Posts Tagged ‘smartphone’

HiSilicon Kirin 960 Octa Core Application Processor Features ARM Cortex A73 & A53 Cores, Mali G71 MP8 GPU

October 20th, 2016 1 comment

Following on Kirin 950 processor found in Huawei Mate 8, P9, P9 Max & Honor 8 smartphones, Hisilicon has now unveiled Kirin 960 octa-core processor with four ARM Cortex A73 cores, four Cortex A53 low power cores, a Mali G71 MP8 GPU, and an LTE Cat.12 modem.


The table below from Anandtech compares features and specifications of Kirin 950 against the new Kirin 960 processor.

SoC Kirin 950 Kirin 960
CPU 4x Cortex A72 (2.3 GHz)
4x Cortex A53 (1.8 GHz)
4x Cortex A73 (2.4 GHz)
4x Cortex A53 (1.8 GHz)
or LPDDR4-1333
(hybrid controller)
GPU ARM Mali-T880MP4
@ 900 MHz
ARM Mali-G71MP8
@ 900 MHz
Interconnect ARM CCI-400 ARM CCI-550
1080p H.264
Decode & Encode2160p30 HEVC
2160p30 HEVC & H.264
Decode & Encode2160p60 HEVC
Camera/ISP Dual 14bit ISP
Dual 14bit ISP
Sensor Hub i5 i6
Storage eMMC 5.0 UFS 2.1
Balong Integrated
UE Cat. 6 LTE
UE Cat. 12 LTE
4x CA
4×4 MIMO

ARM claims 30% “sustained” performance improvement between Cortex A72 and Cortex A73,  but the GPU should be where the performance jump is more significant, as ARM promises a 50 percent increase in graphics performance, and a 20 percent improvement in power efficiency with Mali G71 compared the previous generation (Mali-T880). Kirin 960 also integrates twice the GPU cores compared to Kirin 950, and some GPU benchmarks provided by Hisilicon/Huawei confirm the theory with over 100% performance improvement in both Manhattan 1080p offscreen and T-Rex offscreen GFXBench 4.0 benchmarks.

The first smartphone to feature Kirin 960 is likely to be Huawei Mate 9 rumored to come with a 5.9″ 2K display, 6GB RAM, and 256 UFS flash.

Qualcomm Introduces Three New LTE Cat. 7 SoCs with QC 3.0 and Dual Camera Support: Snapdragon 427, 626, and 653

October 18th, 2016 2 comments

Qualcomm has announced three new Snapdragon 400 & 600 SoCs for entry-level and mid-range LTE smartphones that share Quick Charge 3.0 and dual camera support, as well as an a Snapdragon X9 LTE CAT 7 modem capable of 300Mbps downlink, 150Mbps uplink.

qualcomm-snapdragon-653Snapdragon 427

Snapdargon 427 quad core Cortex A53 processor is a pin-to-pin compatible update to Snapdragon 425 processor with a faster Cat 7 modem. The Snapdragon 427 is also the first in the Snapdragon 400 family to offer TruSignal antenna tuning for 802.11ac WiFi, includes a 16MP dual ISP, and supports displays up to 1280×800 resolution.

You’ll find more details on the product page.

Snapdragon 626

Snapdragon 626 octo-core ARM Cortex A53 processor up to 2.2 GHz features a “PC-class” Adreno Adreno 506 GPU,  a 24MP dual ISP, also supports TruSignal, 4K @ 30 fps video recording, and displays up to 1920×1200 resolution. It’s a pin-to-pin compatible upgrade to Snapdragon 625 with about 10% performance improvement.

You can visit the product page for additional info.

Snapdragon 653

The faster processor out of the three SoCs, Snapdragon 653 quad core Cortex A72 @ up to 1.95 GHz + qua core ARM Cortex A53 is a pin-to-pin compatible update to Snapdragon 652 & 650 processors with up to 10% performance improvement compared to the latter. The dual ISP supports camera sensors up to 21 MP, records 4K @ 30 fps video using H.264 or H.265 video codecs, and the SoC an be used in smartphone with displays up to 2560×1600 resolution. The addressable memory has also doubled compared to 652, which means Snapdragon 653 smartphones with up to 8GB RAM are feasible.

Snapdragon 653 and 626 processors will be available to Qualcomm customers before the end of the year, and Snapdragon 427 will be found in devices early next year.

NETGEAR Gigabit Class LTE Mobile Router MR1100 is Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE Modem

October 18th, 2016 5 comments

Qualcomm, NETGEAR, Telstra and Ericsson have jointly announced the very first commercial Gigabit LTE modem router  with NETGEAR Mobile Router MR1100 based on Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE modem.


NETGEAR MR1100 LTE Modem Router Connected to a Laptop

The NETGEAR Mobile Router MR1100 leverages 3x carrier aggregation, 4×4 MIMO, and 256-QAM, to achieve download speeds up to a peak of 979 Mbps. The device also integrates Qualcomm 802.11ac solution with 2×2 MIMO and dual-band support for overall Wi-Fi throughput of up to 1Gbps.

Qualcomm Technologies has recently conducted a simulation of a Gigabit Class LTE network, using a mix of LTE devices (LTE Category 4 to 16), and found average throughput to be between 112 Mbps and 307 Mbps for Cat.16 devices depending on traffic type, but speeds up to 533 Mbps should be possible for 90th percentile users. Beside shortening download speeds, this kind of performance will enable new applications such as 4K 360 degrees VR videos up to 60 or 120 fps, and possibly change the way apps operate, as opening files from the cloud might be faster than from internal storage…

Telstra is expected to offer NETGEAR MR1100 to its customers in the next few months, to operate on Telstra’s Gigabit-ready network, managed by Ericsson. Snapdragon X16 LTE modem will also be integrated into the next Snapdragon 8xx processor, with Gigabit Class LTE smartphones expected sometimes in 2017.

Looking further ahead, Qualcomm also introduced Snapdragon X50 modem for 5G networks operating in millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum in the 28GHz band, and designed to support peak download speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second. The 5G modem will sample in H2 2017, and the first commercial products for 5G networks are expected in H1 2018.

Android 7.1 Developer Preview Coming Soon with Image Keyboard Support, App Shortcuts API, etc…

October 12th, 2016 No comments

Google will soon release Android 7.1 Developer Preview for Nexus 5X & Nexus 6P smartphone, as well as Pixel C tablet, listed some of the changes you can expect in the new dot release, and provided a timeline for other devices and the official launch.

android-7-1-featuresAndroid 7.1 developer and user visible changes will include:

  • App shortcuts API will allow developer to set up to 5 shortcuts accessibly from app icon directly in the launcher. For example, a messaging app could have shortcuts to your favorite users and/or open a new conversation.
  • Circular app icons support to create rounded icons similar to what is used in Pixel launcher.
  • Enhanced live wallpaper metadata so that developers can show existing metadata such as label, description, and author, as well as a new context URL and title to link to more information.
  • Image keyboard support will let user easily insert custom stickers, animated gifs, and more from the keyboard app.
  • Storage manager Intent can be used by app to direct the user to Settings screen to clear unused files and free up storage space.
  • New APIs to support multi-endpoint calling and new telephony configuration options.

If you want to receive the Developer Preview automatically, enroll your device on Android Beta. After the first preview, more devices will be supported in the final Android 7.1.x release scheduled for early December, including Nexus 6, 5X, 6P, 9, Player, Pixel C, supported Android One devices, as well as the new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones.

Categories: Android Tags: Android, google, nougat, sdk, smartphone, tablet

Google Announces Pixel and Pixel XL Smartphones for $649 and Up

October 5th, 2016 No comments

Google used to collaborate with smartphone manufacturers for their Nexus devices, but the company is now promoting their own Pixel brand, and has just launched Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, and running Android 7.0 Nougat operating system.

pixel-phoneBoth smartphones share most of the same specifications, but XL has a larger screen, a bigger battery, and a higher price tag:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 (MSM8996 pro AB) Quad core Kryo processor with two cores at up to 2.15GHz, two cores at up to 1.6GHz, Adreno 530 GPU
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 32 or 128 GB storage
  • Display
    • Pixel – 5.0″ FHD (1920×1080) AMOLED display; 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 4
    • Pixel XL – 5.5″ QHD (2560×1440) AMOLED display; 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 4
  • Camera
    • 12.3 MP rear camera (IMX378 sensor) with laser and phase detection auto focus (LDAF + PDAF), f/2.0 aperture
    • 8 MP front-facing camera (IMX179 sensor) with fixed focus, f/2.4 aperture
    • Video recording support – 720p @ 30/60/240fps, 1080p @ 30/60/120fps, 4K @ 30 fps
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • Single SIM
    • Supports up to CAT 11 (600Mbps DL / 75Mbps UL) depending upon carrier coverage and carrier rollouts:
      • Telstra – CAT11 (600Mbps DL / 75Mbps UL)
      • All others – CAT 9 (450Mbps DL / 50 Mbps)
    • Quad-band GSM, UMTS/WCDMA, CDMA, FDD LTE, and TDD LTE support
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, NFC
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio jack, single bottom-firing speaker, 3 microphones, noise suppression.
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 type C port
  • Sensors – Proximity/ALS, accelerometer / gyrometer, magnetometer, pixel imprint (Back-mounted fingerprint sensor for fast unlocking), barometer, hall sensor, sensor hub: CHRE V2 with GPS/Wi-Fi/BT, advanced x-axis haptics for sharper/defined response
  • Battery
    • Pixel – 2,770 mAh battery good for up to 19 days standby (LTE), 26 hours talk time, and 13 hours Internet use
    • Pixel XL – 3,450 mAh battery good for up to 23 days standby (LTE), 32 hours talk time, and 14 hours Internet use
    • Fast charging: up to 7 hours of use from only 15 minutes of charging thanks to USB PD support
  • Dimensions & Weight
    • Pixel – 143.8 x 69.5 x 7.3 ~ 8.5 mm | TBD
    • Pixel XL – 154.7 x 75.7 x 7.3 ~ 8.5 mm | TBD

The phones will ship with a USB-C 18W adaptor with USB-PD, and A-C cable (USB 3.0), a C-C cable (USB 2.0), a SIM tool, a quick switch adapter, and in box promos and collateral. Pixel phones will run Android 7.0, are compatible with Google’s Daydream VR platform, and include the new improved Google Assistant, successor of “OK Google”.

Pixel is available for pre-order for $649 (32GB)  $749 (128GB) and Pixel XL for $769 (32GB)  $869 (128GB) in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany and Australia with pre-orders in India to begin on October 13.  More details can be found on Made by Google phone page scheduled to launch in October & November in several countries.

SoftKinetic Announces DepthSense 544 ToF Camera for Mobile Devices

September 26th, 2016 No comments

SoftKinetic has recently unveiled DepthSense 544 3D depth sensing ToF camera for mobile devices, which they claim is the world’s smallest ToF camera, with the “highest level of efficiency available on the market, perfect for small form factors such as smartphones and wearables”.


That’s all nice, but what does ToF mean? ToF stands for Time of Flight, and ToF cameras calculate the distance by measuring the time the light signal travels between the camera and the object as explained by Wikipedia:

A time-of-flight camera (ToF camera) is a range imaging camera system that resolves distance based on the known speed of light, measuring the time-of-flight of a light signal between the camera and the subject for each point of the image. The time-of-flight camera is a class of scannerless LIDAR, in which the entire scene is captured with each laser or light pulse, as opposed to point-by-point with a laser beam such as in scanning LIDAR systems.

Time-of-flight camera products for civil applications began to emerge around 2000, as the semiconductor processes became fast enough for such devices. The systems cover ranges of a few centimeters up to several kilometers. The distance resolution is about 1 cm. The lateral resolution of time-of-flight cameras is generally low compared to standard 2D video cameras, with most commercially available devices at 320 × 240 pixels or less as of 2011. TOF cameras operate very quickly, providing up to 160 images per second.

Texas Instruments provides a more detailed technical introduction of Time-of-flight camera, and also compare time-of-flight techniques to the two other 3D imaging technologies, namely stereo vision and structured light.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

ToF has the advantage of having lower software complexity, fast response time good low and bright light performance, at the expensive of having a medium cost, low compactness (a problem mostly fixed by SoftKinetic module), and medium depth accuracy. It can be used for most applications include games, 3D scanning, user interface, and augmented reality, but is not suitable to shoot 3D movies.

A 2016 Allied Market Search report shows that among 3D cameras, most are using stereo vision technology, and such 3D cameras are still expect to dominate in 2021, but the market share of ToF cameras should increase at the expense of structure light solutions.


But let’s go back to Softkinetic DepthSense 544 ToF camera, which is said to have the following key features:

  • 10µ pixel, ¼ inch sensor with micro lenses for high depth resolution
  • HDR sensor for both outdoor operation and extra close depth capture
  • MIPI interface for low latency
  • Innovative lens design for small form factor and high efficiency

The module is said to enable fast multi-point auto focus in extreme low light conditions, DSLR quality depth-of-field and background replacement, augmented/virtual reality natural hand interaction in games, indoor navigation and 3D scanning applications for mobile devices.

SoftKinetic DS541 is currently sampling, with mass production planned for Q3 2017. The company will also be showcasing the technology during a two-day DepthSense Workshop, taking place in San Jose, CA on September 26-27, 2016.

Via Image Sensors World Blog

LeEco Le Pro 3 Snapdragon 821 Smartphone Sells for $270 and Up (in China)

September 22nd, 2016 10 comments

Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 is possibly the fastest mobile application processor available today, and a few smartphones have started to launch with the processor including Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe selling for about $575 in Taiwan, and the phone I’m going to cover in this post – LeEco  Le Pro 3 – has just launched in China starting at 1799 CNY ($270) with 4GB RAM and 32GB flash, and up to 2999 CNY ($540) with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage.


LeEco Le Pro 3 smartphone specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad core Kryo processor with Adreno 530 GPU and Hexagon 680 DSP
  • System Memory/Internal Storage – 4GB/32GB, 4GB/64GB (Zhang Zimou Edition), 6GB/64GB, or 6GB/128GB (Zhang Zimou Edition); Storage devices are all UFS 2.0 flash.
  • Display – 5.5″ FHD (1920×1080) LCD display
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • 2G – GSM:2/3/5/8; CDMA: BC0/BC1
    • 3G – WCDMA: B1/2/4/5/8 TD-SCDMA: B34/39; EVDO:BC0/BC1
    • 4G – FDD-LTE: B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/20; TDD-LTE:38/39/40/41
    • 2x Nano SIM card slot
  • Wireless Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi 2-stream MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS/A-GPS/GLONASS/Beidou
  • Camera – 8MP front-facing camera, 16MP rear camera with flash capable of recording 720p @ 120p, 1080p / 4K @ 30 fps
  • Audio – CDLA support, speaker and microphone
  • USB – USB Type C port
  • Sensors – Fingerprint scanner, IR transmitter, gravity sensor, 3-axis gyroscope, compass, light sensor, proximity sensor
  • Battery – 4,070 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0
  • Dimensions – 151.4 mm x 73.9 mm x 7.5 mm
  • Weight – 175 grams

The phone runs Android 6.0 with the company’s EUI 5.8 skin. Just like previous LeEco devices, it does not come with a 3.5mm audio jack, and it’s also missing micro SD card support. There four memory and storage configurations with the two other models with 4GB/64GB and 6GB/64GB selling for respectively 1,999 CNY ($300) and 2,499 CNY ($375). The two more expensive models ($375 and $540) are “Zhang Zimou Editions”, but apart from featuring the name of a famous Chinese filmmaker, I could not find which features they add specifically (if any).

More details can be found on LeEco Le Pro 3 product page (Chinese language only).

Via XDA developers

Receive Android SMS & Call Notifications in Ubuntu 16.04 with KDE Connect (or Not?)

September 15th, 2016 11 comments

I often miss calls, and I may be slow to answer SMS on my Android phone, but I’m often in front of my computer, so I decided to look for solutions to show SMS and call notifications on my computer running Ubuntu 16.04. I first found LinConnect, but it does not seem to be developed anymore, and after some more research I discovered that KDE Connect should do the job. The developer just released KDE Connect 1.0 a few weeks ago with add encryption, the ability to reply to SMS from your computer and more… One person posted instructions for Kubuntu 16.04. There’s just a problem it won’t work with Unity desktop, only KDE Plasma, due to a lack of support for Qt 5.6.

You can still use the older version without encryption and other new features by “simply” running:

However the installation failed for me:

An “apt install -f” did not help, so I uninstalled kde-l10n-th package:

Ran “sudo apt install -f”, and the installation went through. It’s possible it’s an error specific to Thai language only. I’m unclear whether the bug is due to that package, or KDE Connect.

Now you can install KDE Connect Android app on your phone, and start KDE Connect Settings on your computer and enable the server in order to pair your phone.

Click to Enlarge

KDE Connect Settings (Ubuntu) – Click to Enlarge


I could connect to the server, and set notifications for apps. You can also set several options in KDE Connect in Ubuntu 16.04, and the program seems quite powerful.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Sadly, I only manage to get a notification once in the top right corner for an upcoming call (I was not fast enough for a screenshot), and after it I did work anymore. You can also open KDE Connect Monitor to have a look at notifications, but in the case of calls it will only show you the missed called, not when the call starts. The Blue button on the top right is used to make your phone ring in case you can’t find it.

android-smartphone-notifications-ubuntu-computerIt’s not really ideal, so I decided to go ahead and install the latest version.

The first step is to install the Kubuntu backport.

Sadly I canceled it, because I went through many dependencies errors during installation, maybe I did something wrong.

In case it works, you can use the PPA for Kubuntu 16.04 / 16.10, and install KDE Connect 1.0:

Overall, this was a time consuming experience, and KDE Connect did not work reliably for me. Any tips are welcomed.