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Kodak licenses trademark to Bullitt for new Kodak IM5 smartphone

By Gary Sims

Kodak-IM5

You may not have heard of Bullitt, but I am sure you have heard of Kodak. Bullitt designs, manufactures, markets and sells mobile phones in partnership with global brands, in this case with Kodak. And the company has just announced its first Kodak smartphone, the Kodak IM5, at CES 2015.

The Kodak IM5 is all about ease-of-use. Although it runs Android, it doesn’t use the standard launcher, or any of the popular launchers, but rather it has a special user interface that offers quick and easy access to key functions such as calling, messaging, camera and contacts.

The 5 inch device has a full HD display and is powered by an unnamed 1.7 GHz octa-core processor, which if I had to guess sounds like it comes from MediaTek. There is 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage.

Too many memories stay stuck on mobile phones, often because the process for sharing them is too complicated for users.

Since it carries the Kodak name then photos are central to the IM5’s appeal, however rather than make an expensive phone with expensive optics, Bullitt has decided to go with easy-of-use imaging functionality. The idea is that the IM5 makes taking, storing, sharing and printing photos quick and simple. That is not to say that the camera is bad, it has a 13MP auto-focus main camera, but the real power is in the unique image management software that lets users quickly edit photographs and either display them on the device, share them on social media or print them using a customized app compatible with home printers.

The focus (sorry no pun intended) on ease-of-use was underlined by Eileen Murphy, VP Brand Licensing at Kodak: “Too many memories stay stuck on mobile phones, often because the process for sharing them is too complicated for users; that’s why we’ve partnered on the IM5, the first device in a range of mobile products that takes our heritage and experience in photographic technology and combines it with Bullitt’s expertise in designing high-quality devices for a specific target consumer.”

Available in white or black, the Kodak IM5 will be available globally, starting with roll-out in Europe from the end of Q1 2015. The cost is rumored to be around $249.

The Android Authority team on the show floor at CES will try and head over to the Bullitt stand, and if they manage to get some more photos then I will update the post… Stay tuned!

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Tegra X1 – a closer look at Nvidia’s “superchip”

By Rob Triggs

Tegra_X1_Die

One of the first announcements out of CES 2015 was Nvidia‘s new Tegra X1 SoC, the graphics giant’s successor to its rather good Tegra K1. Featuring the latest powerhouse ARM Cortex-A57 and A53 CPU combo and Nvidia’s Maxwell GPU technology, the company’s first 20nm SoC looks to be as energy efficient as it is powerful. Let’s delve a little deeper into what the Nvidia Tegra X1 has to offer.

CPU

The first thing you’ll probably have noticed about the Tegra X1 is that Nvidia appears to have ditched its customized 64-bit Denver CPU architecture, as found in the Nexus 9’s Tegra K1, and has gone back to a more standard 64-bit ARM configuration. That is not to say this chip isn’t interesting, Nvidia will be among the first to bring an octa-core Cortex A57 and A53 SoC, arranged in two groups of four, to market. This design is similar to Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 810 and Samsung’s existing Exynos 5433.

tegra x1 specs

There are a couple of reasons why Nvidia may have chosen to go back to ARM’s designs. Nvidia itself stated that time-to-market is the leading reason, suggesting that shrinking its Denver CPU design down to 20nm was more time consuming than picking up and tweaking an ARM design. Alternatively, perhaps Nvidia wasn’t convinced by the performance results of its custom CPU, although it has hinted that Denver may reappear in a future SoC. Regardless, let’s take a look at what Nvidia has done with ARM’s reference designs.

Tegra X1 layout

The high-end A57 CPU cluster has 2MB of L2 cache shared across the four cores, along with 48KB L1 instruction and 32KB L1 data caches. The four energy efficient A53 CPUs share 512KB of L2 cache and have two 32KB L1 caches for instructions and data.

As the multiple CPU core design suggests, Nvidia’s chip operates as a big.LITTLE design in order to more efficiently share workloads across the most appropriate CPU cores. However, Nvidia has opted for its own custom interconnect, rather than ARM’s CCI-400, and cluster migration, rather than global task scheduling, to open up all eight cores for use at once.

Nvidia touts that its interconnect design significantly outperforms Samsung’s System LSI used in the Exynos 5433, boasting 1.4 times more performance for the same amount of power or half the power required to produce the same level of performance. This is partially down to cache coherence, which reduces the power/performance penalties usually associated with cluster migration. Nvidia has also decided to use its own System Electrical Design Point power management system to throttle and gate clock speeds, rather than ARM’s in-house Intelligent Power Allocation feature.

Although the Tegra X1 has gone back to an ARM CPU design, Nvidia clearly believes that its own customizations can improve on the standard ARM formula.

GPU

New technology also makes its way into the GPU aspect of Nvidia’s latest SoC. The Tegra X1 again features Nvidia’s proprietary graphics architecture, although this time the SoC is packing the company’s latest Maxwell architecture, which powers the high-end GTX 980 range of graphics cards, as well as the incredibly power efficient GTX 750Ti.

Tegra X1 benchmark

Take Nvidia’s own benchmarks with a pinch of salt, but the X1 appears to offer at least an additional 50 percent boost over the K1.

Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU

Nvidia claims to have doubled the GPU performance and halved the chip’s power requirements compared with the Tegra K1. Nvidia’s benchmarks suggest that this energy efficiency has been ploughed straight back into increasing performance, meaning that the X1’s GPU is still likely to be quite power hungry. Just like the Tegra K1, the X1 is probably destined for tablet products, where manufacturers can squeeze in some extra battery capacity.

The GPU design has changed a little compared with last generation, featuring two Maxwell SMMs (Streaming Multiprocessors) for a total of 256 CUDA cores, compared with a single Kelper SMX and 192 CUDA cores in the Tegra K1. Although the number of CUDA cores may not have doubled up, Nvidia states that a Maxwell SMM is up to 40 percent more efficient than an older Kepler SMX. Furthermore, the move to two complete SMMs means that important geometry and textures units have been doubled.

Nvidia has also quadrupled the number of ROPs to 16 and has added a 256KB L2 cache between the ROPs and the 64-bit memory interface, which should help the GPU drive those higher resolution displays. General memory improvements will also play a big part in the Tegra X1’s performance leaps at higher resolutions, as this is generally an area in which mobile devices suffer from bottlenecks.

Speaking of memory, Nvidia has also implemented a new and improved memory compression features in the Tegra X1, to further alleviate DRAM bandwidth demands on the chip’s 64-bit memory bus. The GPU continues to support a range of OpenGL 4.x and DirectX 11.x features, including Tessellation, Tiled Resources and Voxel Global Illumination, ensuring that Nvidia mobile customers can make the most of the latest gaming effects and efficiencies.

Tegra X1 vs Tegra K1

One final important feature added to the Tegra X1 is support for “double speed FP16” (16-bit floating point operations) in the GPU’s CUDA cores. Typically Maxwell only features FP32 and FP64 cores, but Nvidia has altered FP16 operation handling in the X1, whereby a limited set of FP16 operations can be packed together and computed over a single FP32 core. This is not ideal, but will allow Nvidia to compete with its rivals in situations where FP16 operations are important. Overall, these changes add up to 1024 GFLOPs (1 TFLOP) FP16 performance and 512 GFLOPs for FP32 operations.

Feature Set

Nvidia hasn’t just gone all-out with its CPU and GPU design. Tying the whole SoC together is a 64-bit wide LPDDR4 memory interface that supports up to 4GB of RAM. Peak memory …read more

Source:: android authority

    

Qualcomm demos Snapdragon 810 features in video

By Rob Triggs

qualcomm

The Snapdragon 810 is now officially here, thanks to the chip’s début in the LG G Flex 2. Following the company’s CES press conference, Qualcomm has released a few videos to help explain some of its latest SoC’s finer features.

Performance is obviously a big part of Qualcomm’s latest processor line-up, but the company is also introducing some interesting new features, such as 4K video streaming, LTE-to-WiFi call continuity to prevent dropping calls as you roam around, and multi-microphone noise cancellation when recording video. Oh, and there’s a cool looking flying drone thrown in for good measure. You can check out the video selection below.

Are you excited for the next generation of Snapdragon 810 powered flagships?

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Two major rival wireless charging groups join forces to accelerate adoption

By Rob Triggs

nexus wireless charging orb contents aa 1600

Wireless charging has constantly fallen short of making its major market breakthrough. Various developers have dipped their toes in the water, but very few have made a long term commitment to include the technology in all of their products. Part of the problem is that no-one is quite sure about the best wireless charging technology to pick. However, that choice could soon be made for them, as two of the largest wireless charging groups have signed a letter of intent to merge.

The Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), which backs magnetic resonance charging technology, and the Power Matter Alliance (PMA), which maintains a standard based on inductive charging, are looking to create a unified organization, which will be named later this year, with the aim to help push this promising technology to mass-market.

As the two groups base their standards on two different methods of wireless charging, the merged group expects that future smartphones and other devices may incorporate both technology types. This has the benefit that users will be able to power up their device on a range of chargers, but might add considerable costs to product manufacturing.

However, this merger currently leaves one of the biggest technologies out of the talks. The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), which consists of over 200 members, including Microsoft and Qualcomm, owns the Qi charging standard, which has already seen use in a number of Android handsets. Talks to form a super group consisting of all three members are apparently on the cards. John Perzow from the WPC suggested that a deal with the other groups is “inevitable” based on past statements from its competitors.

With many of the big names now all working together, wireless charging may finally break into mainstream technology.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Samsung says all its products will be IoT enabled within 5 years

By Gary Sims

Samsung-Yoon

B. K. Yoon, Samsung’s co-CEO took to the stage at CES 2015 on Monday to declare that all Samsung’s products will be Internet-of-Things (IoT) enabled within five years. Five years in technology is a long time, just look back to 2009/2010 and see what smartphones existed then, or take a look at Android 1.5 Cupcake. So in one sense Yoon’s vision isn’t impossible. However what is more interesting is that he said that 90% of Samsung products would be able to connect to the web by 2017. Now that is only 2 or 3 years away (depending if he meant by the end of, or the beginning of 2017). That is a bigger challenge.

Samsung makes a huge range of products. OK, its smartphones are already connected devices, as are its Smart TVs. But what about its washing machines, air conditioning units, and microwave ovens? Yoon said in his speech, “five years from now, every single piece of Samsung hardware will be an IoT device, whether it is an air purifier or an oven.”

Samsung-100-percent-IoT-in-5-years

This means that Samsung is serious about IoT. However before we look how Samsung plans to promote this technology, we need to ask two questions. First, what is the benefit of an IoT enabled microwave oven? Second, will Samsung make a mess of this?

In answer to the first question, I am a bit of a pessimist (or maybe realist). Although I can see the advantages of Smart Homes and Home Automation, and I understand the benefits of monitoring our household appliances in terms of energy consumption, I must say I can’t really see the benefit of an IoT enabled microwave oven or of a web connected vacuum cleaner. In our family we use our microwave oven scarcely, and other than how much electricity it has consumed, I can’t really see any benefit in being able to interrogate it about how many minutes it has been active this month, how many times the door has been opened, or how often we used the defrost setting. Seriously, I can’t.

Samsung-Microwave-Oven

Which leads me to my second question, if Samsung has committed to making all of its products IoT enabled within five years that means it will add IoT just for the sake of adding it, rather than because an appliance needs it. This could mean that we end up with devices that are IoT enabled but yet pump out worthless information. Also, the cost of such products will be higher as they are now more complex, and they pose a security risk.

There is also the question of how an Internet enabled fridge is going to help a family living below the poverty line in a war zone. If Samsung can’t make the cheapest possible fridge then it is performing a disservice to those people. Adding IoT tech will increase the cost of that fridge. We can only hope that the IoT chips and circuits needed to web enabled these fridges will only cost pennies within 5 years from now.

Open Standards

Our IoT components and devices will be open. We will ensure that others can easily connect to our devices.

But leaving behind the questions of why? and should we? Samsung is right about one thing, in this new IoT utopia, for everything to work there needs to be high levels of interoperability. All these different sensors, devices, IoT hubs, and IoT gateways need to be able to work together. “We have to create an open IoT ecosystem,” said Yoon. “The IoT experience needs to be seamless.” To that end Yoon promised that all of Samsung’s products would be built on open platforms. “Our IoT components and devices will be open. We will ensure that others can easily connect to our devices,” Yoon said during his keynote. “Without this kind of openness, there won’t be an Internet-of-Things.”

And Samsung is in a good position to drive these open platforms and to use them on their products. Last year Samsung sold over 665,000,000 devices, that is over 20 devices per second.

If IoT features become a selling point for more than just mobile devices than it is guaranteed that other large consumer electronic manufacturers like Sony, Phillips, and LG will follow. However an IoT standards war is probably on the horizon. This is because to make something “open” just means you need to publish it, and maybe throw in a little source code. However that doesn’t mean that every appliance will speak the same lingo. In the bizarre world of technology you can have several open platform standards that aren’t compatible, but yet everyone can claim to be open. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

What do you think? Do you like Samsung’s vision? Are you looking forward to IoT enabled products?

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

After three years of decline, HTC reports quarterly sales increase

By Matthew Benson

htc desire eye review aa (4 of 27)

One of HTC’s more unique 2014 offerings, the Desire EYE.

The “old guard” of Android OEMs have been suffering from an almost bell-curve like sales trend when considering how much things have changed since the early days. Companies like HTC were on the up-and-up with devices like the Nexus One and Desire HD, saw their comfort zone come crashing down as Samsung rose to the top, and yet now the Korean giant itself is on the slippery slope on dwindling smartphone profits and market share while Chinese manufacturers like Huawei and Xiaomi soar to the stratosphere.

HTC’s road to recovery is still (temporarily) on track, with the Taiwanese company reporting its third straight quarter of profit thanks to a more diverse product line and a greater focus on mid-tier offerings for emerging markets.

In the fourth quarter, HTC recorded a relatively tiny profit of $14.67 million, which was still above analysts’ expectations, according to the WSJ. Small as it is, HTC’s Q4 2014 profit was almost 50% higher than the profit from Q4 2013.

The bigger and better news is that, revenues (actual sales), have grown compared to the previous quarter: HTC recorded NT$47.87 billion ($1.49 billion) in Q4 2014, compared to NT$41.86 ($1.37 billion) in Q3 2014. This is the first time in three years that HTC manages to increase sales quarter-over-quarter. It appears that the company’s strategy to focus on fewer products and push the mid-range is finally paying off.

Last year saw a number of interesting products from HTC, including the HTC Desire Eye, and the company has already gone on record to proclaim 2015 to be its most impressive ever, and there are rumors circulating about a possible non-Nexus “Nexus 9″. Still, HTC can’t call itself saved just yet – with increased competition from Chinese players like Xiaomi, HTC will have to fight for every percentage point in 2015.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Samsung’s new mid-rangers Galaxy E5 and Galaxy E7 debut today in India

By Eric McBride

SS_SM-E500F_White_Tilt

Samsung has officially launched two new devices: the “smaller” Galaxy E5 and the more phablet-sized Galaxy E7. Samsung has stated that these devices are designed for younger users, and will deliver a “best selfie experience” to those using them.

To enhance the “selfie experience”, Samsung has equipped both devices with front facing 5MP cameras and features including “wide angled selfie (which can cover angles up to 120 degrees), selfie with palm gesture, and selfie with voice command”.

Both devices have Super AMOLED displays and are 7.3mm thick. Although they aren’t high end devices like the Note 4 or Galaxy S5, they will include features such as Ultra-Power Saving Mode, Private Mode and Multi screen, which are often only included in flagships.

The phablet sized Galaxy SM-E700F is equipped with a 1.2GHz quad core processor, a 5.5-inch display, BT 4.0, a 13MP rear camera with a 5MP front facing camera, 16GB internal memory (expandable up to 64GB via microSD), a 2950 mAh battery, and TouchWiz powered by Android KitKat. Overall dimensions for the device are 151.3 x 77.2 x 7.3mm.

SS_SM-E700F_White_Front

The smaller Galaxy SM-E500F has a 5 inch display, a 1.2 ghz quad core processor, an 8MP rear camera with a 5MP front facing cam, BT 4.0, 16GB internal memory (expandable up to 64GB via microSD), a 2400 mAh battery, and TouchWiz running over Android KitKat. Overall dimensions are 141.6 x 70.2 x 7.3mm.

SS_SM-E500F_Black_Front

The devices will launch in India first. Samsung didn’t mention price or which (if any) additional markets the devices would roll out to (or if a Lollipop update is planned), but did say that “features and functions will vary by market”, which would seemingly indicated that the devices may not be limited to India. We will update this article as we learn more.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

HTC launches Desire 826 with UltraPixel selfie camera

By Gary Sims

HTC Desire 826 (14)

As anticipated HTC has launched a new mid-range phone in its Desire range at CES 2015. The Desire 826 is a sibling of, and possible successor to, the Desire 820 which Lanh reviewed in November. However this new Desire phone takes a lot of design cues from the HTC Desire Eye which Joshua reviewed just a few weeks ago.

The Desire 826 has HTC’s signature BoomSound speakers and like the Desire Eye they are cleverly hidden beneath the screen and the top/bottom bezels. However unlike the Desire Eye, the Desire 826 doesn’t use a 13MP front facing camera, but rather it uses HTC’s UltraPixel camera on the front. This means that you should be able to take high quality selfies in low light situations. The rear camera is a more conventional 13MP unit with a f2.0 lens.

HTC Desire 826 (10)
HTC Desire 826 (9)
HTC Desire 826 (3)

HTC Desire 826 (5)
HTC Desire 826 (19)
HTC Desire 826 (16)
HTC Desire 826 (13)

As for the rest of the specs, the Desire 826 is 5.5-inch device with a 1080p screen and a 2600mAh battery. At its heart is the Snapdragon 615, Qualcomm’s 64-bit octa-core processor which uses eight ARM Cortex A53 cores, four of which are clocked at 1.0GHz and four at core 1.7GHz. The package is completed by an Adreno 405 GPU and 2GB of RAM.

In terms of storage, there is 16GB of flash and support for a micro SD card. The Desire 826 will be a dual-SIM device (except for in a few countries) and supports 4G LTE.

The Desire 826 will ship with Android 5.0 Lollipop and should be available by the end of January. Stay tuned to Android Authority because we will be bringing you a hands-on and first impressions video of the Desire 826 shortly.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

ZTE Nubia Z7 hands-on and first impressions

By Gary Sims

ZTE Nubia Z7-18

ZTE has already shown off a number of new devices at CES 2015 including the ZTE Grand X Max+ and the ZTE Star 2. But there is more – the ZTE Nubia Z7.

The Nubia Z7 is a 5.5 inch device with Quad HD resolution. The design is fairly standard however it does have some nice touches like the rounded corners and the soft-touch matte finish. Both of which make the phone comfortable in the hand. One unique aspect is the bright red home buttom, which is also complimented by other dashes of red through-out the design.

As for innards, the Nubia Z7 is powered by a Snapdragon 801 with 3GB of RAM. For your storage needs there is 32GB of flash. In terms of optics, the Z7 comes with a 13MP camera with built-in optical image stabilization (OIS). The Nubia Z7 can also record video at 4K. The included camera app has a mode for more advanced users, as well as an auto mode for those that just want to point and shoot.

ZTE Nubia Z7-21
ZTE Nubia Z7-15
ZTE Nubia Z7-11

The device comes with a 3000mAh battery, so battery life shouldn’t be an issue even with that Quad HD display. The Nubia Z7 runs Android 4.4 KitKat but comes with ZTE’s own custom skin, which while colorful and bright, does lack the standard app draw. However, overall the UI experience is good.

ZTE Nubia Z7-6

The ZTE Nubia Z7 will be available initially in China and there isn’t yet any word of availability outside of Asia. If the device does become available world wide, you can be sure that we will let you know.

What are your initial impressions of the ZTE Nubia Z7? Do you like it?

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Snail launches OBox gaming console powered by Android

By Matthew Benson

Join-the-Revolution

Despite the incredible number of games available in the Google Play Store, there are a surprisingly few number of “game” consoles based on Android hardware. One of the first, the Sony Xperia Play, never really took off and the line ended then and there. Likewise, the Ouya home console had a lot of good ideas as well, but seems to be in a state of unknown limbo these days. Thanks to the efforts of Chinese company Snail, the Android console concept may get another shot at greatness.

Snail might be unknown to people in the USA, but in China it’s big news. According to its website, Snail was “the first 3D online game development company in China, and continues to pioneer in the industry after over a decade of success. [It is] recognized as one of the world´s top game developers and [employs] a development team of over 3,000.” And now, it is planning to release two major gaming devices, the OBox and the W 3D.

The OBox

obox2-540x420

The Obox is more-or-less a traditional gaming console, that is to say it is large, stationary, and requires a controller. According to The Verge, the OBox is going to be somewhat of a varied affair as multiple configurations will be allowed by retailers. While it will run on the Nvidia K1 CPU, two processor options are hinted at, as are two HDMI options and no less than four storage congifurations, ranging from 500GB to 4 terabytes. It will also output video in 3D and 4K for those with compatible setups. Even more impressive? The console will have interchangeable parts which would theoretically make it a gaming version of Google’s Project Aria.

obox3-600x404 Pet Community

According to an apparent leak that was featured on French blog Pet Forms Community, the device is claims the controller will feature “a 9-axis sensor with gyro and magnetometer, [and] the controller itself can be used as an air mouse.” To add an even more detailed layer to the spec claims, blog CNX Soft obtained an apparently leaked PDF promotional brochure for the device, which can be seen here. CNX listed the specs as follows:

OBOX_Rear_Panel CNX Software

The W 3D

Snail-W-3D-hands-on-4 Tabtech.de

The smaller (and therefore portable) W 3D is actually a smartphone with an Octa-core MTK6595/2.2GHZ CPU, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, and front/back cameras. Where it spices things up however, are the inclusion of a pair of analog sticks, 4 physical buttons (plus four shoulder buttons), a D-pad, and a touch screen. The device will have a 5.5 inch display and offer glasses-free 3D with eye-tracking technology, however The Verge has indicated that the model displayed at CES 2015 offered somewhat lackluster 3D. It will be sold unlocked.

1420451014_IMG_8320-600x335 Wired.it

Snail’s US website also makes reference to a third device, the “W” (no 3D moniker attached) which may also indicate that a standard model will be available for those who want a presumably lower price.

While the pair of devices are set to launch in China during the second quarter of 2015, their release in the USA (and Mexico!) won’t occur until Q3. A representative from Snail indicated the price could range from $99 to $499.

Other than the aforementioned supposedly leaked PR material, nothing official has been detailed about the exact hardware specs, or the OS version to be included in these devices. Snail’s website does mention that the OBox will be running a skinned version of the OS however, and also details that all devices will come pre-installed with the company’s free gaming software.

…read more

Source:: android authority