Android C/C++ development with Android Native SDK

HyperDevBox is a Japanese based software development company, developing games for Android. They are presenting their new Android game called “Spectral Souls”, the first tactical RPG game for Android. The interesting part is that this Android gamewas not developped with Java, but only using C/C++ programming with Android Native SDK (NDK) (Currently revision 5). Using the NDK means you’ll have to adapt your software to several hardware platform contrary to java development. They now only support Qualcomm and PowerVR GPU for now, and they are working on supporting NVidia Tegra platform and other upcoming GPU. The advantage of native code is a potential performance improvement and code re-use if you have already applications developed in C/C++, the inconvenience is that more work is need to support different hardware. Currently the NDK is only available for ARM platforms (ARMv5TE  andARMv7-A), future releases will support x86 instructions. The video below is an interview with Carlo Perconti, the founder of HyperDevBox explaining how …

Low Cost Android Tablets: Archos Arnova 8 and Arnova 10

Archos – a leader in low cost android tablet with its Archos Gen8 Series (Archos 28/32/48/70/101) – has just released the Arnova Series with the Archos Arnova 8 (149 USD), an 8″ inch Android 2.1 tablet and Archos Arnova A10HT (199 USD), a 10.1″ Android 2.1 tablet. Currently those 2 tablets are based on Rockchip ARM9 RK2818 @ 600 Mhz and use a resistive touchscreen, but in the next few months, they’ll release version with Rockchip RK2918 @ 1GHz (Cortez A8 based), a capacitive touchscreen and Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) for the same price. The firmware of those tablets is apparently not directly supported by Archos, but is developed by a subsidiary in Hong Kong called Arnova (hence the name). Usually the IT (Internet Tablet) series are developed and supported by Archos (better support) and HT (Home Tablet) developed and supported by third parties. Have a look at Charbax’s video of the Arnova 8 and Arnova 10.

AES-256 Encryption and File names encryption with 7-Zip (7z)

If you need to safely backup some of your confidential files (email, financial info, marketing info, source code,…), you can use 7-Zip (aka 7z) to compress and encrypt your archive with AES-256 as well as hide the name of the files. This should give you the level of security used by the (in-)famous insurance file (insurance.aes256) released by Wikileaks last year (if it indeed has been encrypted with AES-256). 7-Zip is available for Windows, Linux (multiple architectures) and Mac OS. Since 7-Zip source code is open, it can theoretically be ported to any platform. The first thing I did was to use a Password Generator to get a 256-bit key such as DFF61FFB56B26158718457E5E47F3511080130C855C8E6F689A3A7664EBE2C9A. In this example, I backup “My Documents” directory in Windows, but the same command line (just different paths) could be used in Linux as well: Here’s the description of the parameters in the command line: a – Used to Add files to archive -t7z – Sets the …

Freescale Wireless Charging Systems

Freescale showcased two wireless charging systems at Mobile World Congress 2011 in Barcelena. The first product – Energizer’ InductiveCharger – is  based on Freescale MC56F8006VLC and follows the Qi 1.0 Wireless Charging Standard. You simply need to use a specific casing (with a wireless power receiver) for your mobile device that integrates the necessary hardware to “communicate” with the power pad. The second product – PowerMat – is based on Freescale MC9S08Q2 andMC9S08K4 to provide intelligent control in the charging mat and phone receiver. It does not follow the Qi standard but works basically the same way. Both systems are available on the market and can be purchased on Amazon and other retailers. You’ll normally need to buy two pieces, the mat and the casing for your phone (for around 75 to 100 USD). Powermat also have one position mat together with the receiver for 37 USD. Watch the video below for a demo of those two wireless charging systems.

MHL: Mobile High Definition Link

Mobile High Definition Link (MHL) is a new standard that allows to connect your MHL-enabled phone to an MHL-enabled device (e.g. a TV) to output video, connect power and allows communication between both device with only one cable (micro-usb to HDMI cable with MHL signalling). The MHL Consortium has just been setup last year by Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, Silicon Image and Nokia. The MHL™ Consortium is committed to enhancing the multimedia capabilities of mobile and portable devices. MHL specification version 1.0 is an HD video and digital audio interface for connecting mobile phones and portable devices to HDTVs and other home entertainment products. It utilizes established connectors and features a single cable with a 5-pin interface, supports 1080p HD video and digital audio, and simultaneously provides power to the mobile device. It also enables the TV remote to control the mobile phone and access its contents. They have a few devices that will be MHL compatible soon, but the only …

Linaro Development Board “Snowball” by ST Ericsson

ST Ericsson unveiled a development board based on Nova A9500 (dual ARM Cortex A9 processor and MALI 400 GPU) at MWC 2011 called Snowball (or SKY-S9500-ULP-CXX) for the embedded Linux community and professional developers. This board was designed by CALAO Systems and can be pre-ordered on their website for 200 USD (SKY-S9500-ULP-C11 / Software Development Kit – SDK) or 300 USD (SKY-S9500-ULP-C01 / Production development Kit – PDK). The difference between the SDK and PDK is that the former has no expansion connectors, no battery backup for RTC and only support serial over USB port (for Linux console). First, some pictures with description of the snowball development board. The full documentations for Snowball development board can be found in Calao Systems File Repository, where you’ll get the bottom and top assembly diagrams for both C01 and C11, the major components datasheet, documentation and some photos. The specifications of the boards: – ARM Dual Cortex A9 @ 1GHz, – 1x Serial Port …

NVidia Processors Roadmap: 75 times the performance of Tegra 2 within 3 years

I have to say I was already impressed with Texas Instruments OMAP 5 announcement and even more so with Qualcomm Quad Core Snapdragon APQ8064, but NVidia new quad core processor and their processor  roadmap really blew my mind. NVidia Kal-El Quad Core Processor NVidia was already 1 year ahead compared to other companies with the Tegra 2, the first dual core mobile processor, so the others are playing catch up.  Whereas competitors quad core will be available later this year or early 2012, the new NVidia Quad Core processor codenamed Kal-El (Tegra 3?)  is already sampling and is being demo’ed at MWC 2011 in Barcelona. One the video below you’ll see a web browser benchmark (NVbench) making use of all four cores. Kal-El also have a new Geforce GPU with 12 cores, giving 5 times greater performance than Tegra 2. NVidia also provided benchmark results (Coremark 1.0) showing that Kal-El was faster than an Intel Core2 Duo T7200. NVidia Tegra …

Qualcomm Augmented Reality Challenge Winner: Paparazzi

Qualcomm announced the winner of their augmented reality challenge developed with Qualcomm Augmented Reality Software Development Kit (QCAR SDK): The top prize of $125,000 was awarded to a team of two developers from Lithuania, Paulius Liekis and Arminas Didžiokas for Paparazzi, an interactive augmented reality game where the player becomes a virtual paparazzo and sneaks pictures of a vain celebrity before he gets agitated and attacks the photographer. The second (50,000 USD) and third (25,000 USD) prizes were also awarded to augmented reality games respectively Inch High Stunt Guy by Defiant Development Pty Ltd. (Australia), a game where the player arranges various obstacles to enable a stuntman to successfully jump his motorcycle through a hoop and Danger Copter by Alex Beachum, Jonghwa Kim, Jason Mathias, Kedar Reddy and Evan Sforza (USA), a gaming adventure where the player becomes a helicopter pilot who maneuvers a water-spouting chopper to extinguish fires and rescue people from danger. Here’s the official announcement with a …