When Linaro announced the 96Boards initiative, they started by launching “Consumer Edition” boards with a target price of around $100, but they also had plans to launch more powerful and feature-packed “Enterprise Edition” board in the $300 to $400 range. The first Enterprise Edition is based on AMD Opteron A1100 quad core Cortex A57 processor.
The company has not released the full specs yet, but the press release mentions the board features a 4-core AMD Opteron A1100 Series processor with two SO-DIMM memory slots, PCIe, USB, SATA (3x), and Gigabit Ethernet capabilities. It measures 160×120 mm.
CentOS, Fedora, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server for ARM Development Preview are the main operating systems planned for the board but additional software and operating systems will be available later on.
The board is should become available in H2 2015, and will be supported through the Linaro Enterprise Group’s 96Boards.org site. Exact price has not been announced, bu it should be much cheaper than the $3,000 Opteron A1100 development kit launched about a year ago.
Visit https://wiki.linaro.org/Cycles/1506/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.
There has been a few 96Boards announced so far, and a Banana Pi96 could soon be launched, as LeMarker has just joined the Linaro Community Board Group, but so far the board that generated the most buzz was Qualcomm Dragonboard 410c, but at the time pricing was not officially disclosed, although a $75 target price was posted in several blogs. And now it seems Qualcomm 64-bit ARM board indeed costs $75, as it is listed for that price on Arrow Electronics website with a few pieces in stock.
Dragonboard 410c specifications have also been further detailed:
SoC- Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 (APQ8016) quad-core ARM CortexA53 @ 1.2 GHz with Adreno 306 GPU @ 400MHz
System Memory – 1GB LPDDR3 @ 533MHz, Single-channel 32-bit (4.2GBps)
Storage – 8GB eMMC 4.51 + micro SD 3.0 (UHS-I)
Video Output – HDMI up to 1080p
Video Playback -1080p@30fps HD video playback and capture with H.264 (AVC), and 720p
playback with H.265 (HEVC)
Connectivity – Integrated 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS with on-board antenna
USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB port (device only).
Camera – Support for 13 MP camera with Wavelet Noise Reduction, JPEG decoder, and other post-processing techniques done in hardware
1x 40 pin low speed expansion connector – UART, SPI, I2S, I2C x2, GPIO x12, DC power
The board will run Android 5.1 and Ubuntu developed in collaboration with Linaro, and Windows 10 support is also being worked on.
I have not been able to check shipping (requires registration), but it will ship from the US, so it should mostly be interesting for people based in North America, until other distributors sell the board, or Arrow gets stock in Europe or other parts of the world.
[Update on June 16 with comments from Inforce Computing:
The Inforce 6410Plus is a product/application ready SBC that can be mass-manufactured to be designed-in directly by OEMs into end-products. Of course developers, DIY enthusiasts, and research houses may use it as a development board, but essentially it’s a product ready SBC.
CSI and DSI interfaces – A single 40-pin LSHM MIPI connector on the previous generation product has been replaced with a single 51-pin FI-R MIPI CSI connector. A single connector enables support for 2 cameras/up to 20MP. Similarly, we’ve replaced the LVDS interface with a single 51-pin MIPI-DSI connector that supports two simultaneous displays.
Inforce IFC6410 board is one of the few low cost Qualcomm Snapdragon development boards / SBCs available on the market. Released in 2013, it features a Snapdragon 600 processor (APQ8064) coupled with 2GB RAM, 4GB eMMC, and various connectors. Inforce Computing has now introduced an upgraded version of the board, simply called Inforce 6410Plus, which adds GPS, one extra MIPI CSI interface, two MIPI DSI interfaces, and a few other changes, while keeping the same $143 price tag.
Inforce 6410Plus specifications (Upgrades / changes highlighted in bold):
MIPI-CSI2 (4-lane, up to 20MP camera @ 15 fps) + an extra MIPI-CSI2 interface
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 Mic-in compact combo jack for headphone and mic-in
USB – 2x USB 2.0, 1x micro USB OTG
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 (Instead of 5V/5A)
Dimensions – 10cm x 7cm (Pico-ITX); Thickness: 16mm
Temperature Range – Operating: 0 to 70 C | Storage: -20 to 80 C
Relative Humidity – 5 to 95% non-condensing
Inforce 6410Plus Board Block Diagram
The company also claims to have improved heat dissipation, and implemented a fastboot switch for Android to enter into fastboot as recommended by Google. Android 4.4.2 and Ubuntu 14.04 board support packages (BSP) can be provided with the board. There’s no mention about Linaro support, although the older IFC6410 board gets images released monthly and published on the Download page. [Update from Inforce Computing: “The Ubuntu 14.04 BSP is in fact based on a Linaro Linux release, so we do support Linaro.”
You can find more details including software and hardware documentation on Inforce 6410Plus product page, with some links required credentials only available to customers. Inforce Computing will start taking orders on June 15.
Linaro 15.04 has been released with Linux 4.0 (baseline), Linux 3.10.74 and 3.14.39 (LSK), and Android 5.1.1.
Other noticeable changes include support for the new DragonBoard 410c 96boards compliant board, the addition of A80 Optimusboard (Allwinner A80) to Android Kitkat build, Hisilicon D01 support added to the Debian installer, and support for Ubuntu ARM64 Gnome rootfs.
Highlights of the release:
Linux Linaro 4.0-2015.04
updated linaro-android topic: aosp/android-3.18 branch has been merged
GATOR topic: version 5.20.1
updated integration-linaro-vexpress64 topic by ARM LT (FVP Base and Foundation models, and Juno support)
updated topic from Qualcomm LT (IFC6410 and DB410c boards support):
Add HiSilicon D01 platform support to Debian installer
Updated android-build job to work with docker slaves
Cleaned up ILP32 build job
LSK: enable debug options on regular builds
linux-linaro: ll-fold.sh script fixed to work correctly with newer git versions
CI bring up: tshark board Android member build
Added Ubuntu arm64 gnome rootfs
Added D01 platform to Coresight CI loop
Check out https://wiki.linaro.org/Cycles/1504/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.
ZTE XZ296702 is a dual core Cortex A9 processor with a Mali-400 GPU that targets Android set-top boxes and media players, and while Charbax filmed a video with ZX296702-AD1 development board at Linaro Connect HK, initial patchsets were recently submitted to the Linux ARM Kernel mailing list for XZ296702 SoC and the development board.
There aren’t any product page for ZX296702 processor, so instead let’s have a look at the board’s specifications:
SoC – ZTE ZX296702 dual core ARM Cortex A9 processor with Mali-400 GPU
System Memory – 512 MB RAM
Storage – 4GB flash + micro SD card
Video Output – HDMI + AV (RCA)
Audio Output – HDMI + Stereo audio (2x RCA)
Connectivity – Ethernet and Wi-Fi
USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
Power Supply – 5V
Considering the board is running Android 4.4, the specs are quite low end, however the developers claim to have performed memory optimizations, and improved the boot time to 10 seconds (Closer to 17 seconds based on the video below) in order to make the box feel like a higher-end device. I’ve been reviewing several products with higher end processors like Rockchip RK3288, Allwinner A80 or Mediatek MT6752, and fast eMMC flash, and the best devices can only boot in 15 to 20 seconds. So what kind of sorcery is that?
The developers explain that their reference platform used to boot in 30 seconds, but they’ve used open source tools, namely TuxOnice, to save RAM into the flash, and at boot time it will simply copy/uncompress the saved RAM back to memory, in the same way you use hibernation on your laptop.
ZTE ZX296702 processor is likely to be found only in ZTE set-top boxes for the Chinese and overseas market,s but I’ve also found the processor listed for sale on a Chinese website.
TBS launched their Matrix 2910 media player based on Freescale i.MX6 Quad processor in 2013, and what made the platform especially interesting was support for the company’s USB DVB tuners in their Android and Ubuntu images. The company has now unveiled its successor with TBS 2980 Matrix 2 powered by Allwinner A80 octa core processor that will also support USB DVB-T2, DVB-C & DVB-S2 tuners.
Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 2x USB 2.0 host ports
Misc – IR receiver, reset button
Power Supply – 5V/3A
Dimensions – 101 x 101 x 31 mm
Weight – 400 grams
Matrix 2 is significantly smaller than other Allwinner A80 devices like Tronsmart Draco AW80, mostly because it lacks the rather slow SATA port. The box runs Android 4.4 with Kodi pre-installed, and will ship with a power adapter, a remote control, and a user’s guide. I’ve also been told the mini PC will also boot Debian server or Ubuntu Linaro desktop distributions from the micro SD card.
The list of supported USB tuners are not been provided, but I do know TBS 5520 multi-standard USB tuner will be used for development, and it supports DVB-S/S2, DVB-C/C2, DVB-T/T2, and ISBT standards, so all these should be covered. It’s quite likely tuners supported by the original Matrix mini PC will also be supported on Matrix 2.
We’ve already have two 96Boards compliant boards formally announced with HiSilicon Hikey and Qualcomm Dragonboard 410c, and Actions Semiconductor was also expected to release theirs soon. Albeit it’s not been officially announced yet, the company has been showcasing their Bubblegum-96 board at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair 2015.
Power Supply – ATC2609 PMIC; Should be 8-18V / 2A input as per 96Boards specs but I can’t see any power barrels.
Dimensions – 85 x 54 mm (96Boards compliant)
The board can run Android 5.0 or Ubuntu based on Linaro codebase. They did not provide the exact RAM and storage capacity, but since the board needs to be low cost, I’d use they’ll go with 1GB RAM, and 4GB internal storage, just like the Hikey board. There will also be another board called Actduino S900 powered by the same processor, running the same images, but not compliant with 96Boards specifications, and adding an Ethernet port, an LCD connector and so on.