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Posts Tagged ‘smartphone’

Hisense A2 Android Smartphone Coming Soon with AMOLED and E-Ink displays

December 4th, 2016 5 comments

Yotaphone popularized dual display smartphones with your standard color display on the front panel complemented with an always-on E-Ink display on the rear panel that consumes less power, and even shows the latest screen update (e.g. your plane ticket) when the battery is depleted. The latest model – Yotaphone 2 – was launched in 2014, but for whatever there has not been an update since,  and companies appear to be clearing their stock with for example GearBest selling it for $119.99 shipped. However, even if the company never produces a Yotaphone 3, other have reproduced the design with the latest being Hisense A2 samrtphone whose specs have recently been published on TENAA (China equivalent of the FCC).

hisense-a2Preliminary specifications for Hisense A2 smartphone:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor @ 1.4 GHz with Adreno 505 GPU
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR3
  • Storage – 64GB internal storage + micro SD slot
  • Displays
    • Front – 5.5″ AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display with Full HD (1920×1080) resolution
    • Rear – 5.17″ E-Ink capacitive touchscreen display with qHD (960×540) resolution
  • Cameras – 16MP rear camera with LED flash; 5MP front-facing camera
  • Cellular Connectivity – GSM, CDMA, TD-SCDMA, TD-LTE, LTE FDD, WCDMA, CDMA 2000; dual SIM dual standby
  • Wireless Connectivity – WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS
  • USB – 1x micro USB 2.0 port
  • Battery – 3,000 mAh
  • Dimensions – 157.25 x 76.8 x 8.4 mm
  • Weight – 190 grams

The phone runs Android 6.0.1 with some custom skins. Since it has passed TENAA certifications should be launched very soon in China.

Via Liliputing, PhoneRadar

Mediatek Introduces Helio X23 and X27 Processors with Faster Clocks, Better Camera Support, Lower Power Consumption

December 2nd, 2016 1 comment

Mediatek has just announced upgrades to their Helio X20 and X25 deca-core processors with respectively Helio X23 and X27 boasting higher CPU and GPU frequencies, higher camera quality, as well as lower power consumption thanks to MiraVision EnergySmart Screen power-saving technology.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The two new processor still feature MediaTek tri-cluster deca-core architecture with two ARM Cortex A72 cores, four ARM Cortex A53 core, and 4 more low power Cortex A53 cores, but Helio X23  Cortex A72 cores’ max CPU frequency increased from 2.1 GHz to 2.3 GHz, and Helio  X27 got a small boost to 2.6 GHz for the Cortex A72 cores (vs 2.5 GHz) and 1.6 GHz for the low power Cortex A53 cluster, as well as a higher frequency ARM Mali-T880 MP4 GPU at 875 MHz instead of 850 MHz for Helio X25.

MediaTek Helio X23 and X27 also support dual camera photography with the upgraded MediaTek Imagiq image signal-processing solution integrating color and mono cameras and depth-of-field applications into a single ISP.

MiraVision EnergySmart Screen technology modifies the display parameters based on the on-screen content and ambient light in order to deliver up to 25% reduction in display power consumption. The processors also integrate an Envelope Tracking Module dynamically adjusting the output voltage based on signal strength from the power amplifier for an average of 15% reduction in power consumption during peak output.

The company did not give any specific availability for smartphones powered by MediaTek Helio X23 and X27, except it will be available “soon”.  You’ll find a few more details on Mediatek Helio X20 series product page.

Hack Autonomous Driving into Your Car with Open Source Hardware Comma Neo and Open Pilot Software

December 1st, 2016 4 comments

George Hotz setup Comma.ai company and worked on a commercial project called Comma One to add autonomous driving to some car models, but then the US highway authorities started to ask questions and promised ever increasing fines if he could not comply with some specific safety regulations/requirements, and eventually he decided to cancel the project due to the regulatory burden. A few weeks passed since the cancellation, and he has now released Open Pilot auto-pilot software and Comma NEO a work-in-progress open source hardware platform connecting to Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 powered OnePlus 3 smartphone to run the software.

Comma NEO

Comma NEO

The system is said to implement “Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) for Hondas and Acuras”, and performs about the same as “Tesla Autopilot at launch, and better than all other manufacturers”.

Open Pilot currently only supports the Acura ILX 2016 with AcuraWatch Plus and the Honda Civic 2016 Touring Edition, but since the software is open source, it should be possible to adapt it to other Honda and Acura models with some tinkering, and other car manufacturers could also be added to the list but would require much more work. The system leverages the cars’ cruise control system which becomes disabled at lower speed, so self-driving only works at higher speeds, 18+ mph or 25+ mph depending on the car’s model.

The video above should be using Open Pilot software, but I’m unclear which exact hardware it is using (Comma One or Comma NEO).

The software also has the following disclaimer “THIS IS ALPHA QUALITY SOFTWARE FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY. THIS IS NOT A PRODUCT. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR COMPLYING WITH LOCAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS. NO WARRANTY EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED”. But if it does not bother you, George has put together a step by step guide showing exactly how to buy all parts (~$700) from 6 different shops, solder the components to NEO Rev A board, wire and test the board, and assemble the case.

Via Arstechnica and Nanik.

You Can Buy AirPods-like Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Earbuds for $16 and Up

November 30th, 2016 6 comments

Most Bluetooth headsets on the market actually come with some sort of wire or holding mechanism, which may not always be convenient, for example I can’t use mine comfortably while lying down on the bed. But that to electronics miniaturization, companies have recently started to offer truly wireless Bluetooth earbuds, including Apple’s yet-to-be available $159 Airpods. This morning I noticed two similar products in new arrivals list, first with $59.99  QCY Q29 mini Earburds on GeekBuying, and then even cheaper, but not quite as good looking (and likely not so good sounding), “FreeStereo Twins Wireless Bluetooth v4.1 In-Ear Headset w/ Mic” on DealExtreme going for just $22.25 including shipping.

qcy-q29-earbudsLet’s start with QCY Q29 earbuds specifications:

  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.1 with HFP, HSP, A2DP, AVRC protocols support; up to 5-10 meter range
  • Built-in Microphone
  • Charging port – pogo on earbuds, micro USB to storage/charging box
  • Battery – 45mAh for up to 12 hours per charge; Charging time: one hour
  • Dimensions – Earbud: 17 x 25 x 29mm
  • Weight – 5.3 grams per earbud

QCY Q29 earphones ship with three pairs of silicon earcups, a charging cable, a charging box, and an English manual. You’ll be able to answer/reject call, lsiten to music, and all the things you’d normally do with a Bluetooth headset. The earbuds are also available on other shops such Banggood (now with 18% discount coupon), and Amazon US where you can also buy individual earbud for $13.5 in case you lose one. Reviews are generally positive on Amazon, but one person did mention that “Was ok but don’t stay in the ear well“, so I’m not sure it’s suitable for running for example…

cheap-airpods-clone

The cheaper noname version shown above with all accessories has a shorter battery life:

  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.1 with support for SP / HFP / A2DP / AVRCP; up to 10 meter range
  • Embedded Microphone
  • Charging port – pogo on earbuds, micro USB to charging dock
  • Battery – LiPo battery for up to 3 hours talk time, 5 hours music , 55 hours in standby mode; Charging time: 3 hours
  • Misc – Not waterproof
  • Dimensions – Earbud: 2.7 cm x 1.8 cm x 2.7 cm
  • Weight – 9 grams per earbud

The earbuds also ship with three pairs of silicon earcups, a charging cable, a charging dock, and an user’s manual in English and Chinese.

You’ll also find various “true wireless stereo earbuds” on Aliexpress for various prices, and one pair that could be interesting is X1T earbuds selling for $15.99 and up.

x1t-true-wireless-earphone

Sevenhugs Smart Remote is a Universal Direction Aware WiFi, Bluetooth and IR Remote Control (Crowdfunding)

November 25th, 2016 2 comments

You may have all sort of remote control devices around your home from the traditional IR remote control for your TV, air conditioner, audio system etc.., as well remote control apps for WiFi or Bluetooth objects such as smart light bulbs or water pumps running on your smartphone. Sevenhugs Smart Remote promises to replace them all, and all you have to do is to point the remote control to your devices, or setup virtual actions to your door or window to order a Uber drive or check the weather.
sevenhugs-remote-control

Sevenhugs Smart Remote specifications:

  • MCU – ARM Cortex-M4 @ 200 MHz
  • System Memory – 32 MB RAM
  • LCD – 3.43″ touch screen IPS display; Dragontrail damage ans scratch resistant cover glass, anti-fingerprint & anti-glare
  • Wireless Connectivity – IR transceiver, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 LE connectivity
  • USB – USB C port for charging
  • Sensors – Indoor positioning sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, ambient light sensor
  • Misc – Small speaker
  • Dimensions – 135 x 41 x 9.7 mm

The remote comes with a charging base including a lost & found button to make the remote control ring in case you can’t locate it, as well as three room sensors to place close to the object/service your want to control, for example one close to your TV, the other on your door, and the last one next to your window. You’ll still need a smartphone running Android or iOS to install an app to configure the remote control for your devices, and currently 25,000 devices using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Infrared are supported with more being added daily.
smart-remote-room-sensorsOnce this simple setup is complete, simply point to remote to the device or service you want to control, and the screen interface will adapt to the objects pointed with for example volume control for an audio system, and weather forecast when pointing to a window. If you have several objects in a zone for example a TV with set-top box and AV receiver, you can use the carousel on the remote control to switch between each of them. This also means you can control other WiFi devices from any room in your home.

The company will also release a Lua SDK based in C/C++, first allowing to add new devices to be released in June 2017 but with an early release already available in github, and then allowing much more control over the remote such as developing custom gesture, screens, and menus. The Level 2 part of the SDK is scheduled for release at the end of 2017.

The remote control has been launched in Kickstarter, and have been very successful so far having raised over $700,000. Most early bird rewards are gone, but you can still pledge $149 to get  Smart Remote Kit including the charging base and 3 room sensors. Shipping is free to the US and western Europe, but for other countries it will cost you $20 to $35 extra, and delivery is scheduled for July 2017. More details may be found on Sevenhugs Smart Remote microsite.

$49 Dashbot Car Dashboard Assistant is Powered by C.H.I.P Pro Allwinner GR8 Module (Crowdfunding)

November 18th, 2016 2 comments

Most companies specializing in development boards may sell a few accessories for their boards, but usually leave product design to their customers. Next Thing Co. does that too, but the company also produces some products like PocketCHIP portable Linux computer & retro game console, and more recently Dashbot, a voice controller assistant for your car’s dashboard powered by CHIP Pro module.

dashbot

Dashbot hardware specifications:

  • CPU Module – CHIP Pro with Allwinner GR8 ARM Cortex A8 processor @ 1.0 GHz, 512MB NAND flash, 256 DDR3 RAM, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2
  • External Storage – micro SD slot
  • Display – Red LED display
  • Audio – 32-bit audio DSP for beamforming & noise suppression; fairfield audio pre-processor with 24-bit ADC; high fidelity MEMS microphone array (106 dB dynamic range)
  • USB – 1x USB host port
  • Power Supply – 5V via USB port or 12V via power port (aka cigarette lighter) + backup LiFePo4 battery
  • Dimensions – 84 x 60 x 28 mm

The bot runs mainline Linux, source code will be available, as well as hardware design files making open source hardware (likely minus CHIP Pro module itself). Once you’ve stuck the magnetic adhesive mount to the dashboard, and placed Dashbot on top, you can connect it to your car stereo via Bluetooth or your car’s auxiliary jack. Wait what?  My car does not have any of those two connection methods… But no problem as the company also offers a Retro Pack adding an FM transmitter and cassette adapter for older cars.

dashbot-connection-guideThe main goal of Dashbot is to keep your smartphone in your pocket, and control it with your voice in order to keep your eyes on the road. But you’ll still need your phone, and after installing Dashbot app on your Android 5.0+ or iOS 10+ smartphones, you’ll be able to tell Dashbot to start playing music from online services like Spotify, Soundcloud, Google Play Music, and others, or tell it to “go home” and it will show the directions from Google Maps on the red LED display, and of course you can also answer phone calls, and reply to SMS.

Dashbot “AI powered hands-free car kit” launched on Kickstarter a few hours ago, has already raised over $50,000, and I’m confident it will surpass its $100,000 funding target. A $49 pledge should get you Dashbot, a power port for your cigarette lighter and an AUX cable, but if you have a car with a stereo that does not come with Bluetooth nor an AUX IN jack, you can get the Retro Pack for $65 with an FM radio/cassette player adapter. They also have rewards with an OBD-II dongle, and bundles with multiple Dashbots. Shipping adds $9 or more depending on rewards and destination, and delivery is planned for July 2017.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Processor To be Manufactured with Samsung’s 10-nm FinFET Process technology

November 17th, 2016 2 comments

Qualcomm Technologies and Samsung Electronics have jointly announced that the upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor for mobile devices will be manufactured using Samsung’s 10-nanometer (nm) FinFET process technology.

qualcomm_snapdragon_821
Sadly, neither companies provided further details about the processor itself, but they did offer some insights in the performance and power efficiency improvement between 14nm and 10nm processes with Samsung’s 10nm technology allowing up to a 30% increase in area efficiency with 27% higher performance or up to 40% lower power consumption.
Snapdragon 835 is said to be in production now with commercial devices featuring the new processor expected in H1 2017.

November 11 Singles’ Day Promotions in Chinese Online Stores

November 10th, 2016 5 comments

November 11 is Single’s day in China, and just like Valentine’s day, it is used for commercial purpose to make people buy stuffs. It’s also Black Friday before Black Friday, as Chinese online stores will also offer discounts to their customers, and this remains true for stores catering to oversea customers, so you may find a few interesting deals from 11.11 day festivities around the web. I’ve gathered a few of the offers from the most popular Chinese sites catering to overseas markets.

11-11-promotion

GeekBuying has an “11.11 Carnival” that actually started on November 1st, and ending on November 12th. They have promotions changing every day, as well as some coupons such as DB1111 $15 coupon if you spent over $215.

Aliexpress calls it “11.11 Global Shopping Festival” instead. You can buy coupons for half price, and check out for products with the red SALE icon on the left of the price as shown in the screenshot below. Just don’t believe the 50% discount, and you’re likely to have just a few dollars off.

aliexpress-11-11

So if it’s not November 11th yet on such device, you’ll see an inflated price, but if you wait until Singles’ Day you’ll get the price shown in red.

Next up is GearBest’s “11.11 Sales Storm” which will last until November 14th, and offers flash sales for various items. Again don’t expect for miracles, unless maybe you are lucky. For example, Beelink GT1 is $55, about $1 or $2 cheaper than usual.

gearbest-11-11

I could not find any specific 11.11 promotion on DealExtreme, but Banggood Singles Day event has some snap up sales, e.g. T95Z Plus for $11.11, which will be close to impossible to get since those are obviously stock limited, as well as some coupons for various caterogies, and for instance you can get an 8% discount using ele1111 for electronics category.