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Posts Tagged ‘samsung’

Magic Device Tool Helps You Switch Between Android and Ubuntu on Supported Phones

August 19th, 2016 5 comments

There have only been a few phones released with or supporting Ubuntu so far, and those phones will normally be able to run Android too since Ubuntu Touch relies on Android drivers, and you may decide that Ubuntu is not for you and switch back to Android, or the contrary, if you’ve purchased an Android phone, you may want to install Ubuntu instead. In order to simplify the task of installing operating systems, Marius Quabeck has developed “Magic Device Tool“.

Magic_Device_ToolAs you can see from the screenshot above, 13 phones and tablets are currently supported. You’ll need a computer with Ubuntu 15.04 or greater to install the tool, and I’ve done so on Ubuntu 16.04:

The script will also install phablet-tools if it is not already installed,  so if you are not root, you’ll need your account to be member of sudoers. Once the initial setup is done, you’ll get to choose your phone as shown in the first screenshot. I don’t own any in that list, but I selected LG Nexus 5 to give it a try.

Nexus_5_Android_UbuntuYou’ll be asked whether you want to install Ubuntu, OpenStore alternative app store for hacks, developer tools and app previews, Cyanogenmod 13, the Android factory Image, TWRP recovery, or instead lock or unlock the bootloader. I selected [1] Install Ubuntu -> [1] Choose a channel to flash (Will remove existing apps/data) -> [1] stable, and the flash procedure was about to go ahead:

You’d need your Nexus 5 phone connected to your PC via a USB cable to complete the procedure, but I canceled since I don’t own the hardware required (yet).

The utility can also install PhoenixOS on some phones, and it will soon be improved to include an Android backup/restore option, so you can reflash Android will all your settings and apps.

Via UbuntuFun.de and Ubuntu Australia on G+

Samsung JerryScript is a Lightweight Open Source JavaScript Engine for the Internet of Things

August 2nd, 2016 6 comments

In the old days, micro-controller programming was all done in assembly or C, but in recent years higher level languages, included interpreted ones such as Python and JavaScript, have made their ways into MCUs with projects such as MicroPython or Espruino (JS) often running on STMicro STM32 ARM Cortex M micro-controllers, but also other platforms such as ESP8266.

JerryScriptAs I browsed through the Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2016 schedule, I discovered that Samsung worked on it own implementation of a JavaScript engine for the Internet of Things: JerryScript. It is a full implementation of ECMAScript 5.1 standard written in C that can run on micro-controllers with less than 64KB RAM, and less than 200KB storage (160KB footprint with ARM Thumb-2 compilation).

JerryScript is comprised of two main components: Parser and Virtual Machine (VM), with the parser performing translation of input ECMAScript application into byte-code than is then executed by the Virtual Machine that performs interpretation.

 

JerryScript High Level Design

JerryScript High Level Design

Although JerryScript is designed for MCUs, and is said to be running on hundreds of thousands of smartwatches, you can easily build it and try in any machine running Linux:

You can also compile the code for full, compact or minimal implementation, use the C Api to integrate JavaScript support into your program, etc… Many more details can be found on JerryScript website and Github repository. JerryScript is also used in IoT.js framework for the Internet of Things that currently runs on Linux and NuttX RTOS platforms, as well as STM32F4-Discovery + “BB” (Beaglebone Black?) and Raspberry Pi 2, and will soon be ported to Samsung Artik 1 (MIPS), STM32F429-Discovery, STM32F411-Nucleo, and Intel Edison boards.

 

sModule SBC-x6818 Development Kit based on Samsung S5P6818 Processor Includes a 7″ Touchscreen

July 13th, 2016 4 comments

For some reasons, Samsung S5P4418 and S5P6818 quad and eight Cortex A53 core processors – likely made by Nexell – have been quite popular with embedded systems companies based in China. So after Graperain, Boardcon, and FriendlyARM, there’s at least one another company offering solutions with either processor, as sModule, a subsidiary of CoreWind, has now launched systems-on-module, single board computers, and development kits with the 64-bit ARM SoCs. In this post, I’ll cover one of their development kit including their CORE6818 CPU module, a baseboard, and an optional 7″ capacitive touch display..

Samsung_S5P6818_Board_with_LCD_DIsplaysModule SBC-x6818 development kit specifications:

  • CORE6818 CPU module
    • SoC – Samsung S5P6818 octa-core ARM Cortex A53 processor @ 1.4 to 1.6 GHz with Mali-400MP 3D GPU
    • System Memory – 1GB DDR3 (2GB optional)
    • Storage – 8GB eMMC Flash (4 & 16GB optional)
    • Ethernet – Realtek RTL8211E Gigabit Ethernet transceiver
    • 180-pin “interface” to baseboard
    • Power Supply – 3.7 to 5.5V DC input; 3.3V / 4.2V DC output; AXP228 PMIC
    • Dimensions – 68 x 48 x 3 mm (8-layer PCB)
    • Temperature range – -10 to 70 deg. C
  • SBC-x6818 Baseboard
    • Storage – 2x micro SD card slots
    • Video Output / Display I/F – 1x HDMI up to 1080p30, LCD, 20-pin LVDS, and 20-pin MIPI DSI interfaces; optional 7″ capacitive touch screen (1024×768 resolution)
    • Audio – HDMI, and 3.5mm headphone jack, speaker header, built-in microphone
    • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet
    • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x mini (micro?) USB OTG port
    • Camera – 1x 20-pin camera interface
    •  Expansion
      • “GPIO” header with ADC, UART, SPI, SPDIF, and GPIOs
      • ADC terminal block
      • Serial – 2x DB9 UART interfaces, 2x UART headers
    • Misc – IR receiver; power, menu, volume, and return buttons;  RTC with battery (not populated?); PWM buzzer; boot selector: eMMC, SD card, or USB (with fastboot?)
    • Power
      • 5V/2A DC via power barrel;
      • Power out header with 12V, 3.3V, and GND
      • 2-pin battery header for 4.2V lithium battery
    • Dimensions – 185 x 110 mm

The company provides Android 4.4, Ubuntu 12.04, and Linux 3.5 + qt 5.0 for the board. As with other boards based on Samsung/Nexell S5P processors, don’t expect software updates for the firmware, so if you need security patchsets or the latest kernel features this won’t work for you. You can find a few details about the hardware on the Wiki.

Samsung_S5P6818_SBC

While other companies kept their price secret, sModule published prices for all their modules and boards, and even allow you to purchase them by PayPal or bank transfer. Their CORE4418 module starts at $49, while the development kit above goes for $119 with the touch screen, and $109 without. The more compact iBOX6818 single board computer – they call it card computer – with 2GB RAM goes for $75. More details can be found on sModule products page.

Samsung UFS micro SD Card Alternatives Promise High Sequential and Random I/O Performance

July 7th, 2016 11 comments

UFS (Universal Flash Storage) chips are now commonly found in premium smartphones, but the UFS standard has also been published for removable cards, and Samsung has just introduced their first cards based on UFS 1.0 Card Extension Standard* for use in high-resolution mobile shooting devices such as DSLRs, 3D VR cameras, action cams and drones, as a new alternative to micro SD cards.

UFS_Micro_SD_CardsBefore getting into more details about the Samsung card, let’s go through the main features defined by UFS card specifications:

  • Based on the UFS 2.0 standard and compatible with the UFS HCI 2.0 standard
  • Supports MIPI M-PHY HS-Gear3, HS-Gear2 (optional), and PWM-Gear1
  • A detailed mechanical definition is defined by the JEDEC MO-320 outline
  • Features common to embedded UFS 2.0 devices:
    • Support for multiple logical units, each with configurable characteristics
    • Reliable write and background operations
    • Secure operations such as purge and erase to enhance data security
    • Includes write protection options, including permanent and power-on write protection
    • Provides task management and power management functionality
  • Boot capability NOT supported at this time

Samsung UFS removable memory cards come in 32, 64, 128, 256 GB capacity, and the latter is said to deliver up to 530 MB/s sequential read speed, 5x times faster than typical micro SD cards, and similar to what you’d get with an SSD, as well as a random read rate of 40,000 IOPS, or about 20 times faster than a typical micro SD card. Writing performance is not too shabby either with 35,000 random IOPS, two levels of magnitude faster than typical micro SD cards achieving a few hundred IOPS, and up to 170MB/s sequential write speed. This could potentially become an excellent boot device for new development boards eventually, once/if the standard adds support for boot capability, and boards get UFS card support.

Samsung has not released any pricing info so far, but those cards are likely to be a little pricey,  least at the beginning, considering they match the performance of some SSDs.

Thanks to Harley for the tip.

Categories: Hardware Tags: samsung, ufs

ARM announces “premium IP” for VR and AR with Cortex-A73 Processor and Mali-G71 GPU

May 30th, 2016 3 comments

Today ARM has revealed the first details of its latest mobile processor and GPU, both said to be optimized for VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) applications.

Starting with the ARM Cortex-A73, we’re looking at an evolution of the current Cortex-A72 with ARM claiming 30 percent “sustained” performance over the Cortex-A72 and over twice the performance over the Cortex-A57. ARM is already talking about clock speeds of up to 2.8GHz in mobile devices. Other improvements include an increase up to 64k L1 instruction and data cache, up from 48 and 32k respectively for the Cortex-A72, as well as up to 8MB of L2 cache.

ARM_Cortex_A73The Cortex-A73 continues to support ARM’s big.LITTLE CPU design in combination with the Cortex-A53 or the Cortex-A35. It’s also the first ARM core to have been designed to be built using 10nm FinFET technology and it should be an extremely small CPU at around 0.65 square millimeters per core, or a 46 percent shrink from the Cortex-A72. By moving to 10nm and FinFET, ARM is also promising power efficiency gains of up to 20 percent over the Cortex-A72.

Cortex A53 vs A72 vs A73

Cortex A53 vs A72 vs A73

The Mali-G71 GPU takes things even further, as ARM is promising a 50 percent increase in graphics performance, a 20 percent improvement in power efficiency and 40 percent more performance per square millimeter over its previous generation of GPU’s. To accomplish this, ARM has designed the Mali-G71 to support up to 32 shader cores, which is twice as many as the Mali-T880 and ARM claims that this will enable the Mali-G71 to beat “many discrete GPUs found in today’s mid-range laptops”. We’d take this statement with a grain of salt, as it takes more than raw computing performance to do a good GPU and that’s why there are so few companies that are still designing their own GPUs. As with the Cortex-A73, the Mali-G71 is optimized for 10nm FinFET manufacturing technology.

As always with ARM based GPUs, it depends on the partner implementation and the Mali-G71 supports designs with as little as one shader. Looking at most current mobile GPU implementations we’d expect to see most of ARM’s partners to go with a 4-8 shader implementation to keep their silicon cost at a manageable level. That said, we might get to see one or two higher-end implementations, as ARM has already gotten the likes of Samsung, MediaTek, Marvell and Hi-Silicon interested in its latest GPU.

ARM_Mali-G71

With a big move towards VR and AR, it’s also likely that the ARM partners are going to have to move to a more powerful GPU to be able to deliver the kind of content that will be expected from these market spaces. According to the press release, it looks like ARM has already gotten Epic Games and Unity Technologies interested in supporting their latest GPU

Devices using the new ARM Cortex-A73 and Mali-G71 are expected sometime in 2017, so there’s quite a gap between the announcement and the availability of actual silicon, but with HiSilicon, Marvell, MediaTek, Samsung Electronics and others having already licensed Cortex A73 IP. at least it means we have something to look forward to next year. You can find more details on ARM Cortex A73 and Mali-G71 pages, as well as ARM community’s blog.

OtterBox uniVERSE Modular Case System & Tapit Customizable Tactile Keyboard Case for Smartphones

May 25th, 2016 No comments

Two innovative cases for smartphones have been introduced very recently: OtterBox uniVERSE modular case system which allows you to add various modules in a similar fashion to what Project Ara promises, and Tapit case adding a flexible keyboard on top of your smartphone case.

OtterBox uniVERSE modular case system

OtterBOX_uniVERSE_Modular_CaseThe company offers a protective case for your phone for $50 to $60, and you can add modules as needed from the following selection:

  • Square Contactless & Chip Reader, $49.99 – To accept credit cards and contactless payments on the go
  • olloclip 4-in-1 lens, $79.99 – Fisheye, wide-angle, 10x and 15x lens options
  • SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive, $59.99 to $119.99 – 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of additional capacity
  • Nite Ize Steelie Vent Mount Kit, $39.99 – Mount your smartphone to a vehicle vent for hands-free use
  • Goal Zero Slide Battery, starting at $59.99 – Extra battery
  • Manatee Works StingRay Barcode Scanner, $95
  • Seek Thermal Compact Camera and Seek Case, starting at $249
  • Influx WiFi Booster, $39.99
  • PolarPro Trippler Tripod, $49.99
  • PolarPro Stance Compact Tripod, $29.99 – Folding tripod
  • PolarPro PowerPack Removable Battery Pack, $49.99
  • PolarPro Beat Pulsar Wireless Mobile Speaker, $59.99
  • PolarPro Fisheye Wide-Angle Lens, $29.99
  • PolarPro Trail Blazer Armband, $34.99
  • PolarPro Stash Slim Mobile Wallet, $19.99 – Ditch the wallet and stash cash directly on the uniVERSE case

The downside is that the case  and accessories are only available for iPhone 6/6s, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 6s Plus, but I assume that if the system gains traction popular Android smartphone will be supported too. Alternatively you could also use Nexpaq once/if they sort out their issues.

The system will start selling on May 29 in the US. You can find more details on uniVERSE case system product page. Via Liliputing.

Tapit Customizable Tactile Keyboard Case

Tapit_Case

Tapit’s usefulness appears to be debatable, but basically it’s a case with a transparent physical keyboard that give users tactile feedback to make possible eye-free smartphone operation. So for example, it could improve the experience if you use your smartphone as a remote control for your TV or TV box, and Tapit Launcher app pictured above, allows the user to pre-defined 18 keys on their lock screen for fast access.

The company provides an API in order to let third parties develop app leveraging Tapit physical buttons. The case is compatible with Samsung S5, S6, S6 Edge, S7, and S7 Edge smartphones, and the company took it to Kickstarter to raise at least 20,000 Euros to go ahead with mass-production. Rewards start at 35 Euros (early bird) and 49 Euros (Classic bird) for the case. Shipping is included, and deliver is scheduled for November 2016. Visit Tapit Case website for a few more details.

Linux 4.5 Released – Main Changes, ARM and MIPS Architectures

March 15th, 2016 1 comment

Linus Torvalds released Linux Kernel 4.5 on Sunday:

So this is later on a Sunday than my usual schedule, because I just couldn’t make up my mind whether I should do another rc8 or not, and kept just waffling about it. In the end, I obviously decided not to,but it could have gone either way.

We did have one nasty regression that got fixed yesterday, and the networking pull early in the week was larger than I would have wished for. But the block  layer should be all good now, and David went through all his networking commits an extra time just to make me feel comfy about it, so in the end I didn’t see any point to making the release cycle any longer than usual.

And on the whole, everything here is pretty small. The diffstat looks a bit larger for an xfs fix, because that fix has three cleanup refactoring patches that precedes it. And there’s a access type pattern fix in the sound layer that generated lots of noise, but is all very simple in the end.

In addition to the above, there’s random small fixes all over-shortlog appended for people who want to skim the details as usual.

Go test, and obviously with 4.5 released, I’ll start the merge window for 4.6.

Linux 4.4 added support for a faster and leaner loop device, 3D support in virtual GPU driver, TCP improvements, various file systems improvements for BTRFS, EXT-4, CIFS, XFS etc… Some notable changes made to Linux 4.5 include:

  • Copy offloading with new copy_file_range(2) system call – Performance improvements on local file systems are marginal, but for networked file systems such as NFS, you could copy a file internally on a server drive without transferring file data over the network.
  • Experimental PowerPlay for amdgpu driver
  • Btrfs free space handling scalability improvements – New, experimental way of representing the free space cache that takes less work overall to update on each commit and fixes the scalability issues for large drives (30TB+). It can be enabled with -o space_cache=v2 mount option, and you can revert to the one method with -o clear_cache,space_cache=v1.
  • Support for GCC’s Undefined Behavior Sanitizer (-fsanitize=undefined) UBSAN (Undefined Behaviour SANitizer) is a debugging tool available since GCC 4.9. It inserts instrumentation code during compilation that will perform checks at runtime before operations that could cause undefined behaviors. Linux 4.5 supports compiling the kernel with the Undefined Behavior Sanitizer enabled.
  • Next gen media controller whose “goal is to improve the media controller to allow proper support for other types of Video4Linux devices (radio and TV ones) and to extend the media controller functionality to allow it to be used by other subsystems like DVB, ALSA and IIO”. See lkml for details

Some new features and improvements specific to the ARM architecture:

  • Allwinner:
    • Allwinner A80 support – IR receiver driver, NMI controller,PRCM driver, R_PIO support, and RSB driver
    • Allwinner H3 SoC support – H3 USB PHY clocks
    • A10/A20 Video Engine clocks
    • MIC1 capture for sun4i codec
    • Audio codec enabled on various boards
    • Added board – Orange Pi Plus
  • Rockchip:
    • Crypto module and io-domain driver enabled in multi_v7_defconfig
    • Tweaks for RK3368 SoC and eval board
    • Added Rockchip RK3228 SoC and eval board
    • New RK3228 subdriver in pinctrl
    • SPI driver fix
    • Added support for RK3399 in thermal driver
    • RK3036: Added SMP support, emac support
    • Expose USB PHY PLLs
  • Amlogic
    • Device tree changes – Add watchdog node to meson8b, add status LED for ODROID-C1
    • Watchdog timer modifications
  • Samsung
    • eMMC/SDIO minor fixes usage of bindings on Snow and Peach chromebooks.
    • Remove FIMD from Odroid XU3-family because on XU3 it cannot be used yet and on XU3-Lite and XU4 it is not supported.
    • Remove deprecated since June 2013 samsung,exynos5-hdmi.
    • Add support for Pseudo Random Generator on Exynos4 (Trats2 for now). This depends on new SSS clock.
    • Add rotator nodes for Exynos4 and Exynos5.
    • Switch DWC3_1 on Odroid XU3 and XU3-Lite to peripheral mode because  now it cannot be used as OTG.
    • Cleanup the G2D usage on Exynos4 and add it to a proper domain in case of Exynos4210.
    • Put MDMA1 in proper domain on Exynos4210 as well.
    • Minor cleanups
  • Qualcomm
    • New pinctrl subdrivers for Qualcomm MSM8996, PM8994,  PM8994 MPP support
    • Added Qualcomm PCIe controller driver
    • Qualcomm ARM64:  Add fixed rate oscillators to dts, fixup PMIC alias and properties, change 8916-MTP compatible to be compliant with new scheme, fix 8×16 UART pinctrl configuration, add SMEM, RPM/SMD, and PM8916 support on MSM8916
  • ARM SoC multiplatform code – “This branch is the culmination of 5 years of effort to bring the ARMv6 and ARMv7 platforms together such that they can all be enabled and boot the same kernel”
  • ARM64 – hugetlb: add support for PTE contiguous bit; perf: add support for Cortex-A72;
  • Other new hardware or SoCs – Sigma Designs ARM Cortex-A9 Tango4 “Secure Media Processor” platforms (SMP8756, SMP8758, and SMP8759), TI-based DM3730 from LogicPD (Torpedo), Cosmic+ M4 (nommu) initial support (Freescale Vybrid), Veyron-mickey (ASUS Chromebit), BCM2836 and Raspberry Pi 2 B.

MIPS changes:

  • Add support for PIC32MZDA platform
  • bcm963xx: Add Broadcom BCM963xx board nvram data structure
  • dts: Add initial DTS for the PIC32MZDA Starter Kit
  • math-emu: Add IEEE Std 754-2008 ABS.fmt and NEG.fmt emulation
  • math-emu: Add IEEE Std 754-2008 NaN encoding emulation
  • math-emu: Add IEEE Std 754 conformance mode selection
  • pci: Add MT7620a PCIE driver
  • ralink: add MT7621 support
  • zboot: Add support for serial debug using the PROM

If you want to get the full details, I’ve generated Linux 4.5 Changelog with comments only (12.2MB) using git log v4.4..v4.5 --stat, but it’s probably a better idea to simply check out Linux 4.5 changelog on kernelnewbies.org.

Samsung Unveils Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge Smartphones with Exynos 8890 or Snapdragon 820 Processor

February 22nd, 2016 1 comment

As Mobile World Congress 2016 is about to start,  Samsung has officially announced Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge smartphones powered by either Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 in the US, or the company’ own Exynos 8890 in the rest of the world. Let’s see if beside faster and more efficient processors, the company has brought some other innovation, or if it is just another boring smartphone release.

Samsung_GalaxyS7_EdgeBoth smartphones basically share the same specifications, and the main difference is that Galaxy S7 edge has a curved screen.

  • SoC
    • Samsung Exynos 8 Octa (Exynos 8890) octa core processor with four Exynos M1 core @ 2.3GHz + four Cortex A53 cores @ 1.6Ghz, and Mali-T880MP12 GPU, manufactured using 14nm process.
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad core Kryo processor with two cores @ up to 2.2GHz, and two cores @ up to 1.6GHz, an Adreno 530GPU, an Hexagon 680 DSP, and a 14-bit Spectra ISP.
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 32/64GB UFS 2.0 flash + micro SD slot up to 200GB
  • Display
    • Galaxy S7 – 5.1’’ Super AMOLED Quad HD (2560×1440) 577ppi
    • Galaxy S7 Edge – 5.5’’ Super AMOLED Quad HD(2560×1440) 534ppi, dual edge.
  • Camera
    • 12MP rear “dual pixel” camera with smart OIS
    • 5MP front-facing camera
  • Video –  MP4, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, WMV, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV, WEBM
  • Audio Format – MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR, AWB, FLAC, MID, MIDI, XMF, MXMF, IMY, RTTTL, RTX, OTA
  • Cellular Connectivity – LTE Cat.9 (450/50Mbps). Hybrid SIM card for 2 SIM cards, or 1 SIM card + micro SD card
  • Connectivity
  • USB – 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG
  • Sensors – Accelerometer, RGB Light, Gyroscope, Proximity, Geo-magnetic, Barometer, Fingerprint, Hall, HRM
  • Misc – IR Remote
  • Battery – S7: 3,000mAh; S7 Edge: 3,600mAh.
  • Wireless Charging – WPC  & PMA
  • Dimensions  & Weight
    • Galaxy S7 – 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm | 152 grams
    • Galaxy S7 Edge – 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm | 157g
  • Ingress Protection Rating – IP68

Samsung_Galaxy_S7

Both phone will run Android 6.0 Marshmallow. I’ve highlighted the differences against Galaxy S6 models in bold, and there’s now more memory, the micro SD card is back!, Edge display is larger, LTE Cat.6 has been upgraded to Cat.9 for faster download speed, the battery got more capacity, and the smartphone has a pretty good water and dust proof rating with IP68. The only real new features are the dual pixel camera which should “deliver brighter and sharper images, even in low light”, support for MST for mobile payment, and an Always-on display feature – also found in LG G5 – showing time, missed calls and other notifications without requiring user interaction.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge will start selling in the middle of March 2016. Pricing has not been disclosed yet.