ZTE Axon 9 Leaks Surface

Subject: Mobile | February 19, 2018 - 07:36 PM |
Tagged: zte, axon 9, qualcomm, snapdragon 845

So there’s a lot to say about this story. The first bit is that the follow up to my current phone, which is a ZTE Axon 7, will be launching later this year. It will be called the ZTE Axon 9, and a bunch of rumored leaks have just dropped on it.

zte-2018-image-gsmarena_002.jpg

Image Credit: ZTE Weibo via GSM Arena

GSMArena cites claims that the device will come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. High-end SKUs will have 6GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB of internal storage. Low-end SKUs will have 4GB of RAM. Personally, I haven’t come close to filling up the 64GB of the original ZTE Axon 7, although that’s just me. This is the first time I checked pretty much since I got the phone, and I still have about 33 GB remaining. That said, you are not me, and you probably know how much space you’ll use.

The choice of SoC is interesting. ZTE seems to go straight for the top of Qualcomm’s product stack with their flagship device, which puts it against the performance of, for instance, Samsung’s latest-and-greatest at the time. The ZTE Axon 7 came out a few months after the Samsung Galaxy S7, had the same processor, and was hundreds of dollars cheaper. ZTE wanted market share, but it looks like they might be continuing the trend.

The new device is said to have a 6-inch screen, which makes it slightly larger than the Axon 7, which has a 5.5-inch screen. Both cameras have also been upgraded. The rear camera will be 20 megapixels, while the front-facing one will be 13 megapixels. This doesn't say much about how it will perform, such as how much light is required to get a good image, but we will find out eventually.

At around the same time, US intelligence agencies are warning against purchasing ZTE and Huawei devices because the two companies have ties with the Chinese government. ZTE and Huawei both rebuke the assertions, of course. Personally, I use the ZTE Axon 7 as my only cellphone.

It doesn’t bother me.

Source: GSMArena

Windows 10 on ARM Details

Subject: General Tech | February 19, 2018 - 01:22 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, qualcomm, arm

Paul Thurrott found a developer documentation page, Troubleshooting x86 Desktop Apps, on the Windows Dev Center. The goal of the page is to list a few reasons why the software you develop might not be compatible with Windows 10 on ARM and the WOW translation layer. Yup, they’re reusing that name, which was the translation layer for 32-bit Win32 applications running on 64-bit Windows.

microsoft-2016-uwp-logo.png

Based on this document, we now know that Windows on ARM:

  • Will not translate x86 drivers, just x86 applications and services.
  • Does not support 64-bit applications (Thurrott.com says they’re working on it.)
  • Does not support (hardware-accelerated) OpenGL 1.1+ or DirectX 1-8
    • Vulkan is not mentioned anywhere, but I’m guessing not.

There are also a few other issues, like the application cannot modify Windows components (ex: the 7-zip entry in the Windows file explorer’s right-click menu) unless it is recompiled for ARM. Thurrott.com also says that Hyper-V is not supported in Windows 10 on ARM.

The amount of software that Windows on ARM can run is surprisingly both broader and narrower than I would have expected. The major issue for me is OpenGL – you would think that the graphics driver would dictate this, not so much the OS APIs. I certainly hope that, especially after their other pushes toward openness, Microsoft isn’t pressuring ARM manufacturers to not ship an OpenGL driver, even though the hardware vendors clearly know how to support OpenGL ES at the very least.

And yes, there could very well be a good reason, and they might even be working on OpenGL support as we speak, but it’s an odd omission (at least for now).

Lastly, this has nothing to do with UWP applications. This document is only about standard Win32 applications running on ARM processors. UWP is designed to be cross-architecture. You just need to include the ARM target when you build and package.

Source: Microsoft

Podcast #487 - AMD Desktop APUs, Snapdragon 845, ARM Machine Learning, and more!

Subject: General Tech | February 15, 2018 - 11:32 AM |
Tagged: podcast, Intel, amd, nvidia, raven ridge, r5 2400g, r3 2200g, arm, project trillium, qualcomm, snapdragon 845, x24, LTE, 5G

PC Perspective Podcast #487 - 02/15/18

Join us this week for a recap of news and reviews including new AMD Desktop APUs, Snapdragon 845 Performance Preview, ARM Machine Learning, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison

Program length: 1:18:46

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:09:00 Jeremy: &genie=1
  4. Closing/outro
 

Qualcomm pushes LTE forward again, up to 2 Gbps with Snapdragon X24 modem

Subject: Mobile | February 14, 2018 - 04:46 PM |
Tagged: qualcomm, modem, 4g lte, x24

Hot on the heels of the 5G momentum that saw Qualcomm announce working with 18 different device OEMs and 18  different network providers to bring 5G hardware and carriers online for wide adoption in 2019, the mobile giant is launching another 4G LTE modem. The new Snapdragon X24 LTE modem will provide connectivity speeds as high as 2.0 Gbps (Cat 20) and happens to be the first chip officially announced to be built on a 7nm process technology. It will be shipping in products by the end of 2018.

x24slides-14.jpg

With the 5G wave of products just on the horizon it might seem odd to see Qualcomm launch yet another LTE modem, especially one that offers such high performance and capability. The truth is that while 2019 will see the first nationwide (and global) 5G networks launched, 4G LTE will remain a fallback for the many years going forward. In fact, the first 5G devices (phones, laptops, tablets) will be connected to both 5G and 4G networks simultaneously to maintain connectivity through location changes. This will be temporary as the 5G networks scale to outdoor and internal designs, but expect that to be the case for at least 5 years.

As a result, newer LTE modems will remain a key differentiation point for mobile devices and chipsets. While the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform (Sebastian recently posted a story with early benchmarks if you’re interested) uses the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, which only runs at 1.2 Gbps peak download rate, the new X24 will start by shipping as a discrete modem/chip solution. As has been the case with the X16 and X20 before it, you should then expect to see the X24 integrated into the next-generation of Qualcomm Snapdragon application processor.

x24slides-17.jpg

Obviously the flagship feature of this new modem is its ability to raise peak download speeds to 2.0 Gbps, doubling that of the X16 modem that brought Gigabit-class LTE to the world. This is possible due to the chips ability to handle 7x CA (carrier aggregation) downlink and improved unlicensed spectrum support. You can see from the diagram above that the X24 modem greatly increases the complexity and potential combinations of spectrum.

The Snapdragon X24 also marks the first publicly announced 7nm chip in the world. Though it wasn’t confirmed by Qualcomm, this is being made at TSMC, the only foundry with currently available 7nm technology in place. This move to a new technology means Qualcomm can offer a chip that is smaller and more power efficiency than would be possible on 10nm or 14nm nodes. The company also has the world’s first 14nm RF transceiver chip to pair with the X24 modem, another improvement in power and space efficiency.

Qualcomm will be demonstrating the new Snapdragon X24 modem technology running at 2.0 Gbps at Mobile World Congress, working with Ericsson, Telstra, and Netgear later this month.

Source: Qualcomm

The SDM845 Reference Platform and CPU Results

The Snapdragon 845 is Qualcomm’s latest flagship mobile platform, officially announced on December 6 and known officially as the SDM845 (moving from the MSMxxxx nomenclature of previous iterations). At a recent media event we had a chance to go hands-on with a development platform device for a preview of this new Snapdragon's performance, the results of which we can now share. Will the Snapdragon 845 be Qualcomm's Android antidote to Apple's A11? Read on to find out!

SDM845_Platform.jpg

The SDM845 QRD (Qualcomm Reference Design) Device

While this article will focus on CPU and GPU performance with a few known benchmarks, the Snapdragon 845 is of course a full mobile platform which combines 8-core Kryo 385 CPU, Adreno 630 graphics, Hexagon 685 DSP (which includes the Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine), Spectra 280 image processor, X20 LTE modem, etc. The reference device was packaged like a typical 5.5-inch Android smartphone, which can only help to provide a real-world application of thermal management during benchmarking.


Qualcomm Reference Design Specifications:

  • Baseband Chipset: SDM845
  • Memory: 6 GB LPDDR4X (PoP)
  • Display: 5.5-inch 1440x2560
  • Camera:
    • Front: IMX320 12 MP Sensor
    • Rear: IMX386 12 MP Sensor
  • Audio:
    • No 3.5 mm headset jack (Analog over USB-C)
    • 4 Digital Microphones
  • Connector: USB 3.1 Type-C
    • DisplayPort over USB-C

At the heart of the Snapdragon 845 is the octa-core Kryo 385 CPU, configured with 4x performance cores and 4x efficiency cores, and offering clock speeds of up to 2.8 GHz. In comparison the Snapdragon 835 had a similar 8x CPU configuration (Kryo 280) clocked up to 2.45 GHz. The SDM845 is produced on 10 nm LPP process technology, while the SD835 (MSM8998) was the first to be manufactured at 10 nm (LPE). It is not surprising that Qualcomm is getting higher clock speeds from this new chip at the same process node, and increases in efficiency (the new 10nm LPP FinFET process) should theoretically result in similar - or possibly even lower - power draw from these higher clocks.

Continue reading our performance preview of the new Snapdragon 845 mobile platform!!

Qualcomm 5G devices coming in 2019, leaving Apple behind

Subject: Mobile | February 8, 2018 - 11:01 AM |
Tagged: qualcomm, 5G, 5g nr, x50, snapdragon, apple, Samsung

This story originally appeared on ShroutResearch.com.

With significant pressure to show the value and growth opportunities for the company with a looming hostile takeover bid from Broadcom, mobile chip design house Qualcomm is hoping that its position in the market of next-generation cellular radio technology will be a foundation of its future. The company revealed today partnerships with 18 global OEMs that will be launching 5G-ready devices in 2019 and 18 worldwide cellular carriers will be completing tests of Qualcomm 5G radios in 2018.

5G is the follow up iteration to the current 4G cellular technology in the majority of the world’s smartphones. It will improve speed of connectivity, lower latency, and transform numerous markets from self-driving cars to industrial automation. And it can do all of this while lowering the load on carrier networks, giving all users a noticeable increase in performance and usability.

qcx50ref.jpg

Qualcomm has been leaning on this 4G-to-5G transition as a portion of its long-term plan and strategy for many years. As a part of the company’s recent call to action for shareholders to resist the hostile takeover from Broadcom, the San Diego-based company believes that it has a 12-24 month lead over competing connectivity providers, namely Intel. This position will allow Qualcomm to capitalize on what many believe could be the most disruptive and market shifting wireless transition in history.

To maintain the leadership role, despite mass-market availability being limited to 2019 products, Qualcomm has announced partnerships with 18 different OEMs that will build those products using the Snapdragon X50 modem. This modem was the first announced to support the finalized specification of 5G radios. OEMs like LG, HTC, Sony, ASUS, and vivo are committed to using the X50 modem in devices ranging from next-generation smartphones to Windows-based PCs.

There has been talk that 5G products would not be available until 2020, but Qualcomm believes that 5G will have an impact on revenue a year earlier than that. This collection of phone and device providers puts Qualcomm well ahead of Intel in terms of integration and support in the market, something Qualcomm has believed would be the case but is only now finally confirmed. Commercialization of 5G and collaborations with the leading device manufacturers will push Intel further back in the race, with time running out for it to catch up.

Two big OEMs are missing from the list in Qualcomm’s announcement: Samsung and Apple. While it makes sense that Apple would not want to be included in the public statements from Qualcomm considering the continuing legal dispute between the two companies, there is a legitimate question as to whether Apple will be an early-adopter of 5G technology at all. It has shown in the past that it is more than willing to let others experiment and drive wireless technology shifts on the networks, with both the iPhone 3G and first iPhone with LTE (iPhone 5) lagging behind other smartphones by several quarters. If Apple choses to not integrate the Qualcomm modem, it will depend on Intel to provide a solution instead, and could miss out on 5G technology for all of 2019.

Not seeing Samsung as a part of this announcement from Qualcomm is more surprising, but likely an omission of politics than of technology. I recently wrote about the extension and expansion of the licensing agreement between Samsung and Qualcomm and it is unlikely that this contract would not have included the X50 modem for 5G. I expect the 2019 models of Samsung’s Galaxy devices to include the Qualcomm chip as well.

The second part to this story is that 18 different global cellular carriers, including Verizon and AT&T in the US, China Mobile, and SK Telecom, will be testing 5G with Qualcomm devices and infrastructure in 2018. These validation tests are used to demonstrate the capabilities of new wireless technology and finalize the implementation methods for the hardware in the field.

These two announcements put Qualcomm in the driver’s seat for 5G adoption and integration. 5G will offer consumers speeds 4-5x faster than today’s top offerings, lower latency for more responsive web browsing and new capabilities like streaming virtual reality. It will make Wi-Fi less necessary. The cellular carriers will take advantage of 5G for its ability to run more data through existing infrastructure, opening capacity for more users, devices, and upgradable services.

CES 2018: Lenovo Joins the Windows on ARM Rush with the 12-inch Miix 630 2-in-1 PC

Subject: Mobile | January 8, 2018 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: WOA, windows on arm, snapdragon 835, snapdragon, qualcomm, Lenovo, laptop, convertible, CES 2017, arm, 2-in-1

Lenovo today unveiled the Miix 630, a 12-inch Windows 10 S device powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor. With the Miix 630, Lenovo joins HP, ASUS, and other manufacturers in the new Windows on ARM product category of ultraportable, always connected PCs and tablets.

lenovo-miix-630-front.jpg

The Miix 630 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 with integrated Adreno 540 graphics. It features a 12.3-inch 1920x1280 touchscreen display which, when paired with the included Lenovo pen, offers up to 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity for drawing and writing. Other features include a 5MP front facing infrared camera with Windows Hello support, 13MP rear camera, detachable backlit keyboard with touchpad, and integrated LTE for the "always on" feature that distinguishes these devices from those with traditional mobile connectivity options.

lenovo-miix-630-closed.jpg

Despite its "always on" capabilities, the Miix 630 joins other Windows on ARM devices in touting lengthy battery life, with negligible battery draw while in standby mode and actual usage time of 20 hours for tasks such as continuous video playback.

The Miix 630's complete specs:

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Graphics Adreno 540
Micrphones 2
Speakers 2 x 1 watt
Memory 4GB / 8GB
Storage 64GB / 128GB / 256GB
Battery 48 Whr
Display 12.3-inch
WUXGA+ (1920 x 1280)
Corning Glass Screen
Ports 1 x USB Type-C
1 x 3.5mm Audio In/Out
1 x SD Card
1 x Nano SIM Card
Connectivity 2x2 Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Bluetooth 4.1
LTE Cat11
Dimensions (D) 210mm x (W) 293mm x (H) 15.6mm
Weight 2.93 lbs (1.33 kg)

lenovo-miix-630-angle.jpg

Complete pricing for the higher-end configurations is not yet available, but Lenovo states that the Miix 630's base configuration will start at $799. It's expected to launch in the second quarter of this year.

Source:

CES 2018: Qualcomm Introduces QCC5100 Series Low Power Bluetooth SoC

Subject: General Tech | January 8, 2018 - 06:00 PM |
Tagged: SoC, qualcomm, QCC5100, low power, bluetooth, aptX HD, aptX, ANC, active noise cancellation

Qualcomm has announced a new low-power Bluetooth SoC with the QCC5100 series, a single-chip solution targeting wireless earbuds and other audio devices with the promise of longer battery life and better audio quality than existing solutions. The QCC5100 integrates ANC (active noise cancellation), aptX HD audio, and 3rd-party voice assistant support, among other features.

Biometric Headset Example Designs.jpg

Qualcomm Biometric Headset Example Design

Features for the QCC5100 from Qualcomm:

  • Low power design and ultra-small form factor
  • Dual-core 32-bit processor application subsystem
  • Dual-core Qualcomm® Kalimba™ DSP Audio subsystem
  • Support for aptX and aptX HD, Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo, and Enhanced ANC (Feed- Forward, Feed-Backward, Hybrid)
  • Voice Assistant Services, low power wake word detection
  • Bluetooth 5.0 and 2 Mbps Bluetooth® Low Energy support
  • Embedded ROM + RAM and support for external Flash memory
  • 2-ch 98dBA headset class D (integrated amplifier)
  • 2-ch 99dBA line inputs (single ended)
  • 192kHz 24-bit I2S & SPDIF interfaces
  • Flexible software platform with powerful new IDE support

TrueWireless Occluded Earbuds Example Design.jpg

Qualcomm Occluded Earbuds Example Design

Qualcomm says this new chip - a ground-up design with a quad-core processor architecture (2x APs and 2x DSPs) - offers power savings of up to 65% and provides up to 3x playback time of current Bluetooth devices on the market.

BT_SOC_01.png

Qualcomm has shown device designs using the new SoC including occluded earbuds (no wire connecting the two) and a biometric headset, and while there are no announcements on shipping products Qualcomm expects to have examples for manufacturers in the first half of 2018.

Full press release after the break.

Source: Qualcomm

CES 2018: HP Unveils Intel-Based Version of the ENVY x2 Detachable 2-in-1 PC

Subject: Mobile | January 8, 2018 - 03:01 AM |
Tagged: windows on arm, snapdragon, qualcomm, Intel, hp, envy x2, CES 2018

Following up on its announcement last month of the Snapdragon-powered ENVY x2 12.3-inch detachable 2-in-1 PC, HP today is introducing an Intel-based model of the same device.

hp-envy-x2-intel-side.jpg

Featuring Intel's 7th generation Y-series processors, the Intel version of the ENVY x2 has the same ports and basic design as its ARM-based counterpart, but adds 1mm of thickness and advertises about 20 percent shorter battery life. The Intel model also ships with Windows 10 Home compared to Windows 10 S, although both are optionally upgradeable to Windows 10 Pro.

Another notable difference is a slight change to how the ENVY x2's detachable keyboard connects while in landscape typing mode. The keyboard on the Snapdragon-based ENVY x2 folds down at the top of its magnetic connection, providing a slightly angled typing surface, while the Intel version folds around the back of the device and lays flat.

hp-envy-x2-intel-vs-qualcomm.jpg

Like other manufacturers of new Windows on ARM devices, HP is focusing on productivity versus mobility to differentiate the two ENVY x2 models. The Snapdragon version offers longer battery life, always-on connectivity via integrated LTE, and, if you elect to stick with Windows 10 S, improved security and reliability. The Intel version offers comparatively shorter battery life and traditional connectivity options (although built-in LTE without the "always on" capability is available), but can run all x86 software and drivers natively.

Further enhancing the productivity benefits of the Intel-based ENVY x2, HP is boosting the TDP of the system's Y-series processors from their default 4.5 watts to 6 watts, a move that the company claims results in up to 20 percent better performance.

hp-envy-x2-intel-back.jpg

Complete specifications and upgrade options for the Intel-based ENVY x2 are not yet available, but here are the specs HP has unveiled thus far:

  • 7th generation Intel Core processors
  • Up to 15 hours of battery life
  • HP Fast Charge technology (90% charge in 90 minutes)
  • 12.3-inch 1920x1280 IPS display
  • Up to 256GB PCIe flash storage
  • IR camera with support for Windows Hello
  • 7.9mm thick
  • HP Digital Pen and keyboard included

Like the complete specs, pricing information has not yet been revealed, but HP says that the Intel ENVY x2 will begin shipping in "Spring 2018."

Source:

It's not easy rounding up wireless devices

Subject: General Tech | December 28, 2017 - 02:09 PM |
Tagged: wifi, wireless nic, wireless router, round up, broadcom, qualcomm, Marvell, mediatek, Intel, killer, netperf

As Sebastian discovered when he delved into the world of MU-MIMO routers, benchmarking the performance of wireless devices is not as easy as it sounds.  TweakTown recently put together a basic overview of the performance of a variety of wireless routers and NICs to see if there was one that stood out above the competition.  They used Netperf to test the cards latency and throughput on these routers, graphing them out for easy viewing.  The results display the performance at a distance of 20' from the router on both 2.4 and 5GHz bandwidths, with some interesting results.  Pop by for a look.

8453_08_investigation-wireless-nic-best-todays-market.jpg

"I've been pondering an article like this for a while but the logistics of getting everything in-house and testing never really came together. After completing my last round of articles, I suddenly realized I had all of the wireless NICs in-house that come in modern motherboards and laptops, apart from the Killer 1535, which easily enough was sent over to be included after emailing Rivet Networks."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: TweakTown