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Posts from the ‘News’ Category


Tesco wants you to buy vinyl records with your milk

Tesco Selling Vinyl

Music headlines are often dominated by which albums are (or aren’t) on popular streaming services, but an older music format is quietly making a comeback: vinyl. After the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) announced that annual UK album record sales passed the one-million mark last year, Tesco has confirmed that it will back the format when Iron Maiden’s The Book Of Souls goes on sale next week. In doing so, it will become the first UK supermarket to enter the vinyl market.

According to Tesco music buyer Michael Mulligan, it was an easy decision for the company: “In the last year we began selling record decks in our largest stores and initial sales are very encouraging so giving our customers some new vinyl to play on those decks seems like the logical next step.” If the trial is a success, more vinyl albums could make their way onto store shelves by the end of the year, helping to round out the two new vinyl-specific UK top 40 charts.

Speaking of stores, Tesco says that The Book Of Souls LP will cost £24 and go on sale in 55 of its biggest Tesco Extra locations. If vinyl isn’t your thing, but Iron Maiden certainly is, the CD will also be sold in 850 stores as well as online. Tesco may have exited digital music when it sold off its Blinkbox service at the end of the last year, but it still caters for fans of physical formats inside its stores. We won’t be holding our breath for a cassette revival, though.

[Image credit: Nick Harris, Flickr]

Filed under:
Home Entertainment, Household, HD



Tags: hdpostcross, iron maiden, record, tesco, vinyl


It’s happening: Xperia Z5 Premium with 4K screen demoed on video

A series of hands-on images and specs about Sony’s upcoming trio of smartphones – Xperia Z5, Z5 Compact, and Z5 Premium – leaked yesterday, and now what appears to be the original source of the info has surfaced.

A video from French website Clubic shows a hands-on demo of the Xperia Z5 Premium and Xperia Z5, conducted by a marketing executive of Sony France. It appears that the video of the pre-briefing was published accidentally ahead of the expected launch of the devices on Wednesday –  the version embedded above was somehow bootlegged and reuploaded on YouTube.

The most interesting aspect of the French-language video is the apparent confirmation of the 4K display for the Xperia Z5 Premium. Despite our strong reservations, it appears that Sony is indeed pushing the envelope of display technology with a 4K resolution on a 5.5-inch LCD panel. The Sony representative leaves no room for interpretation, calling the device “world’s first 4K smartphone.” That confirms the faint rumblings we’ve been hearing over the past weeks about a 4K version of the Xperia Z5 coming along the regular 5.2-inch Full HD model.

xperia z5 premium leak

Other specs of the three Sony devices that the video confirms are a Snapdragon 810 processor, side-mounted fingerprint sensor, battery life of up to two days, water and dust resistance (no flap for USB port), and a 23MP camera with 0.03-second autofocus. It looks like these specs will be shared across the range. The Xperia Z5 Compact is expected to feature a 4.6-inch HD display.

LG G3 display close up 710pxSee also: Road to 4K: Do we need it? And who will be first?512515

This video seems very solid, as leaks go, but we’ll still urge you to wait for the official announcement before reacting, one way or another. That said – 4K on a phone, how crazy is that?


Galaxy Note 4 updated to 5.1.1 Lollipop in Europe


It has been almost two months since Samsung first began rolling out an Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update for its Galaxy Note 4 smartphone in Russia, but today a similar update is now rolling out across all of Europe.

The build, version number N910FXXU1COH4, originally hit handsets in Sweden, Austria and Italy via over-the-air updates last weekend, but the firmware has since made its way to Samsung’s KIES software tool for other customers to download. We could also see OTA updates appear in more countries across the continent in the next few days, if you don’t fancy messing around with Samsung’s application.

As well as bringing the handset up to the latest Android 5.1.1 version, and the small tweaks that entails, the update is also said to improve the performance and stability of software on the Note 4.

The same Android Lollipop update for the handset has also previously landed in the US through carrier Sprint. If you haven’t spotted the update OTA or through KIES, you can also download it from SamMobile’s firmware section.

Has the update landed in your country yet? Let us know in the comments below.


Sony Xperia Z5 leaks on video ahead of impending announcement

We’ve already seen the Xperia Z5 promo images appear ahead of IFA 2015 where the device is expected to be officially announced, and now a video from a French site Clubic has leaked showing the Xperia Z5 in a lot more detail.

There will apparently be three phones that make up the Xperia Z5 announcement – Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact and Xperia Z5 Premium. The main differences between the devices will be the screen resolution. The video suggests that the higher-end Z5 premium will have a 5.5-inch 4K LCD at over 800 pixels-per-inch at 3840 x 2160. The regular Z5 will be 5.2-inches, whilst the Compact is 4.6-inches.

All three devices will be pretty similar in the rest of the specs and will share a fingerprint sensor on the power button, as well as a 23-Megapixel camera, two days of battery life, and a Snapdragon 810.

We’ll know for sure what Sony have up their sleeve when it comes to the Xperia Z5 in a few days at IFA 2015.


The post Sony Xperia Z5 leaks on video ahead of impending announcement appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Google OnHub review: Routers don’t have to be so complicated

Google OnHub review: Routers don't have to be so complicated

If you’re like me, a cold feeling of dread grips your heart every time your internet goes out. “Is Comcast down,” I ask myself, “or is my horrible router misbehaving yet again?” This usually follows 10 minutes of unplugging and then plugging things back in, waiting and hoping for your internet connection to be restored, because there’s no easy way to troubleshoot otherwise. And that’s not to mention that setting up a router or completing a simple task like renaming your network or changing its password is usually far more of a chore than it should be. There has to be a better way.

Google believes that its new OnHub wireless router is a step forward. Made in partnership with TP-Link, it’s a powerful, intelligent and, yes, beautiful home networking device with a high price to match. Google is betting that the combination of ease of use and attractive design is the path wireless routers need to follow — but those features come at the expense of others you’d typically expect from a $200 router. The question: Has Google made the right trade-offs to justify the OnHub’s price?Slideshow-316266


The premium experience Google is shooting for here starts before you even get the OnHub out of the box. The packaging is thoughtfully designed; it reminded me of unboxing an iPod in the days of yore. Certainly, it’s the most elegant non-Apple router unboxing I’ve ever encountered.

And then there’s the OnHub itself: a cylindrical tube that’s ever so slightly wider at the top than at the base. A removable plastic shell (available in blue or black) snaps into place surrounding the guts of the hardware, all of which are encased in the gray tube, which that shell hides away. A little bit of the tube peeks out over the cover, with an LED ring surrounding it that immediately brings to mind the ill-fated Nexus Q music and video-streamer. There are no sci-fi antennas or hard angles to be seen here. Google even included special flat Ethernet cables that can easily wrap around its base to be more unobtrusive. It is, without a doubt, the nicest-looking router I’ve ever used.

But who cares? This is something you’ll set up and hide away and hopefully forget about, until it misbehaves, right? On the contrary, Google designed this router so you’d be inclined to place it out in the open, hopefully on a high shelf somewhere. That’s because Google believes the most important thing it can do to improve people’s WiFi experience is making a product they won’t want to hide away in a closet. Mission accomplished: I’ve typically obscured my ASUS router behind my TV, but I have no problem displaying the OnHub on my media stand.

The thoughtful design isn’t restricted to just looks, either — Google picked a cylindrical router to help aid with signal distribution. Around the inside of the cylinder are the 2.4 and 5GHz wireless antennas; three pairs of antennas for each band are evenly distributed around the cylinder, and there’s another large 2.4GHz antenna built right into the casing itself.

The rest of the OnHub’s guts are about what you’d expect for a router in this price range: It’s an AC1900 device that covers all 802.11 bands in use at this point (a/b/g/n/ac, if you’re counting). Its WiFi radio can detect congestion and move devices between the 2.4 and 5GHz bands for optimal performance; there’s no need to set up an additional 5GHz SSID as many routers do these days. Google even included support for Bluetooth, Weave (Google’s Internet of Things protocol) and the ZigBee local wireless networking standard, even though they don’t do anything yet — Google says it can enable them in future software updates. That’s part of the whole OnHub concept: a router that can get smarter and better as years pass.

Google did leave out a few things that are generally table stakes for a router in this class. Notably, there are only two Ethernet ports: one to plug the OnHub into your modem, and one to use for wired internet. Most routers in this price range include four ports for hooking up wired devices. Google’s clearly looking at that as a legacy feature that doesn’t have a place in our modern, wireless world — something that fits with Google’s larger ethos. It didn’t bother me, but it’s definitely something to be aware of. Additionally, the single USB 3.0 port is essentially useless. You can’t hook up a networked printer or hard drive here; its only purpose is for USB recovery if the internal software gets horribly corrupted. If you’re a power user who relies on more Ethernet ports or USB connectivity, you’ll need to look elsewhere.



If distinctive, elegant hardware is one of Google’s major tentpoles for OnHub, equally elegant and intuitive software is the other. Nearly every router out there has simply atrocious software; even doing basic things like setting a password or changing the name of your network can be a real hassle for the average user. Google’s gone in the opposite direction and crafted an interface that’s simpler than any I’ve ever seen — but again, it’s at the expense of features that power users might crave.

The first thing to note is that everything on the OnHub is done through the Google On app on your mobile device, available for Android 4.0 and iOS 7 or higher. Google told me that it will eventually offer a simple web interface for setting up the OnHub, but at launch, a smartphone or tablet is required.

The setup process is incredibly simple, particularly if you’re using Android. Once you download the application and log in with your Google account, just tap the “add new OnHub” prompt to start setup. The app will detect if there’s an OnHub nearby that’s in setup mode; once it finds the new OnHub, your phone will prompt you to move right next to the router. That’s because the OnHub will then play an audio tone that’s used to pair the router with your phone and your Google account. Once your phone recognizes the code, you’re prompted to enter a network name and password, and that’s it. You wait a minute or two, and the OnHub should be good to go. (You’ll know it’s up and running when the LED ring stays blue.)

Sadly, the process for setting up the OnHub with an iOS device is less elegant, although not necessarily more difficult. Instead of the audio tone, you connect to the router using the standard iOS wireless settings with a default network and password found underneath the device. Then, when you jump back into the OnHub app, you’ll set up your permanent username and password and the router will finish setup automatically. Either way, it’s faster and simpler than just about any router installation I’ve experienced. It feels very Apple-esque in its focus on just the basics — in fact, it’s even easier to set up than Apple’s routers.

In use

Once you’re up and running, the OnHub app gives you an overview of your entire network, providing useful tools that are generally buried deep in the settings on other routers. At a glance you can see if both your internet connection (from your ISP) and your router are functioning properly; you can also see how many devices are hooked up to your network. Tapping on the number of devices brings you to a detailed view that shows the bandwidth being used by each individual device as well as its name on your network. So if your PS4 is hogging all the bandwidth in the house, you’ll be able to see it here.

Beyond the real-time view of each device’s upload and download speeds, you can also switch things to a one-hour, seven-day or 30-day view to see exactly how much data has been uploaded and downloaded to each device. You can also see total data usage stats for your entire network. It’s another thing I’ve always wondered about, but never bothered to do the research to discover — the Google On app puts it front and center for you.

Another feature built into the app is a speed test, one that provides more detail than what you see on, say, Google tests your network connection in two ways. First, it checks your speed between the router and your internet provider. Then, it tests the strength of the connection between the OnHub and your device and presents this as an “efficiency” percentage. So if your internet speed is rated at 50 Mbps and your device is seeing WiFi efficiency of 90 percent, that means your phone is getting speeds of 45 Mbps (you can see this calculation if you tap on the efficiency score).Slideshow-316269

While this is a little more complicated than other speed tests, it’s actually very helpful in diagnosing internet problems; you can clearly see if there’s a problem with your ISP or if you just have a bad connection to your router. And Google explains the results in plain language, noting that your connection is strong enough to play Ultra HD video, for example. But if you’re too far from the router, it’ll tell you that as well, with a warning that you might see decreased performance because of a weak WiFi connection. For people who don’t know what upload and download numbers really represent, the additional context is definitely useful.

There are a few other features included in the app that are worth noting. You can quickly share your network name and password with friends via text, email and other typical sharing options — handy for when you have guests over. There’s also an option for adding other users to your OnHub, so multiple members of your family can control it, even when they’re not home (something that should be great for remote troubleshooting).You can even reboot it remotely from the app, rather than having to unplug the OnHub when things are going wrong. There are a few settings for the router itself, including adjusting the brightness of the OnHub’s LED ring and giving the router a new name.

As for more advanced options, you can adjust the DNS, forward ports, set up static IP addresses and tweak a few other settings. There’s also an option to prioritize bandwidth to a single device on the network for one, two or four hours. Other devices will stay connected, but the priority device will get the best performance. But for the most part, the OnHub’s feature set is more basic than you might find in other routers in this price range. Just as with the hardware, Google’s trading complexity for ease of use. Hopefully support if you have bigger problems will be just as easy: Google says it’s offering phone support seven days a week, and the Google On app will also give you suggestions to fix whatever problems you’re having.


None of this matters if the OnHub doesn’t perform like a $200 router should, but fortunately, that’s not a problem. Every device I tried (Macs, Windows PCs, iPhones, iPads, Android devices, set-top boxes, consoles and more) connected quickly and without incident. I didn’t get a speed boost, but then again, the ASUS router I’ve been using is no slouch, so I wasn’t really expecting much of an upgrade in that regard.

It does seem that the OnHub’s clever antenna design actually offers better range than I was getting with the ASUS. Unscientifically, I pulled out my phone while walking my dogs up and down the block outside my house and was shocked to see that I still had a usable WiFi connection. Usually, my iPhone will stay connected to the ASUS router, but I can’t actually get any data to come through. But the OnHub was able to pump out a usable, albeit slow, signal much farther away from my living room than I expected.

Of course, the OnHub isn’t magic, and thus it couldn’t extend a strong signal to the parts of my small house that the ASUS was also unable to reach very well. That’s just a simple matter of physics; there are just too many walls in the way to get a full-strength signal to one room. But in general, the signal stayed strong. Even as I got farther away from the router and the “efficiency” rating started to drop, I generally had enough bandwidth coming in to keep my devices running nice and fast. That’s not unique to the OnHub, though — any $200 router should be able to do that.

The competition

There are dozens and dozens of routers out there, but the most obvious point of comparison is Apple’s Airport Extreme. Both routers are priced the same, have similar specifications and have a focus on simplicity rather than every feature they could possibly include. In this case, though, Google’s option is even easier to use and includes fewer hardware features — even the Airport Extreme has three Ethernet ports and a functional USB port.

But while the feature sets are a bit different, it feels like Google and Apple are both going after similar customers here: the type of person who wants an easy setup and a powerful signal without having to fuss around too much. If that’s not you, there are numerous other options out there for you to check out.


For a small segment of the market, Google’s OnHub will be a tough sell. Some consumers who typically spend $200 on a router are going to be looking for customization options and features that just aren’t offered here. (That’s not to mention the lack of Ethernet ports!) But for the majority of customers who don’t need advanced networking options, the OnHub presents a compelling vision for how simple managing your home’s wireless network could be. It’s an attractive piece of hardware that works well, is easy to set up and is easy to manage once it’s up and running.

If you’ve ever spent the afternoon banging your head against the wall trying to get your WiFi network up and running, the OnHub might well be the right router for you, despite its high price. Again, there are some power users who will need more than the OnHub offers, and this simply isn’t for them. If you place a bigger premium on design and simplicity, and don’t mind the cost, the OnHub is easy to recommend.

Filed under:
Networking, Google


Tags: google, googleonhub, onhub, review, router, routers, uk-reviews, wifi, wireless


Those Netflix movies you lost just went to Hulu

Hulu is about to get a load of well-known movies like Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, Interstellar and Wolf of Wall Street. The US company confirmed the rumor that it will now stream content from Epix, the service owned by Viacom and movie studios Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate. Netflix used to carry films produced by the group, but said earlier today that it wouldn’t renew its Epix deal. The change means the content will be available to a much smaller streaming audience — Hulu recently said it has 9 million subscribers, compared to the 65.6 million on Netflix.

While that might disappoint plenty of fans of The Hunger Games, James Bond and other series, Netflix does have an ace up its sleeve. The company will get first streaming rights to all Disney movies starting next year, including titles from Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and Disney Animation Studios. As for Hulu, it’s no doubt hoping that all the new content will help boost its own subscriber base, and won’t have to wait long to find out — the films will arrive there starting October 1st.

Filed under:
Home Entertainment



Tags: Epix, Hulu, Netflix, rights, Streaming


Exynos 7420: Multitasking, multi-core and multiprocessing

Exynos 7 OctaOne of the most popular smartphone processors at the moment is the Samsung Exynos 7420, mainly because it is the processor used by Samsung for its current range of high-end devices including the Samsung Galaxy S6, the Samsung Galaxy S6+ Edge, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. The Exynos 7420 is an octa-core processor which means it has 8 CPU cores, each of which is capable of running a task in parallel with other tasks running on the other cores.

With 8 cores and the possibility to run 8 tasks in parallel, it is important to understand what level of parallelization is offered by this high performance CPU.


Earlier this year I wrote two in-depth articles about the nature of multiprocessing on Android and specifically on ARM based CPUs. The first article debunked the myth that Android apps only use one CPU core, while the second looked at how the Samsung Galaxy S6 uses its octa-core processor.

Both bits of research showed how Android utilizes the parallel (multi-core) nature of modern processors. Samsung’s Exynos 7420 is an ARM based processor with built-in Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP). In general, the quad-core processors found  in everything from desktops to smartphones have a set of cores which are all equal in terms of their performance and power consumption. In a HMP CPU, not all the cores are equal (hence, heterogeneous). The Exynos 7420 has a cluster of Cortex-A57 cores and a cluster of Cortex-A53 cores. The A57 is a high performance core, while the A53 has greater energy efficiency. This arrangement is known as big.LITTLE, where “big” processor cores (Cortex-A57) are combined with “LITTLE” processor cores (Cortex-A53).

Perfect Dude 2: big vs LITTLE (with highlights)

Perfect Dude 2: big vs LITTLE (with highlights)

When tasks are run on the LITTLE cores they use less power, they drain the battery less, however they may run a little slower. When tasks are run on the big cores, they finish sooner but they use more battery to do so.

Once we understand that not all cores are equal, it is then interesting to see how Android uses those cores and what level of simultaneous processing occurs, and on which cores, big or LITTLE?

Workload Automation

My previous tests use a tool, which I wrote myself, to determine how the CPU is being used. It uses the various pieces of information about the activity of the Linux kernel which are made available via the /proc/stat file. However, it has a shortcoming. Since the data about the CPU usage is being generated by polling /proc/stat it means that some tasks can appear to be parallel when in fact they aren’t.

The polling interval is around one six of a second (i.e. around 160 milliseconds). If a core reports its usage is 25% in that 160 milliseconds and another core reports its usage is 25% then the graphs will show both cores running simultaneously at 25%. However it is possible that the first core ran at 25% utilization for 80 milliseconds and then the second core ran at 25% utilization for 80 milliseconds.

To delve deeper into the parallel nature of the Exynos 7420 I have switched from using my own tool to the open source Workload Automation tool. Written by ARM it is designed for running tests that exercise the CPU on Android and Linux devices. The key thing is that it supports the Linux kernel internal tracer known as ftrace.

This means that information about the exact scheduling of the CPU cores can be extracted directly from deep within the Linux kernel itself. The result of which is that the polling interval weakness of my CPU usage tool is eliminated.

Web browsing

If I was to ask you what is the most arduous task that your smartphone’s CPU performs, you might think it would be a game like Modern Combat 5 or Asphalt 8, and you would be right to a certain degree. However the thing about big 3D games is that they load the GPU just as much (or even more) than the CPU. Although the CPU is used quite heavily during 3D gaming, a big chunk of the workload is handled elsewhere. If we are looking for a job which makes the CPU sweat a bit, it is in fact web browsing!

Here is a set of graphs which show how the CPU is used when browsing the Android Authority website using Chrome:



There are three graphs. The first one on the top-left shows how the four Cortex-A53 cores are used during 90 seconds of web browsing. As you can see for 18% of the time none of the cores are being used, effectively the cluster of Cortex-A53 cores is idle. For 19% of the time 1 core is being used, for 18% of the time 2 cores are being used in parallel, 3 cores for 19%, and 4 cores for 24% of the time.

The graph on the top-right shows the same data but now for the cluster of big Cortex-A57 cores. For nearly 60% of the time one big core is in use and for 14% of the time 2 cores are in use. In fact, for over 80% of the time 1 or more Cortex-A57 cores are being used.

The graph at the bottom shows the overall level of parallelization across all of the CPU cores. For less than 4% of the time the whole CPU is idle, for 15% of the time 1 core is being used, 2 cores for 16%, and so on. What is interesting is that for over 20% of the time 5 cores are being used in parallel.

If the Exynos 7420 was a quad-core processor then the scheduler at the heart of the Linux kernel would not have the option to use 5 cores simultaneously.

If the Exynos 7420 was a quad-core processor then the scheduler at the heart of the Linux kernel would not have the option to use 5 cores simultaneously. More than that, there are moments when 6, 7 and all 8 cores of the CPU are being used in parallel.

The situation for Firefox is similar, but not the same:



As you can see, Firefox mainly uses 2 and 3 cores in parallel, however for around 10% of the time it uses more than 4 cores. For Chrome, big Cortex-A57 cores were used over 80% of the time, for Firefox that number jumps to over 90% of the time.

We shouldn’t underestimate the capabilities of the Cortex-A53 cores.

At this point you might be thinking, well if Chrome and Firefox are using the big cores heavily then why not just build a CPU with just four Cortex-A57 cores and leave the Cortex-A53 cores out altogether? The answer is that the big cores use more battery life and the way big.LITTLE works is that they are only called upon when needed. The little cores are still being used for around 75% of the workload and, as we will see soon, some workloads don’t even use the big cores!


Although we talk about big cores and LITTLE cores, we shouldn’t underestimate the capabilities of the Cortex-A53 cores. They are full 64-bit processing units which can perform exactly the same operations as the bigger Cortex-A57 cores, but they have been designed to have greater power efficiency. However for some tasks the Cortex-A53 is more than sufficient.

Here is the data captured when streaming a 720p YouTube video over Wi-Fi:



As you can see, all of the work is performed by the Cortex-A53 cores. Since the video decoding is actually performed by the GPU or a hardware video decoder, then the CPU is only responsible for the Wi-Fi, for getting the streaming data from the Internet, and for loading the right bits of memory for the video decoder to tackle the next frame. The result of this “relatively easy” load is that the big cores basically sleep the whole time. In fact, the Cortex-A53 cores spend almost one quarter of their time idle as well!


So, if the YouTube app only uses the Cortex-A53 cores because a lot of the video work is done by dedicated hardware, what does that means for games? Do they use the Cortex-A57 at all? Below is three sets of graphs for three gaming apps: Asphalt 8, Epic Citadel, and Crossy Road:

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If you look at these graphs you will see that there is a general pattern. For the most part the games use 1 to 3 cores of the processor and occasionally peak at using 4 or 5 cores simultaneously. The Cortex-A53 cores are used for around 60% to 70% of the time, with the cores idling for around one quarter to one third of the time. However the big cores aren’t sitting idly, as with YouTube. What we see is that for Asphalt 8 and Epic Citadel are using 1 big core for at least half the time, and that even Crossy Road tends to lean on at least one big core. This is because gaming is a more complex activity than video streaming. Lots of gaming objects to create, manipulate and track. It is likely that the active Cortex-A57 core is being used for the most complex tasks performed by the CPU and the LITTLE cores for the rest.

Other workloads

I also tested Gmail, Amazon Shopping, and Flickr. However before we look at those, I want to bring your attention to the Microsoft Word app for Android:


As you can see the Word app behaves like many other apps. It uses a mixture of the Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57 cores and it spends a lot of the time idle, due to the nature of the app. However what is interesting is that when the app has something to do, like creating a new document, it can use all 8 CPU cores. In fact it seems that when it is busy, it jumps straight from using a couple of cores right up to 8. The amount of time it is using 5, 6, or 7 cores is much less than the time it uses 8 cores.

As for the other apps, here are their graphs for your perusal:

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The results of this testing is broadly in line with my previous tests and again underlines the parallel nature of Android and Android apps. It also highlights the power of Heterogeneous Multi-Processing and how the LITTLE cores are being used for most jobs and the big cores are being called upon for the heavy lifting.

Never underestimate the role of the GPU and other video hardware.

This data also shows just how powerful a processor the Exynos 7420 is. At no time is the Exynos 7420 being asked to work overly hard, and there are lots of idle moments (which are good as it means that minimal battery power is being used). That being the case, it would be interesting to see how HMP works in other combinations other than just 4+4. For example, the LG G4 uses a hexa-core processor, the Snapdragon 808, rather than an octa-core processor. The 808 uses two Cortex-A57 cores and four A53 cores. Or at the other extreme, how HMP works in the deca-core Helio X20 from MediaTek.

Finally, we must never underestimate the role of the GPU and other video hardware. Both the YouTube test and the gaming tests show the importance of the graphics part of the SoC.

So, what are your thoughts on Heterogeneous Multi-Processing, big.LITTLE, octa-core processors, hexa-core processors, deca-core processors, and the Exynos 7420? Please let me know in the comments below.


Former Siemens division is about to release new smartphone under Gigaset

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There was a time in the mobile industry when the name Siemens meant something – and it’s about to mean something again, kind of. Now under the guise of Gigaset, who bought Siemens Home and Office Communication Devices in 2008, the former Siemens division is about to release new smartphone and it supposedly looks something like this:

Former Siemens division is about to release new smartphoneIf the looks of the device alone aren’t enough to get you interested, there’s also been a benchmark for the device leaked which shows that the Gigaset smartphone is not only a pretty face. According to the benchmark, this smartphone will have a Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GB RAM, 1080p display (though size wasn’t mentioned), 32GB storage, 16MP rear camera and 8MP front camera. That’s pretty formidable in the current smartphone climate and if it comes in at a good price, it could even be attractive.

Former Siemens division is about to release new smartphone

According to the report, this Gigaset smartphone is going to be announced at IFA 2015 this week, so we won’t have to wait long to see if this report is correct.

What do you think about the news that a former Siemens division is about to release new smartphone? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Weibo via Phone Arena

The post Former Siemens division is about to release new smartphone under Gigaset appeared first on AndroidSPIN.


Limited Edition LG Watch Urbane Luxe costs $1200, 23-karat gold with alligator leather band

LG Watch Urbane Luxe Side

Even though love may turn out to be but a gas, you needn’t worry about a heart of glass. LG, eager to get into the “premium smartwatch” craze, has partnered with U.S. retail jewelry company REEDS Jewelers to create the LG Watch Urbane Luxe. Made of 23-karat gold and featuring an exotic alligator leather strap with piano-gloss lacquer case, the pricey piece will retail for approximately $1200 when it hits in late October.

Only 500 units will be produced, and each of the digital timepieces will be engraved with its own unique serial number, thus truly making a one-of-a-kind proposition.

According to the press release, the watch will make use of a special deployment clasp that was invented by Louis Cartier in 1910 and make use of an “alligator band [that is] handcrafted at the highest level of craftsmanship, undergoing 50 separate steps in its creation, handled lovingly by 30 experienced leatherworkers.”

LG Watch Urbane Luxe Front


As if that’s not enough, the Korean conglomerate mentioned that “the 23-karat gold used in the LG Watch Urbane Luxe is stronger and harder than the 24-karat gold used in jewelry and heavier than the 18-karat gold used in traditional luxury watches.” This should ideally indicate a product that is designed to last for a long time, at least with respect to durability.

Chris Yie, vice president and head of marketing communications at LG Mobile, had the following to say of the new product:

Wearable devices shouldn’t be thought of as an extension of one’s smartphone but an extension of oneself. This blending of craftsmanship and technology is a natural evolution of the smartwatch, which is becoming more of a lifestyle accessory than a piece of hardware. We think this is a good direction for wearables and we want to encourage this transformation.

The LG Watch Urbane Luxe, despite the new build material, still the same awesome product we reviewed earlier this year when it was only made of mere metal. Selected as an Editor’s Choice product of 2015, we praised the beautiful design, vibrant OLED screen, great battery life, luxury appeal, comfortably, and performance. Ironically the main fault was cited as the price, something that definitely will hold true of this Luxe-urious new variant.

The LG Watch Urbane comes with a 1.3-inch P-OLED circular display with a 320 x 320 resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 245 ppi. The display is protected by a Gorilla Glass 3 panel that should keep it free from scratches. Additionally it has a 1,2GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and 512MB of RAM, along with a 410mAh battery. The watch also comes with an IP67 certification for resistance to dust and water.

LG Watch Urbane Luxe Case

This is definitely a new direction for LG’s wearable product propositions, perhaps something spurred on by the Apple Watch and TAG Heuer‘s offering, as well as recent indications that consumer interest in wearables as a whole is declining. Unfortunately the design -arguably- is not nearly as cool as that of the Korean only LTE variant, but them’s the breaks.

The smartwatch will be up for pre-order at later in September, or can directly at any REEDS Jewelers location. Those attending IFA this week can also see it at LG’s exhibit booth located in Hall 18.

Any thoughts on this premium product? Is LG right to partner for a gold watch, or should this have been an all-together new product? Leave us your comments!

Show Press Release

SEOUL, Aug. 31, 2015 In collaboration with U.S. retail jewelry company REEDS Jewelers, LG Electronics (LG) will introduce a premium limited edition smartwatch, LG Watch Urbane Luxe. This luxurious wearable was designed with a specific wearer in mind and is adorned in 23-karat gold and gorgeous alligator leather strap set in an exclusive piano-gloss lacquer case. Available starting at the end of October, the LG Watch Urbane Luxe will retail for approximately USD 1,200.

The LG Watch Urbane Luxe will sport a deployment clasp for a fitted, elegant look that isn’t bulky. Invented by Louis Cartier in 1910, the use of a deployment clasp makes this  timepiece even more exclusive and unique. The alligator band itself is handcrafted at the highest level of craftsmanship, undergoing 50 separate steps in its creation, handled lovingly by 30 experienced leatherworkers. The 23-karat gold used in the LG Watch Urbane Luxe is stronger and harder than the 24-karat gold used in jewelry and heavier than the 18-karat gold used in traditional luxury watches.

“Wearable devices shouldn’t be thought of as an extension of one’s smartphone but an extension of oneself,” said Chris Yie, vice president and head of marketing communications for LG Mobile Communications Company. “This blending of craftsmanship and technology is a natural evolution of the smartwatch, which is becoming more of a lifestyle accessory than a piece of hardware. We think this is a good direction for wearables and we want to encourage this transformation.”

Each of the 500 limited edition watches will be engraved with its own serial number for authenticity and available initially in the USA for pre-order at later this month or by visiting any REEDS Jewelers location. Visitors to IFA 2015 can see this beautiful work of art for themselves along with other mobile devices from LG in Hall 18 of Messe Berlin from September 4-9.


The HTC One A9 is the name of HTC’s next flagship

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HTC‘s future is looking pretty bleak right now after posting repeated quarters of loss, culminating in the layoff of 15% of its workforce. It’s pretty clear that HTC’s next flagship is going to have a huge weight on its shoulders, and we may have a name to put to that device now: the HTC One A9. Specifically, the “A” stands for “Aero” and it’s rumoured that thanks to the MediaTek Helio X20 processor in it, it’s going to be the first smartphone with a deca-core processor. The name was leaked by none other than @evleaks, and it’s said that the device will be launched either in late 2015 or very early 2016.

Other notable features of the One A9 include 4GB RAM and a Quad HD display. Word is the rear facing camera is also going to be improved. It’s difficult to tell whether HTC is going to be able to recover from this position without a lot of luck and hard work, but we hope for their sakes they can come up with something revolutionary.

What do you think about the HTC One A9? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Twitter via TalkAndroid

The post The HTC One A9 is the name of HTC’s next flagship appeared first on AndroidSPIN.


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