Developing for older Samsung TVs

If you already have a Samsung TV and want to start developing for it chances are you don’t have the latest and greatest model. But when you install the Tizen development tools they only target 2 operating system versions; the latest version that is out now and the version that is yet to be released in a year or so. Your TV is too old! So what can you do?

If you check the Tizen development forums the suggestion is to install an older version of the development tools. But that’s no fun! And it is possible to develop for the older TVs with the newer tools. Go ahead and install the latest versions of the Tizen development Studio first. While that is installing you will need to download an older version of the Extensions for TV. You can find them at this site. As you scroll through the available versions you will see that if you attempt to get a version older than the 3.0 version you can’t download it. Download the 3.1 or 4.0 extensions. Don’t worry, the  extensions also contain the components needed for TV’s running the 2.3 and 2.4 Tizen version.

tizen extension for tizen sdk

After Tizen Development Studio is installed open the package manager. In the upper right corner of the package manager is a gear icon. Select it.

 

packagemaker

Expand the “Extensions SDK” area of the window to see the extensions installed and click on the + button to add an extension. A window opens asking for a URL. Leave the URL blank and click on the three dots next to it. You’ll now be asked to navigate to a local archive of the extension you with to add. Navigate to the file that you downloaded earlier and select it.  The package manager will take a few moments to install the extension.

When you attempt to create a new project and look at the TV templates available there’s only the 4.0 and 5.0 projects. What gives? The missing project templates can be found under the Custom projects. Select “TV-Samsung v3.0.” Even if you have a TV running Tizen 2.3 this opeion will work. When you click the next button you’ll see the familiar project templates.

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My Samsung HoloLab Model Arrived

Last week I received an e-mail from Samsung regarding the HoloLab scans that I did at the 2018 Samsung Developer’s Conference.  Shortly after the conference, I wrote about the rig that was used to do the scan.

When the photographs were taken for the scan, three poses were requested.  The first pose was standing with your arms crossed.  The second pose was standing with both of your arms out to the side.  The third pose was allowed to be a freestyle that could be whatever you wanted (just for the fun of it).

Of these three poses, I was most interested in the second pose, because arms out to the side is the most appropriate pose to use when importing a model into software for animating.  Sadly, what arrived in my e-mail was only one of the three poses, the first one.

I’m still happy to have received the one pose that I did. The model definitely resembles me.  This is speculation on my part, but I imagine that the processing of the 52 images that make up a single scan is time consuming. Considering the large number of participants at the conference who had the scans done, receiving all three model poses may be wishful thinking.

 

HololabScan

Augmented Reality with Samsung XR SDK

Samsung showed the XR SDK at the 2018 Developers Conference. While Microsoft has generally presented their reality technologies as being along a spectrum (ranging from completely enveloping the user to only placing overlays on the real world) it has always been something that has involved a head mounted device. Samsung presents AR as something that is either viewed through a head mounted device or something that a person views through a portable hand held window into another world.  The language used by various companies varies a bit. Microsoft calls the their range of technologies “mixed reality.” Samsung calls theirs SXR which stands for Samsung Extended Reality.

It was several years ago that Samsung first showed it’s take on VR with the release of the Note 4 and the developer’s edition GearVR. The GearVR is now available as a consumer product, but Samsung took an economical approach to initial hardware for head mounted augmented reality. Instead of creating custom hardware they took some off the shelf products and mixed them together to make an economical headset.

Samsung AR Headset
Experimental AR Headset using off the shelf parts
Part Description Cost Source
AR Headset 90° FOV “Drop-In” phones 4.5 inches to 5.5 inches, 180g 65.99 USD
External Camera ELP VGA USB camera module with 100° FOV lens 24.69 USD
OTG connector Wavlink USB 3.1 Type C Male to USB 3.0 Type A Female OTG Data Connector Cable Adapter 5.99 USD Amazon
Total Cost 95.USD

The Samsung XR SDK is almost a super set of the the GearVR SDK. I say “almost” because with a proper super set you would find all the same class names that you would expect from the GearVR SDK. In the Samsung XR SDK the classes exists within a new namespace and have been renamed. GearVR programs could be ported over with some changes to the class names being invoked.

In development is an API standard for AR/VR experiences named OpenXR. Once the standard is defined and released Samsung plans for their XR SDK to be an implementation of this standard.

While the GearVR SDK was specifically for Samsung devices and the Samsung headset the Samsung XR SDK will run on non-Samsung devices for through-the-window AR but will run on the Oculus GO and Samsung devices for stereoscopic experiences.

 

Linux On Dex: Works on WiFi Tab S4 Models Only

Update 2018-Dec-11: I’ve spoken to a LoD team member and to jump straight to the point of you have a LTE Tab S4 then simply put the required update isn’t available at this time and there is no information on when it will be available.

Some people trying to install Linux on Dex are running into an obstacle. After installing he app and trying to run it they get the following error message.

Linux on Dex requires your device to have the latest software o support some features.

After this message is acknowledge the application closes. If someone with this error checks for updates in the app store or for updates to the operating system they get notification that everything is up to date. What’s going on? I contacted LoD support about this and got back the following response.

Currently, the Linux on DeX(beta) requires latest SW for Galaxy Note9 and Galaxy Tab S4. SW update schedule may vary depends on the region and carrier.

Currently, the Linux on DeX(beta) requires latest SW for Galaxy Note9 and Galaxy Tab S4.
SW update schedule may vary depends on the region and carrier.

What does this mean? It means that your device doesn’t have a update that is required for DeX and that your carrier might not have released it.  Devices sold through a carrier can be a bit slower in receiving their updates. Samsung hasn’t been specific on the updated needed.  I’ve communicated with someone on the Linux on Dex team and was told that LTE tablets in general do not have the update that is required for Linux on Dex. Additionally the person told me that there is no information available on when particular updates will work their way through certain carriers.

BTW: Unlocking your device and installing a SIM from another carrier will not change this; this behaviour is dependent on the carrier for which the device was made, not on the SIM that happens to be in the device at the time.

Samsung Announced Exynos 9 with NPU

 

Consistent with what they said at the developer’s conference about wanting to extend the reach of their A.I. Samsung has announced a new System on Chip (SoC) with some A.I. related features. The Exynos 9 Series 9820 processor. The processor contains an NPU, a unit for processing neural networks at speeds faster than what could be done with a general purpose processor alone. The presence of this unit on the device hardware makes possible device side experiences that would have previously required that data be sent to a server for processing. This may also translate into improvements in AR and VR experiences.

The NPU isn’t the only upgrade that comes with the processor. Samsung says the 9820’s new fourth generation custom core delivers a 20% improvement in single core performance or 40% in power efficiency compared to is predecessor. Multicore performance is said to be increased around 15%. The Exynos 9820 also has a video encoder capable of decoding 4K video at up to 150 frames per second in 10-bit color. The processor goes into mass production at the end of this year.

Source: Samsung

Bixby Developer Studio

Samsung says they would like to have AI implemented in all of their products by 2020. From the visual display shown during the SDC 2018 conference it appears their usage of “all” is intended to be widely encompassing. Phones, car audio systems, refrigerators, air conditioners…

Samsung is inviting developers to start engaging in development for their conversational AI. Now they have made the same tools that they use for Bixby development internally available publically. The development portal and the development tools for Windows and OS X are available now at: https://bixbydevelopers.com

Galaxy Home, a Bixby enabled smart speaker, was showcased as a target implementation for the SDK.

The “Media Control API” will be available to content partners this December for adding deeper control into applications. Samsung says Netflix and Hulu are on board and will begin development with it next year.

The Samsung Frame TVs are also being opened to developers by way of the Ambient Mode SDK. This will allow developer content to show when the TV is in it’s standby mode.