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Kirin: A Processor the Western World Should Look Out For

Posted by wicked March - 6 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

Kirin-930-1

Yesterday, we discussed the second part of our tech giants coming to the west series with Huawei. What people may not know, however, is that Huawei owns a company by the name of HiSilicon. Hisilicon’s processor department may not be the most popular in the west but their technology is impressive, with year on year improvements being easily seen. In the coming years, manufacturers such as Qualcomm may have to face the fact that there are other companies just as able as them.

Just who is HiSilicon?

After years of rapid growth, HiSilicon is now the number one IC design company in China, and in 2013 generated $1.4 billion USD. The company was formed in Shenzhen in 2004 and has since set up offices in: Beijing, Shanghai, Silicon Valley (USA) and Sweden. They predominantly produce the Kirin series of processors for Huawei which is known for appearing in the Honor and Huawei Ascend series of phones. It is possible we may even see a Kirin Processor in the upcoming Nexus which is rumored to be manufactured by the Chinese company. While nothing has been officially confirmed, a Kirin chip in the upcoming nexus would make an interesting advancement for the brand. This would be a large blow for competitor Qualcomm who has made the possessors for the previous models. Much like we saw with the Xiaomi in our article, Huawei’s approach with HiSilicon appears to be growing the brand internally and locally until it is big enough and ready to branch out in to the larger world. Despite recent rumors, both Huawei and HiSilicon companies have confirmed that there are no current plans to separate.

So the Kirin is just another SoC?

The most recent addition to the Kirin family is the 930 which features a 64-bit, big.LITTLE array of 8 cores clocked maxresdefaultat 2.0 GHz and can handle cameras up to an impressive 32mp. The 930 also has a much smaller process size of just 16nm compared to the Snapdragon 805’s 28nm. This chip has been confirmed to be in the Huawei MediaPad X2 which was announced during MWC this week but a release date has not yet been given. So whilst yes, the 930 is just another high-end processor, what it represents is something far more important: a shift in market shares and where companies source their products from.

What comes next for them?

With HiSilicon’s processors proving that they can stand their ground in their parent company’s products, the time may have come for them to start to expand to other companies’ products. A recent report by Strategy Analytics has shown that just three companies account for 86% of the cellular processor market share. They are Qualcomm with 66%, MediaTek with 15% and Spectrum Communications with 5%. HiSilicon announced last year that they are to start selling to other companies which means we could start to see their chips appearing in far more devices over the coming year. This can be seen with the similar progression of the Exynos SoC which now appears in the Meizu MX series. With several large companies in china starting to make an appearance in the western world, it may not be too long before we see a market share that looks completely different to what we have now.

With HiSilicon’s products becoming more popular, the majority of manufacturers will be on the look out. It is commonly known that competition is good for both the consumer and business as it stops stagnation. It is clear that whatever happens, it is no longer just Qualcomm’s game, they could be in for a rough few years ahead.

Do you own a Huawei phone? How do you find the performance?

The post Kirin: A Processor the Western World Should Look Out For appeared first on xda-developers.

Samsung releases manual for Galaxy S6 and S6 edge

Posted by wicked March - 6 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

You probably don’t have a Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge yet (and if you already do, please tell us what makes you better than us mere mortals) but you’re too excited to get one yet and would like to review the user’s manual in detail in preparation for when you finally have one right? No? Well, if you’re too embarrassed to admit it, it doesn’t matter as you now have the chance to do so.

Yes, less than a week since Samsung officially announced their newest flagship and their “weird baby”, they user manuals for their two newest devices are now available on their website. The Galaxy S6 for models SM-G920F, SM-G920FQ and SM-G920I are now available to download and read to your heart’s content, and it is even available in other languages, like French, Dutch, German, Spanish, etc. Meanwhile, for the Galaxy S6 edge, the manual is just in English. This is due to the fact that the flagship device had a worldwide launch earlier this week. The Galaxy S6 edge will only be initially available in the United States and the United Kingdom. Other markets are expected to have it later this year.

If you like reading long manuals (who doesn’t?) then you’ll have a field day with both manuals. The Galaxy S6 is at 140 pages while the S6 edge has five pages more (probably due to those extra edges eh?) As expected, it gives you very detailed information as to how you’ll be able to maximize the use of your devices. The S6 edge in particular is a doozy, because it’s chock-full of features like the ability to assign colors to five contacts so you can check notifications from them even without actually looking at your screen.

The Galaxy S6 and S6 edge is expected to be released by April 10. No pricing details have been announced yet, although it is estimated to be as low as $649 off-contract and as high as $849 for the models with the higher internal storage.

VIA: Galaxy Club

Verizon to Begin S6 and S6 Edge Pre-Orders on April 1st

Posted by wicked March - 6 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

galaxys6-18.0

When Samsung announced this year’s flagships at MWC, they stated that the devices would be available from the 10th of April, and Verizon Wireless has taken to Twitter to announce that they will be taking pre-orders for both the S6 and the S6 Edge from the 1st of April.

The post Verizon to Begin S6 and S6 Edge Pre-Orders on April 1st appeared first on xda-developers.

Samsung believed to be in talks with MediaTek

Posted by wicked March - 6 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

Samsung seems to be really moving away from Qualcomm. Remember those talks about Samsung no longer using Qualcomm products because of overheating issues? The South Korean giant didn’t use a Snapdragon on the new Galaxy S6 and S6 edge. The company decided to utilize its Exynos chipset instead. That decision makes senses but we’re hearing reports that Samsung is in discussion already with MediaTek–a long time rival of Qualcomm.

Samsung is believed to use MediaTek’s processors on Tizen-powered devices already but there is a possibility that the company will also use them on future Galaxy smartphones. According to Taiwanese media, the deal will soon be finalized. As usual, Samsung is mum on the subject. We’re only hearing from MediaTek’s end as shared by General Manager Zhu Shan-gzu who said that their company has already “made progress little by little in some direction”.

I don’t doubt that Samsung may be working with MediaTek because the latter’s mobile SoCs are worth the price. They are affordable but still offer great performance and Samsung could use them on budget to mid-range smartphones. As for Exynos, Samsung could be using its own brand for high-end models.

MediaTek also released a premium product this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Helio is a new chipset targeted for premium smartphones. This is one of the many steps MediaTek is taking to expand into the international market and hopefully, partner with more international brands. This Helio line will include the X-series and P-series octa-core chips for high-end and mid-end mobile devices, respectively.

VIA: SamMobile

SOURCE: CTIMES News

TapDeck Beta: Smart Wallpaper Discovery

Posted by wicked March - 6 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

Screenshot 2015-03-05 at 17.51.31

TapDeck which has just entered beta, is a smart wallpaper app that allows you to change to a random wallpaper by simply double tapping your screen. After selecting images you like from a selection, your wallpapers will be chosen based on similar images from Flickr, Imgur, Reddit and Wikipedia. If you see one you like, simply swipe up and you will see information relevant to the image.

After spending a day with this app it is clear that it is still a beta. During the set up the app crashed which in turn caused my system UI to crash booting me to the lock screen, however a second attempt worked fine. In the first hour of use and a few hundred images later, I had seen dozens that were far from suited to my device’s screen size/resolution. This resulted in my wallpaper just being the blurred background of a larger photo or parts of the subject of the photo being cut off (See the owl below), however as a double tap takes you to a new image this is not an issue as the majority fit perfectly.

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As mentioned before I was near constantly changing wallpapers for the better part of an hour and in that time none of the images repeated or were too similar to another I had seen. The transition between images is seamless and happens instantly, the only time the app took a few seconds to replace the image was after a long series of rapid successive changes where I got a notification telling me the app was refreshing. For regular use however, you should never notice this.

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The additional information page is displayed very well, with a blurb and link to a relevant Wikipedia article, the location of the image in google maps and relevant copyright information. An issue I observed is that on occasion the information showed appears to have no relevance to the subject of the photo, for example on an image that would appear to be of Chinese new year celebrations the app informed me that the image was actually of a railway station. This issue however should be fixed fairly quickly and like the other bugs I observed, has no real impact on the aesthetics, which is what we want first and foremost from a wallpaper app.

TapDeck is currently in an open beta and therefore to use it you will have to apply through their website and wait to receive an invite (mine took less than five minutes), alternatively XDA members can request an invite through the thread here. If you find yourself changing wallpapers frequently or just want a change, give it a try, you won’t regret it.

 

Have you used TapDeck? Tell us what you think below!

The post TapDeck Beta: Smart Wallpaper Discovery appeared first on xda-developers.

Google Wireless will probably only work with Nexus 6

Posted by wicked March - 6 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

While Google SVP Sundar Pichai confirmed rumors that they are indeed planning a wireless service, not much details are known about it, like which carriers are involved, what devices will run it, when it will be available, etc. But now sources are saying that the tech giant is looking at a launch by the end of March (which is just a few weeks away!) and that the only devices that will be able to enjoy this are the latest Nexus devices, starting with the Nexus 6.

According to sources, the wireless service will only be available for now for the Motorola-made Nexus 6. The OEM has had previous experience with wireless services that can switch between different networks. This will probably be work well with Google Wireless (its unofficial, unconfirmed name) because word on the street is that this will be combining the cellular networks of carriers like T-Mobile, Sprint, plus available Wi-Fi networks. Then it will choose which signal is the strongest and use this to improve call quality and Internet access of the user.

One of the new features of the Android 5.0 Lollipop is the ability to choose the best wireless networks, depending on the bandwidth an app needs. For example, since streaming videos requires heavy data, then it will choose the strongest signal. But for apps that are not that data intensive, then they can use the lesser signal. This will work well with the planned Google service, if that is indeed the way they’re going.

Pichai said during his talk at the recently concluded World Mobile Congress that the way they’re looking at the wireless service is along the lines of their Nexus program. They’re not trying to compete with carriers but rather they will look at how they can use new technology then convince partners to join them in the venture.

VIA: Wall Street Journal

Open, Accessible Material Design Icons

Posted by wicked March - 6 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

Ultimate Material Lollipop Collection - 28

Need some material design icons for your latest app or website? Or perhaps you’re a designer looking to share some of your work? Material Design Icons probably has what you’re looking for.

For developers, it means open, searchable icons that are available in all the formats you could wish for.

  • Developing for Android? You can download any icon in two formats: Android 5.x (gives you a vector drawable along with PNGs in black, gray and the color of your choosing), Android 4.x (gives you two variants of the icon, one for light Holo themes, the other for dark Holo themes).
  • Developing for Windows? Grab a XAML file that contains the image as a path.
  • Building a website? Download a compressed SVG image for inline images, a Grunt compatible SVG, or just grab the complete web font via bower or npm. You can also download it manually if you prefer. If you’re already using Polymer, you can also use the icons as a custom font by downloading an additional file.

Prior to downloading, you can customize the icon’s foreground and background color, opacity and size. All icons are offered under a free license: SIL Open Font License 1.1 for community contributions, and Attribution 4.0 International for the icons provided by Google.

Material Design Icons Banner

Material Design Icons doesn’t forget designers either. You can get any of the icons in the format you want (including the SVG and .Design sources; the latter is available on GitHub). (Design files are for Microsoft’s Expression Design software, used for designing vector assets.) Most vector editors should be able to open SVG files as well, though.

Designers willing to give back to the community are more than welcome. All you need to do is contribute five icons to become a contributor on the website. Templates are provided for Adobe Illustrator, Expression Design and Affinity Designer. They’re also available in the SVG format. Contributors are able to add, update and tag icons, view how many times their icons have been downloaded and (in the future) respond to user comments.

The website currently has around 950 icons in total, 412 of which are contributed by the community. It also has other useful features, such as viewing a designer’s profile and contributed icons, filtering icons using one or more keywords, and a history log which shows an easy to view summary of all changes (not only new additions, but also modifications):

Material Design Icons: Compare View

Last but not least, contributors are happy to take suggestions for future icons. If you can’t find an icon you want, feel free to suggest it on the GitHub issues tracker. And again, a link to the main website if you’re looking for icons for your app or website, want to give something back to the community, or just looking for some inspiration: Material Design Icons.

The post Open, Accessible Material Design Icons appeared first on xda-developers.

CM12 Nightlies for European Note 4

Posted by wicked March - 6 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

CyanogenMod

Android Lollipop is steadily rolling out to Galaxy Note 4 variants , but if you’re looking for an AOSPexperience, CM12 has been expanding device support and starting today, nightly builds are being made available for the European Note 4 N910F.

The post CM12 Nightlies for European Note 4 appeared first on xda-developers.

Pay what you want for expert web design training [DEALS]

Posted by wicked March - 6 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

The web is a vast resource fraught with competition. It’s dog eat dog out there and only the cream of the crop tend to survive the long haul. All others are sadly beaten and quickly forgotten. But if you act fast and take advantage of this deal before it ends on Sunday, you stand a chance of making it out alive. So how can you ensure the survivability of your web presence? That’s a good question and, luckily, it’s easy to answer: Stay abreast of web design and development advancements with high quality training, like the training you’ll receive with the Pay What You Want Front End Developer Bundle, available from Android Community Deals right now.

But high quality training doesn’t have to come at a high price. The Pay What You Want Front End Developer Bundle is great for beginners and also has some goodies in it for experienced designers. That’s because the art of web design is constantly changing, which means it pays to continually upgrade your skills with new concepts. Learn about web development coding languages like CSS, HTML, Javascript, PHP, MySQL, and more.

And, since it’s a Pay What You Want offer, you get to choose your price. Pay any amount over $1.00 to receive two fantastic beginners web development courses. And if you choose to ‘Beat the Average Price’, which is just over $6.70 as of this posting, you’ll get all 7 courses in the bundle. The entire package is valued at over $1000, so it’s an incredible deal any way you slice it.

Plus, you’ll feel good about your purchase knowing that 10% of what you agree to pay will go towards a great non-profit: Creative Commons.

Get expert web design training for a shockingly low price and ensure the survivability of your web site with the Pay What You Want: Front End Developer Bundle, at Android Community Deals for a limited time.

Android Community Deals is brought to you in cooperation with StackSocial. Generated revenue helps fund this site. Deals are curated by StackSocial and are not representative of the opinions of the Android Community staff.

Google Compare for Car Insurance launched in the US

Posted by wicked March - 6 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

Google will never stop coming up with great ideas for new programs and services. Google Compare is one service that lets consumers compare products, companies, and providers. At present, the search giant is offering this comparison-review feature for those who are looking for travel insurance, credit cards, and mortgage deals but it recently introduced the Google Compare for Car Insurance in the United States–available only in California for now. With the information given by Google Compare, consumers and potentials clients could identify the best deal that could give them more savings.

Google shows as much data consumers might need. Most of the top providers and companies are included in the comparison service to show people more options as a possible. People who are searching for car insurance can easily see information on this section of Google. For business owners, they can reach a more targeted audience as long as they present good reviews, ratings, advantages–all that would make people choose their particular company.

Google Compare for car insurance can also show estimates on pricing. You can adjust your deductible or simply add cars to a quote, and you’ll see updated pricing of available car insurace that matches your needs. You can even buy the policy online once you decide it’s the best one for you. Of course, you can still go the traditional way of calling up an agent over the phone.

Try Google Compare HERE

SOURCE: Google

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