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Posts Tagged ‘tablet’

Chuwi Vi10 Plus Remix OS 2.0 Tablet Powered by Intel Atom x5-Z8300 SoC is up for Pre-order for $140

July 27th, 2016 2 comments

Chuwi Vi10 Plus tablet features a 10.8″ full HD display, an Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor with 2GB RAM and 32GB storage, but instead of running the usual Windows 10 or Android operating systems, it’s running Remix OS 2.0 fork of Android with desktop improvements.

Chuwi_Vi10_PLus_Remix-OS-2.0

Note: Keyboard not included in standard package

Chuwi Vi10 Plus specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8300 quad core “Cherry Trail” processor @ 1.44 / 1.84 GHz with Intel HD graphics (2W SDP)
  • System Memory –  2 GB DDR3L
  • Storage – 32 GB eMMC + micro SD slot up to 128GB
  • Display – 10.8″ IPS touch screen display with 1920×1280 resolution; 10-point touch
  • Video Output – 1x micro HDMI
  • Audio I/O – micro HDMI, 3.5mm microphone jack, built-in microphone, built-in speakers
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 1x USB type C, 1x micro USB port
  • Camera – 2.0 MP front-facing and rear cameras
  • Sensors – Gravity and others?
  • Misc – Docking interface
  • Battery – 8,400 mAh battery
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A via USB type C with quick charge capabilities
  • Dimensions – 276.4 x 184.8 x 8.8 mm
  • Weight – 686.5 grams

Chuwi_Vi10_Plus

The tablet runs Remix OS 2.0 based on Android 5.1, and it’s unclear whether it will be upgraded to the just released Remix OS 3.0 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Liliputing also reports that a dual boot version with 4GB RAM/64GB ROM supporting both Windows 10 and Remix OS 2.0 will be sold for $239.

In the meantime, the Remix OS 2.0 only version is up for pre-order on GearBest for $153.74 + shipping ($12 to $15 extra) [Update: Use coupon VI10PLUSGB     139.99$ to get it for $139.99], and for some reasons, I could not find it on any other sites including Aliexpress at the time of writing [Update: It’s also on GeekBuying now]. The optional keyboard and stylus do not appear to be for sale right now either.

Linux 4.7 Release – Main Changes, ARM and MIPS Architectures

July 25th, 2016 6 comments

Linux 4.7 is out:

So, after a slight delay due to my travels, I’m back, and 4.7 is out.

Despite it being two weeks since rc7, the final patch wasn’t all that big, and much of it is trivial one- and few-liners. There’s a couple of network drivers that got a bit more loving. Appended is the shortlog since rc7 for people who care: it’s fairly spread out, with networking and some intel Kabylake GPU fixes being the most noticeable ones. But there’s random small noise spread all over.

And obviously, this means that the merge window for 4.8 is open.Judging by the linux-next contents, that’s going to be a bigger release than the current one (4.7 really was fairly calm, I blame at least partly summer in the northern hemisphere).

Linus

Linux 4.6 brought USB 3.1 superspeed, OrangeFS distributed file system, 802.1AE MAC-level encryption (MACsec), and BATMAN V protocol support, improved the reliability of OOM task killer, and more.

Linux_4.7_Changelog

Linux 4.7 most noticeable changes include:

  • Support for Radeon RX480 GPUs
  • Parallel directory lookups –  The directory cache caches information about path names to make them quickly available for pathname lookup. This cache uses a mutex to serialize lookup of names in the same directory.  The serializing mutex has been switched to a read-write semaphore in Linux 4.7, allowing for parallel pathname lookups in the same directory. Most filesystems have been converted to allow this feature.
  • New “schedutil” frequency governor –  There are two main differences between it and the existing governors. First, it uses information provided by the scheduler directly for making its decisions. Second, it can invoke cpufreq drivers and change the frequency to adjust CPU performance right away, without having to spawn work items to be executed in process context or similar, leading to lower latency to make frequency changes.
  • Histograms of events in ftrace –  . This release adds the “hist” command, which provides the ability to build “histograms” of events by aggregating event hits. As an example, let’s say a user needs to get a list of bytes read from files from each process. You can get this information using hist triggers, with the following command command:

    other data can also be retrieve by using fields found in /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/events/syscalls/sys_enter_read/format. The output will look like:

    More more details check ftrace documentation and related LWN article.
  • EFI ‘Capsule’ firmware updates –  The EFI Capsule mechanism allows to pass data blobs to the EFI firmware. The firmware then parses them and makes some decision based upon their contents. The most common use case is to bundle a flashable firmware image into a capsule that the firmware can use to upgrade in the next boot the existing version in the flash. Users can upload capsule by writing the firmware to the /dev/efi_capsule_loader device
  • Support for creating virtual USB Device Controllers in USB/IP – USB/IP allows to share real USB devices over the network. Linux 4.7 brings the ability to create virtual USB Device Controllers without needing any physical USB device, using the USB gadget subsystem. For what purpose? For example, for improving phone emulation in development environments, for testing USB and for educational purposes.

Some of ARM specific improvements and new features include:

  • Allwinner:
    • Allwinner A13/R8 – Display Engine support
    • Allwinner A10/A20 – S/PDIF Support
    • Allwinner A31/A23/H3 – DMAengine improvements for H3 audio support
    • Allwinner H3 – USB support (multi-reset line support delayed til 4.8)
    • New hardware supported
      • Tablets – Dserve DSRV9703C, Polaroid MID2809PXE4, Colorfly e708 q1, Difrence DIT4350
      • Boards – Olimex A20 OLinuXino LIME2, Xunlong Orange Pi 2, Orange Pi One, and Orange Pi PC
  • Rockchip:
    • Thermal management – Rockchip driver support for RK3399, RK3366
    • Added Rockchip RK3399 clock and reset controller
    • Pinctrl – Support the .get_direction() callback in the GPIO portions
    • New RK3399 device tree support
    • Added Rockchip DisplayPort PHY support
    • Added Geekbuying GeekBox, RK3399 Evaluation Board, mqmaker MiQi SBC
  • Amlogic
    • Added Meson GXBB (S905) pinctrl support
    • Fixed memory nodes on Vega S95 DTS
    • Added Hardkernel ODROID-C2, Amlogic Meson GXBB P200 and P201 development systems
  • Samsung
    • Added Samsung ARTIK5 evaluation board
    • Added generic exynos bus frequency driver
    • Added pinctrl driver for Samsung EXYNOS5440 SoC
    • DTS updates & fixes:
      • Fix s5p-mfc driver probe on Exynos542x Peach boards (need to provide MFC memory banks). On these boards this was broken for long time but apparently no one enabled this driver till now.
      • Fix creation of debugfs entries for one regulator on Exynos4210 Trats board.
      • Fix probing of max8997 MFD driver (and its children) because of missing interrupt. Actually the current version of the driver probes (just without interrupts) but after switching to regmap and regmap-irq, the interrupt will be mandatory.
      • Cleanup regulator bindings on Exynos5420 boards.
      • Support MIC bypass in display path for Exynos5420.
      • Enable PRNG and SSS for all Exynos4 devices.
      • Add PL330 DMA controller and Thermal Management Unit to Exynos 7
      • Enable accelerated AES (Security SubSystem) on Exynos4412-based boards
      • Enable HDMI CEC on Exynos4412-based Odroid.
      • Add regulator supplies for eMMC/SD on Odroid XU3/XU4.
      • Fix DTC unit name warnings.
  • Qualcomm
    • Qualcomm IPQ4019 support in pinctrl
    • Change SMD callback parameters
    • 96Boards HiKey based on the Hisilicon Hi6220 (Kirin 620) gets an overhaul with a lot of devices enabled in the DT.
    • Added Qualcomm IPQ4019 “Internet processor”,  Arrow DragonBoard 600c (96boards) with APQ8064 Snapdragon 600
    • Device tree changes:
      • Add additional nodes for APQ8064
      • Fix APQ8064 pinctrls for i2c/spi
      • Add MSM8974 nodes for smp2p and smd
      • Modify MSM8974 memory reserve for rfsa and rmtfs
      • Add support for BQ27541 on Nexus7
  • Mediatek
    • Added  CPU power cooling model to Mediatek thermal driver
    • Added Mediatek MT8173 display driver, DRM driver, and thermal controller
    • Added MIPI DSI sub driver
    • 4GB mode support for Mediatek IOMMU driver
    • DTS updates:
      • add pinctrl node for mt2701
      • add mt2701 pmic wrapper binding
      • add auxadc binding document
  • Other new ARM hardware or SoCs – LG1312 TV SoC, Hisilicon Hip06/D03, Google Pixel C, NXP Layerscape 1043A QDS development board, Aspeed AST2400/AST2500, Oxnas 810SE (WD My Book World Edition), ARM MPS2 (AN385 Cortex-M3 & AN399 Cortex-M7), Ka-Ro electronics industrial SoM modules, Embest MarS Board, Boundary Devices i.MX6 Quad Plus Nitrogen6_MAX and SoloX Nitrogen6sx embedded boards, Technexion Pico i.MX6UL compute module, ZII VF610 Development Board, Linksys Viper (E4200v2 / EA4500) WiFi router, Buffalo Kurobox Pro NAS, samtec VIN|ING 1000 vehicle communication interface, Amazon Kindle Fire first generation tablet and ebook reader,  OnRISC Baltos iR 2110 and 3220 embedded industrial PCs, TI AM5728 IDK, TI AM3359 ICE-V2, and TI DRA722 Rev C EVM development systems.

MIPS architecture changelog:

  • Add support for relocatable kernel so it can be loaded someplace besides the default 1MB.
  • Add KASLR support using relocatable support
  • Add perf counter feature
  • Add support for extending builtin cmdline
  • seccomp: Support compat with both O32 and N32
  • ath79: Add support for DTB passed using the UHI boot protocol, remove the builtin DTB support, add zboot debug serial support, add initial support for DPT-Module, Dragino MS14 (Dragino 2), and Onion Omega
  • BMIPS: Add BCM6358 support, add Whirlwind (BMIPS5200) initialization code, add support for BCM63268
  • Lantiq: Add support for device tree file from boot loader
  • Add basic Loongson 3A support
  • Add support for CN73xx, CN75xx and CN78xx
  • Octeon: Add DTS for D-Link DSR-1000N
  • Detect DSP v3 support
  • Detect MIPSr6 Virtual Processor support
  • Enable ptrace hw watchpoints on MIPS R6
  • Probe the M6250 CPUand the P6600 core
  • Support sending SIG_SYS to 32bit userspace from 64bit kernel
  • qca: introduce AR9331 devicetree
  • ralink: add MT7628 EPHY LEDs pinmux support
  • smp-cps: Add nothreads kernel parameter
  • smp-cps: Support MIPSr6 Virtual Processors
  • MIPS64: Support a maximum at least 48 bits of application virtual

For even much more details, you can check out Linux 4.7 changelog with comments only generated using git log v4.6..v4.7 --stat. Alternatively, and much easier to read, you can head to kernelnewbies.org to learn more about Linux 4.7 changes.

Review of GOLE1 mini PC with 5″ Display – Part 1: Unboxing and Teardown

July 21st, 2016 12 comments

GOLE1 is a portable mini PC running Windows 10 and Android 5.1, featuring a 5″ touchsceen display, and powered by an Intel Atom x5-Z8300 “Cherry Trail” processor. The device was launched on Indiegogo, and the project raised close to $300,000. I’ve now received an early sample with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage for review, with – I was told – a 1,800 mAh battery instead of the 2,600 mAh battey backers will receive. I’ll do a 2 or 3 parts review, starting by checking out the hardware, before testing both Windows 10 and Android 5.1 on the platform.

GOLE1 Unboxing

The device is packed into a simple white box with “GOLE1 Designed by GOLE” string.
GOLE1_Package

The mini PC ships with a 5V/3A power supply which should be powerful enough to connect a USB 3.0 hard drive, an HDMI cable, and a user’s manual in English.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The device looks a little like a mini portable TV because of its shape an antenna. The top features the 5″ touchscreen display, as well as volume, Home/Windows, and power buttons. A micro USB port, USB 2.0 & USB 3.0 ports, and a micro SD slot can be found on one of the sides, while the rear panel includes the WiFi antenna, a 3.5mm audio jack, HDMI 1.4 output, two more USB 2.0 ports, a Fast Ethernet port, and the DC jack.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

I planned to show a quick boot demo with Windows 10 and Android 5.1 in the unboxing video, but the battery was depleted, so the unboxing / hands-on video is little less interesting than expected.

GOLE1 Teardown

GOLE1 metallic enclosure can be opened by taking out of four rubber pad on the bottom, and loosening four screws. The bottom cover does not come off that easily, so I used a sharp tool and inserted into one of the ventilation holes to gently lift it up.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Cooling is achieved with a large heatsink covering Atom processor, the memory and a Samsung eMMC flash. Finally, I did get a 2,600 mAh battery if the markings are to be believed [Update: the company has now double confirmed I truly got a 1,800 mAh battery, but they applied the mass production sticker on it]. I wanted to completely remove the board from the case, so I removed the battery, and loosened 6 more screws, but I did not come easily, and I did not want to risk damaging the unit at this early stage.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

We can still have a closer look at the board and check out some of the chips. WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity is achieved via an Ampak AP6234 module supporting dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n and BT 4.0, with an external antenna plugged into a connector (i.e. not soldered). Davicom DM9621ANP USB 2.0 to Fast Ethernet controller is used in conjunction with PHC SMD-16003NL transformer to provide wired network connectivity. Other ICs includes Genesys Logic GL850G USB 2.0 hub controller, and ATMLH602-46D which should an I2C EEPROM to store data like the MAC address.

If you’ve missed the crowdfunding campaign, you can (pre-) purchase GOLE1 mini PC starting at $99 with 2GB RAM / 32GB flash, and up to $144 with 4GB/64GB on GearBest (GBGF4 coupon may lower the price further). I have not found the device for sale on other websites yet.

Allwinner and Qualcomm Partner on Android and Windows 10 LTE Tablets

July 5th, 2016 7 comments

Allwinner, a leading tablet SoC vendor, and Qualcomm have decided to collaborate, and introduced three new LTE tablet reference designs based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 425, 430, and 435 available to Chinese OEMs, on top of Snapdragon 210, 212 and 410 designs released last year.

Allwinner_Qualcomm_PartnershipThe full technical technical details about the reference designs are only available to OEMS who signed an NDA, but the key specifications are as follows:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 420, 430, 435 application processors
  • System Memory – 2G DRAM
  • Storage – 32GB internal memory
  • Connectivity – CAT 6 LTE band

The tablet will run Android, but Windows 10 is also being worked on. The agreement only covers tablets, so Allwinner will not be involved in LTE smartphones.

Since both Allwinner and Qualcomm are silicon vendors, and competitors, you may wonder why they’ve partnered. Allwinner only provides WiFi and Bluetooth tablets with their own processors, so partnering with Qualcomm allows then to offer LTE tablets. Many Chinese manufacturers don’t have a license agreement with Qualcomm, so those will be able to provide Qualcomm tablets solution through Allwinner.

The responsibilities of each stakeholders is well explained in the first chart: Qualcomm will provide the chips, global marketing, and technical support, Allwinner will design the reference designs and work on the SDKs, both to be released to design houses such as Emdoor, working for manufacturers.

The only Snapdragon tablets currently offered on Aliexpress are made by Huawei, and certainly not designed through this program. But the tablets based on the first generation of reference designs, such as the ones made by Cube, have been showcased at Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2016 last week, so we should be expecting low cost Snapdragon based LTE tablets to competing with Mediatek ones in the near future.

VLC for Android 2.0 Released with Network Shares, Multi-windows, Better Codec Support, and More

June 22nd, 2016 No comments

VLC / VideoLAN is a popular desktop video player for Linux and Windows, and it’s the program I go to when I want to watch a local video on my computer. VLC also has an Android version, but last time I checked VLC in an Android TV box, I was disappointed due to the lack of SAMBA support, and video decoding support was pretty poor on Rockchip RK3368 processor at the time.

VLC_Android_SAMBA_SupportThe good news is that the developers have now released VLC for Android 2.0, which brings several improvements including:

  • Support for network browsing including DLNA/UPnP, Windows Shares (SAMBA), FTP(S), SFTP, and NFS
  • Multi-windows/pop-up video with support for Samsung MultiWindow and LG Dual Window extensions
  • New asynchronous hardware decoder, and codecs and formats support updates.
  • Subtitle downloads via OpenSubtitles from VLC interface without having to go to the website inside a web browser
  • Right-To-Left and Complex Text Layout subtitles
  • Video playlists support
  • History has been added back (but can be disabled)
  • Less permissions required, and support for Android N

VLC_Android_Multi-windowAlthough it’s likely to work better in Android smartphone and tablets with Samsung, Qualcomm or Mediatek processors, it might be worth giving it a try in Android TV boxes too. You can do so by installing VLC for Android from Google Play.

Via Liliputing

Jide Remix Pro is a Remix OS 3.0 2-in-1 Laptop Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 Processor

June 7th, 2016 1 comment

Remix OS appears to getting more and more attention, and is now found in an increasing number of hardware platforms. Jide has also been working on the new Remix OS 3.0 version based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and showcased it in Jide Remix Pro 2-in-1 laptop / tablet reference design powered by Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor.

Jide_Remix_ProJide Remix Pro specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 (APQ8074) octa core processor with 4x Cortex A72 cores @ 1.8 GHz, 4x Cortex A53 cores, and Adreno 510 GPU
  • System Memory – 3GB  RAM 
  • Storage – TBD internal storage; micro SD card slot
  • Display – 12″ IPS display with 2K resolution (2160×1440)
  • Camera – 8 MP rear camera; 5MP front-facing camera
  • Audio – 2x speakers; combo audio jack
  • Connectivity – dual band WiFi, Bluetooth 4, optional 4G-LTE with SIM card slot (replacing micro SD slot), GPS,
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 port, 1x USB type C port
  • Misc – Detachable keyboard with pogopins; power and volume keys
  • Dimensions – 7mm thick (aluminum alloy case)
  • Weight – Around 650 grams


Price and launch date are not known at this stage.

Via Netbook Italia

Android N Developer Preview 3 Adds VR Support, Instant Apps, and Sustainable Performance Mode

May 19th, 2016 2 comments

Google has also unveiled the third Android N Developer Preview at Google I/O 2016, and the first “beta quality” release, available on Nexus 6, 9, 5X, 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, and Android One as a “seamless updates” if you opt-in to the Android Beta Program in order to get an over-the-air update with the very latest firmware.

Android_N_Developer_Preview_Devices

Google wants Android N to be faster, safer and more productive. The first two previews addressed performance with a new JIT compiler and Vulkan 3D graphics API support, productivity with multi-window support and direct reply from notifications, as well as security thanks to seamless updates bringing the latest security patchsets to your phones in a timely manner.Google_Daydream_VR

The third preview brings fixes, and some interesting new features:

Daydream

Daydream

  • VR Mode in Android – Google has modified and augmented the Android stack in N to reduce lag between sensor data readings (e.g. head motion) and sending pixels to the display. Motion-to-photon latency on Nexus 6P is now less than 20 ms, a required to make the user feel he/she is really in the rendered scene. You can read Imagination Tech blog post for more details about low latency implementation. Google has now two VR kits: the good old Cardboard and  a new platform called Daydream, just like Android screensaver, that’s virtual reality kit with a two button motion controller that will be available in fall 2016, and work with upcoming Android N smartphones.
  • Android Instant Apps – So far if you want to install and an app, you need to go to Google Play, search for it, install it after agreeing to permissions, and finally you can tap to run it. Google has decided to develop a faster way with Android Instant Apps which let you skip the installation part. You just need to tap to run the app as you would do when you click a link on your web browser. Android Instant Apps are compatible with Android 4.1+ using Google Play services.
  • Sustained Performance Mode – Most recent devices will throttle under heavy load, leading to dramatic performance fluctuation of long-running apps. To address these limitations, Android N includes support for sustained performance mode, enabling OEMs to provide hints about device-performance capabilities for long-running apps. App developers can use these hints to tune apps for a predictable, consistent level of device performance over long periods of time. The new API is currently only enabled on Nexus 6P device.

You can get a complete list of API changes for Android N (all preview versions) on Google Developer’s Android N page. Google has still not decided about the actual name for Android N, so they’re asking for your help.

Setup Guide & Mini Review of BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition Tablet from a Developer’s Perspective

April 30th, 2016 22 comments

BQ Aquaris M10 UBuntu Edition is the first officially supported Ubuntu tablet on the market. Blu, a frequent commenter on this blog, has purchased the Full HD version, and in the guest post below, shares his experience setting up the device for development purpose, before shortly providing his overall impressions about the tablet itself.

Quick introduction

Ever since I had to retire my trusty-but-ancient ARM notebook (a Genesi Efika iMX51) I’ve been looking for a new ARM notebook or perhaps a 2-in-1 device, that I could use for development on the go. The basic requirements are long battery life, passive cooling and reasonable price. Also, Just Enough Power™ for running vim, a couple of toolchains (gcc/clang with gold) and, well, enough grunt to run my coding experiments. Naturally, BQ M10 Ubuntu Edition immediately got my attention to the extent of me placing an order, which got delivered this past week. Allow me to share my impressions from the M10 so far.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

First thing first: turning the M10 into a coder’s productivity device

There is plenty of know-how on the web regarding how to ‘unlock’ a Ubuntu Touch device into a full-fledged Linux box, but here we will describe the minimum steps to achieve this, moreover without the need for a desktop. The M10 needs to be on a Wifi network with Internet access, though.

From the Ubuntu Store, install the terminal application – access to the store requires a registration with a valid email address. Once we have that, we have proper control over our device via the on-screen kbd or via a physical Bluetooth or micro USB kbd.

What we immediately see from the above is that the device hosts a quad Cortex-A53 r0p3 (CPU part 0xd03), and the userspace is armhf – ’CPU architecture’ in /proc/cpuinfo should say ‘AArch64’ for an arm64 userspace; instead it says ‘8’ on an armhf userspace.

Typing on the on-screen kbd is a mere curiosity, so before we get ourselves a decent Bluetooth kbd or a micro USB-to-female-USB adapter (for a standard usb kbd) we will need something better to type on. Getting an ssh server on the device takes a minimal effort – the package is already installed, it just needs enablement. We also need a public ssh key ready on the desktop machine, as the ssh server is factory-configured for public-key access only. So, assuming we have our public key handy on the desktop, we need to do the following in our M10 home:

Now we can ssh to [email protected]_ip and enjoy a proper kbd. Apropos, the final step of actually enabling the ssh server should also be achieved via engaging the tablet’s Developer mode in the About This Device tab in the system settings.

A quick look at the mounted filesystem shows that the rootfs is mounted as read-only, and that can be a show-stopper for any apt-get we plan to do next. So we need to enable read-write mode on the root fs via:

Please note that the system will automatically reboot after this command; our rootfs will be write-enabled after that. Then we can:

Just be warned that keeping the rootfs in write-enabled state actually disables OTA updates of the tablet fw. So once we’re done with apt-get for the day, we might want to:

For reference, these are the g++ and clang++ versions that we can get on the tablet currently from the standard vivid repositories:

Running (natively-built) binaries from within our home folder takes some tinkering, though. The reason for that is apparmor – this daemon is factory-configured to not allow the execution of apps from the /userdata mount-point (/userdata/user-data is where our home is at). To solve that inconvenience, we need to find the app profile of our indispensable terminal app, and edit it appropriately to allow the execution of binaries from our home.

Please note the actual version of the terminal app might be different. In there we find the following lines:

And add to them:

Followed by:

So, now we can build and test our code on the M10. A couple of notes:

  • Since this is an armhf userland, i.e. it’s 32-bit ARM, the default target of gcc/g++ is thumb2 (as per Canonical’s worldview) – one might want to pass -marm to the compiler for a few more percents of performance.
  • There’s a compressed ramdrive of the size of 0.5GB taken from our precious little 2GB RAM; it’s used as a swap partition. Whether that’s a beneficial decision for our purposes is not clear.
  • The Cortex-A53 in the MT8163A (i.e. the 1.5GHz version) appears to be somewhat slower in this configuration than other vendor’s A53s of the same revision (e.g. Rockchip’s RK3368 @ 1.51GHz). I don’t know what to attribute this to yet. Could be because of intricacies of the scheduler and/or performance manager, though the latter should be bog standard cpufreq. Or because of the lxc container with a minimal android providing the display painting services. Or it could be a hw difference somewhere in the cache hierarchy. An investigation is pending in the indefinite future.

Informal impressions

The M10 is a solidly-built piece of ‘luggable’ electronics, AKA portable things you always lug along in your backpack for 24/7 accessibility. Whenever I’ve found myself wishing for something more in the M10, it’s normally been a sw issue. Back to my original criteria for a productivity portable, its battery life is nice – lasts between one and two days of trivial coding use – vim, build, test, repeat. The pricing is slightly on the upper side for this class of hw, IMO, but hey, early adopters’ premium (which apparently I was willing to pay). For the price one gets a cluster of Cortex-A53 at (almost) industry-standard performance levels, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of eMMC (of ~150MB/s read BW). The quality of the screen also bears mentioning – it’s quite nice – better than that of my aging Acer netbook.

That said, the things that need improving going forward:

  • Android needs to go; Canonical need to pull their act together and provide a proper 100% Linux on this class of devices. Whether that includes ‘muscling’ vendors like MediaTek into conformance or just paying for the development of native graphics stacks – that’s rather irrelevant to the end user.
  • Along the above: out with the armhf and in with the arm64 userspaces on aarch64 hw – it’s about darn time.
  • Prices need to get more realistic, but that’s a matter of market adoption, I guess. At least, for the price of the M10 one should be able to get 4GB or RAM.