Subject: Mobile | October 20, 2016 - 05:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: pixel, pixel xl, google, Android, Snapdragon 821, nougat
Ah, the tech industry; blink and suddenly familiar things disappear and yet you are also simultaneously overcome with a sense of deja vu. Former Motorola President Rick Osterloh now heads a team at Google which is the combination of Nexus, Pixel Chromebooks, Chromecast, OnHub, ATAP, and Google Glass and this team have just released two new Google phones. The 5" 1920x1080 Pixel and the 5.5" 2560x1440 Pixel XL have arrived on the market, priced to compete with Apple's new lineup, though still far less expensive than the Chromebooks which bore the same name up until recently. The phones run Android 7.1 Nougat on a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 and are manufactured by HTC. Ars Technica considers them to now be the best Android phones on the market and yet somehow bland; read their full review to see if you agree.
"Welcome to the age of Google Hardware. Apparently tired of letting third-party Android OEMs serve as the stewards of Android handsets, Google has become a hardware company. (Again)."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
More Mobile Articles
- Google Pixel XL @ The Inquirer
- MSI GT83VR 6RF Titan SLI GTX 1080 Laptop @ Kitguru
- Gigabyte P57X v6 GTX 1070 Gaming Laptop @ eTeknix
- MSI GT83VR 6RF-028UK GTX 1080 SLI Laptop @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | October 6, 2016 - 12:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: blackberry, Android, licensing
The Register sat down with Alex Thurber, a BlackBerry senior VP, to discuss the companies plans to license their particular flavour of Android to other phone manufacturers. Thurbur has worked at Cisco, McAfee after Intel's purchase of the company as well as a firewall company called WatchGuard so he has had some experience with locking down kit. We will still see two more BlackBerry devices before they finally stop selling hardware but you should expect to see other brands running Blackberry licensed versions of Android soon. They will have NIAP (National Information Assurance Partnership) certification, the same certification that Samsung's KNOX and LG's GATE qualify for. Drop by for deeper look into what they discussed.
"BlackBerry says it won’t license its brand and security hardened Android “to any Tom Dick and Harry” as it tries to maintain the value of its brand."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
Subject: Systems, Mobile | August 31, 2016 - 02:30 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Yoga Book, windows, wacom, notebook, Lenovo, Halo Keyboard, Create Pad, Android
Lenovo has unveiled the Yoga Book, a 2-in-1 design with a unique touch-based lower half below a conventional 1920x1200 IPS touch display. Lenovo is calling the Yoga Book "the world’s thinnest and lightest 2-in-1", with a 9.6mm thickness and weight of 1.52 pounds.
This lower section is a hybrid design, combining Lenovo's "Halo Keyboard" virtual keyboard with a surface called "Create Pad"; allowing the lower half to be used for pen writing (with handwriting recognition) and drawing. The "Real Pen" (which is a dual-use ink pen and stylus) offers 2,048 pressure levels and 100-degree angle detection, according to Lenovo, and promises a precise experience when writing and creating artwork.
"The Halo Keyboard re-imagines the possibilities of a modern keyboard, while providing the technology platform for all other standout Yoga Book productivity-driven features, such as the Create Pad and Real Pen. It appears to the user as a full, backlit virtual keyboard with shortcut keys for a typing experience that matches that of a physical keyboard, easily overcoming the challenges of typing on a tablet screen."
"The lack of physical keys also allows the Halo Keyboard’s flush surface to house the Create Pad. For the artists and free hand note-takers, the Create Pad converts into a virtual notepad that instantly digitizes everything from doodles and to-do lists to web page annotations and on-screen notes, using the Real Pen and our Note Saver app."
The Yoga Book is available in both Android and Windows versions, with the Android version offering a custom interface called "Book UI". As to hardware, both versions are powered by an Intel Atom x5-Z8550 processor (quad-Core, up to 2.4 GHz) with 4GB of LPDDR3 memory and 64GB of onboard storage (expandable via microSD cards up to 128GB in size).
What about pricing? This might be surprising for a high-concept device like this, as Lenovo has chosen to compete in the $500 tablet space. The Android-powered Yoga Book starts at $499, with the Yoga Book with Windows at $549. Both will be available starting in October.
Full press release after the break.
Introduction and Specifications
Immediately reminiscent of other phablet devices, the Mate 8 from HUAWEI is a characteristically large, thin slab of a smartphone. But under the hood there's quite a departure from the norm, as the SoC powering the device is new to the high-end phone market - no Qualcomm, Samsung, or even MediaTek here.
"The Mate 8 takes the look and feel of the Mate series to a whole new level. Boasting a vivid 6" FHD display, an ultra slim design, a re-designed fingerprint sensor that's faster and more reliable, and a sleek aluminum unibody design, the Mate 8 is sure to impress."
The HiSilicon Kirin 950 powers the Mate 8; an 8-core design comprised of 4x ARM Cortex-A72 cores clocked at up to 2.3 GHz, and 4x ARM Cortex-A53 cores clocked at up to 1.80 GHz. Memory is 3GB for our sample, with 32GB storage; with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage is also available.
The Mate 8 looks every bit a premium device, and the metal and glass construction of the handset feels solid. It also feels rather light (185g) given its size. But how does it perform? This is an especially interesting question given the unusual silicon in the Mate 8, but the Kirin 950's Cortex-A72 is the most powerful ARM design (at least until the Cortex-A73, announced this summer, finds its way into devices).
In this review we'll explore the overall quality of the HUAWEI Mate 8, and go over usage impressions. And, of course, we'll look at some performance benchmarks to see how this Kirin 950 SoC stacks up against recent Snapdragon and Apple SoCs.
Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2016 - 01:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hack, iphone, Android
It is more of a bootloader, in that a custom 3D printed iPhone case hides a device based around LG Nexus 5 which plugs into the iPhone and allows you to launch Marshmallow 6.0.1 on your iPhone. Once you unplug the lighting cable connection between the iPhone and the case your phone reverts to iOS, thus avoiding having to flash the protected innards of the phone. The interface is described as somewhat laggy but it has a functional USB port, HDMI out and room for a microSD card. This is the same fellow who managed to get Win95 running on an Apple Watch so we may read more about his rule breaking modifications at The Inquirer.
"ANDROID RUNNING on an iPhone? Really? It's true. Sort of. The latest episode in our ongoing series of things running on other things is a doozy, the Holy Grail."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD “Summit Ridge” Desktop Processor @ Tech ARP
- From iWarp to Knight's Landing: James Reinders leaves Intel @ The Register
- Why does an Android keyboard need to see your camera and log files – and why does it phone home to China? @ The Register
- Juniper: Yes, IPv6 ping-of-death hits Junos OS, too @ The Register
Subject: Mobile | May 30, 2016 - 02:14 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: zenfone 3, snapdragon 820, Snapdragon 625, smartphone, ips, computex 2016, computex, asus, Android, AMOLED
The Zenfone 3 family has been officially announced, and ASUS has provided all of the details of these new Android smartphones from Computex 2016.
The Zenfone 3 family is comprised of three phones; the Zenfone 3, Zenfone 3 Deluxe, and the massive Zenfone 3 Ultra. The first of these is the standard Zenfone 3, which replaces the Zenfone 2 not only in number, but architecture. While the previous version was powered by an Intel SoC, this new Zenfone contains a conventional ARM-based SoC; the Snapdragon 625.
A 5.5-inch device with a FHD (1920x1080) IPS display protected by Gorilla Glass 4, the 7.69 mm thick Zenfone 3 also boasts a 16MP “PixelMaster” camera with OIS and “ultra-fast 0.03s instant focus” for clear photos. Other features include a sizable 4GB of RAM, a “5-magnet” speaker design and 24-bit/192kHz high-resolution audio support, and a 3000 mAh battery. The phone uses USB Type-C connectivity, and arrives with Android 6.0 with ZenUI 3.0.
Moving to the Zenfone 3 Deluxe, this higher-end model offers a slightly larger 5.7” FHD AMOLED display (rather than IPS), and adds Quick Charge 3.0 for the 3000 mAh, and USB 3.0 speed to the Type-C connector. The SoC powering the Deluxe is the biggest upgrade over the standard Zenfone 3, with the powerful Snapdragon 820 replacing the base model’s Snapdragon 625.
If you enjoy a more tablet-like experience, the 6.8-inch (!) Zenfone 3 Ultra might be for you!
While still FHD at this tablet-like size, the rear camera on the Ultra is a big upgrade, with a 23MP PixelMaster Camera (via the Sony IMX318 sensor). The battery is also a big upgrade over the smaller phones, as the larger chassis allows a 4600 mAh capacity. The big question (pun intended) becomes, will people want to use a 6.8-inch smartphone? To which the answer must be, no, we will hold out for the 7+ inch phones! (Or not.)
As to pricing, the Zenfone 3 is nearly as aggressive as the previous version, with an MSRP of $249. The Deluxe version is priced much more like premium handset at $499, and the Ultra is just behind it at $479. Availablity has not been announced.
Subject: General Tech | May 3, 2016 - 02:09 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Android, google, security
Assuming your service provider is not one of those who block Google's patches from coming to you directly you should probably charge up that device, get on WiFi and check your available updates. Any Google device running 4.4.4 or newer, including Nexus devices, will have up to 40 patches to slurp up. Many of the patches are for a vulnerability similar to the previous Stagefright exploit, apps can use the drivers from Qualcomm and NVIDIA to break into the Qualcomm TrustZone on unpatched devices. The Register provides a full list of the patches which are being pushed to Nexus and Android One devices.
"Google has today issued a bundle of 40 security patches for its Android operating system.
A dozen of the fixes correct critical vulnerabilities in versions 4.4.4 of the operating system and above. About 74 per cent of in-use Android devices run Android 4.4.4 or higher."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Nvidia, Samsung pump brakes in car-crash GPU patent rip-off race @ The Register
- Google Chrome to Internet Explorer: 'I'm the king of the world!' @ The Inquirer
- Why quantum cryptography could be a one-way street @ Nanotechweb
- Pittasoft BlackVue DR650GW-2CH Car Dashcam Review @ NikKTech
- NikKTech & GAMDIAS Game On USA - CANADA Giveaway @ NikKTech
Subject: Mobile | April 14, 2016 - 04:59 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: vulkan, google, android n, Android
We knew it was coming. Google was a partner of Vulkan since it launched, but support was coming at some point after the desktop launch. We expected that it would be soon, but now we know that the new graphics API is in Android N Developer Preview 2. Other platforms, like apparently the Samsung Galaxy S7, are able to ship Vulkan drivers, but it is “a part of the platform” in this Android N pre-release.
Vulkan is particularly useful for mobile because those devices tend to have many cores, but relatively slow cores, which drive a decently fast GPU. Whether the benefits end up being higher performance or just better battery life (as the CPU can downclock more and more often) depends on the application, but it can be useful for 3D applications, and eventually even 2D ones, like future Qt applications with many elements, or even web browsers (when drawing complex sites).
It's good that Google is supporting Vulkan, especially after their ban of OpenCL drivers from Nexus devices. We want a single GPU compute interface across as many platforms as possible. While Vulkan isn't as complete as OpenCL, lacking some features such as unified memory, it should be more useful than OpenGL ES compute shaders.
Subject: General Tech | April 11, 2016 - 01:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Android, blackberry, Priv
Blackberry has abandoned the Priv, calling it somewhat of an expensive mistake not only because of the investment costs but also because it was priced well above what consumers are willing to pay for a phone. They will be developing a new Android device which is intended to sell at $400, in line with the competitions prices. This also seems to imply that the BB10 OS will no longer be actively developed at Blackberry although they have not stated that for the record. They also haven't disclosed how many Priv's were sold but considering what they told The Register and others it is likely to be well below what they had hoped. They aren't dead yet but they are certainly low on health.
"BlackBerry's CEO has used an interview with United Arab Emirates outlet The National to announce plans to move the troubled mobe-maker's Android efforts downscale."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Build Your Own GSM Base Station For Fun And Profit @ Hack a Day
- The Performance Of Ubuntu Software Running On Windows 10 With The New Linux Subsystem @ Phoronix
- What did the one Toshiba desktop SSD say to the other? Our cell size has shrunk @ The Register
- Sandberg USB Master Charger Pro Review @ NikKTech
Seeing Ryan transition from being a long-time Android user over to iOS late last year has had me thinking. While I've had hands on with flagship phones from many manufacturers since then, I haven't actually carried an Android device with me since the Nexus S (eventually, with the 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade). Maybe it was time to go back in order to gain a more informed perspective of the mobile device market as it stands today.
So that's exactly what I did. When we received our Samsung Galaxy S7 review unit (full review coming soon, I promise!), I decided to go ahead and put a real effort forth into using Android for an extended period of time.
Full disclosure, I am still carrying my iPhone with me since we received a T-Mobile locked unit, and my personal number is on Verizon. However, I have been using the S7 for everything but phone calls, and the occasional text message to people who only has my iPhone number.
Now one of the questions you might be asking yourself right now is why did I choose the Galaxy S7 of all devices to make this transition with. Most Android aficionados would probably insist that I chose a Nexus device to get the best experience and one that Google intends to provide when developing Android. While these people aren't wrong, I decided that I wanted to go with a more popular device as opposed to the more niche Nexus line.
Whether you Samsung's approach or not, the fact is that they sell more Android devices than anyone else and the Galaxy S7 will be their flagship offering for the next year or so.