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Posts Tagged ‘smartphone’

YotaPhone 3 Dual Screen Smartphone to Launch for $360 and Up (in China)

August 24th, 2017 No comments

Russia based Yota makes some unusual phones with dual display with a standard color front display, and an e-paper rear display that allows you to check the time without pressing a button, keeping displaying important information even when your battery is completely discharged, and more. The first Yotaphone was launched in December 2012, followed by a prettier and more powerful Yotaphone 2 in December 2014, but we’ve had to wait nearly three years for the company – with some fresh money and technical involvements from Chinese partners – to introduce YotaPhone 3 at the Russian Embassy in Beijing. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, and features a 5.5″ super AMOLED display on the front, and a 5.2″ E-Ink display on the back.

Yotaphone 3 preliminary  (& partial) specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core Cortex A53 processor @ up to 2.0 GHz with Adreno 506 GPU
  • System Memory – 4 GB
  • Storage – 64 or 128 eMMC flash
  • Display
    • 5.5″ super AMOLED LCD 1920 x 1080 display (front)
    • 5.2″ E-ink Carta 1280 x 720 display (back)
  • Cellular Connectivity – Dual SIM support
  • Camera – 13MP front-facing camera, 12MP rear camera with dual tone flash
  • USB – 1x USB type C port
  • Sensors – Fingerprint sensor, front and back proximity sensors, etc…
  • Battery – 3,300 mAh battery
  • Dimensions – TBD

The phone runs YotaOS 3.0 based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat, and comes with apps for the E-ink display that are specific to the Chinese market.

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YotaPhone 3 will first sell in China with pre-order starting on JD.com on September 5th for 2,398 CNY ($360) for the 64GB version, and 3,098 CNY ($465) for the 128 GB, and actual sales starting on Setpember 18th. The phone will later launch in Russia, where it will be called YOTA 3. It’s unclear when/whether it will sell in other markets, but you can be sure it will soon show up on Chinese e-retailer websites such as Aliexpress, GearBest, Geekbuking, and others.

Via Liliputing and GSM Arena

Android 8.0 Oreo Launched, OS Images, and AOSP Source Code Released

August 22nd, 2017 No comments

Google has now formally announced Android O version and name: Android 8.0 Oreo. We already had seen the new Features in Android O-reo during the first preview release with picture-in-picture support, autofill APIs, adaptive icons and so on. There’s also a new Android Oreo character…

If you want to run the latest Android 8.0 on your device, you can do so on Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, Pixel, and Pixel XL by getting the firmware in the download page, unless you are enrolled in Android Beta Program in which case you should receive it automatically. What I did not see (yet) is a joint announcement for a new Android 8.0 phone like last year LG V20 smartphone with Android 7.0, and Google simply said that “by the end of this year, hardware makers including Essential, General Mobile, HMD Global Home of Nokia Phones, Huawei, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp and Sony are scheduled to launch or upgrade devices to Android 8.0”.

You can also get Android 8.0 source code in AOSP using android-8.0.0_r4 tag:

 

Meizu Pro 7 is a Dual Camera Dual Display Android Smartphone

July 27th, 2017 No comments

Smartphones with dual rear cameras are becoming more common, and we’ve see some smartphones in the past with an extra rear display such as Yotaphone 2. Meizu Pro 7 and Pro 7 Plus smartphones combines both features, but instead of using an E-Ink or other e-Paper display for the secondary display, Meizu used an 1.9″ AMOLED display that automatically turns on when you flip the phone, and can be used to check the time or notifications while the main display is still off.

Meizu Pro 7 / Pro 7 Plus partial specifications:

  • SoC – Mediatek Helio X30 deca-core processor with 2x cortex A73 cores @ up to 2.6 GHz, 4x cortex A53 cores @ up to 2.2 GHz, and 4x cortex A35 cores @ up to 2.0 GHz, as well as Imagination PowerVR 7XT GPU
  • System Memory
    • Pro 7 – 4GB LPDDR4x
    • Pro 7 Plus – 6GB LPDDR4x
  • Storage
    • Pro 7 – 64 eMMC 5.1 flash storage
    • Pro 7 Plus – 64 or 128 GB UFS 2.1 storage
  • Display
    • Pro 7 – 5.2″ super AMOLED display with 1920×1080 resolution
    • Pro 7 Plus – 5.7″ super AMOLED display with 2560×1440 resolution
    • Both models – 1.9″ secondary super AMOLED display with 536×240 resolution
  • Camera
    • Dual 12MP Sony IMX386 rear camera
    • 16MP front facing camera
  • Audio – Separate audio chip, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • USB – USB type C port
  • Battery
    • Pro 7 – 3,000 mAh battery with mCharge 3.0 fast charging
    • Pro 7 Plus – 3,500 mAh battery with mCharge 4.0 fast charging allowing to charge the phone to 67% in 30 minutes using a 25W charger

Both phones run Android 7.0 with Flyme interface.

Beside checking out the time and notifications, the small rear display can be used to take selfies with the rear camera, and as as MP3 player with control showing on that display.

Meizu does not have a page in English for the phone yet, and AFAICS only shared details on twitter in English. You’ll likely find more details in the product page in Chinese, including the price in China for both phones: 2,880 RMB (~$428 US) for Pro 7, and 3,580 RMB (~$532 US) for Pro 7 Plus.

Via Liliputing

Sonnet is a Rugged Portable Device Creating Mesh Networks for Smartphones

July 24th, 2017 3 comments

Cellular networks are available in most places, but not always, and you may not have connectivity while climbing mountains or other remote locations, when going abroad, during natural disaster, in very crowded places where network capacity is exceeded, or when your government decides to cut it off for “national stability and harmony”.  Wouldn’t it be great if you were still able to contact with your friend in such cases, and create your own mesh networks expanding over several kilometers? That’s exactly what Sonnet does by connecting to your smartphone over WiFi, and to other Sonnet nodes over ISM frequencies (433, 868 and 925 MHz).

Sonnet hardware specifications:

  • Connectivity
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi with up to 20 dBm (max varies per country); WPA/WPA2 security
    • Long Range RF
      • Frequencies
        • 915 MHz (North America)
        • 868 MHz (Europe)
        • 433 MHz (Asia Pacific)
      • Distance – 5km typ.; up to 10km Line-of-sight; SMA connector available to extend the range with your own antenna
      • Transmit power – 1W (30 dBm)
      • Receiver Sensitivity – -148 dBm
      • Modulation Method – Chirp Spread Spectrum (CSS)
  • Power Supply – micro USB port. Input: 5V / 2A; Output (e.g. to charge phone): 5.1V @ 2.1 A
  • Battery – 4,000 mAh LiPo battery good for up to 24 hours
  • Dimensions – 88 x 80 x 17 mm
  • Weight – 160 grams
  • IP Rating – IP66 rating under IEC standard 60529

Those are based on the same frequencies as LoRa, but since they don’t mention the standard at all, it must be a proprietary solution. The device should be legal in most countries, including North America, Europe, and China, but you’d still need to check, as it’s illegal in mine. I can use 433 MHz up to 10 mW only, and the 1W transmit power makes it illegal here.

The initial setup involves connecting to Sonnet access point, going to https://app.sonnetlabs.com from your web browser, and start using the app to communicate. You can chat, send pictures and voice recordings, and share your GPS coordinates. It’s like a high-end talkie walkie with higher range, and you can create a mesh network of those with up to 16 hops supported, corresponding to a 80 km range. An firmware update planned for 2018 will also allow Sonnet to create an Internet connected mesh network, with all your need is at least one Sonnet connected to the Internet over WiFi.

Smartphone vs Walkie-Talkie vs Satellite vs Sonnet + Smartphone

The web app also supports off-line maps, Panic/SOS button, and Sonnet can be used as a power bank to charge your phone too. Another use case I could envision is a city wide network for chat only, since bandwidth will be limited, for people who don’t want to pay extra for cellular connectivity, since Sonnet is free to use.

The device is now on Kickstarter with over $140,000 raised and 8 days to go. Rewards start at $89 for a pair of Sonnet devices with two power adapters and charging cables, and go up to $399 for 10 Sonnet devices. Shipping adds $10 to the US, $13 to Canada and $15 to the rest of the world, and delivery is expected for November 2017.

Manga Screen 2 is Smartphone Touchscreen Display with USB and HDMI Ports for Makers (Crowdfunding)

July 20th, 2017 6 comments

Most touchscreen displays aimed to be connected to a development board work through a display interface such as MIPI DSI or LCD RGB (and USB or I2C for touch support), and come with somewhat low resolution such as 800×480 which can be suitable for HMI applications. They also often don’t work with all boards due to the different interfaces used, and there’s no way to easily connect such small display to your computer. Taking those limitations into account, and since most boards and computers come with HDMI and USB ports, Elias Bakken and his team have added HDMI and USB ports to two smartphone displays, and Manga Screen 2 was born.

The two displays – made by Sharp – have the following hardware specifications:

Big (5.9”) Small (4.8”)
Resolution 1920×1080 1280×720
FPS (max) 60 57
Color mode 24-bit
PPI 376.2 307.9
Brightness 400 cd/m2 500 cd/m2
Contrast ratio 1000:1 800:1
Viewing angle 80 degrees
Power draw (max.) 600 mA 520 mA
Active area 129.6 x 72.9 mm 105.6 x 59.4 mm
Weight ~95 grams TBD
Outline size 150 x 82 mm TBD
Touch points 10

They added the electronics to convert HDMI signals to whatever interface the displays use, and a micro USB port for power and the touch screen interface. So those should pretty much be play and plug, and work with Raspberry Pi, ODROID, BeagleBone Black and other boards, as well as your computer, laptop, etc…
The project has launched on Kickstarter with the goal of raising 300,000 NOK (~$37,100 US). Rewards start at ~$83.5 US for the smaller 4.8″ screen, and ~$94 US for the 5.9″ screen. Those are early bird rewards, and retail price should be $99 for both displays? (Maybe a mistake on KS). Shipping adds 85 NOK ($10.5), and delivery is scheduled for October to the big screen, and December for the small one.

Potential projects include home automation interface, standalone Spotify player, pet food dispenser, 3D printer interface, and any project that may benefit from a ~5″ touchscreen display. The promo video demonstrates some of those applications.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 is a 14nm LTE “Mobile Platform” for Mid-Range Smartphones and Tablets

June 28th, 2017 No comments

Qualcomm has a made several announcements at Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2017, with processors like Snapdragon Wear 1200 Wearables SoC, as well as Snapdragon 450 octa-core mobile platform, allegedly the first 14nm processor made for mid-range mobile devices.

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Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 specifications:

  • CPU – 8x ARM Cortex A53 cores @ up to 1.8 GHz
  • GPU – Adreno 506 GPU with OpenGL ES 3.1, OpenCL 2.0 Full, DirectX 12, GPU tessellation, geometry shading
  • DSP – Hexagon 546 DSP
  • Memory I/F – LPDDR3
  • Display – Full HD 1080p60; Qualcomm EcoPix,TruPalette, improveTouch technology
  • Audio – Qualcomm Aqstic with VoLTE w/Ultra HD Voice (EVC), high-fidelity music playback (24-bit/192 KHz), Dolby 5.1
  • Modem – Snapdragon X9 LTE modem up to 300 Mbps download (Cat 7) and 150 Mbps uplink (Cat. 13)
  • Wireless Connectivity – 802.11ac MU-MIMO, Gen8C Lite location technology, Bluetooth 4.1 LE
  • USB – USB 3.0 interface
  • Camera – Up to 13MP dual camera, up to 21MP single camera; real-time Bokeh, Qualcomm ClearSight camera features
  • Video – 1080p60 HEVC playback and capture
  • Security – Qualcomm “Mobile Security”
  • Fast Charging – Quick Charge 3.0
  • Process – 14nm FinFET technology

The processor is an upgrade to the Snapdragon 435 processor with faster CPU and GPU bringing roughly 25% improvement in performance, better battery life with up to 30 percent reduction in power when gaming,  and better camera support with support for real-time Bokeh effects and dual 13MP cameras. The Snapdragon 450 is also said to be the the first mid-range mobile SoC to supports a USB 3.0 interface.

Sampling is scheduled for Q3 2017, and mobile devices based on the processor are expected by the end of 2017. No product page has been setup on Qualcomm website yet.

OnePlus 5 Smartphone Linux Kernel & Android Source Code Released

June 22nd, 2017 1 comment

OnePlus 5 is a premium smartphone powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 6 to 8 GB LPDDR4x RAM, 64 to 128 GB UFS 2.0 storage and a 5.5″ Full HD display, as well as the usual LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS.. connectivity. It was launched yesterday for $479 with 6GB RAM/64GB storage, $539 with 8GB RAM/128GB storage, and today, I’ve just read on XDA developers that the company had already released the source code for the phone. Beside the official Google Nexus/Pixel smartphones, many manufacturers will drag their feet before they eventually open the source code that they are legally required to release.

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Some companies will release the source code as tarballs, which works, but OnePlus has done better with Linux 4.4.21 source code available on Github.

You should also be able to get the Android 7.1 Nougat source code as indicated here:

The source code should lead to improvements by the community, as well as the eventual release of unofficial “ROM’s”. The company already released the Linux kernel and Android for their OnePlus 3 model on the day of the launch last year, so they are making an habit of it…

UBPorts Project Announces its First Stable Ubuntu Touch Release for Supported Smartphones

June 15th, 2017 No comments

Canonical may have stopped working on Unity, Mobile & Convergence for Ubuntu last April, but since then, at least two teams have worked on Unity and mobile convergence alive with respectively yunit and UBPorts projects. There has not been much activity on the former, but UBPorts has recently announced the first OTA-1 stable release for supported devices, minus Nexus 4 and 5 for now.

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This release brings bug fixes, experimental AGPS support, he UBports Welcome app, the OpenStore, and the Terminal and File Browser are preinstalled.  It should work on OnePlus One, FairPhone 2, Optimus L90, BQ Aquaris M10 HD / FHD, and possibly some other models.

They also mentioned work on Halium – a project aiming to standardize the Android hardware compatibility layer between many Linux distributions – has been progressing nicely, and it can now boot both Ubuntu Touch and Plasma Mobile. Convergence still needs some work, but one of the developers demoed it on a Nexus 5 here. Anbox support is also planned in order to support Android apps in Ubuntu, but it’s a low priority for now.

If you are interested in learning about future releases, or helping fix bugs, you can do so on the Milestones page.