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Android

Running Android on Top of a Linux Graphics Stack

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Android
Linux
Interviews

Traditional Linux graphics systems (like X11) mostly did not use planes. But modern graphics systems like Android and Wayland can take full advantage of it.

Android has the most mature implementation of plane support in HWComposer, and its graphics stack is a bit different from the usual Linux desktop graphics stack. On desktops, the typical compositor just uses the GPU for all composition, because this is the only thing that exists on the desktop.

Most embedded and mobile chips have specialized 2D composition hardware that Android is designed around. The way this is done is by dividing the things that are displayed into layers, and then intelligently feeding the layers to hardware that is optimized to handle layers. This frees up the GPU to work on the things you actually care about, while at the same time, it lets hardware that is more efficient do what it does best.

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Motorola Moto X4 Android One review: a Nexus by any other name

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Android
Reviews

That’s been a tough pill for many fans of the prior Nexus phones to swallow, as they frequently offered a lot of specs and performance for a lot less money than other smartphones. You could realistically get a great Nexus phone for under $500 without having to give up the traits that make them great: clean software, fast performance, and timely updates.

Enter Motorola’s new Moto X4 Android One smartphone. While not technically a Nexus phone, it shares many of the same qualities that made the Nexus line so loved. Clean build of Android? Check. Promise of fast updates and years of software support? Check. Reasonable cost? Check.

The $399 X4 won’t appeal to everyone. It’s not meant to compete with the Pixel or other premium phone in terms of features or performance, and its biggest limitation is that it’s only available on Google’s own Project Fi network. (Though it comes unlocked and works with other networks, the only way to buy this flavor of X4 is to be a Fi customer.) But if you’ve been holding on to that aging Nexus 5X hoping something would come along and pick up its mantle, the Moto X4 Android One version is it.

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Android: New Devices

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Android
  • ZTE launches crazy, foldable, dual-screened smartphone

    Budget Android company ZTE is launching what has to be its craziest-looking smartphone ever, the Axon M. The M looks like someone took a Nintendo DS, removed the controls, and stuck two big smartphone screens on each side.

    The Axon M is a whopping 12.1mm thick. A hinge runs along the long side of the phone, and it opens up, just like a Nintendo DS. On each side of the phone, you get a 5.2-inch, 1080p TFT LCD. Open the whole thing up, and when combined the screens sort of become a 6.75-inch, 8:9 aspect ratio, 1920x2160 display. I say "sort of" because of course there's a big seam down the middle.

  • Google's Pixel 2 Earns High Marks in Spite of Dull Design

    As Google's new Pixel 2 smartphones get ready to hit the shelves, reviews of the models have begun mushrooming online.

    While the new phones generally have received positive grades, many reviewers found the their design boring.

    "The Pixel 2 hardware is ho-hum," observed Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.

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  • Surprise! The Pixel 2 is hiding a custom Google SoC for image processing

Review: Google Pixel 2

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Android
Google
Reviews

If I had to pick the moment I most appreciated the Google Pixel 2, it would be when our airboat driver-slash-tour guide put a hot dog and a piece of raw chicken in his pocket, dove into the New Orleans swamp, and began playing with a giant gator named Who Dat. I’m no social media whiz, but I knew there was Instagram gold unfolding in front of me. So I pulled out my Pixel 2 XL, the larger of Google’s two new models, double-clicked on the power button to open the camera, and started snapping.

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Pixel 2 and 2 XL review—The best Android phone you can buy

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Android
Reviews

Welcome to year two of Google Hardware. In 2016, Google jumped into the Android hardware space with its first self-branded device, the Google Pixel. Google's software prowess shined on the Pixel 1, offering up exclusive features like the Google Assistant, the best Android camera thanks to advanced software processing, fast day-one OS updates and betas, and the smoothest, best-performing overall build of Android. The killer software package made it the best Android phone of the previous generation.

The Pixel still represented Google's first foray into smartphone hardware, though, and it didn't offer anything special in the hardware department. It was a bland-looking iPhone clone. It had the same specs and basic design as everything else. The Pixel even skipped water resistance, which had become an expected feature at that price point. Google said it wanted to make its own hardware, but it didn't actually build special hardware.

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today's howtos

Linux 4.15, Linux 4.16, and Linux Foundation's CNCF and CII

  • Linux 4.15 Gets Fixed To Report Current CPU Frequency Via /proc/cpuinfo
    A change recently in the Linux kernel led the CPU MHz reported value via /proc/cpuinfo to either be the nominal CPU frequency or the most recently requested frequency. This behavior changed compared to pre-4.13 kernels while now it's been fixed up to report the current CPU frequency.
  • Linux 4.16 Will Be Another Big Cycle For Intel's DRM Driver
    We are just through week one of two for the Linux 4.15 merge window followed by eight or so weeks after that before this next kernel is officially released. But Intel's open-source driver developers have already begun building up a growing stack of changes for Linux 4.16 when it comes to their DRM graphics driver.
  • CNCF Wants You to Use 'Certified Kubernetes'
  • Open Source Threat Modeling
    Application threat modeling is a structured approach to identifying ways that an adversary might try to attack an application and then designing mitigations to prevent, detect or reduce the impact of those attacks. The description of an application’s threat model is identified as one of the criteria for the Linux CII Best Practises Silver badge.

Linux World Domination and Microsoft Corruption in Munich

Programming/Development: 'DevOps', NumPy, Google SLING

  • 5 DevOps leadership priorities in 2018
    This week, DevOps professionals gathered in San Francisco to talk about the state of DevOps in the enterprise. At 1,400 attendees, the sold-out DevOps Enterprise Summit has doubled in size since 2014 – a testament to the growth of the DevOps movement itself. With an ear to this event and an eye on the explosion of tweets coming out of it, here are five key priorities we think IT leaders should be aware of as they take their DevOps efforts into the new year.
  • NumPy Plan for dropping Python 2.7 support
    The Python core team plans to stop supporting Python 2 in 2020. The NumPy project has supported both Python 2 and Python 3 in parallel since 2010, and has found that supporting Python 2 is an increasing burden on our limited resources; thus, we plan to eventually drop Python 2 support as well. Now that we're entering the final years of community-supported Python 2, the NumPy project wants to clarify our plans, with the goal of to helping our downstream ecosystem make plans and accomplish the transition with as little disruption as possible.
  • Google SLING: An Open Source Natural Language Parser
    Google Research has just released an open source project that might be of interest if you are into natural language processing. SLING is a combination of recurrent neural networks and frame based parsing. Natural language parsing is an important topic. You can get meaning from structure and parsing is how you get structure. It is important in processing both text and voice. If you have any hope that Siri, Cortana or Alexa are going to get any better then you need to have better natural language understanding - not just the slot and filler systems currently in use.