jeudi 24 mai 2018

Qualcomm announces the Snapdragon 710 with a multi-core AI Engine

Qualcomm has officially announced the Snapdragon 710, the first system-on-chip in their new 700-tier chipset series. The 710 is the company’s latest chipset in the upper mid-range market of smart devices, succeeding the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 found on devices such as the Xiaomi Mi Note 3, Xiaomi Mi 6X, and BQ Aquaris X2 Pro. The 710, like the high-end Snapdragon 835 and Snapdragon 845, is fabricated on a 10nm manufacturing process.

When compared to the Snapdragon 660:

  • Artificial Intelligence: The Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 introduces a new “multi-core AI Engine” which is said to deliver “up to 2X” improvements in on-device AI application performance. Examples of applications of AI technology include capturing contextually-aware photos and videos and personalizing voice patterns for more natural interactions.
  • Capture: The new Spectra 250 ISP allows image capture up to 32MP single ISP and 20MP dual ISP. The AI Engine allows for deep portrait mode effects and facial recognition with “active depth sensing.” This should expand the number of Android devices with portrait mode and face unlock features, which were previously limited to devices mostly from top-tier manufacturers with the ability to develop or purchase the right technology.
  • Display: The chipset allows for 4K (3860×2160) High Dynamic Range (HDR) playback. This capability was previously limited to Qualcomm’s high-end Snapdragon 800 tier chipsets. Users will need to have access to content recorded in 4K HDR to take advantage of this capability; popular online video streaming services such as Netflix offer this kind of content on certain payment tiers.
  • Connectivity: The new Snapdragon X15 LTE modem is a Category 15 modem that supports up to 800 Mbps download speeds, and Category 7 for up to 300Mbps upload speeds. It also brings 4×4 MIMO technology (up to 2 aggregated carriers) to improve throughput in poor signal conditions. Lastly, License-Assisted Access (LAA) will bring faster connectivity in congested areas.
  • Bluetooth: The system-on-chip supports Bluetooth 5 for greater connectivity and throughput of Bluetooth Low Energy transmissions. Qualcomm’s TrueWireless Stereo Plus supports wireless listening and voice calls between a pair of earbuds without needing a wire between them (think Apple AirPods).
  • Performance: The new Adreno 616 Visual Processing Subsystem allows for a 40% reduction in power consumption when gaming and playing back 4K HDR content and a 20% reduction in power consumption when streaming video. The 8 CPU cores are built with the Kryo 360 architecture (2x Cortex-A75 @ 2.2GHz and 6x Cortex-A55 @ 1.7GHz). The GPU is the Adreno 616. Many of these details were previously leaked through a reading of kernel source code from Qualcomm’s CodeAurora Forums.
  • Battery: The chipset offers Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4+ technology, though it should be noted that the manufacturer must license the technology from Qualcomm to activate it on their devices. So far, only the ZTE Nubia Z17 and the Razer Phone support Quick Charge 4+.Qualcomm Snapdragon 710

Availability:

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 system-on-chip is available today for Qualcomm’s partners and will be shipping on devices in the second quarter of 2018. No devices have been officially confirmed to feature the new chipset, but we have previously identified two unreleased Xiaomi devices with the Snapdragon 710.

Images sourced from Qualcomm, retrieved via Anandtech’s coverage.



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YouTube Music will let you upload your own songs like Google Play Music

Last week, Google announced a revamped YouTube Music service. It will have an ad-supported free tier and a paid “Premium” tier. Understandably, Google Play Music users have been wondering about how this new service will affect them. Google has been slowly sharing more information about the future of Play Music.

According to The Verge, Google confirmed that YouTube Music will get all of the key features from Play Music. That includes the ability to upload music to your collection. Since Amazon recently got rid of a similar feature, Play Music is one of the few places where you can upload local music (for free) and stream it on other devices (for free). So this is a pretty important feature for Play Music users.

Google had already said nothing will happen to Play Music for the time being. Current subscribers will automatically get YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Premium (formerly known as YouTube Red). The head of music at YouTube said uploaded collections, playlists, and preferences will be migrated to YouTube Music. But we were still uncertain about the ability to upload music. Google Play Music allows users to upload up to 50,000 songs for free, which is pretty amazing.

The rollout of YouTube Music has been extremely slow, but at least we know all of the best features from Google Play Music will eventually make their way to the new service. For the time being there’s no reason for Play Music diehards to make the switch.


Source: The Verge



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Join 2.0 brings IFTTT support, predefined remote actions, and more

Join started as an application from João Dias that made it much easier to sync and share content between devices. At the time, the main player in the game was an application called Pushbullet, but even it received some negative backlash from the community when some of its features were gated off behind a subscription service. Since then Join has stepped up as a viable alternative, but lately, the application has received updates that put it far and beyond what the original application did. It has just received a big update to version 2.0 that adds support for IFTTT, predefined remote actions, and much more.

One of the highlights from this big 2.0 update is the added support for three new devices. Previously, Join had support for different devices thanks to the Android application, the Chrome and Firefox extensions, the Windows 10 application, and even its web portal. This new update adds support for IFTTT, Note-RED, and MQTT. So for example, you are now able to trigger the hundreds of IFTTT services from any device that is connected to Join. Node-RED is a programming tool that lets you wire together hardware devices, APIs, and online services.

João Dias describes Node-RED as Tasker for the Windows, MacOS, and Linux PC, and this new Join update can now trigger any of these automated tasks. Another highlight of this update is labeled as “Actions” in the side menu of the application. It will let you do predefined tasks on remote devices. For example, we can do things like quickly sending a voice note from one device to another, open applications remotely, dictate a tweet from your device, and more. The update also gives you the ability to target Tasker then your predefined actions can perform anything it or its plugins support.

Check out the video above to see the new features of Join 2.0.

Join by joaoapps (Free+, Google Play) →



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Android Oreo update now rolling out to the NVIDIA SHIELD TV

Google announced Android TV back in 2014 and since then we’ve seen a number of companies integrate this platform into their products. It’s become a popular feature for smart TVs and we’ve even seen a number of dedicated set-top boxes released as well. NVIDIA has had the Shield TV on the market for close to three years now and the company is still putting in the work to push out updates. Today, it has been announced that NVIDIA is rolling out the Android Oreo (8.0) update to the Shield TV.

Google put a lot of work into the big Oreo update for Android TV in hopes of making the home screen as convenient and customizable as possible. This new update for the NVIDIA Shield TV comes with this new home screen that features a row of applications and games at the top. Underneath is a “Play Next” row for a quick and easy way to continue the movie or TV show you were previously watching. The update also comes with a new “Channels” feature that allows apps to show up as individual rows (such as Netflix or Plex) with quick access to suggested media.

Assuming your favorite media application developer supports the new Android TV Oreo update, all of your media applications will show up as channels on the home screen. Of course, this is all customizable so you can choose which channels you want to see and which ones you don’t. NVIDIA has also worked with 3rd-party companies with this update bringing in support for Arlo cameras, Emerson Sensi, Ikea Tadfri, LG smart appliances, and Scenes support for Phillips Hue.

There are some under the hood changes from NVIDIA that comes with this update as well including support for high polling rate gaming mice for NVIDIA GameStream, improved support for game controllers (such as Xbox 360 and DualShock 4), the ability to connect to WiFi without disconnecting the ethernet connection, and more.


Source: NVIDIA Via: CNET



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Huawei will stop providing bootloader unlocking for all new devices

Earlier this month, we wrote about Huawei and Honor users not being unable to access the page for generating bootloader unlock codes. The page was removed with no explanation, but they were at least still taking requests in a Google Doc and giving out bootloader unlock codes. Today, the news is much grimmer. Huawei (and Honor) will stop providing unlock codes completely.

The announcement shown above is from the Huawei unlock page. It was first discovered by XDA members in the Honor View 10 forum. The announcement says they have stopped the unlock code application service to “provide better user experience and avoid issues caused by ROM flashing.” The service will be stopped in 60 days for devices released before today. That means old devices have about two months and new devices will never be eligible.

Obviously, this is a pretty big blow to the developer and modding community. Many considered Huawei to be one of the few developer-friendly OEMs. The bootloader unlock codes are what allow users to do things like install TWRP, use custom ROMs, and get root access. Not giving out unlock codes essentially makes the devices useless for developers.

Huawei has not released an official statement (beyond the announcement pop-up) on this situation yet. This is a disappointing situation that we hope is not as dire as it seems.

Thanks for the tip miststudent2011!



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mercredi 23 mai 2018

After months of inconsistency, Trusted Places is disappearing from Smart Lock

Smart Lock is Google’s system for providing you with ways to disable and enable your lock screen dynamically under certain conditions. It was added in Android 5.0 Lollipop. You can have it detect when your phone is on your person or when it’s connected to a certain Bluetooth device and automatically disable the lock screen. You could also use biometrics such as facial recognition or voice recognition, but the former has been far outclassed by device OEMs like OnePlus and Honor. One of the most popular Smart Lock methods is Trusted Places, which disables the lock screen when you’re at locations that you’ve deemed safe. It was a cool idea, but it has been unreliable for a few months.

Users in the past few months have been complaining about the unreliability. We found many threads in our forums about the issue. Lately, users have noticed Trusted Places being completely removed from Smart Lock. We can confirm that the feature has disappeared on a couple of our own devices, including a stock Android Oreo Google Pixel 2XL and the Sony Xperia XZ2. Users often complained about its inconsistency or the fact it just wouldn’t work at all. Google may have decided it’s easier to simply remove the feature rather than try to improve it and fix it.

trusted places

Screenshot showing that Trusted Places has disappeared entirely on our Google Pixel 2 XL running on Android Oreo.

If a replacement will come in the future nobody knows, as Google could eventually try replacing it with something else. It was a useful feature to some, especially when it worked. When the feature disappears on your device, you’ll have to resort to using one of the other smart unlock options instead of Trusted Places, if you still want to make use of it. A common suggestion is setting up a Fitbit, smartwatch, or another Bluetooth device as your trusted device.

Have you noticed the disappearance on your device?



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Google codename “Kidd” is a high-performance Kaby Lake G Chromebook

Kaby Lake G is the codename for Intel’s new series of high-performance processors with integrated AMD Radeon graphics. They made their debut at CES earlier this year. A new board is in development on the Chromium Git with Intel and AMD’s taboo love affair.

The board, codename “Kidd,” is a Chromebook (rather than a tablet or Chromebox). Aside from its form-factor and chip, there’s not much else to glean from the initial commit.

Since Intel announced Kaby Lake G in late 2017, only a handful of devices with the chips on board have been released. In the few benchmarking results available, the chips especially deliver in the graphics department. Notebookcheck reported that the Radeon-powered XPS 15 ran cooler, quieter, and was thinner than its NVIDIA-powered counterpart while being nearly as fast.

Historically, the case for high specs on a Chromebook didn’t exist for the majority of consumers. Now, with Linux apps released for Chrome OS, people can install full desktop Steam onto their devices (Pixelbooks only for now). GPU acceleration has not been ironed out by the Chrome developers yet, so the experience of playing games is pretty poor. The good news is that GPU acceleration is on the roadmap.

When GPU acceleration comes to Linux apps, gaming natively on Chrome OS will finally be a reality – and with that comes a higher appetite for quality graphics. It’s no wonder that Google is planning for the future with Raven Ridge and Kaby Lake G Chromebooks, especially as AMD developers are contributing directly to the Chromium tree.

When we see a new board added to the Chromium Git, it’s usually a case of months – even a year plus – before the device comes to market, but in the meantime, we will follow Kidd’s development very closely.



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