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Posts Tagged ‘tablet’

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

July 30th, 2014 No comments

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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Onda V989 AllWinner A80 Android Tablet is Now Available for Pre-order

July 17th, 2014 11 comments

AllWinner A80 octa-core big.LITTLE has been delayed several times, but it appears products based on the latest AllWinner application processor can finally be pre-ordered. One of them is Onda V989,  an Android 4.4 tablet with a 9.7″ 2048 x 1536 pixel display, 2GB RAM and 32GB flash, that’s supposed to reach over 48,000 in Antutu, but actually gets a little over 32,000 points in Antutu X.

Onda_V989Onda V989 tablet specifications:

  • SoC – AllWinner A80T octa core bit.LITTLE processor with 4x ARM Cortex A7 cores @ ?? GHz and 4x ARM Cortex A15 cores @ 2GHz, and PowerVR G6230 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 32GB NAND flash + micro SD/SDHC slot (up to 128GB)
  • Display – 9.7″  IPS display with 10-point capacitive touchscreen, 2048 x 1536 resolution
  • Video Output – micro HDMI (up to 1080p)
  • Audio I/O – Stereo speakers, built-in microphone, 3.5mm earphone jack, and HDMI
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 . 3G is supported via external dongle.
  • Camera – 2MP front facing camera, 8MP rear camera with auto focus capable of recording 4K @ 30 fps videos.
  • USB – micro USB 3.0 port (USB 2.0 OTG compatible)
  • Sensors – gravity sensor, three-axis gyroscope
  • Misc – Power and volume buttons
  • Battery – 8000 mAh Li-Ion
  • Power Supply – 5V/2.5A via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 241 x 169 x 7.9 mm
  • Weight – 490 g

The tablet is said to sell with a USB cable, the power adapter, and a user’s manual. Beside being one of the most powerful processor on the market, AllWinner A80 is supposed to support 5 operating systems: Android, Ubuntu, Chrome/Chromium OS, Firefox OS, and Windows RT which should make it a nice candidate to try out various OS and play around, albeit a tablet does not provide the most hacker friendly form factor there is.

Pandawill pre-sells Onda V989 tablet for $239.99, Geekbuying for $229.99, and “onda-tablet”, which may or may not be the official store, pre-ells it for $219.99, but without shipping. It’s also available on several Aliexpress sellers. The tablet is expected to ship on July 31. The company already sold 500 beta tablets in China for 999 CNY (~$161) yesterday, and the regular price will be 1099 CNY (~$177) according to my sources in AllWinner. You may be able to find some more information on Onda V989 product page (in Chinese), including two firmware versions for V1 and V2 tablets…?

Thanks to Marius for the tip.

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Xiaomi MiPad Tablet Powered by Nvidia Tegra K1 is Now Available for Pre-order for $320 an Up

July 1st, 2014 No comments

Xiaomi Mipad is the Android tablet by the company, and the first consumer device to ship with Nvidia Tegra K1 SoC, and it has been selling in China for 1499 RMB (~$240) for the 16GB flash version, and 1699 RMB (~$275) for the 64GB version. This morning, I’ve noticed the rest of us can now pre-order the tablet via GeekBuying for $349 (16 GB version), and it’s also available on Aliexpress for $320 for the 16GB version, and $370 for the 64GB, so there’s currently a steep markup around $100 to buy the device outside China that can’t be explained by shipping alone…

Xiaomi_MiPad

Here’s a reminder of the hardware specifications:

  • SoC – Nvidia Tegra K1 quad core Cortex A15 processor @ 2.2 GHz with a 192-core Kepler GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB LPDDR3
  • Storage – 16 or 64GB eMMC, extensible to 128GB via microSD card
  • Display – 7.9” IPS display, 2048×1536 326 PPI
  • Camera – 8MP rear / 5MP front camera
  • Connectivity – 802.11ac 2×2 Wi-Fi
  • Battery – 6700 mAh battery
  • Dimensions – 202.1 x 135.4 x 8.5 mm
  • Weight – 360 grams

The tablet will run MIUI an heavily skinned version of Android. If you are a developer, you are definitely better off going with Jetson TK1 development board because it’s cheaper and support is obviously better, but Xiaomi MiPad could be an option if you want both a consumer product and an app development platform.

If you plan to pre-order you still have some time, as shipping is scheduled for the 10th of August 2014 according to GeekBuying.

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Google Releases Android L (Lollipop?) Developer Preview

June 26th, 2014 2 comments

Google I/O is taking place right now in San Francisco, and the company made several announcements. Although they have not announced the full codename of Android 5.0, referring to the next version as “Android L” (Lollipop would be nice though), but they’ve already documented the key changes made to Android L, and a developer preview will be released later today (26 June), together with binary images for Google Nexus 5 and Nexus 7.

Android_Lollipop

Beside the smartphone and tablet developer preview, there will be 3 other SDKs for Android L:

  • Android Wear SDK – Android for wearables with sync notifications, wearable apps, data transfer APIs, and voice actions, e.g. “Ok Google, call mum”.
  • Android TV Preview SDK – Android for TVs with pre-built fragments for browsing and interacting with media catalogs, in-app search, and recommendations.
  • Android Auto SDK – Android for the car with apps featuring consistent user experience between vehicles, and minimizing distractions.

I’ll go through various software and hardware announcements for Android Wear and TV in separate blog posts, and probably skip Android Auto for now.

So what’s new in Android L Developer Preview?

Material Design

Material Design is is a new design language that will let developer create app which look similar to Google Now. Google chose the name “Material” as it is apparently inspired from real materials such as paper and ink. Android L user interface will be entirely designed with Material Design. The best is to look at an example.

Gmail Now vs Gmail "L"

Gmail Now vs Gmail “L”

On the left, we’ve got the current Gmail app, and on the right the newly designed app for Android L. Lots of it looks like cosmetic changes, but you’ll have noticed the three dot and new mail icons are gone, and all menu will be accessible via the top left icon. There are also some light and shadow effects that will make users feel like they’re touching real elements.

More details can be found in this Material Design presentation (PDF).

Improved Notifications

Notifications have also changed with a new design based on Material, and the ability to display notifications on the lock screen.

Android_L_Notifications

I understand lockscreen notifications are optional, and if you don’t like to show them in the lock screen using visibility controls. As you can see from the screenshot above it works very similar to Google Now which cards that you can discard once you’re done. Notifications will also be able to pop-up in games or other full screen apps, and you’ll be able o take action within the notification, for example by declining or accepting a video call request.

Recents

The list of recent apps will become the list of recent everything, simply called “Recents”, as it will include both apps, web pages, and documents.

Better Tools for Improving Battery Life

As devices become more powerful, they also become more power hungry despite efforts by SoC designers to reduce energy usage. Badly programmed apps are however the main culprit of short battery life, so Google has introduced Project Volta to help user and developers optimize power consumption. Developers can use “Battery Historian” tool to monitor power consumption of different processes, and which hardware block (e.g. Cellular radio) is currently being used.

Battery_HistorianUsers will also have their own app / feature dubbed “Battery Saver” to improve battery life, and Google claims their Nexus 5 should be able to last an extra 90 minutes on a charge with Battery Saver enabled. This is achieved by reducing the performance of the device once the battery has dropped below 20% charge. At that time, a notification would pop-up to let the user select he wants to enable Battery Saver mode.

Under the hood improvements

As as been widely reported, Google recently killed Dalvik in a recent commit in AOSP, and ART will become the default JAVA runtime using ahead-of-time compilation for speedier application loading time, and memory usage improvements. Google also claims it provides true cross platform support for ARM, MIPS and x86.

Android L will support 64-bit instructions including ARMv8, x86-64 and MIPS64. This will provide a larger number of registers, and increased addressable memory space. Java developers won’t needto change their apps for 64-bit support. One the first Android64 devices is likely to be the Nexus 9 tablet powered by Nvidia Tegra K1 Denver as previously reported.

On the graphics side, Android L adds support for OpenGL ES 3.1, and includes Android Extension Pack for developers with tesselation and geometry shaders and other features that should bring PC and console class graphics to Android games according to Google.

Via Anandtech and Liliputing

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AllWinner A33 Quad Core Processor to Cost $5 With PMIC, Tablets Starting at $40

June 23rd, 2014 16 comments

With their latest A33 SoC, Allwinner may have put a nail in the coffin of dual core application processor for tablets, as Eva Wu, AllWinner’s Marketing Manager,  has just released some pricing info, and AllWinner A33 with AXP223 PMIC (Power Management Integrated Circuit) reference price is only $4.99, paving the way for ultra cheap quad core Android tablets.

AllWinner A33 Tablet PCBA (Click to Enlarge)

AllWinner A33 Tablet PCBA (Click to Enlarge)

I’ve also been given some estimates for (factory) prices for different tablet’s types powered by AllWinner A33:

  • About $40 for 7″ tablets (800×480) with 1GB DDR3, and 8GB Flash.
  • About $45 for 7.85″ tablets (1024×768) with 1GB DDR3, and 8GB Flash.
  • About $50 for 8″ tablets (1280×800) with 1GB DDR3, 8GB Flash.

With four ARM Cortex A7 cores, a Mali-400MP2 GPU, and limited display resolutions, you won’t get an amazing user experience, but for a first tablet, or a kid’s tablet, it looks pretty good value. I estimate that Chinese stores may sell them for around $65 to $80 including shipping. AllWinner A33 SoC production will start in early July, so the first tablets based on this SoC should also start to become available in July.

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