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Over the past few years, Lenovo has been one of Intel’s stalwart partners in the mobile phone business. The company has launched multiple Atom-based devices going back to the original Medfield SoC, and this year is no exception. Lenovo announced its P90 phone today — the first smartphone based on Intel’s 64-bit Atom.
Intel may have prominently announced imminent shipment of Cherry Trail devices, built on 14nm technology, but Lenovo is tapping the company’s 22nm silicon for this effort. The 22nm Z3560 SoC at the heart of the P90 is based on Intel’s Moorefield design, with a quad-core CPU and a burst clock of up to 1.83GHz. The GPU is based on Imagination Technologies’ G6430 — the same GPU inside the iPhone 5S. While no longer cutting-edge, it’s still more than sufficient for most tasks and mobile gaming.
Ever since Apple announced that it was building its own smartwatch, fans of wearables have been eager to see what the Cupertino company would deliver. Whether you love it or hate it, Apple has a reputation for excellence, and for waiting until it can deliver a superior experience that make previous products from lesser companies look like floundering newbies by comparison. Now, that long-time reputation for excellence may be sorely tested by the one force in the universe that remains impervious to the company’s Reality Distortion Field — physics.
New reports indicate that while the Apple Watch will pack significant processing power and a fluid, 60Hz display, it won’t deliver much in the way of battery life. 9to5 Mac is claimingthat the CPU inside the Watch is close in power to the Apple A5 and running a stripped-down version of iOS known as SkiHill.
As power consumption has become one of the most important metrics of CPU design, we’ve seen a variety of methods proposed for lowering CPU TDP. Intel makes extensive use of dynamic voltage and frequency scaling, ARM has big.Little, and multiple companies are researching topics like near threshold voltage (NTV) scaling as well as variable precision for CPU and GPU operations. Now, one small embedded company, Ambiq Micro, is claiming to have made a breakthrough in CPU design by building a chip designed for subthreshold voltage operation — with dramatic results.
Ambiq’s new design strategy could be critical to the long-term evolution of the wearables market, the Internet of Things, and for embedded computing designs in general — if the company’s technology approach can scale to address to a wide range of products
Pebble set a Kickstarter record when it launched the original Pebble Smartwatch way back in 2012. That’s like the smartwatch stone age. Now it’s back with a new campaign for the Pebble Time, a smartwatch with a color e-paper screen and a somewhat more refined design than the original watch. If you think the internet might react negatively to a second Kickstarter from this company after the first one netted a whopping $10 million, you’d be wrong. It took only 17 minutes for the campaign to smash the $500,000 goal, and it’s now well into the millions.
The Pebble Time seems to have more in common with the original Pebble than the slightly more premium Pebble Steel. It looks nice, but not something you’d get away with wearing at a formal event. The body is plastic and the bezels are fairly large in relation to the screen. The back is curved to allow for a more ergonomic fit on your wrist. It still has physical buttons on the side for control rather than a touchscreen as most other smartwatches rely on. There’s also a microphone for voice interaction, but it’s not clear how that will tie into your phone yet.
After traversing the Emerging Technologies demonstrations earlier in the week—as reported in our first report on SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group Graphics)—we spent two days scouring the SIGGRAPH show floor for interesting new products and technologies. We’ll soon be presenting our findings from the tradeshow, but first we have a real treat—a photo essay of the exciting SIGGRAPH CyberFashion Show, held on Wednesday, August 11th.
What exactly is cyberfashion? Think wearable computers and displays (Borg-like for sure, with the head-mounted, eye-level screens, data gloves, and so on). Also luminous attire fits the bill, as do smart clothes that perform various functions, like displaying messages, giving massages, being touch reactive, and performing video surveillance. Heck, we saw one jacket with the ability to communicate over WiFi to the Department of Homeland Security’s website, obtain the current threat advisory level color, and display the color on the jacket’s surface!
If, like me, you watched Google’s demonstration of Glass and Now, I have a humbling thought for you: You were watching the future of ubiquitous, omniscient, always-on, wearable computing; you were watching the future of Google; you were watching the future of mankind.
If you didn’t watch the Google I/O keynote presented by Vic Gundotra, Hugo Barra, and Sergey Brin, let me quickly bring you up to speed. Google Now is an Android app that uses your location, behavior history, and search history to display “just the right information at just the right time.” For example, if you regularly search for a certain sports team, Now will show you a card with the latest scores for that team. When Now predicts or detects that you’re leaving home in the morning, it will display a card with any relevant traffic information. If you have a lunch meeting in your Google Calendar, Now will show you the route you need to take to get there — and when you need to leave to get there on time. If you search Google for an airline flight, Now will show a card with the flight details (and any delays).
German material scientists from Kiel University and the Hamburg University of Technology have created the world’s lightest material, dubbed aerographite. One cubic centimeter of aerographite weighs just 0.2 milligrams, which is four times lighter than the previous record holder, 5,000 times less dense than water, and six times lighter than air.
Aerographite, as you can see from the picture above, is a mesh of carbon tubes, each around 15nm in diameter, interwoven at the micro- and nano-scale level. It is electrically conductive, ductile, jet black (non-transparent), and can withstand high compression and tensile loads. Aerographite can be compressed to a 30th of its original size, gaining extra strength and conductivity in the process, and spring back without any damage to its structure — or it can carry up to 40,000 times its own weight.