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Posts Tagged ‘samsung’

Samsung Z1, the First Commercially Available Tizen Smartphone, Has Launched in India

January 15th, 2015 2 comments

Tizen operating system is already found in cameras, and smartwatches, with works also being done for televisions, laptops and cars, but the Tizen smartphone has been mostly newsworthy because of product cancellations or delays, rather than product launches. But finally, the first Tizen smartphone has been introduced in India, it’s called Samsung Z1 and sells for 5,700 Indian Rupees ($92).

Samsung_Z1Samsung Z1 (SM-Z130H/DS) specifications:

  • Processor – Spreadtrum SC7727S dual core Cortex A7 processor @ 1.2 GHz with Mali-400 GPU
  • System Memory – 768 MB RAM
  • Storage – 4GB Internal memory + micro SD slot (up to 64GB)
  • Display – 4” WVGA (800×480) PLS screen
  • Cellular Connectivity – GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, HSDPA 900/2100 MHz. Dual SIM support.
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS
  • Video – MP4, M4V, 3GP, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV
  • Audio – MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, AMR, AWB, FLAC
  • Camera – 3.1MP rear camera, VGA front-facing camera
  • USB – micro USB 2.0 port
  • Sensor – Accelerometer
  • Battery – 1500 mAh battery good for 7 hours of video playback, or 8 hours of talk time
  • Dimensions – 120.4 x 63.2 x 9.7 mm
  • Weight – 112 grams

The phone runs Tizen 2.3, and also comes with other features such as “Ultra Power Saving Mode, Private Mode, Send Help Message, Security”. Some blogs report Samsung Z1 will run Android apps via OpenMobile ACL, but TechCrunch contacted Samsung and got a different story:

We asked Samsung just how many apps are available for Tizen, but the company declined to reveal a figure. Samsung did, however, confirm that reports suggesting that the Z1 could use Android apps were incorrect.

“Both Android and iOS apps must have their codes re-written to run on Tizen devices,” a spokesperson said.

So it’s quite possible only a subset of Android app will run on Tizen, or if the phone did not include an Application Compatibility Layer (ACL), the apps would have to be ported to Tizen. Wait and see.

You may want to read Samsung Z1 user’s manual for more details, and/or visit Samsung Z developers’ page to download the SDK and documentation.

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TyGL OpenGL ES 2.0 Backend for WebKit Speeds Up Web Rendering by Up to 11 Times

December 23rd, 2014 3 comments

ARM, Szeged University in Hungary, and Samsung Research UK have been working on TyGL, a new backend for WebKit accelerated with OpenGL ES2.0, and developed and tested on ARM Mali-T628 GPU found in Samsung ARM Chromebook. It will typically provide 1.5 to 4.5 times higher performance, but in the best cases, it can achieve up to eleven times the performance of a CPU-only rendered page.

TyGL_ScreenshotThe key features of TyGL include:

  • Web rendering accelerated by GPU - Batching of draw calls delivers better results on GPUs. TyGL groups commands together to avoid frequent state changes while calling the Graphics Context API.
  • Automatic shader generationTyGL generates complex shaders from multiple shader fragments, and ensures the batches fit into the shader cache of the GPU.
  • Trapezoid based path rendering – Work in progress. It will leverage GPU capabilities such as the Pixel Local Storage extension for OpenGL ES.
  • No software fallback – Complete GPU-based hardware accelerated solution with no dependency on legacy software.

You can get more technical details about the implementation on TyGL: Hardware Accelerated Web Rendering blog post on ARM community.

They have now officially published benchmark results, but I found some benchmark results on Webkit mailing list:

Since EFL supports cairo, we compared EFL-TyGL and EFL-Cairo

The other good news is that TyGL is now open source, with the code available on github, and you can build it and give it a try on ARM Mali-T62X development boards such as Arndale Octa or ODROID-XU3 (Lite) running Ubuntu Linaro 14.04, or other Linux based distributions. The complete build is said to last about 10 hours, but this will obviously depend on your machine. TyGL should also work on other mobile GPU supporting OpenGL ES 2.0, but I understand this has not been tested yet.

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Android 5.0 Lollipop Coming to Allwinner A33 & A80, Rockchip RK3288, and More…

November 17th, 2014 11 comments

I can often see questions requesting whether SoC XYZ will support Android 5.0 Lollipop. The good news is that last week, I’ve read lots of news about Android 5.0 support on various devices including Nvidia Shield tablet, Motorola G & X smartphones, and of course the Google Nexus devices. A developer (Nanik T.) also ported Android Lollipop to ODROID U3 development board based on Exynos 4412, and he mentioned that “porting was pretty straight forward as KK and 5.0 does not have a lot of differences in terms of HAL”, which means there’s hope for more recent devices and SoCs getting the update.

Rockchip_RK3288_LollipopChinese SoC vendors are also getting the word out that they are working on Android 5.0. Rockchip announced Lollipop support for RK3288 processor (original news in Chinese) probably coming to tablets first, and Android TV boxes later. They used their reference platforms in the provided pictures, and did not publish ETA for public availability.

Allwinner also showcased Android 5.0 on an Allwinner A33 tablet (see embedded video below), and I’ve been told Android 5.0 and Chrome OS would soon be released for Android A80 too.

XDA Developers also reported some other smartphones got the Lollipop treat.

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$99 ODROID-XU3 Lite Development Board Powered by Exynos 5422 Octa Core Processor

November 4th, 2014 18 comments

Hardkernel is known for their low cost Exynos based ODROID boards such as the $59 ODROID U3 board based on Exynos 4412 quad core SoC, and with ODROID-XU3, they also have a more powerful Octa-core Exynos 5422 board which sells for a premium price of $179. The company has now decided to offer a cheaper version of the board, which they call “ODROID-XU3 Lite” and lacks DisplayPort, the current and voltage sensors, and uses an Exynos 5422 processor clocked at 1.8/1.3 GHz instead of 2.0+/1.4 GHz for the original board. Price? A cool $99.

ODROID_XU3_LiteODROID-XU3 Lite specifications:

  • SoC – Samsung Exynos 5422 quad core ARM Cortex-A15 @ 1.8GHz quad core ARM Cortex-A7 @ 1.3GHz in big.LITTLE configuration with Mali-T628 MP6 GPU supporting OpenGL ES 3.0 / 2.0 / 1.1 and OpenCL 1.1 Full profile
  • System Memory – 2GB LPDDR3 RAM PoP (933Mhz, 14.9GB/s memory bandwidth, 2x32bit bus)
  • Storage – Micro SD slot (up to 64GB) + eMMC 5.0 module socket. Optional eMMC module reach 198MB/s (read) and 74MB/s (write)
  • Video Output – micro HDMI 1.4a,  up to 1080p60.
  • Audio Output – micro HDMI and 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Network Connectivity – 10/100Mbps Ethernet (Via LAN95144 USB + Ethernet controller)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 host port, 1x micro USB 3.0 OTG port, 4x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Expansion – 30-pin header for access to GPIO, IRQ, SPI and ADC signals
  • Debugging – Serial console header
  • Misc – Power and RGB LEDs, cooling fan header
  • Power Supply – 5V/4A power adapter using 5.5/2.1mm barrel, external backup battery.
  • Dimensions – PCBA: 94x70x18mm; Enclosure: 98x74x29mm

The company also offers optional USB 2.0/3.0 dongles for Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, and SATA.

ODROID-XU3 Lite Block Diagranm (Click to Enlarge)

ODROID-XU3 Lite Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

You can run Ubuntu 14.04 with OpenGL ES and OpenCL support or Android 4.4.x both on top of Linux kernel 3.10 LTS. ODROID-XU3 achieves 50,313 points in Antutu 5.1, and although the core for the Lite should be slightly lower due to the lower operating frequency, it still means you’ll get one of the fastest devices available.

ODROID-XU3 Lite comes with a 5V/4A power supply, an enclosure, a heatsink, and a fan, just like the original version, and you can purchase it directly from Hardkernel, or if your live in the US or Europe receptively via Ameridroid or Pollin Electronics. Bear in mind there;’s no storage, so you’ll either need to use a (Class 10) micro SD card, or for even faster performance, purchase one of the eMMC module for an extra $39 to $79.

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Samsung Officially Announces Exynos 7 Octa big.LITTLE ARM Cortex A53/A57 Processor

October 16th, 2014 7 comments

Samsung started to commit code related to Exynos 7 processor to mainline kernel in August, but at the time details were scarce, and many tech websites referred to a Exynos 5433 64-bit processor from Samsung. Exynos 5433 for a Cortex A53/A57 SoC did not make much sense as the company recently announced Exynos 5430 based on Cortex A15 and A7 cores, so finally Exynos 5433 has been renamed to Exynos 7 Octa.

Exynos_7_OctaHere’s what we know about Exynos 7 Octa from information on Exynos 7 Octa page and an older Anandtech article about Exynos 5433:

  • CPU – 4x Cortex A57 cores @ 1.9 GHz , 4x Cortex A53 cores @ 1.3 GHz
  • GPU – Mali-T760 @ 700 MHz
  • Memory Controller – 2x 32-bit @ 825MHz (13.2GB/s b/w)
  • Display – Up to WQHD (2560 x 1440) / WQXGA (2560 x 1600) resolutions
  • Video – Advanced multimedia format codec (MFC) including support for H.265/HEVC @ 60 fps
  • Camera – Up to 16 MP 30fps rear camera, Up to 5MP / 30 fps front-facing camera, with dual ISP allowing for simultaneous video recording.
  • Process – 20 nm HKMG

A57 cores are said to provide 57% more performance than the A15 cores found in Exynos 5 Octa processors, whereas. Mali-T760 GPU should deliver up to 74% enhanced graphics performance over Mali-T628 used in Exynos 5 Octa.

Samsung Exynos 7 is used in the international version of the Galaxy Note 4 smartphone.

Via G for Games.

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Samsung Gear S SmartWatch and Tizen SDK for Wearables

September 11th, 2014 2 comments

Albeit Tizen struggle in the smartphone market widely reported by the tech press, devices from cameras to smartwatches, all made by Samsung, are currently selling with the new mobile operating system. Announced about two weeks ago, Samsung Gear S is the latest Tizen product launched by the company. The smartwatch features a 2″ curved display (Samsung likes curved displays), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc.. and it can also make phone calls and access the internet over 2G/3G cellular networks.

Samsung_Gear_SSamsung Gear S specifications:

  • SoC – Dual core processor @ 1.0 GHz (Maybe Exynos 3250 like in Gear 2?)
  • System Memory – 512MB

    Samsung Gear S Description (Click to Enlarge)

    Samsung Gear S Description (Click to Enlarge)

  • Storage – 4GB internal storage
  • Display –  2.0” Super AMOLED touchscreen display with 360×480 resolution
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, A-GPS/Glonass
  • Cellular Network
    • 900/2100 or 850/1900 (3G)
    • 900/1800 or 850/1900 (2G)
  • USB – micro USB 2.0
  • Audio Codecs – MP3/AAC/AAC+/eAAC+
  • Audio Formats – MP3, M4A, WMA, AAC, OGG
  • Sensors – Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass, Heart Rate, Ambient Light, UV, Barometer
  • IP Rating – IP67 Certified Dust and Water Resistant
  • Battery – 300mAh Li-ion (good for about 2 days on a charge)
  • Dimensions – 39.9 x 58.1 x 12.5mm
  • Weight – 67g (Blue Black), 84g (White)

Contrary to most other (Western) smartwatches, Gear S can be used standalone to access the internet, make calls, send SMS, etc.. so it’s not only designed as a smartphone companion. The screen is larger than the previous Gear models, and apparently large enough to fit a QWERTY keyboard (Flesky), but you can always use voice recognition (S Voice) if typing on a tiny screen is not your thing. With GPS, an heart rate monitor, and other sensors, it should also be a decent platform for fitness applications, and the watch indeed  includes S Health and Nike+ Running apps for Tizen.

Engadget (and others) could try out the smartwatch at IFA 2014.

The watch should become available later this year, but the price has not been disclosed yet.

Samsung and Tizen have also recently released the Tizen SDK for Wearables 1.0.0 Beta3, which includes a set of tools for developing Tizen wearable applications, namely the Tizen wearable IDE, Emulator, tool-chain, sample applications, and documentation. The Tizen SDK for Wearable runs on Windows®, Ubuntu, and Mac OS X.

Tizen_Wearables_Architecture

Tizen Host & Wearable S/W Architecture

But if you want to develop and publish apps specifically for Samsung devices, you can visit Samsung Gear developer site for details, where you’ll also find Samsung Accessories SDK, documentation and tutorials. Host side (smartphone / tablet) apps can be developed using the standard Android development tools (e.g. Android Studio), and only Wearables  apps require the Tizen SDK for wearables.

The Tizen SDK provides the following API and features:

  • Enhanced Standalone Features - Network, call and location-based APIs to take advantage of the fact that the Samsung Gear S can connect directly to 3G networks without the need for a separate mobile device.
  • New Sensor APIs – Magnetic, Ambient Light, Barometer, and UV sensor APIs as well as Accelerometer and Gyroscope APIs.
  • Rich Notifications - Create a variety of notifications for the Samsung Gear S.

The Accessories SDK is used to transfer data between devices, for example for messages, data, and files transfers between a GALAXY device and a Gear device.

You can read Samsung’s Tizen SDK announcement for some details, a non-exhaustive list of apps already ported to Tizen for wearables.

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Samsung Unveils Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge with Curved Display

September 4th, 2014 1 comment

IFA 2014 tradeshow is just starting today, and will last until the 9th of September, but several companies have made announcements just before the show. One of them is Samsung which announced Gear VR virtual reality kit, Tizen based Gear S smartwatch, as well as two new smarthones, Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge, which will be the subject of this post.

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

Samsung_Galaxy_Edge_Note_Note_4

Samsung Edge Note (Front), and Samsung Note 4 (Back)

Galaxy Note Edge is much different from most other phones thanks to its curved display on one side of the phone. Other specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon S805 quad core Krait 400 processor @ 2.7 GHz with Adreno 420 GPU
  • System Memory – 3GB RAM
  • Storage – 32 or 64 GB internal memory + micro SD slot (up to 64GB)
  • Display – 5.6″ Quad HD+ Super AMOLED (2560 x 1440 + 160)
  • Cellular Networking:
    • 2.5G (GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE): 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
    • 3G (HSPA+ 42Mbps): 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
    • 4G (LTE Cat 4 150/50Mbps) or 4G (LTE Cat 6 300/50Mbps)
  • Connectivity
    • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (HT80) MIMO PCIe
    • Bluetooth 4.1 (BLE, ANT+)
    • GPS / GLONASS / Baidou
    • NFC
  • USB – micro USB 2.0 with MHL 3.0 support (HDMI output)
  • Camera – 16MP rear facing camera with auto focus and Smart OIS, 3.7MP front facing camera
  • Video Codec – H.264, MPEG-4, H.263, VC-1, WMV7, WMV8, Sorenson Spark, MP43, VP8, Recording & Playback: up to UHD
  • Audio Codec – MP3, AAC/AAC+/eAAC+, WMA, AMR-NB/WB, Vorbis, and FLAC with ~192KHz, 24 bit support
  • Sensors – Gesture, Accelerometer, Geo-magnetic, Gyroscope, RGB, IR-LED Proximity, Barometer, Hall Sensor, Finger Scanner, UV, Heart Rate Monitoring, SpO2 (Dependent on market)
  • Misc – IR LED for remote control feature
  • Battery – 3,000 mAh Li-ion battery, support for adaptive fast charging and QC 2.0
  • Dimensions – 151.3 x 82.4 x 8.3mm
  • Weight – 174 grams.

The phone will run Android 4.4 (KitKat), come with Samsung “S Pen”. The 160 pixel edge screen provides access to “Revolving Interaction, Immersive apps (Camera, Video, S Note), Ticker board, Express me, Quick Tools, Night Clock, etc..”. Other innovations include support for multiple windows, a front camera providing 90 to 120 degree shooting angle,  faster charging via Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0, multiple microphones allowing for better noise cancellation, a voice recorder offering eight different directional voice tagging and a selective playback capability that allows users to isolate and listen to specific voices in a group conversation. Samsung also claims it’s the first time a UV sensor has been integrated into a mobile device.

You may want to watch the video below to better understand what’s possible with the curved display, for example having video control keys, while playing a video.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung Edge Note (Front), and Samsung Note 4 (Back)

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Let’s compare Note Edge to Samsung Galaxy Note 4:

  • SoC (depends on market)
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon S805 quad core Krait 400 processor @ 2.7 GHz with Adreno 420 GPU
    • Samsung Exynos 5430 with four ARM Cortex A15 cores @ 1.9 GHz, four ARM Cortex A7 cores @ 1.3 GHz and Mali-T628MP6 GPU
    • Samsung Exynos 7 Octa with four ARM Cortex A57 cores @ 1.9 GHz, four ARM Cortex A53 cores @ 1.3 GHz and Mali-T760MP? GPU
  • System Memory – 3GB RAM
  • Storage – 32 GB internal memory + micro SD slot (up to 64GB)
  • Display – 5.7″ Quad HD Super AMOLED (2560 x 1440)
  • Cellular Networking:
    • 2.5G (GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE): 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
    • 3G (HSPA+ 42Mbps): 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
    • 4G (LTE Cat 4 150/50Mbps) or 4G (LTE Cat 6 300/50Mbps)
  • Connectivity
    • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (HT80) MIMO PCIe
    • Bluetooth 4.1 (BLE, ANT+)
    • GPS / GLONASS / Baidou
    • NFC
  • USB – micro USB 2.0 with MHL 3.0 support (HDMI output)
  • Camera – 16MP rear facing camera with auto focus and Smart OIS, 3.7MP front facing camera
  • Video Codec – H.264, MPEG-4, H.263, VC-1, WMV7, WMV8, Sorenson Spark, MP43, VP8, Recording & Playback: up to UHD
  • Audio Codec – MP3, AAC/AAC+/eAAC+, WMA, AMR-NB/WB, Vorbis, and FLAC with ~192KHz, 24 bit support
  • Sensors – Gesture, Accelerometer, Geo-magnetic, Gyroscope, RGB, IR-LED Proximity, Barometer, Hall Sensor, Finger Scanner, UV, Heart Rate Monitoring, SpO2 (Dependent on market)
  • Misc – IR LED for remote control feature
  • Battery – 3,200 mAh Li-ion battery, support for adaptive fast charging and QC 2.0
  • Dimensions – 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm
  • Weight – 176 grams.

The specs are very similar. Beside the obvious difference with displays, Note 4 will be sold with different SoCs depending on the market, and it comes with a slightly larger 3,200 mAh battery. The rest of the features, including innovations, listed for the Note Edge appears to be the same.

The Galaxy Note 4 will be available in worldwide starting in October, and the Galaxy Note Edge will be available select markets. Pricing have not been disclosed for either phones.

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Samsung Exynos 7 ARM Cortex A57 Processor Linux Code Submitted

August 28th, 2014 6 comments

Samsung has not announced any 64-bit processor yet, but according to a recent patchset Exynos 7 may be their first 64-bit ARM SoC, and it will be based on the faster Cortex A57 cores. A quick way to learn a little more is to check the device tree file (exynos7.dtsi).

Samsung_Exynos_7Here’s an interesting snippet:

+	cpus {
+		#address-cells = ;
+		#size-cells = ;
+
+		cpu@0 {
+			device_type = "cpu";
+			compatible = "arm,cortex-a57", "arm,armv8";
+			reg = ;
+		};
+	};

As it stands, Exynos7 would be a single core Cortex A57 processor. This sounds unlikely that a company would launch a single core processor at this stage, so it’s probably early code that may not support all cores just yet.  We also know Samsung uses ESPRESSO board for development with Samsung Exynos 7 processor and 3 GB RAM.

Thanks to David for the tips.

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