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Posts Tagged ‘Android’

Add GPIOs to Windows, Linux, Android Computers and Devices with FTDI USB Adapters / Breakout Boards

October 20th, 2014 10 comments

It’s possible to to add GPIOs to your computer, (openWRT) router, or Android tablet using some FTDI USB dongles that expose I/Os. On operating systems based on Linux, including Android, you can use the GPIO sysfs interface (/sys/class/gpio) to easily control GPIOs from the command line, and in some cases Rx, Tx, CTS, .. pins can also be used as GPIOs. Zoobab has tried it with various FTDI USB adapters, and Oneping OP-1010 breakout board based on PL2303 HDX chip, and the results are mixed, but it could worth a try.

oneping_op1010

Oneping OP1010 Breakout Board

There are currently patchsets ([1] and [2]) awaiting acceptance to mainline kernel that will enable GPIO support for these USB devices, but in the meantime you need to patch the kernel yourself, and then enable the relevant options in the kernel config for example “USB_SERIAL_PL2303_GPIO” or “USB_SERIAL_FTDI_SIO_GPIO”. The first patch is for PL2303 chips, and the second for FT2xxx/FT4xxx chips, so it should work on most USB to serial debug board out there.

Then you can export the GPIOs (done with OP1010 board) from your Linux PC / board:

root@sabayon /sys/class/gpio [22]# echo 252 > export
root@sabayon /sys/class/gpio [23]# echo 253 > export
root@sabayon /sys/class/gpio [24]# echo 254 > export
root@sabayon /sys/class/gpio [25]# echo 255 > export

and change the values as follows to confirm it’s working:

root@sabayon /sys/class/gpio [22]# echo 1 > gpio255/value
root@sabayon /sys/class/gpio [22]# echo 0 > gpio255/value

Even if it is working with OP1010, some other boards do not work, as despite the GPIOs being detected, the values can’t be changed. Other boards that are known to work, at least partially, include JTAGkey Tiny, Arduino Duemilanove, Moderndevice BUB1, and MicroFTX.

You can also control GPIOs for PL2303HXD / EA / RA, from an OTG capable Android device with Prolific PL2303 USB-GPIO app, but apparently not all tablets will work properly, and zoobab finally tested it with Android-x86-4.4-r1 image successfully.

Oneping also provides a Windows app for OP1010, which is demonstrated in the video below. They talk in Chinese, but it’s still easy to understand how it all work even if you can’t understand a word.

I’ve been unable to find Oneping OP-1010 board online, and I’ve been told you need to contact them by email, pay by Paypal (around $10) to receive a sample. Anyway this can also be tested with other low cost FTDI adapters. There are also some other USB modules exposing GPIOs such as Sparkfun’s FT232RL breakout board, or a Numato board with 8 GPIOs and up to 6 analog inputs (share with GPIOs), but I’m not sure the latter support GPIO sysfs interface.

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Categories: Hardware, Linux, Video Tags: Android, Linux, gpio, how-to, windows

Patched Android 4.4 SDK Supports Beelink R89 & Hotack T031 Boards

October 20th, 2014 No comments

The first batch Tronsmart Orion R28 Pro/Meta Android TV boxes where ships with a micro SD card loaded with Android 4.4 SDK, so I tried it myself, and posted instructions to build an RK3288 Android image, but when I flashed the image to my device, I quickly realized it was an older firmware (106k4), so the SDK would not be so useful, since all the recent bug fixes were not included. Luckily, more recent Android 4.4 SDK were released or leaked, and naobsd decided to port it to Hotack T031 and Beelink/Netxeon R89 boards that are found in many RK3288 Android TV boxes.

"ITVLauncher"  Found in RK3288 Image (Click for Original Size)

“ITVLauncher” Found in RK3288 Image (Click for Original Size)

Since he does not own any devices based on Netxeon R89, he asked me to try, and I did so on Tronsmart Orion R28 Meta. Bear in mind these are images built from a patched SDK, so not everything may work, there’s no Google Play Store, and it’s mostly targeted to developers wanting to build their own firmware.

To give it a try first download the image, and flash it as per the flashing instructions.

wget http://files.androtab.info/rockchip/sdk/netxeon-r89-sdk-images.zip
unzip netxeon-r89-sdk-images.zip
cd rockdev
./mkupdate.sh
<path_to_tools_in_rockship_sdk>/update_tool uf update.img

Afer installation is complete, and Android boot, you can select the stock launcher or ITV launcher has shown above. Both Ethernet and Wi-Fi worked, but the key mapping is not for the remote control included with Orion R28, so the up arrow key is mapped to the power key, and so on. It should not be too complicated to fix. the code has been updated, and remote control is now working fine.

So if you can to build it yourself (I have not tried), but getting the code from three sources:

  1. U-boot -> https://github.com/linux-rockchip/u-boot-rockchip/tree/u-boot-rk3288
  2. Android 4.4 SDK (master branch) -> http://git.linux-rockchip.org/
  3. Patch for Beelink R89 or Hotack T031.
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iMito QX1 Quad Core Android HDMI TV Stick Sells for $30

October 18th, 2014 21 comments

As new platforms are being introduced to market, companies have to clear their stock of older devices, and iMito QX1 HDMI TV dongle based on Rockchip RK3188 quad core processor is now going for $30 on Aliexpress, including shipping.
iMito_QX1iMito QX1 specifications as a reminder:

  • SoC –  Rockchip RK3188 Quad core Cortex A9 @ 1.6Ghz with Mali-400 MP4 GPU. (or maybe RK3188T @ 1.4 GHz  now)
  • System Memory –  2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB NAND Flash + microSD card
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Video Output – HDMI
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host + 1x mini USB port for power
  • Misc – Reset/recovery button, external antenna connector.
  • Power – 5V/2A via mini USB port
  • Dimensions – 99 x 40 x 10.8mm
  • Weight – 42 grams

The latest firmware is based on Android 4.2.2, and there are also some custom ROMS (Finless, Nitro Team, etc..) for the device. QX1 is sold with a power supply with a USB cable, and a short HDMI cable. An external antenna does not seem to be included, so if you want one, you’ll need to spend a few dollars. The antenna can be purchased on GeekBuying or Aliexpress for about $7.

Thanks to Gabe.

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Updated Android 4.4 Beta and Ubuntu Images for pcDuino8 / A80 OptimusBoard Boards Released

October 17th, 2014 9 comments

pcDuino8 and A80 OptimusBoard are the only two Allwinner A80 development boards currently “somewhat” available, and albeit the PCB color is different, every else is basically identical, and pcDuino8 firmware should probably run on A80 OptimusBoard and vice versa. If you own any of these boards, you may interested in two images, one with Android 4.4 (beta), and one with Lubuntu, recently released by pcDuino / Linksprite.

pcDuino8_Ubuntu_Update

Android 4.4 (beta) 2014-10-08 – sun9iw1p1_android_optimus.img to be flashed with PhoenixCard (Windows) or Livesuit (Linux)

Lubuntu 14.04? 2014-10-08 is comprised of two files:

  1. Kernel – pcduino8_kernel_livesuit_20141008.img to be flashed with PhoenixCard or Livesuit first. See instructions to use Livesuit with A80 OptimusBoard.
  2. Rootfs – pcduino8_ubuntu_20141008.rar. First extract the rar files to the root of an SD card or USB flash drive. There should be two files: pcduino8_ubuntu_20141008.img and update.sh. Now connect the mass storage device to pcDuino3 / A80 Optimusboard, and reboot the board to flash the image to /dev/nandd automatically.
    The serial console should show something like:

    mount udisk succeed

    update.sh found, updating rootfs from udisk, please wait…

    writing pcduino8_ubuntu_20141008.img to nand flash

    it will take about 8 minutes to finish…

    During the update, one blue LEDs will blink quickly, and once the procedure is complete two LEDs should blink slowly (success) or fast (failure)

I have tried the Ubuntu image on A80 OptimusBoard, and the kernel update works fine, but the rootfs update (USB flash drive) failed to complete successfully, ending with “write ubuntu to nand failed. update failed, please retry.” after a few seconds. The reason being /dev/nandd partition is only 630 MB, and Ubuntu image is 1.7GB, so I’d have to repartition the flash, something that’s used to be done in the board files for older Linux kernels, but with Allwinner kernel is might be different… An unofficial source also told me an A80 GPU SDK would be released by the end of the month.

Thanks to miniNodes for the info.

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Mini PC Polls: Networking Connectivity, Video and Audio Outputs

October 17th, 2014 4 comments

It’s always interesting to find out how people use their devices, and I recently discovered Google+ support Polls as Droidmote posted a poll to find out whether people used Wi-Fi or Ethernet with their mini PCs, and I followed up with polls about video and audio outputs. Around 50 people have answered to each poll up to now, so even if it may not representative, let’s have a look at the results so far.
mini_PC_Ethernet_vs_Wi-FiAbout half of the people are connected via Ethernet, and the other half are using Wi-Fi after 43 votes. Wi-Fi is normally more convenient, but may not be as reliable, and for users playing high bitrate videos Ethernet is a must, unless you find buffering enjoyable….

mini_pc_1080_or_2160pAfter 58 votes, most people still connect their mini PC to a Full HD television via HDMI, with a few connecting it to a 4K UHD TV, and nobody using composite or component video outputs. This results was to be expected, as HDMI has been around for many years, and 4K UHD are still pretty new, often expensive, and availability of 2160p content is limited.

mini_PCs_audio_outputThe audio output poll surprised me however, as I did not expect that so many people were using AV receivers. 44% of people simply connect their box to the HDMI port  to get audio via their TV, but a combined 41% own an AV receiver mostly connected via HDMI (27%), optical S/PDIF (12%), and one person out of the 41 who voted so far is connecting their device via coaxial S/PDIF. Finally 15% connects their device to external speakers / TV via the AV port, and one member of the community mentioned he used a USB connection to an AV receiver with his Android mini PC. If this small sample of users (41) happens to be representative of buyers of Android/Linux mini PCs / TV boxes, manufacturers should really make sure pass-through audio is working as expected.

The polls are still open so feel free to vote if you have a Google+ account. Simply click on the pictures above to open a new window, and vote.

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Categories: Audio, Video Tags: 4k, Android, Linux, ethernet, hdmi, mini-pc, uhd, wifi

Google Unveils Android 5.0 Lollipop, Nexus 6 Smartphone, Nexus 9 Tablet, and Nexus Player

October 16th, 2014 5 comments

Android L is now formally known as Android Lollipop. Since Google already released Android L preview a few month ago, we already know what’s new in Android 5.0 Lollipop with key changes including material design user interface, ART replacing Dalvik, better battery management, 64-bit support, etc… Google also announced three hardware platforms running Android 5.0: Nexus 6 Smartphone, Nexus 9 Tablet, and Nexus Player (Android TV)

Motorola Nexus 6 Smartphone

Nexus_6
Hardware specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad core Krait 450 processor @ 2.7 GHz with Adreno 420 GPU
  • System Memory – 3GB RAM
  • Storage – 32 or 64 GB eMMC – No micro SD slot
  • Display – 5.96” 1440×2560 AMOLED display (493 ppi). 16:9 Aspect ratio.
  • Connectivity – 802.11 ac 2×2 (MIMO), Bluetooth 4.1, NFC
  • Cellular Network (nano SIM):
    • North America:
      • GSM – 850/900/1800/1900MHz
      • CDMA Band Class – 0/1/10
      • WCDMA Bands – 1/2/4/5/8
      • LTE Bands – 2/3/4/5/7/12/13/17/25/26/29/41
      • CA DL Bands – B2-B13, B2-B17, B2-29, B4-B5, B4-B13, B4-B17, B4-B29
    • Rest of World:
      • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
      • CDMA – not supported
      • WCDMA Bands – 1/2/4/5/6/8/9/19
      • LTE Bands – 1/3/5/7/8/9/19/20/28/41
      • CA DL – B3-B5, B3-B8
  • Audio – Dual front-facing speakers, 3.5 mm audio
  • USB – 1x micro USB 2.0 port
  • Camera
    • 13MP rear-facing with optical image stabilization dual LED ring flash (up to 4K @ 30 fps video recording)
    • 2MP front-facing camera
  • Sensors – GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, ambient light sensor, barometer
  • Battery – 3220 mAh. Up to 330 hours in standby, up to 24 hours talk time, up to 10 hours video playbacks, about up to 10 hours internet (Wi-Fi or LTE).
  • Dimensions – 82.98 x 159 .26 x 10.06 mm
  • Weight – 184 grams

The phone is clearly high-end, but there aren’t any innovative new hardware features that I could see, and all innovation resides in Android 5.0 operating system. The phone will be vailable for pre-order starting October 29th for $649 (unlocked), and ship in sometimes November. Visit Google Nexus 6 page for details.

HTC Nexus 9 Tablet

Nexus_9

Technical specifications:

  • SoC – 64-bit Nvidia Tegra K1 Dual core Denver @ 2.3GHz with 192-core Kepler GPU
  • System Memory – 2 GB RAM
  • Storage – 16 or 32 GB eMMC – No micro SD slot
  • Display – 8.9″ QXGA (2048×1536) IPS LCD. 4:3 aspect ratio
  • Connectivity – 802.11 ac 2×2 (MIMO), Bluetooth 4.1, NFC
  • Cellular Network – Quad-band GSM, CDMA, Penta-band HSPA, LTE
  • Audio – Dual front-facing speakers with HTC BoomSound, dual microphones, 3.5 mm audio
  • USB – 1x micro USB 2.0 port
  • Camera
    • 8MP Rear camera with  auto-focus, and LED flash
    • 1.6 MP front-facing camera
  • Sensors – GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, ambient light sensor
  • Battery – 6700 mAh. Up 9.5 hours for either Wi-Fi browsing or video playback, up to 8.5 hours for LTE browsing, up to 30 days standby with either Wi-Fi or LTE.
  • Dimensions – 153.68mm x 228.25mm x 7.95mm
  • Weight – 425g (Wi-Fi), 436g (LTE)

Nexus 9 tablets will be the first and only 64-bit ARM Android 5.0 devices at launch. The Nexus 9 will be available for pre-order on October 17, starting at $399 for the Wi-Fi/16GB version, and up to $599 for the LTE/32GB version, with shipping expected for November 3. More information is available on Google Nexus 9 page.

Asus Nexus Player

Nexus_PlayerNexus player specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom quad core processor @ 1.8GHz with Imagination PowerVR Series 6 Graphics 2D/3D Engine.
  • System Memory – 1GB RAM
  • Storage – 8GB storage
  • Video Output – HDMI up to 1080p60
  • Connectivity – 802.11ac 2×2 (MIMO), Bluetooth 4.1
  • USB – 1x micro USB port
  • Power – 18W DC power (12V/1.5A?)
  • Dimensions – 120mm x 120mm x 20mm
  • Weight – 235g

The media player will come with a voice search capable Bluetooth Smart (BLE) remote control with two AAA batteries, a power adapter, a quick start guide, and a warranty, safety and regulatory booklet. There’s also an optional wireless gamepad. There’s no Ethernet port, so you’d have to make sure your Wi-Fi network is up to the task. It should be no issue for high definition online videos, but depending on your environment, it might become problematic to playback videos such as Blu-ray rips from your NAS (If that’s even supported/allowed on Android TV).

Nexus Player will go up for pre-order October 17 for $99, and start shipping on November 3. The gamepad will be $39. More information may be found on Google Nexus Player page.

If you don’t feel like buying a new devices, you’ll still get Android 5.0 Lollipopon your Nexus 4, 5, 7, 10 as well as “Google Play edition” devices in the coming weeks. Android 5.0 SDK and Nexus (preview) images will be released on October 17.

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MEEGO-T01 HDMI TV Stick Supports Android, Windows 8.1, and Ubuntu/Linux

October 15th, 2014 13 comments

ARM based HDMI TV dongles have been available for over two years, mostly running Android, but the community has managed to install Linux desktop operating systems such as Ubuntu or Debian on these tiny gadgets with some limitations. But now that Intel is making low power SoC for tablets, at least one company has decided to make an HDMI TV stick powered by Intel “Bay Trail-T” Z3735F/G quad core processor, which can run Android, Windows 8.1, and Linux based desktop operating systems such as Ubuntu.

MEEGO-T01Meegopad MEEGO-T01 (aka APM-D01?) hardware specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom Z3735F / Z3735G “Bay Trail” quad core processor @ 1.33 GHz (Bust freq: 1.83 GHz) with Intel HD graphics (2W TDP)
  • System Memory
    • 1 GB DDR3L-1333 for Z3735G (32-bit up to 5.3 GB/s)
    • 2 GB DDR3L-1333 for Z3735F (64-bit up to 10.6 GB/s)
  • Storage – 16 or 32 GB eMMC + micro SD slot
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 (Realtek RTL8723BS)
  • USB – 2x micro USB ports, 1x USB 2.0 port
  • Misc – Power button
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via micro USB port.
  • Dimensions – 99.6 x 37.6 x 9.6 mm
  • Weight – 46 grams

Android and Windows 8.1 are supported according to the specifications, and Linux/Ubuntu is vaguely mentioned, so it may not be fully supported at this time, other Bay Trail-T mini PC can run Ubuntu with some caveats, so hopefully issues can be ironed out, and we can finally have an HDMI stick running Ubuntu / Debian with full 2D/3D GPU acceleration, and video hardware decoding support.

Intel_HDMI_TV_Stick_BoardThe PCB name is DAONH1MB6A0, and appears to have been designed by a Taiwanese public company called “HannStar Board Corporation“.

MEEGO-T01 / APM-D01 / Meegopad T01 (not sure of the name) is not available for retail yet, but it’s listed on Alibaba, as well as on Shenzhen APEC Electronic’s APM-D01 product page. I could not find any price information, except the very vague, and unreliable, “$1 to $70″ on Alibaba.

Via Mini PC G+ community

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