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Posts Tagged ‘linaro’

CubieTruck Plus Development Board with DisplayPort & HDMI Sells for $84 (in China)

December 28th, 2015 6 comments

We first found out about CubieTruck Plus (aka Cubieboard 5) this summer, and while at the time we did not have the full details, it was clear from the board picture and name, that is was an update to CubieTruck board, replacing Allwinner A20 dual core processor by Allwinner A8 octa-core processor, and ditching the VGA port for DisplayPort while keeping most of the same features of the original version.

CubieBoard5
The company has now provided more details while announcing the launch of the board in China, and it turns out CubieTruck Plus has a few more advantages, and at least one drawback.

CubieTruck CubieTruck Plus
SoC Allwinner A20 Allwinner H8
CPU Dual core Cortex A7 up to 1.08 GHz Octa core Cortex A7 up to 2.0 GHz
GPU Mali-400MP2 PowerVR SGX544 up to 700 MHz
Memory 2GB DDR3
Power [email protected] power jack
Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45)
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n (2.4 GHz only) Dual band 802.11 b/g/n (AP6330)
Bluetooth 4.0
Storage 8GB NAND Flash 8GB eMMC flash
SATA 2.0 for 2.5” HDD/SSD SATA 2.0 for 2.5” HDD/SSD
(USB bridge)
Micro SD slot
Display HDMI 1.4a and VGA HDMI 1.4a and DisplayPort 1.1
Audio Out HDMI, optical S/PDIF, and 3.5mm audio jack
Audio In Line-in pins On-board microphone, and audio jack
with microphone support
USB 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB 2.0 OTG port
RTC Battery Rechargeable 40 mAh @ 3.0V
Buttons Reset, power, and u-boot
LEDs 4x user LEDs
IR Receiver Yes
Expansion pins 54 pins 70 pins
Dimensions 112x82x18mm

So that means other improvements include a faster eMMC interface, on-board microphone, full support for headset via the 3.5 mm audio jack, and 16 more I/O pins. The main disadvantage is that due to the USB to SATA bridge, the SATA interface will now be much slower, closer to 30MB/s sequential read and write speeds if properly implemented, instead of the 180MB/s SATA read speed I measured in CubieTruck using  a 128GB SSD.

CubieTruck_Plus_AccessoriesThe CubieTruck Plus will ship with an acrylic case, a fan, a SATA cable, a USB OTG adapter, a mini USB to USB cable, and a USB to power cable. Since the dimensions of the new and old boards are the same, CubieTruck Metal Kit case will also be compatible, except they’ve made some modifications to the back plate due to the VGA to DisplayPort replacement.

The company has also released tools, documentation, schematics (PDF), source code, and firmware image on CubieBoard5 download page with Android 4.4 and Linaro Ubuntu desktop images bootable from SD card or the eMMC flash.

CubieTruck Plus can be purchased for 539 CNY (~$84 US) on Taobao. A few more details may also be found on the product page.

Thanks to MigSu for the tip.

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Linaro Releases the First (Alpha) Version of the 96Boards Reference Software Platform

November 9th, 2015 13 comments

Linaro’s 96Boards initiative was launched at the beginning of the year with Hikey board, and beside the hardware specifications, 96Boards also has some software requirements that include support for “bootloader (open source), accelerated graphics support (binary or open source), a Linux kernel buildable from source code based from mainline, or the latest Google-supported Android kernel version, or the last two LTS kernels, and one of more of the following operating systems: Android, Debian/Ubuntu, Fedora/Red Hat, or an OpenEmbedded/Yocto build of a Linux distribution”.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

In order to achieve this goal, Linaro introduced the Reference Software Platform for 96Boards, and they’ve now pushed the first Alpha release for Hikey and DragonBoard 410c boards. The release includes a bootloader, the Linux kernel, Debian and AOSP with firmware, source code, and documentation.

Some highlights of the Reference Software Platform 15.10 Alpha release include:

  • CE Debian RPB (Reference Platform Build)
    • Debian 8.2 “Jessie”
    • Linux 4.3 kernel with additional patches
    • OpenJDK 8 included by default
    • 96Boards artworks and default settings
  • CE AOSP RPB (Hikey board only)
    • AOSP Android Marshmallow 6.0
    • Linux 3.18 based kernel

CE refers to the consumer edition of 96Boards specifications, as there’s also an Enterprise Edition (EE), which is not covered by this release.

You can find documentation, including how to build your own image on 96Boards Wiki on Gihub. You can interact with 96Boards community on the forums, the bug tracker, or #96boards on IRC.

If you want to find out more of the Software Reference Lead Project, you can watch the Linaro Connect presentation below (~42 minutes), and/or download the slides.

The next release is planned for December 2015 (15.12 release), and should include:

  • Have both boards using a single kernel tree/branch and a single kernel binary
  • Better understanding about the upstream gaps
  • Adding support for CE AOSP for Dragonboard410c (with freedreno)
  • Adding support for CE OE/Yocto
  • Enterprise Edition

The Enterprise Edition will likely run on AMD Opteron A1100 96Boards.

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Inforce Computing 6401 Micro SOM is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 System-on-Module

October 23rd, 2015 No comments

Inforce Computing announced their 6501 Micro SOM system-on-module based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor in Q2 2015, and the company informed me that they had just unveiled a lower power version based on Snapdragon 600 processor called 6401 Micro SOM, and still featuring WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS connectivity on module.

Qualcomm_Snapdragon_600_SoMInforce 6401 Micro SOM:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064) quad core Krait processor up to 1.7 GHz with Adreno 320 GPU, and Hexagon DSP v4 up to 500MHz
  • System Memory – 2GB PoP LPDDR2 @533Mhz (Optional 3GB)
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC v4.4.1/v4.5, with options up to 64GB
  • Connectivity – BT 4.0 , dual band 802.11n/ac Wi-Fi (QCA6234), and GPS (WGR7640) with WiFi and GPS antennas on carrier board
  • Peripherals and I/O via two 100-pin SoM connectors:
    • Video / Display – 1x HDMI, 2x MIPI-DSI (4-lane) & touch screen
    • Audio
      • 4x Line out, 3x Mic-in, 1x headphone out
      • 8-channel 7.1 surround sound, Dolby Digital plus, Dolby True HD and DTS-HD via HDMI
      • On-board WDC9311 audio codec
    • Camera – 2x MIPI-CSI (2/4-lane)
    • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host, 1x USB 2.0 OTG
    • 1x PCIe, SDC, SLIMBUS
    • JTAG, 8x GPIO, UART via 3-pin RS232, 2x I2C, SPI
  • Video / Image Capabilities
    • 1080p Full HD video with AVC (H.264) encode and decode
    • Image signal processor (ISP) with support for image sensors up to 20MP
  • Power Supply – +3.3V/6A input
  • Dimensions – 50 x 28 mm
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0° C to 70° C; Storage: -20° C to 80° C
Block Diagram

Block Diagram

Android KitKat 4.4 BSP,  Linaro Ubuntu Linux 14.04 BSP, as well as  device drivers for cameras, displays, and peripherals are provided to customers. The datasheet (actually a product brief) and mechanical dimensions can be downloaded freely, but most of the documentation can only be downloaded after having purchased the board.

Inforce SYS6401 development platform can be used for evaluation and speed the early stage of development. The kit includes one Inforce 6401 Micro SOM, a mini-ITX carrier board, a 12V power supply, a micro-USB cable, and an acrylic base.

Qualcomm_Snapdragon_600_mini-ITX_board

SYS6401 baseboard with 6401 Micro SOM

It’s basically the same carrier board found in SYS6510 devkit with Snapdragon 805 processor, except some minor modifications.  It still comes with HDMI embedded DisplayPort), MIPI-DSI connector, Gigabit Ethernet, 7.1 audio output, a mini PCIe slot, battery support, and more.

Inforce 6501 Micro SOM is sold for $166, while the development kit can be purchased for $371. Visit Inforce 6401 Micro System on Module and Inforce 6401 Development Kit pages for further details.

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Linux Kernel Mainline Status of Mobile SoCs Presentation at Linaro Connect SF015

September 24th, 2015 6 comments

Linaro Connect San Francisco 2015 is taking place this week, and several 96Boards have been presented including LeMaker Hikey and Qualcomm DragonBoard 410c, both of which will finally be available by the end of the year. But there are also many technical presentation and discussions that are uploaded to LinaroOnAir Youtube account, and they’ve greatly improved video and audio quality compared to the past, with presentation slides also available on Slideshare. I’ve just watched one of the session entitled “Kernel Mainline Status of Mobile Chipsets” by Tim Bird, Sony Mobile. Also the talk focus on mobile SoC, it’s also relevant to other consumer electronics products, and some embedded systems.

Linux_Mainline_Mobile_SoC
The presentation states the extend of the issues, shares comparisons between the vendor device tree and mainline, and explains how developers can participate, with the talk ending with a discussion within the group of attendees.

Here’s a summary of some of the key points:

  • Shipping products are 20 versions behind Linux mainline, that’s about 3 years old, and have between 1 to 3 million lines of code out-of-tree, as shown in the table below, where they compared the vendors’ GPL source code releases to mainline Linux.
    Linux_out-of-tree_code
  • Manufacturers find working with Linux is hard, even for a company like Sony with 1,100 developers, and many manufacturers don’t participate because they don’t understand the benefit, or simply don’t know how to do. The end results however is that users’ device don’t get any long term support for their devices.
  • One of the issue is the development cycle goes through multiple parties. Google selects an LTS kernel, which then gets to SoC vendors, then device manufacturers, before reaching the end user, and the cycle repeat with a large “version gap” between mainline and the kernel used on devices.
  • To reduce to version gap, a joint project between Linaro and the Linux Foundation aims to determine obstacles to mainlining, and reduce or eliminate them, and the results of analysis, generated with upstream-analysis-tools, shows large differences for the expect media & video drivers, as well as the architecture directory, but also for USB 2.0 code, simply because of the extra code required to handle USB charging that’s not supported in mainline.

    Main Areas Where Qualcomm Vendor tree differs with Mainline Tree

    Main Areas Where Qualcomm Vendor tree differs with Mainline Tree

  • The analysis lead to kernel area of focus for mainling Wiki entry which includes potential work to be done for  sensors, charging, NFC,GPS & Bluetooth using UART, and more. So if you a student looking for a summer or final year project, this could be something you could explore.
  • Beside technical issues, and there’s a lot of work, there are also institutional barriers, and management must be convinced mainlining – and avoid binary blobs – is the way to go before committing resources. Some ideas are listed on eLinux.org such as gathering data to show the benefit of mainlining, possibly showing smaller code base for mainlined code which can leverage the kernel framework, making software costs visible, etc… You can edit the Wiki, and add your own ideas too.

You can watch the full 55-minute presentation below, and/or download the presentation slides.

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LeMaker Hikey 96Boards Development Board Comes with 1 to 2GB RAM, Sells for $75 and Up

September 23rd, 2015 5 comments

Hikey was the first 64-bit ARM development board compliant with 96Boards specifications, and supported by Linaro. Availability always seemed to be an issue however, and pricing was set to $129. But Lemaker, the makers of Banana Pi boards, recently joined Linaro, and they’ve built a lower cost version of the Hikey board, still featuring Hisilicon Kirin 620 octa-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor, but with 1GB and 2GB RAM versions, priced respectively at $75 and $99.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

LeMaker Hikey board specifications:

  • SoC – HiSilicon Kirin 620 octa core Cortex A53 processor @ 1.2 GHz with ARM Mali-450MP4 GPU
  • System Memory – 1 or 2 GB LPDDR3 @ 800 MHz
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC + micro SD slot
  • Video Output / Display – HDMI up to 1080p, MIPI-DSI interface
  • Connectivity – 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 LE (WL1835MOD module)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG
  • Camera – MIPI CSI interface
  • Debugging – UART header), unpopulated 10-pin JTAG header (back)
  • Expansion headers
    • 40-pin LS (Low Speed) Expansion connector – UART, I2C, 12x GPIOs, SPI, PCM, PWM, SYS_DCIN, 1.8V, 5V, and GND,
    • 60-pin HS (High Speed) Expansion connector – SDIO, MIPI_DSI, MIPI_CSI, I2C, USB 2
  • Misc – Power button, jumper for power/boot/user, LEDs for Wi-Fi/Bt, and 4x User LED
  • Power Supply – 8-18V @ 3A as per 96Boards specs via 4.5/1.7mm power jack. Hi6553V100 PMU
  • Dimensions – 85 x 55 mm
Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The new version of the board also increases the internal storage from 4GB to 8GB. The board supports Android 4.2 & Debian Linux, and you can find technical documentation, binary images, and source code on the Wiki.

Nicolas Charbonnier (Charbax) is at Linaro Connect SFO 2015, and he interviewed LeMaker co-founders about their Hikey board, but they also brought a suitcase with most of their board including Banana Pi, Banana Pro, LeMaker Guitar (Action Semi S500), and LeMaker Piano (Freescale i.MX6).

I also learned a few interesting facts about LeMaker company. They have over 60 employees, sold over 150,000 Banana Pi boards, and, unless I misunderstood, the two founders started the company right after graduation, without previous working experience…

They currently have a limited number of 1GB boards going for $75, but 2GB are currently out of stock, and listed for $99, and broad availability of both versions is scheduled for November 2015. The only difference between the two boards I could find is the amount of RAM, so you’d pay $24 for one 1GB extra RAM, which seems a bit stiff. Shipping and handling are not included in the price, and in my case would add $20 to the cost.

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Inforce 6410Plus Single Board Computer with Snapdragon 600 SoC Sells for $98 (Promo)

September 12th, 2015 15 comments

Inforce 6410Plus SBC is the successor of Inforce 6410 board, also based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor (APQ8064), but compared to the first version of the board, it adds GPS/Glonass, some MIPI CSI and DSI interface,and a few others changes. The normal price is $143, but it is currently selling for $98 for a limited period.

Inforce_6410PlusI’ve reproduced the specifications below as a reminder:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064) Quad Core Krait 300 processor  @ 1.7GHz + Adreno 320 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB on-board PCDDR3, up to 533MHz
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC + μSD card connector + SATA interface
  • Connectivity:
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (Atheros QCA6234)
    • Bluetooth 4.0 (Atheros QCA6234)
    • 10/100/1000bps Ethernet (Atheros 8151)
    • GPS/GLONASS
  • Video and Audio Interfaces:
    • μHDMI (1080p)
    • 2x MIPI-CSI2 (4-lane, up to 20MP camera @ 15 fps)
    • Dual MIPI-DSI (4 lane) – Primary : up to QWXGA (2048 × 1536), 60 Hz refresh rate; Secondary:  up to QHD (960 × 540), 60 Hz refresh rate
    • HD Audio and compact combo jack for headphone and mic-in
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0, 1x micro USB OTG
  • Misc I/O
    • 1x I2C, 1x SPI, 1x UART, UIM, 12x GPIO
    • On-board 34-pin expansion header to connect to Peripheral Abstraction Core (PAC) mezzanine adapter card
  • Debugging – via serial console on 3-pin header
  • Power – 12V/1.5A power supply
  • Dimensions – 10cm x 7cm x 1.6 cm (Pico-ITX)
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0 to 70 C | Storage: -20 to 80 C
  • Relative Humidity – 5 to 95% non-condensing
The board can run Android 4.4 or Ubuntu Linaro, and support various software packages such as Vuforia, FastCV, Alljoyn, etc… Documentation including datasheets, user’s manuals, application notes and reference manuals can also be accessed, but only once you’ve got your board and can register an account with its serial number.
So how to you get the board for $98? Follow these simple steps:
  • Visit IFC6410Plus ordering page
  • Choose your operating system: Android or Linaro Ubuntu
  • Select “Without the starter kit” option if you don’t need the 12V power supply, micro USB cable and acrylic base. Adding this option will cost $6 extra, [Update: Despite the coupon apparently working with the $6 kit, the company informed the offer is only valid without the kit]
  • Click “Add to cart”
  • In the Discount codes section, type 6410Plus98 and click “Apply Coupon” to get a $45 discount.
  • Only one board per order.

You may also have to pay extra for tax and/or shipping. More information about the board itself can be found on Inforce IFC6410Plus product page.

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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 derive 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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