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Posts Tagged ‘linaro’

ArcherMind Mediatek X20 Pro Development Board Adds 3G, 4G LTE and More I/Os

March 28th, 2017 2 comments

Archermind launched Mediatek X20 board powered by Mediatek Helio X20 deca-core processor, and compliant with 96Boards CE hardware specifications last year for $199. The company has now been working on a “professional” version, dubbed Mediatek X20 Pro that adds supports for 3G and 4G / LTE, as well as extra I/O connectors for cameras, LCD modules, and an RF baseboard.

Alpha Star Mediatek X20 Pro board specifications:

  • SoC – Mediatek Helio X20 (MT6797) deca-core processor with two ARM Cortex A72 cores @ 2.1~2.3 GHz, four Cortex A53 @ 1.85 GHz, four Cortex A53 @ 1.4 GHz, and  ARM Mali-T880 GPU @ 700 MHz
  • System Memory – 2GB LPDDR3 2-ch @ 933 MHz
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC 5.1 flash + micro SD 3.0 card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI up to 1080p @ 30 fps
  • Video Support – 25MP @ 24fps / 25MP @ 30 fps; WQXGA 2560×1600 60fps; FHD 1920×1080 120fps; 4Kx2K 30fps H.265 w/HDR
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1 (MT6631), GPS with antenna connector
  • Cellular Connectivity – Modem with support for WCDMA B1/B8, FDD-LTE B1/B3,TDD-LTE B38/B39/B40
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB port (device only).
  • Expansion:
    • 1x 40 pin low speed expansion connector – UART, SPI, 2x I2C, 12x GPIO, DC power
    • 1x 60 pin high speed expansion connector – 4L-MIPI DSI, USB, 2x I2C, 2L+4LMIPI CSI
    • IO extended interface – Support one 2k LCM or two 1080P LCM, 13M+13M dual camera
    • Optional 16-pin analog expansion connector – Stereo headset/line out, speaker, analog line-in, and more
    • 2x connectors on the bottom of the board for RF sub-board
  • Misc – Power, reset and volume buttons. 6 LEDS (4x user, 1x Wifi, 1x Bluetooth)
  • Power Supply – 8 to 18V DC input
  • Dimensions – 85 x 54 mm

The board only supports Android 6.0, with Linux support depending on what Mediatek decides to do. You’ll find some hardware and software document on the Wiki which still has many non-working links…, and none of them seem related to the Pro version yet.

If you want to use 3G or 4G cellular , you’ll need to get  “Mediatek X20 RF sub-board” that connects to X20 board via two board-to-board connectors with the following key features:

  • Modem Features – World-mode Modem with Single RF for all Markets
    • FDD/TDD LTE R11 Cat-6 (300Mbps/50Mbps) with 2x20MHz DL carrier aggregation support
    • HSPA+ R8 (42Mbps/11Mbps) / TD-SCDMA Rel.7 (2.8/2.2 Mbps)
    • CDMA2000 1x/EVDO Rel.A, SRLTE support
  • Transceiver Features
    • Transmitter – Direct conversion(LTE/3G/8PSK) and DFM for GMSK; Dedicated power detection circuits for power control over specific power range; 4LB/4MB/2HB TX output port
    • Receiver – Hybrid direct-conversion(4G/3G/C2K) /low-IF (GGE, DC-HSDPA) receiver; 14+14 RX input ports; 4 RXIF IQ outputs
  • RF Board Band Support – WCDMA band 1,8; TDD-LTE band 38,39,40; FDD-LTE band 1,3
  • Dimensions – 100 x 71 mm

Charbax interviewed the company at Linaro Connect Budapest 2017 where they showcased their new X20 Pro board and corresponding add-on boards, as well as the upcoming Mstar Altra board compliant with 96Boards TV Platforms specs (7:48 mark in video) based on Mstar MSD6A838 quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 SoC with 4K M-Genuine Video Engine supporting Motion Estimation/Motion Compensation (MEMC), HDR, color enhance, de-noise, and so on.


It’s unclear whether Mediatek X20 Pro is available now, and we don’t know the price yet, but considering the non-pro version sells for $200, we could probably expect the 4G version to sell between $250 to $300 with the RF baseboard and SIM card adapter board. Some more information is available on the product page.

Socionext SC2A11 Low Power Server Processor Comes with 24 Cortex-A53 Cores, Scales up to 1536 Cores via PCIe

March 15th, 2017 7 comments

Socionext SC2A11 is an 24-core (tetracosa) ARM Cortex-A53 processor designed for low-power server system suitable for edge computing, web server & indexing, cloud computing, and any applications that do not require high single thread peak performance. The company also designed SC2A20 switch SoC that allows up to 64 SC2A11 processors (1536 cores) to communicate over PCI Express using Socionext DDT (Direct Data Transaction).

SC2A11 SoC specifications:

  • Processor – 24x ARM Cortex-A53 MPCore cores @ up to 1GHz, with 32KB/32KB I/D L1 cache, 256 KB L2 cache, and 4MB L3 cache
  • Memory I/F – DDR4-2133Mbps 64-bit + ECC
  • Flash I/F – HSSPI, eMMC
  • PCIe – PCI Express Gen2, Root/Endpoint select, 4 lanes (2 systems/ for SoC IF)
  • LAN – 2x 1Gbps with IPSec Network Offload Engine (wire-speed)
  • Serial I/F – UART, I2C, GPIO

The company did not provide any info about software, but it’s safe to assume it’s running Linux. There’s some code on the Linux mailing list for other Socionext processor,  but nothing for SC2A11. Another interesting use case is to connect several processor element card (PEC) based on SC2A11 using SC2A20 switch SoC, and a few Socionext MB86M30 ASSP via PCIe to encoding raw videos to 4K HEVC / H.265 videos @ 60 fps.

Media Transcoder Server

Socionext was at Linaro Connect Budapest 2017 demonstrating some of those PECs, and Charbax checked them out at the demo event, where they showcase the boards, and explained a little about them, and their relation with Linaro (as a member).

You won’t find than many details on Socionext SC2A11 product page, but at least you can inquire the company if you need more information.

New 96Boards IoT Edition Boards Showcased at Linaro Connect 2017: BlueSky IE and WRTNode IE

March 9th, 2017 10 comments

Linaro Connect Budapest 2017 is taking place this week in Hungary, and during George Grey – Linaro CEO – keynote, he provided a status updates for the Linaro group, addressed some of Linaro’s criticisms from members and the community, and unveiled two upcoming boards compliant with 96Boards IoT edition both running Zephyr OS, and adding to BLE Carbon board announced last year.

Click to Enlarge

The first board is BlueSky IE board with the following key specifications:

  • SoC – RDA Micro RDA5981A ARM Cortex-M4 Wireless MCU with 64KB ROM, and 32KB cache
  • System Memory – 485KB SRAM. It’s unclear if that’s only the on-chip SRAM, and there’s also some external PSRAM added.
  • Storage – 8Mb NOR flash 802.11 b / g / n HT20 / 40 mode
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi with support for  HT20 / 40 modes
  • Crypto security hardware

The second board is WRTnode IE:

  • SoC – Mediatek MT7697 ARM Cortex-M4 wireless MCU @ up to 192MHz with 64KB ROM, 353 KB SRAM
  • Storage – 4Mb NOR flash
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 LE
  • Crypto security hardware

Neither boards are available now, and Linaro and their members must still be working on them before the launch. There’s currently very little information about RDA5981(A) MCU except on some Chinese websites, but you’ll find many more resources for Mediatek MT7697. Mr Grey also demo’ed Orange Pi i96 board announced last year with an Ubuntu distribution developed by Shenzhen Xunlong Software.

Linaro also announced four new members with Acer joining the Linaro IoT and Embedded (LITE) Group, Guizhou Huaxintong Semiconductor Technology Co., Ltd (HXT Semiconductor) & Fujitsu Limited coming to the Linaro Enterprise Group (LEG), with the latter also joining as founding member of the LEG High Performance Computing Special Interest Group (HPC SIG), and Google joined as a Club member.

You might be interested in watching the keynote with all those announcements, and to be more up-to-date with Linaro’s progress.


If you are in a rush, you may prefer flicking through the keynote presentation slides instead.

HiKey 960 Development Board Powered by Hisilicon Kirin 960 Cortex A73/A53 Processor To Sell for $239

March 4th, 2017 19 comments

LeMaker is about to launch a successor to Hikey board with a new 96Boards compliant development board with HiKey 960 featuring the powerful Hisilicon Kirin 960 processor found in Huawei Mate 9 smartphone, as well as 3GB LPDDR4 memory, 32GB UFS storage, HDMI, USB 3.0 ports and so on.

Hikey 960 board specifications:

  • SoC – Kirin 960 octa-core big.LITTLE processor with 4x ARM Cortex A73 cores @ up to 2.4 GHz, 4x Cortex A53 cores @ up to 1.8 GHz, and a Mali-G71 MP8 GPU
  • System Memory – 3GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
  • Storage – 32GB UFS flash storage + micro SD card slot
  • Video Output / Display Interface – 1 x HDMI 1.4 up to 1080p, 1x 4-lane MIPI DSI connector
  • Connectivity – Dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac? WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 with two antennas
  • USB – 2 x USB 3.0 type A host ports, 1x USB 2.0 type C OTG port
  • Camera – 1x 4-lane MIPI CSI, 1x 2-lane MIPI CSI
  • Expansion
    • PCIe Gen2 on M.2 Key connector
    • 40 pin low speed expansion connector with +1.8V, +5V, DC power, GND, 2x UART, 2x I2C, SPI, I2S, 12x GPIO
    • 60 pin high speed expansion connector: 4L MIPI DSI, 2L+4L MIPI CSI, 2x I2C, SPI (48M), USB 2.0
  • Misc – LEDs for WiFi & Bluetooth, 4x user LEDs, power button, reset button
  • Power Supply –  8V-18V/2A via 4.75/1.7mm power barrel (EIAJ-3 Compliant); 12V/2A power supply recommended; PMU: Hi6421GWCV530, Hi6422GWCV211, Hi6422GWCV212;
  • Dimensions – 85mm x 55mm

The board will support Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and Linux. Some instructions  to build AOSP from source code and get started with the board can be found on Github, and a Wiki page has also been setup, but it’s basically empty right now, except for a short comparison between Hikey (620) and Hikey 960. Linux support will be done via Linaro Reference Platform Build (RPB), which should mean Debian support.

You may be able to find more information on LeMaker’s Hikey 960 product page, and the board is currently listed for $239 on Lenovator, but out of stock.

Thanks to Theguyuk for the tip.

Linaro Home Group Releases “AOSP” Android TV for Hikey Board

February 3rd, 2017 1 comment

The Linaro Home Group (LHG) was setup to work on “open source software for ARM-based set top boxes, smart TVs, media boxes, TV dongles and home gateway products”, and after having worked on OP-TEE (Open Portable Trusted Environment Execution) firmware as one of their first endeavors, they’ve now ported Android Open Source Project (AOSP) Android TV to 96Boards compliant Hikey board.

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Android TV is based on Android, but adds the TV Input Framework and the Lean Back APIs with the user interface designed for larger displays. LHG has not changed the apps and higher level software from AOSP, but they’ve made sure it could work on Hikey board by working on the Linux drivers and Android user space stack to make sure the Live TV App and Android TV Channel Service implemented in AOSP can work properly on the hardware.

If you want to try it on your own Hikey board, you can do so by building AOSP Android TV from sources.

Hikey Board – Click to Enlarge

Now that does not mean any random Chinese TV box manufacturer will be able to ship TV boxes running “Android TV” instead of Android for phone or tablet, as AOSP lacks Google Mobile Services (GMS), and Android TV solutions must be licensed and approved by Google, and must pass various tests such as the Android Compatibility Test Suite (CTS), the Compatibility Definition Document (CDD) and various audio & video performance criteria. But at least most of the low level software should be taken care of, so it would simplify and speed up development.

Android TV Sample App – Click to Enlarge

Hikey board hardware complies with 96Boards “Consumer Edition” specifications, but lacks typical TV box features such as an IR receiver, which is why 96Boards TV Platform specifications were published last year. LHG probably started with Hikey because development has been going on for a longer time, and the platform is more mature, but one of the next steps will be to work on 96Boards TV Platform compliant boards such as HiSilicon Poplar board.

Qualcomm Starts Sampling of Qualcomm Centriq 2400 ARM Server SoC with Up to 48 ARMv8 Cores

December 8th, 2016 3 comments

Qualcomm has announced commercial sampling of Qualcomm Centriq 2400 series server SoC built with 10nm FinFET process technology and featuring up to 48 Qualcomm Falkor custom ARMv8 CPU cores “highly optimized to both high performance and power efficiency, and designed to tackle the most common datacenter workloads”.

qualcomm-centriq-2400-series-soc

Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies demonstrated the new processor in a Live demo showing Apache, Spark, Java, and Hadoop on Linux running on a SBSA compliant server powered by Qualcomm Centriq 2400 processor, but the company did not provide any further technical details or preliminary benchmark results for the solution.

The Qualcomm Centriq 2400 processor series is now sampling to select customers and is expected to be commercially available in H2 2017. That’s about all we know from the press release. However, Linaro have been working on Qualcomm Technologies QDF2432 based board for several months with support for Debian 8.x ‘Jessie’ and CentOS 7 operating systems, as well as Hadoop and OpenStack. It’s not 100% clear if this is indeed related to Centriq 2400, albeit the name QDF2432 seems to indicate so, and it would probably have started on some FPGA board to simulate Centriq 2400 (32-core?) processor, unless they had engineering samples for nearly a year. There’s also a basically empty page on Centos.org for “Qualcomm QDF2432 Server Dev Platform”. It’s close to impossible to find much details since those things are developed under NDAs.

Orange Pi Zero and Orange Pi i96 96Boards IoT Edition Boards Coming Soon

September 27th, 2016 26 comments

Shenzhen Xunlong Orange Pi boards are relatively popular thanks to their low price, and support on communities such as Armbian, but two new upcoming Orange Pi boards might make the company even more relevant in the development board space. First, the company is nearing completion of the tiny, and hopefully ultra cheap, Orange Pi Zero board with Allwinner H2+ processor, and Linaro has announced that an Orange Pi i96 boards compliant with 96Board IoT specifications is also coming soon.

Orange Pi Zero

The board has not been released, but some pictures have been uploaded to Armbian forums.

orange-pi-zero

Orange Pi Zero looks quite similar to NanoPi NEO board but with different processor, a slightly larger form factor, and both Ethernet and wireless connectivity. We don;t have other information for now, but it still possible to get most of Orange Pi Zero specifications from the photos:

  • SoC – Allwinner H2(+) quad core Cortex A7 processor with Mali-400MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 512 MB DDR3-1866 (Samsung K4B2G1646F-BFMA)
  • Storage – micro SD card slot
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet + wireless connectivity with u.FL antenna connector (likely WiFi)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Expansion headers – 26-pin header +13-pin header
  • Debugging – 4-pin header for serial console
  • Misc – 2x LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port or 5V pin on 4-pin header (TBC)
  • Dimensions – 46 x 46 mm (TBC); NanoPi NEO size: 40mm x 40mm)

allwinner-h2-plus-boardThat’s all we know at this time. Orange Pi Zero was previously touted as a $5.90 board (shipping not included), but I’d be really surprised if they could sell it that cheap considering there’s both Ethernet and WiFi (or another wireless interface) on-board.

Orange Pi i96

Shenzhen Xunlong is very good at making – in my experience reliable – hardware at a cheap price, but if you’ve ever tried one of their firmware images, you may have come across issues, which is why communities like Linux-sunxi and armbian are so important for software support. 96Boards platforms are supposed to have one of the best and up-to-date software support, as Linaro have some engineers working full time on the project, however in a world of $35 or less development boards, the price of 96Boards compliant development boards even below $100 has not been competitive enough or the new standard to take-off.

So I’m hopeful that Orange Pi i96 board will bring the best of both world, with a low price associated with Orange Pi boards, and software support and documentation from Linaro/96Boards.

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Source – Linaro Connect US 2016 Welcome Keynote (via Nanik) – Click to Enlarge

The board won’t be based on any Allwinner processors however, but instead feature an RDA Micro Cortex-A5 processor (possibly RDA8810PL) with 2Gbit (256 MB) on-chip RAM, 4Gbit (512 MB) on-chip NAND flash, a micro SD card, two USB 2.0 ports, a CSI camera connector, and WiFi 802.11 b/g/n connectivity. The board will run Ubuntu, and like the recently announced BLE Carbon will be compliant with 96Boards IoT Edition “standard” specs, except it will use “Cortex-A profile and 1.8V I/Os” variation of the standard. The price will be less than $10 🙂

BLE Carbon 96Boards IoT Edition Board Runs Zephyr OS

September 27th, 2016 6 comments

Linaro Connect Las Vegas 2016 is taking place right now, and the organization has some very interesting development, with a new focus on the Internet of Things thanks to the creation of LITE (Linaro IoT and Embedded) segment group that will work on “delivering end to end open source reference software for more secure connected products, ranging from sensors and connected controllers to smart devices and gateways, for the industrial and consumer markets”. The first LITE IoT Reference Platform release to be made in December 2016, but in the meantime, Linaro introduced 96Board IoT specifications, as well as the first compliant board with the launch of Carbon board (aka BLE Carbon) running Zephyr OS.

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Carbon 96Boards IoT Edition board specifications:

  • MCU – STMicro STM32F401 ARM Cortex M4 microcontroller @ up to 84 MHz with 512kB Flash, 96kB ram
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0 LE via Nordic Semi nRF51822 SoC + chip antenna
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG port, 1x micro USB port for UART
  • Expansion – 2x 15-pin Low speed connector with GPIO, UART, Analog inputs,SPI, I2C, PWM, and power signals; 3.3V I/O voltage
  • Debugging – SWD debug connectors, UART console via micro USB port
  • Misc – 6LEDs ( USR1, USR2, BT, PWR, RX, TX), 2x push buttons (BOOT0 and RESET)
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port with fuse protect
  • Dimensions –  60 x 30 mm as per 96Boards IoT standards
Click to Enlarge

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You’ll find the software and hardware documentation on 96Boards Carbon page, as well as Seeed Studio Wiki, since they are the designer and manufacturer of the board.

As with other 96Boards specifications, 96Board IoT Edition (IE) specification defines requirement for multiple revision of boards either using Cortex-A or Cortex-R/M profile, and IE standard (60x30x9mm) or IE Extended (85x54x12mm) form factor. On top of that you’ll also have board with 3.3V I/Os, and others with 1.8V I/Os. That means that BLE Carbon board is compliant with “96Board IoT Edition standard using Cortex-R/M profile and 3.3V I/Os“.

96Boards IoT Edition Standard (3.3V) Dimensions

96Boards IoT Edition Standard (3.3V) Dimensions

The specifications also mandates at least one wireless interface such as Zigbee and Bluetooth LE, as well as optional Ethernet, USB, and micro SD card support.

Seeed Studio is now taking pre-orders for the BLE Carbon board for $27.95 with shipping planned for October 20th.