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The RN4020 Bluetooth Smart Module is Microchip Technology’s, first Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy module. It comes industry-certified and functions completely as a stand alone or in conjunction with any microcontroller.


The module not only functional immediately but also carries various international certifications right out of the box, including certification from Bluetooth Special Interest Group.


The RN4020 Bluetooth module also comes with the Microchip Low-energy Data Profile pre-installed, enabling immediate compatibility across the BTLE network. It is also stack-on-board and can either connect directly to Microchip’s line of PIC MCUs with a UART interface (or any microcontroller with a UART interface) and it can operate independently for basic uses, such as the collection and transmission of data.


It’s the first of its kind at Microchip and the micro tech giant hopes to provide developers with an easy solution for the next generation of wireless products that will eat up less power.


Microchip hopes that its RN4020 revolutionizes the development of Internet of Things devices by providing energy-efficient access to Bluetooth technology on a chip. If MCU-powered devices gain access to Bluetooth, they can revolutionize the industry, enhancing a wide range of products, from consumables to medical devices.


Imagine if pacemakers, for example, began utilizing Bluetooth technology. The device would not only save the life of its host, but could even transmit critically important data to doctors, such as technical malfunctions and abnormalities. There are a lot of requirements for on patient products including FDA approval; off the shelf Bluetooth product are not necessarily certified for use in medical care.


The RN4020 LE Smart module comes preloaded with useful profiles, such as MLDP, Bluetooth SIG low-energy, public and private profiles via the ASCII command interface.


The RN4020 also comes equipped with a PCB antenna, capable of 7 dBm transmission and -92.5 dBm receiving sensitivity over 300ft. The module itself is 11.5 x 19.5 x 2.5 mm and will retail to manufacturers and developers at $6.78 each, sold in quantities of 1000 units.



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As an annual IPC & embedded industry event, 2014 IPC & EMBEDDED EXPO mainly focuses on the latest technologies, products on mainstream architecture including X86, ARM, ASIC and FPGA, as well as embedded solutions related to vertical industries.

Forlinx will showcase our ARM9, ARM11, Cortex-A8 series single board computers to all attenders, especially the newly released OK335xS-II single board computer built on TI AM3354 processor.

Welcome to our booth No.2H18. We will be ready there to help solve your puzzles on ARM boards.

(website: http://www.forlinx.net)


  ARM company will host the ARM Smart Embedded Application Seminar in July 2014. It will be held respectively in shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen in China. As one of close partners, Forlinx is invited to attend this seminar. Together with other well-known companies, such as: Advantech, Altera, Freescale, KW-software, Neusoft, Oracle, Quintic, STMicro electronics, SeeedStudio, Xilinx,etc, we will share the typical application cases in wearable devices, intelligent medical, smart appliance and industrial control fields.

As we all have known that, IoT, featured as smart&connect, has integrated with embedded system to generate a new concept “smart hardware”. More and more innovative applications and services modes, even demands for intelligence and intelligent control have been successively stimulated.

Smart embedded system could be widely applied in many fields, such as: smart energy, household appliances, medical monitoring, lighting device, digital signage, industrial automation and car electronics, etc. Developments of all these products and services must have to be created on the basis of software, hardware and embedded development platform, which is remarkable compliant to the ARM IoT market. All kinds of appliances can be well organized wireless to form a seamless complete system based on Cortex-A8 platform and Sensinode’Nano Service software support. Developers could prototype within a very short period and speed up time-to-market. With continuing convergence among hardware, software, standard internet communication, and embedded systems, ARM will definitely bring Subversive innovations on and speed up the development of IoT industry.

On 25th July, Forlinx will attend and address at ARM Smart Embedded Application Seminar in Shenzhen. Forlinx Embedded Technology Co.,Ltd has been focusing on the R&D, manufacture and marketing of ARM embedded system for a long time, and establishing long-term friendly and stable partner relationship with Samsung, TI and Freescale. It has released many series embedded boards based upon ARM9, ARM11, Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9, assisting thousands of enterprises to shorten products release time.

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A prototype of the FreFlow gone fashion accessory which may become a ‘must-have’ for concerts. (via SONY)

Sony may be bringing another risky product to market that may sink instead of swim. However, their prototype tested at concert venues was a success, so it seems the synchronizable glowing wristband may soon hit markets in the USA.


The new product is a riff on their FreFlow glow pen which takes the form of a wristband fashion accessory. The basic idea is that the LED equipped bracelets will flash colors in unison with the performer’s master lights. Hence, it is basically the ultimate rave gear.


Concert- goers went crazy for the FreFlow technology when it was tested by the Japanese Rock band, Fuji Fabric on October 24th, 2012. The FreFlow also allowed concert goers to manually change the color of their lights to fit their mood.


It seems that this technology was a big hit during the concert because it give a feeling of collectivism with the performers and audience. However, who knows how a capitalistic, individualistic society (yes I mean us)will judge these unison rave bracelets.


The main concerns are also the logistics of these products as there would need to be someone controlling the remote-controlled master wireless transmitter and concerts would have to support the technology. This provides many barriers as concert venues would probably have to buy thousands of these little gadgets and pass them out to concert attendees; which could happen. But, then the venue would have to get the bracelets back which is less likely to happen as attendees may want a free souvenir.


Another market strategy could be that people would buy them and concert venue can have the technology available for use. However, it kind-of ruins the feeling of collective euphoria to distinctly separate the haves from the have-nots.


Whatever strategy Sony takes to bring these gadgets to market, I am sure the world will learn to live with, or without them.




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When Selecting your capacitor for your embedded products, do you have to consider:


• Electrical characteristics.

• Stability.

• Longevity.

• Reliability.

• Safety.

• Life cycle cost.


Panasonic Launches its Polymer Capacitors to the market, which provides a great technical solution for Embedded products.

Panasonic Polymer offer 4 advantages VS other product technologies.


The Polymer technology offers fantastic Frequency Characteristics.

Thanks to their ultra low ESR values, polymer capacitors have a low impedance neartheir resonance point (see Image Below). And lower impedance reduces AC ripple in power circuits.

Panasonic testing has revealed as much as a fivefold reduction in peak-to-peakvoltage changes when comparing polymer capacitors to conventional low-ESR tantalum capacitors.


Stable capacitance

With ceramic capacitors, capacitance drifts in response to temperature changes and DC bias.

Polymer capacitors have no such problem and remainstable over time .This stability is particularly important in industrial and automotive applications, which tend to experience fluctuations in operating temperatures. We’ve seen cases where elevated temperatures caused an effective capacitance loss of 90% or more for ceramic capacitors, meaning that the conventional capacitor.


Stability in Life time .jpg


Enhanced safety.

Conventional electrolytic capacitors can suffer from safety issues that could cause them to short circuit and fail. The problem arises when electrical or mechanical stresses create defects or discontinuities in the oxide film that forms the capacitor’s dielectric. Polymer capacitors have a self-healing capability that eliminates this failure mode.

The repair takes place in response to the joule heating that occurs when a dielectric defect triggers a short circuit. The heating breaks the molecular chain of the conductive polymer near the defect, driving up its resistance and effectively forming a barrier against any current leaking from the electrode In the case of hybrid capacitors, an additional self-healing mechanism comes into play—because the liquid electrolyte causes current flow near the defect to reoxidize the aluminum. We have conducted numerous over-voltage tests to demonstrate the self-repairing nature of polymer and hybrid capacitors. One such test compared our SP-Cap polymer capacitors to a conventional tantalum-MnO2 capacitors. The polymer model withstood short currents as high as 7 amps, while the tantalum capacitor started smoking at 3 amps and ignited at 5 amps. This safety enhancement has important design and cost implications. Conventional tantalum capacitors are normally derated in use by 30 to 50% their labeled voltage to ensure that they operate safely. This derating, while a common and accepted engineering practice, results in an upsizing of capacitors and increased cost. For our polymer capacitors, by contrast, we guarantee operation at 90% of the full-rated voltage.


If your application/design needs, High Reliability, High Efficiency, Low ESR, High Ripple Current or your looking for a Smart Alternative to Tantalum Capacitors maybe you should consider using Panasonic Polymer.

Link For Samples: Capacitors | Power Capacitors | Farnell UK


OK335xS-II Is on Promotion!!!

Posted by winter Jul 9, 2014

Great news!

OK335xS-II, based on Cortex-A8 processor, with 128M RAM 256M NandFlash, is an industrial embedded platform.

During this 5-day promotion, the price is only 298RMB. If you are lucky enough, you will have a chance to get a 4.3-inch LCD for free!

Click http://www.forlinx.net

or contact forlinxwinter(Skype) for more details.

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Microchip Technology Inc., recently announced a new line of eXtreme Low Power PIC microcontroller that are more secure, more cost effective and feature faster throughput. Your home phone technology will never be the same.


Microcontrollers are tiny computers that are programmed for very specific functions, such as running our household appliances. They are also very unique, in that they must run on extremely low power and are expected to last for more than a decade or two.


From running the microwave and home phone to powering many emerging products within the Internet of Things, these cheap, simplistic chips power much of the world around us. Because of their importance, Mircrochip, a leading manufacturer of microcontrollers, decided to up its game-on-a-chip with its new XLP line, the PIC24F ‘GB2’ family.


The PIC24F line features a hardware crypto engine, One-Time-Programmable passcode storage and Random Number Generator for increased security. It also runs on less energy while in sleep mode, in which MCUs remain more than 90 percent of the time.


The PIC24F microcontroller line also features up to 128KB Flash and 8KB RAM hardware in packages that vary from 28 to 44-pin. Microchip says its line is ideal for IoT sensor nodes, security systems and units with keyless access. The microcontroller ‘giant’ also claims the GB2 line allows for faster throughput, longer battery life (180 µA/MHz Run currents and 18 nA Sleep currents), more secure data and lower cost.


Microchip is convinced its new nanotechnology will have a large impact within the world of the IoT. With enhanced security, PIC24F microcontrollers may find their way into the growing industry of home automation. Also, with longer battery life and less energy consumption, the PIC24F chip may become a favorite among pacemaker manufacturers too.


PIC24F GB2 chips will work seamlessly with Microchip’s entire line of programs and tools for developers. The chip will sell with and without USB access and will be available to manufacturers in SOIC, SSOP, SPDIP and QFN packages starting at $1.30 each when purchased in volume.


While the new microcontrollers will last longer and consume less power, it is often not the microchip, but the hardware of a device, that fails us long before the 20-year mark. Microchip told me during an interview at Sensor Expo 2014, they are definitely not expanding into the mobile (smartphone) industry. However, Microchip continued that they may find a way to extend the life of our household appliances then they will really be in business. Here’s hoping.



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   In June, 2014, as a partner with close cooperative relation with TI, Forlinx Embedded was invited to attend seminars held in Wuhan, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Beijing focused on Sitara processor.

   Specializing in ARM embedded boards, Forlinx brought a couple of industrial single board computers, which are based on TI Cortex-A8 AM335x processor, and they attracted much attenttion from the other attenders who are R&D engineers from all walks of life. Among these eye catchers, single board computer OK335xS-II, called the cheapest industrial Cortex-A8 board in history, was the highlight. All the chips and components are industrial with operating temperature ranged from -40℃ to +85℃. The price of it is only 298RMB! (At present, it it being sold. Click http://www.forlinx.net/ to view more.)

Perform as Cortex-A8, Priced as ARM9

Higher Performance, Lower Price

Cortex-A8 Development Platform, Copublished by Forlinx Embedded and TI, Is Going to Bring Product Development into A8 Times



   In the near future, Forlinx Embedded together with TI will launch a new development platform with ultra low cost based on Cortex-A8-- OK335xS single board computer. It adopts TI Cortex-A8 AM335x processor and gets complete industrial design. With wide running temperature range, -40℃ to +85℃, main frequency up to 800MHz, 1600DMIPS and outstanding hardware 3D graphic accelerator, it should become your first choice. Moreover, the whole single board computer only costs 298 RMB, which makes it the most cost-effective Cortex-A8 development platform.    



OK335xS-II Features

· TI Cortex-A8 AM3354 high-end processor: main frequency up to 800MHz, 1600DMIPS, with hardware 3D graphic acceleration.

· Industrial development platform makes running more stable: OK335xS-II adopts 6-layer ENIG PCB, 136pin half hole connector and complete industrial components. Its running temperature ranges from -40℃ to +85℃. What’s more, it has past electromagnetic compatibility testing, extreme low and high temperature and vibration testings.

· Abundant interfaces: support dual-Gigabit Ethernet ports, 6 serial ports and 8 industrial buses, which are quite convenient for developing control-products.

· Numerous technical documents make development easier: to help users get familiar with our boards quickly and shorten R&D period, Forlinx provide all interface drivers based on WinCE and Linux as well as lots of testing and application programs.

· Powerful technical support ensures you smooth development: professional technical support is made is forms of telephone call, forum or BBS and E-mail.

For more information, please visit http://www.forlinx.net or contact at winter@forlinx.com


Trinity College Dublin researchers produce graphene in quantity using mechanical exfoliation.


Just about everyone knows that the 1-atom thick wonder material, graphene, is poised to take over the world of electronics. Its electrical properties alone would allow manufacturers to build CPUs that could run in the 100GHz range, that’s how unusually great the material is. The only problem is, we do not know when this will happen due in part because it has always been difficult and expensive to manufacture the material in bulk.

Current methods of graphene production include reduction processes (usually in oxide form), sonication (graphene oxide film applied to a DVD and burning it in a DVD writer) and heating silicon carbide to high pressures (among a handful of other methods). The trend of producing graphene using these slow and inefficient methods may be over with, thanks to some clever researchers from Trinity College Dublin’s AMBER department.

Their method of producing the material in bulk is based on the first technique pioneered in 2010- using adhesive tape to grab layers of graphene, otherwise known as the mechanical exfoliation method. Instead of using ‘Scotch Tape’ to grab flakes of graphene, the team used a stabilizing fluid mixed with the material and fed it into a shear-mixer. The mixer shears off sheets of graphene at a sufficient size that qualifies at ‘industrial levels’, claiming that their exfoliation method can be achieved using a few millimeters of liquid up to hundreds of liters and more. This breakthrough could open the door to manufacturing graphene on enormous scales at reduced costs, allowing electronics manufacturers to incorporate the material into their next-gen products.


Will graphene allow us to truly have a flexible phone? Samsung thinks so.


One of those electronics manufacturers is already eying the material for truly flexible electronics. Graphene beats out silicon for electron mobility 100-times over and is more durable than steel, has incredible heat conductibility (meaning it dissipates heat very well) and flexible to boot, which is why Samsung is eyeing it for flexible displays, wearable computing and mobile devices.

The tech giant has collaborated with Sungkyunkwan University to develop a synthesis method of producing the material in bulk. Unlike the AMBER department’s exfoliation technique, Samsung has adopted the multi-crystal synthesis method to synthesis ‘large-area’ graphene into a single crystal on a semiconductor. Multi-crystal synthesis tends to reduce the electrical and mechanical properties of graphene, however the collaborative effort at developing the process of depositing a single crystal on a semiconductor at wafer-scale sizes has allowed the graphene to retain its properties.

To put it simply, their method of fabricating the wonder-material results in sheets of graphene at wafer size, making it possible to mass produce new electronics in the near future rather than decades from now. While the prospects for incorporating graphene into everyday electronics is becoming a reality, powering those devices is a whole different story but may be possible using something the Earth has an abundance of.


Chinese scientists use graphene and saltwater to produce an electrical charge.


Powering our mobile devices is typically done through a rechargeable Li-ion battery but that may soon change, thanks to some ingenious Chinese scientists. Humans have been using water for power as a renewable resource through the use of hydroelectric dams, however to gain a powerful enough charge, the dams need to be large. This presents a problem when the technology is scaled down, as generating electricity at small levels is wholly inefficient.

To that end, scientists have been investigating grabbing a charge at nano-scale levels using nano-structures. Scientists have found that a significant charge could be garnered by passing ionic fluids through a pressure gradient, however even that is limiting due to that pressure gradient needed. As luck would have it, the Chinese science team found that passing a saltwater droplet over a sheet of graphene could produce an electric charge without the need for a pressure gradient.

The team found that when a droplet of saltwater sat static on the material, they carried an equal charge on both sides, however when they slid the droplet from one side to the other, it generated measurable voltage along the way. In fact, they found the faster the droplet moved, the more voltage it creates! While the initial generated charge was only around 30-milivolts, it presents future options to power our mobile devices if it can be refined and developed upon. Until then, we will still have to use the tried and true Li-ion to listen to music, watch our favorite shows and converse with our friends.


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Engage with ST, join the contest!  in collaboration with ARM Connected Community ST is organizing the STM32 Internet of Things Design
Contest  EMEA Edition
We believe in the creativity of engineers and challenge them to invent the next big Thing for IoT, to design around the STM32 family of ARM® Cortex®-M microcontrollers and ST’s other industry-leading components
. ST will assist the finalists in turning their dreams into reality with technical
support during the development phase and can help in bringing the winning solution to market.

You can register for this exciting contest and send us a project description and a video of your innovative application (all information into Terms&Conditions). You could be one of the three lucky winners to be invited at an award ceremony at Electronica in Munich to collect your prize: a Hyetis Crossbow - the first and only Swiss Made Luxury SmartWatch.
Contest Rules
Candidates are challenged to develop an Internet of Things application based on at least one STM32 microcontroller and as many other ST components as possible (at least one other required). Registration and submission of projects are open on ST Facebook.
An ST panel will select ten project finalists based on the following criteria: level of innovation, ST product content, feasibility, functionality, technical merit, usefulness.
The videos describing the finalists applications will be posted mid September on the web site and three winners will be elected by the “embedded community”with a voting system open until end of October.

The winners will be invited to attend an award Ceremony during Electronica in Munich - November 11th-14th.

Smart Grid

Internet of Things


Development Tools and Solutions



California’s BPPE sets its sights on coding bootcamps (via stock)

Education is one of the biggest issues the younger generations are facing today. According to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), the US is lagging far behind other countries when it comes to the sciences, math and even reading (based on the 2012 PISA exam). These statistics will undoubtedly limit what jobs will be available to the students of today, a good portion of which will be in the technology sector with a focus on coding and programming. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for healthcare IT and mobile networks professionals will, in turn, promote an increased demand for programmers, systems analysts and support technicians to the tune of 22% of those currently employed by the year 2020. In an effort to keep those potential jobs from going offshore, the US government, tech companies and academic institutions have initiated several programs that bring the computer sciences to classrooms and other learning centers. Several nonprofits, including Code.org, Khan Academy and MIT’s Scratch have sprung into existence since 2012 to give kids a leg-up on the skills needed to land one of those tech jobs by providing the necessary tools online. The popularity of those programs has invaded classrooms all over the globe (programming has become part of the sciences in some schools) and as a result, has spawned a slew of independent programming and coding schools in the US. This also brought on the rise of ‘coding bootcamps’ where students get a crash course on programming in weeks rather than months or years. As those programs have risen in popularity among high school kids, it also caught the attention of regulators who have recently taken a closer look at how those camps are run and what classification they fall under as an academic institution.


In recent weeks, California’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) has issued ‘cease and desist’ orders to several coding camps, including Hackbright Academy, Hack Reactor and App Academy (along with a few others) in an effort to bring those institutions up to code. The BPPE is an offshoot of the California Department of Consumer Affairs (NOT the Department of Education) and is tasked at regulating private institutions of post or secondary education, which includes vocational schools and other academic institutions.  The problems seem to be that those programming bootcamps did not (or were not aware of the need to) register or apply for a license with the BPPE and are therefore not in compliance with regulations and guidelines set forth by the regulatory commission. Those bootcamps were issued the C&D orders, which stated either they comply with the guidelines or be forced to shut down and face a hefty fine of $50,000. To get a better understanding of the situation, online programs like Code.org are free to anyone who wants to learn the basics of programming while the coding bootcamps charge anywhere from $10,000 and upwards for a 10-week full-throttle course in specific programming languages. Regulation and oversight when it comes to that kind of money isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however the regulations set down by the BPPE are somewhat archaic in nature when it comes to the digital age. For example, if the institution offers a degree program (which most of those bootcamps do), they must have a library and other learning resources, complete with a professional librarian or information specialist. Suffice it to say, the Application for Approval to get those bootcamps up to regulation is staggering to say the least, which is putting those institutions under immense pressure as they attempt to continue to operate.


It should be noted that some of these programs incorporate diversity within their respective communities. For instance, Hackbright specializes in teaching women to code in an effort to gain a competitive edge in the job market. Bootcamps can also help many unemployed Californians find jobs, which could only bolster the state’s ailing economy. Many coding institutions in the state however, fear that they will become bankrupt and forced to close as the application process can take up to 18 months and during that time, no classes can be taken and prospective students cannot enroll, which costs the institutions their income. It should also be noted that those coding bootcamps usually have a job-placement program in conjunction with many of the top tech companies in the nation, such as Google, Facebook and even Microsoft, which many students will miss out on if these camps go under. Most of the institutions that received the cease and desist letters are working to comply with the regulations to get back to the business of teaching, which consists of a $5,000 application fee, course catalog and a performance fact sheet on student progress (among other things). While some may feel that these camps are being unjustly singled out, others feel that regulation is necessary in order to deter fraud, such as implying a ‘guaranteed job after graduation’ (only the military can do that). The question is, does this signal an end to the ever-growing coding camps or will it only serve to solidify their credibility and could that scrutiny transfer over to schools that have implemented their own coding courses?



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Promo pictures of the kit. Seems like a good idea. I wonder how durable the paint is over time... (via Tony Yu & Kickstarter)

While technology has brought us the glorious touch screen phone, it has yet to bring us gloves that work well with the illuminated screens. Around this time of year, with snow and cold part of the equation in many places, most people are begging for phones with buttons to make a comeback, as the dinosaur phones are at least glove-friendly. Fret no more. Introducing: a “paint” that can make almost any surface touch-screenfriendly.


Tony Yu, like most winterers and bikers, was frustrated with the lack of conductive gloves that really work, so he developed Nanotips, a type of liquid that can make just about any substance conductive. The “paint” is a conductive polyamide solution that can be applied to your favorite gloves to turn them into touch screen capable gloves, without the need for conductive thread or sewing.


The paint comes in two different versions – Nanotips Blue, which is a transparent shade of blue intended for fabric and Nanotips Black, which is stronger, black in color and intended for tough material, including rubber or thick fabric like leather.


The liquid is applied similarly to white-out. The user only need to paint the substance on the index and thumb of their gloves, wait for it to dry and let the fun begin! One bottle of Nanotips Blue can be used for approximately 15 fingertip applications, while Nanotips Black needs less coats, so a bottle can cover up to 30 fingertip applications. It can also be used on other items, such as pens, to create a DIY stylus.


Nantotips creates a conductive channel on the gloves, or any surface, that recreates the touch of human skin on the touchscreen. Nanotips Blue also dries relatively transparently, even on light colors, while Nanotips black is solid black; something to consider before coating your crème cashmere gloves.


The solution is ready for mass production and the product reached its Kickstarter goal of $10,500 in only four days. They finished off at $72,133 CAD! The product will be available on pre-order for $18-20, depending on the type. The full retail price will be $22 for either serum.



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Audience eS700 voice processing chips. (via Audience)


With the myriad of NSA spying scandals hitting the headlines on a weekly basis, it’s surprising that it hasn’t over-shadowed the legitimacy of using ‘listening technology’ for touchless interaction with mobile devices. In that regard, Audience has released their eS700 line of advanced voice processing chips for sampling, which should be incorporated into new mobile devices by the second quarter of this year. Just like the new Kinect sensor from Microsoft, the chip actively ‘listens’ for voice commands, even while the device is off, to interact with the mobile device and navigate/use applications hands free (touch interaction is so early 21st century). The key behind their new chips is the inclusion of VoiceQ, which enable the chip’s always on feature that actively listens for key voice phrases in its immediate surroundings without the need to siphon off trickling amounts of power (less than 1.5mA) to do so. The technology also eliminates the pause-breaks associated with other devices in regards to those voice commands. For instance, users can turn on their devices and have them proceed to the needed function or app simply by saying ‘power on and play music’ for example, without the need to separate those commands. Other features of Audience’s new eS700 line include noise cancelation (even in windy conditions), speech restoration to increase voice quality in noisy environments and full-band 48 kHz voice processing. It also features a new programming API that allows OEMs to create apps that takes advantage of the voice interactive features and incorporate them seamlessly into their next-gen devices. While various manufacturers are already sampling the chips, its unknown as to exactly which ones will feature them in their new product lines.


The NSA doesn't officially endorse these new chips but they like what they 'hear'.



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LG’s G Flex smartphone. It doesn't flex... but it is a curved panel. (via LG)

Flexible electronics are quickly becoming the rage for companies looking to capitalize on the bendy tech. Products are already flooding the market since their mainstream introduction back in the mid-20th century. Sony’s SmartWear (relays information from smartphones), Razer’s Nabu (relays social and fitness info) and flexible displays are already hitting the market like an unstoppable flood that can’t be stopped. Smartphones too are taking advantage of the flexible fad, with offerings from Samsung (Galaxy Round) and the more popular LG G Flex, with both featuring curved HD screens. While the round isn’t yet available to most of the world (limited to South Korea unless you buy it unlocked, hence: unpopular), the G Flex is widely available and cornering the ‘curved’ market in both Europe and the US. The phone features pretty much the same hardware as most ‘tier-one’ smartphones, with a Snapdragon 2.2GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of memory, 32GB of onboard storage running on a 3,500mAh Li-Polymer battery.


While those stats are impressive, the screen is the star of the show, with a 6-inch HD curved POLED flexible display (@ 245 ppi). The idea of the curved screen was to help cut down the reflections and glare normally found on flat phones when in adverse light conditions commonly found on sunny days. It’s also reportedly more ergonomic and better conforms to the human body’s many contours, especially the head. There’s also the ‘cool’ factor that comes with all new technology that gets released, but is it really that great or is it more of a gimmick or a proof-of-concept device? In a word, yes.


According to several online reviews, the screen does indeed cut down on reflections and glare and also allows content to be viewed in clarity from a variety of angles but the massive 6-inch screen only has a 720p resolution and is difficult to use and navigate with one hand. The screen sits under a plate of Gorilla Glass and can indeed flex to a flat position (when pressing down on the back) but it won’t fold-up into a convenient carry package of reduced size. Worst of all, the phone costs over $900, which will keep it out of most user’s hands, unless those hands reside in deep pockets. Still, the G Flex smartphone is more of a marketing model to get potential users interested in the design, which will undoubtedly be incorporated into next-gen phones in the near future. On that note, there are already rumors abound surrounding the G Flex 2 that will improve on the lackluster features of the first. The next phone will reportedly feature a flexible screen capable of ‘deforming’ or bend to 900 and that’s while it’s housed in the phones case, making it truly bendable in every sense of the word.


This represents the possibility that smartphones will one day be able to be folded into a ‘clamshell’ shape without damaging the internals. It will reportedly be released sometime this year (Fall perhaps?) but will it signal the fall of flat mobile devices? Perhaps not, unless it can overcome current limitations and feature a full 1080p screen with a greater ppi (Pixels per Inch) than that of the current G Flex. Only time will tell.



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