There are now many wireless display adapters supporting Miracast, EZCast, DLNA, Airplay…, and streaming videos from your smartphone to the TV over Wi-Fi in 720p or 1080p resolution. Qualcomm recently unveiled a prototype called “4K Stream Adapter (4SA)” that does about the same but instead support 4K UHD resolution, and allegedly supports LTE thanks to its Qualcomm Snapdragon 800+ processor.
According to a PCWorld report, Qualcomm mainly expects the device to be used to stream 4K video captured with a phone to a 4k UHD television, but it might also ending up supporting online video services such as Netflix, and mirroring your mobile device’s display onto the big screen. It’s also said to use a “basic Universal Plug and Play protocol” to connect with other devices, and the company is working to support communication with media apps such as BubbleUPnP, VLC and MXPlayer. Currently 4SA is only a prototype to demonstrate its capabilities to hardware OEM/ODM and software companies.
SemiAccurate also mentions the device supports LTE, and while it’s unlikely consumer ever use LTE to stream 4K video at home, it could be used in location where other network connectivity are not available, for example for digital signage players in remote locations. The player would probably download content over LTE, store it in a large enough flash, and play the content for a while, instead of simply continuously streaming content due to cost considerations.
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 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.
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.
About 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….
After 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.
The 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.
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.
Meegopad 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.
The 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
Categories: Android, Hardware, Intel Atom, Linux, Ubuntu, Windows 8
Android, Linux, bay trail, intel, mini-pc, ubuntu, windows 8
We’ve already seen Ugoos S85 board with Amlogic S805 processor for HDMI TV sticks some time ago, and now Android TV dongles based on the low power quad core Cortex A5 processor are finally up for sale, starting with M85 model coming with 1GB RAM, 8GB flash, HDMI and USB ports, and two Wi-Fi antennas.
M85 technical specifications:
- SoC – Amlogic S805 Quad-Core Cortex-A5 @ 1.5GHz with Quad Core ARM Mali-450MP GPU @ 600MHz
- System Memory – 1GB DDR3
- Storage – 8GB NAND FLASH + micro SD card slot
- Video & Audio Output – HDMI 1.4 up to 1080p
- Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi with two external antennas, Bluetooth.
- USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 2x micro USB ports (1x OTG, 1x for power)
- Power Supply – DC 5V/2A
The device runs Android 4.4. It’s not clear whether any cables or even a power supply are included. I’ve already tested two full sized TV boxes featuring Amlogic S805, and the main advantages of S805 over the more powerful S802 processor are its low cost and support for hardware H.265 / HEVC decoding. Unfortunately the former has completely gone out of the window, as M85 is currently selling for $98.99 on Aliexpress. For reference, MXQ S85 TV box sells for less than $50, so a market price for Amlogic S805 based TV sticks should probably be between $40 and $60 depending on components used.
Mele is currently showcasing a mini PC powered by Intel Atom Z3735D quad core processor at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair, and the company has started taking OEM orders for $49 (MOQ 1000) for the barebone model without memory.
Mele PCG03 Specifications:
- SoC – Intel Atom Z3735D “Bay Trail” quad core processor @ 1.33 GHz (Bust freq: 1.83 GHz) with Intel HD graphics
- System Memory – Optional 1 or 2 GB DDR3
- Storage – Optional 16, 32, or 64 GB eMMC + micro SD slot
- Video Output – HDMI 1.4, VGA and Composite (RCA),
- Audio I/F – HDMI, Stereo RCA, optical S/PDIF, and MIC and earphone jack.
- Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
- USB – 2x USB 2.0 host
- Power Supply – N/A
The box will run either Windows 8.1 or Android. I’m a little confused to what “barebone” means for this type of mini PC because the DDR3 and eMMC chips are most probably soldered to the board, so a barebone model would simply be unusable. Or maybe my assumption is wrong, and you can insert SO-DIMM modules. On the video & audio front, Mele claims it can handle 4K UHD / 1080p videos and Live TV, VOD, XBMC, YouTube, Netflix… apps, as well as Dolby Digital and DTS.
Allwinner A80 based tablets such as Onda V989, and development boards such as A80 OptimusBoard started to ship one to two months ago, but there was absolutly no news about Android mini PCs / media player based on the latest Allwinner processor. This is about to change as ZeroDevices twitted about their Z8C Alice TV Box, apparently designed by Sunchip, and in collaboration with a UK based digital signage company called Eclipse Digital Media.
Preliminary technical specifications that we can infer from the picture above:
- SoC – AllWinner Ultra Core A80 4x Cortex 15, 4x Cortex A7 big.LITTLE processor with Imagination Technologies PowerVR GC6230 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0, Directx 9.3
- System Memory – N/A
- Storage – ?? GB eMMC + SD card slot + SATA port (most probably via a USB 2.0/3.0 bridge)
- Video Output – HDMI + AV port
- Audio – HDMI, AV, and optical S/PDIF
- Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi, probably Bluetooth too
- USB – 1x USB 3.0 OTG port, 2x USB 2.0 host ports
- Misc – IR receiver (not soldered on the picture above).
- Power Supply – N/A
- Dimensions – N/A
There’s a header at the back of the picture that might be used to connect a small board with for power button, and/or LEDs (TBC). The four through holes very close to the power barrel and S/PDIF connector is most likely the UART pins. Zero Devices also started a thread on Freaktab, where they posted a picture with showing the device get 54,253 points in Antutu. For some reasons, Antutu scores reported with devices and boards powered by Allwinner A80 have varied a lot from just a little over 30,000 to 65,000 depending on the firmware used, so any score should be taken with a grain of salt.
Pricing and availability are unknown at this stage.