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Posts Tagged ‘linaro’

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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Click to Enlarge

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

Click to Enlarge

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.

$79 HiSilicon Poplar is the First 96Boards TV Platform Compliant Board

August 30th, 2016 32 comments

At the end of last month I wrote about 96Boards TV Platform specifications, and noticed Hisilicon had one such boards, but details were sparse. Linaro has now officially unveiled HiSilicon Poplar board, the first 96Boards TV Platform board, sold for $79 + shipping on Aliexpress.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Poplar board specifications:

  • SoC – HiSilicon Hi3798C V200 quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 CPU up to 2.0 GHz per core with ARM Mali-T720 GPU supporting OpenGL ES 3.1/3.0/2.0/1.1/1.0, OpenVG 1.1, OpenCL 1.2/1.1 Full Profile, RenderScript, and Microsoft DirectX 11 FL9_3
  • Memory – 1 or 2 GB DDR3 (Specs are conflicting depending where you look)
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0a with HDCP 2.2 up to 4K @ 60Hz
  • Video Decoding – H.265/HEVC Main/Main10 and VP9 up to 4K @ 60 fps
  • Audio Output – HDMI, optical S/PDIF, 3.5mm audio jack
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 2xUSB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port for console
  • Expansion
    • 40-pin Low Speed (LS) connector with UART, SPI, I2S, 2x I2C, 12x GPIO
    • 1x PCIe 2.0 interface
    • 12-pin Smart Card connector (unpopulated)
    • 24-pin connector for tuner (unpopulated)
  • Debugging – 1x JTAG port, 1x UART connector
  • Misc – IR receiver, boot selection jumper, LEDs, power button
  • Security – ARM Trustzone, trusted execution environment, secure boot, secure storage, secure video path, DRM, DCAS
  • Power Supply – 12V / 2A
  • Dimensions – 160 x 120 mm (96Boards TV platform specs)
  • Temperature Range – 0°C to +70°C

Hisilicon Hi3798C V200 is quite an interesting processor with many high speed and media interfaces, and while they used most of them, they did not leverage support for SATA. Luckily, there’s still USB 3.0 and PCIe if you need faster storage.

Hi3798C V200 Block Diagram - Click to Enlarge

Hi3798C V200 Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The board is sold with Android 5.1.1, but it will be the main development platform of Linaro Digital Home Group which aims “to continue creating optimized, high-performance secure media solutions for ARM on both Linux- and Android-based platforms. Licensees of the RDK (Linux) will be able to create Open Embedded/Yocto RDK builds for Poplar. The Poplar board will also serve as a common development platform for Android TV (AOSP) as well as for TVOS-based STB solutions used in China.”

In the meantime, you may find some information on Tocoding Poplar page, or access directly the hardware user manual. Eventually, 96Boards Poplar page will be a good place to look.

96Boards Gets a TV Platform Edition Targeting $50 Mid-range Boards, $99 High-end Boards

July 26th, 2016 2 comments

96Boards was born as a hardware and software standard with Consumer (CE) & Enterprise Editions (EE), with different form factors with the latter focusing on server boards, but with similar software requirements requiring recent and mostly open source software. The consumer edition was also split into “Standard” and “Extended” editions, which the latter allowing for larger boards with more features, while the Enterprise Edition has its own larger format, as well as an option for micro-ATX form factor. I’ve just learned that a “fifth” 96Boards standard has been worked on with 96Board TV Platform for Home Gateways, OTT Streaming boxes, and TV boards with prices target of $50 or lower for mid-range boards, and $99 or lower for high-end boards.

96Boards TV Platform Board Layout - Click to Enlarge

96Boards TV Platform Board Layout – Click to Enlarge

96Boards TV Platform hardware requirements:

  • Dimensions – 160 x 120 mm (EE Standard form factor)
  • RAM – 1GB minimum; 2GB recommended
  • Flash – 8GB eMMC minimum
  • WiFi – 802.11 g/n minimum; 802.11ac recommended
  • Bluetooth LE – Optional; at least Bluetooth 4.0

    96Boards TV Platform Board by Hisilicon

    96Boards TV Platform Board by Hisilicon

  • Video Output
    • HDMI 1.4 minimum; HDMI 2.0 recommended
    • HDCP 2.0 minimum; HDCP 2.2 recommended
    • Optional Video Outputs – Composite, Component, S-Video
  • Video Input – Optional same requirements as Video output; used for TV boards
  • Audio – HDMI audio mandatory; options stereo I/O and S/PDIF
  • Ethernet – RJ45; >= 100 Mbps recommended
  • Expansion – 40-pin Low Speed Connector as per 96Boards EE specs
  • Additional functionality options:
    • User input – Optional IR detector
    • Security interfaces – Optional smartcard I/F
    • Transport stream I/F – Optional parallel connector for tuner card (ATSC, DVB-T2, DVB-S2, etc…)

On of the software side, the kernel must be buildable from source code with eventual closed-source binary blobs from either kernel.org, latest Google-supported Android kernel version, or one of the latest two LTS kernels from kernel.org. Supported operating systems must at least one of the latest version of Android, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Red Hat, or Linaro / Vendor supported Linux OS built with OpenEmbedded/Yocto Project. The latter being supported by Linaro Home Group (LHG). Other requirements include support for vendor or open source bootloader, optional but recommended OP-TEE support, ARM Trust Firmware, and royalty-free vendor or open source accelerated graphics support. Note that the specifications are aimed at development boards, and not at commercial products. You can find more details in the slides for 96Boards – TV Platform presentation at Linaro Connect Bangkok 2016, as corresponding YouTube video.


I learned about the new 96Boards specifications through the blog post about a “sprint” at the Huawei/Hisilicon facilities in Shenzhen, China on July 11-14. Hisilicon showcased “Poplar” – manufactured by Tocoding Technologies startup – one of the first 96Boards TV platform boards (pictured above), and worked on/demonstrated support for OP-TEE builds on Linux and Android for PlayReady and Widevine DRMs, AOSP TV with TV input framework, LHG OpenEmbedded builds with Yocto 2.1, automatic testing, and so on…

It’s unclear when 96Boards TV platform specifications will be officially released, and when the boards will come to market.

Raspberry Pi 3 To Get ARM TrustZone Support with Linaro OP-TEE Port

June 9th, 2016 1 comment

If you ever wanted to experiment with ARM Trustzone, and IoT security, you’ll soon be able to do so with the Raspberry Pi 3 board thanks to a port of Linaro OP-TEE (Open Portable Trusted Environment Execution) by Sequitur Labs.

OP-TEE Architecture

OP-TEE Architecture: optee_client, optee_linuxdriver and optee_os

Broadcom BCM2737 SoC found in Raspberry Pi 3 board already had TrustZone hardware for isolation and protection for sensitive material such as cryptographic keys, algorithms and data, but the upcoming software release will mean the feature can now be used, and it’s free for trial/evaluation, and  education. Trustzone is also used for DRM (digital rights management), but in the case of Raspberry Pi 3 it will most likely used to teach how to secure the Internet of Things (IoT).

The release is scheduled for July 11, with source code and documentation to be available in OP-TEE github account. All you’ll need to get started is a Raspberry Pi 3 board, a micro SD  card to load, a Bus blaster, a custom cable to enable bare metal debugging,  a single firmware image with 64-bit Linux, ARM Trusted Firmware, and OP-TEE image, OpenOCD and the configuration file for the Raspberry Pi 3, as well as some code samples and a quick start guide.

Support for OP-TEE will be provided through forums on Linaro.

You may find a few more details in the press release.

SD 600eval Development Board Compliant with 96Boards CE Extended To Sell for $279

June 6th, 2016 7 comments

Last month, we found out that Arrows Electronics was working on DragonBoard 600c development board featuring Qualcomm Snapragon 600 processor and based on 96Boards CE Extended version which allows for extra features such as SATA and Ethernet ports. At the time, the complete specifications were not available, and neither pricing. We do now have more details, as the board designed by Elinfochips is (also) called SD 600eval, and is available on back order for $279.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

SD 600eval specifications:

  • SoC- Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064) quad-core Krait 300 processor  @ up to 1.7 GHz with Adreno 320 GPU @ 400MHz supporting OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0, OpenCL 1.1, WebGL 1.0, and DirectX 9.3
  • System Memory – 2GB PoP LPDDR2 @ 533 MHz
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC Flash + micro SD 3.0 (UHS-1) slot + SATA port
  • Video Output – HDMI up to 1080p
  • Video – [email protected] HD video playback and capture (h.264/AVC)
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet via AR8151 PCIe chip, 802.11n/g/n/ac WiFi 2×2 and Bluetooth 4.0 LE, GPS/GLONASS with external GPS antenna
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Expansion:
    • 1x 40 pin low speed expansion connector – 2x UART, SPI, PCM, 2x I2C, 12x GPIO, DC power
    • 1x 60 pin high speed expansion connector – 4L-MIPI DSI, USB, HSIC, 2x I2C, 2L+4L MIPI CSI
    • 1x 16-pin & 40-pin audio expansion connector – Stereo headset/Line OUT, speaker, analog/digital microphones
  • Sensors – On-board magnetometer, gyro meter, and accelerometer
  • Misc – Volume, power & reset buttons. 6 LEDS (4x user, 1x Wifi, 1x Bluetooth), RTC battery slot
  • Power Supply – +6.5 – 18V DC input
  • Dimensions – 100 x 100 mm (96Boards Consumer Edition Extended dimensions specifications)
  • Operating Temperature Range – 0 to 50 deg. C
Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The company provides Android 5.1 with Linux 3.4 support for the board, and Linaro will provide the Linux BSP for D 600eval/Dragonboard 600c, so hopefully a more recent Linux kernel will be supported. There are several links to software and hardware documentation, source code and binaries on the “Resources” section of the product page, including schematics (PDF) and hardware user manual.