Why you should request open-source software for your IoT devices

PineTime open-source software Gadgetbridge

I usually think of open-source hardware and/or software are enabling skilled people to more easily fix bugs, improve on the design, get feedback from the community, etc… But in a world where IoT devices become more prevalent, there’s another reason why you should request open-source software: Long term support. What made me think about are two things. The first one if that I own WeLoop Hey 3S smartwatch, which I love and wear since March 2018. That’s quite a feat since most cheap devices I own often only last a few months or a year or so. I’m also used to the watch face and Weloop app interface. So what’s the problem exactly? WeLoop company closed on December 31, 2019, and while the app worked fine for about a year after that, recently I have been unable to login to the app to access my data and/or update settings for several months. I still can use it to monitor step, […]

MediaTek Dimensity 900 6nm SoC brings UFS 3.1, LPDDR5 to mid-range 5G smartphones

Mediatek Dimensity 900

Arm Cortex-A78 and LPDDR5 would have been premium features not so long ago, but time flies, and the just-announced MediaTek Dimensity 900 5G SoC for mid-range smartphones includes two Cortex-A78 cores, six Cortex-A55 cores, support for LPDRR5/4 memory, UFS 3.1 storage, and of course 5G cellular connectivity up to 2.77Gbps. The mobile processor’s multimedia capabilities are pretty good as well with support for displays up to 2520 x 1080 resolution at 120 Hz, up to 108MP camera, 4Kp30 video with H.265, H.264, AV1, as well as an Arm Mali-G68 MC4 GPU and third-generation APU 3.0 AI accelerator. MediaTek Dimensity 900 specifications: CPU – Octa-core DynamIQ processor with 2x Arm Cortex-A78 @ Up to 2.4GHz, 6x Arm Cortex-A55 @ Up to 2GHz GPU – Arm Mali-G68 MC4 AI Accelerator – MediaTek APU 3.0 VPU Video Encoding – H.264, H.265 / HEVC up to 4K @ 30FPS Video Playback – H.264, H.265 / HEVC, MPEG-1/2/4, VP-9, AV1 up to 4K @ 30FPS, […]

PinePhone Keyboard to make for a cheaper, albeit slower Cosmo Communicator

Pinephone Keyboard

Pine64 PinePhone is a popular Linux smartphone among the developers and Linux enthusiasts’ communities and some of the most popular Linux operating systems support by the phone include KDE Plasma Mobile, PostMarket OS, Manjaro, and UBports for an Ubuntu Touch like interface. But soon, you’ll be able to use your PinePhone like a portable Linux computer, a 5.95-inch mini laptop of sorts, that’s similar to the 2-in-1 Cosmo Communicator device, but at a much lower price, albeit with lower performance, thanks to PinePhone Keyboard accessory. The PinePhone Keyboard is not quite ready yet, but Lukasz Erecinski  (aka Luke) has shared the progress of the latest version of the prototype, and almost looks like a finished product, albeit we’re told another revision will be made as the tolerances on the keycaps are not suitable. Here are some of the main features we can expect from the keyboard: QWERTY keyboard (by default). The firmware will be reprogrammable 180-degree angle hinge Battery – […]

Samsung Galaxy Upcycling at Home program aims to repurpose older phones into IoT devices

Samsung Galaxy Upcycling light sensor

Electronics waste, also as known as e-waste, has been a problem talked about for years, and in 2015 we asked the question “What do you do with your old devices and boards?” as many devices just end up collecting dust or stored in a drawer. Some better ways include giving or selling them to others, or repurpose them. For instance, a cheap Arm HDMI dongle can make a torrent downloader, an old phone can be transformed into a surveillance camera, an ATX power supply could be converted into a bench power supply, etc… But repurposing devices require some technical skills which many of the smart CNX Software readers have, but it’s unrealistic to expect the typical consumer to be able to hack their old devices into new ones using some tutorials found on the Internet. Samsung Galaxy Upcycling Program aims to make recycling upcycling easier for owners of Galaxy smartphones, and allows them to use the phones as baby monitors, […]

Snapdragon 780G 5G SoC announced with 12 TOPs AI performance, triple ISP, WIFI 6E

Qualcomm has just announced an update to its Snapdragon 765G 5G processor with Snapdragon 780G 5G mobile platform equipped with  Qualcomm Spectra 570 triple ISP (Image Signal Processor) and a 6th generation Qualcomm AI Engine that delivers up to 12TOPS AI performance, or twice that of Snapdragon 765G 5G SoC. As a “G” part, Snapdragon 780G comes with Snapdragon Elite Gaming features to improve the gaming experience with updateable GPU drivers, ultra-smooth gaming, and True 10-bit HDR gaming.  Snapdragon 780G also updates its 5G modem with Snapdragon X53 with peak download speeds of 3.3 Gbps on sub-6 GHz frequencies, and supports premium Wi-Fi 6/6E and Bluetooth audio features offered on Snapdragon 888 premium SoC. Snapdragon 780G 5G (SM7350-AB) key features and specifications: CPU – Octa-core Kryo 670 processor with 1x Arm Cortex-A78 @ 2.4GHz, 3x Arm Cortex-A78 @ 2.2GHz, 4x Arm Cortex-A55 @ 1.9GHz GPU – Adreno 642 with support for OpenCL 2.0 FP, OpenGL ES 3.2, Vulkan 1.1 Hexagon […]

Beelink Expand X USB dock turns your phone into a computer

Beelink Expand X

Beelink is better known for its Intel mini PCs, so the first time I saw Beelink Expand X I thought it was a mini PC somehow fitted with a smartphone stand…  But instead, it’s a USB dock for your mobile phone or tablet, that comes with a  foldable stand to use your smartphone into a computer by connecting it to a monitor, USB keyboard & mouse, and maybe throw a USB hard drive in the mix to complete your setup. Beelink Expand X specifications: Video Output – 1x HDMI port up to 4K UHD resolution USB 1x USB Type -C input port to connect to the host device (data, video, audio) 1x USB Type-C port for power/charging 2x USB 2.0 host ports 1x micro USB port to connect a PC Mode switch button Foldable stand for smartphone or tablet Dimensions – 120mm (length folded) x 65 x 13 mm (Full metal body) Weight – 210 grams As I understand it […]

Linux 5.11 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS & RISC-V Architectures

Linux 5.11 release

Linus Torvalds has released Linux 5.11 just in time for… “Valentine’s Day”: Nothing unexpected or particularly scary happened this week, so here we are – with 5.11 tagged and pushed out. In fact, it’s a smaller-than-average set of commits from rc7 to final, which makes me happy. And I already have several pull requests lined up for tomorrow, so we’re all set for the merge window to start. But in the meantime – and yes, I know it’s Valentine’s Day here in the US – maybe give this release a good testing before you go back and play with development kernels. All right? Because I’m sure your SO will understand. Linus Last time around, Linux 5.10 was an LTS release that added EXT-4 performance enhancements, improved post-Spectre performance, as well as the enablement of BCM2711 (Raspberry Pi 4) display pipeline, among other many changes. Some of the notable changes in Linux 5.11 include: Support for Intel’s software guard extensions (SGX) […]

Hisense A7CC 5G smartphone integrates a 6.7-inch color E-Ink display

Hisense A7CC 5G E-Ink Phone

Hisense A5 was one of the first phones exclusively equipped with an e-Paper display. But following the launch of color E-Ink displays and color eReaders from other companies last year,  the Chinese company has now launched Hisense A7CC 5G smartphone with a 6.7-inch color E-Ink display. The phone is powered by UNISOC T7510 octa-core processor, which appears to be based on T710 SoC with 5G modem, and comes with 6GB RAM and 128GB flash storage. Hisense A7CC specifications: SoC – UNISOC Tiger T7510 octa-core processor with 4x Arm Cortex-A75 cores @ 2 GHz, 4x Arm Cortex-A55 cores @ 1.8 GHz, and Imagination PowerVR GM9466 GPU System Memory – 6GB RAM Storage – 128GB flash Display – 6.7-inch E-Ink display with 4096 colors, 100 dpi Audio – 3.5mm headphone jack with AK4377AECB audio DAC; built-in microphone and speaker Camera – Dual rear cameras + single front-facing camera Connectivity Cellular – 5G (n41, n78, n79), 4G FDD (B1, B3, B5, B8) / […]