MINIX NEO Z64 is an Intel Atom Z3735F Bay Trail mini PC Selling for $129

September 1st, 2014 6 comments

If you thought the upcoming ZBOX ZOTAC PI320 mini PC powered by Intel Bay-Trail-T Atom Z3735F quad core processor was nice and small (and powerful), but at $199, a little pricey, MINIX NEO Z64 may be what you are looking for. On On the outside, NEO Z64 looks very much like the company’s NEO X8 Android TV Box, but inside it’s powered by the same Z3735F processor with 2GB RAM, and 32GB eMMC, and it’s is expected to sell for just $129. MINIX NEO Z64 specifications: SoC – Intel Atom Z3735F “Bay Trail” quad core processor @ 1.33 GHz (Burst freq up to 1.83 GHz) and Intel HD Graphics System Memory – 2GB DDR3L Storage – 32GB eMMC flash  + micro SD slot Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11n + Bluetooth 4.0 Video Output – HDMI Audio Output – Analog…

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xWifi Open Source Hardware Wi-Fi Module and Dock for the Internet of Things (Crowdfunding)

September 1st, 2014 5 comments

For some reasons, Wi-Fi modules are pretty popular this year. After modules such as VoCore, AsiaRF AWM002, and ESP8622, here’s come xWifi. This module is based on Mediatek MT7681 SoC which includes a TCP/IP stack like Espressif ESP8622 or TI CC3300, so it won’t run OpenWRT like VoCore or AsiaRF modules. The module only consumes about 350mW during transfer, it will be open source hardware, and the xWifi module plus a dock with a 10A relay, a humidity and temperature sensor, and a LED will go for as low as $17. xWifi module only specifications: SoC – Mediatek MT7681 802.11 b/g/n SoC with 32-bit RISC CPU. Support for Client/softAP mode. Package size 5×5 mm Storage – 512KB SPI Flash (for firmware) I/Os via headers: UART and SPI interfaces. 5x GPIOs PWM Power – 3.3V, GND Power Consumption – ~70mA  @ 5V…

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XBMC 13.2 Android and Source Code for Amlogic S802 Released

September 1st, 2014 3 comments

Based on comments on my M8 review post, many people have troubles with XBMC stability on this hardware, and the official XBMC 13.2 release can only be used on Android 4.2.2. But there’s hope, and maybe a solution to all these problems, as stane1983 has now released XBMC 13.2 for Amlogic S802 with backports from Kodi 14 alpha, that runs on Android 4.4.2. So if you have issues with XBMC in your Amlogic S802 Android TV box, you may want to download and install XBMC Gotham 13.2 (20140831_xbmcapp-stane.apk) from Stane1983′s download section. If you have an Amlogic device running Android 4.2.2, this won’t work due to differences with Amlogic’s libplayer header files, and you need to download and install mainline XBMC 13.2 instead. He’s also made all source available on his github account. Based on comments on my M8 review…

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Broadcom Introduces WICED Sense Bluetooth Low Energy Development Kit

September 1st, 2014 No comments

Broadcom has recently announced a new development board for IoT applications using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) called WICED Sense. The kit consists of a “sense tag” powered by the company’s BCM20737S Bluetooth SIP Module with five micro-electromechanical sensors (MEMS), and Bluetooth 4.1 compatible WICED SMART software stack. The key features of WICED Sense devkit are as follows: Broadcom BCM20737 Bluetooth Smart system in package (SiP) module Five low-power MEMS sensors by ST Micro (part of the module): Gyroscope (L3GD20) Accelerometer (LIS3DSH) eCompass (LSM303D) Pressure sensor (LPS25H) Humidity Temperature sensor (HTS221) Bluetooth Smart connection covers distance of roughly 30 meters. USB – 1x micro USB connector to update applications Encryption, decryption, certificate signing, verification and various algorithms for increased privacy Secure Over-the-air (OTA) download capability to enable firmware updates from central device including smartphone, tablet and computers Misc – iBeacon, NFC,…

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Armada Mach 8 Pure Linux is a Quad Core XBMC Linux TV Box

August 31st, 2014 16 comments

Armada Mach 8 is an Amlogic S802 based TV Box apparently based on M8/EM8 hardware, but instead of running Android, it comes with XBMC Linux. It’s unlikely a quad core media player brings much performance over a dual core media player with XBMC Linux, but Amlogic S802 adds 4K video playback compared to Amlogic AML8726-MX. One of the main advantages of Linux compared to Android is support for automatic frame rate switching depending on the video you are watching (24Hz, 50Hz, 60Hz…), in order to avoid regular skipped frames when the video frame rate does not match the video output refresh rate. Let’s double check the specifications to confirm they are indeed the same as Shenzhen Tomato / Enybox M8, except possibly for Bluetooth: SoC – AMLogic S802 quad core Cortex A9r4 processor @ 2GHz with Mali‐450MP6 GPU @ 600Mhz…

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MinnowBoard MAX Schematics, Board layout, Gerber, and BoM Released

August 30th, 2014 2 comments

MinnowBoard MAX (aka MinnowBoard2) is an embedded board powered by Intel Atom Bay-Trail-I E3815 (single core) or E3825 (dual core) processor, with 1 to 2GB RAM, SATA II, USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet ports, and more. The board currently officially supports four operating systems: Debian GNU/Linux, Linux built with the Yocto Project, Android 4.4, and Windows 8.1. One of its main selling point is the price as the single core version sells for $99, and the dual core version for $129, rivalling in price with equivalent ARM based development boards. It’s also an open source hardware board, and as it’s now about to ship, CircuitCo released all hardware files under a Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license, allowing anybody with the right skills to create a clone, or their own hardware. Here are the files that have been released: Schematic (PDF) Schematic (Orcad…

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A80 OptimusBoard Development Board Pictures and Benchmarks

August 29th, 2014 13 comments

A80 OptimusBoard is a development board featuring the latest AllWinner A80 SoC with 8 ARM Cortex A15/A7 cores in big.LITTLE configuration, and a PowerVR GC6230 GPU. Availability was announced about 2 weeks ago for $345, but partially thanks to reader comments on CNX Software, Merrii Technology decided to lower the price to $169 (and $50+ for shipping) to stay competitive against similar boards such as Hardkernel ODROID-XU3. I’ve now received a sample for evaluation. I won’t go again through the specs, but today I’ll take a few pictures of the board, and provide benchmark results to compare them to the ones I got with Rockchip RK3288. Normally, I would also play with the SDK provided with the board, but sadly (and amazingly), there’s currently no such SDK for A80 OptimusBoard, except a leaked Linux SDK which failed to build with…

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