Software Development on Librem 5 and PinePhone Linux Phones is Progressing Nicely

PinePhone LuneOS

Several Linux phones are expected this year including Purism Librem 5 and Pine64 PinePhone. Both companies have sent phone development kits out to developers a few months ago, and we are starting to see some nice progress for both phones. What made me write this post is an update from Purism comparing the boot time on Librem 5 running PureOS Linux distribution without specific optimizations yet, and HTC One Android smartphone.  Librem 5 smartphone devkit takes 13 seconds to get to the lockscreen, while the Android phone takes over 40 seconds. Fair enough, most people won’t boot their phone often, but it still nice to know it won’t take long to turn on the phone from power off state.  They also posted a progress report at the end of May saying calls are now working with better audio quality, fixed various issue with messaging in Chatty, work on Linux mainline is going well with Linux 5.2 expected to work …

HT-102 is a $130 Thermal Camera for Android Phones

HT-102 Thermal Camera for Android Phone

Thermal cameras are useful to accurately monitor the temperature of electronics components, people,  fires, houses, and so on. Thermal imaging cameras can be relatively expensive and one way to lower the cost and make sharing of results easier is to get a model that connects to your smartphone. The ones listed on Amazon cost $200 and up, but you’ll find HT-102 thermal camera for Android phones on Chinese websites such as GearBest or Banggood for around $130. HT-102 specifications: Material: metal Capture Temperature Range – -20 to 300°C Accuracy – ±3℃ or ±5% of reading Resolution – 0.1℃ or 0.1℉ Working band – 8-14μm Horizontal viewing angle / vertical viewing angle – 43°±1°/ 43°±1° Infrared image resolution – 32 x 32 Visible image resolution – 640 x 480 Phone I/F – USB type-C port for data and power Dimensions – 60  x 30 mm Weight – 19 grams Temperature Range – Operating: 0 to 35°C; storage: -20 to 60°C The …

Bye Bye Camera Notch, Hello Under Display Camera

Death of the camera notch

As phone manufacturers tried to stretch the screen to body to the theoretical limit of 100%, some not-always-broadly popular design choices had to be made. And so the camera notch was born to expand the screen, which resulted into an ultra-thin top bezel, combined with a small cut-out for the front-facing camera that many people dislike. If you are one of those people, I have good news: the death of the camera notch could be near thanks to under display cameras. Xiaomi was the first company to release a demo this morning through a tweet by Alvin Tse, Head of Pocophone Global for Xiaomi. Check this out from our R&D team! @Xiaomi continues to innovate and we have some exciting tech up our sleeves. RT if you love under display camera! #xiaomi pic.twitter.com/4Rlzt9uRAd — Alvin Tse (@atytse) June 3, 2019 We can see two nearly identical poco phones above, except the one of the left does not have a visible …

299 Euros Motorola One Vision Smartphone Features Samsung Exynos 9609 SoC

Motorola One Vision

I find most new phones’ announcements rather boring, but Motorola One Vision is somewhat interesting as it’s one of the rare non-Samsung phones to features an Exynos processor, more specifically Exynos 9609 which has not been seen in any other smartphones so far. Its other highlight is the 48MP camera sensor normally found in premium phones, and not in a 299 Euros device. Motorola One Vision specifications: SoC – Samsung Exynos 7609 octa-core processor with 4x Cortex-A73 @ 2.2GHz,  4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.6GHz, and Arm Mali G72MP3 System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4 Storage – 128GB internal storage, microSD card slot Display – 6.3″ LCD touch screen display with 2520 x 1080 resolution (21:9 aspect ratio) Camera 48MP rear camera with OIS based on IMX586 sensor 5MP Depth sensor 25MP front-facing camera Audio – 3.5mm headphone jack Wireless connectivity Cellular – 1x nanoSIM + 1x nanoSIM/microSD hybrid 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi 2×2 MIMO Bluetooth 5.0 LE USB – 1x USB type-C …

e.Foundation to Sell Refurbished Phones Running Google-Free /e/ Android OS

Google Free Android Smartphone

Most Android phones come with Google services, which is both a boon and a curse, as those services are often convenient, but they come at the loss of your privacy.  For example, most people get all upset and lost if a firmware image for an SBC is shipped without Google Play Store, but yet at the same time they worry about their privacy providing all their data to a single company like Google. There must be a better way, and that’s what the e.foundation is attempting with /e/ operating system based on Android, but without any of the Google Services, and targetting your typical end-users, as opposed to geek. /e/ operating system aims to provide privacy both inside the phone, and via cloud services unrelated to Google. It is a fork of LineageOS 14.1 itself a fork of AOSP, and replaces Google services and apps with programs such as MicroG open source implementation of Google’s proprietary Android user space apps …

Android 10 Beta 3 Now Available on 15 OEM Phones

Android 10 Dark Theme

Google introduced Android Q in March with the first beta and preview SDK release. The new version of Android introduced more privacy protections, support for foldables, sharing shortcuts, connectivity improvements (e.g. WPA3 security), new camera and multimedia features such as dynamic depth photos and AV1 media codec support, as well as an updated neural network API, higher ART performance, and security improvements. Google has now announced Android 10 Beta 3 with a few new features over the first preview release, and support for 15 OEM phones on top of the 6 Pixel phones already supported. Some of the new improvements in Android 10 Beta 3 include: Scoped Storage feature giving users control over files and preventing apps from accessing sensitive user or app data. See the corresponding developer page for details. Update of BiometricPrompt authentication framework to support biometrics, e.g. face recognition, at a system level. Project Mainline described as a new approach to keeping Android users secure and their …

Google Pixel 3a / 3a XL Mid-Range Smartphones Get a Premium Camera, an Headphone Jack

Google Pixel 3a

Google launched their Pixel 3 & 3 XL smartphones last fall with a Snapdragon 845 processor, a camera that takes excellent photos even in low-light conditions, and achieves an excellent score of 101 points in Dxo camera benchmark. The phone costs $799 and up in the US, and more in other countries. Most people I know use their phone for calls and SMS, taking photos, messaging with Facebook and LINE, and some casual gaming, so it would  make sense to have a mid-range phone with an excellent camera, a slightly less powerful processor, and a significantly lower price tag.  That’s what Google has done with Pixel 3a and 3a XL phones, taking many of the features of Pixel 3, including the camera, but selecting a Snapdragon 670 processor instead, shaving a few dollars with other design decision, and bringing the price down to $399. Pixel 3a / 3a XL smartphone specifications: SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 octa-core processor with a …

UNISOC Unveils Tiger T310 Quad Core Cortex-A75/A55 DynamIQ Processor for 4G Phones

UNISOC Tiger T310

UNISOC, a company born out of the merger between RDA Micro and Spreadtrum Communications, has recently introduced Tiger T310 processor for 4G smartphones. The quad core processor is somewhat unique as it comes with a single Cortex-A75 core coupled with three Cortex-A55 cores using dynamIQ technology. UNISOC Tiger T310 key features include: CPU – 1x Arm Cortex-A75 core @ up to 2.0 GHz, 3x Arm Cortex-A53 cores @ up to 1.8 GHz in dynamIQ configuration GPU – TBD Cellular Connectivity – TDD-LTE, FDD-LTE, TD-SCDMA, WCDMA, CDMA, GSM Camera – Dual and triple camera support Security – TEE, face unlocking Manufacturing Process – TSMC 12-nanometer process UNISOC Tiger T310 is said to deliver a 120% single-core performance improvement over the current mainstream 4-core processor, and a 20%  multi-core performance improvement. The processor’s battery life is said to be 20% better than mainstream 8-core processors, and 15% higher than mainstream 4-core processors under similar scenarios. That’s about all we know at the …