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Posts Tagged ‘tablet’

BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition Tablet is the First Ubuntu “Convergence” Device

February 5th, 2016 2 comments

Three years ago, Canonical unveiled their plan to develop Ubuntu for Tablets with support for both tablet mode and full desktop convergence, but development took longer than expected, and in the meantimes some companies launched tablets without real mobile / desktop convergence, such as Cube i7-CM or Mastermind UT One, non of which were really successful. However, with the upcoming Ubuntu 16.04 “Xenial Xerus” LTS release, Canonical has worked it out, and the company cooperated with BQ to develop Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet the feature both mobile and desktop modes.

BQ_Aquaris_M10_Ubuntu_Edition

BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu edition specifications:

  • SoC – MediaTek MT8163A ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core processor @ 1.5 GHz with ARM Mali-T720MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB RAM
  • Storage – 16GB storage + microSD card slot for up to 64GB of removable storage
  • Display – 10.1″ muitoutch screen; 1920×1200 resolution
  • Video Output – micro HDMI output
  • Audio – Frontal speakers, 3.5mm audio jack, FM radio
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS
  • Camera – 12MP (or 8MP) camera with auto-focus and dual flash, and
  • USB – micro USB OTG port
  • Sensors – Light, accelerometer, eCompass
  • Battery – 7,280 mAh Li-Po battery
  • Dimensions – 246 x 171 x 8.2mm
  • Weight – 470 grams

Ubuntu_Tablet_Desktop_ModeWhile you are on the go, the device will feature a mobile-based full touch interface, but if you connect a keyboard or/and mouse via Bluetooth or USB the same desktop mode as you use on your computer or laptop will automatically be enabled, and you can connect the tablet to a monitor or TV via the micro HDMI port for a full PC experience.

Canonical explains the Ubuntu will support “responsive applications developed for both touch and point/click input and which re-shape to whichever UI is being displayed”, and they will be accessible from a “ingle application store with a range of compatible third party services”. So I guess that means apps also need to be ported to fully support both mobile and desktop environments, and it’s not clear what’s the status of the ports so far. However, the company claims porting app is very easy:

Third party developers will be able to easily create new Ubuntu applications which only need to be developed once but which can be available and used across all Ubuntu interfaces.  The Ubuntu SDK provides the fundamental tools developers need to make their apps easy to adapt and run on any display. When you see your application on the phone and then use that application on the desktop, it is the exact same code running each application. Ubuntu does not need to know if the app is coded for a mobile or desktop display rather it is the application that surfaces the appropriate interface depending on which display is required.

BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition will start selling on Q2 2016, likely after the official release of Ubuntu 16.04 scheduled for the end of April. The price is unknown, but for reference BQ Aquaris M10 Full HD tablet, running Android 5.1, is currently selling for 259.90 Euros on BQ’s website.

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PIPO X9S Atom x5 mini PC comes with 4GB RAM, 64GB Storage, and a 8.9″ Touchscreen Display

January 21st, 2016 No comments

PIPO has a line of products that few others companies have. They are not really simple mini PCs, not really tablets, and not exactly panel computers, but some mixture of all three. They started their mini PCs with tablet display with PIPO P8 model featuring a Bay Trail processor, and they now have an upgraded version called PIPO X9S that features an Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor with 4GB memory, 64GB eMMC flash, and a 8.9″ display, and is itself upgrade over PIPO X9 featuring less memory and storage, and an Atom Z3736F processor.

PiPO_X9SPIPO X9S specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8300 “Cherry Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz/1.84 GHz with Intel Gen8 HD graphics
  • System Memory – 4 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 64 GB flash, and micro SD slot up to 64GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4a
  • Audio Output – HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack, and stereo speakers
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet ports, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports (N.B.: the micro USB port found on PIPO X9 has been removed).
  • Misc – Power and volume buttons, and reset pinhole.
  • Power Supply – 12V/2.4A
  • Dimensions – 165x133x53mm
  • Weight – 500 grams

PIPO_X9S_ConnectorsThe device runs Windows 10, and I assume that version is activated since Windows is free for device with a display smaller than 9″, which could be why PIPO is making this kind of device. It ships with a power adapter and a user’s manual.

PIPO X9S is currently up for pre-order on GeekBuying for $199.99, but you can lower the price by $15 with 15ESPIPOX9S coupon, bringing it to $184.50. If you like the processor, memory and storage options, but could care less about the display, PIPO X6S might be a better option for the same price (before coupon), as it adds one USB 3.0 port, an internal SATA bay, faster WiFi, and one extra Ethernet port. I’d also not rush pre-ordering PIPO X9S as it’s scheduled to ship on March 15, 2016.

Via AndroidPC.es

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MJ Technology Ubuntu 16.04 Tablets are Powered by Intel Atom x7-Z8700 Processor

January 15th, 2016 6 comments

A company called MJ Technology is planning to launch Ubuntu tablets powered by an Intel Atom x7 Cherry Trail quad core processor with 4GB RAM,  64 GB RAM, and 8.9″ or 10.1″ full HD displays.

MJ_Technology_Ubuntu_TabletMJ Tech Ubuntu tablets specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x7-Z8700 quad core processor up to 2.40 GHz with Intel HD  Gen8 graphics
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR3 RAM (2x2GB)
  • Storage – 64GB Internal + micro SD Slot up to 128GB
  • Display – 8.9″ and 10.1″ HD IPS display (1920×1200) with 10 point multi-touch
  • Video Output – micro HDMI
  • Audio – HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack, and 2x 2W speakers
  • Connectivity – Dual band 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB –  1 x USB 2.0 host port, 1x USB 3.0 host port, 1 x micro USB port
  • Camera – 8MP front facing camera, and 13MP rear camera
  • Expansion – Internal mini PCI-Express slot with external access
  • Sensors – G Sensor,Compass,Gyroscope, GPS
  • Battery – 8.9″: 7500mAh, 10.1″: 8500mAh
  • Battery Life – 8.9″: 7-8 hours (200 hours on standby), 10.1″: 8-9 hours (200 hours on standby)
  • Dimensions & Weight – N/A

Ubuntu_16.04_tabletThe company claims in a comment on their Facebook post that the tablet runs Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus), despite the version only planned for release on April 2016, so that means it’s currently running an Alpha version of the operating system, but there’s a reason for that.

A concern with Bay Trail and Cherry Trail processors is that Intel does not put much efforts into getting Linux to work on these platform so things like audio output (HDMI or ) or wireless connectivity may not work out of the specs, and the product manufacturer would have to work on making it work properly. For example, the first version of Rikomagic MK36S LE mini PC with an Intel Atom x5 processor won’t support HDMI audio.

The company plans to launch the Ubuntu tablets via a crowdfunding campaign that will start on January 18, 2016 with shipping scheduled for June 2016, which explains the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS claim. The tablets are also listed on their website for $349 and $399 for respectively the 8.9″ and 10″ versions, but it’s not possible to pre-order yet.  Bear in mind that there’s no address or telephone number on the company website, and only renders of the tablets are available, but the company is promising “numerous videos” on the crowdfunding page, so hopefully we’ll see some actual demos in the next few days. [Update: There are some pictures if you scroll down on the Facebook, and also a 6 month old video shows the Ubuntu tablet prototype]

There’s also a separate rumor that Canonical will unveil an Ubuntu tablet made by BQ Readers, and allegedly currently codenamed Frieza,  at Mobile World Congress 2016 that will take place on February 22 – 25, but I could not find any actual detail or confirmation about this hardware.

Via Softpedia (Thanks to Nanik)

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FOSDEM 2016 Schedule – Open Source Hardware and Software Event in Europe

January 13th, 2016 3 comments

FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting) is a 2-day event that usually takes place on the first week-end of February in Brussels, but this year it will be on January 30-31. The event brings thousands of developers, hackers, and other person interested in open source technology who present their projects and share ideas. FOSDEM 2016 schedule is now available, and There will be 557 speakers, 612 events, and 50 tracks this year including 7 main tracks: Distros, Enterprise, Hardware, Communications, Miscellaneous, Office, Systems Administration, and Virtualization.

FOSDEM_2016

So I’ve had a look at some of the talks, especially out of  “Embedded, Mobile and Automotive” and “IoT” devrooms, and prepared my own virtual schedule although I won’t be able to attend.

Saturday

For many years MIPS processors have been involved in the embedded market, particularly in areas related to networks and storage. With the success of the mobile market, and the great evolution of the world linked to the “makers”, other architectures (such as ARM), they have reached very large levels of diffusion.

Meanwhile, the MIPS architecture has evolved, introducing innovations and improvements to adapt to both the processor market from performance, both to the world of micro-controllers. The future of MIPS is a new family divided into several generations evolving.

During the presentation, after a brief and simplified introduction to architecture, will be shown the technologies available at the time and what will be the future developments.

The presentation will also show some reference platforms (ex. Imagination Creator CI20), and how to work to integrate and port on these platforms. Application examples with Yocto and buildroot, to switch to a full distribution (Debian). Finally it will also present a perspective on the use of MIPS in embedded designs.

AsteroidOS is a free and open-source smartwatch platform based on OpenEmbedded, libhybris, BlueZ5 and Qt5. The OS currently offers a basic user experience on the LG G Watch. This technical talk will briefly introduce the philosophical background of the project and more deeply its architecture’s details in order to attract developers, porters and curious.

This talk will successively be focused on how to boot an Android Wear watch, on how to gain hardware acceleration on that kind of hardware, on how Qt5 and OpenEmbedded are used and on the future of AsteroidOS.

AsteroidOS uses similar technological choices as those of projects like SailfishOS, NemoMobile, Mer, WebOS-Ports or Ubuntu Touch but adapted to the needs of smartwatches. The architecture of those project will briefly be compared during the presentation.

Based on Migen, MiSoC is a library of cores and a system-on-chip integration system to build gateware for various applications. MiSoC is lightweight (runs on FPGA devices as small as Spartan-6 LX9 with 32-bit RISC CPU and SDRAM), portable (demonstrated on Xilinx, Altera and Lattice devices) and high performance (e.g. contains the fastest open source DDR3 solution we are aware of). Designing and integrating cores is facilitated by Python and Migen features. Current MiSoC applications include LTE base stations, video processing (Numato Opsis) and experiment control system (ARTIQ).

Nemo Mobile is a long time FOSS operating system. Created in 2012 as continuation to Meego Community Edition, it has been actively developed since then. The newest iteration of it is to use Glacier UI as its renewed User Interface, along with its Qt Components. These components are now used in the NemoTablet adaptation using Raspberry Pi2 as underlying hardware and its plethora of possible peripherals to create a true DIY tablet derived from SailPi project.

With Raspberry Pi 2 introduction in February 2015, it was then possible to create an adaptation for it. This enables the myriad of functionality it offers, with its hardware provided. Initial adaptation was done originally for SailfishOS, but Nemo Mobile had the first run and checking that everything worked, before a closed system was installed. Nemo Mobile, however, was then not tried until later. The idea came once the official touchscreen by Raspberry Pi Foundation was released, so that a FOSS tablet could be built by anyone and used. Raspberry Pi 2 has non-free hardware, but Nemo Mobile itself is FOSS completely. As with all other adaptations, the questions regarding hardware freedom limitations rise for a good reason.

Libreboot is a free software BIOS replacement (boot firmware), based on coreboot, for Intel, AMD and ARM based systems. Backed by the Free Software Foundation, the aim of the Libreboot project is to provide individuals and companies with an escape from proprietary firmware in their computing. Libreboot is also being reviewed for entry as an official component of the GNU system.

Boot firmware is the low-level software that runs when you turn your computer on, which initializes the hardware and starts a bootloader for your operating system. Libreboot currently supports laptops and servers, on x86 (Intel and AMD) and ARM (Rockchip RK3288), with more hardware support on the horizon. The purpose of this talk is to describe the history of the project, why it started, why it’s important, where it’s going and, most importantly, to tell people how they can get involved.

Francis also runs the Minifree (formerly Gluglug), a company that sells computers with libreboot and Trisquel GNU/Linux pre-installed.

No abstract, but it’s clear about Olimex’s Allwinner A64 A64-OlinuXino board to be used in the company’s open source hardware laptop.

A brief discussion about the stable release branch 4 of KiCad as well as goals for the next development cycle and beyond.

The WPANKit is a ptxdist based Open-Source 6LoWPAN Board Support Package (BSP). The main focus is to provide a software development kit for the linux-wpan project. The linux-wpan project aims to implement a 6LoWPAN inside the mainline Linux kernel.

This talk will present the WPANKit: An Open-Source Linux BSP to develop 6LoWPAN IoT applications. It contains support for various common platforms such Raspberry Pi’s and Beaglebones. Additional components like the openlabs 802.15.4 transceiver SPI transceiver or BTLE USB dongles gives you a getting started platform into the Linux 6LoWPAN world.

The WPANKit will directly build a current mainline 6LoWPAN kernel, which is the official bluetooth-next tree. This is important, because the mainline 6LoWPAN development is still much in development. Additional the WPANKit offers a large of userspace IoT software collection e.g. tshark for sniffing network traffic, libcoap, etc. On top of this BSP you can develop your IoT application, setting up a Border-Router or help at the current mainline 6LoWPAN Linux-kernel development.

Through the power of ptxdist you can easily add new own packages for cross-compiling. As well we accept patches to integrate new software into the official WPANKit repository, so we getting more and more new IoT capable software into the WPANKit which can be used by other ptxdist users.

An AdaCore intern has rewritten the CrazyFlie drone software, originally in C, into SPARK. In addition to fixing some bugs, this allowed to prove absence of runtime errors. Various techniques used to achieve that result will be presented, as well as a live demo of free fall detection.

This talk will take us through the available FOSS software stacks that are available for automotive. This last year has produced a lot of working software from fiber-optic networking drivers in the Linux kernel, complete In-Vehicle Infotainment stacks, to a newly released Qt Automotive. There has also been a change in available hardware to run this software on, new boards like the Minnowboard Max, Renesas’ Porter board, and even the Raspberry Pi 2. This talk will try and cover the entire software ecosystem and how it matches to hardware, how you can get involved today, and what the future holds.

Turris Omnia aims to bring to the market affordable, powerful and secure SOHO router which is completely open-source and open-hardware. As a operating system it uses our own fork of OpenWrt which has some additional features such as automatic security updates. This talk will cover few topics such as motivation for starting this project and developing of our own hardware and software.

FROSTED is an acronym for “FRee Operating System for Tiny Embedded Devices”. The goal of this project is to provide a free kernel for embedded systems based on ARM Cortex-M CPU family, which exposes a POSIX-compliant system call API. Even if it runs on small systems with no MMU and limited resources, Frosted has a VFS, UNIX command line tools and a HW abstraction layer which makes it easy to support new platforms and device drivers.

This talk will cover why the project was started, the approach taken to separate the kernel and user-space on ARM Cortex-M CPU’s without MMU, the collaboration with the libopencm3 project to provide a high quality hardware abstraction layer and the future goals of the project. Of course there will a demo showing the latest developments: dynamic loading of applications and possibly TCP/IP communication.

Sunday

Yocto project has been used at Open-RnD for building a number of IoT related products. The talk will go though the details of integration of Poky build system and OpenEmbedded layers into 3 projects carried out at Open-RnD:

  • an autonomous parking space monitoring system
  • a distributed 3D steroscopic image acquisition system
  • a gadget for acquisition of metabolic parameters of professional athletes

The presentation will approach to building software, automation and upstreaming of fixes. Only widely available hardware platforms such as BeagleBone Black, Raspberry Pi, Wandboard or Gateworks GW5400 (not as widely used as the previous ones, but still fully supported) were used in the project, hence all the points made during presentation are directly applicable by professionals and hobbyists alike.

Tizen is an open source GNU/Linux based software platform for mobile, wearable and embedded devices as well as Internet of Things. Tizen:Common provides a generic development environment for Tizen 3 which key features include, Wayland, Weston, EFL UI/UX toolkit, and a web runtime for safely running standalone HTML5 apps. Yocto Project offers tools to easily expends features of Tizen:Common by creating layers for new profiles. This talk will focus the Tizen architecture and it will provide guidelines for creating and building new Tizen profiles, based on Tizen:Common, using the Yocto Project for devices with Intel or ARM processors. It will also provide information about hidden gems in Tizen on Yocto and practical examples for packaging and deploying HTML5 applications through Yocto recipes for the open source hardware development boards like Raspberry PI2 or HummingBoard (Freescale I.MX6 ARM SoC) or MinnowBoard Max (Intel).

Finally, since Tizen aims to because the OS of everything, we will illustrate this by extending Tizen Distro with new connectivity features provided by IoTivity library, the open source implementation of OpenInterConnect’s standard.

This session will show you how to build your own retro hand-held console that is powered by Java, runs on a Raspberry Pi, and is printed on a 3D printer. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Hacking Java on the Raspberry Pi
  • Rigging input devices with Pi4J
  • Insane performance tuning on the JVM
  • Why your boss [or SO] needs to buy you a 3D printer!

And of course your retro gaming mettle will be put to the test, so make sure to dust off your old 8 and 16 bit consoles to prepare.

How to roll your own build and extend the Fairphone 2 hardware

The kernelci.org project is currently doing hundreds of build and boot tests for upstream kernels on a wide variety of hardware. This session will provide an introduction to the kernelci.org system, some live demos and how to start consuming its results, and be a forum for further discussions.

Distributed boards farms across the world are working together to deliver unified build, boot, and test results for every merge of an upstream Linux kernel tree. A community based architecture agnostic effort, kernelci.org aims to detect regressions in a timely manner and report back to kernel developers with a concise summary of the issues found. On every merge, all defconfigs for x86, arm, and arm64 are built, booted, and tested on over 300 real or virtual hardware platforms. Come join in the discussion and help make Linux better!

Hardware is funny stuff. It is often documented to work one way when it actually works a slightly different way. Different revisions of the hardware may have different bugs that require different sets of work-arounds. Programming it even slightly incorrectly can lead to software crashes or system hangs. Sometimes some versions of the hardware work fine, but the version not on the developer’s desk crashes. Failure modes are often opaque and give no clues for fixing the problem. Writing robust, reliable software to run directly on hardware is hard.

Software simulation of hardware is a technique that, in many cases, can alleviate some of this pain. Teams that develop hardware will often create a simulator as a by-product of hardware synthesis. Not ever developer is fortunate to have access to such tools. Those who do have access often find them slow or difficult to use. After all, these simulators are generally created as an aid for the hardware developers themselves. Much of the benefit of a full hardware simulator can be attained by developing the simulator independently from the hardware development. When the correct techniques are applied, it’s not even that hard.

This talk will present a variety of techniques based on experience with several “home grown” simulation environments. Techniques for both developing and validating the simulator and techniques for integrating simulation in the regular development process will be described.

  • 16:00 – 17:00 – PHP7 by Derick Rethans

With PHP 7 having been released, it is time to show what’s in there. Speed, scalar type hints and spaceships.

These are just a few selection from the complete schedule. Last year, most FOSDEM 2015 videos were available in mid-March, so I’d expect FOSDEM 2016 videos to be available in about the same time frame.

As usual, the event will be free, and does not require registration, so you just need to show up at the Université libre de Bruxelles in order to attend.

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Intrinsyc Introduces Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Cortex-A72-Class Development Board, SoM and MDPs

December 17th, 2015 2 comments

While there’s already an healthy choice of ARMv8 development board such as LeMaker Hikey, or Qualcomm DragonBoard 410c, all those platforms are based on the lower end Cortex A53 64-bit ARM core, and ARM Cortex A57, let alone Cortex A72, boards are much more difficult to find, as they are much pricier and/or have limited availability. Intrinsyc may have released the first (somewhat) affordable and accessible Cortex-A72-class development board with Open-Q 820 development kit comprised of a SoM and a baseboard, as well as smartphone and tablet mobile development platforms (MDPs) based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad core Kryo processor. While Kryo is a custom ARMv8 designed by Qualcomm, and not exactly a Cortex A72 core, both have similar performance, as shown in Snapdragon 820 Antutu and Kirin 950 Antutu results.

Open-Q_820_Cortex_A72_Development_Board

Open-Q 820 Development Kit (Display Optional)

Open-Q 820 board specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad core Kryo cores with 2x cores @ up to 2.2GHz, and 2x cores @ up to 1.6GHz, an Adreno 530GPU, an Hexagon 680 DSP, and a 14-bit Spectra ISP.
  • System Memory – 3GB LPDDR4 @ 1866 MHz (PoP)
  • Storage – 32GB UFS 2.0 Flash, micro SD slot
  • Display/Video Out
    • 1x HDMI 2.0 up to 4086×2160 @ 60 fps
    • 2x MIPI-DSU 4-lane up to 2560×1600 (single port), or 4096×2160 (dual port) @ 60 fps
    • Optional 4.5″ FWVGA (854×480) touch display
  • Audio
    • 1x 3.5mm ANC jack for headset
    • 20-pin audio input header with 3x analog in, 3x digital in
    • 20-pin audio output header with 5x analog out 1x digital out
    • Qualcomm WCD9335 audio codec
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n/ac 2×2 MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 4.1 (QCA6174), Qualcomm IZat Gen 8C GPS (WGR7640)
  • Camera – 3x MIPI-CSI  4-lane, dual ISP, up to 25MP. Optional 13MP camera module
  • USB – 1x micro USB 3.0 host, 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG, 2x USB 2.0 host ports.
  • Debugging – 1x UART debug via USB micro-B port
  • Expansion
    • 8x DIO with pins configurable as I2C, SPI, UART, or GPIO
    • 1x mini-PCIe v1.2, 1x PCIe X1 slot v2.1
  • Power Supply – 12V DC
  • Dimension – Baseboard: 170 x 170mm; SoM: 82 x 42mm

Open-Q_820_Devkit_DescriptionThe company provides support for Android 6.0 Marshmallow for the board. Documentation is quite limited right now with only product briefs for the board and the SoM, but the company claims users will receive product documentation and access to complimentary tools and software updates.

Beside Open-Q 820 development kit, Intrinsyc also offers a smartphone MDP with a 6.2″ QHD display, and a tablet MDP with a 10.1″ 4K UHD (3840 × 2160) multi-touch display. Both will support 802.11ac with Qualcomm MU | EFX MU-MIMO technology, Blueooth 4.1, USB 3.0, and Qualcomm IZat location service. The tablet MDP has also has tri-band support, and supports multi-gigabit 802.11ad (11ad) Wi-Fi.

Intrinsyc Open-Q 820 development kit appears to be available now for $599 plus tax and shipping, the Tablet MDP for $999,  and the smartphone MDP will be $799, but it’s not quite ready for sale yet, and shipping is scheduled for December 31, 2015.

Via Linux Gizmos

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Cube iwork8 Ultimate 8″ Tablet Powered by Intel Atom x5-Z8300 Sells for $89

December 16th, 2015 3 comments

While Intel Atom X5 mini PCs such as Tronsmart Ara X5 are selling well above $100, you can now pickup Cube iwork8 Ultimate tablet for just under $90 on GearBest [Update: Coupon IWORK8HI save a dollar more or so] with the same processor, memory, and storage, and adding an 8″ touchscreen, two cameras, and a battery, while losing Ethernet, and the convenience of full-sized USB and HDMI ports.

Cube_iwork8_UltimateCube iwork8 Ultimate tablet specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8300 “Cherry Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.84 GHz with Intel Gen8 HD graphics.
  • System Memory – 2 GB RAM
  • Storage – 32 GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot up to 32 GB
  • Display – 8.0″ touchscreen display; 1280×800 resolution; 5-point multitouch
  • Video Output – micro HDMI port
  • Audio – HDMI, built-in microphone and dual speakers (although I can only see one speaker on the picture), 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 1x micro USB port
  • Camera – 1x 2.0MP rear camera, 1x 2.0MP front-facing camera
  • Sensors – Gravity sensor
  • Misc – Power, Home and volume buttons; charging indicator
  • Battery – 3,300mAh battery
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 213.38 x 127.09 x 9.8mm
  • Weight – 339g

The tablet comes pre-loaded with Windows 10 with English and Chinese languages, and other languages can be downloaded from the operating system as needed. It ships with a USB cable and charger. I have not found any independent reviews of the tablet yet, but you could still have a look at GearBest presentation video.

So how come there’s such a big price difference? First, tablets with screens smaller than 9″ get a free Windows 10 license, while mini PCs will have to pay an extra $15 to $25 extra to get this privilege. Of course, if you buy an Intel mini PC with an unlicensed version of Windows, FreeDOS or Linux distributions (not fully working), price will drop by the same amount. I’ve also read that Intel is keen on gaining market share in the tablet market, so they offer better deals or even to some extend sponsor Windows 10 tablets. Finally, it’s quite possible the tablet are sold in much higher volumes, leading to lower prices.

Beside GearBest, the tablet can also be found for less than $90 on Banggood and GeekBuying, with Aliexpress sellers being a little more expensive for now.

Thank you Ian!

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Allwinner A64 Android 5.1 SDK and Linux Source Code

December 10th, 2015 11 comments

Allwinner A64 is likely to become quite popular as it will be used in PINE A64 board, Olimex open source hardware laptop featuring A64-OLinuXino board, and some low cost tablets. We’ve already got some documentation such as Allwinner A64 datasheet and user’s manual, but AFAIK, there was no source code released for the board.

Allwinner_A64_SDK_LinuxThe good news is that you can now download Android 5.1 SDK and Linux source code on Baidu with four files available:

  • lichee_A64_A5.1_V1.0.tar.gz – Linux source code
  • android_A64_A5.1_V1.0.tar.gz– Android 5.1 SDK
  • android_prebuilts_A64_A5.1_V1.0.tar.gz – Some pre-built binaries for Android
  • A64硬件资料.zip – Documentation including the datasheet, product brief, and user’s manual which we’ve already got, but also some hardware with reference schematics, PCB layout files, and BoM for an Allwinner A64 tablet.

Allwinner_A64_Tablet_SchematicsThat’s about 7.4GB to download, and apart from the documentation, the download is not quite complete yet, so I could not look into the details of the release yet.

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Xiaomi MiPad 2 Tablet Runs Android or Windows 10 on Intel Atom x5-Z8500 Processor for $156 and Up

November 26th, 2015 4 comments

Xiaomi launched their first MiPad tablet last year with an Nvidia Tegra K1 processor and running Android, and the company recently introduced an update with MiPad 2, with similar features to the original one, but replacing the ARM processor by an Intel Atom x5-Z8500 quad core “Cherry Trail” processor supporting both Android and Windows.

Xiaomi_MiPad_2Gizmo China made a comparison table between the two model’s specifications which I reproduced and edited below.

Model Mi Pad Mi Pad 2
Processor Nividia Tegra K1 quad core Cortex A15 @ 2.2 GHz Intel Atom X5-Z8500 quad core x86 up to 2.24GHz
RAM 2 GB LPDDR3
Internal Storage 16 GB/32 GB + micro SD slot 16 GB/64 GB, no micro SD slot
Display 7.9″ (2048 x 1536 pixels)
Connectivity 802.11ac 2×2 Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.0 802.11ac 2×2 Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.1
USB micro USB USB type-C
Camera 8 MP/ 5 MP
Battery 6700 mAh 6190 mAh
Dimensions 202.1 x 135.4 x 8.5 mm 200.4 x 132.6 x 6.95mm
Weight 360 grams 322 grams
OS Android OS Android OS/ Windows 10

So beside the processor difference, the new MiPad is lighter, and thinner, replaces the micro USB port by a new USB type-C reversible port, loses the micro SD slot, and comes with a smaller battery. I understand that MiPad 2 does not dual boot, but instead supports either Android (MIUI 7) or Windows 10.

MiPad_2_Battery_LifeMiPad 2 will launch in China for 999 RMB ($156) for the 16GB version (November 27) and 1,299 RMB ($203) for the 64GB version, available by the end of December.

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