Ten Most Popular Posts of 2015 and Statistics on CNX Software

In the second part of 2014, we saw a big jump in performance thanks to Cortex A15 and A17 based SoCs, and higher clocked Cortex A9 processors such as Rockchip RK3288 and Amlogic S812, but in 2015, TV box companies have focused on lowering the price and adding features such as HDMI 2.0, instead of looking for higher and higher CPU and GPU performance, and they’ve also moved to 64-bit ARM platform. Intel also continued its foray into low cost HDMI sticks and mini PCbased on Bay Trail, and later on Cherry Trail based devices.  The development boards story was also very much about lower cosst with the $15 Orange Pi PC, follow a few months later by the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, although people looking for performance at any price still saw the release of Nvidia Jetson TX1 board. It’s was also a big year for IoT with the continued rise of ESP8266 with more and more options, and …

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Review and Teardown of Simplelink Self-Powered Power Switch

After I wrote about SimpleLink Batteryless power switch and receiver, the company decided to sent me a kit to try out by myself. So in this review, I’ll checkout the kit, install a demo to show how it works, and finally have a look at the internals. The kit include a power cord with a US plug and a holder and corresponding light bulb that you need to connect to the corresponding red and blue wire of the receiver (white cylinder), and you can control with the green power battery-less switch. Two 3M double face stickers are also included for the receiver and switch, as well as a strap for the switch, a screw set for either the light holder or receiver, and a user’s manual shown below. Installation is pretty self-explanatory, and you just need to connect the blue and red cables to the input (mains) and output (light) as indicated on the receiver. Then you just need to …

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Why Doesn’t your Android TV Box Play Full HD or 4K Videos in Netflix?

I’m not a Netflix user myself, but I know many of my readers are, and a frequent complain was the inability to play Full HD or 4K content, except on specific devices such as WeTek Core or Nvidia Shield Android TV. Until now, I thought most TV box manufacturers did not get DRM and Netflix support to reduce costs, but after reading one article about this very subject on AndroidPCReview, I realized it was more complicated than that. Beside the obvious hardware requirements that you need a Full HD or 4K capable player and television, the device needs to be certified by Google, and Widevine Level 1 DRM is required to stream anything above SD resolution from premium apps such as HBO Go or Netflix. However while many devices are certified by Google, only a few are officially supported by Netflix. The company also ranks device by categories such as Smart TVs, Smartphones & tablets, and within the “streaming media …

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Samsung S3FBP5A Bio-Processor Targets Fitness Tracking Wearables

We now have many wearables capable of monitoring your activities, be it smartwatches or fitness tracker, and usually they are comprised of several small sensor chips, a low power micro-controller, a Bluetooth radio, and possibly some other ICs . Samsung has been designing and just launched a bio-processor to regroup most of those features into a single chip which should only require a fourth of the area required by current multi-chip solutions. While the press release did not mention the part number, the included picture – shown above – sort of gave a clue, and Samsung S3FBP5A bio-processor has the following specifications: MCU – ARM Cortex-M4 Memory – 256 KB RAM Storage – 512 KB flash DSP Sensors – 5 Analog frontends (AFEs) measuring: PPG (photoplethysmography) ECG (electrocardiography) Skin temperature BIA (bioelectrical impedance analysis) Galvanic skin response (GSR) I/Os – SPI, I2C PMIC Security units The sensors will enable measurements of body fat, skeletal muscle mass, heart rate, heart rhythm, …

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Google Glass 2 For Enterprise Shows Up on FCC Website

I’ve never been a fan of Google Glass for consumer applications, and the company has apparently more or less given up on this market, but instead they are now focusing on the enterprise market according to Google Glass 2 (codenamed AR4-GG1) photos and a user’s manual released on the FCC website. The user’s manual lists some of the key external components including a power button, a display with its button to take pictures or shot videos, a touchpad along the flat area on the side to control the display using taps and gestures. Although not really sharp, the internal pictures allow to have a look at the main electronic components featured in the device, and David Anders analyzed the pictures and found the following ICs: Toshiba THGBMBG7D4LBAIW that should be a 16GB eMMC flash Texas Instruments TUSB1211 USB 2.0 ULPI PHY transceiver Touchpad area with Cypress logo and a 48-pin chip that could be part of TrueTouch CYTT21X/31X family Mashable also reports that …

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F68 Sports Smartwatch Unboxing

Makibes F68 is a smartwatch with fitness features (HRM, pedometer…) and smartphone notification support, that is supposed to last around one week on a charge, and certified with an IP67 ingress protection rating. GearBest asked me if I wanted to review that model since SMA-Q watch was a disappointment, and I accepted so I have yet another smartwatch to try out. Today. I’ll take a few pictures of the watch and accessories, better writing a full review in one or two weeks. The package looks quite nice, but one detail is quite revealing: there’s no Makibes brand, nor F68 model name anywhere, and it looks exactly like FlyShark BW410 reported a few days ago by Charbax, so it must be an OEM design that will show up under multiple brand names, not only Makibes. The watch is not fully assembled, and instead the watch face comes with two watch bands, a charging pad, a micro USB to USB cable, and …

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Mini Review of HD23 Android Mini PC with Skype and Google Hangouts

HD23 is an Android TV box based on Allwinner H3 quad core processor that includes a 2.0MP camera and a microphone that should allow you to make and receive video calls. I’ve already taken some pictures of the device, and opened it to have a look at the hardware including the camera and microphone in HD23 unboxing and teardown post, so today I’ll specifically test the device’s camera and mic with Skype and Google Hangouts. HD23 Installation The device is made to connect to the top of your TV, so you’ll probably want to limit the weight on the back of the device, and I only connected the HDMI cable, the RF dongle for MINIX NEO A2 Lite air mouse, and the power supply cable. For the purpose of the review, I also connected a USB keyboard via the USB OTG adapter in order to take screenshots. If you wonder how big the device would look on your TV, I’ve …

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uRADMonitor Aims to Crowdsource Air Pollution Measurements Worldwide (Crowdfunding)

Some projects such as the World Air Quality Index project are already generating a pollution world map using data from the countries’ respective “Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)”, but a Romanian startup aims to allow individuals to monitor pollution around the world with their uRAMonitor project, effectively crowd-sourcing pollution monitoring. For this purpose, the company created environmental monitors with various features and price points, include the higher-emd Model D with the following specifications: Color LCD with touchscreen LND712 made in the USA for Alpha, Beta and Gamma Radiation Bosch BME680 to measure air temperature, barometric pressure, humidity and VOC (volatile organic compounds) Sharp photoelectric sensor to measure dust, pollen, soot, smoke and other particulate matter 1500mAh rechargeable battery for 8 hours of continuous use Wireless 802.11b/g/n connectivity mini USB connector for charging or data Internal audible alarm when pollution readings are high There’s also model A measuring temperature and radiation, connected to the network via Ethernet, and already tested by 300 …

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