After tablets, mini PCs, laptops, and All-in-one PCs, Remix OS is getting on yet another form factor with MeegoPad A02 TV stick powered by Allwinner A83T octa-core Cortex A7 processor with 1 or 2GB RAM, 16 or 32 GB storage.
MeegoPad A02 specifications:
SoC – Allwinner A83T octa-core ARM Cortex-A7 @ 2.0 GHz with PowerVR SGX544MP1 GPU
System Memory – 1GB or 2GB DDR3L
Storage – 16GB or 32GB eMMC flash, micro SD slot up to 128GB
Video Output – HDMI up to 4K resolution
Audio Output – HDMI, 3,5 mm headphone jack
Connetivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0
USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB port for power
Misc – Power button
Power Supply – 5V/2A via micro USB
Dimensions – 110 x 43 x 9.9 mm
Weight – 50 grams
The device runs Remix OS 2.0 based on Android 5.1 with desktop optimizations such as taskbar, start menu, multi-window support,.. and Microsoft Office apps are pre-installed.
Pebble launched one of the first smartwatches in 2012, and is now one of the most famous name for wearables. The company has now launched another crowdfunding campaign for three wearables: Pebble 2 & Time 2 watches, and Pebble Core which can be either be used as a fitness tracker for runner, or by hardware hacker to play with IoT apps.
Pebble 2 and Time 2 can receive notifications from your Android or iOS smartphone, include a built-in HRM for activity tracking, and a microphone for voice record and SMS, and are waterproof of up to 30 meters. To me the two key features of Pebble wearables are always-on displays, and long battery life, and the two new watches have a black & white (Pebble 2) or color (Time 2) always-on display, and up to one week of battery life for Pebble 2, and 10 days for Time 2.
Pebble Core is a completely new device for the company and available in two versions: one for runners, one for hackers. Core is lightweight, 3G, Bluetooth, and WiFi connected clip that can replace your phone while running, or other activities where you don’t really want to take your phone with you. It can stream music from Spotify or play music from the 4GB built-in storage, track your pace, distance and location with GPS, and even send an emergency SMS. A microphone will also allow you to take voice notes. The battery is good enough for 9 hours of GPS tracking or offline music playing, and Bluetooth connectivity make it possible to pair it with your Pebble watch to control music playback and monitor activity tracking.
Core for Hackers has many of the same features with GPS, 3G, WiFI and Bluetooth, and is said to run Android 5.0. The device features two buttons that can be programmed to unlock your car, turn on/off your lights, record voice notes, etc.. Voice recording would require a Bluetooth or wired headset. The Core is normally charged vi USB cable, but it can be optionally charged with a $20 wireless pad.
Pebble Core goes for as low as $69, Pebble 2 for $99 and up, and Time 2 for $179 (All $169 early bird rewards are gone). Shipping is not included and adds $10 to $15, with delivery scheduled for September – October 2016 for the two smartwatches, and January 2017 for the Core.
Android has been ported to the Raspberry Pi boards in the past, but the images were not really usable because the implementation lacked 2D & 3D graphics support. The good news is that Raspberry Pi 3 is likely to officially support the latest version of Android soon, because rpi3 repository has been created in AOSP about 5 weeks ago.
That’s all we know for now. Raspberry Pi 3 could then be part of the second wave of boards officially supported in Android “mainline”, as currently 96Boards Hikey is the only supported board in AOSP. However, If we go down in the git repo to android/device, we can also see MIPS Creator CI40, Aaeon Upboard, i.mx6ul picoimx board, Intel Edison and Minnowboard, and a few others. Some of the boards will run Brillo instead of Android however, or it could be a different project, so we’ll have to see what happens with RPi3.
Two innovative cases for smartphones have been introduced very recently: OtterBox uniVERSE modular case system which allows you to add various modules in a similar fashion to what Project Ara promises, and Tapit case adding a flexible keyboard on top of your smartphone case.
OtterBox uniVERSE modular case system
The company offers a protective case for your phone for $50 to $60, and you can add modules as needed from the following selection:
Square Contactless & Chip Reader, $49.99 – To accept credit cards and contactless payments on the go
PolarPro Beat Pulsar Wireless Mobile Speaker, $59.99
PolarPro Fisheye Wide-Angle Lens, $29.99
PolarPro Trail Blazer Armband, $34.99
PolarPro Stash Slim Mobile Wallet, $19.99 – Ditch the wallet and stash cash directly on the uniVERSE case
The downside is that the case and accessories are only available for iPhone 6/6s, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 6s Plus, but I assume that if the system gains traction popular Android smartphone will be supported too. Alternatively you could also use Nexpaq once/if they sort out their issues.
Tapit’s usefulness appears to be debatable, but basically it’s a case with a transparent physical keyboard that give users tactile feedback to make possible eye-free smartphone operation. So for example, it could improve the experience if you use your smartphone as a remote control for your TV or TV box, and Tapit Launcher app pictured above, allows the user to pre-defined 18 keys on their lock screen for fast access.
The company provides an API in order to let third parties develop app leveraging Tapit physical buttons. The case is compatible with Samsung S5, S6, S6 Edge, S7, and S7 Edge smartphones, and the company took it to Kickstarter to raise at least 20,000 Euros to go ahead with mass-production. Rewards start at 35 Euros (early bird) and 49 Euros (Classic bird) for the case. Shipping is included, and deliver is scheduled for November 2016. Visit Tapit Case website for a few more details.
PiPo has been one of the first company to take advantage of Microsoft policy of providing a free license for Windows 10 for devices with smaller touchscreen displays with mini PCs such as PiPo X8 that includes a 7″ display, saving $25 to $35 on the Windows 10 license for such products without displays. Shenzhen Qianhai Gole Technology (Gole) has also been selling similar devices on their Aliexpress store, and the company is now taking to Indiegogo to launch their latest model, dubbed GOLE1, featuring a 5″ touchscreen display, and fitting in your pocket.
SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8300 “Cherry Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.84 GHz with Intel Gen8 HD graphics (2W SDP)
System Memory – 2 or 4 GB DDR3L
Storage – 32 or 64 GB NAND flash + micro SD slot up to 64GB
Display – 5″ capacitive touchscreen display with 1280×720 resolution; 5 point touch
Video Output – HDMI 1.4 port
Audio I/O – HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack
Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0 with external antenna
USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x micro USB port
Misc – Power , volume and back buttons
Battery – 2600mAh battery good about about 2 hours of typical use
Power Supply – 5V/2.4A
Dimensions – 135.4 x 90.4 x 20 (aluminum case)
Weight – 200 grams (maybe)
The mini PC runs a dual OS firmware with Windows 10 Home and Android 5.1 with Google Play store. That means the space will really be tight for Windows 10 if you go with the 32GB version, as in my experience even Windows 10 only mini PC with 32GB storage get filled pretty quickly. It all depend on your use case, but the 64GB version is probably more suitable for most people.
The early bird rewards include the 2GB RAM and 32GB flash version for $79, and the 4GB RAM and 64 GB storage version for $99. One reward also include a 2.5″ HDD case magnetically connected to the mini PC, and that supports up to 2 TB HDD. Shipping (by DHL) is not included and adds $26, which brings the early bird prices to $105 and $125. Delivery is scheduled for July 2016. If you’re not comfortable with getting involved in the crowdfunding campaign, but are interested in the product, it will certainly be sold via the company’s Aliexpress store in due time.
Amlogic S905X processor adds a few features over Amlogic S905 such as 4K VP9 hardware video decoding and HDR support, but thanks to better integration including built-in 10/100M PHY and audio codec, as well as support for 2-layer PCB, products with the new processor could potentially also be slightly cheaper, all other hardware specs being equal. We can now get a first idea of the price as one company has listed HiPo S905X TV box for pre-order on Aliexpress for $39.99 with 1GB RAM/8GB flash (Type 1), and $49.99 with 2GB RAM/16GB flash (Type 2).
HiPo S905X (preliminary) specifications – Type 1 & Type 2 models:
SoC – Amlogic S905X quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 2.0GHz with penta-core Mali-450MP GPU @ 750 MHz
System Memory – 1GB (Type 1) or 2 GB (Type 2) DDR3
Video Codecs – VP9 Profile-2 & H.265 MP-10 up to 4K @ 60 fps, H.264 AVC up to 4K @ 30 fps, H.264 MVC up to 1080p60
Type 1 – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi @ 2.4 GHz and Bluetooth 4.0
Type 2 – Dual band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0
USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, including one OTG capable
Power Supply – 5V/2A
Dimensions & Weight – N/A
The specifications are preliminary, because it’s obvious that the company copied and pasted data from Z68 TV box with Rockchip RK3368 processor. I’m especially skeptical about Gigabit Ethernet, since S905X supports 10/100M without external components (except the transformer), while Gigabit Ethernet requires an extra Gigabit Ethernet transceiver. The device will run Android 6.0 and ship with one IR Remote control, one HDMI cable, a power adapter, and a user’s manual.
A few weeks after introducing NanoPC-T3 single board computer based on Samsung S5P6818 octa-core Cortex A53 processor, FriendlyARM is now launching a cost-down version called NanoPi M3 for just $35 with 1GB RAM, and booting from a micro SD card.
NanoPi M3 board specifications:
SoC – Samsung S5P6818 octa core Cortex A53 processor @ up to 1.4GHz with Mali-400MP GPU
System Memory – 1 GB 32-bit DDR3
Storage – 1x micro SD card slot
Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (RTL8211E), 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth LE 4.0 (Ampak AP6212) with on-board chip antenna and IPX antenna connector
Video Output / Display I/F – HDMI 1.4a up to 1080p60, LVDS, parallel RGB LCD
USB – 2x USB 2.0 type A host ports; 1x micro USB 2.0 client port; 2x USB 2.0 host ports via 8-pin header
Expansions Headers – 40-pin header
Debugging – 4-pin header for serial console
Misc – Power & reset buttons; power status LEDs.
Power Supply – 5V/2A via micro USB port; AXP228 PMIC
Dimension – 64 x 60 mm (6-layer PCB)
The board supports Android and Debian running on top of Linux 3.4. More technical details can be found in the Wiki. Samsung S5P processors are actually made by Nexell, and not supported at all in mainline Linux, so don’t expect support for a more recent kernel. Arnd Bergmann, one of Linux ARM SoC maintainers, even referred the code to as “awful“:
Source code is available but awful.
Specifically, this is a Linux-3.4 kernel that looks more like a Linux-2.6.28 platform port that was forward-ported.
Nevertheless, at $35 plus shipping ($10 in my case), NanoPi-M3 must be the cheapest octa-core board available on the market so far. Visit the product page for more details and/or purchase the board.
While NEXBOX A5 was the first Amlogic S905X TV box to be announced, it’s still not available, and others has started to show off their products such as Xiaomi Mi Box (US), and I got specs and pictures of boards for Inphic Spot i7 Pro and Eny TV box.
Eny TV Box Board and Specifications
Click to Enlarge
That’s actually two boards before separation, and fitted with Amlogic S905X-H processors. If you look closely are the “silkscreen” however, you’ll find that it has been edited in a photo editor to add ENY_X_V0.93. I’m not quite sure why they felt they had to do this…
Eny TV box specifications:
SoC – Amlogic S905 or S905X-H quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5GHz or 2.0 GHz with penta-core Mali-450MP GPU @ 750 MHz
System Memory – 1 or 2GB DDR3
Storage – 8 or 16GB flash + micro SD card slot
Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60 Hz, and AV port
Audio Output – HDMI, optical S/PDIF, AV port (stereo audio)
Video Codecs – 4K VP9 Profile-2 @ 60 fps, 4K 10-bit H.265 @ 60 fps; 4K H.264 @ up to 30 fps
Connectivity – 10/100M, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0
USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
Misc – Power button and LED.
The company has two models planned, one using the board above, and the other (EM95X) another board being assembled now.
EM95X TV Box
Inphic Spot i7 Pro TV Box Board and Specifications
Click to Enlarge
Inphic Spot i7 Pro is likely an evolution of their Spot i7 TV box with Amlogic S905, but they still laid out a new PCB, as shown in the Freaktab forum post about the development story of the product.
Inphic Spot i7 Pro preliminary specifications:
SoC – Amlogic S905X quad core ARM Cortex A53 @ up to 1.5 or 2.0 GHz with Mali-450MP GPU
System Memory – 2 GB DDR3 (on sample, final version may have 1 or 2 GB RAM)
Inphic is also working a new launcher for the device. All Amlogic S905X device will run Android 6.0, so both Eny and Inphic box will also run Marshmallow. Software development is not quite finished though, and Eny Technology informed me that at least one more month for development is required.