New Nexus Phones; $55 Dev Board; Edible "Wearables" (That Just Happened, Oct. 8)

We missed last week and extend our apologies to our most ardent readers (sorry mom!), and not surprisingly it’s been a busy 10 days.


Google made another big splash with the launch of two new Nexus phone models (the 5X and the 6P), as well as two new Chromecast devices, one for video, the other for audio.

The Nexus 5X, made by LG, runs on a Snapdragon 808 processor (1.8 GHz hexa-core 64-bit), while the Nexus 6P, made by Huawei, relies on a Snapdragon 810 v2.1 processor (2.0 GHz octa-core 64-bit).  Thomas Claburn from Information Week fills us in, while CNET’s Stephen Shankland opines that the camera quality may push these devices into the mainstream. Meanwhile, Android 6.0 Marshmallow will first land on the Nexus 5 and 6 as part of a slow-roll across multiple devices, according to IWeek’s Eric Zeman.

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Come up with a cost-effective solution for LiOn batteries and you just might have a statue erected to your smart self. But that’s been a tall order. Now come researchers at Oregon State University who have re-examined what was long-ago thought to be a dead-end battery technology. Mark Tyson at describes their work with potassium-ion.

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It’s had its challenges in recent years, but the Blackberry remains near and dear to the hearts of many engineers as one of the pioneering mobile cell phone devices. What’s its future? Blackberry CEO John Chen has plans, as reported by Shara Tibken and Roger Cheng from CNET.

Development Boards

I’m not a huge fan of sugary foods but the Snickerdoodle—the electronics version—caught my eye this week. A Bay Area startup, Krtkl (pronounced “critical”), has unveiled the dev board that is a $55 competitor in the space.’s Stephen Evanczuk gives details on this hybrid ARM-based SoC/FPGA that’s based on Xilinx's Zynq-7000. Speaking of boards, don’t forget to check the latest listings in our Single Board Computers.


The big knock on the crowded wearables market is that with wearables 1.0, a lot of users are tossing them in the sock drawer after a few weeks’ use. (This is sad to me because the computing power in many of these devices is far more than that that got astronauts to the moon on the lunar lander, but I digress).

Nows comes FitBit CEO James Park who says this trend is itself headed for the sock drawer. Why? Re/Code’s Dawn Chmielewski explains. And then there’s the fact that people are starting to deploy these devices on their fat pets, according to Re/Code’s Jason Del Rey. Think about it.

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Meanwhile, you’ll be ingesting those wearables in the not too distant future (and yes, we’ll dub them “ingestibles;” don’t even think about it—I’ve already copyrighted it). CNET’s Tibken reports on why Jawbone CEO Hosain Rahman believes this will happen in the future.

SoC Implementation

100-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 processor for high-performance networking? Ask and ye shall receive from Tilera, via our friend charbax at

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Scaling is slowing and our industry has gone vertical to keep up the spirit of Moore’s Law. But just how long will FinFETs last? Semiconductor Engineering’s Ann Steffora Mutschler talks to industry experts to get their take in a three-part series that concluded this week (with links to parts 1 and 2).

Adorable closing GIF

This is a test this week. There’s widespread love for the dancing baby GIF in this feature, but a concern that it’s dragging down page rendering. So this week, careful readers will notice I’ve posted no images save for the video embed. If you have a page-loading problem this week (jensbauer I’m looking at you!), let me know and that will spell the end of the dancing baby GIFs.