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Posts Tagged ‘ces 2018’

ECS LIVA Z2, LIVA Q2 & LIVA One SoC Gemini Lake Mini PCs Introduced at CES 2018

January 14th, 2018 7 comments

ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems) was another company introducing their Gemini Lake mini PC at CES 2018, or as they call them “ultra-compact form-factor” (UCFF)  PCs. They had three models with two upgrade from Apollo Lake systems: LIVA Z2 & LIVA Q2, and another system called “LIVA One SoC” which instead offers an entry-level version of their barebone LIVA One mini PC based on Core i3/i5/i7 processors.

ECS LIVA Z2

Click to Enlarge – Source: FanlessTech

LIVA Z2 specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Gemini Lake processor
  • System Memory – 2x DDR4 SO-DIMM slots
  • Storage – 32 or 64GB eMMC flash, 1x 2.5″ SSD/HDD bay
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 1.4 ports (dual HDMI)
  • Audio Output – Via HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack, digital microphone
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2
  • USB – 3x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x USB 3.0 type C port
  • Misc – Power button, Kensington lock
  • Power Supply – 19V/3.42A
  • Dimensions – 117 x 128 x 51 mm

Source: FanlessTech

The mini PC will support Windows 10 as well as Linux distributions, and be available in May for $225 with 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, no OS, and $240 with Windows 10.

ECS LIVA Q2

Source: Hardwareluxx

If you want something more compact then LIVA Q2 is what you’re looking for. Specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Celeron N4000 dual core Gemini Lake processor with 12EU UHD Graphics 600; 6W TDP
  • System Memory – 2 or 4GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 32 or 64GB eMMC flash, micro SD slot up to 128 GB
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.0
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1
  • USB – 1x USB 3.1 Gen port, 1x USB 2.0 port
  • Misc – Power button
  • Power Supply – 12V/2A
  • Dimensions – 70 x 70 x 33.4 mm

Source: Anandtech

ECS LIVA Q2 will be available earlier than the Z2 model, since it’s expected to launch in March for $164 with 4 GB RAM, 32 GB storage, no OS, and around $180 with Windows 10.

ECS LIVA One SoC

Click to Enlarge – Source: Hardwareluxx

LIVA One SoC is more flexbile, and looks like a mini PC tower rather than your typical mini PC. Specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Pentium Silver J5005 or Celeron J4005/J4105 Gemini Lake processor with 12EU or 18EU UHD Graphics 600/605; 10W TDP
  • System Memory – 1x DDR4 SO-DIMM slot
  • Storage – 2x 2.5″ SSD/HDD bays, 1x M.2 2242/2280 SSD slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 + DisplayPort or HDMI 2.0 + D-Sub (VGA)
  • Audio Output – Via HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack, 3.5mm microphone jack, and 3.5mm Line IN jack or S/DPIF
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2
  • USB – 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, 4x USB 2.0 ports (but brochure at CES 2018 shows 4x USB 3.1 Gen1, 2x USB 2.0).
  • Misc – Power button, COM port, 1x PS/2 keyboard + mouse port
  • Power Supply – 19V/3.16A
  • Dimensions – 199.4x 188.3 x 45 mm

The specifications are not completely frozen so the company may still decide to do changes to the external ports. The model is only shown to be running Windows 10, but I don’t see why it could not support Linux too. It will not benefit from dual channel memory like LIVA Z2 model since there’s only one SO-DIMM slot.

LIVA One SoC is expected to launch in April, but price has not been disclosed/discussed.

Via Anandtech & Hardwareluxx (Note: I used CES 2018 photos from the latter for specifications, which may explain some of the discrepancies with the specs listed on Anandtech)

Amlogic A113X1 6-Mic Far-Field Devkit is Designed for Amazon Alexa

January 11th, 2018 2 comments

Allwinner unveiled their SoC-Only 3-Mic Far-Field Development Kit for Amazon AVS last week, but they are now joined by another low cost silicon vendor as Amlogic has just launched their own A113X1 far-field dev kit officially support for Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS).

The development kit is powered by Amlogic A113X SoC designed for such applications with “an audio pipeline that supports high fidelity audio with soft DSP algorithms for both frontend and backend processing”.

 

Amlogic A113X1 far-field devkit specifications:

  • Mainboard
    • SoC – Amlogic A113X quad core Cortex A53 processor
    • System Memory – 512MB DDR3
    • Storage – 512 MB NAND flash
    • Connectivity – SDIO WiFi/BT (AP6356S)
    • Audio
      • SPDIF_IN jack
      • LINE_IN/LINE_OUT jacks
      • 2x Audio headers (MIC_Connector & SPK_Connector)
    • USB – 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG port
    • Expansion – SPI header
    • Misc – 6x ADC Keys, IR_IN/IR_OUT, UART Interface (RS232), LEDs
    • Power Supply – 12V/2A
  • Microphone board
    • 6x digital microphones in a circular array
    • Texas Instruments PCA9557PWR IO expander
  • Speaker board
    • Texas Instruments TAS5707PHPR 20-W Open-Loop Stereo Digital Input Class-D Audio Amplifier with Speaker EQ and DRC
    • Power Supply – 12V DC barrel jack

The solution is said to run “high-performance DSP algorithms for acoustic echo cancellation, beamforming, and noise reduction”.

 

Beside the three boards of the kit (main, speaker, and microphone), you’ll also get a power supply, a serial debug adapter, and a pair of generic speakers. You’ll find more documentation, a getting started guide (with a Linux 4.9 buildroot based distribution), and a purchase link for the $250 kit on a dedicated Amazon Developer page. The kit is currently demonstrated at the Amlogic suite in the Venetian (Suite #34311) during CES 2018.

We’ll also find the kit in company of the aforementioned $129 Allwinner Amazon AVS kit, a new $1,250 “Qualcomm Smart Audio 6-Mic Development Kit for Amazon AVS”, and as well as the $299 hands-free “Synaptics AudioSmart 2-Mic Dev Kit for Amazon AVS” on the System Dev Kits section of Amazon AVS Development Kits page.

 

Amlogic Far-field Kit Accessories – Click to Enlarge

 

Thanks to Theguyuk for the tip

Develop NXP i.MX 8M Voice Controlled Smart Devices with MCIMX8M-EVK Evaluation Kit

January 11th, 2018 8 comments

We first heard about NXP i.MX 8M processsors in October 2016, and at the end of last year, WandPi 8M development board was unveiled with shipping scheduled for Q2 2018 once the processor will start manufacturing. Other exciting i.MX 8M projects include Purism Librem 5 smartphone, MNT Reform DIY modular computer, and I’m sure there will be others development board & products, and plenty of system-on-modules introduced with the processor in 2018.

NXP i.MX 8M processor also got in the news at CES 2018, because it will be one of the hardware platforms certified for Android Things, and NXP also issued a press release to announced the processor’s multimedia capability with be used in voice controlled devices with or without video.

NXP i.MX 8M Block Diagram

The PR refers to Gartner Research saying that “voice commands will dominate 50 percent of all searches in the next two years”, and explains that with thinner and thinner TV, sound bars and smart speaker swill become more popular and integrate features such as voice control, home automation, … which can be served by iMX 8M family of applications processors. The company also expects the processors to be found in lighting, thermostats, door locks, home security, smart sprinklers, other smart home systems and devices. One of the main purpose of that press release was to say “come to see demos at our CES 2018 booth” including:

  • i.MX 8M hardware that will be driving voice, video, and audio all at the same time, while also displaying 4K HDR, dual screen and immersive audio capabilities.
  • Android Things demos of drawing robots (drawbots) that use on-device processing power to sketch attendee selfies in real-time, and Manny, a Things-powered robotic hand (handbot) that uses TensorFlow plus computer vision to mirror hand gestures and play games.
  • An Alexa solution with leading features such as display support, multi-room audio and integrated talk-to-call.

NXP i.MX 8M Evaluation Kit

Click to Enlarge

Since the processor is still new, many of those demos will be implemented with the company’s MCIMX8M-EVK evaluation kits with the following features:

  • Processor – NXP i.MX 8M Quad (MIMX8MQ6DVAJZAA) quad core Cortex A53 applications processor, 1x Cortex-M4F real-time core, Vivante GC7000L GPU
  • System Memory – 3 GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC 5.0 flash, 32MB SPI NOR flash, micro SD card connector
  • Display interface – HDMI 2.0a Connector, DSI interface via Mini-SAS connector
  • Audio connectors – 3.5 mm stereo headphone output
  • Camera – CSI interface via Mini-SAS connectors
  • Connectivity
    • Gigabit Ethernet via RJ45 connector
    • 1x on-board 802.11ac WiFi/Bluetooth 4.2 module
    • 1x M.2 slot (KEY-E type)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0/3.0 type C connector, 1x USB 2.0/3.0 host connector
  • Expansion Port – FPC connector (SAI ports)
  • Debug connectors – JTAG (10-PIN header), MicroUSB for UART debug
  • Misc – ONOFF & RESET buttons; Power status & UART LEDs
  • Power – NXP PMIC PF4210 + Discrete DCDC/LDO
  • Dimensions – 10 x 10 cm; 10-layer PCB

MCIMX8M-EVK Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The board ships with USB cable, a 12V/5.0A! power supply, and a quick start guide. If you plan to use audio input, you may need to add an Audio card via the SAI/I2C expansion port The company has also released a whole bunch of documents, hardware design files, SDKs, BSPs, MQX RTOS, and software tools right before CES 2018, which you can find on the evaluation kit and processor pages. The evaluation kit is sold for $449.00.

MeLE PCG63-APL4 Fanless Gemini Lake Mini PC To Launch in Q2 2018

January 10th, 2018 11 comments

Gemini Lake mini PCs are being announced at CES 2018, and we can expect them to sell in Q2 2018 for a price similar to Apollo Lake models all other features being equal. We’ve already seen ZOTAC ZBOX PI226 & PI336, ASUS unveiled their PN40 mini PC with few details, and of course Intel’s own GLK NUCs should be brought to market soon enough.

MeLE has made some decent Apollo Lake mini PCs in the past year with their PCG35 Apo and PCG03 Apo models, so it’s no surprise the company is now showcasing their upcoming PCG63-APL4 based on Gemini Lake processors at CES 2018.MeLE PCG63-APL4 specifications:

  • SoC (one or the other)
    • Intel Celeron J4005 dual core Gemini Lake processor up to 2.0/2.7 GHz with 12EU Intel UHD Graphics 600 @ up to 700 MHz; 10W TDP
    • Intel Celeron J4105 quad core Gemini Lake processor up to 1.5/2.5 GHz with 12EU Intel UHD Graphics 600 @ up to 750 MHz; 10W TDP
    • Intel Pentium J5005 quad core Gemini Lake processor up to 1.5/2.8 GHz with 18EU Intel UHD Graphics 605 @ up to 800 MHz; 10W TDP
  • System Memory – Up to 8GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 32GB eMMC flash, M.2 SSD slot (40 and 80mm), SATA slot for 2.5″ HDD/SSD, SD card slot
  • Display – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60Hz, VGA
  • Audio – 3.5mm headphone jack, audio output via HDMI
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2
  • USB – 3x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB 3.1 type C port, 1x USB 2.0 port
  • Misc – Security lock, power button, window for IR receiver
  • Power Supply – 12V via power barrel jack
  • Dimensions – TBD

PCG63-APL4 is quite a confusing as it sounds a like “Apollo Lake 4”, using something like PCG63-GLK1 may have more sense.

The complains said they plan to support both Windows 10 or Ubuntu, but last year, they completely ignored Ubuntu, and AFAICR did not launch any Ubuntu models, like they did in 2016. Mass production is scheduled to start at the end of March 2018, which probably means sales will start in early Q2 2018. No pricing info was provided.

Via Liliputing

Android Things is Finally Getting into Products: Smart Speakers, Smart Displays, and More

January 9th, 2018 3 comments

Android Things was first introduced as Brillo in October 2015, before being renamed to Android Things the following year when a developer preview was released with support for Raspberry Pi 3, as well as Intel and NXP development boards.

But if you can’t remember the last time you’ve purchased a device running Android Things that’s normal, because so far, there was none. Google announced this is going to change as the first set of Android Things products have been announced at CES 2018.

iHome iGV1 (Left) and LG ThinQ WK7 (Right)

The first category of devices to run Android Things will be Google Assistant enabled smart speakers with the launch of products such as iHome iGV1 and LG ThinQ WK7.  ODM partners have also created full speaker reference designs based on certified Android Things and Cast System-on-Modules (SoMs) powered by Rockchip RK3229, Mediatek MT8516, or based on Qualcomm SD212 Home Hub Platform. NXP i.MX 8M solutions are also expected later this year.

Android Things will also find its way into smart displays – also supporting Google Assistant – later this year in products from JBL, Lenovo and LCD based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 624 Home Hub Platform, as well as Sony, which instead will rely on a Mediatek MT8173 system-on-module.

LG Smart Display Rendering

Beside smart speakers and displays, Android Things is now used in prototypes based on NXP processor, and we should soon find Android Things powered 3D printers, robots, and other machines.

Semtech Improves LoRa Efficiency and Range, Reduces Footprint with SX1261, SX1262, and SX1268 LoRa Chips

January 9th, 2018 No comments

LoRa is one of the most popular LPWAN technology deployed around the world with chips made by Semtech, as it allow long range, low power communication at low bitrate, and is especially useful for asset tracking, smart parking, and all sort of remote monitoring of persons (e.g. elderly fall for seniors) or assets (e.g. leak detection). Depending on your applications, i.e. data size and update frequency, a coin cell battery can last up to 10 years

The company has now introduced the second generation LoRa technology with three new RF chips that are 45% smaller, reduce power consumption by 50% (4.5 mA) , and extend range by 20%. The new chips also offers a high-power transmit option (+22 dBm), supports FSK modulation for migration to LoRaWAN from legacy protocols, and includes a new spreading factor for dense networks.

SX126x Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

Full list of new features listed by the company:

  • 50% less power in receive mode
  • 20% more extended range
  • +22 dBm transmit power
  • A 45% reduction in size: 4mm by 4mm
  • Global continuous frequency coverage: 150-960MHz
  • Simplified user interface with implementation of commands (10 lines of code needed to transmit or received a packet)
  • New spreading factor of SF5 to support dense networks
  • Protocol compatible with existing deployed LoRaWAN networks

The three new devices – SX1261 (+15dBm), SX1262 (+22dBm), and SX1268 (+22dBm, China frequency bands) – are currently sampling to select customers and partners, and will be in full production later in March 2018. Development kits are also expected at that time.

Categories: Hardware Tags: ces 2018, IoT, lora, lpwan, semtech

SKIIN Smart Underwears Support Energous’ WattUp Near, Mid, and Far-Field Wireless Charging

January 9th, 2018 1 comment

Near-field wireless charging has been around for several years, but for wireless charging to become really disruptive it needs to work at a distance, and Energous has been working on mid and far-field technology with their WattUp transmissive to charge devices respectively on the desk (mid-field) or in the room (far-field).

You need to have compatible devices to work with the technology, and wearables are a prime target, but I was expecting fitness trackers or smartwatches to embed the technology at first, but instead one of the first WattUp compatible wearables are smart underwears from SKIIN.

The module found in SKIIN underwears and bras have many of the same features as your typical fitness tracker, and some extras:

  • Sensors
    • ECG sensors for Heart Rate monitoring (HRM)
    • Accelerometer and Gyroscope to measure motion & posture
    • BIA (Bioelectrical impedance analysis) to monitor water intake levels and how your sweat affects your hydration, as well as you body fat levels
    • Knitted Strain Gauge to understand how your breathing patterns fluctuate throughout the day.
    • On-board temperature chip that can detect changes in your skin with 0.5 degree accuracy.
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth LE with 5 meters range
  • Battery – Good for 24 hours after a 5 hours charge
  • Dimensions – 45 x 25 mm

The module is said to run Body OS, and can synchronize with Android or iOS smartphone using the upcoming SKIIN mobile app. The module will ship with a WattUp near-field transmitter, but the technology inside can also support future WattUp Mid Field and Far Field transmitters, meaning eventually you’ll be able to throw your underwear on the bed or the laundry bag, and they will charge wirelessly.

Women and men’s smart underwear and smart bra can be pre-ordered on SKIIN website for $279 and up with shipping scheduled for this summer.

Energous technology is also currently being showcased at CES 2018 on hearing aids from Delight and SK Telesys that are planned to launch in H2 2018 in Asia first, and then the US. WattUp relies on Dialog Semi conductor solutions which has announced the DA4100 WattUp wireless power transmitter SoC and DA2200/DA2210 RF-to-DC receiver ICs that will enabled mid-field wireless charging.

DA4100 Block Diagram

Lenovo Miix 630 2-in-1 Detachable Runs Windows 10 S on Qualcomm Snapdragon 835

January 9th, 2018 5 comments

Lenovo Miix 630 is joining other Qualcomm 835 powered always-on always connected Windows 10 PCs such as HP Envy x2 2017, and ASUS Novago TP370. Like its peers, the 2-in-1 laptop supports both WiFi and LTE connectivity, and promises ultra-long battery life for example up to 20 hours of local video playback.

The device also includes a digital pen with 1024 levels of sensitivity, and a backlit keyboard. Another similarity is a high price, as Miix 630 pricing with keyboard and  digital pen will start at $799.99 in Q2 2018.

Lenovo Miix 630 preliminary specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor @ up to 2.6GHz with Adreno 540 GPU
  • System memory – 4GB RAM
  • Storage – 128GB UFS 2.0 storage
  • Display – 12.3″ WUXGA (1920×1200) touchscreen display
  • Audio – Speaker and microphone (support for Cortana)
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Connectivity – 4G LTE and WiFi
  • Camera – Infrared camera compatible with Windows Hello
  • Battery – good for up to 20 hours of local video playback
  • Dimensions – 15.6mm thickness (with keyboard)
  • Weight – 1.33 kg

If you’re not too happy running Windows 10 S with its better security but serious limitations, Lenovo allows you to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro at no cost within 180 days after Windows activation, however they note that the offer is subject to availability and may vary by market.

Those Windows Arm laptops are quite expensive, so we’ll have to see how they perform, but initial prototype benchmarks show results varying from Cherry Trail to Core M3 performance, so I doubt they become that popular, unless people are ready to pay up a few hundred dollars extra for the very long battery life and LTE connectivity.