Intel announced three Atom x3 processors combining x86 cores with ARM Mali GPU a couple of months ago, and Intel Atom x3-C3130, the lower end processor with two x86 cores up to 1.0 GHz, an ARM Mali-400MP2 GPU and a 2G/3G modem, can already be found in Teclast X70 7″ Android tablet selling for just $70 on Tinydeals, Tinydeal, and probably others Chinese online retailers.
Teclast X70 specifications:
SoC – Intel Atom x3-C3130 dual x86 core processor @ up to 1GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU @ 533 MHz
System Memory – 512MB LPDDR2
Storage – 4GB eMMC + micro SD slot up to 32GB
Display – 7″ touchscreen (5-point) with 1024×600 resolution
Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS
Cellular Connectivity – Built-in 3G modem (WCDMA 2100MHz l 2G: 850MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 1900MHz); two standard SIM slots
Camera – 2MP rear camera, 0.3MP front-facing camera
Audio – Stereo speakers, built-in microphone, 3.5mm headphone jack
USB – 1x micro USB OTG port
Sensors – Gravity sensor
Misc- Volume and power buttons, vibrating motor
Battery – 3,000 mAh Li-Ion
Dimensions – 187 x 113 x 9 mm
Weight – 266 grams
The tablet runs Android 4.4, and should come with a micro USB cable, a 5V/2A power adapter, and a user’s manual. Companies also promote it as a phablet, as the 2G/3G modem is not only for data, and you can make phone calls. Memory is tight, and screen resolution very low, but at least it’s very cheap.
Audio – 3.5mm headphone jack, dual speaker, microphone, and HDMI
Connectivity – Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.0
Cellular (Data only, single SIM card slot)
4G – FDD-LTE Band 1/3/7 & TDD-LTE 38/39/40/41
3G – WCDMA:900/2100MHz
2G – GSM:850/900/1800/1900MHz
Camera – 5MP Rear camera, 2MP front-facing camera
USB – micro USB OTG 3.0 port
Misc – Power, Vol +/- and home button
Battery – 5,000 mAh battery (not removable)
Dimensions – 299 x 180 x 9.5mm
Weight – 840 grams
The tablet is sold with a charger and a USB cable, but an optional Bluetooth keyboard can be purchased separately to transform it into an Ubuntu laptop. It’s not quite sure which version of Ubuntu is pre-installed, either the Chinese version (Kylin) as shown above, or the standard one as shown below.
Core M-5Y10 is a relatively new processor, and although it’s quite faster than other low power Intel Celeron / Pentium processor, it’s also significantly more expensive. Liliputing recently reviewed a Core-M laptop, and compared performance to other Intel machines, with in some cases results not much better than Pentium N3530 Bay Trail-M processor, but others matching, or even outperforming Core-i3-4012y performance.
Alldocube will sell 100 pieces of the Ubuntu tablet for $399 on Aliexpress starting on April 5, after which the price is likely to move up to its current $532, and $620 with the Bluetooth keyboard / dock. Please note that the 64GB version is running Ubuntu, while the 128GB version is allegedly running an unlicensed version of Windows 8.1.
This post has nothing to do with embedded systems, but I’ll document some of the changes I made to the website in the last few days for better mobile support. Recently Google sent me a message recommending to “Fix mobile usability issues found on http://www.cnx-software.com” via Webmaster Tools, and a user recently complained about readability from his smartphone. So I had to fix this issue.
Desktop vs Mobile (Click to Enlarge)
This involves WordPress cache plugins and WPtouch Mobile Plugin, the latter automatically generates a mobile version of the website as shown on the right in the screenshot above. In theory, it’s very easy, you simply install WPtouch Mobile plugin, and mobile user agents get served the mobile page while other get the desktop version. But when you mix it with a cache plugin, it can become more complicated, and desktop user may be served mobile pages, and mobile user may get desktop pages. The easiest way to work around this is have a list of mobile user agents that the cache plugin simply ignores, but the downside is that mobile pages are not cached, and add load on your server.
In the past, I’ve tried different cache plugins including W3 Total Cache, Super Cache, but I’ve found they would not always work as expect, so last year I finally settled on Quick Cache Lite (Now Zencache Lite) which I’ve found to work reasonably well. The only problem is that the free version does not have a user-agent exclusion list, which is why so far I did not enable WPtouch Mobile on CNX Software. W3 Total Cache supports this for free, but since I know changing cache plugin can be a real pain, I decided to upgrade to Zencache PRO for $39, as I figured out that overtime it should probably pay for itself.
User-Agent Exclusion Patterns in ZenCache PRO
So I copied a list of mobile user agents into the exclusion patterns options of the PRO version, and it worked fine, but that meant that mobile devices did not get served cached file, and the server had to generate the files from PHP/Mysql. Then I found another option called “Dynamic Version Salt” that allowed to generate a different version of the cache based on some PHP code or cookies.
Dynamic Version Salt in ZenCache PRO (Click to Enlarge)
There’s even a code sample to generate cache for iPhone user agent:
ZenCache will store cached files into WP_HOME/wp-content/cache/zencache/cache/http/domain.com/YYYY/MM/DD/ directories with the default URL, let’s say for example hello_world.html. Version Salt will allow to detect a mobile user agent, and if would will create a new file called iPhones.html into hello_world.html.v directory.
The example is fine, but we need to support multiple user agents. After some research, I found the fucntion to use was preg_match_all, and the code to paste into the field above is:
WPTouch list also includes MSIE 10.0, but after playing with User Agent switcher in Firefox and Chrome, I noticed this was also used by Internet Explorer 10 in Windows, so I removed it from the list above.
So far it seems to work pretty well, however the “Mobile | Desktop” option of WPtouch will not work, as mobile devices will also be served the mobile cache, and mobile users need to select the option “Request Desktop Site” or equivalent in their browser if they want to see the desktop version.
Imagination has announced that an experimental version of Firefox OS has been ported to a reference tablet powered by Ingenic JZ4780, a MIPS based processor, that’s also used in MIPS Creator CI20 development board, and that the company organized a raffle to send 15 of these tablets for people to try or develop on.
The tablet is said to cost less than $100, runs either Firefox OS or Android 4.4 KitKat, and comes with the following specifications:
I could not find Ingenic JZ4780 based tablets on Aliexpress, Alibaba, or anywhere on the web, so this model is just a reference design, possibly to be sold in a few weeks or months. Firefox OS source code for the tablet and CI20 development board should soon be available on GitHub.
The build is still experimental, and they still have some work to do as the tablet still feels quite sluggish as you can see from the demo below. YouTube appears to be working just fine though thanks to the H.264/VP8 video decoder (up to 1080p30) inside the MIPS processor.
The makers of Neptune Pine smartwatch have unsurprisingly decided to make another smartwatch which they called Neptune Hub. Why Hub? Because although this smartwatch can be used standalone, its quadcore processor can also control a smartphone, a tablet, and an HDMI stick, probably over Miracast. So they’ve taken the opposite view to other companies in the market which are using the smartphone as the brain of your smartwatch to some extends.
Cellular Connectivity – GSM/3G/LTE with nano SIM card slot
Connectivity – 802.11 Wi-Fi, 60Hz WiGig 802.11ad, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS / A-GPS
Audio – Microphone and speaker
Sensors – Accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, digital compass, heart rate sensor, vibration motor
Battery – 1,000 mAh
The watch will run Android 5.0 Lollipop, and it’s rather big, but in this case it might be an advantage, as it can hold a 1,000 mAh battery, about half of what you’d get in a smartphone, but thanks to the much smaller screen, it’s expected to last just as long. The watch can make calls, send/receive SMS, be used as a fitness tracker, and pretty much anything you could do on a smartphone.
However, there are certainly cases where you’d need a larger screen as browsing the web, watching videos, or reading e-books is not quite enjoyable on a 2.4″ screen. But Neptune got you covered with three “dumb” devices, which are probably Miracast displays.
Neptune Pocket Screen
It looks like a smartphone, but it’s not quite as smart, and the processor is not even listed in the specs, but other smartphones features are there:
Display – 5″ capacitive touchscreen @ 1280×720
Camera – 8MP rear camera with LED flash, 2MP front-facing camera
Audio – In-ear speaker, loudspeaker, microphone
Connectivity – 60GHz WiGig 802.11ad
Sensors – Accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, vibration motor
Battery – Rechargeable 2,800mAh battery
Without a powerful processor, the 2,800 mAh should last for a while. I was quite interested in Miracast when the first devices hit the shelves, but after trying it I was rather disappointed with image quality and lag, but WiGig should greatly improve both:
Neptune Hub uses WiGig, a revolutionary wireless protocol operating in the 60GHz frequency band, to interface with other displays and devices. WiGig provides multi-gigabit speeds of up to 7Gbps, with non-perceptible latency. This is the key technological enabler for the Neptune Suite to be realized, as previous streaming protocols simply did not have the throughput or the latency levels required to make this feasible.
Neptune Tab & Neptune Keys
If you need a tablet sized screen, Neptune Tab is what you need:
Display – 10″ capacitive touchscreen @ 1920×1080
Camera – 720p front facing camera
Audio – Loudspeaker, micrphone
Connectivity – 60GHz WiGig 802.11ad
Sensors – Accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope
Battery – Rechargeable 7,000 mAh battery
Wigig again, and a sizable battery. If you need a keyboard, the tab can clip into Neptune Keys to convert the tablet into a laptop.
Neptune Dongle & Headset
That’s probably a pretty standard streaming dongle that connect to the HDMI port of your TV or monitor and provide a full screen experience. No specs were provided.
The Neptune Suite is completed with Neptune headset, a pair of wireless headphones, that can be use as a necklace when not in use, and which can also be used to charge up to three devices simultaneously including itself from a single power outlet.
The company launched the project on Indiegogo yesterday, and has already well passed its $100,000 funding target with close to $800,000 raised so far. Neptune Suite rewards with Hub, Pocket Screen, Tab, Keys, Dongle and Headset currently goes for $599 + shiping, is expected to retail for $899. The project appears to be quite challenging, and probably not without risk, especially since delivery is scheduled for February 2016, so it’s still early development, but at least the company has experience with its previous project.
As the Jolla Tablet running Sailfish OS 2.0 is about to ship to Kickstarter backers (Q2 2015), the company has issues a press release announcing Sailfish OS 2.0 is now ready for licensing to OEMs and other partners, and OS porting is being done to the newly announced Intel Atom x3 processors.
Sailfish OS 2.0 has been designed for both smartphones and tablets with the following key changes and improvements:
Stronger technical OS core and improved Android application compatibility
Support for Intel architecture, including the Intel Atom x3 processor
Best multitasking on the market for both smartphones and tablets
Improved user experience with an enhanced, even richer user interface
Strong privacy and personalization features
Many new UI/UX features, like enhanced notifications and events views, and even simpler swipe access to main functions
Sailfish 2.0 is designed to provide premium visibility in the UI for leading digital content providers and to enable OS level integration for mobile commerce
Interested company can join the Sailfish OS alliance described as “a movement that will unite OEM and ODM manufacturers, chipset providers, operators, application developers and retailers. The key target is to bring innovation to a stagnating market and help mobile industry players to stay on the bleeding edge of the mobile OS development.”
Jolla also issued a separate press release about Sailfish Secure open source and secure mobile phone platform. The company has partnered with SSH Communications Security to create a security-hardened European version of Sailfish OS, and independent of US based mobile operating systems like Android, iOS, Windows Phone.. You know just in case the NSA misbehaves again… The solution mostly targets governments and large corporations, and is not tied to any specific hardware.
Intel Atom x3 (previously known as SoFIA) will be entry and ultra-low cost processor up with 3G or LTE connectivity found in products up to around $150, while Atom x5 and x7 (previously known as Cherry Trail) will be found in tablets between about $200 to $400, with the top performing devices going with Intel Core M processors.
Intel Atom x3 are very interesting because they mix Intel 64-bit cores with ARM GPUs (to keep the cost down), and parts with RK suffix are made by Rockchip. Three x3 processors are currently available:
Intel Atom x3-C3130 – Dual-core processor up to 1.0 GHz with ARM Mali-400MP2 GPU and 2G/3G modem.
Intel Atom x3-C3230RK – Quad-core processor up to 1.2GHz with ARM Mali-450MP4 GPU, and 2G/3G modem. Designed/Manufactured by Rockchip.
Intel Atom x3-C3440 – Quad-core processor up to 1.4GHz with ARM Mali-T720 GPU, and a 5-mode LTE modem
Atom x3 3G SoCs can be coupled with A-Gold 620 chipsets combining 2G/3G RF, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, FM radio, GPS/GLONASS and Audio/PMU, while Atom x3 LTE SoC would interface with four chips for 4G RF (Smarti RF TRX), PMIC + Audio, 802.11ac/BT 4.1 (Intel Wireless-AC WCS8270), and GPS (Intel Wireless-GNSS WCS 2100 & WCS 2000). All three processors are manufactured with a 28nm process, again to keep costs low.
Atom x5 and x7 will however be 14-nm processor, bringing lower power consumption, but a least initially, a higher cost. These processors will feature Intel Gen8 graphics, and support next-gen LTE Cat-6 thanks to Intel XMM-726x modem, and be found in 7″ to 10″ Windows and Android tablets and 2-in-1 hybrid laptops priced between $120 to $500.
At first it seemed like the company did not provide that much information for Atom x5 and x7 processors just yet, and that it just expected products by Acer, Asus, Lenovo, Dell, Toshiba, and HP should be shipping in H1 2015. They did however provide a block diagram for Atom x5 / x7 processors which reveals more details to what can be expected including HDMI 1.4b up to 4K30,2K internal display (DSI / eDP), PCIe, USB 3.0, eMMC 4.51, but no integrated Ethernet MAC or SATA IP blocks, although these could be added via the PCIe interfaces.
Atom x5/x7 Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)
Furthermore, Techreport mentioned two Atom x5 processors will be available first with x5-8300 @ 1.84 GHz (up to 1080p) and Atom x5-8500 @ 2.24 GHz (up to 4K2K), as well as one Atom x7 processors: x7-8700 running at 2.4 GHz, as well as specifications:
x5-8300 – Quad core 64-bit Atom x5 up to 1.84 GHz
x5-8500 – Quad core 64-bit Atom x5 up to 2.24 GHz
x7-8700 – Quad core 64-bit Atom x7 up to 2.40 GHz
Atom x5 – Gen8 12 EU, up to 500/600 MHz supporting DX11.1, OpenGL ES 3.1, OpenCL 1.2, OpenGL 4.3, RS Compute
Atom x7 – Gen8 16 EU, up to 600 MHz supporting DX11.1, OpenGL ES 3.1, OpenCL 1.2, OpenGL 4.3, RS Compute
Media (encode/decode) – HEVC (decode), H.264, VP8
x5-8300 – 1×32, 1×64 DDR3L-RS 1600, 1-2GB
x5-8500 / x7-8700 – 2×64 LPDDR3 1600, 2-8GB
Storage – eMMC 4.51
Internal – 1920×1200 (MIPI-DSI or LVDS)
External: 1920×1080 (HDMI)
x5-8500 & x7-8700
Internal – 2500 x 1600 (MIPI-DSI or eDP)
External: 4K2K @ 30 Hz (HDMI)
Modem – Intel XMM 7260/62 LTE Cat-6 (up to 300Mbps DL). M.2 only for x5-8300
Connectivity – Intel WLAN, Intel WWAN, Intel NFC; Atom x7 also adds Intel WiGig.