CES 2015: Limited Edition Vibe X2 Pro Launched Alongside Wearable Vibe Band VB10

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 5, 2015 - 03:00 PM |
Tagged: vibe x2 pro, vibe x, vibe band, smartphone, qualcomm 600, Lenovo, ces 2015, CES, android l

Alongside the onslaught of new notebooks and tablets, Lenovo is launching a limited edition Vibe X2 Pro smartphone and a new wearable accessory called the Vibe Band VB10. As an added bonus, Lenovo is also showing off a new "Selfie Flash" VIBE Xtension that will work with the Vibe X2.

The Lenovo VIBE X2 Pro is an amped up, limited edition, version of the VIBE X2 that debuted a few months ago. The X2 Pro takes the layered aesthetic further by moving to a larger (but thinner) full metal body with unique color options. It features a 5.3" 1920 x 1080 resolution display, dual 13MP cameras (with support for the Selfie Flash accessory), Android Lollipop support, and tweaked internals. The phone measures 146.3 x 71 x 6.95mm and weighs 140g. The Pro version features champagne gold, electric blue and rock pink color options compared to the white, champagne gold, and red colors of the non-pro Vibe X2.

VIBE X2 Pro 5.jpg

Internally, Lenovo has opted for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 SoC which is a 64-bit octo core processor clocked at 1.5 GHz and a Adreno 405 GPU. Qualcomm specs the CPU portion as being two ARM Cortex A53 quad cores clocked at up to 1.7 GHz and 1.0 GHz respectively. The SoC is paired with 2GB of internal memory and 32GB flash storage (no microSD expansion). The phone is powered by a embedded 2,410 mAh Li-Polymer battery. Connectivity includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, LTE cellular radio, analog audio output, micro USB, and dual nano SIM slots. Sensors include A-GPS, gravitation, proximity, light, and e-compass.

The phone will run the company's VIBE UI 2.0 on top of Google's Android Lollipop operating system.

In all, the Vibe X2 Pro has a larger display, better camera, bigger battery, new colors, a metal body, and different CPU/GPU.

The limited edition VIBE X2 Pro will be available in China and Europe (specific countries will be announced at a later date) for $499 starting in April 2015. Notably, this smartphone will not be available in the US.


The VIBE Band VB10 is a wearable watchband accessory that pairs with the Vibe X2 (and also supports iOS devices). A metal bond and rubberized strap host a curved E-Ink display (230ppi) along with a battery that can reportedly power the Bluetooth radio and constantly powered-on display for seven days. The Vibe Band can display messages and notifications, be used to accept or reject phone calls, act as a warning if go out of range of your phone, and collect data (steps, calories, distance, and sleep) for a fitness app that can graph your performance and set personalized goals.

The wearable weighs about 30 grams and runs Android 4.4. Further, the VB10 is IPX7 rated as being waterproof up to 1 meter for 30 minutes. 

The Vibe Band VB10 will be available in April (China and Europe) for $89.

Finally, Lenovo showed off a new Vibe Xtension called the Selfie Flash. The Selfie Flash plugs into the audio out of the Vibe X2 and X2 Pro to illuminate self portraits in low light environments. The circular add-on is synchronized to the Vibe X2's shutter and a ring of eight LEDs cast diffused light over a one meter distance according to Lenovo. It is rated at 100 selfies per charge.

The new selfie-enhancing Vibe Xtension will be available in April for $29 in markets where X2 and X2 Pro smartphones are sold.

Coverage of CES 2015 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2015 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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Source: Lenovo

Google Nexus 6 Phone / Phablet with 6-in 2560x1440 Screen, Android Lollipop

Subject: Mobile | October 15, 2014 - 12:39 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon 805, qualcomm, nexus 6, motorola, lollipop, android l, Android

The Android mobile market just got shifted again after three key announcements from Google today to refresh the Nexus family of products that have served as the flagships for Android devices for several years.

First up is the Nexus 6, a phone or phablet depending on your vocabulary preferences, a device with a 5.96-in screen with a resolution of 2560x1440 and a pixel density of 493 ppi. Built by Motorola and sharing a lot of physical design with the recently released Moto X update, the phone is sleek and attractive and will ship in both black and white color schemes.


Other specifications include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processors running at up to 2.7 GHz and an Adreno 420 graphics core. Capacities of both 32GB and 64GB will be available.

The Nexus 6 and its 6-in screen makes it larger than the Galaxy Note 4, larger than the iPhone 6 Plus and basically anything else considered a "phone" on the market today. The resolution of the phone is also much higher than the iPhone 6 Plus (only 1920x1080) and this should give Google's flagship a big advantage in clarity and media consumption - as long as the new Android Lollipop lives up to its claims. 


Camera features are updated as well to include an f2.0 lens with optical image stabilization and a 13MP resolution. Fast charging is becoming particularly important in modern phones and Google claims the Nexus 6 will be able to get 6 hours of use from only 15 minutes of charging and more than 24 hours use from a full charge. We'll see how that pans out of course.


Google says that the Nexus 6 will ship in November with a pre-order in "late October". Expect an unlocked version on Google's Play Store while you can find on-contract versions at ALL US carriers including AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and even Verizon. On a side note, this marks the first time Verizon will carry a Nexus-branded phone since the Galaxy Nexus in December of 2011.

Be prepared to pay full price for this phone though. Google lists pricing for the 32GB model at $649 and for the 64GB model at $699.

Screen  5.96" 1440x2560 display (493 ppi) 16:9 aspect ratio
 Size  82.98mm x 159.26mm x 10.06mm
 Weight  6.49 ounces (184 grams)
 Camera  Rear Camera: 13MP, Dual LED ring flash Front Camera: 2MP @ 1.4 um pixel
 Audio  Stereo front facing speakers; 3.5mm headphone jack with 4 button headset compatibility 
 Memory  32GB, 64GB
 CPU  Qualcomm Snapdragon805 - Quad Core 2.7 GHz  
 GPU  Adreno 420
 Wireless  Broadcom 802.11ac 2x2 (MIMO)


 Network (+ Mobile Sku)  Americas SKU: GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz CDMA: Band Class: 0/1/10 WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/8 LTE: Bands: 2/3/4/5/7/12/13/17/25/26/29/41 CA DL: Bands: B2-B13, B2-B17, B2-29, B4-B5, B4-B13, B4-B17, B4-B29 Rest of World SKU: GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz CDMA: not supported WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8/9/19 LTE: Bands: 1/3/5/7/8/9/19/20/28/41 CA DL: B3-B5, B3-B8
 Power**  3220 mAh Talk time: up to 24 hours  Standby time up to 300 hours Internet use time up to 8.5 hrs Wi-Fi, 7 hrs LTE Wireless charging built-in 
Turbo charger gives up to 6 hours of power in 1 minutes
 Sensors  Accelerometer, Gyro, Magnetometer, Prox, Ambient Light Sensor, Haptics, Hall effect, Barometer 
 Ports & Connectors  Micro USB Single nano SIM Power and Volume key on Right Hand Side of the device 3.5mm audio jack
 OS  Android 5.0 Lollipop
Source: Google Nexus

Google Play Store Could Be Redesigned (Maybe Even Soon)

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 16, 2014 - 04:11 AM |
Tagged: google, google play, Android, android l

If you have looked at Google's recent design ideologies, first announced at Google I/O 2014, you will see them revolve around skeuomorphism in its most basic sense. By that, I do not mean that they want to make it look like a folder, a metal slab, or a radio button. Their concept is that objects should look like physical objects which behave with physical accuracy, even though they are just simulations of light.


Image Credit: Android Police (and their source)

Basically, rather than having a panel with a toolbar, buttons, and columns, have a background with a page on it. Interface elements which are affected by that panel are on it, while more global actions are off of it. According to Android Police, who make clear that they do not have leaked builds and readers should not believe anything until/unless it ships, the Google Play Store will be redesigned with this consistent, albeit broad, design metric.

Basically, if you are navigation bar, pack your desk and get out.

If true, when will these land? Anyone's guess. One speculation is that it will be timed with the release of Android "L" in Autumn. Their expectation, however, is that it will be one of many updates Google will make across their products in a rolling pattern. Either way, I think it looks good... albeit similar to many modern websites.

ARM Ships Juno Development Platform for ARMv8-A Integration

Subject: Mobile | July 2, 2014 - 12:00 PM |
Tagged: linux, linaro, juno, google, armv8-a, ARMv8, arm, android l

Even though Apple has been shipping a 64-bit capable SoC since the release of the A7 part in September of 2013, the Android market has yet to see its first consumer 64-bit SoC release. That is about to change as we progress through the rest of 2014 and ARM is making sure that major software developers have the tools they need to be ready for the architecture shift. That help is will come in the form of the Juno ARM Development Platform (ADP) and 64-bit ready software stack.

Apple's A7 is the first core to implement ARMv8 but companies like Qualcomm, NVIDIA and course ARM have their own cores based on the 64-bit architecture. Much like we saw the with the 64-bit transition in the x86 ecosystem, ARMv8 will improve access to large datasets, will result in gains in performance thanks to increased register sizes, larger virtual address spaces above 4GB and more. ARM also improved performance of NEON (SIMD) and cryptography support while they were in there fixing up the house.


The Juno platform is the first 64-bit development platform to come directly from ARM and combines a host of components to create a reference hardware design for integrators and developers to target moving forward. Featuring a test chip built around Cortex-A57 (dual core), Cortex-A53 (quad core) and Mali-T624 (quad core), Juno allows software to target 64-bit development immediately without waiting for other SoC vendors to have product silicon ready. The hardware configuration implements big.LITTLE, OpenGL ES3.0 support, thermal and power management, Secure OS capability and more. In theory, ARM has built a platform that will be very similar to SoCs built by its partners in the coming months.


ARM isn't quite talking about the specific availability of the Juno platform, but for the target audience ARM should be able to provide the amount of development platforms necessary. Juno enables software development for 64-bit kernels, drivers, and tools and virtual machine hypervisors but it's not necessarily going to help developers writing generic applications. Think of Juno as the development platform for the low level designers and coders, not those that are migrating Facebook or Flappy Bird to your next smartphone.

The Juno platform helps ARM in a couple of specific ways. From a software perspective, it creates common foundation for the ARMv8 ecosystem and allows developer access to silicon before ARM's partners have prepared their own platforms. ARM claims that Juno is a fairly "neutral" platform so software developers won't feel like they are being funneled in one direction. I'd be curious what ARM's partners actually think about that though with the inclusion of Mali graphics, a product that ARM is definitely trying to promote in a competitive market.


Though the primary focus might be software, hardware partners will be able to benefit from Juno. On this board they will find the entire ARMv8 IP portfolio tested up to modern silicon. This should enable hardware vendors to see A57 and A53 working, in action and with the added benefit of a full big.LITTLE implementation. The hope is that this will dramatically accelerate the time to market for future 64-bit ARM designs.

The diagram above shows the full break down of the Juno SoC as well as some of the external connectivity on the board itself. The memory system is built around 8GB of DDR3 running at 12.8 GB/s and the is extensible through the PCI Express slots and the FPGA options. 


Of course hardware is only half the story - today Linaro is releasing a 64-bit port of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) that will run on Juno. That, along with the Linux kernel v3.14 with ARMv8-A support should give developers the tools needed to write the applications, middleware and kernels for future hardware. Also worth noting on June 25th at Google I/O was the announcement of developer access coming for Android L. This build will support ARMv8-A as well.

The switch to 64-bit technology on ARM devices isn't going to happen overnight but ARM and its partners have put together a collective ecosystem that will allow the software and hardware developers to make transition as quick and, most importantly, as painless as possible. With outside pressure pushing on ARM and its low power processor designs, it is taking more of its fate in its own hands, pushing the 64-bit transition forward at an accelerated pace. This helps ARM in the mobile space, the consumer space as well as the enterprise markets, a key market for SoC growth.