Review of M8 Android Kitkat TV Box Powered by Amlogic S802 SoC

April 17th, 2014 2 comments

A few days ago, I wrote an Unboxing and Specs post about the M8, an Android TV Box powered by Amlogic S802 quad core Cortex A9 processor. The review took a little as I was waiting for a new firmware. I’ve now upgraded this S802 Box, and been able to complete a review. As usual , I’ll start by giving my first impressions, have a look at the user interface and settings, test different king of video files, evaluate Wi-Fi performance, and try to cover most hardware features including Bluetooth, external storage, USB webcam, and so on. The overall user’s experience, is very similar to Tronsmart Vega S89, but there are some notable differences I’ll go through during the review. First Boot, Settings and First Impressions Shenzhen Tomato sent me a sample unit which they call TM8 (Tomato M8?), but…

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Atmel SAMA5D3 Xplained Board Unboxing and Quick Start Guide

April 16th, 2014 No comments

Atmel SAMA5D3 Xplained is an evaluation board running Linux powered by SAMA5D36 ARM Cortex A5 micro-processor with 256 MB DDR2, 256 MB flash, two Ethernet ports, 3 USB connectors, and more. This embedded board targets industrial automation, networks, robotics, control panels and wearable applications. The only video output is an LCD connector so it is reserved for headless or flat panel based applications. You can check full specs on my Atmel SAMA5D3 Xplained announcement post. The company kindly sent me a sample, so that I can share my experience with the board. I’ll first post some unboxing pictures, show how to get started with the pre-installed image, and build my own Linux image. The board can be purchased for $79 from Atmel e-Store, as well as several distributors (P/N: ATSAMA5D3-XPLD). Atmel SAMA5D3 Xplained Unboxing I’ve been sent the board via…

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How to Upgrade Firmware in Amlogic S802 Devices

April 16th, 2014 8 comments

Shenzhen Tomato has finally sent me an updated firmware (password: 17r0) for M8 / TM8 Android TV box powered by Amlogic S802. This firmware is rooted, and adds support for Google Apps (Play Store, Gmail and so on), among others things. So it’s a good time to try out and write about the firmware update instructions which are very similar to AML8726-MX firmware instructions. Bear in mind that firmware is usually specific to a given hardware platform, and if you try it on another non-compatible S802 TV box, you may brick your device. Standard “OTA” Method Any Windows, Mac OS, Linux computer or even your own Android device should be able to handle is as you just need to download, extract and copy files to an SD card. I’ve done the procedure from a computer running Ubuntu 13.04: Download the…

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$14 Digispark Pro is a Tiny Arduino Ready Board Supporting over 25 Shields (Crowdfunding)

April 15th, 2014 No comments

Digispark Pro is yet another small Arduino compatible board, but it costs only $14, and over 25 small form factor shields for Wi-Fi, BLE, mesh networking, etc.. are available for the platform. Let’s get straight into the hardware specs: MCU – AVR MCU @ 16 Mhz  with 16KB Flash Memory (14.5K+ after bootloader) I/Os 14 I/O pins (2 shared with USB) I2C, true SPI, UART, LIN, and USI ADC on 10 pins 3 PWM Channels (which can be assigned to a selection of pins) USB – Micro USB for debugging, communication and power Misc – One button usable as reset, program, or user button, Power and Test/Status LEDs,  user accessible solder jumpers to disable LEDs, and other features for lower power consumption Power – 5V via micro USB, or External Source – 5v or 6-16v (automatic selection). On-board 500ma 5V…

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Rockchip RK3288 based Android and Chromium OS Tablets and TV Boxes (Video)

April 14th, 2014 2 comments

After the first RK3288 Android TV boxes started to be promoted on Alibaba, and the first RK3288 board was shown, Rockchip is currently showing their quad core Cortex A17 processor in reference designs, tablets, and TV boxes running Android or Chromium OS at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair. Charbax interviewed the company, and the first demo was a development board connected to an LCD display running Chromium OS, which is said to handle 30 tabs without issues. Rockchip RK3288 is now advertised as being a quad core Cortex A17 with a Mali-T764 GPU, but when Rockchip representative was asked, he strangely denied to comment on whether it was a Cortex A12 or A17, as both are very similar. He also said the GPU was a Mali-T760MP4… If this seems all confusing that’s because it is… Some interesting things are H.265/HEVC…

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Mixtile LOFT-Q Board and LOFT Kit mini PC Powered by AllWinner A31

April 13th, 2014 5 comments

Recently most development around AllWinner, at least for Linux, is focusing on AllWinner A20, and there are several AllWinner A20 board and development platforms available on the market such as Cubieboard2, A20-OLinuXino, IBOX and more. But apart from the team at Free Electrons, few people seem to be working on AllWinner A31, so there are few development platform available, if we exclude consumer products such as tablets and Android TV Boxes. There’s now an AllWinner A31 development board thanks to Mixtile LOFT-Q board, which also comes in LOFT Kit to make a complete mini PC with enclosure. Mixtile LOFT-Q specifications: SoC – Allwinner A31 quad core ARM Cortex-A7 processor with PowerVR SGX544 MP2 GPU System Memory – 2GB 64-bit DDR3 Storage – 8GB eMMC (ver 4.51), SATA III connector for 2.5″ drives, and SD card Slot Video Output – HDMI…

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MINIX Unveils NEO X8 and X8s Android TV Boxes Powered by Amlogic S802 & S802-H SoCs

April 13th, 2014 6 comments

MINIX has been providing Rockchip based Android TV boxes for a couple of years notably with their NEO X5 and NEO X7. They will now also offer devices powered by Amlogic with NEO X8 and NEO X8s respectively powered by S802 and S802-H quad core SoC. The advantage of the former is that it fully supports DTS and Dolby decoding and pass-through. Let go through the hardware specs of both devices: SoC NEO X8 – Amlogic S802 quad core cortex A9r4 @ 2 GHz with Mali-450MP6 GPU NEO X8s – Amlogic S802-H quad core cortex A9r4 @ 2 GHz with Mali-450MP6 GPU including Dolby and DTS support. System Memory – 2GB DDR3 Storage – 8GB (X8) / 16GB (X8s) eMMC + SD/MMC card reader Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, dual band support for X8s, Bluetooth 4.0 Video Output…

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