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Posts Tagged ‘smartphone’

Intel Cancels Low Cost Atom Broxton & SoFia SoCs

April 30th, 2016 5 comments

Intel has recently announced it would lay off 11% of its workforce, and has now decided to kill plans for Atom Broxton, successor of Intel Cherry Trail processor, as well as low cost SoFia smartphone SoCs. That’s not really surprising as Intel was reported to have very small margins, or even to subsidy, low cost Intel based smartphones, and mini PCs. Rockchip/Intel Sofia SoC has never been popular with only a handful of smartphones and tablets launched in the last year.

Intel_Atom_Broxton_Sofia_KilledNevertheless, we’ve had it good with $70 Bay Trail TV sticks, and $85 Cherry Trail mini PCs, and Intel is still manufacturing and selling those parts. But in the future, it might not be possible to buy sub $100 mini PCs or tablets with the latest Intel processors, as the company is now focusing on higher margin processors with Intel Core M and Apollo Lake (succeeding Braswell).

More details and in-depth analysis of the announcement can be found on Liliputing and Anandtech.

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Categories: Intel Atom Tags: intel, smartphone, sofia

Watch Live TV on the Go on your Smartphone or Tablet with a $38 Portable WiFi Digital TV Tuner Box

April 28th, 2016 11 comments

Companies have showcased products letting users watch DVB-T or ISDB-T channels since 2013, with products such as Geniatech WiTV, Tivizen USB dongles, or Geniatech PT115m/PT115e USB DVB-T Sticks. The only problem is that those devices never seem to become available, but I’ve now found that they’ve become easier to purchase since 2014 & 2015, with for example a “DTV Link” WiFi tuner box selling for $45.99 on Buyincoins, and compatible with SianoTV app for Android or iOS.WiFi-TV-Tuner-Box“DTV Link” WiFi TV tuner box specifications & features:

  • Digital TV Standards – DVB-T & ISDB-T Oneseg
  • Codecs – H.264/MPEG-4 and MPEG-2
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, 7 to 10 meters max range.
  • Battery – 600mAh rechargeable battery good for about 3 hours of TV viewing
  • Dimension – 69 x 54 x 21mm
  • Weight – 52g

The device ships with a USB Charging Cable, and user’s manual in a bubble bag (no retail package).

The video below shows how it works on another SianoTV compatible device called Meron. But basically the device is a WiFi access point (Meron, password: 12345), and once you’ve connected to it you can scan channels and watch TV with SianoTV app. Bear in mind that since only DVB-T and ISDB-T are supported, only SD resolution is available, no HD.

The device is also found on Aliexpress for as low as around $38 shipped. If you’d rather watch HD channels, I found “Lesee DVB-T2 WiFi box” selling for $68.99 on Aliexpress or $73.99 on eBay. The app for that model is called Lesee DVBT2 WiFi, and you’d be one of the first to try since there are only 1 to 5  installs reported with the app was first released on April 21.

Thanks to Onebir for the tip.

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Categories: Android, Hardware, Video Tags: Android, dvb, ios, smartphone, tablet, tv

Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu Edition Smartphone is Up for Sale for $370

April 26th, 2016 1 comment

Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu Edition, the first high-end smartphone running Ubuntu operating system, is now available on jd.com for $369.99, and Russian people can order it here. However, one of the key selling point of using an Ubuntu phone would be desktop and mobile use, the so-called “convergence”, but since there’s no MHL or HDMI output, and the USB-C port does not carry the video signals on this phone, that feature will be missing.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition smartphone specifications as listed on JD.com:

  • SoC – Samsung Exynos 7 Octa (7420) octa core processor with four Cortex A57 cores @ 2.1GHz, four Cortex A53 cores @ 1.5Ghz, and a Mali-T760 MP8 GPU
  • System Memory – 3GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 32 GB UFS 2.0 storage + micro SD slot up to 128GB
  • Display  – 5.7″’AMOLED capacitive touchscreen with 1920×1080 resolution. Gorilla Glass 3.
  • Camera – 21MP rear camera with autofocus and dual LED flash, 5MP front-facing camera
  • Cellular Network – GSM, WDCDMA (850/900/1900/2100 MHz),  FDD-LTE (1800/2100/2600 MHz); Dual SIM support
  • Connectivity -WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, GPS
  • USB – 1x USB type C connector for power and data
  • Sensors – Gravity, digital compass, ambient light, gyroscope
  • Battery – 3,050 mAh
  • Dimensions – 156.7 x 78 x 7.5 mm
  • Weight – 168 grams

I think the phone is available worldwide, but I’ve had troubles changing the shipping country on their website, which defaults to United States in my case. The good news is that the Ubuntu Edition is about the same price, even slightly cheaper than the Android version.

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Ubuntu 16.04 LTS “Xenial Xerus” Release

April 21st, 2016 6 comments

Ubuntu 16.04 Long Term Support (LTS) release of the popular Linux distribution is scheduled for later today. The release codenamed Xenial Xerus will feature ‘snap’ package format, LXD pure-container hypervisor, and be the very first release with support for converge with IoT, phone, desktop and server versions running on the same base.

Ubuntu-16.04

Some of the key changes listed by Canonical include:

  • Introduces “snaps” for new robust, secure app format which can still be used along ‘deb’ packages
  • Introduces LXD pure-container hypervisor with OpenStack Mitaka
  • Supports IBM Z and LinuxONE systems with flat pricing
  • Steps towards converged Ubuntu across IoT, Phone, Desktop and Server
  • Introduces ZFS and CephFS for large-scale cloud storage

Ubuntu 16.04 will also run updated version of packages with Linux 4.4, Python 3.5, OpenSSH 2.0, PHP 7.0, MySQL 5.7, etc.. More details about the changes can be found on Xenial Xerus release notes. I’ve also noticed the system recommends apt instead of apt-get when a command is not installed.

Since an LTS release is now supported by 5 years, Ubuntu 16.04 will get updates at least until April 2021.  If as I do, you are Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, there’s no rush to update, as support will only end in April 2019, and you won’t actually be notified of the upgrade until Ubuntu 16.04.1 release in July. But if you want to upgrade manually later today, open a terminal and make sure the system is up-to-date.

and then run the update manager:

which should inform you if Ubuntu 16.04 is ready to be installed.

Update_Ubuntu_14.04_to_Ubuntu_16.04

If instead you’d like to install from scratch, you should be able to download the ISO and flash it to a USB drive or DVD drive. Canonical also used to sell Ubuntu installation DVDs, but OMG Ubuntu reports that Ubuntu 16.04 is the first release for which an official installation DVD won’t be sold, and instead the company is selling a bootable USB  drive with Ubuntu 16.04.

Ubuntu_16.04_USB_stick

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ARM Cortex A72 is Getting into Sub $200 Android Smartphones Thanks to Mediatek Helio X20 SoC

April 7th, 2016 18 comments

Flagship Android smartphones now ship with processors featuring Cortex A72 cores,  or custom variants from Samsung or Qualcomm, and normally cost several hundred dollars. Some new smartphones recently announced with MediaTek Helio X20 deca-core processor lower the price barrier in the $250 to $400 range, but at least two upcoming models will bring the cost below $200: Doogee P7 ($169.99), and Vernee Apollo Lite ($199.99). So let’s see what we’ve got for those prices.

Doogee P7

Doogee_F7Doogee P7 (preliminary) Specifications:

  • SoC – Mediatek Helio X20 (MT6797) deca-core processor with 2x Cortex A72 cores @ 2.5 GHz, 4x Cortex A53 cores @ 2.0 GHz, and 4x Cortex A53 cores @ 1.4 GHz and ARM Mali-T880MP GPU @ 850 Mhz
  • System Memory – 3GB RAM
  • Storage – 16 GB storage and micro SD slot up to 64GB (shared with dual SIM slot)
  • Display – 5.5″ capacitive touchscreen, 1920×1080 resolution; 160K colors
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • 2G – GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
    • 3G – WCDMA 900/2100MHz
    • 4G – FDD LTE Band 1/3/7/8/20
    • Dual SIM Card Dual Standby (One Micro SIM Card)
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS/A-GPS, and FM radio
  • Camera – 13.0 MP rear camera with flash and auto-focus, 8.0 MP front-facing camera
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Audio – Speaker, microphone, and 3.5mm audio jack
  • Sensors – gravity, others? (TBD)
  • Battery – 3600 mAh battery
  • Dimensions – 159.6 x 82.1 x 9.5 mm
  • Weight – 170 grams

The phone will run Android 6.0, and ships with a charger and USB cable. You can find some more details on DoogeeMobile, where they show the $169.99 price tag in comments (likely without shipping).  There will also be a Doogee P7 Pro version with 32GB storage and 4GB RAM, better camera and display that should sell for $200. It’s unclear when the two versions of the phone will be available, as they keep postponing them.

Vernee Apollo Lite

Vernee_Apollo_LiteVernee Apollo Lite is the little brother of Vernee Apollo with Helio X20, 6GB RAM, and 128 GB, but selling for half price thanks to lower, but still decent (preliminary)  specifications:

  • SoC – Mediatek Helio X20 (MT6797) deca-core processor with 2x Cortex A72 cores @ 2.5 GHz, 4x Cortex A53 cores @ 2.0 GHz, and 4x Cortex A53 cores @ 1.4 GHz and ARM Mali-T880MP GPU @ 850 Mhz
  • System Memory – 4GB RAM
  • Storage – 32 GB storage + micro SD slot
  • Display – 5.5″ capacitive touchscreen, 1920×1080 resolution
  • Cellular Connectivity – No details yet; Dual SIM Card Dual Standby (SIM + SIM, or SIM + micro SD configuration)
  • Connectivity – TBD
  • Camera – 16.0 MP rear camera, 5.0 MP front-facing camera
  • USB – 1x USB type C port
  • Sensors – Compass, gyroscope
  • Battery – TBD
  • Dimensions – TBD
  • Weight – TBD

The phone will also run Android 6.0, and is expected to launch in May for $199.99 + shipping. The company announced the phone on their Facebook page.

Even though the complete specifications are not available for Apollo Lite and Doogee P7, both devices appear to be pretty good smartphones considering the price point.

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$99 OLO 3D Printer Works with Your Smartphone (Crowdfunding)

March 29th, 2016 11 comments

3D printers for the home usually cost between few hundred dollars to several thousands depending on the model, but OLO 3D Inc. has created a $99 3D printer that prints objects using your smartphone screen and photopolymers (aka daylight resins) that harden with light.

OLO_3D_Printer
The printer itself is divided into two main zones: the bottom printing chamber where you’ll pour the liquid resin, and the top with the motor and four AA batteries that power the device.

You’ll first need to install OLO 3D Android or iOS app in your phone, load a 3D object either from a library, created with 3D software, or scanned with apps such as Autodesk 123D Catch, set your phone in airplane mode with WiFi disabled, connect it to the power adapter, place it in a bed at the bottom of OLO printer, and tap on print. Now place the printer bed and printing chamber, and pour your selected resin that comes in various colors, and hard or flexible material type, and finally place the top cover in order to start printing. You’ll need to be patient as it takes about 46 minutes to print a 1 cm object, and close to 2 hours for a one inch object using an iPhone 6. Accuracy and speed will depend on your phone resolution, brightness and contrast. Once the print is completed, you can clean it up with warm water, and you may want to leave it cure under sunlight. You can put the remaining resin back into the bottle. The resin bottles will actually be black, as the resin must be protected from ambient light.

OLO 3D printer works with phones with dimensions up to 82 x 62x  x 10mm, and prints objects as large as 76mm x 128mm x 52mm.

The Kickstarter camnpaign went viral, and with 22 days to go, OLO has raised 1.3 million dollars blasting through the $80,000 funding target. OLO 3D printer can now be had for $99 with a white resin bottle. A bottle of resin will typical cost around $15, and printing a small object cost around $1 in resin. Since Kickstarter is limited to one pledge, you’ll be able to order more resin on BackerKit later on. Shipping adds $29 to most countries, except for some reasons (likely a mistake) to some countries such as Brazil, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia. Delivery is scheduled for September 2016 to the US, and October 2016 to the rest of the world.

Via Liliputing

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Vernee Apollo Smartphone Features Helio X20 Processor, 6GB RAM & 128GB Storage

March 17th, 2016 7 comments

Some of the new smartphones coming to market are now just as powerful as entry-level computers and laptops, and Vernee Apollo is one of them with Mediatek Helio X20 deca-core processor, 6GB RAM, 128GB storage and a 5.5″ display.

Vernee_ApolloVernee Apollo key specifications:

  • SoC – Meaitek Helio X20 (MT6797) deca-core processor with 2x Cortex A72 cores @ 2.5 GHz, 4x Cortex A53 cores @ 2.0 GHz, and 4x Cortex A53 cores @ 1.4 GHz and ARM Mali-T880MP GPU @ 850 Mhz
  • System Memory – 6GB RAM
  • Storage – 128GB storage
  • Display – 5.5″ display with “2K” resolution and 3D force touch
  • Camera – 21.0MP rear camera (SONY IMX230 CMOS image sensor) , 8.0MP front-facing camera. ISP featuring Imagiq technology.
  • USB – Type-C port
  • Full metal uni-body

The phone runs Android 6.0, and is planned to launch on April 2016 together with other Helio X20 based smartphones from othe Chinese companies such as Meizu, after many delays due to rumored overheating issues.. The brand is completely new, but apparently worthwhile enough to be featured in a recently Mediatek press conference in Shenzhen.

Vernee Apollo and Thor Showcased at Mediatek event. The person on the right is allegedly Yenchi Lee, Mediatek's Product Planning Director

Vernee Apollo and Thor Showcased at Mediatek event. The person on the right is allegedly Yenchi Lee, Mediatek’s Product Planning Director

More details about the company can be found on their Facebook page:

Vernee was founded on February, 2016.

The foundation of Vernee is the mark of Newbund’s transfer from OEM/ODM to public market. Newbund is our parent company which is located in Shenzhen, China. There are more than 150 staffs in our company, especially we have more than 120 engineers in our R&D team from Shanghai R&D department, Shenzhen R&D department and Xi’an R&D department. Our sales teams are in Hongkong and Shenzhen.

A company representative also told me Vernee had been working on virtual reality kits.

Pricing for the phone has not been released yet. Eventually more details should surface on the Vernee website.

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Lattice and Mediatek Announce superMHL Smartphone Reference Designs Supporting 4K over USB-C

March 16th, 2016 No comments

Two standards are competing to bring 4K video output @ 60 Hz and 8K over USB type C connectors: DisplayPort 1.4 and superMHL. Lattice, who purchased Silicon Image last year, and Mediatek have collaborated to provide reference designs supporting superMHL and based on Helio X20 deca-core processor combined with Lattice components.

superMHL_smartphoneLattice SiI8348 MHL transmitter would handle 4K 60 fps video and MHL power, while Sil7033 USB type-C port controller would also handle USB 3.1 data transfer up to 10 Gbps, USB-C power delivery (PD), MHL Alt-mode on USB-C. Lattice also leverage their SiI7013 mobile USB Typer-C port controller, SiI9396 mobile superMHL/MHL to HDMI bridge, and other chips to offer accessories such as USB-C to HDMI adapters, MHL cables, USB-C charger, and USB-C dock with multiple USB ports and HDMI output.

superMHL_AccessoriesAnandtech notes that one the main problem with USB type C connector is likely to be the cable, as many of them are not fully compliant and some even dangerous, and for now most people use USB type C cable for USB 2.0 data and charging, but once USB 3.1 and video use case become more common, many consumers are likely to encounter even more issues, and their cables may not work. I assume the safe option is to always use the cable provided by the manufacturer of the device.

It’s unclear at this stage, when product based on the reference designs may come to market, and whether any OEMs have started development based on the designs.

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