IPAD Killer – Allgo Android Tablet

Ok, the title is a bit over the top but the Allgo tablet reference design running android would only cost around 35 USD to manufacture (15 dollars for the board, 15 dollars for the touch screen display and 5 dollars for the battery). So you’d be able to browse the web, read e-books, flicker through your pictures and access a wide range of applications through Google app store for less than 100 USD (retail) compared to  the IPAD retail price of 499 USD that would seem like a bargain even though the performance is not as good as the IPAD (but still acceptable) as you can see in the video below.

ARM-based Android Set-Top-Box

Last month, I posted a blog entry about demo featuring Sigma Designs Android STB that was shown at CeBit last January. AFAIK this is still being developed and there is still no Android STB products based on Sigma Designs Chips that can be purchased. Earlier this month, another company Webia Technologies demo’ed an Android STB (HDMI 1080p – ARM 11) whose factory price would be 50 USD, which is well below the price of a similar Sigma Designs STB based on SMP8640 or SMP8650 series. They also showed a smaller box that can support 720p and selling for 25 USD (Factory price, not retail price). You can see the demo below showing both set-top-boxes. Interestingly enough, I was unable to find Webia Technologies website or other previous news about this company. All I found is Webia Technologies is supposedly registered in Hong Kong. Update: After searching which ARM-based solution may support Android for STB, I found another video on Charbax …

Digital Signage Features – A Quick Guide to Select Your Digital Signage Solution

There are a lot of different digital signage solutions around and it may be difficult to find which one is right for you since there can be quite a few different features and options. So I’ll do my best to explain the main features to guide your choice if you are planning to purchase a digital signage solution (embedded signage player, content management software and server). I’ll focus this post on the digital signage player, but bear in mind the content manager software is equally very important. [ad#Google Adsense – Wide Banner] Hardware features Video outputs: composite, component (YPbPr), VGA, DVI, HDMI, LVDS The capability to output simultaneously to different video outputs maybe an advantage if your plan is to use one player to output to several monitors. Video resolution: Standard Definition (e.g. NTSC) vs. High Definition (e.g. 1080p) This is a simple choice based on costs and whether you need to output HD content and the size of your …

Embedded Software Quality Assurance (QA)

[ad#Google Adsense – Wide Banner] As for every software there needs to be quality assurance testing for embedded software with a special focus on reliability since this is often key in embedded systems. Software testing / QA may be a very controversial subject as everybody may have very diverging and strong opinions on how it should be done, and the way it is done also depends on the company culture (and size). So here’s the way I personally see the different steps to testing, please let me know if you feel otherwise in comments. Unit Testing: This is the lowest type of test (white box testing) where the developer should check the implemented functions work as expected Functional Testing: Although the software team should check if the main functionalities of the software work properly before committing the code (assuming you are using a version control system and you should), QA team ought to check all possible scenarios including border case …

Installing Android in HTC Touch Cruise Polaris – HTC P3650

If you have an HTC Touch Cruise (Polaris) running Windows Mobile 6.1, you may want to try out Android in this hardware. The good thing is that you do not need to remove Windows, but you can just bootstrap Linux from Windows Mobile. Just go to XDA Developers Forum below for further details: Android for HTC Touch Cruise Polaris or just follow the simple instructions below: Instructions to install Android in SDCard: Download either the 320×480 or 240×320 version Extract the content of the downloaded zip files to a temporary directory Rename default.polaris.txt to default.txt (rename or delete the original default.txt file) in andboot directory Copy extracted /andboot folder to the Root of your SDCard In your mobile phone, inside /andboot folder, Run HaRET, then hit “run” to launch android The first time, press Volume Up to start the installation and follow the menu instructions. If you don’t follow that step you’ll get a message : “/bin/sh: can’t access tty; …

Tackling Overscan in Media Players and Digital Signage

Overscan is an extra image area around the four edges of a video that may not be seen reliably due to manufacturing limitations of monitors. So that as you can see on the figure above, there is a title safe zone, where everything would be seen in any monitors (Blue Zone) and the gray zone where parts may be seen in some monitors but not others. This mainly depends on the video output used. You won’t have problem with VGA or LVDS monitors,  since the former are able to underscan (to compensate for overscan) automatically, and the latter are generally configured manually. However, with HDMI monitors (unless those which can support underscan) or monitors using composite or component outputs,  you’ll have to handle overscan problem. Overscan will be much more pronounced with older CRT monitors where horizontal and vertical overscan may reach about 10% and 5% respectively, whereas modern displays will usually have up to 5% horizontal and 3% vertical …