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Posts Tagged ‘Android’

Cubieboard 5 (aka CubieTruck Plus) Development Board is Powered by Allwinner H8 SoC

August 3rd, 2015 8 comments

Merrii unveiled H7 Hummingbird board based on Allwinner H8 octa core Cortex A7 processor a few days ago, but it turns out they’ve not been the only ones working on a board with that processor, as Cubietech also showcased prototypes of Cubieboard 5, which they also call CubieTruck Plus, around mid July.

Top of Cubieboard 5 (Click to Enlarge)

Top of Cubieboard 5 (Click to Enlarge)

They’ve only shown pictures of the board, without much more information, but we can derived most specifications from the pictures:

  • SoC – AllWinner H8 octa-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor @ up to 2.0GHz with PowerVR SGX544 GPU @ up to 700MHz
  • System Memory – 2GB RAM (4x H5TQ4G63AFR-PCB DDR3 chips)
  • Storage – FORESEE eMMC or NAND flash + micro SD card slot + SATA port (via GL830 USB 2.0 to SATA bridge)
  • Video Output – HDMI and DisplayPort
  • Audio – HDMI, optical S/PDIF, 3.5mm headphone jack, built-in microphone
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (RTL8211E),  dual band WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 (AP6330 module)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Expansion – 30-pin, 24-pin and 16-pin expansion headers
  • Debugging – 4-pin header for serial console
  • Misc – IR receiver, 4x LED, power/reset/u-boot button
  • Power Supply
    • 5V (2A without HDD, 3A with 2.5″ HDD).
    • External battery support
    • AXP818 PMIC
  • Dimensions – Probably 11 x 8 x 1.4 cm
Bottom of Cubieboard 5 Board (Click to Enlarge)

Bottom of Cubieboard 5 Board (Click to Enlarge)

The board appears to have the same form factor as the original CubieTruck, and beside the new processor (Allwinner A20 dual core vs Allwinner H8 octa core), they’ve also replaced the VGA port by a DisplayPort connector. This also means most accessories such as CubieTruck Metal Case will also be compatible.

There no official information about the supported operating systems, but again it’s very likely that the ones provided for CubieTruck (Cubieboard3) will be updated to the new board, i.e. Android, CubieEZ, Ubuntu Linaro server, and Debian server.

Pricing and availability information have not been announced yet.

Via miniNodes.

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Freescale i.MX7 96Boards Compliant Board Coming in Q4 2015

August 2nd, 2015 6 comments

96Boards is an open hardware platform specification for 32-bit and 64-bit processors boards (64+32 = 96), but so far only 64-bit board have been launched or announced, and 32-bit boards were missing from the equation. Freescale will soon change that as they’ve partnered with Arrow Electronics on a 96Boards compliant board powered by Freescale i.MX7 Dual due to be released at the same time as i.MX7 enters mass production, which is scheduled for November 2015.

Freescale_i.MX7_96BoardsFreescale i.MX6 96Boards (MCIMX7 ?) preliminary specifications:

  • SoC – Freescale i.MX 7Dual with two ARM Cortex A7 cores @ 1.0 GHz, one ARM Cortex M4 core @ 266 MHz, and a 2D image processing engine (no 3D GPU)
  • System Memory – TBD (Probably 512MB or 1GB RAM)
  • Storage – micro SD card slot up to 64GB + flash? (TBC)
  • Video Output – HDMI connector + DSI via HS expansion header
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi 802.11g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 LE (Qualcomm Atheros module)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 2x micro USB (OTG?) ports
  • Camera – CSI interface via HS expansion header
  • Expansion headers as per 96Boards CE specifications
    • 40-pin LS (Low Speed) Expansion connector – 2x UART, 2x I2C, GPIOs, SPI, Audio, reset, 1.8V and GND, as wekk as 5V/12V cooling fan support
    • HS (High Speed) Expansion connector – DSI, CSI, SDIO, USB, etc…
  • Power Supply – 8-18V / 2A as per 96Boards CE specification (Linear Technologies solution)
  • Dimensions – 85x54x12 mm

Freescale i.MX7 supports both Linux and Android, but the latter is probably limited since there’s no proper GPU, with only some 2D acceleration. I found out about the board in a video recently uploaded to YouTube by Freescale.

The board is expected by the end of the year, and no pricing information has been announced so far.

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Zidoo X1 Android TV Box Unboxing and Teardown

July 31st, 2015 9 comments

Zidoo X1 is an Android media player powered by Allwinner H3 quad core processor with support for 4K videos up to 30Hz and H.265 / HEVC video codec. The company sent me one unit for review, and today I’ll start by unboxing and tearing down the device, before further testing to get the review posted in a few days.

Zidoo X1 Unboxing

I’ve received the package by (MY)DHL a few days after it was shipped.

Zidoo_X1_PackageThe package shows some of the main features like 4K and 3D support, H.265/HEVC codec, Kodi support, and ZIUI which must be the name given to Zidoo user interface.

Zidoo X1 and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

Zidoo X1 and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

The box comes with an HDMI cable, a user’s manual in English, a warranty card, a 5V/2A power adapter, and a standard IR remote control with IR learning function for 5 keys: Vol +/-, power, AV/TV, and SET so that you can control your TV with a single remote control, in case HDMI CEC does not work.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

I’ve already reviewed a device that looks like a spaceship, but I find Zidoo X1 is more alike to a flying saucer, and one person told me it looks like a shark fin… Nevertheless, the design is interesting and quite different from other rectangular boxes. All ports are at the back: AV jack (composite + audio), HDMI out, one USB 2.0 host port, 10/100M Ethernet, another USB host port and micro SD slot, and a power barrel (5V). There are also the IR receiver and LED on the front of the device which we can see through the semi-transparent casing. A pinhole can also be found on the bottom of the device to enter recovery mode for firmware update (in the unlikely case OTA does not work, or your firmware is corrupted).

If you prefer unboxing videos, here it is…

Zidoo X1 Teardown

Opening the enclosure is fairly easy. Remove the four sticky rubber pads on the bottom of the enclosure, and loosen the four screws.

Zidoo_X1_Enclosure_Bottom

There are also eight plastic clips, so you’ll have to use some sharp tool, preferably made of plastic too to avoid damaging the casing, to completely pop-up the top cover.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The first thing that surprised with the board is how small Allwinner H3 processor – as well the corresponding heatsink – is compared to more powerful processors.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The board is name Z-H3-OTT_V1.1, and for those who’d like to hack the board, the serial connector is still there with clear marking. The processor is coupled with SKHynix H27UCG8T2ATR-BC NAND flash (8GB), and two SKHynix H5TQ4G63AFR DDR3 SDRAM chips providing 1GB RAM. A Realtek RTL8189ETV module is used for WiFi connectivity. There’s no built-in Bluetooth.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The board can be completely removed from the casing by gently pulling it out. The micro SD  slot and the u-boot and recovery button can be fond on the bottom of the board. The MAC address starts with DCC0DB, meaning Zidoo has continued its partnership with Kaiboer for hardware design and manufacturing, just like it did for Zidoo X9. A thermal pad and metallic plate are attached to the bottom of the enclosure, and make contact with the bottom of the board to make sure the device stays cool during operation.

If you are interested in buying in quantities, you can contact Zidoo directly, but the box is sold retail for $59.99 on GeekBuying, as well as Amazon US, and  Aliexpress.

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Linaro 15.07 Release with Linux 4.2 and Android 5.1

July 31st, 2015 No comments

Linaro 15.07 has been released with Linux 4.2-rc3 (Baseline), Linux 3.10.83, 3.14.45 and 3.18.17 (LSK), and Android 5.1.1_r8.

The Linux kernel got various bug fixes, and a power reduction technique has been implemented for Qualcomm processor. Progress has been made to boot Android with UEFI on Hikey board, and work is still on-going on 96boards including Hisilicon Hikey, Qualcomm DragonBoard 410c, and an upcoming and yet-to-be-formally-announced Marvell PXA1928 board called Helium.

Highlights of this release:

  • Linux Linaro 4.2-rc3-2015.07
    • linaro-android topic updated to 4.2-rc3 and recent AOSP/android-3.18
    • included GATOR version 5.21.1
    • llct-misc-fixes topic: “HACK: of: Limit FDT size for CRC check on arm64″ has been dropped. FVP model was the last target to require this hack, but the new FVP firmware doesn’t need it anymore
    • updated integration-linaro-vexpress64 topic by ARM LT: Versatile Express TC2 support is back, HDLCD display now works on TC2, the topic will be renamed to integration-linaro-vexpress next cycle
    • updated integration-linux-qcomlt topic by Qualcomm LT: QCOM Core Power Reduction (CPR) support has been added
    • linaro-builddeb-tweaks topic is dropped (most of our changes have been upstreamed)
  • Linaro builds of AOSP 15.07
    • Android baseline updated to 5.1.1_r8
    • ART CI setup for TIP and stable builds
      • Boot to gui tests added for tip and stable builds
      • ART code coverage for tip and stable builds
      • m-preview based builds setup for emulators
      • ART-host-gtests added for tip and stable builds
    • Hikey builds updated to 5.1.1_r8. Android boots with UEFI and GRUB on HiKey. Wifi drivers are integrated in the build system. Drivers are built as part of Android build process.
  • Linaro OpenEmbedded 2015.07
    • integrated Linaro GCC 4.9-2015.06
    • updated linux-linaro to 4.2-rc3
    • disabled aarch64 bootwrapper
    • integrated various improvements for LNG CI
    • upstreaming:
      • fixed bootimg.bbclass to work with all kernel image types
      • fixed cmake builds for native recipes
  • Linaro Ubuntu 15.07 – updated packages: fvp-pre-boot (FVP firmware), LSK 3.10.83/3.14.45/3.18.17 and linux-linaro 4.2-rc3 kernels
  • 96boards contributions:
    • DragonBoard 410c is now using NetworkManager only to manage the network (previously a combination with systemd-networkd/resolved has been used).
    • HiKey made some progress toward the switch to UEFI. GRUB is now integrated into the snapshots builds for both AOSP and Debian.
    • Initial Debian based build for Marvell PXA1928 Helium is setup and available.

Visit https://wiki.linaro.org/Cycles/1507/Release for a list of known issues, and further release details about the LEB, LMB (Linaro Member Builds), and community builds, as well as Android, Kernel, Graphics, Multimedia, Landing Team, Platform, Power management and Toolchain components.

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$90 H7 Hummingbird Development Board Features Allwinner H8 Octa-core Processor

July 30th, 2015 3 comments

Allwinner announced Allwinner H8 octa-core Cortex A7 processor in Q4 2014, which targets game console and TV boxes,but since then I had not really heard about hardware based on this new SoC. Merrii Technology has now launched a development board powered by Allwinner H8, and confusingly called it H7 Hummingbird.

H7 Hummingbird Board (Click to Enlarge)

H7 Hummingbird Board (Click to Enlarge)

H7 Hummingboard development board specifications:

  • SoC – AllWinner H8 octa-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor @ up to 2.0GHz with PowerVR SGX544 GPU @ up to 700MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot or SD card slot (option) up to 32GB
  • Video Output / Display I/F – HDMI up to 1080p, MIPI DSI connector, LCD  connector for RGB/CPU/LVDS LCD including a 6-pin header for backlight. Capacitive touch panel header
  • Audio – HDMI, headset/microphone jack, audio speaker connector,
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet (Despite the processor support Gigabit Ethernet),  WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 via optional AP6210 module
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x USB 2.0 host header, 1x USB OTG port (full size)
  • Camera – 1x MIPI CSI header
  • Other Expansion Headers
    • Serial – 2x RS232 headers, 1x debug header
    • 6-pin header for recovery, key, reset, power, and uboot keys
    • 6-pin header for 5 GPIOs
    • 5-pin header for 5 GPIOs
  • Misc – RTC with battery slot, IR receiver, LED,
  • Power Supply –  12V DC power barrel (36W power supply), 12V DC via “6-pin socket with STB function”
  • Dimensions – 111 x 90 x 15mm

H7_Hummingbird_System_DiagramBy default, the board comes pre-installed with Android 4.4.2, but the company can also provide a Linux 3.4 + Qt image, and the source code is available to those who purchase the board. In the past, Merrii did not have very good support for overseas customers in the past (at least for individuals/hobbyists), and you’ll find plenty of spam threads in their English forums, so I doubt this has changed.  The Chinese forums appear to be more active though.

Merrii said the board is available right now for $90, and you can find some more details on H7 Hummingbird page, or if you need to find out the headers’ pinout, check out the datasheet. The board is not the only H8 hardware platform available right now, as some Allwiner H8 TV boxes are now selling on Aliexpress for $62 to $75 including inphic i9 and Teclast K8 mini PCs.

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Orvibo Wiwo S20 Smart Socket Now Sells for $16

July 30th, 2015 6 comments

Kankun KK-SP3 used to be the cheapest smart socket on the market at around $20, and it is hackable too, but only available with a Chinese / Australian plug, and for some reasons, many sellers stopped selling the device. Last year, a similar product called Orvibo Wiwo S20 launched with US, UK, EU or AU plug types, but sold for nearly twice as much as KK-SP3 at the time. The good news is that the price has gone down considerably, as it can be purchased for around $16 on GearBest, and it’s available on others for $20 to $26 including on Amazon US, DealExtreme, and GeekBuying.

Orvibo_Wiwo-S20_Multi_Countries_PlugsLet’s remind us of the specifications first:

  • Material – ABC 94V-0 (fireproof)
  • Wi-Fi
    • 802.11 b/g/n
    • Security – WEP, WPA-PSK or WPA2-PSK
  • Power Plug – US, Europe, United Kingdom or Australia plug
  • Output Current – 10A
  • Output Power – 2000W max.
  • Voltage Range – 100-240V AC
  • Power Consumption – ≤0.3W
  • Dimensions – 10.3 cm x 6.3 cm x 3.7 cm
  • Temperature Range – -20 C to 60 C
  • Relative Humidity – ≤80%
  • Weight – 110 grams

You can control the device with Orvibo’s Android or iOS app. Since it has been around for a while, there’s quite a lot of user’s feedback, and users are usually satisfied.

Orvibo_Wiwo_S20_Hardware_Power Orvibo_Wiwo_S20_Hardware_WiFi
Images Source: https://sites.google.com/site/orvibos20/hardware (Click to Enlarge)

Orvibo Wiwo S20 is also compatible with Linux based Ninja Block automation box, the communication protocol has been reversed engineered, and an open source app “Orwivo S20 socket manager” has been released, and can be available as a command client client, or with a simple GUI. So beside Wiwo S20 getting cheaper, it has also become more flexible, thanks to the work of the community.

Thank you Onebir!

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$55 UWatch UX Strapless Heart Rate Monitor Watch Syncs with iOS and Android Devices

July 27th, 2015 1 comment

Last time I checked about heart rate monitor, they required a chest strap to monitor ones heart rate, which I found cumbersome. It’s been while though, and I’ve now been informed that a low cost Bluetooth strapless heart rate monitor watch was available for $59.99 on GeekBuying.

Uwatch_UX

This type of product should provide a much more accurate evaluation of your daily calories burn rate than typical fitness bands based on an accelerometer and gyro sensor, but I’m not quite sure how they compare to the old models with a chest strap.

Uwatch UX specifications and features:

  • SoC – Mediatek Aster MT2501 ARM7 processor @ 108 MHz (A lower end version of MT2502 used in LinkIt One Devkit)
  • System Memory – 32MB RAM
  • Storage – 24MB NOR flash
  • Heart rate monitor – Built-in photoelectric heart rate sensor
  • Other sensors – magnetometer, 3-axis gravity and acceleration sensor
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC (for easy Bluetooth pairing)
  • Display – 1.44″ capacitive touch screen (128×128 resolution)
  • Mobile Synchronization with Android and iOS – Phonebook / Call log / SMS / Music / Time sync
  • Other functions:
    • Remote control phone camera( Not supported by iOS system)
    • Pedometer
    • Sleep monitor
    • Anti-lost / anti-theft –  When the phone is away form your Bluetooth distance of the watch, the watch will remind you, and you can also remotely find your phone by making it ring with the watch
    • Earphone talking and music playing
    • Compass, Stopwatch, Alarm…
  • Battery – 260mAh Li-polymer battery; 180 hours in standby mode; 4 hours of talk time.
  • Dimensions – 52.5x37x9.9mm
  • Weight – 52 grams

Uwatch_UX_Heart_Rate_Monitor_WatchTo synchronize with an Android phone, you can download Smart-Watch.apk or install SmartBlue from Google Play, while for iPhone or iPad you can install SmartBlue from the app store.

SmartBlue

The watch ships with headphones, a USB charging cable, and a user’s manual. There’s a short demo video going through the user interface of the watch, but unfortunately they don’t really test the heart rate monitor function.

Beside GeekBuying, Uwatch UX is also sold on GearBest for $54.99, Amazon US for $89.50, and PandaWill for $64.99.

Thank you Onebir!

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Kodi 15 Isengard Release

July 23rd, 2015 No comments

After several months of development, including H.265 hardware decoding in Android, Kodi 15 “Isengard” has recently been released by the developers. It’s available for Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and Android, and for the first time a stable release can directly be downloaded from Google Play store with so far over 400,000 active installs from the app store.

Kodi_15Key features and improvements of Kodi 15 include:

  • Android specific changes – 4K, refresh rate switching and H.265 for hardware that support it including several Amlogic platforms, and Nvidia Shield Android TV. Android 5.0 and greater is required.
  • New chapter selector window – Allows users to visually browse and select chapters from mkv videos and other containers that support chapters
  • Adaptive seeking (aka Skip Steps) – The more times a user presses a button to seek in a period of time, the larger the jump forward or backward will be.
  • Audio and Subtitle Lists – A full list of choices can be selected for content that includes multiple audio and subtitle choices
  • Language Add-ons and Expanded International Preferences – Translations are now independent from Kodi releases, so they can be updated at any time.
  • Easier search thanks to reworked Add-on Manager

There are also some other changes, including dropping some older OS versions. Android 4.2 is now required to run Kodi 15, Ubuntu 12.04 PPA has been dropped, as well as Tuxbox support, etc…

To get the latest version of Kodi, Android users can download it from Google Play, and for others operating systems, and Android users who don’t want to use Google services, simply visit Kodi’s download page.

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