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Posts Tagged ‘smartphone’

$33 Intex Cloud Fx Firefox OS Smartphone Coming to India

August 26th, 2014 4 comments

Mozilla promised $25 smartphones running Firefox OS based on a Spreadtrum Cortex A5 application processor earlier this year, mostly for emerging markets. Thanks to Intex Cloud Fx smartphone selling for 1,999 Rs ($33) in India, we’re almost there.

Intex_Firefox_OS_SmartphoneIntex Cloud Fx specifications:

  • SoC - Spreadtrum SC6821 @ 1.0 GHz
  • System Memory – 128MB RAM
  • Storage – 256MB, expandable up to 4GB via external memory.
  • Display – 3.5” HVGA (480 x 320) touchscreen display
  • Cellular Network – GSM:900/1800MHz. GPRS/EDGE. Dual SIM support.
  • Connectivity – WiFi, Bluetooth, and FM radio
  • Audio – Loudspeaker, 3.5mm headphone jack.
  • Camera – 2MP rear camera
  • USB – Yes (micro SD port?)
  • Battery – 1250mAh lithium-ion battery (4 hours of talk time, 200 hours standby)
  • Dimensions – 115.9 x 62 x 11.8mm
  • Weight – 104 grams

The phone is said to come pre-loaded with Facebook and Twitter apps, some games, Whatsapp is supported via third party app/service, and it can handle English,Hindi,and Tamil languages. The phone comes  with earphones, the battery, a travel charger, a data cable, a user’s manual, and a warranty card. The memory and storage will certainly limit what you can do, but this smartphone is priced like a feature phone, so certainly looks value for money.

If you are based in India, you can get it from Snapdeal.com for 1,999 Rs with free delivery. I usually mention the device should eventually show up on Aliexpress, but this smartphone appears to be manufactured in India by Intex. The company plans to sell 500,000 unit this year alone.

Via Liliputing and The Indian Express.

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Samsung Announces Exynos 5430 SoC, Manufactured with 20nm Process

August 14th, 2014 4 comments

Samsung already have a few octa-core big.LITTLE SoCs part of Exynos 5 Octa family with Exynos 5410, Exynos 5420, and Exynos 5422/5800, all based on 28nm process. The company has just announced a new Exynos 5 Octa processors with Exynos 5430, but this time manufactured using 20nm High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) process technology providing 25% less power consumption compared to 28nm Exynos SoCs.

Samsung_Exynos_5430

Exynos 5430 SoC will feature four ARM Cortex A15 cores at 1.8 GHz, four Cortex A7 cores at 1.3 GHz, supports WQHD (2560×1440) and WQXGA (2560 x 1600) displays using hibernation display and Mobile Image compression (MIC) in order to lower power consumption. It also said to support HDMI, come with a Multi Format Codec (MFC) supporting HEVC/H.265 decoding, as well as an enhanced dual ISP, and up to 17GB/s of memory bandwidth. That’s about all the information I could get at this point. The CPU core frequencies are lower than Exynos 5422, but the maximum memory bandwidth appears to be higher (17GB/s vs 14.9GB/s), and of course the power consumption is significantly lower. It will also be found in the recently announced Galaxy Alpha smartphone.

More details should eventually surface on Samsung Exynos 5430 page.

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Orvibo Wiwo S20 Wi-Fi Smart Socket Features US, EU, UK, or AU Plug Types

July 31st, 2014 16 comments

I’ve previously covered several Chinese Wi-Fi smart sockets including Broadlink SP2 also supporting power monitoring, and Kankun KK-SP3, a cheaper, more basic version that can only be turned on and off manually or via timers, and which runs OpenWRT. These plugs have one thing in common: they only come with Australian/Chinese plugs, so if you want to use them in Europe, the US, or United Kingdom, you’ll need an adapter, which may not the the safest things to do, and it’s also inconvenient. Orvibo Wiwo S20 is another model that appears to have the capabilities and a price similar to Broadlink SP2, but available in four flavors with US, EU, UK, and AU plug types.

Orvibo_Wiwo-S20_Multi_Countries_PlugsOrvibo Wiwo S20 is made of fireproof ABS, and is significantly smaller than Broadlink SP2, but the rest of the specifications are very similar:

  • Material – ABC 94V-0 (fireproof)
  • Wi-Fi
    • 802.11 b/g/n
    • Security – WEP, WPA-PSK or WPA2-PSK
  • Power Plug – US, Europe, United Kingdom or Australia plug
  • Output Current – 10A
  • Output Power – 2000W max.
  • Voltage Range – 100-240V AC
  • Power Consumption – ≤0.3W
  • Dimensions – 10.3 cm x 6.3 cm x 3.7 cm
  • Temperature Range – -20 C to 60 C
  • Relative Humidity – ≤80%
  • Weight – 110 grams

This smart socket comes with a user’s manual in English. The  “WiWo” app to connect to your Wi-Fi router, control the device, set timers, scenes, etc.. is available for Android and iOS 5.0+. However, I can’t see any screenshots related to power monitoring, and after installing the Android app, I can’t find any instructions about it either. So “power indicator for your energy tracking” must be there is a LED showing if the device is in use or not… You can control up to 150 socket with your smartphone, and up to 20 mobile devices can control one socket…

I initially found out about the socket via GeekBuying, where it can be purchased for $38.99, and you can select the different plug type by changing the “color”. I could also find it on Aliexpress, where Orvibo has setup their own shop, and sell the devices for about $30 excluding shipping. You can also checkout Orvibo website for more details (I need a proxy to access the site).

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ARM and Qualcomm Release a New Guide About 32-bit to 64-bit SoCs

July 30th, 2014 1 comment

ARM and Qualcomm have been pretty successful with ARMv7 SoCs in the mobile space in recent years, and while 32-bit ARM (Aarch32) processors certainly have a few more years, both companies are now moving to 64-bit ARM (Aarch64 / ARMv8), and they released a document showing what has been achieved with ARMv7, the differences between ARMv7 and ARMv8, and new capabilities that will be attainable with 64-bit processing.

Aarch32 vs Aarch64

Aarch32 vs Aarch64

The document covers the following:

ARM vs x86 vs Architecture Indepent Code for 100 Top Apps in Google Play (US)

ARM vs x86 vs Architecture Independent Code for 100 Top Apps in Google Play (US)

  • Introduction
  • ARM Business Model
  • The Mobile Computing Revolution (Tablets replacing Laptops)
  • Android on ARMv7-A and ARMv8-A
  • ARMv8-A Architecture
  • Backward Compatibility to ARMv7-A
  • ARM Cortex A-53 and Cortex-A57
  • ARM big.LITTLE Technology
  • The Transition to the ARMv8-A Architecture (Fast Models, Tools, Linaro…)
  • Qualcomm Technologies: Transitioning to 64-Bit with Integrated Mobile Design
  • Custom and ARM Designed Processors: The Right Technology to Any Market
  • Multiple Foundries, Flexible Production
  • Flexible design practices in action (Performance, price point, development time. Snapdragon 410 vs 610 vs 810)
  • Conclusion

Both companies clearly promote their respective products via this document, but there are lots of interesting details such as Intel vs ARM optimized apps in Google Play, perfomance of A57 vs A15, A53 vs A7, side-by-side comparison between 32-bit and 64-bit ARM architectures, and so on. If you want to get the details, you can download the 20-page presentation entitled “ARM and Qualcomm- Enabling the Next Mobile Computing Revolution with Highly Integrated ARMv8-A based SoCs“.

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Immedia Blink Battery Powered HD Security Camera Lasts Over One Year on Batteries (Crowdfunding)

July 24th, 2014 3 comments

There are plenty of security systems with IP cameras selling on the market, but they can be a pain to install because you need to use long power cables or use power extensions. There are battery-free such as NETGEAR VueZone Home Video Monitoring System that cost $259 with 6-month battery life for normal usage, and $50 yearly subscription fee. Immedia Semi is providing an alternative with Blink, a wire-free (wireless + battery) HD Home Monitoring & Alert System that starts at $69 with one camera, and is said to last over one year powered by two CR123 batteries, without monthly fees, and can stream live views and video recordings to your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet, or any web browser.

Immedia_BlinkThe one year battery claim seems preposterous. How is that possible?

The first reason it’s possible is because of the way typical usage is defined for home security cameras. They don’t record videos all the time, but use a motion sensor, and if you’re not home and detect motion they record a short video clip (e.g. 5 seconds). Blink’s batteries will last one year, if its record 4,000 five-second events over this period, or about 5h30 of video recording.

The second reason is because of the technology behind the camera. As its name implies, Immedia Semi is not a consumer products company, but a semiconductor company, and Blink is based on their ISI-108-2 SoC specifically designed for this type of product, and not requiring external DRAM to encode video, lowering power consumption in the process. They key specifications of the SoC are as follows:

  • Advanced ISP w/3D Noise Reduction
  • noDRAM  technology
  • Sensor support for multiple vendors – Up to 5 Mpixel resolution, MIPI CSI I/F (2-lane)
  • Video encoder – H.264 up to 1080p30, MJPEG up to 5Mpixel at 15fps, 1080p at 30 fps
  • Still image – Up to 5Mpixel (2592×1944)
  • Audio interface
  • Audio CODEC input and output I2S I/F
  • Dedicated audio processor for compression support (G.7xx, AAC, etc.)
  • Instant On – 100ms from power on to audio/video out
  • Integrated Peripheral Interfaces – USB 2.0, Dual SDIO I/F, GPIOs, I2S input and output, I2C, SPI and UART
  • Miniature 8x8mm, 68-pin QFN package

Gigaon also reports the company managed to make batteries last longer as they integrated the lowest power Wi-Fi chip they could find,  and tweaked the firmware so that it only sends the video files when the video is done recording, and is not streaming them to cut down on the time the Wi-Fi radio is used.

Blink App Notifications and Video Recordings

Blink App Notifications and Video Recordings

But let’s get back to other features of this camera. We already know it captures HD videos using motion detection, or provide a live view, but it also features capabilities such as night vision, temperature sensing, a built-in microphone, instant and Wi-Fi/battery status alerts, instant-On (<100 ms) and privacy insurance thanks to an hardware LED lit while recording. Up to 2 hours of video will be stored in Blink’s (internal?) secure server, and if this limit is reached older videos will be deleted. There’s also a micro USB port to connect Blink directly to the mains, instead of using two batteries.

You can monitor or be notified of your IP camera status with Blink App for android or iOS, which lets users arm/disarm their system, monitor temperature, customize alert settings for each camera unit and notify them when the WiFi connection is lost or battery life is low. There will also a web browser interface at launch, with a Windows app coming later.

The Blink camera(s) communicate(s) with Sync Module, a gateway that plugs into your wall socket, facilitate set-up, and moderates the power used by your camera(s). But it’s not 100% clear to me how both devices work together.

Blink_Sync_ModuleThe company has already gone through several iteration of the Blink prototype, has started manufacturer more systems to enter into alpha testing, and has lunched a Kickstarter campaign to gather $200,000 to complete development and for mass-production. You can currently pledge $59 for a Blink camera and sync module (early bird), after which it will cost $69, with several other perks available up to five Blinks cameras and sync module for $269. Shipping is included to the US, but you need to add between $30 and $50 to ship to the rest of the world, with expected delivery in May 2015 (9 to 10 months from now), unless for the alpha program shipped in December 2014.

Thanks to Jon for the tip.

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Transform Your Smartphone into a Universal IR Remote Control with ZaZaRemote

July 21st, 2014 11 comments

You can plenty of electrical appliances controlled with their own infrared remote control around your house or/and office, and wish you could just control then with one and only remote. There are already universal remote controls for sale, and they may be great for devices in the same room, but not so convenient to control device in multiple rooms. The good news is that you can now transform you phone into a universal infrared remote control thanks to ZaZaRemote app available for Android or iOS, even if your phone does not come with a built-in IR transmitter.

ZaZaRemote with 3.5mm IR Transmitter (Top left), USB OTG IR learning (Top Right) , 3.5mm IR learning (Bottom Right)

ZaZaRemote with 3.5mm IR Transmitter (Top left), USB OTG IR learning dongle (Top right) , 3.5mm IR learning dongle (Bottom right)

There are three accessories available to add IR functionality to your smartphone:

  • An IR transmitter than you can connected into the 3.5m,m audio jack of your smartphone.
  • A USB OTG dongle that’s both an IR transmitter and receiver used to learn the remote control. (40 mm long)
  • An IR transmitter and receiver dongles that connects to the 3.5mm audio jack of your smartphone

The audio jack IR transmitter sells for just $1.09 on tinydeal, and since it cannot learn the IR code of your remote control, you have to relies on the remote control database in ZaZaRemote app that contains between 58,000 to 160,000 remotes depending where you read. The database is user generated, so it evolves everyday.

If you want to play it safe, and make sure it will support your remote, you’ll need to USB OTG or audio jack dongle with IR Learning function, the former is sold for $10 on Aliexpress + 2 or 3 dollars for shipping. I could not find the audio jack dongle on Chinese e-retailers site in English, but it’s available on Taobao for 68 RMB (~$11). Bear in mind that you can to make sure your phone supports USB OTG for the OTG dongle to work. The company also posted a disclaimer saying the audio jack may not work on all smartphones.

ZaZaRemote App ScreenShot (Click to Enlarge)

ZaZaRemote App ScreenShot (Click to Enlarge)

The application allows to control all sort of devices including TVs, set-top boxes, media players, amplifiers, air conditioners, cameras and more… You can also re-arrange the remote button on the screen as your please. If you have one of the dongle with IR learning functionality, you can also submit your device’s remote control to the service using the “Synchronise Configuration” menu of the app.

ZazaRemote is designed and manufactured by a company called Tiqiaa (Shanghai) Information Technology.

Thanks to Onebir for the tip.

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Categories: Android, Hardware Tags: Android, ios, remote, smartphone

Jolla Releases Sailfish OS Hardware Adaptation Development Kit for Android (CyanogenMod)

July 19th, 2014 1 comment

If you don’t quite have the spare cash to buy a Jolla Phone, or don’t own a Nexus 4, but still want to try Jolla’s Sailfish OS on your smartphone, here’s your chance, as Jolla has just released their “Sailfish OS Hardware Adaptation Development Kit”, which allows you to install Sailfish OS on any Android phone that supports CyanogenMod 10.1.

Sailfish_OS_CyanogenMod

The development kit is comprised of:

  • Mer core – The Linux userspace core
  • Android Hardware Adaptation (HA/HAL), consisting of:
    • Device-specific Android Kernel
    • Binary device drivers taken from an Android ROM (e.g. CyanogenMod)
    • The libhybris interface built against the binary drivers
    • Middleware packages depending on hardware-specific plugins
    • A Qt/Wayland QPA plugin utilizing the Android hwcomposer
    • Sailfish OS component

You’ll a smartphone and a build machine matching the following hardware and software pre-requisites:

Smartphone

  • ARMv7 Android device officially supported by CyanogenMod 10.1.x
  • Means to do backup and restore of the device contents (e.g. SD card or USB cable to host computer), as well as flash recovery images to the device
Build Machine

  • A 64-bit X86 machine with a 64-bit Linux kernel
  • Mer Platform SDK
  • Sailfish OS Target
  • At least 16 GiB of free disk space (10 GiB source download + more for building) for a complete Android build; a minimal download and HADK build (only hardware adaptation-related components) requires slightly less space
  • At least 4 GiB of RAM (the more the better

If you’ve got all that, you’ll need to follow the build instructions found in a 57-page PDF explaining how to prepare the device, setup the SDK, setting up a scratchbox2 target, packaging the droid HAL, creating the sailfish OS rootfs, flashing the rootfs image, and more… So it’s not really an easy “three steps solution” at this stage, and you may want to do this on a “spare” phone…

This is all new, and things may not work as expected, hence the following warning can be found in the document:

Modifying or replacing your device’s software may void your device’s warranty, lead to data loss, hair loss, financial loss, privacy loss, security breaches, or other damage, and therefore must be done entirely at your own risk. No one affiliated with this project is responsible for your actions but yourself. Good luck.

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