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Posts Tagged ‘smartphone’

ProView S3 Affordable 3-Axis Smartphone Stabilizer Helps Shooting Better Videos (Crowdfunding)

February 5th, 2016 No comments

Smartphone stabilizers (aka gimbals) for smartphones allow you take much better videos while on the move, as they smooth the shaking that occurs when you walk, run, or bike. Stabilizers are currently available, such as KumbaCam or other white brand stabilizers, are sold for $250 to $400, but Navin, a Taiwanese company, has designed a cheap video stabilizer for smartphones with ProView S3 that starts at $125 + shipping via Indiegogo.

Proview_S3_Smartphone_Stabilizer

ProView S3 3-axis stabilizer can handle larger size smartphones, features orientation sensors, precision motors, and stabilization algorithms to provide smooth video recording.

Some of ProView S3 specifications and features include:

  • Adjustable mount from 67mm to 78 mm width
  • Wind resistant thanks to algorithms and mechanical design
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless firmware updates
  • Dual IMU sensors with tilt, roll, and pan motors.
  • Underslung shot- You can take videos upside down too…
  • 4 operational modes – Full Lock (no motor active), follow pan (pan motor active), follow tilt (tilt motor active), or full follow ()pan and tilt motors actives)
  • Single joystick for control: On/Off, mode switching, angle control.

The best way to see how well this works are video samples. They shot videos while running with two smartphones, one without the stabilizer (first video), an one with ProView S3 (second video) that the difference is clear. The second video reminds me of first person shooting games.


The crowdfunding campaign has a fixed $300,000 funding targer, so the project will only go ahead if they reach that amount. Only the first 500 gimbals (battery and charger included) are listed for $125, with the price going up as more rewards are claimed up to $160. Shipping is not included and varies from $5 (Taiwan) to between $25 and $75 to the rest of the world for the few countries I checked. Delivery is scheduled for July 2016. Beside the Indiegogo page, you can also ask questions on the company’s Facebook or Twitter pages.

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Gladius GT-500 Rugged Android Smartphone Features a Built-in Barcode Reader, LTE Connectivity

February 3rd, 2016 4 comments

ARBOR technology has introduced Gladius GT-500 “5” Rugged Android Handheld Device” running Android 5.1 on MediaTek MT6735 quad core processor, with LTE connectivity, IP67 rated, and featuring a build-in 1D/2D barcode reader with physical trigger buttons.

Gladius_GT-500

Gladius GT-500 smartphone specifications:

  • SoC – Mediatek MT6735 quad core Cortex A53 processor @ 1.3 GHz with ARM Mali-T720 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB LPDDR2
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash + 1x micro SD slot up to 32GB
  • Display – 5″ TFTP LCD; 1280×720 resolution; 5-point glove-friendly projector capacitive touch screen; 400 cd/m2 brightness
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • 2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE (Band 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900)
    • 3G WCDMA (Band 1,2,5,8)
    • 3G CDMA2000 (BC0/BC1)
    • 4G FDD+TDD (Band 1,3,5,7,8,20,38,39,40,41)
    • 4G DRX (Band 1,3,5,7,8,20,38,39,40,41)
    • SIM Sockets – 1 x micro-SIM (3FF) socket supporting 2G/3G/LTE; 1 x micro-SIM (3FF) socket supporting 2G only
  • Other Connectivity – Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 (BLE, HS compliant), NFC, and GPS/GNSS/Beidou
  • Camera – 13MP rear camera with auto-focus & flashlight, 2.0MP front-facing camera
  • Audio – 3.5mm headphone jack, microphone and speaker, FM radio
  • USB – 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG port
  • Sensors – Gyroscope, barometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, magnetometer (M-Sensor/E-Compass), accelerometer (G-sensor)
  • Misc – Optional 1D/2D barcode reader with physical trigger buttons
  • Battery – 4,800 mAh Lithium-ion rechargeable and customer replaceable battery
  • Dimensions – 85 x 165.8 x 23.1 mm
  • Weight – < 385 grams with battery
  • IP Rating – IP67, up to 1.5m drop resistance
  • Temperature Range – Operating: -10°C ~ 50°C; Storage: -20°C ~ 60°C
  • Relative Humidity – 5~95%

GT-500_Ports

It ships with a micro USB port, a pre-installed battery, and a user’s manual by default, and a universal 5Vpower adapter, a hand strap, a 4-in-1 battery charger, and a desktop cradle are available as options. Two models are available: Gladius GT-500 without barcode reader, and GT-500-2D with the barcode scanner. The handheld device targets “mission-critical” applications in logistics, retail and public safety sectors.

ARBO Gladius GT-500 appears to be available now at an undisclosed price. Check out the product page for a few more details.

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Mediatek Introduces MT6738, MT6750 & MT6750T SoCs for Entry Level LTE Smartphones

January 28th, 2016 6 comments

Mediatek will soon launch three new mobile SoCs based on ARM Cortex A53 cores and Mali-T860 GPU, as well as support for LTE Cat.6 modem, with MT6738, MT6750 & MT6750T processors targeting entry-level Android smartphones.

Mediatek MT6738, MT6750 & MT6750T (Click to Enlarge)

Mediatek MT6738, MT6750 & MT6750T (Click to Enlarge)

All three processors are manufactured with 28nm process, support up to 4GB LPDDR3 RAM, decode H.264/H.265 up to 1080p30, encode H.264 up to 1080p, and support LTE FDD/TDD, DC-HDPA+, TS-SCDMA, EDGE, and CDMA2000.

The main differences are in the number of cores for the CPU and GPU, and maximum display & camera resolution:

  • MT6738 features four Cortex A53 cores @ 1.5 GHz with a Mali-T860MP1 GPU, and supports 1280×720 displays, and up to 13MP cameras.
  • MT6750 octa-core processor includes two clusters of four Cortex A53 cores @ 1.5 and 1.0 GHz combined with a Mali-T860MP2, and supports 1280×720 displays, and up to 16MP cameras
  • MT6750T has the same specs as MT6750, except it supports Full HD (1920×1080) displays

There’s no clear availability date, but mydrivers reports these SoCs will likely be found in phones selling for 300 to 600 CNY ($45 to $91) in China.

Via AndroidPC.es

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FOSDEM 2016 Schedule – Open Source Hardware and Software Event in Europe

January 13th, 2016 3 comments

FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting) is a 2-day event that usually takes place on the first week-end of February in Brussels, but this year it will be on January 30-31. The event brings thousands of developers, hackers, and other person interested in open source technology who present their projects and share ideas. FOSDEM 2016 schedule is now available, and There will be 557 speakers, 612 events, and 50 tracks this year including 7 main tracks: Distros, Enterprise, Hardware, Communications, Miscellaneous, Office, Systems Administration, and Virtualization.

FOSDEM_2016

So I’ve had a look at some of the talks, especially out of  “Embedded, Mobile and Automotive” and “IoT” devrooms, and prepared my own virtual schedule although I won’t be able to attend.

Saturday

For many years MIPS processors have been involved in the embedded market, particularly in areas related to networks and storage. With the success of the mobile market, and the great evolution of the world linked to the “makers”, other architectures (such as ARM), they have reached very large levels of diffusion.

Meanwhile, the MIPS architecture has evolved, introducing innovations and improvements to adapt to both the processor market from performance, both to the world of micro-controllers. The future of MIPS is a new family divided into several generations evolving.

During the presentation, after a brief and simplified introduction to architecture, will be shown the technologies available at the time and what will be the future developments.

The presentation will also show some reference platforms (ex. Imagination Creator CI20), and how to work to integrate and port on these platforms. Application examples with Yocto and buildroot, to switch to a full distribution (Debian). Finally it will also present a perspective on the use of MIPS in embedded designs.

AsteroidOS is a free and open-source smartwatch platform based on OpenEmbedded, libhybris, BlueZ5 and Qt5. The OS currently offers a basic user experience on the LG G Watch. This technical talk will briefly introduce the philosophical background of the project and more deeply its architecture’s details in order to attract developers, porters and curious.

This talk will successively be focused on how to boot an Android Wear watch, on how to gain hardware acceleration on that kind of hardware, on how Qt5 and OpenEmbedded are used and on the future of AsteroidOS.

AsteroidOS uses similar technological choices as those of projects like SailfishOS, NemoMobile, Mer, WebOS-Ports or Ubuntu Touch but adapted to the needs of smartwatches. The architecture of those project will briefly be compared during the presentation.

Based on Migen, MiSoC is a library of cores and a system-on-chip integration system to build gateware for various applications. MiSoC is lightweight (runs on FPGA devices as small as Spartan-6 LX9 with 32-bit RISC CPU and SDRAM), portable (demonstrated on Xilinx, Altera and Lattice devices) and high performance (e.g. contains the fastest open source DDR3 solution we are aware of). Designing and integrating cores is facilitated by Python and Migen features. Current MiSoC applications include LTE base stations, video processing (Numato Opsis) and experiment control system (ARTIQ).

Nemo Mobile is a long time FOSS operating system. Created in 2012 as continuation to Meego Community Edition, it has been actively developed since then. The newest iteration of it is to use Glacier UI as its renewed User Interface, along with its Qt Components. These components are now used in the NemoTablet adaptation using Raspberry Pi2 as underlying hardware and its plethora of possible peripherals to create a true DIY tablet derived from SailPi project.

With Raspberry Pi 2 introduction in February 2015, it was then possible to create an adaptation for it. This enables the myriad of functionality it offers, with its hardware provided. Initial adaptation was done originally for SailfishOS, but Nemo Mobile had the first run and checking that everything worked, before a closed system was installed. Nemo Mobile, however, was then not tried until later. The idea came once the official touchscreen by Raspberry Pi Foundation was released, so that a FOSS tablet could be built by anyone and used. Raspberry Pi 2 has non-free hardware, but Nemo Mobile itself is FOSS completely. As with all other adaptations, the questions regarding hardware freedom limitations rise for a good reason.

Libreboot is a free software BIOS replacement (boot firmware), based on coreboot, for Intel, AMD and ARM based systems. Backed by the Free Software Foundation, the aim of the Libreboot project is to provide individuals and companies with an escape from proprietary firmware in their computing. Libreboot is also being reviewed for entry as an official component of the GNU system.

Boot firmware is the low-level software that runs when you turn your computer on, which initializes the hardware and starts a bootloader for your operating system. Libreboot currently supports laptops and servers, on x86 (Intel and AMD) and ARM (Rockchip RK3288), with more hardware support on the horizon. The purpose of this talk is to describe the history of the project, why it started, why it’s important, where it’s going and, most importantly, to tell people how they can get involved.

Francis also runs the Minifree (formerly Gluglug), a company that sells computers with libreboot and Trisquel GNU/Linux pre-installed.

No abstract, but it’s clear about Olimex’s Allwinner A64 A64-OlinuXino board to be used in the company’s open source hardware laptop.

A brief discussion about the stable release branch 4 of KiCad as well as goals for the next development cycle and beyond.

The WPANKit is a ptxdist based Open-Source 6LoWPAN Board Support Package (BSP). The main focus is to provide a software development kit for the linux-wpan project. The linux-wpan project aims to implement a 6LoWPAN inside the mainline Linux kernel.

This talk will present the WPANKit: An Open-Source Linux BSP to develop 6LoWPAN IoT applications. It contains support for various common platforms such Raspberry Pi’s and Beaglebones. Additional components like the openlabs 802.15.4 transceiver SPI transceiver or BTLE USB dongles gives you a getting started platform into the Linux 6LoWPAN world.

The WPANKit will directly build a current mainline 6LoWPAN kernel, which is the official bluetooth-next tree. This is important, because the mainline 6LoWPAN development is still much in development. Additional the WPANKit offers a large of userspace IoT software collection e.g. tshark for sniffing network traffic, libcoap, etc. On top of this BSP you can develop your IoT application, setting up a Border-Router or help at the current mainline 6LoWPAN Linux-kernel development.

Through the power of ptxdist you can easily add new own packages for cross-compiling. As well we accept patches to integrate new software into the official WPANKit repository, so we getting more and more new IoT capable software into the WPANKit which can be used by other ptxdist users.

An AdaCore intern has rewritten the CrazyFlie drone software, originally in C, into SPARK. In addition to fixing some bugs, this allowed to prove absence of runtime errors. Various techniques used to achieve that result will be presented, as well as a live demo of free fall detection.

This talk will take us through the available FOSS software stacks that are available for automotive. This last year has produced a lot of working software from fiber-optic networking drivers in the Linux kernel, complete In-Vehicle Infotainment stacks, to a newly released Qt Automotive. There has also been a change in available hardware to run this software on, new boards like the Minnowboard Max, Renesas’ Porter board, and even the Raspberry Pi 2. This talk will try and cover the entire software ecosystem and how it matches to hardware, how you can get involved today, and what the future holds.

Turris Omnia aims to bring to the market affordable, powerful and secure SOHO router which is completely open-source and open-hardware. As a operating system it uses our own fork of OpenWrt which has some additional features such as automatic security updates. This talk will cover few topics such as motivation for starting this project and developing of our own hardware and software.

FROSTED is an acronym for “FRee Operating System for Tiny Embedded Devices”. The goal of this project is to provide a free kernel for embedded systems based on ARM Cortex-M CPU family, which exposes a POSIX-compliant system call API. Even if it runs on small systems with no MMU and limited resources, Frosted has a VFS, UNIX command line tools and a HW abstraction layer which makes it easy to support new platforms and device drivers.

This talk will cover why the project was started, the approach taken to separate the kernel and user-space on ARM Cortex-M CPU’s without MMU, the collaboration with the libopencm3 project to provide a high quality hardware abstraction layer and the future goals of the project. Of course there will a demo showing the latest developments: dynamic loading of applications and possibly TCP/IP communication.

Sunday

Yocto project has been used at Open-RnD for building a number of IoT related products. The talk will go though the details of integration of Poky build system and OpenEmbedded layers into 3 projects carried out at Open-RnD:

  • an autonomous parking space monitoring system
  • a distributed 3D steroscopic image acquisition system
  • a gadget for acquisition of metabolic parameters of professional athletes

The presentation will approach to building software, automation and upstreaming of fixes. Only widely available hardware platforms such as BeagleBone Black, Raspberry Pi, Wandboard or Gateworks GW5400 (not as widely used as the previous ones, but still fully supported) were used in the project, hence all the points made during presentation are directly applicable by professionals and hobbyists alike.

Tizen is an open source GNU/Linux based software platform for mobile, wearable and embedded devices as well as Internet of Things. Tizen:Common provides a generic development environment for Tizen 3 which key features include, Wayland, Weston, EFL UI/UX toolkit, and a web runtime for safely running standalone HTML5 apps. Yocto Project offers tools to easily expends features of Tizen:Common by creating layers for new profiles. This talk will focus the Tizen architecture and it will provide guidelines for creating and building new Tizen profiles, based on Tizen:Common, using the Yocto Project for devices with Intel or ARM processors. It will also provide information about hidden gems in Tizen on Yocto and practical examples for packaging and deploying HTML5 applications through Yocto recipes for the open source hardware development boards like Raspberry PI2 or HummingBoard (Freescale I.MX6 ARM SoC) or MinnowBoard Max (Intel).

Finally, since Tizen aims to because the OS of everything, we will illustrate this by extending Tizen Distro with new connectivity features provided by IoTivity library, the open source implementation of OpenInterConnect’s standard.

This session will show you how to build your own retro hand-held console that is powered by Java, runs on a Raspberry Pi, and is printed on a 3D printer. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Hacking Java on the Raspberry Pi
  • Rigging input devices with Pi4J
  • Insane performance tuning on the JVM
  • Why your boss [or SO] needs to buy you a 3D printer!

And of course your retro gaming mettle will be put to the test, so make sure to dust off your old 8 and 16 bit consoles to prepare.

How to roll your own build and extend the Fairphone 2 hardware

The kernelci.org project is currently doing hundreds of build and boot tests for upstream kernels on a wide variety of hardware. This session will provide an introduction to the kernelci.org system, some live demos and how to start consuming its results, and be a forum for further discussions.

Distributed boards farms across the world are working together to deliver unified build, boot, and test results for every merge of an upstream Linux kernel tree. A community based architecture agnostic effort, kernelci.org aims to detect regressions in a timely manner and report back to kernel developers with a concise summary of the issues found. On every merge, all defconfigs for x86, arm, and arm64 are built, booted, and tested on over 300 real or virtual hardware platforms. Come join in the discussion and help make Linux better!

Hardware is funny stuff. It is often documented to work one way when it actually works a slightly different way. Different revisions of the hardware may have different bugs that require different sets of work-arounds. Programming it even slightly incorrectly can lead to software crashes or system hangs. Sometimes some versions of the hardware work fine, but the version not on the developer’s desk crashes. Failure modes are often opaque and give no clues for fixing the problem. Writing robust, reliable software to run directly on hardware is hard.

Software simulation of hardware is a technique that, in many cases, can alleviate some of this pain. Teams that develop hardware will often create a simulator as a by-product of hardware synthesis. Not ever developer is fortunate to have access to such tools. Those who do have access often find them slow or difficult to use. After all, these simulators are generally created as an aid for the hardware developers themselves. Much of the benefit of a full hardware simulator can be attained by developing the simulator independently from the hardware development. When the correct techniques are applied, it’s not even that hard.

This talk will present a variety of techniques based on experience with several “home grown” simulation environments. Techniques for both developing and validating the simulator and techniques for integrating simulation in the regular development process will be described.

  • 16:00 – 17:00 – PHP7 by Derick Rethans

With PHP 7 having been released, it is time to show what’s in there. Speed, scalar type hints and spaceships.

These are just a few selection from the complete schedule. Last year, most FOSDEM 2015 videos were available in mid-March, so I’d expect FOSDEM 2016 videos to be available in about the same time frame.

As usual, the event will be free, and does not require registration, so you just need to show up at the Université libre de Bruxelles in order to attend.

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Intel RealSense Devkit and Lenovo Smartphone to Feature Project Tango 3D Mapping Technology

January 13th, 2016 No comments

Project Tango is a project launched in 2014 by Google ATAP that aims at creating 3D map of your environment using 3D motion tracking with depth sensing for tracking your movements in 3D, precise and quick measurements, augmented reality and more. The first Project Tango development kit was a tablet based on Nvidia TegraK1, but Google recently announced that Lenovo planned to launch the first consumer smartphone with the technology.

Renderings only, not the actual product

Renderings only, not the actual product

Beside the announcement that there are going to make a phone, the company did not provide many other details so far, but it should feature a screen smaller than 6.5″ and cost less than $500. The main reason Google posted about this before CES 2016 was probably to reach out to developers who can submit the app idea to be features on the first Tango phone by February 16, 2015 with the following materials:

  • Project schedule including milestones for development
  • Visual mockups of your idea including concept art
  • Smartphone app screenshots and videos, such as captured app footage
  • Appropriate narrative including storyboards, etc.
  • Breakdown of your team and its members
  • One pager introducing your past app portfolio and your company profile

Selected developers will be contacted by March 15, 2016. You can submit your proposal on Project Tango’s App Incubator. Eventually, more details should become available on Lenovo’s Project Tango smartphone page.

Intel also unveiled a smartphone development kit featuring a RealSense camera with support for RealSense and Project Tango SDKs.

Intel_RealSense_Devit_Project_TangoIntel RealSense Smartphone developer kit specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x7-Z8700 quad core processor with Intel HD graphics
  • System Memory – 2GB RAM
  • Storage – 64GB flash
  • Display – 6″ touschscreen QHD Display (2560×1440)
  • Cameras
    • Intel RealSense Camera ZR300 with a VGA@60fps depth camera and wide FOV Camera(VGA with >160o FOV) & high precision IMU for feature tracking
    • 2MP front facing and 8MP rear facing RGB cameras
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, 802.11 WIFI, and 3G
  • Video Output – HDMI
  • USB – USB 3.0
  • Dimensions 83.9mm x 164.8mm x 8.9mm

The smartphone will run  a recent version of Android operating system.

The development kit can be reserved now with a credit card (United States only), and will be billed for $399 once the kit is ready to ship. When that is Intel does not say.

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Multi-function Power Banks Can Jump Start Your Car Beside Charging Your Phone

January 11th, 2016 3 comments

Many people carry a USB power bank with them to make sure their smartphone does not run out of battery, but based on my experience failing to start your car because of a depleted or dead battery will bring ever more anxiety. Interestingly/funnily enough, while this happened to my neighbors last week-end, today I was informed that TM08 multi-function power bank was designed to both charge your phone or laptop, and help start your car.

Click to Enlarge

Typical Multi-function Power Bank (Click to Enlarge)

TM08 specifications:

  • Input – 12V/1A
  • Output – 5V-2A via USB and 12V jump starter for car with 200A starting current, and 400A peak current
  • Battery
    • Capacity – 12000mah
    • Charging Time – 3 to 4 hours
    • Life cycle – Over 1,000 cycles
  • Dimensions – 130x70x25 mm
  • Weight – 311 grams
  • Operating Temperature – -20℃-85℃

Multi-function_Power_Bank_Jump_Starter

The kit comes with adapters to charge your phone or other devices, as well as cables to connect to your car’s battery. A fully charged power bank will be able to start you car about 20 times, charge your smartphone 6 to 7 times, and charge an iPad twice. A white LED is also included to use as a torchlight or SOS strobe. The pictures above are actually for another model with 19V and 12V output for laptop, but the rest of the accessories are about the same.

I wanted to watch it starting the car, and there are a few videos online including that one clearly showing how to use the power bank to start your car.

The device is available on eBay for $84,  but I could also find the pink version for $64.90 on Aliexpress. I initially found the model with 19V and 12V output on a Thai website, but then found it as “MaiTech Portable Car Emergency Start Power” on DealExtreme for $64.99. Finally, there’s a very similar model on Amazon US selling for $100, and user’s feedback is usually positive. You should be able to find more models by searching for multi-function jump starter power bank on Google.

Thank you Onebir!

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Categories: Hardware Tags: automotive, power, smartphone, usb

SMA-Q Smartwatch Mini Review and Teardown

December 22nd, 2015 11 comments

I had great hopes for SMA-Q smartwatch, as it features an always on color e-Paper display, a built-in heart rate monitor, and promised 30-day standby battery life, as well as being 30-meter water resistant. But last week, I found out that the latter did not mean waterproof, and instead the watch was rated IP65 that’s only good enough to wash hands and a little rain, but not showering let alone swimming. In the last week, I could play with the watch, and found some serious Bluetooth connectivity issues (with Iocean M6752 smartphone), and I was recommended to upgrade the firmware of SMA-Q watch, and after that my Bluetooth issue have somewhat improve, but everything pretty much went downhill, and the watch is now out of order, and shows no sign of life.

So while I was expecting to write a full review, I’ll simply report with experience with the watch and SMALife app, before tearing it down to see how it was made.

SMA-Q Smartwatch Mini Review

One you’ve fully charged you watch, you’ll probably want to pair it with your smartphone. To do so you need to install SMAlife for iOS or Android.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

You’ll be asked to enter you country code, phone number and password to register, but you could also use Chinese social networks to register, and simply skipped registration altogether by selection “Try directly”. I have registered with my phone number, and after that you are asked to input your age, gender, height and weight. It’s important to give the correct value to have a better estimates, such as walked distance. Finally, you’ll be asked to authorized notification access the app. The first time, the app also detect a new version with a Changelog in Chinese only, and I proceeded to get the latest SMALife 2.7 app.

Now you should have access to the settings menu.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Tap on Connect watch, then select SMA WATCH Q, and the next window you search for your watch, and then display Bluetooth connecting. The full pairing may well take over one minute, and while that’s annoying by itself, the app did not seem to reconnect to the watch if connection was lost, and I had to do a manual disconnect and reconnect that did not work, unless I reboot my phone. Reconnecting to the watch also mean the step and distance count in the watch, and all data that was out of sync with the phone would be lost.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Beside Anti-lost and sedentary could never be enabled, sleeping tracking did not work, and I struggled to get any activity tracking data. So this is when I decided to contact GearBest to report the problems, and got instructions to upgrade the firmware on the watch. Firmware upgrade went smoothly, but was only available in Chinese (in the app), and I tagged Shenzhen Smart Care Technology Limited in Facebook, and the following day the company had provided an updated app with English support. So at least, the company is trying what they can to improve the device.

Sadly, while there was some improvement, with better connectivity, and I could enable Anti-lost and sedentary, the last two features never worked. Having said that I could get gmail, SMS, and call notification working, and since four lines are shown in the watch screen it was much more readable and easy to use than on No.1 D3 watch.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

While only calls and SMS notifications are enabled by default, you can receive any app notifications to you watch, but going to SMA-Q settins, Pushing Setting, and enable the apps you wish. Running Track is crashing when I accessed it, Upgrade Help is only in Chinese, and you ma already have noticed the English translation may need to work across the app. I particularly like the “you have been binding” to notified the watch is allegedly connected to the phone whether it is or not.

Before the firmware upgrade I could get 4 to 5 day battery life, but I got surprised when the watch showed 21% one morning, and simply turned off a couple of hours later… However, after the firmware upgrade this went down to 20 hours, and the last day as I used to heart rate monitor, it seems to have gone to hell with the battery lasting 5 hours…

Talking about the heart rate monitor, I did learn a few things. Since the hear rate monitor is using an electro-optical sensor it’s important not to let light affect the results, and you should make sure the watch is tight around your arm, and placed after the carpal bone, higher up your forearm. I did this, and went for a walk. It started at 80 bpm, and went up to 110 bpm as I walked a bit faster, so it seemed to work. But as I started to jog, the measured value went down to 80 bpm again… The watch also has a running mode that will record a run with your hear rate, time and estimated distance, but I did not manage to load the results to the phone, as the heart rate icon return an error in Chinese. The last day as I ran a bit faster the heart rate was also stuck at 80 to 90 bpm, and that was in the evening. I also noticed the running time was different from the one reported by Nike+ Running app on my phone. So yet one more issue.

While I really prefer the Sharp e-Paper display used in the watch compared to the OLED displays used in most other smartwatches, as it’s always on and readable in bright light, it’s quite dim compared to the display on my “dumb” Casio digital watch, and viewing angles are very poor.

Finally, the watch stopped working after a 25-minute run one evening, as I used the running mode and heart rate monitor. As I completed the run, I press the back button, but instead of asking whether I wanted to save the results, the screen just went blank. A few minutes later, I noticed the screen switched between red and rainbow colors just like in a firmware update. I then saw it enter some test mode, and the HRM green LED would keep on blinking. I tried to turn it off, but it kept blinking, so I let the battery deplete. I could see some humidity found its way into the watch… Nevertheless, at night and the next morning, I still tried to charge the watch again with two different power supplies, but nothing happens after a few hours waiting. The watch was clearly dead.

SMA-Q Smartwatch Teardown

While the watch is clearly a massive disappointment, the silver lining is that I could now tear it down to find out how it was made.

SMA-Q_Watch_Screen_CoverThe screen cover has some glue/silicon to provide some sort of waterproofness. I could then relatively easily take the screen out and find out a Silicon Labs EFM32 MCU was used in SMA-Q.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

More exactly EFM32 Giant Gecko EFM32GG330F512 ARM Cortex-M3 MCU @ 48 MHz with 512 KB Flash, and 128KB RAM.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Taking out the board to checkout the other side confirms the watch features a 150 mAh battery, and we can find out the Bluetooth 4.0 LE is implemented with Nordic Semi n51822 (nRF51822) Bluetooth Smart SoC. That means that company has not used an home grown (Chinese) electronics in their watch, but instead relied on European tech for the ICs, and Japanese tech from Sharp for the display. There are also various test points on this side of the watch board that might be used for hacking.

Even though I’m quite sad that SMA-Q smartwatch did not perform well at all for me, I’d like to thanks GearBest for providing a sample. If you’d still like to purchase one, you can do so on their website for $55 shipped.

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Intrinsyc Introduces Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Cortex-A72-Class Development Board, SoM and MDPs

December 17th, 2015 2 comments

While there’s already an healthy choice of ARMv8 development board such as LeMaker Hikey, or Qualcomm DragonBoard 410c, all those platforms are based on the lower end Cortex A53 64-bit ARM core, and ARM Cortex A57, let alone Cortex A72, boards are much more difficult to find, as they are much pricier and/or have limited availability. Intrinsyc may have released the first (somewhat) affordable and accessible Cortex-A72-class development board with Open-Q 820 development kit comprised of a SoM and a baseboard, as well as smartphone and tablet mobile development platforms (MDPs) based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad core Kryo processor. While Kryo is a custom ARMv8 designed by Qualcomm, and not exactly a Cortex A72 core, both have similar performance, as shown in Snapdragon 820 Antutu and Kirin 950 Antutu results.

Open-Q_820_Cortex_A72_Development_Board

Open-Q 820 Development Kit (Display Optional)

Open-Q 820 board specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad core Kryo cores with 2x cores @ up to 2.2GHz, and 2x cores @ up to 1.6GHz, an Adreno 530GPU, an Hexagon 680 DSP, and a 14-bit Spectra ISP.
  • System Memory – 3GB LPDDR4 @ 1866 MHz (PoP)
  • Storage – 32GB UFS 2.0 Flash, micro SD slot
  • Display/Video Out
    • 1x HDMI 2.0 up to 4086×2160 @ 60 fps
    • 2x MIPI-DSU 4-lane up to 2560×1600 (single port), or 4096×2160 (dual port) @ 60 fps
    • Optional 4.5″ FWVGA (854×480) touch display
  • Audio
    • 1x 3.5mm ANC jack for headset
    • 20-pin audio input header with 3x analog in, 3x digital in
    • 20-pin audio output header with 5x analog out 1x digital out
    • Qualcomm WCD9335 audio codec
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n/ac 2×2 MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 4.1 (QCA6174), Qualcomm IZat Gen 8C GPS (WGR7640)
  • Camera – 3x MIPI-CSI  4-lane, dual ISP, up to 25MP. Optional 13MP camera module
  • USB – 1x micro USB 3.0 host, 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG, 2x USB 2.0 host ports.
  • Debugging – 1x UART debug via USB micro-B port
  • Expansion
    • 8x DIO with pins configurable as I2C, SPI, UART, or GPIO
    • 1x mini-PCIe v1.2, 1x PCIe X1 slot v2.1
  • Power Supply – 12V DC
  • Dimension – Baseboard: 170 x 170mm; SoM: 82 x 42mm

Open-Q_820_Devkit_DescriptionThe company provides support for Android 6.0 Marshmallow for the board. Documentation is quite limited right now with only product briefs for the board and the SoM, but the company claims users will receive product documentation and access to complimentary tools and software updates.

Beside Open-Q 820 development kit, Intrinsyc also offers a smartphone MDP with a 6.2″ QHD display, and a tablet MDP with a 10.1″ 4K UHD (3840 × 2160) multi-touch display. Both will support 802.11ac with Qualcomm MU | EFX MU-MIMO technology, Blueooth 4.1, USB 3.0, and Qualcomm IZat location service. The tablet MDP has also has tri-band support, and supports multi-gigabit 802.11ad (11ad) Wi-Fi.

Intrinsyc Open-Q 820 development kit appears to be available now for $599 plus tax and shipping, the Tablet MDP for $999,  and the smartphone MDP will be $799, but it’s not quite ready for sale yet, and shipping is scheduled for December 31, 2015.

Via Linux Gizmos

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