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Posts Tagged ‘google’

Thread is a New IP-based Wireless Protocol Leveraging 6LoWPAN and 802.15.4 Standards

July 21st, 2014 2 comments

Wi-Fi is a neat way to connect devices to Internet, but it has two main inconveniences: relatively high cost and power consumption. Luckily there are standards that addresses the cost and power consumption issues. Radio chips based on IEEE 802.15.4, a standard which specifies the physical layer and media access control for low-rate wireless personal area networks, are common place and found in many existing devices relying on higher level wireless protocols such as ZigBee, ISA100.11a, WirelessHART, and MiWi. AFAIK, Zigbee is the most popular of the aforementioned protocols, but is hindered by the requirements of the license for commercial products (annual fee), Zigbee membership requirements conflict with many open source license such as GPL, and the standard suffers from lack of interoperability and IPv6 support, and power requirements that are too high for some applications. So a consortium of seven companies namely ARM, Big Ass Fans, Freescale, Nest, Samsung, Silicon Labs, and Yale Security, have come together to start working on “Thread”, a new wireless protocol leveraging 802.15.4 standard and existing transceiver chips,  that is legacy-free, and is based on 6LoWPAN (Low Power IPv6 connectivity), and UDP protocols.

 

Thread_Wireless_Protocol

Thread specifications are currently work in progress, but it will be a low power IP based open protocol supporting mesh networking (Up to 250 devices), that is both secure and user-friendly, and provides fast-time to market thanks to existing radio silicon. It will be used in various products such as electric appliances, access control, climate control, energy management, lighting, as well as safety and security devices. Two products companies are part of the group Nest and Big Ass Fans, so thermostats and fans based on Thread are likely to be available soon. Nest V2 actually comes with a 802.15.4 capable SoC (Ember EM357) that used to be disabled, but “is already being used successfully in Nest products today” thanks to a simple firmware upgrade, although I’m not sure if this is the case internally, or on customer’s premises.

The Thread Group is now looking for new members, and companies that are interested in Thread can join the consortium as a Sponsor (with more voting rights), or Contributor member. There’s no individual membership at this stage.

Via Semiwiki

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NEJE ZB01 Clone of Google Cardboard Virtual Reality Kit Sells for about $12

July 18th, 2014 4 comments

Can you remember Opendive, a low Cost DIY open source 3D virtual reality kit for smartphones? The kit can be built by anybody as long as you happen to own a 3D printer. But Google liked the concept, and at the latest Google I/O, the company designed the cardboard equivalent using the same lenses, and adding accessories namely a magnet, Velcro strips, and a rubber band to complete the kit. But some people saw a business opportunity here, and created NEJE ZB01, a nearly identical reproduction of the Google kit that can be bought for $12.66 on DealExtreme, instead of the $19.95 you’d have to pay for the original kit.

Google_Virtual_Relaity_Cardboard_NEJE_ZB01The complete kit includes the cardboard, a rubber band, two magnets with 2cm diameter, two lenses with 2.3 cm diameter, and a pair of Velcro strips. It’s suppose to work with device using displays between 4″ and 7″ large. You’ll then need to install the Cardboard app on your Android phone, or try out the virtual reality Chrome experiments.

If you are interested in the concept, you can check the Cardboard page, and watch the full 45-minutes presentation about the Cardboard project, and virtual reality on Android below.

 

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ADT-1 Google’s Android TV Developer’s Kit Details

June 30th, 2014 6 comments

Google announced Android TV a few days ago, and distributed ADT-1 hardware development kit to application developers during Google I/O. I could not find much details at the time, except it was powered by Nvidia Tegra processors. I’ve now noticed some developers have posted a few pictures and the device, Phandroid has posted the specifications, and I’ve found some interesting hardware limitations for Android TV decided by Google that kill some potential applications for the TV.

ADT-1_ANdroid_TV_Reference_DesignHere are known hardware specifications for ADT-1 devkit:

  • SoC – Nvidia Tegra 4
  • System Memory – 2GB RAM
  • Storage – 16GB flash
  • Video Output – HDMI
  • Connectivity – Ethernet, 2×2 MIMO dual-channel WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 1x USB host port, 1x micro (custom?) USB port for power and ADB (via an Y cable provided with the kit)
  • Dimensions – Small :)

Google_Android_TV_Accesories

This Android L Android TV box looks tiny and comes with G1 Gamepad as demonstrated during Google I/O, that is powered by 2x AA rechargeable batteries, and well as a power adapter, and cables.

More pictures and short videos can be found on Zach Pfeffer G+ account, as well as on Reddit where you may want to go through the comments section for specifics. If you were not at Google I/O, and are an application developer, you can still apply for ADT-1 devkit online. There’s also an “ADT-1 FAQ” that’s mostly interesting / useful for people who already own the kit.

As I look for more details, I also went to Android TV developer’s page, especially the hardware features section, where the following features are said to be disabled in Android TV:

Hardware Android feature descriptor
Camera android.hardware.camera
GPS android.hardware.location.gps
Microphone android.hardware.microphone
Near Field Communications (NFC) android.hardware.nfc
Telephony android.hardware.telephony
Touchscreen android.hardware.touchscreen

If you planned to use your Android TV Box and connect a USB webcam to use Skype or Google Hangout, or expected some Android L TV boxes with a built-in camera that can be placed on top of the TV, sorry, this won’t be possible because camera and microphone support are not available. The other features make sense, although for digital signage applications GPS, telephony, touchscreen, and NFC may also be useful, but I understand that’s not what Android TV is all about, and it’s focusing on the consumer market.

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Google Formally Launches Android TV. Android TV Set-Top Boxes and TVs to be Available in H2 2014

June 26th, 2014 3 comments

After Android L for mobile devices, and Android Wear for wearables, Google also announced Android for your television at Google I/O 2014, and after definitely killing “Google TV”, renaming it to “Google Services for Smart TV”, the company went for the obvious and called it “Android TV”, which will get messy with all the Chinese “Android TV” boxes that do not run “Android TV” but simply “Android”…

Android TV User's Interface

Android TV User’s Interface

Google apparently used an Android TV reference platform (ADT-1) based on Nvidia Tegra 4 K1 at I/O to showcase their latest implementation of Android the the living room. I’ve embedded the video of the demo below, but the key part of the demo can be summarized as follows:

  • Android TV’s “TV Input Framework” can overlay notifications and other data on top of various video sources such as HDMI, TV tuners, and IP TV receivers
  • Voice control demo (with smartphone) with requests such as:
    • “Breaking Bad” to return the video, link to actors description, and their film / series history.
    • “Oscar nominated movie 2002″ will indeed return the relevant list of movies for you to play or download.
    • “Who plays xxx in yyy movie” will return the actor or actress who played a specific character in yyy movie.
  • Google Play Movie TV app adapted from tablet app
  • Android Wear smartatch can control an Android TV box
  • Quick game demo of Leo’s Fortune.
  • Multiplayer / device demo with one player using Android TV with a Gamepad, and another in an Android tablet playing NBA Jam
  • Android TV embeds the functionality of ChromeCast streaming stick which has been enhanced with WebAudio & WebGL support, enhanced Closed Caption support, improvements for the Media Player Library for easier integration with MPEG-DASH Smooth Streaming, and HLS.

Android TV will find its way in Sharp, Sony TV, TP Vision and Philips HDTVs, and well as streaming boxes by companies such as Asus and Razer. Razer has already announced their Android TV micro-console (pictured below), but did not disclose any details, except it will be available in the fall.
Razer_Android_TV

Beside Nvidia, Qualcomm, MediaTek, Marvell, Intel, and other silicon vendors are also actively involved in Android TV.

More details about Android TV for developers will eventually show up at developer.android.com/tv

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Google Releases Android Wear SDK, LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live Smartwatches Are Now Available

June 26th, 2014 1 comment

I’ve just covered what’s new in Android L?, and I’m going to focus on Google I/O 2014’s announcements related by Android wear starting with hardware with LG G Watch ,and Samsung Gear smartwatches, followed by some details about the first official release of Android Wear SDK.

LG G Watch

LG_G_WatchSpecifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 @ 1.2 GHz
  • System Memory – 512MB RAM
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC
  • Display – 1.65” IPS display (280 x 280)
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Sensors – 9-Axis (Gyro / Accelerometer / Compass)
  • IP Rating – IP67 dust and water resistant
  • Battery – Li-ion 400mAh
  • Dimensions – 37.9 x 46.5 x 9.95 mm
  • Weight – 62.5 grams

LG G watch will run Android Wear (as it’s the subject of this post), and it currently available on Google Play for $229 (US only?) with shipping scheduled for early July.

Samsung Gear Live

Samsung_Gear_LIveSpecifications:

  • Processor – Unnamed 1.2 GHz processor (Samsung Exynos?)
  • System Memory – 512MB RAM
  • Storage – 4GB Internal Memory
  • Display – 1.63” Super AMOLED (320 x 320)
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Sensors – Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass, Heart rate monitor
  • IP Rating – IP67 dust and water resistant
  • Battery – Li-ion 300mAh
  • Dimensions – 37.9 x 56.4 x 8.9 mm
  • Weight – 59g

It looks similar to Samsung Gear 2 with Tizen, but this one runs Android Wear with Google Services, Google Now,  Google Voice, Google Maps & Navigation, Gmail, Hangouts, and you can recieve notification for SMS, E-mail, etc. It’s available for $199 on Google Play.

LG G Watch has a larger battery (33% more), a barely larger screen (1.65″ vs 1.63″0 but at lower resolution (280×280 vs 320×320), but the Samsung Gear Live features an Heart rate monitor which at first glance makes it a better deal.

If you’re wondering about Motorola’s Moto 360 rounded smartwatch, it will be available later. In the meantime, Android Community wrote an hands-on post.

Android Wear SDK and Apps.

Back in March, Google released Android Wear Developer Preview, and the company will release the first official release of the Android Wear SDK later today possibly via the Android L developer preview page, so developers can actually develop for Android (Wear) based wearables with a stable API to build user interfaces, control sensors, handle voice actions, and exchange data between phones and wearables.

Google also showcased a few apps optimized for Android Wear such as Eat24 that let’s you order food with your watch using a few swipes, and Lyft an leverages Google Now so that you can use a voice command to call a (ride-sharing) car, and rate the driver.

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HTC / Google Nexus 9 To Feature Nvidia Tegra K1 Dual Core 64-bit ARMv8 Processor

June 23rd, 2014 3 comments

ARMv8 (64-bit ARM) architecture has been seen in servers, and announced in mobile SoCs, but, putting aside some Apple products, we have yet to see any consumer products based on the latest ARM architecture. But this will change soon, as HTC Volantis, which could become Google Nexus 9 based on the picture leaked via Android Police, will feature an “Nvidia Logan 64-bit” SoC, which can only be a Tegra K1 dual core ARMv8 SoC announced at CES 2014.

Google_Nexus_9

HTC Volantis / Nexus 9 specifications:

  • SoC – NVIDIA Tegra K1 (logan) dual core 64-bit Processor
  • System Memory – 2GB RAM
  • Storage – 16/32GB internal storage
  • Display – 8.9″ Display at 2048×1440 (281ppi)
  • Camera –  8MP main camera with OIS, 3MP front facing camera
  • Audio – Stereo front-facing speakers
  • Dimensions – 22.63×15.19×0.79cm
  • Weight – 418g, or 427g with LTE

The assumption is that it will be released as the latest major release of Android (with a codename starting with L) is announced, hmmm, let’s make that Android 5.0 Lollipop sponsored by Chupa Chups. :).

Android Police also got some pricing information with the tablet selling for $399 for the 16GB version, and $499 for the 32GB version. These numbers should be taken with a grain of salt however, as the product is expected to be release in Q4 2014, and pricing may well have changed by then.

Via Liliputing

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Google Unveils Project Tango Tablet Development Kit Powered by Nvidia Tegra K1 SoC

June 6th, 2014 No comments

Earlier this year, Google ATAP (Advanced Technology and Products) showcased project tango phone prototype, capable of generating 3D maps in real-time thanks to cameras, motion sensors, and two Movidius Myriad 1 Mobile Vision processors paired with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 application processor, and since March, they’ve already sent a few hundred samples to developers. Google has now announced another development kit, this time a tablet powered by Nvidia Tegra K1 quad core SoC.

Project Tango Tablet Development Kit

Project Tango Tablet Development Kit

Tango tablet has the following hardware specifications:

  • SoC – Nvidia Tegra K1 quad core Cortex A15 with Kepler GPU
  • System Memory – 4GB RAM
  • Storage – 128GB
  • Display – 7″ screen
  • Connectivity – WiFi, BlueTooth Low Energy, and 4G LTE
  • Camera – 120 deg. wide angle front camera, 4MP rear camera, and motion tracking camera
  • Sensors – Integrated depth sensing

The tablet will run Google’s KitKat Android operating system, and support features such as OpenGL 4.4 thanks to the Kepler GPU found in Nvidia SoC. This development kit will allow developers to experiment with mobile 3D sensing, and they’ll receive software algorithms and APIs updates, and development progresses.

Tango tablet development kit will be available later this year. If you are a developer you can register to get notified of the devkit availability, and put aside $1024 to pay for the tablet.

Via Nvidia Blog

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