Software Update Brings Subscription based Functions-on-Demand to BMW Cars

BMW Digital personalization functions on demand

Cars are getting smarter and safer, and autonomous driving looks promising but may take longer than expected, as many shortcomings still have to be worked out. In any case, that means most new cars will be connected to the Internet in the future, especially with the launch of 5G and V2X solutions. This will bring benefits and new business models, as BMW showcased at the recent BMW Connected Car Beta Days 2020. BMW lists a long list of new advantages of an upcoming software upgrade with improved BWM maps, connected parking to help you find parking space, connected charging to “make mobility more sustainable and innovative”, BMW Digital Key that turns an iPhone into a secure digital vehicle key,  wireless support of Google’s Android Auto, and the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant has received some improvement with the virtual character now turns towards the person talking and can distinguish between addressing the driver and the passenger. Some updates look genuinely useful, …

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Snapdragon Wear 4100+ Platform Combines Cortex-A53 Cores with Always-On Cortex M0 Core

Snapdragon Wear 4100+

Qualcomm entered the wearables market in 2016 with the launch of Snapdragon Wear 2100 quad-core Cortex A7 SoC, followed by other models all based on Cortex-A7 cores including the more recent Wear 3100 platform which also added a QCC1110 co-processor to extend battery life. The company has now made the switch to 64-bit Arm with Snapdragon Wear 4100 and Wear 4100+ both featuring a quad-core Arm Cortex A53 processor and companion chips, but the latter adds QCC1100 Arm Cortex-M0 always-on (AON) co-processor to lower power consumption. Snapdragon Wear 4100+ key features and specifications: SoC – Qualcomm SDM429w or SDA429w CPU – Quad-core Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.7 GHz GPU – Adreno A504 GPU up to 320 MHz with OpenGL ES 3.1 API support DSP – Dual Qualcomm Hexagon QDSP6 v56, dedicated MDSP for modem and GPS, and dedicated ADSP for Open Sensor Execution Environment (SEE) and audio Memory & Storage I/F – LPDDR3 up to 750 MHz, eMMC 5.1 flash …

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Ugoos X4 Cube Android 9.0 TV Box Plays 4Kp120 AV1 Videos

Ugoos X4 Cube

AOMedia AV1 video codec has been in the works for several years, and has strong industry backing since it’s open-source, royalty-free and delivers compression similar or even superior to H.265. Some services like YouTube and Netflix have already started using AV1 on PCs where the CPU is powerful enough to handle software video decoding. But relying on software video decoding is not ideal on typical Arm-based devices, either because of battery life concerns (e.g. phones) or simply impossible because the processor won’t be able to cope. The latter is especially the case on TV boxes who are not usually fitted with Arm Cortex-A53 cores leaving hardware video decoding to a video processing unit (VPU). Since AV1 is still fairly new, most VPU doesn’t support the new video codec, and while we have seen several AV1 capable processors including Broadcom BCM7218x, Realtek RTD1311/RTD1319, and Amlogic S905X4. as well as at least one Android TV box for operators, I’m not aware of …

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Upcoming RTD1619 Media Players – Dune HD Pro 4K II, Zidoo Z9X, and Zidoo X

Zidoo X

Realtek RTD1619 hexa-core Cortex-A55 media SoC was first spotted in 2018 in the Linux source code. Since no products had been launched based on RTD1619, I had mostly forgotten about the processor until I wrote about RTD1395 powered Dune HD RealBox 4K. I was then informed about the upcoming Dune HD Pro 4K II, and a quick search reveals Zidoo is also working on its own RTD1619 media players with Zidoo Z9X and Zidoo X models. Dune HD Pro4K II Specifications: SoC – Realtek RTD1619 hexa-core Cortex-A55 processor with Mali-G51 Bifrost GPU System Memory – 4 GB RAM Storage – 32 GB flash, MicroSD slot, external SATA HDD (data + power) Video Output – HDMI 2.0b up to 4Kp60 HDR, 3.5mm A/V connector for composite Video Input – HDMI 2.0 input for PiP or recording Audio Output – optical S/PDIF, digital audio via HDMI, analog stereo audio via A/V connector Video Playback 4Kp60 HDR/HDR10+ with 10-bit H.265 and VP9 profile-2, …

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Getting a 3-inch Smartphone in 2020? You can with Unihertz Jelly 2 (Crowdfunding)

3-inch smartphone 2020

Most smartphones have 5″ or larger displays these days as it’s just more convenient to read emails, browse the web, or play games, than the smaller displays we had ten years ago. But some people may still prefer smaller smartphones that are lighter and really fit into any pockets. Those are just pretty hard to find, luckily some companies such as Unihertz are filling the needs for this niche market. Two years ago, the company introduced the Unihertz Atom smartphone with a 2.4″ display, and earlier this year launched Atom XL 4″ smartphone, but the company is now preparing to launch a new crowdfunding campaign for Jelly 2 smartphone powered by a MediaTek Helio P60 processor and equipped with a 3-inch display. Unihertz Jelly 2 specifications: SoC – MediaTek Helio P60 octa-core with four Arm Cortex-A73 up 2.0 GHz and four Arm Cortex-A53 up to 2.0 GHz, Arm Mali-G72 MP3 at 800MHz, System Memory – 6GB RAM Storage – 128GB …

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Beelink GS-King X Review – Part 1: Unboxing & Teardown

Beelink GS-King X Review

Beelink GS-King X is a 3-in-1 media center that works as an Android 9.0 TV box, a NAS with support for two 3.5″ hard drives, and a HiFi audio system with two ESS9018 audio DACs powering RCA and balanced audio outputs. The company sent a review sample, and I’ll start by checking out the hardware and accessories, show how to install the hard drive(s), and attempt to tear down the device to check what it’s really made of. Beelink GS-King X Unboxing There’s no mention of TV box nor Android on the package, just “STORAGE” and DTS plus Dolby Audio… The bottom of the package lists the Beelink GS-King X specifications which we already discussed in our previous articles. There’s a red ribbon that helps to take the device out of its package. I wish more companies would do this. Accessories include the voice remote control, an HDMI cable, a 19V/3A power supply, HDD brackets with screws, as well as …

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Looking for an Android Phone with Long Term Support? Fairphone 2 Gets Android 9 Five Years After Launch

Fairphone 2 Android 9

When you use a laptop or computer with Windows or Linux, you’re pretty much assured to get regular security updates. That’s partially why I prefer to do things like online banking on my computer rather than a phone, despite banks pushing for mobile apps. Why? Because most mobile phones get limited support. I selected an Android One phone, namely Xiaomi Mi A2, because I would get updates for at least 18 months. When you think about it it’s quite pathetic, but that’s about the best Android has to offer. It’s quite better on Apple side with updates for 4 to 5 years for iPhones, while Google Pixel phones are said to get updates for about 3+ years. How you deliver updates also matter, as I recently heard Samsung users complain about frequent updates, while they had somehow no such complaint about their iPhone. But if you’re not quite ready to make the jump to iPhones, and prefer the openness of …

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Dune HD RealBox 4K TV Box Runs Android and Linux on Realtek RTD1395 SoC

Dune HD Realbox 4K

Realtek RTD1395 processor is designed for 4K HDR TV boxes and set-top boxes. Equipped with a quad-core Cortex-A53 processor and Mali-470 GPU it offers a lower-cost alternative to Realtek RTD1295 and RTD1296 with the same 4K video processing and playback capabilities. So far, we had seen it in TV boxes designed for operators and Banana Pi BPI-M4 single board computer, but Dune HD RealBox 4K TV box is the first RTD1395 consumer device sold directly to end-users. Dune HD RealBox 4K  specifications: SoC – Realtek RTD1395 quad-core Cortex-A53 processor with Mali-470MP4 GPU System Memory – 2 GB RAM Storage – 16 GB flash, MicroSD card slot Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4Kp60 HDR and AV port (composite) Audio – Optional S/PDIF, analog stereo audio via AV port, digital audio via HDMI port; HDMI audio pass-through to AV receiver Video Playback 4Kp60 HDR/HDR10+ with 10-bit H.265 and VP9 profile-2, 4Kp30 with H.264, and other common video codecs. Blu-ray support …

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