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 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.
Qualcomm applications processors used to be found mostly in consumer devices like smartphones and tablets, but recently the company has expended their use to the embedded space, and for example, we’ve seen Snapdragon 410 64-bit ARM processor used in DragonBoard 410c board, Intrinsyc Open-Q 410 SoM, Inforce 6309 SBC, and today I’m going to have a look at Graperain G8916 system-on-module that’s also integrated into a 4G/LTE mobile development platform.
G6916 CPU module specifications:
SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 (MSM8916) quad core Cortex A53 processor @up to 1.4GHz with Adreno 306 GPU
System Memory – 1GB DDR3 (2GB optional)
Storage – 8GB eMMC 4.5 flash (16 and 32GB optional) + micro SD support up to 128GB via I/Os
Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, FM, NFC/RFID, GPS/GLONASS with 4x on-module antenna connectors.
Audio – Unnamed Audio codec with signals for two microphones, headset and speakers
Other I/O via half through holes around the module:
4x I2C, 1x PWM, 2x ADC
2x SIM card
1x SD card
1x USB OTG, 2x USB host
Camera – MIPI-CSI up to 12MP rear camera, and 5MP front-facing camera.
LCD interface up to 1920×1800
Power Supply – N/A
Dimensions – 56.5 x 40.5 mm
Snapdragon 410 SoM Block Diagram (Best Resolution I could get from them).
The hardware specifications should be for reference only, as the company has very poor documentation about their module, and exact details, e.g. LTE frequency bands, differ from document to documents. There’s absolutely zero information about software support, so I had to ask again, and they support Android 4.4, and no other operating systems for now.
The company also has a mobile development platform (M9) using the module.
No details technical could be provided in time for this article however.
G8916 module sample price is $115, and less in quantities. More details, but not that many, might be found on Graperain G8916 SoM page.
While Black Friday is very much a US tradition, Chinese online retailers have made an habit to launch Black Friday, and to a lesser extend Cyber Monday, promotions discount on their sites bringing the event to an international audience. This year is no different, and have gathered some promotions that may be of interest to CNX Software readers.
I have not found specific deals on DealExtreme, but the company launched a Black Friday 2015 Lucky Draw event where you can get partial or full refunds of existing orders, as well as coupons for future order. Here are the rules:
This campaign is for all DX customers.
Please log in first.
One play per valid order number.
Valid Orders must meet the following three conditions:
Orders made on or after 10:00:00(AM) Oct. 28th and before 9:59:59(AM) Nov. 26th, 2015 (UTC+8).
Order should include one or more MVP product(s) and the order value must be more than $20.
Orders have been shipped or partially shipped.
Present winners will be notified by email.
The Coupon prizes can be used on Bidding Sales (Nov.11), Black Friday (Nov.27) and Cyber Monday (Nov.30) for MVP product only.
The Order Refund prizes will be processed within seven workdays in the form of store-credit.
The Surprise Gift will be shipped within seven workdays.
Tinydeal launched discounts for Black Friday and Cyber Monday mostly for smartphones, tablets, and accessories. There are also some flash sales, where for example you could get a LEAGOO ELITE 4 smartphone for just $9.99.
You can find more discount on the whole Aliexpress website, by checking out their Black Friday Page.
Cloud Media promises up to 82% discount, and buy 1 get 2 free offers for selected products.
But I’m not quite sure how to work, as adding 3 product to the cart still show the price for 3 devices. They do offer some small discount for their VTEN media player ($149), and you can add a WiFi dongle for just $1.9 extra (maybe that’s where the 82% discount is coming from…). Their Open Hour Gecko is still $89, but you can add an air mouse for just $5.
OpenELEC also has a Black Friday campaign for their OpenELEC Box based on WeTek Play, wit hthe price as low as 53.99 Euros if you buy 12 or more units. If you don’t need that many, there’s still a 10% discount bringing the price to about 80 Euros for one.
Since I’ve listed the specs and torn down No.1 D3 smartwatch, I’ve spent several days wearing the smartwatch / watchphone, and trying most of its features, so it’s time for a review. I’ll go through all screens of the user interface, include a video review, before providing a conclusion to this review
Charging the watch take between 15 to 30 minutes, and you can turn it on by pressing the only button on the side of the watch for a few seconds. The first menu you are likely to see if the one with the phone functions including the Dialer, messaging, phonebook and call logs.
You can use these in two ways: with a micro SIM card inserted into the watch, or/and via your smartphone connected over Bluetooth. I mostly used the watch connected to my smartphone, but both methods worked for me. When you receive a call, it’s not quite as private as on a phone, since everyday can hear the other party talk via the watch’ speakers.
In order to synchronize contacts, logs, and receive SMS and call notifications from your Android phone to your watch, you’ll need to install BT Notification app.
Once this done you’ll get all notifications (by default) shown on your smartphone forwarded to D3 watch. The small touchscreen makes it very inconvenient to read and scroll through notifications, so it’s more useful to check if it’s an important message / email / missed call that you need to check on your smartphone.
BT Notification Permissions and App Settings (Click to Enlarge)
The second screen, accessible via a left tor right swipe includes Bluetooth connectivity, App (QR code for BT Notification shown above and some other Chinese apps), Notification, and Settings.
Bluetooth pairing with my smartphone was very easy and worked the first time. If you plan to listen to music on your smartphone, you may want to disconnect the watch however, as it then be used as a Bluetooth audio device. There may be an option to disable this, but I have no found it out. Each time you manually connect to the smartphone, you’ll also be asked whether you want to sync time and data from your phone.
Notification will simply let you access to all notifications received from your smartphones.
Settings has 4 menus:
Time & Date
Language – English, French, Spanish, Purtuguese, Iatlian, German, Turkish Russian and Chinese
Input method – ABC, abc, numeric
Light control (LEDs around the watch)
Security settings – For phone lock, password
Call settings – Auto redialm, call time reminder, answer mode…
One more swipe from left to right will bring about the user interface with Camera, Theme, Image Viewer, and Massor icons.
The camera does work, although in camera mode the screen may be difficult to see clearly in broad sunlight, and the picture resolution is very low: 128×128. So it find it rather useless… I’ve included some sample just below.
The “Theme” will only let you choose between 3 color/background images, and you can’t customize it with one of the picture you may have taken with the camera
Image viewer is like a file manager to watch the picture saved to the micro SD card you may have installed in the watch.
“Massor” is rather funny, as it’s just an on/off button to start and stop the vibrator in the watch. I wonder what people might do with this feature…
Six camera samples (actual size / resolution)
Let’s move on to the next 4 icons…
Audio player can be useful if you don’t mind low quality and having people around listening to your music. It can play music from the micro SD card or from your smartphone over Bluetooth.
“Anti lose” may be one of the most useful features of the watch. You can locate your phone by making it ringing – make sure you don’t leave it in silent mode however -, and have the watch showing “BT Lost” message with some audio alarm when Bluetooth connection is lost. The only downside is that you may have some false positive once or twice a day with your phone safely in your pocket, but the Bluetooth connection dropping a short time, triggering the “lost phone” alarm.
Powersave can be enabled/disabled, but I have not tested it in details.
“BT Camera” can also be pretty cool, as you can use the watch as a trigger for your smartphone’s camera. Your phone camera output will show on the watch, and you can press a button to remotely take a picture. For some reasons (connection issues?) it will fail from time to time. The pictures are saved in your smartphone, as it you took the pictures directly with your phone.
The next menu are some software tools that include a calendar, alarm, caculator and a voice memos app.
The calendar only has a monthly view, and while you can switch between previous and next month, you can’t do much more with it.
Up to five alarms can be set, and you can configure repeat modes, as well as alert type: ring, ring + vibration, or vibration only. The latter is quite convenient if you don’t want to bother people around you.
The calculator is quite basic, and the voice memos app worked well for me to record short audio message, until it failed in the video review…
Let’s swipe the screen again to get to Motion sensor, profiles, file manager, and world clock icons.
In order to save energy, the screen will auto turn off after 15 seconds of inactivity, which means you have to press the button to check the time. If you don’t like this you can enable the motion sensor and “wake-up gesture” to automatically turn on the display. In theory it looks very convenient, but in practice it will often turn on the display, even when just typing on the keyboard, so I had to disable it to avoid depleting the battery too fast.
Profiles are just the typical profiles found in phone with General, Silent, Meeting, and Outdoor.
The File manager let you delete files, create folders, rename files/folders, and more generally browse your micro SD card. By the way, while the specifications mention that the biggest supported SD card is 16GB, I had no problem using a 32GB SD card in the watch.
World Clock will show a world map, where you can point destination to get the time in other part of the world. It’s very difficult to use as the screen is just too small, and it will not always respond to taps…
The next user interface is for fitness / health functions with a sleep monitor, a sedentary alarm, a pedometer, and an heart rate monitor.
I have not really tried the sleep monitor, as with most fitness tracker, it’s just a gimmick features. Sedentary might be a little more useful, as the watch will tell you to exercise if you have stayed passive / remained seated for too long. You can select the time in minutes by yourself.
The pedometer is not always running in the background by default. You need to start and stop it manually. Once it is started it can run in the background, so you can go back and use other functions. The downside is that battery life drops to about half day when the pedometer is enabled continuously. Accuracy appears to be decent, possibly slightly under reporting the number of steps, as I ran 2 kilometers, and 2,100 steps were counted.
The heart rate monitor should have been a great feature, but it only takes one measurement at a time, and requires 10 seconds to do so.
That’s why going to the next user interface might be a good idea with the ECG function that takes continuous measurements. Both Heart Rate and ECG app will turn on the electro-optic sensor on the back of the watch (green light), and neither seem accurate.
When I sit on a chair and relax, measurements range between 66 and 89 bpm, already a wide range… So I went to play badminton and run, and the measurements… were exactly the same… So for fun, I removed the watch from my wrist, and launch the ECG app, and the “air’s heart beat” was also between 60 to 90 bpm… Massive fail here.
BBT must be to measure body temperature, and when you wear the watch you may have the feeling it’s working at it reports 36.6 to 36.8 C, but again remove the watch from my wrist yielded the same results, and I have not tried to get a fever to test the function…
UV is supposed to measure ultra violet exposure, and let you know if it is unsafe to stay under the strong sun. Again I’m not really sure it’s working, as when I tried under the shadow a strong sun was reported…
By hey, the stopwatch is working great at least!
That’s it, I’ve gone through all of the main options in the watch user interface, so let’s talk about battery life. I’ve already mentionned that the watch would last about half day when the pedometer is running in the background. If I only enable Bluetooth, no SIM card connected, and checking the watch a few times a day, it should last around 24 hours on a charge.
A short micro USB to USB cable to provided to charge the watch, and it will fill the 380 mAh battery relatively quickly, between 15 to 30 minutes. When you connect the USB cable to a computer, a USB configuration menu should show up.
One option is Mass storage, and it will provide access to your micro SD, if any, and the other option reads “COM port”.
I checked out the output from dmesg in Ubuntu to find out what it was about:
[7004.658679]usbserial:USB Serial support registered forGSM modem(1-port)
And the watch is recognized as a GSM modem.
Let’s not forget that a smartwatch is also a watch, a D3 comes with two faces: a digital watch and an analog watch.
I’ve also covered all these features and issues in my video review.
No.1 D3 smartwatch has so many features for a super low price that you could not possibly expect everything to work flawlessly. Here’s the summary of the advantages and drawbacks of this smartwatch.
Ultra low price (~$23)
Micro SIM card slot
Micro SD card slot up to 32GB
Smartphone sync over Bluetooth with calls, sms, email… notifications working pretty well
Screen is quite readable even in direct sunlight
Wristband material is very flexible and should not break easily over time (TBC)
Lots of features including anti-loss function, Bluetooth camera remote, pedometer, etc…
Battery life is rather short: ~24h with Bluetooth on/no 2G; ~12h with Bluetooth and Pedometer on
Display not always on
Built-in camera is not very useful, and take low resolution pictures (128×128)
Heart rate monitor, body temperature, and ultra-violet measurements don’t seem to work at all.
Fitness functions (e.g. pedometer) are not working by default, and the app (Fundo) does not seem to record activity.
Difficult to read details of notifications as the screen is so small (2 lines shown at a time) and scrolling do not work very well.
Too many features / icons may make it cumbersome to browse the different section (customization would be good)
Only 2 watch faces available
I’m looking for a smartwatch with at least one week battery life, always-on display, and always-on fitness features so No.1 D3 smartwatch does not meet my requirements. But I already knew this before the review, and it was still interesting to review a low cost smartwatch. So I would not use it as my main smartwatch, but it can be a fun device to play with. If you are in hacking things, you could also try Fernly, a reverse engineered operating system for Mediatek MT626x processor, which I’ve been told does not exactly work out of the box with MT6261 found in D3 watch, so some extra work should be needed.
Watt Lab, part of Huawei’s Central Research Institute, has demonstrated new fast charging batteries for smartphone and tablets at the 56th Battery Symposium in Japan. The lab claims these new batteries can be charged 10 times faster than normal batteries, reaching about 50% capacity in a 5 minutes for a 3,000 mAh battery.
Two video demos were uploaded online both using a special charger for the battery only, and compared it to a mobile phone charge with a power adapter.
The first demo includes a depleted 600 mAh filled to 68% in just 2 minutes.
The second demo is quite similar but with a 3,000 mAh battery (620 Wh/L energy density) charged to 48% in 5 minutes.
That means you could get about half day worth of battery with a 5 minute charge. The feat can apparently be achieved by adding “heteroatoms“:
According to Huawei, the company bonded heteroatoms to the molecule of graphite in anode, which could be a catalyst for the capture and transmission of lithium through carbon bonds. Huawei stated that the heteroatoms increase the charging speed of batteries without decreasing energy density or battery life.
There are other existing quick charging technologies. For example, Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 can fill a battery to 65% in less than 30 minutes, so Huawei technology is several times faster, probably 3 to 5 times faster (Qualcomm did not divulge the battery capacity with their numbers).
It’s unclear if smartphones will need removable batteries for fast charging, or whether in the future, the new batteries can be charged inside the phone. Huawei did not give any clues as to when the battery might become available to consumers.
While Exynos 7 Octa was made with ARM’s own Cortex A53 and A57 cores, Samsung did not go with Cortex A72 in 8890, but instead decided to design their own ARMv8 cores and coupled for of these with four low power ARM Cortex A53 cores, and a Mali-T880 GPU. Samsung also included a LTE Rel.12 Cat.12/13 modem that enables speeds up to 600Mbps DL (Cat.12) and 150Mbps UL (Cat.13), and the processor will be manufactured using 14nm FinFET process technology. Excluding the custom cores, and the manufacturing process, this configuration is similar to the recently unveiled Huawei Kirin 950 processor using four Cortex A72 cores and TSMC 16nm FinFET+ technology instead.
Mass production of Exynos 8 Octa processor should start before the end of the year.
Smartphone based on MediaTek Helio X20 (MT6797) processor with 10 cores including two Cortex A72 cores should start shipping next month, but MediaTek will soon be joined by another Asian company with a mobile SoC with Cortex A72 cores with Huawei that has recently demonstrated their Kirin 950 Octa-core processor with four Cortex A72 coers and four Cortex A53 cores, achieving over 82,000 points in Antutu 5.6 (why an older version?) on a reference board.
For reference the top 10 Antutu scores so far in 2015, only got as high as ~77,000 points fro Meizu Pro 5. Since the benchmark was run on a reference, it’s possible the score will drop once it’s in a tighter package.
The company also mentioned that they decreased power consumption by up to 60 percent (compared to their processor using TSMC 28nm Process) thanks the 16nm FinFet+ manufacturing, its new i5 co-processor that “consumes” 6.5 mA instead of 90 mA on the previous i3 co-processor, lower power consumption GPS (Fused Location Provider) and more.
I’ve been amazed how the price of technology has come down recently, with decent TV boxes selling for $30 to $50, and I’ve now been informed about Doogee X5 Pro, a quad core smartphone running Android 5.1, supporting LTE networks, and featuring with 2GB RAM, 16GB flash, and a 5″ HD screen selling for $80 shipped.
Storage – 16GB flash (12GB available to user) + micro SD slot up to 32GB
Display – 5.0″ IPS HD Screen (1280×720)
Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS/AGPS
2x Micro SIM slots; Dual SIM dual standby
2G – GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
3G – WCDMA 900/2100MHz
4G – FDD-LTE 800/900/1800/2100/2600MHz
Camera – 5.0MP rear camera (up to 8.0MP by interpolation); 2.0MP font-facing camera (up to 5.0MP by interpolation)
Audio – 3.5mm headphone jack, microphone, speaker
USB – micro USB OTG port
Battery – 2400mAh Lithium battery good for 680 minutes talk, 72 hours standby.
Dimensions – 143 x 72.2 x 8.8mm
Weight – 130 grams
The phone runs Android 5.1 with allegedly OTA firmware update support. It ships with a battery, a USB cable, a power supply, and a power adapter. The processor is not the fastest with an Antutu score of 15,660 points (Note that a reviewer got 30,000+ points instead), but considering the price, this smartphone appears to be good value, and Doogee is a fairly well known brand among Chinese smartphone manufacturers.
Doogee X5 Pro sells for as low as $79.99 on GearBest, but it can also be purchased on GeekBuying, Buyincoins, eBay and others.The phone is realtively recent, so there are few user’s feedback, but the ones who bought it appears to be satisfied. X5 Pro is not to be confused with X5 model powered by Mediatek MT6580 quad core Cortex A7 processor with 1GB RAM, 8GB flash, and 3G connectivity that sells for about $60.