BeagleBone: $89 dev board includes Cortex-A8 CPU, Ethernet, JTAG

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BeagleBoard.org announced a new open-platform, hobbyist-focused development board — priced at just $89 and equipped with a Linux distro that boots in ten seconds. The BeagleBone offers an ARM Cortex-A8 processor running at 720MHz, 256MB of RAM, two 46-pin expansion connectors, a USB host port and multipurpose device port, on-chip Ethernet, and a microSD slot.

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Apple is Giving Samsung Semiconductor A Splitting Headache

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Apple started a legal process several months ago to keep Samsung Tablets out of worldwide markets because the product looked similar to the iPAD. Samsung is the only company in the world that can challenge Apple on a vertical cost basis and they have the added advantage of having corporate subsidies. Apple’s goal in the coming year is to make Samsung retreat from the consumer market and back into semiconductors or risk losing an excessive amount of money. See more in SemiWiki.

OS X Lion thumb drive available online now for $69

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Apple’s Mac OS 10.7 has gone physical today with the introduction of a $69 USB thumb drive. The flash storage stick provides you with a full copy of Lion OS X, but does so at quite a premium relative to the $29.99 price of its Mac App Store alternative. Somewhat ironically, the newly corporeal Lion is only available for purchase through the online Apple Store for now — delivery time is listed as between one and three working days — though brick-and-mortar Apple outlets will presumably have it in stock very soon as well. One note of caution is provided: installing Lion from the USB drive means you won’t be able to use the online Lion Recovery tool should you wish to restore your OS. Subsequent reinstalls will have to be handled from the flash drive.

TI DM8168 HDVICP2 H.264 Encoder

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According to TMS320DM816x DaVinci Digital Media Processors Technical Reference Manual:

  • HDVICP2 in DM816x supports 1080p 60 fps h.264 encoder or dual 1080p 30 fps h.264 encoders, other video codec supports including:
  • H.264: BP/MP/HP Encode and Decode
  • H.264: Fast Profile/RCDO Encode and Decode
  • MPEG-4: SP/ASP Encode/Decode (No support for GMC)
  • DivX 5.x & higher Encode/Decode (No lower version; for example, 3.11 and 4.x)
  • H.263: Profile 0 and 3 for Decode, Profile 0 for Encode
  • Sorenson Spark: V0 and V1 Decode (No encode support)
  • MPEG-2 SP/MP Encode/Decode
  • MPEG-1 Encode/Decode
  • VC1/WMV9/RTV : SP/MP/AP Encode and Decode
  • ON2 VP6/VP7 Decode
  • RV 8/9/10 Decode
  • AVS 1.0 Encode and Decode
  • JPEG (also MJPEG) Baseline Encode/Decode
  • H264 Annex H (MVC)

The HDVICP2 subsystem is composed of:

  • A primary and a secondary sequencer: ICONT1 & ICONT2, which include its memories and an interrupt controller. Both these sequencers, ICONT1 and ICONT2, are identical.
  • A video DMA engine: vDMA
  • An entropy coder/decoder: ECD3
  • A motion compensation engine: MC3
  • A transform and quantization calculation engine: CALC3
  • A loop filter acceleration engine: iLF3
  • A motion estimation acceleration engine: iME3
  • An intraprediction estimation engine: iPE3
  • Shared level 2 (L2) interface and memory (of size 256 Kbytes)
  • Local interconnect
  • A message interface for communication between SyncBoxes
  • Mailbox
  • A debug module for trace event and software instrumentation: SMSET

Possibly it may also support 2048×2048 h.264 encoding (Level 5). However, currently the h.264 encoder is not ready yet in the HDVICP2 CODECS Product Download Page

Android top mobile OS, Apple top maker in U.S.

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June data from Nielsen shows Google Inc. ’s Android operating system has the biggest share of the U.S. market.

The following table shows the market share of smartphone operating systems:

Android

iOS

RIM

Windows

Others

39%

28%

20%

9%

4%

Among Android phones, vendor’s market shares are shown as

HTC

Motorola

Samsung

Others

Android Total

14%

11%

8%

6%

39%

Regarding to smartphone manufacturers, Apple Inc. is the clear leader among smartphone makers, and HTC is tied with Blackberrys for No. 2 maker in the U.S.
According to Gartner, 452 million smartphones were sold in 2010, up 72% from the year before. And that growth accelerated in the first quarter of this year to 85%.

Install/Compile Linux Kernel 3.0 In Ubuntu

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An RC for the Linux Kernel 3.0 was recently released. The change in the version number is mostly to mark the 3rd decade of the Linux Kernel, it doesn’t bring any major changes. Still, why not try to setup the new version on your system?

Downloading kernel

# cd /tmp
# wget http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v3.0/testing/linux-3.0-rc6.tar.bz2
# tar -xvjf linux-3.0-rc6.tar.bz2 -C /usr/src
# cd /usr/src/linux-3.0-rc6

Configure kernel
Before you configure kernel make sure you have development tools
(gcc compilers and related tools) are installed on your system.

This step may save you time, if you want to reuse the old settings.
Whenever you install the kernel, generally you put the config file
in /boot. So, you can use the existing version of config file:

# mv /usr/src/linux-3.0-rc6/.config  /usr/src/linux-3.0-rc6/.config.save
# cp /boot/config-`uname -r`  /usr/src/linux-3.0-rc6/.config

Now you can start kernel configuration by typing any one of the command:

# make menuconfig -	Text based color menus, radiolists & dialogs.
			This option also useful on remote server if you 
			wanna compile kernel remotely. 
# make xconfig 	-	X windows (Qt) based configuration tool, works best under KDE desktop
# make gconfig 	-	X windows (Gtk) based configuration tool, works best under Gnome 
			Dekstop.
*** End of the configuration.
*** Execute 'make' to start the build or try 'make help'.

Give a unique name to your new Kernel –
Edit /usr/src/linux-3.0-rc6/Makefile and change EXTRAVERSION

Once you have finished, save and exit. It is now time to compile.

However to speed up the build if you have a dual core processor type,

export CONCURRENCY_LEVEL=3

The general rule is 1 + the number of processor cores.

Compile kernel

# make -j4

Start compiling to kernel modules:

# make modules
# make modules_install

***** Not recommended Goto “Follow this” *****

# make install

It will install three files into /boot directory as well as modification to your kernel grub configuration file:

System.map-3.0.0-rc6

config-3.0.0-rc6

vmlinuz-3.0.0-rc6

***** End *****

***** Follow this *****

cp ./arch/x86/boot/bzImage /boot/vmlinuz-3.0.0-rc6
cp System.map /boot/System.map-3.0.0-rc6

Create an initrd image

# cd /boot
# update-initramfs -c -k 3.0.0-rc6

Finally we need to add the initramfs image to the grub.cfg
file located at /boot/grub/grub.cfg

# update-grub

Now just reboot and your new kernel should automatically load.

Video Capability of TI OMAP 4 and 5

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The last OMAP 4 is OMAP 4470, which is offering dual ARM Cortex-M3 CPU cores running at up to 1.8GHz. TI claimed that OMAP 4470’s overall graphics performance on the new SoC is 250 percent better than the OMAP4430 which runs in the RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. The OMAP 4 uses the IVA 3 multimedia accelerator which supports:

Full HD 1080p30 multi-standard video encode/decode
Hardwired codecs deliver high performance at low power levels
Programmable DSP provides flexibility for future codecs VTC 1080p30
Provides support for high definition stereoscopic 3D encode/decode (OMAP4430: 720p, OMAP4460/4470: 1080p)
Ittiam demonstrated the OMAP 4 was capable of driving 4-way 720p video conferencing and high quality peer-to-peer 720p class HD video conferencing.
The OMAP 5 will have Quad-core, two high-powered CPU cores, up to 2GHz, and two lowly tickers, which are to carry out the mundane tasks to save on battery life. It will use the IVA 3 HD multimedia accelerator and supports
Full HD 1080p60 multi-standard video encode/decode
Hardwired codecs deliver high performance at low power levels
Programmable DSP provides flexibility for future codecs
Provides support for high definition stereoscopic 3D encode/decode at 1080p30
TI will also add some value for image processing, such as gesture recognition for commanding your device, as well as great DSP engines for photography. Special care is paid to the camera department in OMAP 5 as well, with built-in chips for what TI calls “computational photography”, using the powerful silicon to compensate for motion blur, camera shake, and bring about enhanced HDR, as well as real-time face recognition. Object and text recognition are also taken to the next level, which should bring along some promising augmented reality apps.

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