Allwinner and Qualcomm announced a partnership last year to help Chinese manufacturers design entry-level LTE tablets based on Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, and Allwinner collaborated with Emdoor one several designs including EM-QL8170 LTE tablet with a Snapdragon 210 processor and a 6.98″ display.
Emdoor EM-QL8170 specifications:
SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 (MSM8909) quad core Cortex A7 processor up to 1.3 GHz with Adreno 304 GPU @ 400 MHz
System Memory – 1 or 2 GB DDR3L
Storage – 8 or 16 GB flash + micro SD slot
Display – 6.98″ IPS touchscreen display with 1280×720 resolution
Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, and GPS
The phone runs Android 5.1 and will cost a little over $70 (FOB), which could translate to $120 to $140 on sites like Aliexpress. Emdoor also has various other Qualcomm/Allwinner design all with Snapdragon processor, including a rugged smartphone as you’ll find out in Charbax’ video below.
Emdoor sells about 9 millions tablets (full designs and PCB) per year, mostly through partners, as they work with over 100 companies around the world, and around 50 local partners in mainland China to sell their devices, so you may end up buying an Emdoor tablet under another brand name. You’ll find a few more details on Emdoor EM-QL8170 product page.
Qualcomm first mentioned Snapdragon 835 processor in November, but at the time, they only disclosed it would be manufactured using 10nm process technology in partnership with Samsung, and claimed the obvious “faster and lower power consumption” compared the previous generation. The company has now provided much more info ahead of CES 2017.
Snapdragon 835 key features and specifications:
Processor – 8x Kryo 280 cores used into two clusters:
performance cluster with 4x cores @ up to 2.45 GHz with 2MB L2 cache
efficient cluster with 4x cores @ up to 1.9 GHz with 1MB L2 cache
GPU – Adreno 540 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 3.2, OpenCL 2.0 full, Vulkan, DX12
DSP – Hexagon 682 DSP with Hexagon Vector eXtensions and Qualcomm All-Ways Aware technology
Memory I/F – dual channel LPDDR4x
Storage I/F – UFS2.1 Gear3 2L, SD 3.0 (UHS-I)
Display – UltraHD Premium-ready , 4K Ultra HD 60 Hz, 10-bit color depth, DisplayPort, HDMI, and USB Type-C support
Video – Up to 4K @ 30 fps capture, up to 4K @ 60 fps playback, H.264, H.265 and VP9 codecs.
Audio – Qualcomm Aqstic audio codec and speaker amplifier; Qualcomm aptX audio playback support: aptX Classic, aptX HD
Camera – Spectra 180 ISP; dual 14-bit ISPs up to 16MP dual camera, 32MP single camera
Connectivity – 802.11ad multi-gigabit, integrated 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi with MU-MIMO (tri-band: 2.4, 5.0 and 60 GHz); Bluetooth 5.0
Modem – X16 LTE modem; downlink up to 1 Gbps, uplink up to 150 Mbps
Location – GPS, Glonass, BeiDou, Galileo, and QZSS systems content protection
Snapdragon 835 will use about 25 percent less power than Snapdragon 820, while being 35 percent smaller, and delivering 25 percent faster 3D graphic rendering. The processor is expected to be found in premium consumer devices such as smartphones, VR/AR head-mounted displays, IP cameras, tablets, mobile PCs, and more. The first devices announced with Snapdragon 835 are Osterhout Design Group (ODG) R-8 augmented/virtual reality smartglasses and ODG R-9 smartglasses and devkit for wide field of view (WFOV) experiences
Google may just have released Android Things operating systems for IoT applications, but its big brother – Android – has already gotten into some other IoT systems such as Quectel SC20 module powered by a Qualcomm processor and supporting LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth LE, and GNSS functions.
Quectel SC20 comes in different flavors to cater for various markets, but all module share most of the same specifications:
SoC – Unnamed Qualcomm processor
System Memory – TBD
Storage – 8GB flash
Cellular Connectivity – FDD LTE, TDD LTE, TD-SCDMA, EVDO/DCMA, WCDMA, and GSM; antenna: MIMO 2×2, supports Rx-diversity
Other Wireless Connectivity
WiFi – 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n (SC20-CE/-W); Dual band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (SC20-E/-A/-AU/-J)
Compliance – CCC/CE/FCC/GCF/PTCRB/AT&T/ACMA RCM/Verizon (Many still work-in-progress)
I first found about the module, as SinoVoip showcased some pictures of their next BPI-SC20 board using Quectel SC20-CE, but they did not provide other details.
Nevertheless it was easy enough to find Quectel SC20 product page listing all the specs above, plus details about LTE, WCDMA, etc… bands, Rx/Tx power levels, and more. Six models of the module will be available: SC20-W with WiFi and BLE only, as well as country or zone specific variants: SC20-CE, SC20-J, SC20-AU, SC20-A, and SC20-E with different supported cellular bands and standards.
The company is also said to have an evaluation board with a display and two cameras, with the processor used part of – or similar to – Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 series.
Samlinking Technologies, a manufacturer of 4G WiFi integrated solution based in Shenzhen, has launched D240 router board powered by Mediatek MT7620A MIPS processor with 128MB RAM, 64 MB flash, four Fast Ethernet LAN ports, one Fast Ethernet WAN port with PoE, as well as two PCIe slots accepting 4G LTE modems.Three Samlinking D240 models are available with D240A1, D240A2, and D240A3 with different combination of LTE module, and 802.11 b/g/n and/or 802.11ac connectivity.
SoC – Mediatek MTK7620A MIPS processor @ 580MHz
Enclosure for D240 Board
System Memory – 128MB
Storage – 64MB flash + micro SD card slot
802.11 b/g/n/ac up to 300, or 300 + 867 Mbps depending on model+ 2 u.FL connectors
5x 100 Mbps Ethernet port (RJ45) with 4 LAN ports, 1 WAN port with PoE 802.3af
2x PCIe slot with LTE Cat3 to Cat 6 modem cards
2x SIM card slots
Serial – 1x 4-pin header
USB – 1x USB host port
Expansion – Footprints for Bluetooth, I2S, and UARTF/PCM
Misc – 9x LEDs, reset button, extra watchdog timer
Power – 12V via power barrel, or 802.3af PoE
Dimensions – 11 x 8.3 x 3 cm
Temperature Range – Operating: -20ºC to 70ºC; storage: -40ºC to 90ºC
Certifications – CE, RoHS, FCC Compliance
The board can run OpenWrt or a custom firmware. I’ve asked the company for more details about software and documentation, but only received information about the hardware…
D240A1 board is available now for $38 (sample price) plus shipping without any LTE modems, while D240A2 board sells with one LTE cat3/4 modem for $90, or a Cat6 modem for $150, and D240A3 comes with two LTE modems (cat4+ cat6; up to 450 Mbps) for $220. Prices are cheaper for quantities over 500 pieces. There’s no online shop, so if you are interested you’d have to contact the company directly through their website.
Most users connect their TV boxes to the Internet through WiFi or Ethernet, but in some specific use case, such as digital signage in mass transport or in remote locations, it might be useful to get access to cellular networks. We’ve seen a few Android TV boxes with a built-in 3G modem in the past including CS918S and MBX-3G, but the former is based on the rather old Allwinner A31s processor, and the latter did not raise enough found on Indiegogo. But there’s nothing new, as SDMC DV8219-LTE is a more recent TV box powered by Amlogic S905X processor and running Android 6.0, equipped with a 4G LTE modem.
SDMC DV8219-LTE TV box specifications:
SoC – Amlogic S905X quad core Cortex A53 processor @ up to 1.5 GHz with a Mali-450MP GPU
System Memory – 1GB DDR3 SDRAM (2GB as option)
Storage – 8GB eMMC flash (4 to 64GB as option) + micro SD card slot
Video Output – HDMI 2.0a with CEC / HDCP2.2, 3.5mm AV port
Throughput – LTE up to 150/50Mbps; WCDMA: 42/5.76 Mbps; TD-SCDMA: 4.2/2.2 Mbps
Max. Transmitter Power – Class 3 for LTE, WCDMA, and CDMA
Standard 6-pin SIM card interface
USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
Misc – IR expansion port; IR receiver; power, IR, and network LEDs; power key
Power Supply – 5V/2A
Dimensions – 120 x 120 x 28 mm
Temperature Range – 0~40℃ (operating)
The box will ship with an IR remote control, a user’s manual, a power adapter, and an HDMI cable. What we don’t know is the price of the device, but interested parties should be able to inquire the company via the manufacturer’s product page.
Long range LPWAN solutions have just started to hit the market, and there are so many standards such as Sigfox and LoRa that it’s difficult to know who will eventually be the winner, or if different standards will co-exist over the long term, and in a general sense it might not be so easy to decide which one is best suited to your project without experimenting first. Pycom has a solution to this problem, as they’ve made a board similar to LoPy with WiFi, Bluetooth, and LoRa, but instead included 5 long and short range IoT protocols: Sigfox, LoRa, LTE Cat M1 & Cat NB1, Bluetooth, and WiFi.
Pycom FiPy board specifications:
SoC – Espressif ESP32 dual core Tensilica L108 processors @ up to 160 MHz with BT 4.2 and WiFi
System Memory – 4MB RAM
Storage – 8MB flash memory
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n @ 16 Mbps up to 1 km range & Bluetooth 4.2 with common u.FL antenna connector and chip antenna
LoRa and Sigfox transceiver
common u.FL antenna connector, RF switch
868 MHz (Europe) at +14dBm maximum
915 MHz (North and South America, Australia and New Zealand) at +20dBm maximum
Node range up to 40 km, nano-gateway range up to 22 km (max 100 nodes).
Power Consumption – 10mA Rx, 28mA Tx
Maximum Tx power – +14dBm (Europe), +22dBm (America), +22dBm (Australia and New Zealand)
Node range up to 50km
RCZ1 – 868MHz (Europe)
RCZ2 – 902MHz (US, Canada and Mexico)
RCZ3 – (Japan and Korea)
RCZ4 – 920 – 922MHz (ANZ, Latin America and S-E Asia)
Sigfox (Europe) – 17mA in Rx mode, 47mA in Tx mode and 0.5uA in standby
Sigfox (Australia, New Zealand and South America) – 24mA in Rx mode, 257 mA in Tx mode and 0.5uA in standby
Cellular LTE CAT M1/NB1 transceiver
u.FL antenna connector and nano SIM socket
Operating frequencies – 34 bands supported from 699 to 2690MHz
3GPP Release 13 LTE Advanced Pro
Peak power estimations – Tx current = 420mA peak @ 1.5Watt Rx current = 330mA peak @ 1.2Watt
Expansion – 2x 14 pin headers with UART, 2x SPI, 2x I2C, I2S, SDIO, 8x 12-bit ADC, 2x 8-bit DACs, up to 16 PWMs, up to 22 GPIOs
FiPy name is most probably derived from Five IoT protocols, and microPython support. As the board is compatible with WiPy, LoPy and SiPy you can use the usual Pymakr IDE and Pymate Mobile app to write your program and control the board. The company has also introduced two new add-on boards:
PySense board with an ambient light sensor, a barometric pressure sensor, a humidity sensor, a 3-axis 12-bit accelerometer, and a temperature sensor, as well as a micro SD card, a micro USB port, and a LiPo battery charger
PyTrack board with a GNSS + Glonass GPS and a 3-axis accelerometer, as well as a micro SD card, a micro USB port, and a LiPo battery charger. This can be very useful to track moving assets such as cars or bicycles.
FiPy and PyTrack
The project has just launched on Kickstarter as already surpassed its 25,000 Euros funding target. Most early bird rewards are gone, but you can pledge 39 Euros for FiPy board, 59 Euros (Early bird) for PySense Kit, 65 Euros (Early bird) for PyTrack kit, optionally adding 7 Euros for a Sigfox/Lora antenna, and 7 Euros more for an LTE-M cellular antenna. Shipping adds 8 to 25 Euros depending on the selected rewards, and delivery is scheduled for April 2017. Just a warning for users who are not based in the US or Europe: please make sure you comply with your country regulations, especially in terms of frequency used, as such nodes will have multiple kilometers range, and you may not want to break the law, and possibly get a visit from your local police or military…
Following on Kirin 950 processor found in Huawei Mate 8, P9, P9 Max & Honor 8 smartphones, Hisilicon has now unveiled Kirin 960 octa-core processor with four ARM Cortex A73 cores, four Cortex A53 low power cores, a Mali G71 MP8 GPU, and an LTE Cat.12 modem.
The table below from Anandtech compares features and specifications of Kirin 950 against the new Kirin 960 processor.
ARM claims 30% “sustained” performance improvement between Cortex A72 and Cortex A73, but the GPU should be where the performance jump is more significant, as ARM promises a 50 percent increase in graphics performance, and a 20 percent improvement in power efficiency with Mali G71 compared the previous generation (Mali-T880). Kirin 960 also integrates twice the GPU cores compared to Kirin 950, and some GPU benchmarks provided by Hisilicon/Huawei confirm the theory with over 100% performance improvement in both Manhattan 1080p offscreen and T-Rex offscreen GFXBench 4.0 benchmarks.
The first smartphone to feature Kirin 960 is likely to be Huawei Mate 9 rumored to come with a 5.9″ 2K display, 6GB RAM, and 256 UFS flash.