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Posts Tagged ‘smartphone’

Andromium Transforms Your Smartphone into a mini Desktop PC (Crowdfunding)

December 17th, 2014 3 comments

Mobile desktop convergence has been a buzz word for several years now, and people have tried to use their smarphone as a desktop PC for a while thanks to technologies like MHL, which allows an easy connection between a phone and TV. However, mobile operating systems such as Android are not really suited for desktop use, and it can be a frustrating experience, so there needs to be different user interface in desktop and mobile modes for an optimal user experience. Canonical is working on this, and Ubuntu Edge, an ambitious, but ultimately failed crowdfunding campaign, was part of the strategy for convergence. But a team of developers lead by an ex-Google employee has been designed a solution with a desktop OS (Andromium OS) and a docking station that let you use your smartphone as a phone on the go, and as a desktop computer while docked, with Andromium user interface taking over, and allowing multiple windows for Andromium apps, although Android apps would still run in full screen.

Andromium_OS

Andromium Browser (MS Outlook Website) and Taskbar

Andromium user interface is heavily inspired from Windows 7 or OSX desktop, with famous taskbar and start menu, as you can see in the picture above. While the phone is docked (in desktop mode), you’ll still receive calls, text messages and push notifications. It’s not clear how many Andromium apps are currently available, but there’s a least a File Manager, and a full feature browser which you use in windowed mode. The Andromium docking station includes an HDMI output, 3 USB ports, and a power connector to power and charge your phone.

The best way to get a better idea of the system capabilities and features is to watch the demo video below.

The company has now launched a Kickstarter campaign for the project aiming to raise $100,000. You won’t have to break the bank to support this project, as if you already have a dock for your smartphone, you can pledge $10 for Andromium OS that will be downloadable via Google Play Store, although there’s no guarantee about compatibility. So they also provide docks for Samsung Galaxy Note, S, S3 (2GB RAM), S4, Note 2/3/4. Galaxy S5 is not yet supported. Following popular request, they’ll also support HTC One (M7/M8), LG N4/N5, Motorola Nexus 6, as well some large screen tablets. You can pledge between $29 to $35 to get a docking station and access to Andromium OS. Shipping to the US is included, but you’ll have to add $10 to the rest of the world. People residing in the US can expect their dock as early as February 2015, while others will have to wait at least until June 2015.

The official website Andromiumos.com does not have much more information for now.

Via Liliputing

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Huawei Introduces Kirin 620 Octa Core Cortex A53 LTE SoC for Smartphones

December 3rd, 2014 1 comment

Huawei / Hisilicon has announced a new 64-bit ARM processor with Kirin 620 featuring eight ARM Cortex A53 cores coupled with a Mali-450MP GPU, as well as an LTE Cat4 modem.

Kirin_620Key specifications of this application processor include:

  • CPU – 8x ARM Cortex A53 @ 1.2 GHz
  • GPU – Mali-450MP4 GPU
  • Memory – LPDDR3
  • Camera – 13MP, ZSL (Zero Shutter Lag), HDR
  • Video – Decode & Encode: 1080p30 H.264
  • Cellular connectivity – LET Cat4 150M/50M, HSPA+ Cat24 42M / Cat6 5.76M, TDS R7 2.8M/2.2M, GSM R6 Class33
  • Voice Solution – VoLTE/eSRVCC, CSFB, SGLTE, DSDA, DSDS
  • Peripherals – USB, HSIC, SD/MMC, DMAC
  • Process – 28 nm

Kiron_620_block_diagram

That’s about all I know so far. Hisilicon mobile SoCs have not found their way in many handsets in the past, apart from Huawei smartphones. We’ll see if that one becomes more popular.

Via AndroidPC.es and Android Headlines.

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Yotaphone 2 Smartphone Features an Improved AMOLED + ePaper Dual Display

December 3rd, 2014 5 comments

About two years ago, Yota , a technology company based on Russia, introduced the Yotaphone, an Android smartphone with an innovative dual display solution comprised of a standard color display on the front, and an E-ink display on the back, in order to extend battery life. The idea was interesting, but the phone did not look that great. But with Yotaphone 2, the company upgraded the processor with a Snapdragon 800 processor, a larger 5″ display, and if the back ePaper display looks as crisp and clear in real life as in the picture below, you could have a winner, and copycats will eventually show up.
Yotaphone_2Yotaphone 2 specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core Krait processor @ 2.2 GHz with Adreno
  • System Memory – 2GB RAM
  • Storage – 32GB eMMC
  • Displays
    • Front – 5″ AMOLED touch screen, 1920×1080 resolution,16M colors, 442ppi, with Corning Gorilla glass 3.
    • Rear – 4.7”  electronic Paper display, 960×540  resolution, 16-level gray scale, 235ppi, with Corning Gorilla glass 3.
  • Audio – 3.5mm AV connector, FM radio
  • Camera – 8MP rear camera AF, LED flash, 2.1 MP front-facing camera
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • GSM/EGPRS 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
    • WCDMA, DC HSDPA (rel. 8, cat. 24)
    • HSUPA (rel. 7, cat 7) bands 1 (diversity), 2, 5 and 8
    • LTE (rel. 9, cat 4) bands 3, 7 and 20, VoLTE
    • Nano-SIM
  • Wireless connectivity – WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (VHT20, MSC 8), Bluetooth 4.0, NFC , A-GPS + GLONASS
  • USB – MicroUSB 2.0 (SlimPort)
  • Sensors – Accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor
  • Battery – 2500mAh with wireless charging
  • Dimensions – 144.9 x 69.4 x 8.95 mm
  • Weight – 145 grams

The phone runs Android 4.4 KitKat. The 5″ color screen works just like with a normal phone, and you would turn it on and off, as needed, while the ePaper display is also on, and only consumes power when the content changes. So for example, if you often use your phone to check the time, you don’t need to unlock it, just read the time on the ePaper display. Other possible tasks on the ePaper display include reading notifications, reading/sending SMS, making calls, reading ebooks, taking better selfies with the rear camera, etc..

A review is available on Russian website [email protected] (Google translation), and I’ve included their video review, also in Russia, but it’s interesting even if you don’t understand a word of it, as it shows what you can expect from the ePaper display.

Android Police reports the phone will be available in Russia for 32,990 Rubles (currently around $600, but the exchange rate fluctuates a lot these days…) in Russia later this month, with Europe following up later this year (so this month too, right?), and Asia in Q1 2015. For more details, and subscribe to find out when the phone will be available in your country, visit Yotaphone 2 product page. If you wonder how you can develop apps optimized for the ePaper display, you may want to checkout Yotaphone developer page.

Via Liliputing

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Intrinsyc Introduces Snapdragon 810 Powered Mobile and Tablet MDPs, DragonBoard Development Kit

November 28th, 2014 3 comments

Intrinsyc has recently announced availability for three development platforms based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 ARM Cortex A53/A57 processor, namely a smartphone Mobile Development Platform (MDP), a tablet MDP, and a DragonBoard development kit integration Open-Q 8094 system-on-module, making these one of the first ARM64 development platforms available to individual developers, or at least small software development companies (approved by Qualcomm). All three platforms will run Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Intrinsyc Snapdragon 810 MDP Smartphone

Snapdragon_810_MDPIntrinsyc MDP/S specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 (8994)  64-bit octa-core processor with 4x Cortex A57 cores, 4x Cortex A53 cores, Adreno 430 GPU, and Hexagon V56 DSP
  • System Memory – 3 GB LP-DDR4
  • Storage – 32 GB eMMC 5.0  micro SD slot (under battery door)
  • Display – 6.17” QHD (2560×1600) 490ppi, 10-finger multi-touch capacitive touchscreen
  • Video Output – micro HDMI type D
  • Audio
    • Headset jack with ANC support
    • 8 microphones (2 analog/ 6 digital) with support for Qualcomm Fluence Pro technology and Snapdragon digital pen technology
    • Ultrasound emitter for gesture applications
    • Mono speaker
  • Connectivity – 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 2.5 GHz/5 GHz,  Bluetooth 4.1, Qualcomm IZat Gen8C GPS
  • Cameras
    • 13 MP rear camera with OIS, Dual LED flash (4K at 30 fps, 1080p @ 60fps)
    • 4 MP front camera with AF (1080p at 120 fps)
  • Sensors – 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyro, 3-axis magnetometer (compass), ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, pressure sensor, temperature and humidity sensor, UV sensor, and Mobeam sensor (for barcodes)
  • USB – micro USB 3.0 OTG port
  • Misc – Volume, power, and home buttons, finger print reader, tri-color status/notification LED
  • Battery – 3020 mAh Lithium-ion battery. Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 support when used with optional HVDCP charger

This developer smartphone has some serious specs, and should ship late December 2014 for $799. Please note that there does not seem to be any 3G/LTE support. More details are available on the product page.

Intrinsyc Snapdragon 810 MDP Tablet

Snapdragon_810_MDP-TIntrinsyc MDP/T specifications are somewhat similar to the 810 MDP/S, but with more RAM and storage, a larger screen (possibly even the first 4K UHD screen on a tablet), a larger battery, stereo speakers, and a dual 3D gesture camera, but less sensors:

  • SoC – Qualcom Snapdragon 810 (8994)  64-bit octa-core processor with 4x Cortex A57 cores, 4x Cortex A53 cores, Adreno 430 GPU, and Hexagon V56 DSP
  • System Memory – 4 GB LP-DDR4
  • Storage – 64 GB eMMC 5.0  micro SD slot (under battery door)
  • Display – 10.1” UHD 4K (3840×2160), 10-finger multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, dual display capable (tablet + HDMI)
  • Video Output – micro HDMI type D
  • Audio
    • Headset jack with ANC support
    • 8 microphones (2 analog/ 6 digital) with support for Qualcomm Fluence Pro technology and Snapdragon digital pen technology
    • Two ultrasound emitters for gesture applications
    • Front-facing stereo speakers
    • 8-channel audio over HDMI
  • Connectivity – 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 2.5 GHz/5 GHz,  Bluetooth 4.1, Qualcomm IZat Gen8C GPS
  • Cameras
    • 13 MP rear camera with OIS, Dual LED flash (4K at 30 fps, 1080p @ 60fps)
    • 4 MP front camera with AF (1080p at 120 fps)
    • Dual 3D IR gesture camera
  • Sensors – 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyro, 3-axis magnetometer (compass), ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, temperature and pressure sensor, and ambient humidity sensor.
  • USB – micro USB 3.0 OTG port
  • Misc – Volume, power, reset, and home buttons.
  • Battery – 7,560 mAh Lithium-ion battery. Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 support when used with optional HVDCP charger, and Qualcomm WiPower charging capable.

The tablet will ship by mid December 2014, and can be purchased for $999. Check out the product page for more information.

DragonBoard Development Kit based on Snapdragon 810 (APQ8094)

ARM64_development_boardIntrinsyc DragonBoard 64-bit ARM development board technical specs:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor with 4x Cortex A57, 4x Cortex A53, Adreno 430 GPU and Hexagon v56 DSP
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC 5.0 flash + 2x SATA + 1 MicroSD card slot
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi 802.11n/ac, Bluetooth 3.0/4.1, GNSS (GPS and GLONASS)
  • Video Output / Display I/F  – HDMI, 1x MIPI dual 4-lane DSI + touch panel
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 + 2x USB 2.0 + 1x USB 2.0 micro-AB
  • Camera I/F – 3x MIPI CSI with support for 3D camera configuration
  • Expansions
    • PCI Express Slot with support for Gigabit Ethernet card
    • 4x Expansion headers for additional features, test, and debug

The kit is comprised of a baseboard, and an OpenQ-8094 SoM, which can be procured separately for commercial applications.

This “Early Adopter” board is currently only available to “select customers approved by Qualcomm” for $499, but as time passes by, individuals will hopefully be able to purchase as board, as is the case with other DragonBoards.

Via Liliputing and LinuxGizmos

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International Deals for Black Friday 2014

November 26th, 2014 10 comments

Every year, right after Thanksgiving comes Black Friday which “officially” opens the shopping season for Christmas, and the next Monday is called Cyber Monday, a much more recent day on the calendar, as it offers Online deals. Both are mostly US centric, but Chinese e-retailers have decided to jump on the Black Friday / Cyber Monday bandwagon, so just like for Black Friday 2013, I’ve decided to list a few offer available online for international buyers. Please make check to check my little shopping guide to avoid pitfalls, such as “fake” discounts, where the original price is inflated to misguide prospective buyers.

Black_Friday_2014DealExtreme

DealExtreme’s Black Friday promotion campaign has not officially started, but they’ve already announced their program:

From November 28th to December 1st, DX Black Friday Shopping Carnival will be grandly open!

This year, DX will bring you with the most beloved brands at affordable prices with amazing discounts up to 90% off!

In addition to the amazing discounts, DX also offers our customers coupons worth a combined total value up to $100,000! You simply need to login to your DX account to get one! (Please note that $5 gift card will be valid on orders of $15 or more, the $10 gift card will be valid on orders of $30 or more)

What’s more, 700 pieces free DX 2015 calendar which includes coupons valued up to $500 inside will send out during the campaign! (All calendars will be shipped out in mid December)

Not only that, 50 orders will be randomly selected to receive extra discount! (10*100% off, 15*50% off, 25*30% off)

BuyInCoins

BuyInCoins’ Black Friday Special Deals alledgedly includes discounts for smartphones, tablets, and accessories, but the few products I checked were not discounted. Hopefully, real discounts will show up on Friday.

GeekBuying

Geekbuying’s Black Friday Shopping  Carnival has already started, where they claim up to 60% discount, and organize $0.01 deals, with limited quantities of course.

GeekBuying_Flash_Sales

That’s one of the flash sales that just ended, and included Tronsmart Vega S89. It’s nearly impossible to get one, but if you do it’s jackpot.

They also have genuine deals for several mini PCs including:

Tinydeals

Tinydeals calls their event Black Friday Tech Deals Week as it lasts 7 days, and discounts up to 65% are allegedly available, and they have 24-hour flash sales. I could not really find deals for “well-known” Chinese gadgets there

GearBest

I think GearBest will have something for Black Friday, but until then, they have a Pre-Black Friday Sale with “massive early bird discounts”. I could not find any mini PCs or TV boxes there, and the smartphone I checked, namely Landvo L200, sells for the usual $90+.

AliExpress

Aliexpress have “activities” for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Promotions include coupons, for example $5 for Draco AW80, and the official sale will start exactly on Friday, included discounted smartphones and tablets, for example Xiaomi Mi3 will sell for $244 which seems to be a discount of about $30 to $40 on normal, as well as electronics accessories, clothing, and more. Since it’s not started yet, you can check discount, add interesting products to your basket, and once the sale begins you should be able to buy cheaper than usual.

Some potentially interesting discount are:

Strangely I cound not find any deals for Android mini PCs.

Banggood

Banggoodhas a Black Friday Sale, but only focused on quadcopter, or I end-up on the wrong page.

FocalPrice

FocalPrice has a Black Friday Mega Sale with alledgedly discount up to 70%. Unfortunately discounts are not that Mega, as for example Landvo L200 smartphone mentions above sells for $88, or about $4-5 cheaper than the normal price.

MCM Electronics

MCM Electronics is an online store for electronics hobbyist based in the US, but they also ship internationally. They launched a Black Friday Sale with boards such as Intel Galileo ($69), and various items including soldering irons, batteries, tablets, tool kits, and so on.

That’s all I found for now. If you find interesting deals available worldwide, feel free to share them with the community by commenting below.

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Marvell Introduces ARMADA PXA1936 & PXA1908 Octa & Quad Core Cortex A53 LTE SoCs for Smartphones and Tablets

November 18th, 2014 No comments

Marvell announced ARMADA PXA1928 quad core Cortex A53 LTE SoC at the beginning of the year, and they’ve now introduced two new Cortex A53 based processors with PXA1936 and PXA1908, featuring respectively eight and four ARM Cortex A53 cores at 1.5 GHz, and 5-mode 4G LTE support (TD-LTE, FDD-LTE, TD-SCDMA, WCDMA and GSM). PXA1936 targets high performance smartphones and tablets, whereas PXA1908 targets mid-range / mainstream mobile devices.

PXA1936

Key features of the Marvell ARMADA Mobile PXA1936 include:

  • Octa core Cortex A53 up to 1.5GHz
  • Supports 1080p display, and video encoding and decoding
  • Improved image processor to support 13 to 16MP camera
  • Advanced power management and audio codec for power efficiency and audio performance
  • Enhanced security processor
  • Integrated location and sensor hub functionalities for better usability
  • Field proven DSDS (Dual Sim Dual Standby) software for 5-mode modem

While key features of Marvell ARMADA Mobile PXA1908 include:

  • Cost optimized quad-core Cortex A53 up to 1.2GHz
  • Improved image processing to support 8MP to 13MP camera
  • Advanced power management
  • Supports 720p display
  • DSDS software for 5-mode modem

There’s no mention of the GPU, but the previously announced PXA1928 integrates a Vivante GC5000 GPU, so it might be these two new processors also come with a Vivante GPU. Both processor will support Android L. The only difference between PXA1908 and PXA1928 quad core processor is support for “mobile security features, including secure boot, root key protection and Widevine Level 1 support and FIPS 104-2 Level 3- and 140-3 Level 2-compliant” for the latter.

Marvell expects both processor to be found in smartphones and tablets in early 2015. A few more details may be found on PXA1908 and PXA1936 product pages.

Thanks to embedded_geek for the tip.

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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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Imagination Technologies Introduces PowerVR Series7 GPUs with Up to 512 Cores, Virtualization Support

November 10th, 2014 3 comments

Imagination Technologies has announced a new PowerVR Series7 GPU architecture that will be used in their high end PowerVR Series7XT GPUs delivering up to 1.5 TFLOPS for mid range and high-end mobioe devices, set-top boxes, gaming consoles and even servers, as well as their low power lost cost PowerVR Series7XE GPUs for entry-level mobile devices, set-top boxes, and wearables.

PowerVR_Series7XT_Block_Diagram

PowerVR Series7XT GPU Block Diagram

PowerVR Series7 GPU, both Series7XT and Series7XE GPUs, can achieve up to a 60% performance improvement over PowerVR Series6XT/6XE GPUs for a given configuration. For example a 64-core PowerVR7XT GPU should be up to 60% faster than a 64-core PowerVR Series6XT clocked at the same frequency, with all extra performance due to a different and improved architecture.

Some of Series7 architectural enhancements include:

  • Instruction set enhancements including added co-issue capability, resulting in improved application performance and increased GPU efficiency
  • New hierarchical layout structure that enables scalable polygon throughput and pixel fillrate improvements in addition to increased clock frequencies
  • GPU compute setup and cache throughput improvements resulting in up to 300% better parallel processing performance

The new GPUs can also optional support 10-bit YUV color depths, security (e.g. DRM), and hardware virtualization, as well as other feature specific to some market segments:

  • Android Extension Pack (AEP) – Full hardware tessellation and native OpenGL ES 3.1 support. Compatible with Android 5.0 ‘Lollipop’ release.
  • DirectX 11 Feature Pack – Full DirectX 11.2 feature set for Microsoft operating systems.
  • OpenCL FP64 Feature Pack –  Scalable 64-bit floating point co-processor per cluster for high-performance server compute. Series7XT only.
PowerVR Seris7XE Block Diagram

PowerVR Seris7XE Block Diagram

The PowerVR Series7XT family scales between 100 GFLOPS to 1.5 TFLOPS, and is designed to provide the best possible performance. It features AEP and 10-bit YUV support by default, and supports between two to sixteen clusters with 32 multi-threaded multi-tasking ALU cores each. Current Series7XT GPUs include the GT7200 (64 cores),  GT7400 (128 cores), GT7600 (192 cores),  GT7800 (256 cores), and GT7900, the most powerful PowerVR GPU to date with 512 cores.

On the other hand, Series7XE GPUs are optimized for area, efficiency, and cost thanks to feature configurability, with let SoC manufacturers choose whether they want options such as 10-bit YUV support for HEVC, virtualization, or AEP support. Beside low cost mobile devices and media player, Series7XE GPU are also expected to be used in photocopiers, printers, consumer and other enterprise devices which may require 3D user interfaces at a lower price point. There are two GPUs part of the Series7XE family: GE7400 with 16 cores, and the GE7800 with 32 cores.

The company will provide their usual free PowerVR SDK for 3D graphics and GPU compute application development. Hypervisors will be able to utilize the virtualization in the GPUs to implement true heterogeneous security in any of the PowerVR Series7 GPUs (if virtualization is enabled).

PowerVR Series7XE and Series7XT GPUs are available for licensing now, and Imagination Technologies has already started implemention their new GPU IP into SoCs from licensing partners. More technical details about be found on two blog post: New PowerVR Series7XE family targets the next billion mobile and embedded GPUs and PowerVR Series7XT GPUs push graphics and compute performance to the max.

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