|From: FJB||8/22/2018 3:28:46 PM|
Xiaomi’s new Pocophone F1 undercuts rivals with a low price and high-end processor
Xiaomi has long sold devices that punch above their price class, but now the company is taking the bang for your buck even further. Poco is the company’s new budget-focused brand that will be used first in India before coming to other parts of the world. The first Pocophone device is the F1, which has flagship features, including a top-of-the-line processor, but will sell for even less than many of Xiaomi’s already aggressively priced devices.
The Pocophone F1 is packed with specs like a high-end Snapdragon 845 chip and a substantial 4,000mAh battery. It’s got a 6.18-inch 1080p display with an 18.7:9 aspect ratio. There’s also a Qualcomm Adreno 630 GPU, a 20-megapixel selfie cam, and dual rear 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel cameras. The F1 will offer all of those features and specs for just $300 when it arrives in India next week.
Jai Mani, the lead product manager for Xiaomi’s India ambitions, tells me that the company scoured Reddit forums while developing the F1, seeing users write that what they wanted were bigger batteries and a decent processor, but lamenting that “we’re geeks, no one will listen to us.” Those comments inspired the product team to incorporate the Pocophone F1’s big battery and high-end processor.
The Pocophone F1 is priced and specced competitively with the OnePlus 6, which has been very popular in India since its release. In developing markets where many tech companies like Apple face stagnating growth and growing regulation, Xiaomi continues to do well, especially in India. In Q2 2018, the company grew 106 percent year over year, selling 3.3 million units of the low-end Redmi 5A in the country and beating out the likes of Samsung, Vivo, and Oppo.
The Pocophone F1 is a much more premium offering than the Redmi 5A. The Snapdragon 845 processor is far more powerful than anything used in the Redmi line. Its display has got decent color contrast, and its max brightness setting is bright enough. Yet it uses Gorilla Glass 3, which is a part Xiaomi had handy in its supply chain. The outdated nature of the glass (we’re on Gorilla Glass 6 already) demonstrates Xiaomi’s cost-cutting methods — it used older materials to cut costs so it could spend more on other components.
Another area where the Pocophone F1 cuts corners is in the construction of the phone. The phone comes in blue, red, or black with a plastic back or in a special “Armored” edition with a rubbery Kevlar backing, which is the model we got to test out. The rubber lends the phone a cheap, toy-like quality. The front display is marred by a thick notch and it has slight bezels on the sides. Xiaomi also did not splurge for an oleophobic coating, so the Pocophone F1 picks up grease easily on the front and back, whether you’re browsing and eating a sandwich, or simply touching the phone with clean fingers.
Making phone calls, you’ll hear a slightly tinny quality to the audio, indicating that the speaker also wasn’t a priority.
Mani explained to me that Xiaomi’s thinking here is that you don’t really need a smartphone with a gorgeous all-glass body, which is fragile and needs to be covered by a phone case anyway.
If you can get past the looks of the phone, and you’re only looking for speed and performance, then the Pocophone F1 has a lot to offer. The Pocophone follows the growing trend of Asian phones, including the Meizu 15 and the Oppo R15 Pro, that have 20-megapixel selfie cameras. That’s a jump in resolution from even Apple’s iPhone X, which has a 7-megapixel front-facing cam, giving you a smoother selfie to edit on beauty apps.
The dual rear-facing cameras are less exciting with their standard specs and so is the “AI camera,” which has 25 modes for landscape, food photos, and more. In general, photos taken on the F1 come out bright and saturated, which is great for festive-looking pics, but less so for producing accurate images. I can barely see a difference between regular photos taken without the AI camera and photos taken with it — they’re slightly brighter and more colorful, but it’s such a subtle change, it doesn’t really matter.
Xiaomi also gives the Pocophone F1 several features that might appeal to gamers. It has a decent GPU and self-proclaimed liquid cooling technology designed to reduce CPU heat. It runs graphics-intensive games like PUBG Mobile smoothly and without lag.
The Pocophone F1 runs Android 8.1 Oreo with a MIUI skin. It’s currently on MIUI 9.6, but will update to version 10 over the course of the next month. It has a USB Type-C charging port and it supports USB 2.0 and Bluetooth 5.0.
You can set a PIN, add a fingerprint, and use face unlock. Xiaomi has a security warning during the setup of face unlock that it’s less secure than other unlocking methods, as others can impersonate you using a photograph or similar object. Still, for what it’s worth, I tried to unlock the phone with a nearly identical image of myself as the face data I gave, and it stayed locked, so that’s one point in favor of Xiaomi’s security. The phone also stayed locked when I was wearing headphones.
Both the fingerprint sensor and face unlock work very quickly, unlocking the phone in under a second. The fingerprint sensor curiously works even if your finger is covered in fried Oreos and powdered sugar. The face unlock glitches out more often, and sometimes can’t recognize my face.
So far, the phone will not be available in the US and the company doesn’t have any concrete plans to bring it here. India will be the first market for the device, though Xiaomi says it plans to expand the Pocophone brand to its other global markets in the future. Storage options range from 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB, with regional prices hovering in the $300 to $400 bracket. The 6GB/64GB model is launching in India at 20,999 rupees ($300), while the most expensive model is the 29,999-rupee ($429) “Armored Edition” with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
Xiaomi has said in the past that it would like to bring its phones to the US, but it’s been years since the company first made such claims. Currently, it sells accessories like headphones and batteries in the US. Mani tells me that the company is still actively eyeing the US, wondering if price-conscious offerings would work in this market. Are there price-conscious smartphone users here, or is everyone satisfied with an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy device? That’s a question Xiaomi still has to work out.
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|From: FJB||8/24/2018 6:39:46 AM|
HiSilicon 7nm SoC coming soon for Huawei flagship smartphone
Cindy Yu, Taipei; Jessie Shen, DIGITIMES
Friday 24 August 2018
HiSilicon's Kirin 980 SoC series built using 7nm process technology is set to get ready for commercial production in the fourth quarter of 2018, and will power Huawei's next-generation flagship model dubbed the Mate 20 Pro, according to Digitimes Research.
Other SoC developers are also set to enter volume shipments of their 7nm products for smartphones in the fourth quarter. Shipments of 7nm handset application processors will account for over 18% of the overall handset AP shipments in the fourth quarter, with the proportion exceeding that for 10nm ones, Digitimes Research indicated.
The HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC is reportedly manufactured by TSMC using the foundry's 7nm FinFET process. The SoC features four Cortex-A77 cores along with four Cortex-A55, and 24-core Mali-G72 GPU. It comes with LPDDR4X DRAM memory.
The Kirin 980 SoC also employs a second-generation NPU to deliver AI and machine learning capabilities. According to Digitimes Research analyst Osiris Hu, HiSilicon along with Apple are among the companies developing AI solutions through hardware acceleration, while there is another camp focusing on the development of AI chips through software acceleration.
AI for smartphones is currently being used mainly for optimizing camera settings, Hu commented. Hu continued there is still no killer app of AI for use in smartphones. The development of AI for more attractive features will play a key role in stimulating the overall handset AP shipments, Hu said.
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|From: Lynn||8/29/2018 11:54:26 PM|
|Samsung Galaxy S5 Active back firmly fitting issue: I am hoping someone has had experience with/resolved a problem I am currently facing trying to get the back securely on a new S5 Active, red, smartphone. Facing the back, the left side fits correctly and tight, but the right side slightly buckles. Getting the back on, even to this not quite right state is a struggle.|
This is not the greatest photo, but you can see that it somewhat buckles up near the blue button on the side. The phone is new, just purchased from someone with a 99.7% rating from thousands of sellers on eBay. I bought it because my current S5 Active is having serious problems, confirmed by the Android expert at my local AT&T store. Since I am waiting for Samsung to release it's S9 Active [or even have to wait for an S10] the AT&T fellow, who I do trust, agreed that buying a new S5 Active from Amazon or eBay would be a good way for me to go.
I ordered a red one only so it would look different from my current S5 Active (gray). Not sure if others with red ones have had the same getting the back to fit correctly, but I would really rather find out some fix rather than send it back, for a refund or exchange, because I am concerned my current smartphone will bite the dust making it impossible for the AT&T store fellow to move things from it onto a new phone.
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|To: FJB who wrote (2981)||8/30/2018 12:19:07 AM|
|The one I bought is new, sealed in the original AT&T box. I did not get a used or refurbished one. Even the AT&T fellow said their new, unsold phones get sold to jobbers when new models come out. AT&T would rather sell their old inventory and focus on newer models.|
The reason my current S5 Active is going is most likely due to my dropping it once too often. I am hard on cell/smartphones, the reason my pre-smartphone was a Samsung Rugby. Advertisements for that one showed men wearing hardhats at construction sites (lol). I loved my Rugby, but since it does not have a proper keypad, is torture for sending text messages or browsing.
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|From: FJB||8/30/2018 9:48:00 AM|
|Apple Is Clearly Working on AR Glasses|
by Jesus Diaz Aug 30, 2018, 4:38 AM
Apple has bought Akonia Holographics, a Colorado-based startup dedicated to the manufacturing of displays for augmented reality glasses.
In addition to other recent purchases, this is an extremely strong indicator that the Cupertino company is actively working on AR glasses.
According to Akonia’s web site, its more than 200 patents result in a technology that can create “thin, transparent smart glass lenses that display vibrant, full-color, wide field-of-view images.” Just the kind of qualities that would be touted by Phil Schiller at a special AR glasses event.
Apple’s AR acquisition trailAkonia is only the latest in a long series of purchases that show that Apple is actively working on developing AR glasses. Apple has been buying a lot of companies with technologies that are directly applicable in an AR set since as eagerly as 2013.
Just in 2017, Cook and his mariachis bought four: InVisage Technologies (an American quantum dot-based image sensor manufacturer), Regain (a French computer vision company), Vrvana (a Canadian manufacturer of augmented reality head-mounted displays), and SensoMotoric Instruments (which makes eye tracking hardware and software).
In 2015 Apple acquired Metaio, a German company that developed an Augmented Reality SDK that seems to be the basis for ARKit, the Apple Augmented Reality developer API that debuted in iOS 11 in 2017.
And let’s not forget about PrimeSense, which Apple scooped up in 2013. PrimeSense developed the software for the Kinect 3D depth sensor. The technology, which already has ended in Face ID, will be crucial for an AR device. Equipped with small IR cameras, Apple’s glasses will be able to track the motion of your hands in order for you to interact with a virtual object — like Leap Motion is doing with its Project Orion.
Leap Motion Demo
Can Apple create the perfect AR glasses? Apple told Reuters that they won’t comment on the matter: “Apple buys smaller companies from time to time,” the Californian company said, “and we generally don’t discuss our purpose or plans.”
But we know that Apple company purchases generally result either in new products or features added to existing products. The purchase of Siri Inc. in 2010, for example, became the iPhone 4S’ Siri assistant, which then got enhanced when Apple bought Novauris, another speech recognition developer, in 2013.
We know that Tim Cook is a fan of AR and Apple seems to be following the vision that the technology will be the Next Big Thing if done right. Indeed, an elegant set of Apple glasses that offer smart object recognition, seamless hand tracking, and a field of view wide enough to destroy the windowing effect that impairs all current headsets, cutting virtual objects due to the limitations of current eye displays, could be the equivalent to the next iPhone.
It is a hard challenge, but maybe Apple can pull it off.
Of course, the fact that Apple’s acquisition indicate that the company is actively working on AR glasses is not an indicator that a product will be released. But if Apple can solve what the much-hyped MagicLeap or Microsoft Hololenses have been trying to solve for years, they will have a killer product on their hands.
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|From: FJB||9/3/2018 12:38:30 PM|
Huawei 7nm smartphone chip stuns Apple and Samsung
7nm smartphone processors will help phones run faster, save more power, and have a higher resolution screen and camera than the current 10nm versions
24 Aug 2018
With nodes just 7 nanometres wide, the world’s newest generation of smartphone chips will help phones run faster, save more power, and have a higher resolution screen and camera, compared to the 10nm processors available now.
They are costly and difficult to produce, which is why industry experts predicted last year that Apple and Samsung could be the only two manufacturers in the world to launch 7nm chips in their newest phones this year.
But an unexpected contender has caught up: Huawei, the Chinese phone manufacturer that recently unseated Apple from its position as the world’s second biggest phone maker.
Huawei reportedly started developing its 7nm chipsets as early as 2015, in partnership with TSM Corporation, a manufacturer of precision machine components.
5 common myths about iPhone battery life – and how to prolong it
While Apple’s 2018 iPhones – expected to contain 7nm chips – will be launched around September, Huawei chief executive Richard Yu has confirmed that the company’s new Mate 20 series phones will hit the market in October, and with 7nm technology,
Huawei will unveil its 7nm technology at IFA, an electronics trade show in Berlin, from August 31 until September 5.
Samsung hopes Galaxy Home will rival Apple, Google speakers
Competitor Samsung’s 7nm chip is expected to feature in its S10 series, which could be made available next year. The company is also said to be researching 3nm chips, with a targeted production date of 2021.
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This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
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|From: FJB||10/18/2018 11:23:16 AM|
Huawei Launches the Mate 20 Series: Kirin 980 7nm SoC Inside
Posted inNew to the market is the latest flagship smartphone from Huawei. Following the Mate series, last year’s Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro are succeeded by the Mate 20 and the Mate 20 Pro, featuring the 7nm Hisilicon Kirin 980 chipset, along with a whole new design with added features. Out of the two, the Mate 20 Pro is aiming for the upsell, with new features such as reverse wireless charging, an OLED HDR display, an IP68 rating, a larger battery, and support for a 40W Supercharge.
|Huawei Mate 20's|
| ||Mate 20 Pro||Mate 20||Mate 20 X|
|SoC|| HiSilicon Kirin 980|
2x Cortex A76 @ 2.60 GHz
2x Cortex A76 @ 1.92 GHz
4x Cortex A55 @ 1.80 GHz
|GPU||Mali G76MP10 @ 720MHz|
|DRAM||6GB LPDDR4X||4GB LPDDR4X|
3120 x 1440(19.5:9)
|6.53" RGBW LCD|
2244 x 1080(18.7:9)
2244 x 1080 (18.7:9)
|Size||Height||157.8 mm||158.2 mm|| |
|Width||72.3 mm||77.2 mm|| |
|Depth||8.6 mm||8.3 mm|| |
|Weight||189 grams||188 grams|| |
|+ Wireless reverse charging||-|
27mm equiv. FL
27mm equivl. FL
27mm equiv. FL
3x Optical zoom
80mm equiv. FL
2x Optical Zoom
52mm equivl. FL
Ulta wide angle
16mm equivl. FL
Ultra wide angle
17mm equivl. FL
|Ultra wide angle|
|Front Camera||24MP f/2.0|
|Storage||128 GB |
+ proprietary "nanoSD" card
3.5mm headphone jack
|Wireless (local)||802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi|
Bluetooth 5.0 LE + NFC
|Cellular||Kirin 980 Integrated LTE|
DL = 1400 Mbps
3x20MHz CA, 256-QAM
(5CA no MIMO)
UL = 200 Mbps
1x20MHz CA, 256-QAM
|Splash, Water, Dust Resistance||IP68|
(water resistant up to 1m)
(no water resistance)
|Launch Price||128 GB: 1049€||4+128 GB: 799€|
6+128 GB: 849€
|128 GB: 899€|
A New Generation of DesignEven by Huawei’s own reckoning, the Mate 10 series sold extraordinarily well. As a company, in the first half of this year, they moved ahead of Apple to be the second biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world in terms of unit sales, totalling 95 million units. That represents a 30% year-on-year growth, although a big step up is needed to rival Samsung for that number one spot. Huawei believes that flagship devices such as the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro are an integral part of that strategy.
Mate 20 Pro
In our briefings, Huawei made it clear that they want an iconic look. Smartphones, we were told, seem to be unifying over the design and it is often difficult to tell them apart. Huawei stated that it has made design choices this time around to remain identifiable and unique in the market, and from my perspective, the choices made here will instantly indicate that someone is using a Huawei smartphone. The first obvious feature is the rear camera.
Following on from the dual-camera setup of the Mate 10 series, the new three rear cameras now appear on the back of the Mate 20 in a square pattern, with the flash in one of the corners. This quadrilateral design is slightly different on the Mate 20 Pro, as it is a larger phone so the camera layout is slightly longer vertically, however the camera setup on both is very similar: a telephoto lens paired with a wide angle lens and then an ultra-wide angle lens just for good measure.
Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro
This means that the monochrome sensor has finally gone (it had questionable benefits in the last generation), and has been replaced with a new ultra-wide sensor. This allows the new phones for an optical zoom from 0.6x to 2.0x-3.0x (depending on model), beyond which the camera goes into a ‘hybrid zoom’ mode, combining optical and digital zoom. The differences between the two models are in the details:
Mate 20: 12MP Wide Angle f/1.8 + 16MP Ultra-Wide f/2.2 + 8MP Telephoto f/2.4Mate 20 Pro: 40MP Wide Angle f/1.7 + 20MP Ultra-Wide f/2.2 + 8MP Telephoto f/2.4The 40MP wide angle also supports "4-in-1 shots", or more commonly referred to 2x2 pixel binning, combining data from multiple pixels to produce 10MP photos that look better in low light. For both cameras OIS is found only on the telephoto lens, while other stabilization comes from Huawei’s AI-stabilization technology.
Sticking with the cameras, the front facing camera is different on both models as well. The standard Mate 20 will have a single 24MP f/2.0 RGB camera sensor on the front, whereas the Mate 20 Pro is going all in with proper facial recognition, with a dot projector, the 24MP RGB sensor, a time-of-flight proximity sensor, a flood illuminator, and an IR camera, similar to the Apple system but in testing felt a lot faster, capable of dealing with some sizeable side angles. Huawei was not clear if this is going to be used as a way to make payments, although some announcements might be being made at the presentation today. Huawei did state that apps and files can be locked away using the facial recognition.
Mate 20 Pro
Also on design uniqueness, Huawei is pleased with what the company has done with the rear of the device for feel. The main color choices for the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro use a glass ridged rear surface, with microbumps as an oleophobic coating. Running a nail across it gives that scratchy sound similar to vinyl, and the feel of the device is very natural, with Huawei stating that every edge uses rounded glass. Each model will be available in five different colors, three with the microbump ridge pattern (Pink Gold, Midnight Blue, Emerald Green) and two without (Twilight and Black).
The HardwareInside both devices is the Kirin 980, Huawei’s newest 7nm smartphone SoC. We covered the launch of this chip at IFA when it was announced, but the high level specifications include a tri-CPU design using ARM’s latest Cortex A76 and A55 processors and ARM Mali-G76 graphics. Huawei’s enhancements to the chip over the Kirin 970, aside from the new CPU/GPU and manufacturing process, includes the newest version of the sensor hub, an upgraded integrated modem now capable of Cat 21 download, and a dual core Neural Processing Unit (NPU) for neural network inference.
Back at IFA, we were told that this dual-core NPU is essentially just a double size NPU to that of the Kirin 970, except with 8-bit INT capabilities. Ultimately it acted like a single device, but could compute on one core for efficiency or both for throughput. At our recent prebrief, we are now told that one core of the NPU deals with 16-bit networks, while the other deals with 8-bit networks. We’ve asked several questions to clarify this, and are waiting on the response.
For the deep analysis of the launch of the Kirin 980, head on over to our article here.
On the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, one of the key differentiators will be with the screen. On the standard Mate 20, the display is a 6.53-inch 2244x1080 RGBW LCD unit, capable of a good amount of DCI-P3, and brightness up to 820 nits, in what Huawei is calling a ‘Dew Drop’ display based on the notch. The Mate 20 Pro by comparison uses a smaller but denser 6.39-inch 3120x1440 OLED display also capable of DCI-P3 and HDR, with Huawei stating it has a ‘high color saturation’ and ‘high contrast ratio’ but declines to give specific numbers.
Also up for differentiation is the battery, with the Mate 20 Pro getting a 4200 mAh battery capable of a new 40W Super Charge mode certified by TÜV Rheinland (we’re still waiting on exact details) which Huawei states is good to charge the device from 0% to 70% in 30 minutes. The Mate 20 Pro is also equipped with fast wireless charging, up to 15W, and can be used in reverse charging mode – if you need to charge another wireless device, it will do so up to a certain limit.
We tried this with an iPhone. No problems. But no luck with my LG V30.
The standard Mate 20 gets a 4000 mAh battery, which is a bump up from the standard Mate 10, and will do 22.5W Super Charge, which charge the device to 56-60% in half an hour according to the claims.
The fingerprint sensor is another area for differentiation, and the Mate 20 Pro has one built into the screen using a DPS sensor similar to the Mate 10 Pro. The Mate 20 has a rear fingerprint sensor, which in our hands-on seemed to get a lot of oil from fingerprints on it very easily. Another differentiation is the waterproof rating, with the Mate 20 Pro going at IP68, while the standard Mate 20 is an IP53 device. Also the 3.5mm jack: the Pro does not have one, but the regular Mate 20 does.
Both devices will support 802.11ac Wave 2 technology, capable of a theoretical peak of 1.732 Gbps in a perfect scenario, and both devices will ship with EMUI 9, based on Android 9, with the latest version of GPU Turbo technology and a high-performance mode for users that need it. As part of EMUI 9, Huawei is introducing a password vault, with data kept inside a secure zone in the processor. There will also be backup capabilities to a NAS with the SMB protocol.
SoftwareOn the software side, due to EMUI and the dual NPU, the AI has improved to allow for more scenes to be detected in the camera view, as well as skeletal representations of people in shot to help with framing. It uses real-time 4D predictive focus to keep objects in focus in videos, and with the wide angle lens can record natively in 21:9. A new feature is an AI-based highlight reel, which can take all the film from a day of shooting, identify people common to many videos and generate 10 second highlight footage of those individuals.
Also in the software is Huawei’s push to make it more ‘natural’, using a slow chirp of nature as the default alarm sound for example. There is a general push to give a more natural aural feedback across the interface. Huawei also states that it is up to 51% faster with built-in app startup, and that its ‘born fast, stay fast’ philosophy still applies with a supposed better aging process for devices than competitors and even the Mate 9 or Mate 10.
Both the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro are also taking Desktop Mode to a new level, by now supporting wireless desktop mode via Miracast. This allows users to take their device with them and stream wirelessly in desktop mode using the smartphone as a trackpad, or supporting a dual screen extension.
Another feature of the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro will be the Digital Balance part of the software, showing users where their time is spent, and offering to give warnings when the user is putting the device in front of their face too often during the day.
Configurations and PricingBoth devices will come in dual nano-SIM variants, however rather than supporting the standard microSD, Huawei has developed a proprietary standard it is calling ‘nanoSD’ that it will sell and will fit into a standard nanoSIM slot. This is going to be fun (not).
The Mate 20 will be sold in 4GB+128GB and 6GB+128GB variants, with the Mate 20 Pro only in a 6GB+128GB variant. Exact details of regions and pricing should be announced at today’s launch.
Mate 9, Mate 10, Mate 20 Pro
We are also expecting another Mate 20 design to be announced today, probably a Porsche Design model, with additional storage and a leather trim with certain PD specific design aspects.
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