Smartphones

February 22nd, 2017 No comments

Android is great to consume content, but is a real pain to create content, as operation like copy/paste and multi-tasking you take for granted in desktop OS like Ubuntu or Windows are not well supported in Android. But Jide Technology saw an opportunity and many users are familiar with Android on their phones and tablets, and some on Android TV boxes, so they created Remix OS, based on Android, but with desktop optimization such as better multi-tasking, multi-window support, improved mouse and keyboard integration and so on. They started with a tablet, and then also worked on ARM based Android TV boxes and laptops, as well as support for x86 computers. The company has now unveiled Remix Singularity which aims to bring Remix OS to smartphones in a similar manner to Windows Continuum or Ubuntu Convergence.

But beside just mobile and desktop (PC) modes, Remix Singularity will also allow to use your smartphone in TV modes, meaning it will be a smartphone on the go, a computer when connected to a monitor, mouse and keyboard, and a media player while connected to your TV. The company also mentions that you can use Remix Singularity on your smartphone with your laptop, but did not provide much other details so far, apart from a short demo video.

Remix Singularity, aka Remix OS for Mobile will become available this summer, likely for a limited number of popular smartphones.

Ubuntu 16.10 Images Released for Intel Bay Trail and Cherry Trail Processors

October 14th, 2016 18 comments

Canonical formally released Ubuntu 16.10 “Yakkety Yak” yesterday with  a developer preview of Unity 8 including desktop, tablet and phone UX convergence, Hybrid cloud operations with Juju 2.0, Snapd 2.16 with more than 500 snaps, etc..  Ian Morrison (Linuxium) wasted no time, and put together a Ubuntu 16.10 image working on platforms powered by Intel Bay Trail and Cherry Trail processor with modifications to have audio, WiFi and Bluetooth working.

ubuntu-16-10-unity-8

If you want to try Ubuntu 16.04 on your device you can download ubuntu-16.10-desktop-linuxium.iso and prepare a bootable USB flash the usual way with rufus, or other utilities. If you’d like to try an alternative  Ubuntu flavor such as Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, or Ubuntu MATE, Linuxium got you served too, and you’ll find the images on his blog.

Unity 7 is still running by default in Ubuntu 16.04, but if you are curious about Unity 8 convergence desktop/tablet/phone user interface, Canonical uploaded a video showing what you can expect.

You’ll also find more info about Unity 8’s window management, scopes, multimedia scopes, snappy apps and more on Ubuntu Insights.