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Posts Tagged ‘tablet’

Actions Semi Introduces Quad Core 64-bit ATM9009 Processor for Tablets and TV Boxes

January 13th, 2015 5 comments

2015 will clearly be the year of 64-bit ARM processors, and one more company has now announced yet another ARMv8 SoC. Action Semi ATM9009 features four Cortex A53 cores coupled with an Imagination Technologies PowerVR GPU and targets entry-level and mid-range tablets and TV boxes, and certainly not high-end products as per the press release.

ATM9009The key features of ATM9009 include:

  • Processor – Quad core Cortex A53 processor to 1.8 GHz
  • GPU – PowerVR G6230 up to 600 MHz with support for OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0, OpenCL 1.1, and DirectX 10
  • Memory I/F – eMMC 4.5, NAND flash controller, 4x SD/SDIO controller, DDR3/DDR3L and  LPDDR2/LPDDR1 (Up to 8GB RAM)
  • Video – HEVC/H.265 video decoding up to 30 fps, H.265 encoder up to 1080p60
  • Display / Video Ouptut – LCD controller up to 4K, HDMI 1.4, MHL 2.1, dual channel LVDS , MIPI DSI, eDP up to 2560×1600
  • Camera I/F – MIPI CSI up to 13MP
  • Other Interfaces:
    • 10/100M Ethernet MAC
    • 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0 OTG
    • 4x SPI, 7x UART, 6x TWI, 1x PWM
    • 2x I2S, 2x PCM, SPDIF
  • Security – ARM TrustZone, AES-128 encryption,Secure Boot, etc…
  • Process – 28nm
  • Package – TFBGA642 (19x19mm)

The processor will run Android 5.0 at first. It’s unclear when products based on ATM9009 will become available, except it’s sometimes in 2015.

Via Liliputing and PadNews

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Meet the First Nvidia Tegra X1 “Tablet”: Nabi Big Tab XL

January 8th, 2015 No comments

Nvidia announced their latest Tegra X1 processor at CES 2015 earlier this week, and after showcasing it’s computing and power-saving capabilities, the company focus on its applications: automotive dashboard and driverless cars. Nothing about tablets, or gaming consoles, probably because these two are more cost sensitive than the automotive market. But finally, we’ll see at least one tablet powered by TX1: Nabi Big Tabs. I say “tablet”, but at 55″ to 65″, it’s more like a TV with a touchscreen…

Tegra_X1_TabletFuhu actually announced four TV sized Big Tab XL tablets. The “small” ones with 32″ and 42″ FullHD displays come with a Tegra K1, while the larger ones (55″ and 65″ / 4K UHD) are powered by a Tegra X1 processor.

Here are some of the specs for the tablets:

  • SoC
    • Nvidia Tegra K1 quad-core Cortex A15 processor @ 2.3GHz with 192-core Kepler GPU or
    • Nvidia Tegra X1 octa-core Cortex A57/A53 processor with 256-core Maxwell GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB (K1) or 4GB (X1) RAM
  • Storage – N/A
  • Display
    • 32″ or 42″ Full HD (1080p) touchscreen display
    • 55″ or 65″ 4K UHD (2160p) touchscreen display with 20 to 40 touchpoints.  (Yes, that’s 4 to 8 hands!)
  • Video Input – 2 or 3 HDMI inputs
  • Audio – Front ported speaker chamber
  • Connectivity – WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC
  • USB – A few USB ports on the side
  • Dimensions – Very large
  • Weight – Very heavy

Nabi_Big_Tab_XL The demo model at CES 2015 is running Android 4.4, but the retail version will features Android 5.0 instead. In case the picture above did not provide enough clues, these are marketed as kids tablet, and the company’s Blue Morpho OS with over 400 games, educational and artistic apps help achieve this goal. It will be fun to see apps supporting 8 hands…

Fuhu’s large tablets are expected for Q4 2015. Prices have not been disclosed yet, but should be slightly above equivalent televisions.

Via PCMag and Liliputing

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AllWinner A64 is a $5 Quad Core 64-bit ARM Cortex A53 SoC for Tablets

January 8th, 2015 7 comments

Allwinner already announced H64 octa-core Cortex A53 processor for OTT boxes together with Nobel64 development board in the last quarter of last year, and the Chinese silicon manufacturer has now introduced Allwinner A64 quad core Cortex A53 processor for entry-level tablets, as the processor will only cost $5 per unit in large quantities.

Allwinner_A64As usual, Allwinner only provided a subset of information for their first announcement, and some technical details like the GPU are unknown.

Key features listed for Allwinner A64:

  • 64-bit Cortex-A53 architecture
  • Supports H.265/H.264 video decoding in hardware, and supports HDMI 4K display
  • Supports various DDR memory types, making the BOM cost more competitive
  • Supports eMMC 5.0 for better IO performance and enhanced data throughput capacity
  • Allwinner SmartColor display technology for more vivid and eye-pleasing visual experience
  • Supports Trusted Firmware security architecture from ARM

The company is finally moving to a device tree enabled kernel with Linux 3.10, and Allwinner 64-bit ARM tablets will also run Android 5.0 Lollipop. Hopefully, this processor implements proper H.265 hardware decoding, not GPU accelerated decoding as in Allwinner A80 processor. Interestingly neither Allwinner A64, nor Rockchip RK3368 announced recently, support VP9, despite it being the codec of choice for YouTube 2160p content.

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Rockchip Introduces RK3368 Octa Core Cortex A53 SoC for Tablets and 4K TV Box

January 7th, 2015 7 comments

Rockchip is also at CES 2015, and they’ve announced and are showcasing a new octa-core processor called RK3368 with eight 64-bit ARM Cortex A53 cores that will go into tablets and 4K UHD media players in the coming year. Most news outlet and blogs at CES only cover big brand, so all I got are a few tweets from Rockchip twitter account.

Rockchip_RK3368The eight cores will be clocked up to 1.5 GHz, and the SoC includes an unnamed GPU with support for OpenGL ES 3.1, OpneCL 1.2 and DirectX 9.3. 4Kx2K H.265 and H.264 video decoding will be handled by the chip too, as will out HDMI 2.0 for up to 2160p @ 60 Hz video output.

RK3368_Reference_Platform

RK3368 tablets and media players will run Android 5.0 Lollipop. RK3368 is probably the official name for MayBach processor.

I’m now fully relying on Charbax to get more details about Rockchip new processor… :)

[Update: Liliputing shot a video with RK3368 Reference Tablet.

]

Via AndroidPC.es

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How to Install Ubuntu ARM64 on Nexus 9 Tablet

December 28th, 2014 5 comments

HTC Nexus 9 is one of the first 64-bit ARM platform with powerful ARMv8 cores (e.g. not Cortex A53) that both commercially available, and relatively affordable at $399 to $599, at least significantly cheaper than the server boards such as Applied Micro X-C1. The tablet comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop, but for those of you who wish to have an ARM64 platform running Ubuntu or other 64-bit Linux operating systems, Ubuntu installation instructions provided by Ryan Houdek, Dolphin emulator developer, might come handy, especially it won’t affect your Android installation provided you have already unlocked your bootloader.

Google_Nexus_9_UbuntuThe instructions are fairly long so I won’t reproduce them all here, so I recommend you check the detailed instructions on XDA, but the short summary below may give an idea of the amount of work needed:

  1. Install dependencies such as Aarch64 toolchain:
    sudo apt-get install gcc g++ git gcc-4.9-aarch64-linux-gnu g++-4.9-aarch64-linux-gnu
  2. Build a initramfs with buildroot. You’ll need to enable Aarch64 Linaro toolchain, set consolle output to ttyFIQ0, and select cpio roots in menuconfig step:
    git clone https://github.com/buildroot/buildroot.git
    cd buildroot
    make menuconfig
    make -j8
  3. Build the Linux kernel. Again you’ll have to change a bunch of options in make menuconfig step related to watchdog, graphics supports, and overall system configuration:
    git clone https://android.googlesource.com/kernel/tegra.git
    cd tegra
    git checkout android-tegra-flounder-3.10-lollipop-release
    export ARCH=arm64
    export CROSS_COMPILE=aarch64-linux-gnu-
    make flounder_defconfig
    make menuconfig
    make -j8
  4. Extract a rootfs (e.g. ubuntu-core-14.04.1-core-arm64.tar.gz) to a USB flash drive formatted with EXT-2/3/4, make some minor modifications to the rootfs, and rebuil the kernel. Once everything is don and well, boot Ubuntu with fastboot as follow:
    fastboot -c "console=fbcon=rotate:1 root=/dev/sda1 rootwait rw" boot arch/arm64/boot/Image.gz-dtb

Beside the Nexus 9, a USB OTG cable, and a USB flash drive required for installing Ubuntu ARM64 with these instructions, you should really make a headphone UART debug cable as accessing the serial console with make it easier to spot potential issues during installation.

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Infocus CS1 A83 (C2107) Android Tablet Review

December 16th, 2014 4 comments

I’ve already shown some picture, listed specs and reported Antutu benchmark results for Infocus CS1 A83 Android tablet powered by Allwinner A83T octa core processor. I’ve been using this tablet as my main mobile device for about a week, and for about 3 to 5 hours a day, and I’m now ready to write a full review reporting my experience with this Full HD tablet.

General Impressions

I mainly use a tablet to browse the web, check emails, play some casual games like Candy Crush Saga, watch some YouTube videos, and Skype calls, and I could not really fault the tablet for any of these applications. Having said that, my reference device is only ThL W200 smartphone powered by Mediatek MT6589T processor with a 5″ display @ 1280×720, and for all the tasks listed Infocus tablet is much better because it’s more responsive, the 1920×1200 is crisp, and the cameras are working (for now). I could get a GPS fix quickly too, but GPS is something I tested thoroughly on the tablet.

Battery life is also good for my needs as a charge of the 3,550 mAh battery lasts for well over 24 hours, and takes 2 hours to complete (8% to 98%). They say the first impression is what count, and CS1 A83 (aka C2107) does a good job at that since it boots in about 15 seconds. I’ve only experienced two major annoyances with the volume down button, which requires a strong press to work, and Wi-Fi connectivity does not always work after getting out of standby, requiring a reboot. I worked around the latter issue, but setting Wi-Fi always on in the settings.

Benchmarks: Antutu, Vellamo, and 3DMark

Benchmarks are useful as a quick way to evaluate a device’s performance, but they should not be the only reason for your to buy a particular tablet, smaprthone, or any other device.

I’ve already run Antutu last week, but I’ll include it again today, which shows a score (26,000) a little  lower that what you’d get with an Amlogic S802 device (4x Cortex A9 @ 2 GHz + Mali-450MP6 GPU).

Infocus CS1 A83 Antutu Score (Click to Enlarge)

Infocus CS1 A83 Antutu Score (Click to Enlarge)

I’ve also run two more benchmark to evaluate browser, and multicore performance with Vellamo 3.1 , and 3D graphics with 3DMarks Ice Storm Extreme.

Vellamo 3.1 and Ice Storm Extreme Scores (Click to Enlarge)

Vellamo 3.1 and Ice Storm Extreme Scores (Click to Enlarge)

Vellamo Score browser score is about the same as LG Nexus 4 smartphone (Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro – APQ8064), and at 3,448 points for 3Dmark Ice Storm Extreme, InFocus C2107 is certainly not a gaming beast, but as we’ll see below it’s still very much usable.

Internal Storage and Wi-Fi Performance

Internal storage performance is important for overall system responsiveness, as for example while installing apps some system slow down considerably due to I/O activity, and for boot and app loading time. So far, InFocus CS1 A83 is the best device I’ve ever tested with regards to eMMC performance thanks to 58.87 MB/s read speed, and 29.36 MB/s write speed. Benchmark app used: A1 SD Benchmark. Please note that InFocus CS1 A83 us the only tablet in the chart below.

Infocus_C2107_Internal_Storage_Performance

Read & Write Speed in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

I’ve also tested the tablet Wi-Fi performance by transferring a 278 MB file over SAMBA using ES File Explorer. I obviously placed the tablet in the same location I normally place TV boxes and development boards.

Throughput in MB/s

Throughput in MB/s

The tablet transferred the file at 2.72 MB/s (21.76 Mbps) on average which puts it in the middle of the pack. It’s quite possible I should not really compare Wi-Fi performance of a tablet with the one of media player, since these are different form factors. Your environment, including your router firmware, may also greatly impact the relative Wi-Fi performance between devices.

Performance is average, but I never lost Wi-Fi connectivity during active use. The first couple of dauys everything worked fine, but then I started to be unable to connect to my Wi-Fi router when getting out of stack. First I rebooted the tablet to work around the issue, but finally I went to Wi-Fi Settings-> Advanced (Via … green icon on top right),, and set “Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep” to always. This may affect battery life a little bit, but at least this annoying Wi-Fi issue went away.

Rear and Front Facing Cameras

Rear Camera

The 8MB rear camera does the job, and it clearly delivers better pictures than ThL W200 smartphone, but it struggles in low light conditions for for still pictures and videos, I suppose like most devices. I was also impressed by its ability to take close pictures such as text on books or PCBAs thanks to its autofocus, which at times takes about 1 or 2 seconds to focus. Beside slow focus, and poor quality in low light conditions, the lack of flash may be one of the main downside.

Since photos speak more than words, I’ve include photos samples, as well as video samples at night and day time which I’ve uploaded to YouTube, such make sure you watch them at the max (native resolution).

Video Samples


Other video samples:

Font-facing camera

The 2MP front facing camera is mostly used for selfies, and video conference, so I’ve taken a few close shots of pets and statues.

I’ve also use Skype with the device, and it worked as expected, although the picture is quite dark, and I have not found a way to adjust the front-facing camera brightness, so you’d have to make sure you call in a well lit environment for an optimal visual experience.

Video Playback

In order to test video playback, I simply installed Antutu Video Tester, and run to test to find out Allwinner A83T gets a very good score of 631 points which makes it close to the top of the rankings. This app uses the stock video player test audio/video codecs, and video quality.
Allwinner_A83T_AntutuVideo_Tester_1

Allwinner_A83T_Antutu_Video_Tester_2The device fails to play a realVideo 4 video, and can’t decode ac3 (Dolby Digital 5.1) and DTS audio.

As a comparison a device such as Open Hour Chameleon (Rockchip RK3288) can play all video files, but also fails to decode AC3 and DTS (with the stock player), and only gets 263 points due to the poor video quality of Rockchip RK3288 processor (so far, and hopefully firmware upgrades can fix this). To work around the audio issue, you could also install XBMC / Kodi which (most probably illegally) decodes AC3 and DTS by software.

Battery Life

Battery life is an important feature of mobile devices. For my usage, i.e. 3 to 5 hours per day watching YouTube videos, browsing the web, checking emails, some games, and Skype video calls, a full charge is good for over 24 hours.

In order to get a more standardized evaluation of the battery life, I’ve been recommended to use LAB501 Battery Life app which provides ways to test battery life for web browsing, video playback (720p), and gaming use cases. I planned to fully charge the tablet, and stop the test when the battery level reached 15%, however for some reasons the browser test stopped at around 50% twice. A full charge sometimes stops at 98%, and won’t go to 100% even after one hour or more. Wi-Fi was on, and brightness set to 50% for all tests.

Here are the results:

  • Browsing (98% to 53%) – 229 minutes (3h50). Extrapolating a linear discharge, it would have last around 7 hours
  • Video (100% to 12%) – 397 minutes (6h37). It should be good enough for 3 to 4 full movies on a charge.
  • Gaming (99% to 15%) – 276 (4h36)

Allwinner_A83T_Dashboard_Power_SavingThe tablet also comes with a Dashboard app showing CPU, memory & Storage usage, as well as battery charge, and option to clean junk, boost memory (by killing apps), and as shown above, set some power savings parameters. I’ve only used the tablet in Normal mode, but if you need extra battery life, or a boost in performance for game, these may be options to consider.

Miscellaneous

Bluetooth

Both file transfer  and Bluetooth Smart (BLE) worked just fine. The latter was tested with Vidonn X5 smartband.

GPS

I haven’t done much testing with GPS, and at first I thought the tablet may not have GPS, because there are not options for GPS in the Settings. Eventually, Google Maps, Nike running+, and GPS test confirmed the tablet supports GPS, and can get a GPS fix relatively fast, at least when I have an internet connection. I have not tried to roam outside.

Infocus_CS1_A83_GPS_testGaming

I’ve played Candy Crush Saga, Beach Buggy Bleach, and Riptide GP2 on the device, and all three games played rather nicely, albeit I noticed a little of sluggishness in Candy Crush Saga. The two racing games played quite well, but it’s probably because they adapt the level of details to the device used.

Others

Multitouch app showed the touchscreen supports five touch points max.

The auto brightness works, but is not really well suited to my eyes / preferences, so most of the time, I set the brightness manually. The good thing is that in the dark, I can set the brightness low enough, so that I don’t need third party apps like Lux Lite. I wish it would be possible to teach the device the level of brightness depending on lighting conditions.

The stereo speakers at the back of the tablet are clear and loud, much louder than my smartphone speakers, but this is probably to be expected.

Video Review

I’ve also shot a video review to show a bit more of different options, benchmark results, gaming (Candy Crush Saga, and Riptide GP2), GPS, PDF reader (Acrobat) performance with a large PDF file (ODROID mazagine), and more. The video has been shot with a sports camera, explaining the lens distortion (fisheye effect).

Conclusion

I really like this tablet, as the screen is sharp, performance is good enough for my need, as well as battery life. The main annoyances for me are the Volume down button not working well, and auto-brightness not configurable.

Here are the list of cons and pros based on my experience.

PROS

  • Clear and crisp 1920×1200 display
  • Fastest internal storage I’ve tested so far
  • Good video playback (based on Antutu Video Tester results)
  • Decent Battery Life – > 24 hours on a charge for my usage
  • Auto focus allows for clear pictures even at close distance (in good light conditions).

CONS

  • Volume down only working when pressing hard (Probably only with my early sample)
  • Wi-Fi may fail to reconnect after getting out of standby (Work around -> Set Wi-Fi always on).
  • Video / still picture quality poor in low light conditions, and lack of flash
  • Some games may feel a little sluggish (Candy Crush Saga)
  • Front-facing camera image is darker than usual in Skype, but this may be a Skype issue, rather than a problem with the tablet’s camera (TBC)
  • Auto-brightness can’t be customized (but it should be fixable via a paid app)

Allwinner and Foxconn sent me an early sample of the tablet, and it’s not available for sale just yet. I’m not even sure of the exact name, maybe it will be sold as InFocus C2107, or maybe InFocus CS1 A83. Price on the invoice was $170. As reference, I’ve checked the price for Amlogic M802 / Mediatek MT6592 tablets with a 7″ display using 1080p or 1920×1200 resolution, 2GB RAM, 16GB flash, and other similar specifications which should provide similar performance than the Infocus tablet.  On such model is Chuwi-VX3, which sells for about $180 to $190 but also includes 3G support, so Infocus CS1 A83 should be cheaper than this model, and $150 to $170 including shipping would be a competitive price (IMHO).

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Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet Ultra Could Feature a 12.9″ Display, a 64-Bit ARM Processor, 6 GB RAM, and More

December 16th, 2014 4 comments

That’s only a leak, but if true, the upcoming Sony Xperia Tablet Ultra would be a real beast with a 12.9″ IPS TRILIMINOS touchscreen display with 3840 x 2400 resolution, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 64-bit Octa core processor @ 2.86 GHz coupled with 6GB LPDDR4 RAM, and 64GB internal storage.

Sony_Xperia_Z4_Tablet_UltraSony’s tablet ould also come with an HDMI 1.4 input port allowing 4K recording up to 30 fps, which looks like an odd feature for a tablet. The battery capacity would be rather large as well as 12,100 mAh, yet thickness only 8.6 mm, which might be possible due to the massive screen. It would most probably run Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Via Mike Cane and Padnews.

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Mediatek MT8173 Quad Core big.LITTLE ARM Cortex A57/A53 Processor Code Submitted to Linux Mainline

December 11th, 2014 6 comments

Mediatek is not exactly known to compliant with open source licences, or be involved with the open source community. But the company is certainly going into the right direction with their cooperation with Google leading to source code release for Android One smartphones, and the recently launched Mediatek Labs for community projects, starting with LinkIt One IoT platform. Mediatek is also regularly submitting code to the Linux ARM Kernel mailing list, and yesterday code was submitted for Mediatek MT8173 SoC, a 64-bit ARMv8 processor with two Cortex 53 and two Cortex 57 cores in big.LITTLE configuration. As far as I know, it could be the first Mediatek SoC with “big” Cortex A57 cores.

Mediatek_MT8125

Code snippet from mt8173.dtsi related to CPU cores:

cpus {
+		#address-cells = <1>;
+		#size-cells = <0>;
+
+		cpu0: cpu@0 {
+			device_type = "cpu";
+			compatible = "arm,cortex-a53";
+			reg = <0x000>;
+			enable-method = "psci";
+		};
+
+		cpu1: cpu@1 {
+			device_type = "cpu";
+			compatible = "arm,cortex-a53";
+			reg = <0x001>;
+			enable-method = "psci";
+		};
+
+		cpu2: cpu@2 {
+			device_type = "cpu";
+			compatible = "arm,cortex-a57";
+			reg = <0x100>;
+			enable-method = "psci";
+		};
+
+		cpu3: cpu@3 {
+			device_type = "cpu";
+			compatible = "arm,cortex-a57";
+			reg = <0x101>;
+			enable-method = "psci";
+		};
+	};

A short DTS file was also submitted for MT8173 tablet EVB (evaluation board):

+#include "mt8173.dtsi"
+
+/ {
+	model = "mediatek,mt8173-evb";
+
+	aliases {
+		serial0 = &uart0;
+		serial1 = &uart1;
+		serial2 = &uart2;
+		serial3 = &uart3;
+	};
+
+	memory {
+		reg = <0 0x40000000 0 0x40000000>;
+	};
+};

The memory section normally defines the location and size of the RAM (0x40000000 correspond to 1GB), but in this device tree file the location and size is shown twice, maybe because its a 64-bit platform addressed with 2x 1GB RAM (TBC) using 32-bit buses. An explanation of this would be welcomed.

That’s about all I know for know, except the new processor shares a lot with MT8135 and other MT65xx series. I search for MTK8173 / MT8173 did not yield interesting results so far.

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