/e/OS v2 privacy-focused, Google-free Android mobile OS released with improved UI, Android Auto support, etc..

/e/os v2 release

The e Foundation has just announced the release of the /e/OS v2 Android-based Google-free open-source mobile operating system with an improved launcher, support for Android Auto, a “Wall of Shame” to identify the most leaking apps and tracker, QR Code scanning support in the camera app, and more. Most Android smartphones come with Google services which may be convenient (and help keep Android free), but come at the loss of the users’ privacy. That’s why the e Foundation started offering e/OS over five years ago to offer a privacy-focused version of Android without Google services on specific phones. The project has evolved over the years, over 200 mobile devices are supported officially and unofficially, and Murena, a for-profit company, has also been established to sell e/OS smartphones and cloud services. /e/OS v2 highlights and changes: Based on LineageOS 20 with the latest bug fixes and security updates (itself based on […]

Android no longer supports RISC-V, for now…

Android RISC-V

Google dropped RISC-V support from the Android’s Generic Kernel Image in recently merged patches. Filed under the name “Remove ACK’s support for riscv64,” the patches with the description “support for risc64 GKI kernels is discontinued” on the AOSP tracker removed RISC-V kernel support, RISC-V kernel build support, and RISC-V emulator support. In simple terms, the next Android OS implementation that will use the latest GKI release won’t work on devices powered by RISC-V chips. Therefore, companies wanting to compile a RISC-V Android build will have to create and maintain their own branch from the Linux kernel (ACK RISC-V patches). These abbreviations can be confusing, so let’s focus on them starting with ACK. There’s the official Linux kernel, and Google does not certify Android devices that ship with this mainline Linux kernel. Google only maintains and certifies the ACK (Android Common Kernel), which are downstream branches from the official Linux kernel. One of the main ACK branches is the android-mainline […]

Pineboards adds four more Raspberry Pi 5 PCIe HAT+ boards with PCIe x4 slot, mPCIe socket, Coral Dual Edge TPU support, and audio ports

Pineboards Raspberry Pi 5 HAT

Pineboards, previously known as PineBerry, has launched four new Raspberry Pi HAT+ with a PCIe interface: the Hat uPCIty Lite, HatDrive! Piano, Hat mPCIe, and Hat Ai! Dual. The Polish company decided to change the name from Pineberry to Pineboards since the “berry” name implied they were manufacturing single-board computers, while Pineboards, not to be confused with Pine64 boards, apparently does not :). Nevertheless, let’s have a look at the four new HAT+ boards. Hat uPCIty Lite – PCIe x4 slot and ATX power supply Specifications: Supported SBCs – Raspberry Pi 5 and other SBCs with a compatible 16-pin PCIe FPC connector and form factor PCIe 16-pin PCIe FPC connector (input) PCIe X4 slot (output) to connect PCIe cards such as NVIDIA or AMD graphics cards; Note: only PCIe x1 Gen2 and Gen3 are supported Misc – 12V and PWR LEDs Power Supply 12V/8A via ATX power connector 12V/8A via […]

Google’s Jpegli open-source library can compress high quality images 35% more than traditional JPEG codecs

Jpegli ELO score vs other JPEG libraries

Google has released the Jpegli open-source library for advanced JPEG coding that maintains backward compatibility while delivering an up to 35% compression ratio improvement at high-quality compression settings. Google Research has been working on improving the compression of data (Brotli), audio (e.g. Lyra V2), and images with a project such as WebP for many years in order to speed up the web and make it consume less bandwidth for dollar savings and lower carbon emissions.  Jpegli is their latest project and aims to improve the compression ratio of legacy JPEG files on systems were modern compression such as WebP may not be available or desirable. Jpegli highlights: Support both an encoder and decoder complying with the original JPEG standard (8-bit) and offering API/ABI compatibility with libjpeg-turbo and MozJPEG. Focus on high-quality results with up to 35% better compression ratio. Just as fast as libjpeg-turbo and MozJPEG. Support for 10+ bits […]

Linux 6.8 release – Notable changes, Arm, RISC-V, and MIPS architectures

Linux 6.8 release

Linus Torvalds has just announced the release of Linux 6.8 on the Linux kernel mailing list: So it took a bit longer for the commit counts to come down this release than I tend to prefer, but a lot of that seemed to be about various selftest updates (networking in particular) rather than any actual real sign of problems. And the last two weeks have been pretty quiet, so I feel there’s no real reason to delay 6.8. We always have some straggling work, and we’ll end up having some of it pushed to stable rather than hold up the new code. Nothing worrisome enough to keep the regular release schedule from happening. As usual, the shortlog below is just for the last week since rc7, the overall changes in 6.8 are obviously much much bigger. This is not the historically big release that 6.7 was – we seem to […]

Ubuntu Touch 20.04 OTA-3 release adds support for PinePhone and PineTab devices

Ubuntu Touch 20.04 OTA 3 PinePhone Pro

UBPorts has just released Ubuntu Touch 20.04 OTA-3 based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS with the latest security updates and beta support for PinePhone, PinePhone Pro, PineTab, and PineTab 2, adding to the smartphones already supported by Ubuntu Touch 20.04 OTA-2. As a reminder, Ubuntu Touch was initially handled by Canonical for desktop/mobile convergence, but it was dropped when the company decided to refocus its efforts on cloud and IoT, and the UBPorts community took over and eventually outed the first stable Ubuntu Touch release in June 2017. The developers kept on improving the OS since then with new releases from time to time, but note that it should still be considered experimental only for most devices, and will not be suitable as a daily driver for the majority of people. The PinePhone and PineTab have been supported by Ubuntu Touch for a few years, but they had their own branch […]

Android 14 released, source code hits AOSP

Android 14

Google has just released Android 14 for supported devices such as Google Pixel phones and pushed the source code to AOSP (the Android Open-Source Project). Most of the changes to the fourteenth version of the Android operating system were introduced with the first Android 14 developer preview – released in February 2023 – which included performance improvements, better privacy and security, and additional user-side customization options. Some of the new features unveiled since the first Android 14 developer preview include: AI-generated wallpapers using text-to-image diffusion models to help users easily create unique wallpapers HDR images with Ultra HDR (Android 13 already supported HDR videos) Built-in Health Connect support to let people track their fitness, health, and wellness levels across apps in a secure way respecting privacy. Android 14 encourages users to set a six-digit PIN (or longer) to improve security. Improved accessibility with vision-and hearing-inclusive features such as an enhanced […]

Review of the first Matter device by SONOFF – MINI Extreme Wi-Fi Smart Switch (MINIR4M)

SonoffMiniR4M Cover

We have just received the first Matter product from SONOFF for review, which is the Mini Extreme Switch (MINIR4M) model. Its external appearance closely resembles the Mini Extreme Switch Wifi (MINIR4) which we reviewed previously. They have different colors to distinguish between WiFi (Orange) and Matter (Green). In this review, we have experimented with various Smart Home platforms that support Matter, such as Home Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Google Home, and even their own eWeLink app. Let’s see how their operations and features differ to some extent. Quick intro for Matter. We have heard Matter/Thread together in the news. Matter is a control protocol, while Thread is a communication protocol. Both protocols can work together, or separately. Matter can operate on the top of various communication protocols, including WiFi, Ethernet, BLE, or Thread, with subtle differences such as energy efficiency, network, and resiliency. What’s crucial to note is that Matter acts […]

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