ZiP (zGlue Integration Platform) Enables the Design & Manufacturing of Low Cost Custom Chips

When I first started to read about zOrigin on Crowdsupply, I was not really impressed. Meh… Yet another Bluetooth LE fitness tracker with a few sensors, and an Android app. But as I read further, I found out the interesting part was inside the device: ZGLZ1BA, a custom chip manufactured using ZiP (zGlue Integration Platform) chip-stacking technology, which produces something similar to SiP (System-in-Package) but at a much lower cost and manufacturing lead time. But let’s have a look at zOrigin tracker first, which acts as a demonstration / evaluation platform for ZiP technology. Key specifications & features: “SoC” – ZGZL1BA ZiP with Dialog Semiconductor DA14585 16MHz 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 MCU with BLE Analog Devices AD8233 Heart Rate Analog Front End (AFE) Macronix MX25R4035F 2 Mbit Flash Memory MCube MC3672 Accelerometer Maxim MAX77734 Power Managment IC (PMIC) SiTime SIT1552 32 kHz Oscillator Vishay SI8466EDB MOSFET 30 passive components Package – 0.8-mm-pitch BGA package measuring 8.7 mm x 9.1 mm …

AsteroidOS 1.0 Released – An Open Source Linux OS for Wear OS Smartwatches

We first discovered AsteroidOS, a Linux based open source operating system working on some Android Wear (now Wear OS by Google) smartwatches, in early 2016 while looking at FOSDEM 2016 schedule. The project and community have since grown to support more watches,  and a company even tried to launch an AsteroidOS smartwatch (sadly unsuccessfully), but development kept going, and now the very first stable release is out with AsteroidOS 1.0. Some of the highlights of the release: AsteroidOS 1.0 features and apps: phone notifications, an agenda, an alarm clock, a calculator, a music remote control, settings customizations, a stopwatch, a timer, and a weather forecast app. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) sync with Android phones using AsteroidOSSync app. Supported hardware LG G Watch, LG G Watch Urbane, LG G Watch R Asus Zenwatch 1, Asus Zenwatch 2, Asus Zenwatch 3 Sony Smartwatch 3 Software emulator for testing and development. Community supported watchfaces 20 languages supported so far: Chinese, Czesh, Danish, Dutch, …

Wear OS by Google Developer Preview 2 Adds Actions on Google (AoG) Support and Power-related Enhancements

Wear-OS-by-Google-Huawei-Watch-2

Google has released the second developer preview of Wear OS by Google – previously known as Android Wear – that adds support for Actions on Google (AoG) and power-related enhancements among other features. The release can be run in the Android Emulator, and firmware images have also been made available for Huawei Watch 2 Bluetooth /  Classic Bluetooth. Google Assistant can now support visual cards, follow-on suggestion chips, and text-to-speech on Wear OS, and developers can make use of Actions on Google. The feature does not depend on Android P, and all Wear 2.0 watch will support it. The Android P developer preview, also includes an enhanced battery saver mode during which the watch shows a power-efficient face, and turns off radios, the touch screen, and tilt to wake. Users can check the time by pressing the side button, and get back to normal mode with a long press. In a previous release, Google decided to turn off WiFi when …

WeLoop Hey 3S Sports Smartwatch Review – Part 2: GPS, Running, Cycling, Notifications, and More

WeLoop-Hey-3S-Review

As mentioned previously I did not have such good luck with smart wearables so far, with disappointing products often with a short lifetime (a few weeks to a few months, and some design issues here and there like an e-Paper display without backlight, a touchscreen display with poor locking mechanism (so it’s activated while taking a shower), unreliable heart rate monitor, poor waterproofness and so on… My main requirements are always-on display, battery life as long as possible, notification support, good waterproofness to do tasks like taking shower or swim without having to remember to remove the watch, among others less important requirements. I mostly gave up on the category for about year, but decided to give it a try when GeekBuying asked me if I was interested in reviewing WeLoop Hey 3S sports smartwatch.  Maybe things have improved since then. I’ve already gone through unboxing and initial setup in the first part of the review entitled “WeLoop Hey 3S …

IDC Expects Smartwatches Shipments to Double by 2022

IDC-Wearables-Forecast-2017-2022

The smartwatch market has been growing steadily over the last few years, but smart wearables have not become a must-have items like smartphones are for most people. The International Data Corporation(IDC) expects the growth of wearable devices to continue at around 13.4% over the next five years, with a forecast 219.4 million units to be shipped in 2022, and smart watches will grow even faster, as the company expect the number of shipped units to nearly double to 84 millions in five years. The biggest growth is expected to be for earwear growing 48% per annum, following by smart clothing, both of which start from a lower user base. Basic wristbands and watches will still grow, but not quite as fast especially for wristbands. In case you wonder that the “others” category includes, the company explains those are devices “that can be clipped to different parts of the body or head-worn devices like the Muse headband, or even smart wristbands …

WeLoop Hey 3S Sports Smartwatch Review – Part 1: Specifications, Unboxing, First Try with Android App(s)

Weloop-Hey-S3

It’s been a while since I have reviewed a smartwatch or fitness tracker, simply because I found most devices to be lacking, and break easily after a few weeks or months. It’s also difficult to find a device that combines long battery life, waterproofness, a decent screen, and all that at a reasonable price. But I decided to give it another try when Geekbuying asked me whether I was interested in reviewing WeLoop Hey 3S sports smartwatch with 5 ATM waterproofness,  a standby time of 30 days,  a color display, an optical HRM, and built-in GPS.  I’ve just received it , so I’ll start by posting specifications about the watch, and checkout what’s inside the package. Weloop Hey 3S Specifications Display – 1.28″ color memory LCD display with 176×176 resolution, touchscreen Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0 LE, built-in GPS Sensors – Heart rate monitor Battery – 270 mAh LiPo battery good for over 30 days in standby, around 7 days for …

Android Wear Becomes “Wear OS by Google”

Android Wear is an operating systems for wearables based on Android, but it may be confusing to (some) consumers, since an Android Wear watch may pair with an iPhone and an Android phone is not requires. Google actually reports one third of Android Wear watch users also own an iPhone, so the company has now decided to rename Android Wear to “Wear OS by Google“. Apart from the name change and new micro website, everything remains the same. Now if they could also change “Android TV” to “TV OS by Google” that would also prevent an other type of confusion among users…

Toshiba Unveils dynaEdge AR Smart Glasses Powered by a Portable Windows Mini PC

Smart glasses have never really gained traction in the consumer space, but they can still be useful in the workplace, especially with augmented reality, where relevant data can be overlaid on top of the user’s view. Toshiba has launched one of those products with dynaEdge AR smart glasses, but instead of having the battery and electronics on the glasses themselves, a portable mini PC running Windows takes care of the heavy lifting and the battery. This should make the glasses lighter – provided proper cable management -, and offer longer battery life. dynaEdge AR100 head mounted display (HMD) specifications: Display – 0.26″ with 640 x 360 resolution (equivalent to 4.1″ display about 35cm away); angle adjustment Audio – Dual microphone with noise cancellation, speaker USB – USB type C port to connect to mini PC Sensors – Ambient light, compass, gyroscope, proximity Location – GPS support Built-in Camera Misc – Touchpad, LED light, privacy indicator, 4x programmable buttons Weight – …