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Posts Tagged ‘virtual reality’

$99 Insta360 Air 360 Degrees Video Camera Works with your Android Smartphone and Laptop (Crowdfunding)

January 17th, 2017 2 comments

Insta360 Nano is a dual camera designed to take 360 degrees videos selling for $190 and up on Amazon US, but it only works on iPhone 6 & 7 series, so the company has designed a new model – Insta360 Air – specifically to work on Android phones with a micro USB or USB-C port, and packaged in a spherical shapes in order to be compatible with most, if not all, brands and models. It also works with laptops thanks to a rigid yet flexible USB cable.

Insta360 Air specifications:

  • 210° dual fish-eye lens; minimum Aperture F2.4
  • Photo Capture Resolution – 3008 x 1504 (3K)
  • Video Capture  – 2560 x 1280 @ 30 fps (some smartphone models also support 3008×1504 @ 30 fps, e.g. Samsung S7, S7 edge, and Huawei P9)
  • Connector – USB micro/Type-C
  • Dimensions – 37.6mm Diameter
  • Weight 26.5g

The camera can be used with Insta360 Air app allowing you to shoot spherical images and videos, and share them to Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, WhatsApp, Messenger, Line, Wechat, QQ, QZone, and Weibo. If you have friends that don’t have the camera, they can still watch your video using Insta360 Player app that offers normal, virtual reality, and “little planet” viewing modes. You can also connect the camera to your computer or laptop in order to use it as a 360 degrees webcam with Skype or other video conference programs.

Insta360 Air camera has been launched on Indiegogo, and with 10 days to go the project has already raised over $230,000 from about 1,100 backers. A $99 pledge will get you an Insta360 Air camera with a transfer cable for laptop, but you may consider pledging $125 instead to add a smartphone mount, a smartphone tripod, and a smartphone adapter. It’s unclear to me what the mount and adapter are for, and note that you’ll have to choose between micro USB or USB type C at the time of order. Shipping is free to China, but adds $20 to $26 to the rest of the world. Delivery is planned for March 2017. You’ll find a few more details on Insta360 Air product page.

Vapor Cooled ASUS Zenfone AR Smartphone Comes with 8GB RAM, Supports Google DayDream and Tango

January 5th, 2017 1 comment

ASUS Zenfore AR is an interesting beast, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, it’s the first processor I’ve heard to come with 8GB RAM, and also the first to support both Google DayDream virtual reality, and Google Tango 3D depth sensing camera. On top of that, it’s allegedly cooled by an “advanced vapor cooling system”.
asus-zenfone-ar

Zenfone AR (ZS571KL) specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad core processor up to 2.35 GHz with Adreno 530 GPU
  • System Memory – 6 to 8 GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • Storage – 32, 64, 128 or 256GB UFS 2.0 flash, micro SD/SDCX card slot up to 2TB, 5GB ASUS WebStorage for file, 100GB Google drive for 2 years
  • Display – 5.7″ WQHD (2560×1440) AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 4, 10-finger capacitive touch
  • Camera
    • Tricam system with 23MP autofocus, motion tracking, and depth sensing cameras (Tango)
    • 8MP front-facing camera with autofocus dual LED flash
  • Video – 4K video recording
  • Audio – Built-in mono speaker, 3.5mm audio jack
  • Cellular Connectivity – Dual SIM card for 2G, 3G, and 4G networks; up to 600Mbps download speed (LTE cat12); up to 75 upload speed (LTE cat13)
  • Connectivity – 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2 + A2DP + EDR, GPS/A-GPS/GLONASS/BDS, NFC
  • USB – 1x USB type C port
  • Sensors – Accelerator/E-Compass/Gyroscope/Proximity sensor/Hall sensor/Ambient light sensor/RGB sensor/IR sensor (Laser Focus)/Fingerprint/Barometer
  • Battery – 3,300 mAh (non-removable) with fast charging through PowerDelivery 2.0 and Quick Charge 3.0
  • Power Supply – 9V/2A (18W) power adapter
  • Dimensions – 158.67 x 77.7 x 4.6 to 8.95 mm
  • Weight – 170 grams

The smartphone will run Android 7.0 Nougat with ZenUI 3.0, and ships with a headset and the power adapter.

Zefone AR is expected to be released in Q2 2017, with pricing yet to be announced. You’ll find more details and photos on ZenFone AR product page.

Qualcomm Officially Unveils Snapdragon 835 Octa-core Processor for Smartphones, Mobile PCs, Virtual Reality…

January 4th, 2017 1 comment

Qualcomm first mentioned Snapdragon 835 processor in November, but at the time, they only disclosed it would be manufactured using 10nm process technology in partnership with Samsung, and claimed the obvious “faster and lower power consumption” compared the previous generation. The company has now provided much more info ahead of CES 2017.

snapdragon-835-block-diagramSnapdragon 835 key features and specifications:

  • Processor – 8x Kryo 280 cores used into two clusters:
    • performance cluster with 4x cores @ up to 2.45 GHz with 2MB L2 cache
    • efficient cluster with 4x cores @ up to 1.9 GHz with 1MB L2 cache
  • GPU – Adreno 540 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 3.2, OpenCL 2.0 full, Vulkan, DX12
  • DSP – Hexagon 682 DSP with Hexagon Vector eXtensions and Qualcomm All-Ways Aware technology
  • Memory I/F – dual channel LPDDR4x
  • Storage I/F – UFS2.1 Gear3 2L, SD 3.0 (UHS-I)
  • Display – UltraHD Premium-ready , 4K Ultra HD 60 Hz, 10-bit color depth, DisplayPort, HDMI, and USB Type-C support
  • Video – Up to 4K @ 30 fps capture, up to 4K @ 60 fps playback, H.264, H.265 and VP9 codecs.
  • Audio – Qualcomm Aqstic audio codec and speaker amplifier; Qualcomm aptX audio playback support: aptX Classic, aptX HD
  • Camera – Spectra 180 ISP; dual 14-bit ISPs up to 16MP dual camera, 32MP single camera
  • Connectivity – 802.11ad multi-gigabit, integrated 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi with MU-MIMO (tri-band: 2.4, 5.0 and 60 GHz); Bluetooth 5.0
  • Modem – X16 LTE modem; downlink up to 1 Gbps, uplink up to 150 Mbps
  • Location – GPS, Glonass, BeiDou, Galileo, and QZSS systems content protection
  • Security – Qualcomm SecureMSM technology, Qualcomm Haven security suite, Qualcomm Snapdragon StudioAccess content protection
  • Charging – Quick Charge 4 technology, Quacomm WiPower technology
  • Manufacturing – 10nm FinFET (Samsung)

Snapdragon 835 will use about 25 percent less power than Snapdragon 820, while being 35 percent smaller, and delivering 25 percent faster 3D graphic rendering. The processor is expected to be found in premium consumer devices such as smartphones, VR/AR head-mounted displays, IP cameras, tablets, mobile PCs, and more. The first devices announced with Snapdragon 835 are Osterhout Design Group (ODG) R-8  augmented/virtual reality smartglasses and ODG R-9 smartglasses and devkit for wide field of view (WFOV) experiences

You’ll find more details on Snapdragon 835 product page.

Giveaway Week Winners – November 2016

November 9th, 2016 24 comments

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to announce the results the whole world is eagerly waiting for today, and as you’ve probably guessed it, by that I mean CNX Software Giveaway Week 2016 contest… obviously… We had seven winners sharing the prizes shown below from Android TV boxes, to a Linux TV stick, and an Android virtual reality headset.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

2016 has been an interesting year so far, putting statisticians, pundits, pollsters, and generally speaking odds to shame, and random.org apparently decided to join that trends, as while most of the blog’s traffic – and I’d assume entries – come from the western world (North America / Western Europe), random.org mostly selected winners from other countries:

  • VR SKY CX-V3 VR headset – Dainis, Latvia
  • WeTek Core TV box – Homer, Morocco
  • Vana Player Hifi Linux audio player – Fakham, Pakistan
  • MeLE PCG02U Ubuntu TV stick – Ziggy, Singapore
  • Coowell V4 Android tv box with camera – Pavlos, Greece
  • K1 Plus T2 S2 Android STB – Lasent, Hungary
  • Zidoo X9 Android TV box with HDMI input – Upsakas Kontoritarve, Estonia

I’ve just sent the 7 parcels to the above winner this morning.

giveaway-winners-parcelsThank you everybody for playing. Let’s do it again sometimes.

Actions Semi S900VR & V700 Processors are Designed for Virtual Reality Headsets

November 1st, 2016 2 comments

Earlier this summer, Actions Semi has announced two quad core ARM Cortex A53 SoC designed for virtual reality applications, S900VR with a PowerVR G6230 GPU for higher-end 2K headsets, and V700 with a ARM Mali-450MP GPU for mid-range Android VR headsets with Full HD displays.

actions-semi-s900vr-virtual-reality-soc

Actions Semi S900VR specifications and key features:

  • CPU – Quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 processor
  • GPU – Imagination PowerVR G6230 with support for OpenGL ES1.1/2.0/3.0/3.1, OpenGL 3.2, OpenCL 1.2EP, DirectX10
  • Memory I/F – Dual channels DDR3/DDR3L/LPDDR2/LPDDR3
  • Storage I/F – SLC/MLC/TLC NAND, eMMC 4.5, SDIO 3.0
  • Video decode – HEVC/H.265 up to 4K
  • Video encode – H.264 1080p video encoding
  • Display – MIPI-DSI, LVDS, and eDP1.3 interfaces up to 2560×[email protected]
  • HDMI – HDMI 1.4b up to 4K and MHL 2.1
  • Camera sensor – MIPI-CSI2 interface up to 13M cameras
  • Power – ATC260x companion chip with embedded PMU and Audio Codec
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Actions Semi V700 Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

V700 VR processor specifications:

  • CPU – Quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 processor
  • GPU – ARM Mali-450 MP6 with support for OpenGL ES2.0/1.1, OpenVG 1.1, EGL 1.5
  • Memory I/F – DDR3/DDR3L/LPDDR2/LPDDR3, up to 4GB
  • Storage I/F – SLC/MLC/TLC NAND, eMMC 4.5, SDIO 3.0
  • Video decode – HEVC/H.265 up to 4K @ 30 fps
  • Video encode – H.264 1080p video encoding
  • Display – MIPI-DSI & LVDS interfaces up to 1920×[email protected]
  • HDMI – HDMI 1.4b up to 4K
  • Camera sensor – MIPI-CSI2 interface up to 12M cameras
  • Power – ATC260x companion chip with embedded PMU and Audio Codec

While the processors were announced in July, I found out about them about an Imagination press release mentioning Actions Semi, Imagination Technologies, and Nanjing Ruiyue Technology – better known as Nibiru – had partnered to released a 2K Android virtual reality kit running Nibiru OS powered by Actions Semi S900VR processor with sub 20ms latency.

You may want to visit Actions Semiconductor S900VR and V700 product pages for maximum confusion as both mentions 4K display support, contradicting the press release.

ARM Introduces Bifrost Mali-G51 GPU, and Mali-V61 4K H.265 & VP9 Video Processing Unit

November 1st, 2016 4 comments

Back in May of this year, ARM unveiled Mali-G71 GPU for premium devices, and the first GPU of the company based on Bifrost architecture. The company has now introduced the second Bifrost GPU with Mali-G51 targeting augmented & virtual reality and higher resolution screens to be found in mainstream devices in 2018, as well as Mali-V61 VPU with 4K H.265 & VP9 video decode and encode capabilities, previously unknown under the codename “Egil“.

Mali-G51 GPU

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Click to Enlarge

ARM Mali-G51 will be 60% more energy efficiency, and have 60% more performance density compared to Mali-T830 GPU, making the new GPU the most efficient ARM GPU to date. It will also be 30% smaller, and support 1080p to 4K displays.

Under the hood, Mali-G51 include an updated Bifrost’s low level instruction set, a dual-pixel shader core per GPU core to deliver twice the texel and pixel rates, features the latest ARM Frame Buffer Compression (AFBC) 1.2, and supports Vulkan, OpenGL ES 3.2, and OpenCL 2.0 APIs.

More information can be found on the product page, and an ARM community blog post entitled “The Mali-G51 GPU brings premium performance to mainstream mobile“.

Mali-V61 VPU

mali-v61-4k-120hz

Mali-V61 can scale from 1 to 8 cores to handle 1080p60 up to 4K @ 120 fps, supports 8-/10-bit HEVC & 8-/10-bit VP9 up to 4K UHD video encoding and decoding, making it ideal for 4K video conference and chat, as well as 32MP multi-shot @ 20 fps.

The company claims H.265 and VP9 video encoding quality is about the same for a given bitrate with Mali-V61 as shown in the diagram below.

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VP9 vs HEVC vs H.264 – Click to Enlarge

Beside the capability of selecting 1 to 8 cores, silicon vendors can also decide whether they need encoding or decoding block for their SoC. For example camera SoC may not need video decoding support, while STB SoCs might do without encoding. While Mali-V61 is a premium IP block, ARM is also expecting it in mainstream devices possibly also featuring Cortex A53 processor cores and Mali-G51 GPU.

You’ll find more details on the product page, and ARM community “Mali-V61 – Premium video processing for Generation Z and beyond” blog post.

Giveaway Week – VR SKY CX-V3 Android Virtual Reality Headset

October 31st, 2016 121 comments

It’s been a while since I’ve organized a Giveaway week, and with Christmas less than two months away, it might be a good time to launch another one. It will take place on October 31 – November 6 with one device or board offered every day, starting with VR SKY CX-V3 All-in-one Android VR Headset.

SKY-VR_CX-V3_StrapCX-V3 review showed that it’s good enough to play 2D and 3D videos, but Allwinner H8vr might not be quite powerful enough for VR games, and the IPD (Interpupillary distance) is not adjustable, so depending on the distance between your eyes, virtual reality apps may not be usable at all. That’s not a problem for videos however.

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Click to Enlarge

I’ll send the kit with all accessories to the lucky winner. To enter the draw simply leave a comment below.

Other rules are as follows:

  • Only one entry per contest. I will filter out entries with the same IP and/or email address.
  • Contests are open for 48 hours starting at 10am (Bangkok time) every day. Comments will be closed after 48 hours.
  • Winners will be selected with random.org, and announced in the comments section of each giveaway.
  • I’ll contact the winner by email, and I’ll expect an answer within 24 hours, or I’ll pick another winner.
  • Shipping
    • $19 for registered airmail small packet for oversea shipping payable via Paypal within 48 hours once the contest (for a given product) is complete.
    • If Paypal is not available in your country, you can still play, and I’ll cover the cost of sending the parcel by Sea and Land (SAL) if you win.
  • I’ll post all 7 prizes at the same time, around the 10th of November
  • I’ll make sure we have 7 different winners, so if you have already won a device during this giveaway week, I’ll draw another person.

Good luck!

VR SKY CX-V3 can also be purchased for ~$130 and up on Geekbuying, GearBest, and others.

PiPo V5 Android Virtual Reality Headset Powered by Rockchip RK3399 SoC to Sell for $200

October 18th, 2016 1 comment

Las month I reviewed VR SKY CX-V3 Android virtual reality headset based on Allwinner H8vr octa-core SoC, and based on a report from Netbook Italia at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair, PiPo will launch a device looking exactly the same but featuring a much more powerful Rockchip RK3399 processor, next month for about $200.

rockchip_rk3399_virtual-reality-headset

Beside Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core SoC with two cores ARM Cortex-A72 cores and four Cortex-A53, and a Mali-T864MP4 graphics, Pipo V5 VR headset will support 4K video with HEVC/H.265, H.264 and VP9 video codec support, features 2GB RAM, 32GB storage, one USB type C port, one USB 2.0 host port, a microSD slot, an audio jack,  and a 5.5″ Full HD (1920×1080) IPS display.  The headset will also include sensors such as an accelerometer and s gyroscope.

Just like VR SKY CX-V3, it will include power, back and Nibiru buttons, and a touchpad. One important features missing from VR SKY CX-V3 wiull be present in PiPo V5: an adjustable interpupillary distance (IPD) thanks to a wheel to adjust the eye distance and the focus.

Pipo V5 is said to be the first RK3399 all-in–one VR headset, and you should be able to purchase it in November for $199.