Tag Archives: mobile

CPUSH is like your personal notification assistant

This small cap ensures that you never miss an important notification and lets you immediately take action with the press of a button.

In today’s constantly connected world, we are bombarded with a seemingly never-ending stream of notifications on our smartphones. Whereas some may actually be important, it goes without saying that a vast majority can go without requiring our attention. However, those that are significant tend to sometimes get lost in the relentless feed of Facebook notifications, emails from colleagues or alerts from any one of countless integrated apps. Luckily, one London-based startup has set out to solve this problem.


CPUSH is a jellybean-sized unit plugs into any Android smartphone and serves as a personal notification assistant, enabling users to immediately act upon only crucial messages with just a press of a button. The pill-like cap, which comes in six different colors, boasts a red indicator light and a hidden button allowing users to take action. CPUSH can receive up to three different notifications at once, which in turn, lets users make three different actions simultaneously.

Even better, the small device is completely programmable. Through its accompanying mobile app, users can configure their button to call for help in an emergency, summon an Uber ride or keep tabs on a loved one, among countless other functions. Aside from merely syncing up with a smartphone, CPUSH was designed with the IoT in mind. In other words, owners can integrate it with IFTTT and Atooma, automate their smart home appliances ranging from Hue lights to Nest thermostats, as well as engage on any one of their favorite social channels.


Packed inside its half-square centimeter shell lies an ATtiny841 MCU at its heart, along with a few other electronic components. Impressively, CPUSH works without a power supply and therefore never requires recharging. What’s more, the system comes with an open source SDK to enable developers to explore their creativity and design applications that fit their own lifestyle.

Need one? Head over to CPUSH’s official Indiegogo campaign, where the team is currently seeking $30,000. Shipment is expected to get underway in November 2015.

Report: 1.2 billion smartphones were sold in 2014

Worldwide sales of smartphones with larger screens grew 180% in 2014.

According to the latest report from Germany-based GfK, there were 1.2 billion smartphones sold in 2014, up 23% on the year before and surpassing the billion-unit point for the first time. Yet, the analysts project sales to slow down to 14% growth in 2015, which will lead to approximately 1.37 billion devices.

Furthermore, last year saw a tremendous $381.1 billion worth of smartphones sold, up from $330 billion in 2013. Global smartphone sales set a new milestone at the tail-end of 2014 by reaching $115 billion for the Q4, an increase of 20% year-on-year. The number of units sold worldwide had also risen to nearly 346 million, up 19% on Q4 2013. Just about every region experienced YoY growth in smartphones — both in terms of units and value — except for “developed” APAC. Meanwhile, the Latin America smartphone market enjoyed the highest growth with 36 million units sold in Q4 2014, a 43% YoY jump. This region also saw the value of units sold increase by 37% year-on-year to around $10 billion.


Moving ahead, China will remain the largest market in terms of both unit and value sales for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, growth slowed dramatically in the second half of 2014. Analysts revealed that during the fourth quarter smartphone unit sales were flat year-on-year, although the value of units sold increased by 21% YoY to $28 billion, the highest ever quarterly figure. Still, however, there were nearly 400 million smartphones sold in China — almost one-third of the global total.

“The increase in the value of units sold in China, despite the recent plateauing of unit sales, is due to consumers’ rapid adoption of higher priced smartphones with larger screen sizes. This is a trend seen in most markets and GfK global data shows that the 5 to 5.6 inch segment grew by more than 130% year-on-year in the last quarter of 2014 and by nearly 150% in the full year. In 2015, we forecast this segment to become the dominant screen size band, surpassing 4 to 4.5 inch for the first time,” explained Kevin Walsh, Director of Trends and Forecasting at GfK.

While prices may be shrinking, the screens are doing anything but. In fact, global unit sales of smartphones with larger screens (5”+) grew 180% in 2014, with GfK forecasting this to be the largest segment in 2015. The most resilient two regions in 2015 — both forecast to grow by 33% in unit terms — are “emerging” APAC and Middle East/Africa. Both areas still have significant room for growth as consumers migrate from feature phones and existing smartphones to trade up to a bigger screen.

As TechCrunch points out, “It’s a revealing picture of just how strong Android is in certain markets at the moment. As you can see, globally when you exclude North America, at the start of 2014, the majority of mobile sales were still feature phones, accounting for 68% of all sales. By Q4, Android held a 57% of all sales, while feature phones were just at 29%. ‘Other smartphones,’ which are primarily iPhone devices, ended 2014 just as it started: with 14% of sales.”

Unlike other research firms, GfK’s numbers are worth noting given that the company tracks actual sales, not just shipments, of devices from more than 90 markets. Interested in reading more? You can find the entire report here.

Report: Chinese companies sell 40% of all smartphones

Global smartphone shipments totaled 1.167 billion units in 2014.

Chinese companies accounted for nearly 40% of global smartphone sales and represent six of the top 10 smartphone brands worldwide in 2014, according to a new report from TrendForce.


“2014 was definitely an impressive year for Chinese brands as they gained more share of the global market,” explained Avril Wu, TrendForce Global Smartphone Analyst. Total worldwide shipments totaled 1.167 billion units last year, with combined shipments of Chinese brands surpassing 453 million units. 

Atop the list of vendors was Samsung who lead the pack with 28% market share, with Apple not far behind at 16.4%. Lenovo, with Motorola under its wing, ranked third after shipping over 90 million smartphone last year. LG, Huawei and Xiaomi followed with 6.0%, 5.9% and 5.2% market share, respectively.


TrendForce notes that Xiaomi has had a particularly strong showing in recent years, having doubled in growth YoY since 2011. “As for the smartphone makers with the best cost-performance products, the title goes to Xiaomi. Its flagship models cost around $300 to $350, but they match their high-end counterparts from international vendors in hardware specs.”

Other notable names rounding out the list included Coolpad, Sony, ZTE and TCL. By 2015, TrendForce projects that three of the top five companies will be Chinese.

15 emerging technologies CIOs must watch through 2020

Aside from keeping the lights on and ensuring that all of the enterprise’s IT ducks are in a row, CIOs continually need to stay abreast of emerging technologies. According to a recent study from Forrester, CIOs that want to maintain their relevancy within an organization not only need to keep each these next-gen innovations on their immediate radar, but determine how to best apply that set of tech to stay competitive amidst the changes.

Forrester recommends CIOs adopt a customer-centric approach when making these decisions, in what the research firm dubs the “Age of the Customer.” What this means is that the CIO isn’t only required to become fully cognizant of the latest in mobile, social, big data and the cloud, but how and where the Internet of Things, wearable and other digital solutions fit into the bigger picture.

To assist these executives with the exponentially growing list of technologies and their potential applications in the business setting, Forrester has broken them down into to four main innovation groups. As the analysts note, here are the key 15 trends enterprise architects must watch over the five years.


Emerging business solutions enable new ways of doing business

1. Customer analytics solutions help firms deeply understand what their customers need and when they need it; emerging technology packages help firms develop a complete contextual view, without lots of custom plumbing.

2. Digital experience solutions offer a cockpit for managing the customer life cycle; these provide an integrated environment for firms to manage customers, content, segments, and offerings.

3. Customer-driven design solutions enable collaborative experience design with customers; experience designers will get a rich environment to learn, test, and iterate with more customer input.

4. Internet of Things solutions offer packaged business process and integration; combining sensors, networks, platforms, and integration will accelerate IoT value and speed implementation for specific business scenarios

Emerging interaction technologies create news ways to engage customers

5. Next-generation connectivity enables a wide range of new digital endpoints; very low-power wireless technology will expand the types of devices that can connect, while cutting costs dramatically.

6. Wearable technology creates many new information sources and displays; new gadgets are adding rich info collection or display on, in, and around the body, expanding digital reach.

7. Natural user interfaces offer new methods for interacting with computing experiences; beyond point, type, and touch, people will be able to talk, wink, wave, and be tapped.

Emerging aggregation and delivery technologies drive contextual engagement

8. Real-time sourcing and delivery technology brings insight to the point of decision; marketing and operations will have deeper contextual insight from fresh data for engagement.

9. Advanced analytics technology allows firms to cull deeper insight from more data; analysts and data science teams will get better and faster at teasing understanding from piles of diverse data.

10. Digital identity management technology helps firms and individuals control access across channels; employees and customers will more easily gain access to services they need or want, in line with the dynamic privacy and security concerns of our digital world.

11. Software acceleration platforms and tools help firms continuously deliver; firms will experiment with application development and delivery to maximize engagement and value.

Emerging infrastructure technology creates a powerful and agile foundation

12. Advanced silicon devices offer new levels of computing, energy efficiency, and sensors types; reductions in silicon device size will enable improvements through 2020, when limits appear.

13. Software-defined infrastructure will enable flexible, easy data center adjustments; abstracted hardware controlled by powerful software will create flexible, agile infrastructure.

14. Cloud integration tools will integrate apps and management across cloud and on-premises; hybrid architectures will become easier to design and operate as tools take shape.

15. Big data management technology provides a flexible, affordable foundation for insight; technology managers will embrace this software as the only affordable way to meet business demands for more insight from more data.

To read more, access the entire Forrester blog post and report here.

Turning playgrounds into video games with ATmega328P

In today’s age of non-stop stimulation, it seems old schoolyard mainstays like the see-saw and jungle gym may not get as much love as they used to. In a way to reinvigorate these activities, the Hybrid Play system — which recently made its Indiegogo debut — uses an Atmel powered, clip-on sensor to transform any playground into an interactive virtual game.


Making setup super easy and intuitive, the Hybrid Play clip can easily be affixed to nearly any feature on a playset. The sturdy, weather-resistant “clothespin” features a collaboration of an ATmega328P MCU, IR sensors, gyroscopes, and accelerometers that precisely track motion data and transmit it back to a paired smartphone application via Bluetooth LE.


“A wireless sensor transforms the playground elements into physical interfaces controlling video games on Android or iOS devices (such as smartphones and tablets). Hybrid Play is specifically designed for recreational equipment that rotates around an axis, such as swings or seesaws, or static elements such a slides,” the team writes.


Once clipped to the play set, the Arduino-based sensor registers movement while a custom software transforms this data into actions in the digital game, such as walking, jumping, running or turning. Hybrid Play bridges the gap between the physical and digital worlds to create open-air fun experiences, and comes equipped with pre-installed entertainment like Puzzle City and Space Kids. However, since it’s open source, everyone can design their own games as well!


According to its creators, the actual functionality of the Hybrid Play is designed to promote communication, collaboration and group-play with children and parents. Usually, a parent or friend will operate the smartphone, as kids work together to solve the smartphone applications tasks and objectives. The phone could assign kids to swing in a pattern that collects space trash to clean the galaxy or to navigate the playscape in a reworked version of the arcade classics Pac-Man and TRON.


“You can also try hybrid version of classic games. Give a new life to old games on the playground or even better: you can create your own games. Your creations, your rules!” Given its open-source nature, the fun possibilities are endless.

The accessible iOS and Android platform even allows for kids and families to design their own games to be acted out and solved upon the playground. Hybrid Play’s intersection of physical activity, virtual stimulation, and relationship building makes it an ideal tool for the modern-day, on-the-go family.

Currently seeking $140,000 in its recently-launched crowdfunding campaign, the team hopes to use the pledges for hardware production, as well as software and gaming development. Shipments are expected to begin April 2015 — perfect time for some spring!

Do you have children between the ages of 6 and 12 and want to learn more about Hybrid Play?  You can explore the wide range of possibilities on its official site and back the team on its Indiegogo page here.

Atmel talks ARM, IoT and sensors on Google+

On Tuesday, February 18, ARM hosted a live Google+ Hangout panel with executives from Atmel, Freescale and Sensor Platforms.

Participating panelists included:


Will Tu – Director of Embedded Segment Marketing at ARM
  • Diya Soubra – CPU Product Marketing Manager for Cortex-M ARM Processors at ARM
Adrian Woolley – Director of Strategy and Business Development at Atmel’s Microcontroller Business Unit
  • Mike Stanley – Manager of Freescale’s Sensor Solutions Division
  • Kevin A. Shaw – CTO of Sensor Platforms

As you can see in the video above, the panelists discussed various software and hardware design techniques to help IoT developers achieve a precise balance between low power sipping and high software complexity for sensor-enabled devices.

“When Atmel designs its microcontrollers, we make sure we have a very good understanding [of particular] applications. [We] optimize the hardware and peripherals [accordingly], developing ICs around the software and [specific] implementations,” Wooley explained.

“[We] understand how software algorithms work, how sensors work and optimize our microcontrollers to operate at extremely low power levels. Atmel puts a lot of intelligence around peripherals in both mobile and IoT, so we don’t need to wake them up anymore than is absolutely necessary. When activated, our MCUs efficiently process data with a minimal amount of battery power.”

Interested in learning more about Atmel’s comprehensive ARM-based MCU and MPU portfolios? You can check out our official ARM product page here.

Bend your mind with Atmel’s XSense contest

We all know that bendable, flexible touchscreens are the future, and here at Atmel, we consider ourselves to be riding the crest of that curve with XSense, our high-performance, ultra-flexible touch sensor which allows for some crazy shaped, touch-able devices.

Go to any tech website today, and you’ll see the same ol’, same ol’ curved touchscreen phones and tablets. Cool stuff, but we can’t help feeling there’s got to be something more creative out there.

That’s why we’re inviting you to push past previous touch boundaries and create curved, pliable surfaces for anything you could imagine.


Sure, we have some ideas about how WE would use curved, flexible touchscreens. We want to hear what YOU would build with touch unleashed.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to creativity on this one, folks, so go crazy!

The top 10 creative ideas get automatically entered to become finalists and eligible for a grand prize of $1500!

But, better yet, if you reckon you could actually build whatever it is you’ve just thought up, there’s extra prize money on the line.

While you don’t need technical expertise to win our creative contest, if your design is built firmly around our Atmel Design Contest Sensor Specifications, you could win our XSense technical design contest for an additional $1500.

Or, if you’re feeling lazy, you can just browse other people’s designs and vote for your favorite. Easy!