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Posts Tagged ‘tablet’

Intel Reference Design Program for Android Promises Devices with Firmware Updates Tracking AOSP for 2 Years

September 10th, 2014 8 comments

If you’ve ever bought a low cost Chinese smartphone or tablet, you must know you can’t really expect firmware updates, especially with a different Android version. For example, if you’ve purchased an Android 4.1 phone or tablet a couple of years ago, more likely than not, it’s still stuck to the same version. Intel intends to change all that by launching the Intel Reference Design Program for Android.

Intel_Reference_Design_for_AndroidYes, Intel has provided reference designs in the past, but this program goes further, especially with regards to Android support, and firmware updates.

This is the way it all works:

  1. Manufacturers can choose a set of pre-qualified components to build their Android device.
  2. Intel will provide a single Android image that works with the drivers to support all components.
  3. Intel will take care of GMS (Google Mobile Service), and CTS (pre-)certification for their customers.
  4. Intel has committed to provide updates within 2 weeks of an AOSP update, for 2-year post-device launch.

So if you buy a new tablet part of Intel Reference Design Program for Android, you won’t have to worry about firmware upgrades, and you should get an image based on the latest AOSP release on your device within 2 weeks of a release.

Usually “reference design” refers to a single hardware design that manufacturers can copy, but in this case, I understand Intel solution will allow for more flexibility in the design, as they’ll support several touchscreen panels, displays, sensors, etc…, and it will be up to the OEM/ODM to select the ones they want in their design.

Details of the program do not seem to be available online, and they’ll probably need to find a way to indicate which Intel tablets are compliant with the program, so that consumers know which devices are actually supported.

Via Liliputing

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Intel Unveils Broadwell-Y Core M Processors with 4.5W TDP: 5Y70m 5Y10 and 5Y10a

September 7th, 2014 5 comments

ARM still have an edge in terms of power efficiency, but Intel has historically had an edge when it comes to process technology, and the company has announced their first 14-nm processors with three Broadwell Core M SoCs. The new process will also help with power efficiency, as all processors have 4.5W TDP, and Intel claims a Core M laptop will deliver twice the compute performance, and seven times more graphics processing power compared to a 2010 laptop powered by a 18W Core i5 processor, while doubling the battery life. Compared to more recent 4th generation Intel Core “Haswell” CPU, the new chips are said to offer up to 50 percent faster CPU performance and 40 percent graphics on a performance-per-watt basis.

Intel_Core_M_Die_Map

The company reveals three Core-M processors: 5Y70, 5Y10, and 5Y10a, all dual core / quad thread processor with base frequencies between 800 and 1,100 MHz, and turbo frequencies between 2 and 2.6 GHz, as well as an an Intel HD 5300 GPU clocked at 800 or 850 MHz depending on the model. The differences between the three processors are listed in the table below (Source: Anandtech)

Intel Core M Specifications
Core M-5Y70 Core M-5Y10a Core M-5Y10
Cores / Threads 2 / 4 2 / 4 2 / 4
Base Frequency / MHz 1100 800 800
Turbo Frequency / MHz 2600 2000 2000
Processor Graphics HD 5300 HD 5300 HD 5300
IGP Base Frequency / MHz 100 100 100
IGP Turbo Frequency / MHz 850 800 800
L3 Cache 4 MB 4 MB 4 MB
TDP 4.5 W 4.5 W 4.5 W
LPDDR3/DDR3L Support 1600 MHz 1600 MHz 1600 MHz
Intel vPro Yes No No
Intel TXT Yes No No
Intel VT-d/VT-x Yes Yes Yes
Intel AES-NI Yes Yes Yes

5Y10 and 5Y10a are very similar (all specs are identical in the table above), but Anandtech reports one of Intel slides indicates that 5Y10 supports “4W Config Down TDP” (cTDP Down). The GPU will support DirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.2, and OpenCL 2.0, support UHD resolution, and Intel Quick Sync Video, which should allow up to 1.7 hours extra battery life with a 35Whr battery compared to previous generations. If you want more technical information, you may want to visit Intel Core M page where you’ll find a product brief, and two datasheets.

Intel Core M processors will be found in thin (<9 mm), fanless 2-in-1 tablet/nodtebook hybrids and laptops that will be available later this year. Five companies have announced products with the latest low power chips by Intel: Acer (Aspire Switch 12), ASUS (Zenbook UX305), Dell (Latitude 13 7000 Series), HP (ENVY x2), and Lenovo (ThinkPad Helix). Since all three Core M SoCs have a price of $281 (1k order), they will only be found in high-end laptops or tablets, and all products aforementioned sells for around $1,000 or more. You can get a run-down of four of the devices on Liliputing.

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AllWinner Announces A83T Octa Core Processor for Tablets

September 4th, 2014 10 comments

AllWinner_A83TSo Allwinner has just announced a new processor. I’ve been disappointed recently when I discovered AllWinner A80 only supports Linux 3.4, whereas most competitors are running Android 3.10 stable kernel, and their partner is distributing A80 OptimusBoard development boards, which looks to be a nice hardware platform, but without any Android or Linux SDK… And with their latest press release you have to wonder… They announced AllWinner A83T processor with “eight highly energy-efficient Cortex-A7 cores that could run simultaneously at around 2.0GHz, and implements the advanced big.LITTLE architecture to maximize the battery life”. The only problem is that with big.LITTLE you need big and LITTLE core, and if AllWinner A83T is just having eight Cortex A7 cores, there’s no big to be found… I guess that just means they can turn cores on and off independently…

Allwinner must also have adopted Qualcomm or Mediatek press release “strategy”, as they release a little information as possible for their first press release… So right now, we just know the processor will be manufactured using TSMC’s 28-nm HPC processor, the cores will run up to 2.0 GHz, a PowerVR GPU is part of the mix, and it will feature Allwinner’s SmartColor technology to deliver better image quality.

Tablets based on Allwinner A83T should start selling in Q4 2014.

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Categories: AllWinner A8X, Android Tags: allwinner, tablet

Quad Core Android Tablet for $47, Wintel Tablet for $65

September 3rd, 2014 20 comments

When I think about $50 tablets, I think about 512MB RAM, 4GB flash, 800×480 resolution display and so on… But there’s currently a 7″ quad core Android tablet (eZee Tab 7Q11-L) that sells for $46.99 on BuyinCoins including shipping, which has some slightly better specs with 1GB RAM, 8GB flash, and a 1024×600 resolution touchscreen display.

eZee_Tab_Quad_Core_TabletHere are the specifications listed on Buyincoins:

  • SoC – Action Semi ATM7029B quad core Cortex A5 class processor @ 1.3Ghz with PowerVR SGX540 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB NAND flash and micro SD slot up to 32GB.
  • Display – 7″ multi-touch capacitive touch screen with 1024 x 600 resolution
  • Video Output – micro HDMI
  • Audio Output – 3.5mm audio jack, speaker
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, optional? Bluetooth (RTL8723AS-VT)
  • Camera – 0.3MP front camera
  • Sensors – Accelerometer, “automatic steering display screen”, G-sensor
  • Misc – Volume +/-, power and home buttons
  • Power Supply – 5V/1.5A via micro USB port
  • Battery – 2,800 mAh battery
  • Dimensions – 19.10cm x 11.60cm x 1.15cm
  • Weight – 330 grams

The tablet runs Android 4.1, and ships with a data cable, and a power adapter. I could also find this tablet model, on a French website, which has slightly different specs, i.e. 4GB storage instead of 8GB. 1.3MP camera, and Android 4.2, so it’s quite possible the specs listed in BIC are not fully correct, with the downside being you may end up with just 4GB flash. Nevertheless, a quad core tablet, albeit for a weak CPU and GPU, will all these features for $47, is quite a deal, and you could even consider it instead of a quad core mini PC considering it also features a micro HDMI port.

Thanks to onebir for the tip.

Since I’m talking about cheap tablets in this post, I’ll also mention the latest CUBE iWork7 powered by Intel Z3735 SoC and running Windows 8.1 (with Bing), selling for just about $65 (399 CNY) in China. I would not normally write about Windows only tablets, but since many people believe Windows + Intel = expensive, I wanted to show it may not always be the case. If you want to use Office however, price goes to 599 CNY (~$98).

Cube_IWORK_7
Cube iWork7 specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom Z3735G quad-core processor, with Intel HD graphics
  • System Memory – 1GB RAM
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash
  • Display – 7″, 1280 x 800 pixel IPS display
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi and 3G (China only?)
  • Video Output – (micro?) HDMI output
  • Camera – Front and rear cameras
  • Battery – Up to 8 hours of battery life.
  • Dimensions – 5.5 mm thick
  • Weight – 280 grams

The tablet may eventually be available on Aliexpress for prices that could be around $85 to $90, but unless you can read Chinese, you should probably not buy it, as Windows 8.1 have different versions depending on supported languages. It could also be possible Chinese sellers install the version supporting your language, but I’m not sure how (legally) feasible that is, and it would certainly slightly increase the price, if they need to install a specific version depending on your language of choice.

Via Mike Canex and Liliputing

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ARM and Qualcomm Release a New Guide About 32-bit to 64-bit SoCs

July 30th, 2014 1 comment

ARM and Qualcomm have been pretty successful with ARMv7 SoCs in the mobile space in recent years, and while 32-bit ARM (Aarch32) processors certainly have a few more years, both companies are now moving to 64-bit ARM (Aarch64 / ARMv8), and they released a document showing what has been achieved with ARMv7, the differences between ARMv7 and ARMv8, and new capabilities that will be attainable with 64-bit processing.

Aarch32 vs Aarch64

Aarch32 vs Aarch64

The document covers the following:

ARM vs x86 vs Architecture Indepent Code for 100 Top Apps in Google Play (US)

ARM vs x86 vs Architecture Independent Code for 100 Top Apps in Google Play (US)

  • Introduction
  • ARM Business Model
  • The Mobile Computing Revolution (Tablets replacing Laptops)
  • Android on ARMv7-A and ARMv8-A
  • ARMv8-A Architecture
  • Backward Compatibility to ARMv7-A
  • ARM Cortex A-53 and Cortex-A57
  • ARM big.LITTLE Technology
  • The Transition to the ARMv8-A Architecture (Fast Models, Tools, Linaro…)
  • Qualcomm Technologies: Transitioning to 64-Bit with Integrated Mobile Design
  • Custom and ARM Designed Processors: The Right Technology to Any Market
  • Multiple Foundries, Flexible Production
  • Flexible design practices in action (Performance, price point, development time. Snapdragon 410 vs 610 vs 810)
  • Conclusion

Both companies clearly promote their respective products via this document, but there are lots of interesting details such as Intel vs ARM optimized apps in Google Play, perfomance of A57 vs A15, A53 vs A7, side-by-side comparison between 32-bit and 64-bit ARM architectures, and so on. If you want to get the details, you can download the 20-page presentation entitled “ARM and Qualcomm- Enabling the Next Mobile Computing Revolution with Highly Integrated ARMv8-A based SoCs“.

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AllWinner A33 Quad Core Tablets Are Now Available for $60 and Up

July 29th, 2014 6 comments

AllWinner A33 is a new quad core Cortex A7 processor pin-to-pin compatible will AllWinner A23 dual core processor, that costs less than $5 with the power management IC (AXP223). Tablets based on the new processor are now available for sale, and just as low as $60 including shipping on Aliexpress. All models currently listed feature 9″ to 10″ displays, so it’s safe to expect 7″ tablets to be close to $50.
AllWinner_A33_Tablet
Let’s check the specs of one of the no-name 9″ tablets currently available:

  • SoC – AllWinner A33 quad core Cortex A7 processor @ 1.3 GHz (Overclocked to 1.5GHz???) with Mali-400MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 512MB RAM
  • Storage – 8GB NAND FLASH + microSD card slot (Up to 32GB)
  • Display – 9″ capacitive touch screen (800 x 480 pixels, 5 points touch)
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. 3G is supported via external 3G USB dongle.
  • Camera – 0.3M front camera,  1.3MP rear camera
  • USB – 1x micro USB 2.0 port
  • Audio – Speakers, earphone jack
  • Video Codecs - H.264, VP8, RV, WMV, AVS, H.263, MPEG4 up to 1080p
  • Audio formats – MP3, WMA, WAV, ACC, ACC+
  • Sensors – Gravity sensor
  • Battery – 3000 mAH Lithium battery
  • Dimensions – 263 x 165 x 11.5 mm
  • Weight – 650 gram???

The tablet runs Android 4.4.2, and comes with a 5V/2A power adapter, a OTG cable, a micro USB to USB cable, and a user’s manual. 512 MB RAM used to be a limitation in previous version of Android, but that might be OK with Android 4.4, as Google optimized Android for device with 512 MB RAM. I’d expect 800×480 resolution for a 9″ display will be somewhat pixelated, and the dual cameras to be a disaster. But if it’s for a first tablet, for a kid, or for tablet used as a control panel it could be an option. I and a few people around me purchased low cost tablets in the last few years, and I found them to be mostly usable, but you can’t expect to keep them to last very long because of the battery which will survive 6 months to a little over a year depending on your usage…

You may also want to read the press release for details about SmartColor image processing technology, video decoder performance, and power consumption (up to 300 hours in standaby mode with a 4,000 mAh battery).

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Nvidia Announces Tegra K1 based Shield Tablet with Game Controller and Stylus

July 23rd, 2014 No comments

After the Shield game console, Nvidia has now announced the Shield Tablet powered by Nvidia Tegra K1 quad core processor, and specifically designed for gamer with a kickstand to adjust the inclination of the 8″ display, and a Wi-Fi Direct game controller with low latency, including a built-in stereo headphone jack and microphone.
nvidia_shield_tablet

Shield tablet specifications:

  • SoC – NVIDIA Tegra K1 quad core Cortex A15 @ 2.2 GHz processor with a 192 core Kepler GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB RAM
  • Storage – 32 GB (WiFi+4G LTE) or 16 GB (WiFi-only), and micro SD slot
  • Display – 8″ multi-touch display; 1920×1200 resolution
  • Video Output – 1x mini HDMI output
  • Audio I/O – Front facing stereo speakers, dual bass reflex port with built-in microphone, 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack with microphone support
  • Connectivity – Wireless 802.11n 2×2 Mimo 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE and GPS / GLONASS
  • Cellular – 4G LTE, HSPA+, 3G, 2G, GSM, EDGE with micro SIM slot (In LTE version only)
    • LTE Bands – USA: 2,4,5,7,17 (1900, 1700, 850, 2600, 700); outside US: 1,3,7,20 (2100/1800/2600/800)
    • HSPA+ Bands – USA: 1,2,4,5 (2100, 1900, 1700, 850); outside US: 1,2,5,8 (2100/1900/850/900)
  • USB – micro-USB 2.0 port
  • Sensors – 3-axis gyro, 3-axis accelerometer, and 3-axis compass
  • Cameras – Front: 5MP HDR; Back: 5MP auto focus HDR
  • Battery – 19.75 Watt Hours (~5300 mAh)
  • Dimensions – 221 x 126 x 9.2 mm
  • Weight – 390g

The tablet runs Android Kitkat and comes with Nvidia GameStream, ShadowPlay, GRID Cloud Gaming (Beta), and is preloaded with apps such asTrine 2: Complete Story, Twitch, Evernote, JusWrite, and Camera Awesome. The Shield Tablet comes with Nvidia DirectStylus 2, an AC Adapter, and a USB cable by default, but you can also buy Shield wireless controller and tablet cover separately. One tablet can support up to 4 wireless controllers for multi-player gaming. It’s most probably not something you’d do on the tablet itself, but since the device can connect to your HDMI TV via the mini HDMI port, it’s just like a standard game console too.

You can have a quick overview of the tablet in the presentation video below.

The 16GB/Wi-Fi version of the Nvidia Shield Tablet is available for pre-order for $299, with shipping scheduled for July 29. You can also add somewhat pricey accessories such as the Wi-Fi Direct game controller for $59.99, the $39.99 tablet cover, a $29.99 replacement/spare AC adapter, or $19.99 replacement/spare stylus. The 32GB/LTE will be available later on for $399.

More details can be found on Nvidia Shield Tablet product page.

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