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Posts Tagged ‘tablet’

VLC for Android 2.0 Released with Network Shares, Multi-windows, Better Codec Support, and More

June 22nd, 2016 No comments

VLC / VideoLAN is a popular desktop video player for Linux and Windows, and it’s the program I go to when I want to watch a local video on my computer. VLC also has an Android version, but last time I checked VLC in an Android TV box, I was disappointed due to the lack of SAMBA support, and video decoding support was pretty poor on Rockchip RK3368 processor at the time.

VLC_Android_SAMBA_SupportThe good news is that the developers have now released VLC for Android 2.0, which brings several improvements including:

  • Support for network browsing including DLNA/UPnP, Windows Shares (SAMBA), FTP(S), SFTP, and NFS
  • Multi-windows/pop-up video with support for Samsung MultiWindow and LG Dual Window extensions
  • New asynchronous hardware decoder, and codecs and formats support updates.
  • Subtitle downloads via OpenSubtitles from VLC interface without having to go to the website inside a web browser
  • Right-To-Left and Complex Text Layout subtitles
  • Video playlists support
  • History has been added back (but can be disabled)
  • Less permissions required, and support for Android N

VLC_Android_Multi-windowAlthough it’s likely to work better in Android smartphone and tablets with Samsung, Qualcomm or Mediatek processors, it might be worth giving it a try in Android TV boxes too. You can do so by installing VLC for Android from Google Play.

Via Liliputing

Jide Remix Pro is a Remix OS 3.0 2-in-1 Laptop Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 Processor

June 7th, 2016 1 comment

Remix OS appears to getting more and more attention, and is now found in an increasing number of hardware platforms. Jide has also been working on the new Remix OS 3.0 version based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and showcased it in Jide Remix Pro 2-in-1 laptop / tablet reference design powered by Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor.

Jide_Remix_ProJide Remix Pro specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 (APQ8074) octa core processor with 4x Cortex A72 cores @ 1.8 GHz, 4x Cortex A53 cores, and Adreno 510 GPU
  • System Memory – 3GB  RAM 
  • Storage – TBD internal storage; micro SD card slot
  • Display – 12″ IPS display with 2K resolution (2160×1440)
  • Camera – 8 MP rear camera; 5MP front-facing camera
  • Audio – 2x speakers; combo audio jack
  • Connectivity – dual band WiFi, Bluetooth 4, optional 4G-LTE with SIM card slot (replacing micro SD slot), GPS,
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 port, 1x USB type C port
  • Misc – Detachable keyboard with pogopins; power and volume keys
  • Dimensions – 7mm thick (aluminum alloy case)
  • Weight – Around 650 grams


Price and launch date are not known at this stage.

Via Netbook Italia

Android N Developer Preview 3 Adds VR Support, Instant Apps, and Sustainable Performance Mode

May 19th, 2016 2 comments

Google has also unveiled the third Android N Developer Preview at Google I/O 2016, and the first “beta quality” release, available on Nexus 6, 9, 5X, 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, and Android One as a “seamless updates” if you opt-in to the Android Beta Program in order to get an over-the-air update with the very latest firmware.

Android_N_Developer_Preview_Devices

Google wants Android N to be faster, safer and more productive. The first two previews addressed performance with a new JIT compiler and Vulkan 3D graphics API support, productivity with multi-window support and direct reply from notifications, as well as security thanks to seamless updates bringing the latest security patchsets to your phones in a timely manner.Google_Daydream_VR

The third preview brings fixes, and some interesting new features:

Daydream

Daydream

  • VR Mode in Android – Google has modified and augmented the Android stack in N to reduce lag between sensor data readings (e.g. head motion) and sending pixels to the display. Motion-to-photon latency on Nexus 6P is now less than 20 ms, a required to make the user feel he/she is really in the rendered scene. You can read Imagination Tech blog post for more details about low latency implementation. Google has now two VR kits: the good old Cardboard and  a new platform called Daydream, just like Android screensaver, that’s virtual reality kit with a two button motion controller that will be available in fall 2016, and work with upcoming Android N smartphones.
  • Android Instant Apps – So far if you want to install and an app, you need to go to Google Play, search for it, install it after agreeing to permissions, and finally you can tap to run it. Google has decided to develop a faster way with Android Instant Apps which let you skip the installation part. You just need to tap to run the app as you would do when you click a link on your web browser. Android Instant Apps are compatible with Android 4.1+ using Google Play services.
  • Sustained Performance Mode – Most recent devices will throttle under heavy load, leading to dramatic performance fluctuation of long-running apps. To address these limitations, Android N includes support for sustained performance mode, enabling OEMs to provide hints about device-performance capabilities for long-running apps. App developers can use these hints to tune apps for a predictable, consistent level of device performance over long periods of time. The new API is currently only enabled on Nexus 6P device.

You can get a complete list of API changes for Android N (all preview versions) on Google Developer’s Android N page. Google has still not decided about the actual name for Android N, so they’re asking for your help.

Setup Guide & Mini Review of BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition Tablet from a Developer’s Perspective

April 30th, 2016 21 comments

BQ Aquaris M10 UBuntu Edition is the first officially supported Ubuntu tablet on the market. Blu, a frequent commenter on this blog, has purchased the Full HD version, and in the guest post below, shares his experience setting up the device for development purpose, before shortly providing his overall impressions about the tablet itself.

Quick introduction

Ever since I had to retire my trusty-but-ancient ARM notebook (a Genesi Efika iMX51) I’ve been looking for a new ARM notebook or perhaps a 2-in-1 device, that I could use for development on the go. The basic requirements are long battery life, passive cooling and reasonable price. Also, Just Enough Power™ for running vim, a couple of toolchains (gcc/clang with gold) and, well, enough grunt to run my coding experiments. Naturally, BQ M10 Ubuntu Edition immediately got my attention to the extent of me placing an order, which got delivered this past week. Allow me to share my impressions from the M10 so far.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

First thing first: turning the M10 into a coder’s productivity device

There is plenty of know-how on the web regarding how to ‘unlock’ a Ubuntu Touch device into a full-fledged Linux box, but here we will describe the minimum steps to achieve this, moreover without the need for a desktop. The M10 needs to be on a Wifi network with Internet access, though.

From the Ubuntu Store, install the terminal application – access to the store requires a registration with a valid email address. Once we have that, we have proper control over our device via the on-screen kbd or via a physical Bluetooth or micro USB kbd.

What we immediately see from the above is that the device hosts a quad Cortex-A53 r0p3 (CPU part 0xd03), and the userspace is armhf – ’CPU architecture’ in /proc/cpuinfo should say ‘AArch64’ for an arm64 userspace; instead it says ‘8’ on an armhf userspace.

Typing on the on-screen kbd is a mere curiosity, so before we get ourselves a decent Bluetooth kbd or a micro USB-to-female-USB adapter (for a standard usb kbd) we will need something better to type on. Getting an ssh server on the device takes a minimal effort – the package is already installed, it just needs enablement. We also need a public ssh key ready on the desktop machine, as the ssh server is factory-configured for public-key access only. So, assuming we have our public key handy on the desktop, we need to do the following in our M10 home:

Now we can ssh to [email protected]_ip and enjoy a proper kbd. Apropos, the final step of actually enabling the ssh server should also be achieved via engaging the tablet’s Developer mode in the About This Device tab in the system settings.

A quick look at the mounted filesystem shows that the rootfs is mounted as read-only, and that can be a show-stopper for any apt-get we plan to do next. So we need to enable read-write mode on the root fs via:

Please note that the system will automatically reboot after this command; our rootfs will be write-enabled after that. Then we can:

Just be warned that keeping the rootfs in write-enabled state actually disables OTA updates of the tablet fw. So once we’re done with apt-get for the day, we might want to:

For reference, these are the g++ and clang++ versions that we can get on the tablet currently from the standard vivid repositories:

Running (natively-built) binaries from within our home folder takes some tinkering, though. The reason for that is apparmor – this daemon is factory-configured to not allow the execution of apps from the /userdata mount-point (/userdata/user-data is where our home is at). To solve that inconvenience, we need to find the app profile of our indispensable terminal app, and edit it appropriately to allow the execution of binaries from our home.

Please note the actual version of the terminal app might be different. In there we find the following lines:

And add to them:

Followed by:

So, now we can build and test our code on the M10. A couple of notes:

  • Since this is an armhf userland, i.e. it’s 32-bit ARM, the default target of gcc/g++ is thumb2 (as per Canonical’s worldview) – one might want to pass -marm to the compiler for a few more percents of performance.
  • There’s a compressed ramdrive of the size of 0.5GB taken from our precious little 2GB RAM; it’s used as a swap partition. Whether that’s a beneficial decision for our purposes is not clear.
  • The Cortex-A53 in the MT8163A (i.e. the 1.5GHz version) appears to be somewhat slower in this configuration than other vendor’s A53s of the same revision (e.g. Rockchip’s RK3368 @ 1.51GHz). I don’t know what to attribute this to yet. Could be because of intricacies of the scheduler and/or performance manager, though the latter should be bog standard cpufreq. Or because of the lxc container with a minimal android providing the display painting services. Or it could be a hw difference somewhere in the cache hierarchy. An investigation is pending in the indefinite future.

Informal impressions

The M10 is a solidly-built piece of ‘luggable’ electronics, AKA portable things you always lug along in your backpack for 24/7 accessibility. Whenever I’ve found myself wishing for something more in the M10, it’s normally been a sw issue. Back to my original criteria for a productivity portable, its battery life is nice – lasts between one and two days of trivial coding use – vim, build, test, repeat. The pricing is slightly on the upper side for this class of hw, IMO, but hey, early adopters’ premium (which apparently I was willing to pay). For the price one gets a cluster of Cortex-A53 at (almost) industry-standard performance levels, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of eMMC (of ~150MB/s read BW). The quality of the screen also bears mentioning – it’s quite nice – better than that of my aging Acer netbook.

That said, the things that need improving going forward:

  • Android needs to go; Canonical need to pull their act together and provide a proper 100% Linux on this class of devices. Whether that includes ‘muscling’ vendors like MediaTek into conformance or just paying for the development of native graphics stacks – that’s rather irrelevant to the end user.
  • Along the above: out with the armhf and in with the arm64 userspaces on aarch64 hw – it’s about darn time.
  • Prices need to get more realistic, but that’s a matter of market adoption, I guess. At least, for the price of the M10 one should be able to get 4GB or RAM.

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.

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

MJ Technology Ubuntu Tablets Powered by Intel Atom Cherry Trail Processors Launched on Indiegogo

March 31st, 2016 10 comments

BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu tablets officially launched a few days ago, but it’s you’d like an Ubuntu tablet with better hardware specifications, MJ Technology have now launched their own Ubuntu tablets powered by Intel Atom x5 or x7 quad core processors with 2GB to 4GB RAM, and  64GB, 128GB or 256GB internal storage.

MJ_Ubuntu_Tablet

There are four models – Tanto, mini Tanto, Wakizashi, and Katana – with the following specs:

  • SoC
    • mini Tanto – Intel Atom x5-Z8300 quad core processor up to 1.84 GHz with Intel HD  Gen8 graphics
    • Tanto, Wakizashi, Katana – Intel Atom x7-Z8750 quad core processor up to 2.40 GHz with Intel HD  Gen8 graphics
  • System Memory
    • mini Tanto, Tanto – 2GB LPDDR3
    • Wakizashi, Katana – 4GB LPDDR3 (2x2GB)
  • Storage
    • mini Tanto, Tanto – 64GB eMMC flash + micro SD Slot up to 128GB
    • Wakizashi, Katana – 128 GB eMMC flash or 256GB SSD + micro SD Slot up to 128GB
  • Display
    • Wakizashi – 8.9″ HD IPS display (1920×1200) with 10 point multi-touch
    • mini Tanto, Tanto, Katana – 10.1″ HD IPS display (1920×1200) with 10 point multi-touch
  • Video Output – mini HDMI
  • Audio – mini HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack, and 2x 1W speakers
  • Connectivity – Dual band 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 host ports, 1 x USB type C, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Camera
    • mini Tanto, Tanto – 5MP front facing camera, and 8MP rear camera
    • Wakizashi, Katana – 8MP front facing camera, and 13MP rear camera
  • Expansion – Internal mini PCIe slot with external access for optional wireless data card (3G?)
  • Sensors – G Sensor,Compass,Gyroscope, GPS
  • Misc – Power and volume buttons.
  • Battery
    • Wakizashi – 7500mAh good for about 7-8 hours (200 hours on standby)
    • mini Tanto, Tanto, Katana – 8500mAh good for about 8-9 hours (200 hours on standby)
  • Dimensions & Weight – N/A

They don’t say which version of Ubuntu is running on the tablets, but it’s likely that the tablets will be upgraded to Ubuntu 16.04 once it is released next month. It’s also unclear whether the company have resolved the usual issues with HDMI Audio output on Cherry Trail processors. They also plan to offer the users option to install Elementary OS, Linux Mint, Red Hat, OpenSUSE,or Kali Linux instead.

The promo video on Indiegogo only shows just a woman talking about how great the tablet is for “you”, “the consumer”, without actually ever showing the device, so I’d recommend avoid wasting your time watching it, and instead you can have a quick look at a demo done with a prototype.

MJ Technology is aiming to raise $200,000 on Indiegogo (fixed funding) to go ahead with mass production of the tablets. Mini Tanto tablet starts at $230, while Katana goes up to $500 with a 250GB SSD. Shipping adds $15 to the US, and $35 to the rest of the world. Delivery is scheduled for August 2016. There’s been several crowdfunding failures with Linux based tablets, and the company addresses that with mentions of Jolla tablet and Ubutab in the Risks & Challenges section of the campaign, saying that they’ve already manufactured & shipped Android tablets in the past with MJ7HDTV Tablet released in October 2015.

BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition Tablets Can Be Pre-ordered For 259.90 Euros and Up

March 28th, 2016 7 comments

BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablets were unveiled at Mobile World Congress last month, and were touted as the first Ubuntu devices supporting convergence. The two versions of the tablet are now up for pre-order.

BQ_Aquaris_M10_Ubuntu_Edition_Pre-order

BQ Aquaris M10 HD and M10 FHD Ubuntu Edition specifications:

  • SoC – MediaTek MT8163A ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core processor @ 1.5 GHz with ARM Mali-T720MP2 GPU @ 600 MHz
  • System Memory – 2GB RAM
  • Storage – 16GB storage + microSD card slot
  • Display
    • M10 HD – 10.1″ 10-point mulitouch screen; 1280×800 resolution
    • M10 FHD – 10.1″ 10-point multitouch screen; 1920×1200 resolution
  • Video Output – micro HDMI output
  • Audio – Frontal speakers, 3.5mm audio jack, FM radio
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS
  • Camera – 8MP rear camera with auto-focus and dual flash, and 5MP front-facing camera
  • USB – micro USB OTG port
  • Sensors – Light, accelerometer, eCompass
  • Battery – 7,280 mAh Li-Po battery
  • Dimensions – 246 x 171 x 8.2mm
  • Weight – 470 grams

M10 HD sells for $259.90 and M10 FHD for $299.90 including VAT and worldwide shipping, or respectively 30 and 40 Euros extra compared to the Android 5.1 versions.

Aquaris M10 Price - Ubuntu vs Android

Aquaris M10 Price – Ubuntu vs Android

The specs between the Android and Ubuntu versions appear to be exactly the same, so it looks like the price difference is because of the operating systems. The Ubuntu versions also have a free cover and protector screen, but I don’t think it’s enough to explain the price difference. The price will also vary depending on the countries. For example, French people have the “privilege” of paying around 10 Euros extra for a “copy” tax, and a few Euros cents on top for an Eco tax.

The Ubuntu tablets will ship the second week of April with Ubuntu 15.04, but they should soon get Ubuntu 16.04 update once the Xerus Xenial is released at the end of April.

Alcatel OneTouch / TCL Xess 17.3″ All-in-One PC Runs Phoenix OS, Supports Gesture Control

February 25th, 2016 1 comment

Xess (pronounced Excess) is an All-in-One PC with a 17.3″ touchscreen that runs Android based Phoenix OS on top of Mediatek MT8783 octa-core processor, with some cool added features like an adjustable stand, retractable ports, magnetic stylus, and gesture control.  It is sold under the TCL brand in China, and will be launched by Alcatel OneTouch in the US and Europe.

Alcatel_OneTouch_XessXess specifications:

  • SoC – Mediatek MT8783 octa-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor @ 1.5GHz with Mali-T720MP3 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB RAM
  • Storage – 32GB storage + micro SD slot
  • Display – 17.3” IPS panel with wide visual angle; 1920×1080 (16:9) resolution; 10-point touch
  • Audio – Stereo speakers (JBL 2x 3W), 2x microphones, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Connectivity – WiFi and Bluetooth
  • Camera – 5MP front camera
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host port
  • Sensors – G-sensor, 2x P-sensor, 1x L-Sensor
  • Misc – 1x MagTouch Port, power and volume buttons
  • Battery – 10,000 mAh good for about 6 hours
  • Dimensions – 416.5 x 266.5 x 9.15mm (minimal thickness)
  • Weight – ~2.60Kg

TCL_Xess

The system is said to run Android 5.1, but it’s the Phoenix OS version which makes Android behaves a bit more like a desktop OS. The stand at the back of the tablet allows for 4 positions, and you won’t find expansion ports (USB, audio jack…), until your press the large “TCL button” on the back of the screen to reveal the ports. This helps keep the device as thin as possible for people who don’t need to use the ports. The capacitive touch stylus included with the AiO PC has its own slot, but since it’s magnetic, you can just stick it on the back of the screen. Quite good for people who tend to lose their stylus… It’s also designed to be used in the kitchen, and they have collaborated with some websites to get recipes, and since your hands might be dirty while cooking, you can control the tablet without touching the screen, and instead using gestures for example to pause the current video, or switch to the next one.  This is all shown in Charbax’s video of Alcaltel OneTouch Xess at Mobile World Congress 2016.

In case you wonder what a MagTouch port is… I don’t really know either, but TCL website shows a MagCover screen protector, digital clock and digital photo frame so it must be related…

TCL Xess has recently been launched in China via a crowdfunding campaign on JD.com for 3899 RMB (~$600) with accessories and carrying bag, if I understand correctly. Alcatel OneTouch Xess for the Western markets will start selling in Q2 2016 in the US, and Q3 2016 in Europe.

Via ARMDevices.net