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GOSTICK Intel Atom x7-Z8750 TV Stick Comes with Up to 8GB RAM (Crowdfunding)

January 24th, 2016 19 comments

After products like MagicStick or MeegoPad T07, GOSTICK is yet another crowdfunding campaign for an Intel Atom Cherry Trail TV stick. The device does have some interesting specifications with an Intel Atom x7-Z8750 quad core processor, 4 to 8 GB RAM, and 64 to 128 eMMC flash.

GOSTICKThere are three version of the stick GOSTICK Standard (4GB RAM/64GB flash), GOSTICK Enhanced (8GB RAM/64GB flash), and GOSTICK Extreme (8GB RAM/128GB flash) that beside different memory and storage capacity basically share the same specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Cherry Trail Atom x7-Z8750 quad core processor @ 1.6 GHz/2.56 GHz (Turbo) with HD Graphics 405
  • System Memory
    • Standard – 4GB RAM
    • Enhanced and Extreme – 8GB RAM
  • Storage
    • Standard and Enhanced – 64GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot up to 128 GB
    • Extreme – 128 GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot up to 128 GB
  • Video Output – HDMI
  • Audio Output – HDMI + 3.5mm audio jack
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi 802.11ac, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports (5Gbps), 1x USB 3.1 type C port (10 Gbps), 1x micro USB port
  • Power Supply – TBD
  • Dimensions – N/A (but it looks fairly big for a stick)

The stick all run Windows 10 Home 64-bit. The specifications are very attractive, but the Indiegogo campaign has at least two red flags: flexible funding, and only 3D renders are provided, without pictures of the actual prototype that is based on x7-Z8700 (since x7-Z8750 is barely available). However, they have uploaded a demo video that’s said to run on GOSTICK with 4GB RAM, 64GB Flash, showing Windows 10 Home Info (it’s activated in the demo), Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop CS6, and Blender 3D graphics and animation software.

A potential backer also asked GO Technologies, the Singapore based company behind the project (third red flash: no working website, That’s the company website: http://www.gostick.com.sg/ which includes contact information, but I still can’t find whether the company is registered @ here), whether they could really get Atom x7-Z8750 in time to deliver on their schedule promise (April 2016), and the company provided a screenshot of an email allegedly coming from Intel showing x7-Z8750 should be available right now with 2 to 4 weeks lead time. He did not exactly do a good job at hiding the Intel’s sales person name though…

Intel_Atom_x7-Z8750_availabilityIn case the project is indeed legit, pricing is quite attractive with GOSTICK Standard going for $169, and Enhanced and Extreme versions for respectively $199 and $219 with all three rewards including worldwide free shipping.

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Tronsmart Ara X5 Plus mini PC Comes with Faster Storage, 802.11ac WiFi, and Higher USB 3.0 Speeds

January 20th, 2016 24 comments

Tronsmart Ara X5 was one of the first Intel Atom Cherry Trail mini PCs to launch on the market. It came with an Intel Atom x5-Z8300, and the now typical 2GB RAM combined with 32GB flash. But in my review of Tronsmart Ara X5, I found out that the flash was quite slower than other Windows mini PC I tested, and the USB 3.0 port would not recognize my 1TB Seagate USB 3.0 hard drive. The company has now introduced an upgraded model simply called Tronsmart Ara X5 Plus with a faster Samsung eMMC 5.0 flash, faster USB 3.0 read and write speeds (and hopefully better compatibility), 802.11ac WiFi support by replacing Ampak AP6330 module by Intel Wireless-AC 3160 and adding an external antenna, as well as fixed some micro SD card compatibility issues, and an updated UEFI binary that should reduce blue screen of death appearances in Windows.

Tronsmart_Ara_X5_PlusThe main specifications have not really changed however:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8300 “Cherry Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.84 GHz) with Intel Gen8 HD graphics (2W SDP)
  • System Memory –  2 GB DDR3L
  • Storage – 32 GB Samsung eMMC 5.0 flash + micro SD slot
  • Video Output – HDMI
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, 3.5mm earphone jack
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0 (via Intel WiFi module)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB 3.0 port
  • Misc – Power button and LED, RTC battery
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A
  • Dimensions – 11.81 x 11.4 x 2.7 cm
  • Weight – 210 grams

As we’ve seen in Ara X5 teardown, the board had been designed with a baseboard and a CPU module, so they may have kept the same CPU module (only replacing Sandisk by Samsung eMMC), and updated the baseboard.

Tronsmart_Ara_X5_Plus_ConnectorsThe mini PC still comes pre-loaded with Windows 10 Home (activated), and ships with the power adapter, an HDMI cable, and a user’s manual.

The company appears to have deprecated Tronsmart Ara X5, as it’s not for sale anymore on GeekBuying, with the new model selling for $139.99 including shipping.

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Intel RealSense Devkit and Lenovo Smartphone to Feature Project Tango 3D Mapping Technology

January 13th, 2016 No comments

Project Tango is a project launched in 2014 by Google ATAP that aims at creating 3D map of your environment using 3D motion tracking with depth sensing for tracking your movements in 3D, precise and quick measurements, augmented reality and more. The first Project Tango development kit was a tablet based on Nvidia TegraK1, but Google recently announced that Lenovo planned to launch the first consumer smartphone with the technology.

Renderings only, not the actual product

Renderings only, not the actual product

Beside the announcement that there are going to make a phone, the company did not provide many other details so far, but it should feature a screen smaller than 6.5″ and cost less than $500. The main reason Google posted about this before CES 2016 was probably to reach out to developers who can submit the app idea to be features on the first Tango phone by February 16, 2015 with the following materials:

  • Project schedule including milestones for development
  • Visual mockups of your idea including concept art
  • Smartphone app screenshots and videos, such as captured app footage
  • Appropriate narrative including storyboards, etc.
  • Breakdown of your team and its members
  • One pager introducing your past app portfolio and your company profile

Selected developers will be contacted by March 15, 2016. You can submit your proposal on Project Tango’s App Incubator. Eventually, more details should become available on Lenovo’s Project Tango smartphone page.

Intel also unveiled a smartphone development kit featuring a RealSense camera with support for RealSense and Project Tango SDKs.

Intel_RealSense_Devit_Project_TangoIntel RealSense Smartphone developer kit specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x7-Z8700 quad core processor with Intel HD graphics
  • System Memory – 2GB RAM
  • Storage – 64GB flash
  • Display – 6″ touschscreen QHD Display (2560×1440)
  • Cameras
    • Intel RealSense Camera ZR300 with a VGA@60fps depth camera and wide FOV Camera(VGA with >160o FOV) & high precision IMU for feature tracking
    • 2MP front facing and 8MP rear facing RGB cameras
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, 802.11 WIFI, and 3G
  • Video Output – HDMI
  • USB – USB 3.0
  • Dimensions 83.9mm x 164.8mm x 8.9mm

The smartphone will run  a recent version of Android operating system.

The development kit can be reserved now with a credit card (United States only), and will be billed for $399 once the kit is ready to ship. When that is Intel does not say.

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Remix OS 2.0 for PC Will Run on Most Intel and AMD Computers

January 7th, 2016 13 comments

Remix OS is a fork of Android developed by Jide and optimized for desktop use, in a similar way to what Rockchip is doing with Light Biz OS, except the developers do not limit themselves to one specific SoC vendor with the operating system found in Remix Mini (Allwinner A64), and Remix Ultra-tablet (Nvidia Tegra 4), as well as several firmware images for popular Android devices such as Nexus 9 & 10. Now the company is planning to release Remix OS 2.0 for Intel and AMD based computer including PCs and Macs.

Remix_OS_Windows_LaptopHow do they achieved that? Technically same way as Console OS by forking Android-x86 project, except they did it with less contention, and instead Jide partnered with Android-x86 developers.

Remix OS for PCs alpha is a version of Remix OS 2.0 based on Android 5.0 with the taskbar, multiple windows, better memory management (it will try not to kill your Word file open in the background…), etc. The Play Store is also installed to let you install Android apps just like on any Android device. The company ran Antutu on a laptop with an Intel  Core i7 4590 quad core processor which achieved 214,218 points or over twice as fast as a high-end mobile device such as a Samsung Galaxy Note 5.

Remix_OS_for_PC_AntutuYou’ll be able to try Remix OS for PC starting on January 12,when it will available for download, by flashing the image to a USB flash drive, and booting from it. Remix OS for PC is free, and the company plans to keep it that way, instead making money buy either selling hardware or partnering with third parties.

As a side note, Remix OS 2.0 Beta was also released for Tronsmart Vega S95 Meta and Telos earlier today. You can find all details here.

Via Liliputing

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Intel Unveils 5 New Compute Stick Models Powered by Intel Atom x5 and Core M Skylake Processors

January 7th, 2016 8 comments

Intel has introduced 5 new models of their Compute Stick with two models based on Intel Atom x5-X8300 Cherry Trail processor, and three more power and expensive models based on Core M Skylake processors, namely Core M3-6Y30 and m5-6Y57 vPro.

Intel_Compute_Stick_Atom_x5Let’s get started with the specifications for the two Cherry models STK1AW32SC and STK1A32SC:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8300 Quad-Core “Cherry Trail” processor @ 1.44 GHz/1.84 GHz and Intel HD Gen8 Graphics
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR3L @ 1600MHz
  • Storage – 32 GB eMMC + micro SDXC v3.0 slot with UHS I-Support up to 128GB
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 1.4b
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi  and Bluetooth 4.0 (via Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 2.0 port, 1x micro USB port for power
  • Misc – Power button, security notch
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A via micro USB port.
  • Dimensions – 113 mm x 38 mm x 12 mm

So what’s the difference between STK1AW32SC and STK1A32SC? The former comes pre-loaded with Windows 10, and the latter does not have any operating system. There’s no hardware difference at all. Compare to the Bay Trail compute stick, the new versions mostly add support for 802.11ac instead of 802.11n, and one USB 3.0 port. Smaller differences include HDMI 1.4b vs HDMI 1.4a, and higher requirements for the power supply probably because of the USB 3.0 port.

Intel_Compute_Stick_Core_M_Skylake

The Core M Skylake compute sticks looks very similar from the outside, except the connectors are arranged differently, and the USB 2.0 port is gone. STK2MV64CC, STK2M3W64CC, and STK2M364CC models feature:

  • SoC
    • STK2M3W64CC & STK2M364CC – Intel Core m3-6Y30 dual core/four thread processor @ 900 MHz/2.2GHz with Intel® HD Graphics 515 @ 300MHz/850Mhz (4.5 W TDP, configurable to 3.8W and 7W)
    • STK2MV64CC – Intel Core m5-6Y57 vPro dual core/four thread processor @ 1.1 GHz/2.8GHz with Intel® HD Graphics 515 @ 300MHz/900Mhz (4.5 W TDP, configurable to 3.5W and 7W)
  • System Memory – 4 GB DDR3L @ 1833MHz (Dual channel, 2GB per channel)
  • Storage – 64 GB eMMC + micro SDXC v3.0 slot with UHS I-Support up to 128GB
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 1.4b
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi up to 867 Mbps and Bluetooth 4.2 (via Intel Dual Band Wireless AC 8260)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, and 2x USB 3.0 ports on power adapter.
  • Misc – Power button, security notch, TPM (STK2MV64CC  and STK2M364CC)
  • Power Supply – 5V/4A via power port.
  • Dimensions – 114 mm x 38 mm x 12 mm

The model with a W (STK2M3W64CC) will come with Windows 10, and the other two models without operating system. The specs should make these last three sticks perfectly usable as desktop replacements, although the difference between base and turbo frequencies for the CPU and GPU is very large, so proper thermal management will be critical. I also find it very interesting that due to the small size of these sticks, they’ve decided to add two USB 3.0 ports on the power adapter itself. You can find a comparison of all existing and new Compute Sticks on Intel website.

Linuxium reports that the Cherry Trail sticks will sell for $159 with Windows 10 and production taking place now, while the Core M3 stick will go for $399 with Windows 10, and the Core M5 Compute Stick for $499 without OS starting in February. That’s a little odd since the “recommended customer price” for both Skylake processors is $281, but these are the prices listed in the press release.

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Is Console OS just a Scam Based on a Fork of Android-x86 with Little Modifications?

December 13th, 2015 13 comments

Console OS is supposed to be a version of Android Lollipop running on various Intel platforms, and optimized for desktop use with new features like DVR support for digital TV tuners, a desktop friendly file manager, and so on. The project launched on Kickstarter and was successful enough to raise $78,497 from 5,695 backers. But according to Chih-Wei Huang, Android-x86 project leader, and Console OS users, the Console OS developer simply forked Console OS, with some minor modifications like changing the project name, and under-delivering on the promised features.

Console_OS_Android_OSThe first part is fine, as that’s the beauty of open source code, you can fork somebody else work, and add your own improvement, and long as you keep the license and credits, that’s what open source is all about.

Now the project raised funds specifically for development, and as promised the source code is available on github. Here what has been allegedly changed against Android-x86:

Console OS did keep the Android-x86 copyright and previous developers names, so they did not just steal the code from Android-x86, and claimed it their own, at least in the source code:

This was also posted on ConsoleOS facebook page, which adds that not all code is on github right with more coming soon including:

  • Support for systems other than BayTrail-T (Core, etc)
  • A few bug fixes (rotation issues, etc)
  • Enabling Intel drivers (we’ll explain what’s up on that shortly)
  • Windows installer (so we recommend only installing on systems dedicated to Console OS)
  • Anything we can’t post on GitHub (stuff we can only ship in finished/compiled builds) – things like additional live wallpapers, ARM translation support, additional codecs, etc.

Console OS also provided an update on December 8, answering to Android-x86 project rip-off accusations, claiming that only about 70% of our code is on GitHub for now with more to come as shown above.

That might be true, but after one year and a half, backers are really unhappy with the images provided so far, and a far cry of what was promised as shown in the table, even comparing its superiority to Android-x86, and other Android in Intel/AMD solutions, which in hindsights is rather ironic.Console_OS_BlueStacks_Android-x86_Android-IAWhile I don’t think the project was a planned scam from the start, because Mobile Media Ventures (MMV) is at least being active in replying to backers on Kickstarter, and did not simply take the money and run, the developers may have under-estimated the work to be accomplished, and development did not go according to plans, with the backers having likely thrown their money into a project that won’t deliver all promised features, if any at all. So it’s likely more incompetence than an outright scam.

But Android-x86 project leader has quite a different opinion:

If he does make some improvements based on the android-x86 code, I’m glad to see so.

However, cheating the world that he is developing something amazing on Kickstart in 2014 but finally just copied an open source project that he degraded at first (see the competitive chart on his site) is very immoral.

When Kickstart campaign began in 2014, he promised you “A” (a much better stuff) and accept your money, but now he just deliver you “B” (a totally different stuff). If you are a backer, can you accept? If this is not a scam, what is a scam?

IMO, Christopher Price and his Console OS is *a cancer* that lives by the nutrient of android-x86.If we can’t cut it immediately, he will continue  absorbing the effort of android-x86 and finally choke this project.

[Update: See Console OS answer in comments:

We wish we had been contacted prior to this article. There were and are clear reasons why we had to delay things after out Kickstarter ended. Most notably, after our Kickstarter ended, Intel decided to abandon Android-IA for the PC. While we tried, and spent far more than raised via Kickstarter, to take on maintaining Android-IA… we realized Intel had simply cut back support too much. After many meetings with Intel, we decided the best path forward for Console OS was to rebase on Android-x86, and resume our original goals by fusing and integrating Android-IA drivers from Intel mobile devices. We’re proud and committed to that path.

P.S. And by the way – our GitHub, as it notes on the main Console OS GitHub repo, is not yet fully live. Much of this criticism of our stack, and how it forks Android-x86 (with full attribution), is premature.

]

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Bmorn W4301 is a $34 Android Smartphone Powered by Intel Atom x3-C3101 Processor

November 30th, 2015 5 comments

Intel unveils their plans for Atom X3, X5 and X7 processors last year, but so far we’ve mostly seen devices with Atom X5 processors.  The lowest end Intel Atom processor, namely X3-C2101 “Sofia” dual core processor, with an ARM Mali-400MP GPU and 3G connectivity did find its way into Teclast X70 3G tablet that is now selling for $64 and up retail (but there’s a deal on Geekbuying for $45.99), and a company called Bmorn is about to launch their W4301 smartphone based on Intel/Rockchip X3-C2101 SoC for just $34 ( factory price in quantities), but I think the retail price should be around $60 including shipping.

Bmorn_W4301Bmorn W4301 preliminary specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x3-C3130 dual x86 core processor @ up to 1GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU @ 533 MHz
  • System Memory – 512MB or 1GB LPDDR2
  • Storage – 4 or 8 GB eMMC
  • Display – 4″ touchscreen with 800×600 resolution
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS
  • Cellular Connectivity – 3G (WCDMA)
  • Camera – 2MP rear camera, 0.3MP front-facing camera
  • Battery – TBD – 4 hours talk-time
  • Dimensions & Weight – N/A

The phone runs Android 4.4, but I understand Android 5.1 Lollipop will be used once the phone ships. There’s little information about the phone right now, but you can still go to Bmorn W4301 product page, and/or watch Charbax video below about this phone, and other products from Bmorn.

If the SoC can be had for such a low price, it could be suitable for a 3G IoT board too.

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Intel Atom x5-Z8300 vs x5-Z8500 Benchmarks Comparison

November 29th, 2015 5 comments

We’ve previously seen there’s not that much difference in benchmarks between Intel Atom Z3735F and the newer Atom x5-Z8300 processor, except when it comes to 3D graphics performance where the latter can be up to twice as fast. The same benchmarks have been run in Windows 10 on an Atom x5-Z8500 based device, namely Kangaroo Mobile Desktop computer, and the difference seemed large enough that I decided to make a comparison against the Atom x5-Z8300 processor used in Tronsmart Ara X5.

Intel_Atom_x5-Z8300_vs_x5-Z8500The three benchmarks – PCMark 8 (Accelerated 3.0), Passmark 8, and 3DMark – were run in Windows 10 64-bit Home in both devices. A Ratio greater than one indicates Kangaroo (x5-Z8500) is the faster device.

Benchmark Tronsmart Ara X5
Intel Atom x5-Z8300 @ 1.44 GHz / 1.84 GHz (Turbo)
Kangaroo Mobile Desktop
Intel Atom x5-Z8500 @ 1.44 GHz / 2.24 GHz (Turbo)
Ratio
PCMark8
Overall Score 1,354 1,597 1.18
Web Browsing – JunglePin 0.62407s 0.5599s 1.11
Web Browsing – Amazonia 0.20059s 0.18814s 1.07
Writing 13.24s 9.03502s 1.47
Casual Gaming 9.65 fps 11.97 fps 1.24
Video Chat playback 29.99 fps 30.01 fps 1.00
Video Chat encoding 254.3333s 212s 1.20
Photo Editing 0.96745s 0.85046s 1.14
Passmark 8
Passmark Rating 672 826 1.23
CPU Mark 1,468 1,950 1.33
2D Graphics Mark 138.8 206 1.48
3D Graphics Mark 240.2 297 1.24
Memory Mark 560 622 1.11
3DMark
Ice Storm 1.2 19,115 20,347 1.06
Cloud Gate 1.1 1,658 1,917 1.16
Sky Diver 1.0 903 1,104 1.22
Fire Strike 214 270 1.26

So Intel Atom x5-Z8500 is faster in all benchmarks. Passmark 8 also includes Disk Mark, but I have not included it in the table above, as it’s more related to the storage performance itself than the processor. Nevertheless, it should be noted that I/O performance may also impact the performance of some tests above, and Disk Mark results were 757 and 606 points for Ara X5 and Kangaroo respectively, and should not have affected the results.

Memory _Bandwidth_x5-Z8500_vs_x5-Z8300

Memory Specs – x5-Z8500 (left) vs x5-Z8300 (right)

The memory specifications should have favored x5-Z8500 when it comes to memory bandwidth, but Passmark’s “Memory Mark” shows only marginal higher performance for x5-Z8500. Nevertheless, overall Atom x5-Z8500 in Kangaroo mini PC should deliver about 20% performance improvement over x5-Z8300.

Price-wise Tronsmart Ara X5 now costs $120 with free shipping worldwide, and Kangaroo mobile desktop computer goes for $99 with shipping to the US only. The Kangaroo device does lack Ethernet however. Intel lists x5-Z8300 for $20 and x5-Z8500 for $25, with actual market prices likely to be even lower, and considering the ~20% performance improvement, the price/performance ratios of x5-z8300 and x5-Z8500 are comparable.

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