But the Raspberry Pi foundation now announced an official new price for Raspberry Pi Model B+, which now sells for just $25 on RS Components and MCM Electronics with other resellers to soon follow. This makes R-Pi Model B+ relevant again for applications that do not require the extra horse power or memory brought by R-Pi 2 quad core processor and 1GB RAM.
When Raspberry Pi 2 Model B was released, we were promised a Windows 10 image for the board, and today, Microsoft released “Windows 10 IoT Core Insider Preview” for both the Broadcom BCM2836 based Raspberry Pi 2 and Intel Atom E3800 series based Minnowboard MAX boards.
To get started with either board, simply go to Windows IoT – Getting Started page. I’ll quickly go through the instructions for Raspberry Pi 2.
Beside the board, you’ll also need a PC running Windows 10 Insider preview (Virtual machine not supported), a 5V power supply, a HDMI cable (optional but recommended), an Ethernet cable, and a 8GB micro SD card, class 10 or better.
The you’ll need to configure a connect account, where I had to accept two EULA including “Windows 10 IoT Core Insider Preview EULA”, and once this is done the area of the page for EULA should just be blank, and you can go to the Download page where you’ll find a few download links:
Select “Windows 10 IoT Core Insider Preview Image for Raspberry Pi 2″ to download Windows_IoT_Core_RPI2_BUILD.zip (482.62 MB), which you need to extract to get flash.ffu. Now insert the micro SD into your Windows 10 PC, open a prompt, find your SD card physical device with:
diskpart list disk exit
And flash the image as follows:
dism.exe /Apply-Image /ImageFile:flash.ffu /ApplyDrive:\\.\PhysicalDriveN /SkipPlatformCheck
where N is your SD card number found with diskpart.
Now insert the micro SD card into your Raspberry Pi 2, connect the relevant cable, and upon boot, the board should start “DefaultApp”, as shown in the screenshot at the top, showing its IP address. There’s no Metro interface, since that’s the IoT version of Windows, and you need to develop or use app developed for Windows 10 IoT.
[Update: Somebody tried… Boot time is at least 1m40s.. The video below just shows the first boot.
Thanks to Bruce for the tip.
$10 Digistump Oak ESP8266EX Board is Arduino Compatible, Connects to the Cloud, and More (Crowdfunding)
A few years ago, I wondered why adding Wi-Fi to Arduino had to be rather expensive ($40+), and why there weren’t any low cost and small form factor Wi-Fi boards for embedded applications. But we’re now in 2015, embedded is “dead” giving rise to IoT, and I’m left wondering how it’s possible to make IoT Wi-Fi modules that cheap, and whether people will ever stop churning out cheap Wi-Fi boards, as I’m flooded with such news weekly… So when I saw yet another ESP8266 board on Kickstarter I was about to dismiss it, but since it was made by Digistump, that has an active community with their other products like DigiSpark Pro or DigiX, I decided to have a closer look.
- MCU – Espressif ESP8266EX 32-bit microprocessor @ 80MHz (overclockable up to 160MHz) with 1MB ROM (~300KB available for user code), 64KB RAM, 512 bytes EEPROM
- Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi radio
- USB – micro USB for power
- Expansion Headers – 2x 9-pin headers with 11x digital I/O Pins (interrupts on 10 digital pins) including SPI, UART and I2C, 1x analog input pin, with PWM available on all digital pins (up to 6 at a time)
- Power – 5V via micro USB port, Sleep and Deep Sleep modes for low power usage
- Dimensions – 23.4 x 30 mm
- Certifications – FCC/CE
The board is compatible with most of the company’s Digispark Pro shields so you might be able to add Bluetooth, RF, GPS, sensors to the board relatively easily. Programming can be done with the Arduino IDE, or RootCloud IDE, a web based development environment that allows to write code from any browser, and upload & debug the code over Wi-Fi.
The board also supports RootCloud, a REST API based cloud platform for communicating between devices, applications, APIs, and so on. The cloud service is optional, and can be self-hosted if you prefer, for example in a Raspberry Pi board. You’ll be able to visualize the data on neat custom dashboards as the one shown below.
Finally, the company will also provide iOS and Android app to control Oak remotely. The project will be open source hardware with the design, firmware, libraries, API tools, and a local version of the API server to be released publicly, probably via Digistump github account, and documentation hosted on their Wiki.
The project has already raised over $50,000 from nearly 1,700 backers on Kickstarter. The early bird reward is an Oak board for $10, after which it will be $13, with other rewards including multiple quantities and kits with some shields and components. Shipping is free to the US, and $5 to the rest of the world, and delivery is scheduled for September 2015.
Tizen may not be overly used in devices, but there has been ports of the operating system on various ARM platform, mostly development boards, powered by Allwinner, Rockchip, Freescale SoCs, and more… Seeing the popularity of Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, Samsung Open Source Group decided to port Tizen to the latest version of the hobbyist board.
The full instructions are rather long, and provided in the link above, but the main steps – using a Linux based computer – can be summarized as follows:
- Create a local copy of tizen-distro
- Add Raspberry Pi 2 BSP Meta repository
- Initialize the environment and modify some config files
- Start the build with Yocto: bitbake rpi-hwup-image. This should make a minimal headless? image
- Create an SD card image with tmp-glibc/deploy/images/raspberrypi2/rpi-hwup-image-raspberrypi2.rpi-sdimg using dd, an optional resize the parition with gparted or fdisk/resize2fs.
- Insert the SD card in to your Raspberry Pi 2, and have fun
Don’t try to build the image on the Raspberry Pi 2 itself, as it may take a long time, even possibly over a day, if it can build at all.
ARDHAT adds Arduino Shield Compatibility, an ISM Band Radio to Raspberry Pi and ODROID-C1 Boards (Crowdfunding)
NinjaBlocks created Pi Crust add-ons board adding a 433MHz radio and Arduino compatibility to the Raspberry Pi Model A & B a few years ago, but the product has since been removed from their store. But a startup called ubIQio has now created a similar product compatible with Raspberry Pi Model A+, B+ and B2, as well as ODROID-C1 which also comes with a 40-pin R-Pi header. The ARDHAT board is a HAT compatible add-on board with an Atmel MCU, Arduino headers, as well as an optional long range mesh ISM radio (433, 868 and 915 MHz) and various sensors.
There are four versions of the board: Basic Ardhat, Ardhat-I, and Ardhat-W and Ultra, which share the following specifications:
- MCU – Atmel MCU @ 16MHz
- Headers and I/Os
- Arduino compatible header accepting 5V Arduino shields
- 12 ch PWM O/P, 6 ch analog I/P
- Real-time Clock
- Programmable Power/Navigation combo switch
- Programmable wakeup/watchdog
- ‘Zero CPU’ SmartLED driver
- Charge status & programmable LEDS
- Power Supply
- External 8-28V power input
- High Power 3A 5V O/P;
- Full Battery backup/UPS
- Standard LiPo battery connector
- Ext and LiPo voltage monitors
- MPPT solar ready
- > 1,000 hour sleep mode operation with 1,800 mAh battery
- Dimensions – 65 x 56.5 mm – RPi HAT standard compliant with EEPROM
Ardhat-I adds a few features to the basic version including a 1,800 mAh battery, support for 9-DOF sensor fusion (MPU9250) with a 3-axis gyroscope, a 3-axis magnetometer (compass), a 3-axis accelerometer, as well as a barometer and thermometer (BMP180). Ardhat-W and Ultra gets all these, plus a long range mesh ISM band radio, respectively HopeRF Electronic RFM69-HCW and RFM69W radio modules.
If you plan to use this board with ODROID-C1 you may need to bend its IR receiver in order to connect Ardhat. The board can be programmed with the Arduino IDE just like any Arduino board, but running on Raspberry Pi or ODROID-C1 board. I’d assume Ardhat might also work with other boards featuring a 40-pin R-Pi header.
The project is now listed on Kickstarter, where ubiQio aims to raise £25,000 or more (~$36,600) . Basic Ardhat goes for £19 (early bird)/ £25 standard ($28/$36), you’ll need to pledge £35/£40 for Arhat-I with the extra sensors and battery, and £45 for Ardhat-W and £55 for Ardhat-U with the company claiming 500 meters range for the former and 15 km range for the latter. All rewards include free shipping to US and Europe, but they won’t ship to the rest of the world at all even for boards without radio modules. Shipping is scheuled for August and September 2015.
Kodi developers have recently announced two release for Kodi: the stable version of Kodi 14.2 Helix, which should be the last Kodi 14 release, and Kodi 15 Alpha 2 Isengard with some interesting new features.
- Application stopped responding on Windows
- Gap-less playback on MP3
- Playback of rtmp protocol
- Scanning of newly added episodes
- Fix multipath source scanning
- Loading external subtitles in some cases
- packaging of PIL module on Android. This fixes some script error when using weather add-on
- Fix video playback on all platform after refresh rate change
- Various bugs that were present in PVR add-ons.
- Save weather location
- Fix filtering of foreign add-ons
- ftps handling
- Use LastWrite instead of ChangeTime for file system on Windows
As usual, you can download the release via Kodi download page for Windows, Linux. Mac OS X, Android ARM and x86, iOS, ATV2, and Raspberry Pi.
So now all developments effort are focused on Kodi 15 codenamed Isengard, which some of the new features including:
- Chapter Selector Window – When you first launch a movie and navigate to the Bookmarks icon in the Video GUI, Kodi will automatically populate all the necessary bookmarks with the name and a picture of each chapter. Disabled by default on slower devices like the Raspberry Pi 1, but you can enable in System->Video->File lists->Extract chapter thumbnails.
- Audio and Subtitle Lists – Audio and subtitle streams in Blu-rays are now listed as one big list for easier selection.
- Language Add-ons and an Expansion of International Options – Kodi 15 allows more much precise control over most of the International settings such as temperature, date/time, etc.. All languages won’t be installed by default as in the case in previous Kodi/XBMC versions, but instead your language of choice will be download as needed. This will allow for faster language updates since you won’t need to wait for Kodi releases.
- Add-on Manager Improvements – The Add-on Manager should become easier to use.
- Misc improvements – Some code clean-up, removal of AFP file system, Windows DXVA HEVC hardware decoding support, and so on.
You can download Kodi 15 alpha and nightly builds @ http://kodi.tv/download/#alphabuilds.
Thanks to Harley for the tips.
PiJuice Battery HAT Module for the Raspberry Pi Boards Comes with an Optional Solar Panel (Crowdfunding)
The Raspberry Pi is a low power board that can be powered a few hours or a few days with batteries, and the easiest solution is probably to use a USB power bank connected to the micro USB port of the board, but the solution is not really integrated. That’s where PiJuice comes into play. It’s a HAT compatible module that connects nicely to the latest Raspberry Pi boards with 40-pin header (A+, B+ and B2), and include a 1,400 mAh battery that can be used as UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply), an RTC, and more.
- 1400 mAh Lipo battery, good enough to last up to 24 hrs in constant use. 5,000 mAh batteries are also said to be supported.
- Full UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) solution
- Integrated RTC (Real Time Clock)
- On board intelligent on/off switch
- Low power deep-sleep state with wake on interrupt/calendar event
- On board intelligent micro-controller (MCU) with custom firmware
- Programmable multi-colored RGB LED
- Raspberry Pi HAT compatible layout, with on board EEPROM for plug-and-plug support
- Low profile design to fit inside most R-Pi enclosures
- Optional 6W solar panel
A power management API available in order to let the Raspberry Pi shutdown cleanly when the battery is running low. A desktop GUI will also be developed so that users can choose when to wake/sleep, customize the signals to the on-board multicolored LED and more. You could also use the module with older Raspberry Pi Model A and B, but cables are required, making the solution not quite as neat for those.
The project has four days to go on Kickstarter, and the developers have already raised over £65,000 out of the £10,000 aimed for. The early bird rewards are all gone, but you can still pledge for PiJuice board for £24 (~$35) including the battery, project guides and stickers, and you can go solar with a £60 (~$89) pledge. Shipping is £5 and £10 to most countries for respectively the basic and solar kit, with delivery scheduled for June 2015.
When Raspberry Pi 2 was announced, I was quite hopeful Android would be ported to the board since it now had the processing power and memory requirements to run Android. But members of the Raspberry Pi foundation put a damper on this expectation directly in their Android forums by closing some Android related threads, and stating the mobile operating system does not bring anything to the educational goal of the Raspberry Pi.
But yesterday, I’ve been informed that there was an experimental Android 5.1 port for ODROID-C1 and another Android 5.x port for Raspberry Pi 2. One of the key challenges to port Android to Broadcom BCM2836 is allegedly the large number of changes required for VideoCore 4 GPU’s buffer management, which was done by Broadcom internally for BCM2835, but never ported to the Raspberry Pi. So it does not quite seem an easy task.
The README on github describes how to build and install the Android image to an SD card bootable on the Raspberry Pi 2. The steps involve building the kernel, then android, and preparing an SD card with 4 partitions:
- Partition 1 (FAT32) – 512MB for the bootloader, the kernel (zImage) and initramfs (ramdisk.img), just like for other R-Pi images.
- Partition 2 (EXT-4) – 512 MB for /system (system.img)
- Partition 3 (EXT-4) – 512 MB for /cache
- Partition 4 (EXT-4) – Remaining of SD card for /data
But does the code actually boot? Answer: not yet, and the developer has stopped working on it:
I was trying to enable vc4 with github.com/anholt kernel.But it was not working.vc4 branch of device_brcm_rpi2 & external_mesa3d are history of above trial.Currently no activity on my side. Will check anholt’s update later.Or someone interested can study it.
So to answer the question raised in the title. Yes, there’s an experimental port of Android Lollipop for the Raspberry Pi 2, but no, it does not work yet, and development activity seems to have stopped for now.