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Posts Tagged ‘tablet’

Magic Device Tool Helps You Switch Between Android and Ubuntu on Supported Phones

August 19th, 2016 6 comments

There have only been a few phones released with or supporting Ubuntu so far, and those phones will normally be able to run Android too since Ubuntu Touch relies on Android drivers, and you may decide that Ubuntu is not for you and switch back to Android, or the contrary, if you’ve purchased an Android phone, you may want to install Ubuntu instead. In order to simplify the task of installing operating systems, Marius Quabeck has developed “Magic Device Tool“.

Magic_Device_ToolAs you can see from the screenshot above, 13 phones and tablets are currently supported. You’ll need a computer with Ubuntu 15.04 or greater to install the tool, and I’ve done so on Ubuntu 16.04:

The script will also install phablet-tools if it is not already installed,  so if you are not root, you’ll need your account to be member of sudoers. Once the initial setup is done, you’ll get to choose your phone as shown in the first screenshot. I don’t own any in that list, but I selected LG Nexus 5 to give it a try.

Nexus_5_Android_UbuntuYou’ll be asked whether you want to install Ubuntu, OpenStore alternative app store for hacks, developer tools and app previews, Cyanogenmod 13, the Android factory Image, TWRP recovery, or instead lock or unlock the bootloader. I selected [1] Install Ubuntu -> [1] Choose a channel to flash (Will remove existing apps/data) -> [1] stable, and the flash procedure was about to go ahead:

You’d need your Nexus 5 phone connected to your PC via a USB cable to complete the procedure, but I canceled since I don’t own the hardware required (yet).

The utility can also install PhoenixOS on some phones, and it will soon be improved to include an Android backup/restore option, so you can reflash Android will all your settings and apps.

Via UbuntuFun.de and Ubuntu Australia on G+

GOLE1 mini PC Tablet Review – Part 2: Android 5.1 and Windows 10

August 14th, 2016 6 comments

GOLE1, also called GOLE1 F1, is an interesting device because it’s quite difficult, it’s like the offspring of a mini PC and a tablet with a smallish  phone-like 5″ capacitive touch screen. It also dual boot Windows 10 and Android 5.1. I’ve already discussed about the hardware, and taken picture of the device, accessories, and motherboard, in the first part of the review, so today I’ll report my experiences with Windows 10 and Android 5.1, as well as the potential use cases. Since I’ve already reviewed Intel Atom x5-Z8300 mini PCs, as well as a dual boot Windows and Android Intel mini PC, I’ll focus on what makes GOLE1 different in this review.

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GOLE1 Dual Boot and Use Cases

I normally check my emails on my smartphone while having breakfast in the morning, but one day the charging micro USB cable was not connected properly to my phone, so I decided to try using GOLE1 has a portable device, as I had connected it a few days on my desk without actually booting it.

After pressing the power button a few couple, the device will boot and show GOLE logo with a Setup icon to access Aptio Setup Utility (UEFI / BIOS), and a couple of second later, you’ll be presented with a choice of using Android or Window, which default to the previously selected opertating system if you don’t press any keys after a 10 seconds timeout.

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Click to Enlarge

You’ll notice my pictures are in portrait mode, simply because if GOLE is placed on its back on a flat surface it will boot in portrait mode by default. If you decided to enter Aptio Setup Utility, there’s no way to rotate the display here, and there’s no HDMI output either. If you want to use the more convenient landscape mode, you’d have to boot the device by holding it in the right position….

The very first I played with it, Windows was selected by default, so I decided to go ahead to use it to check my email, however I first found the display hard to read (I have breakfast outdoors), so I had to set brightness to 100%, and it was a little better, but not quite perfect, so I’d say the screen is poor for outdoor use due to the reflections.

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The second and even more frustrating issue that’s using Windows 10 on 5″ display amounts to torture as everything is so small, at least with the default DPI settings, as text is very hard to read, and everything is so small it’s difficult to tap with any accuracy… So after playing with it for 5 minutes, I decided to reboot, and switch to Android 5.1 instead.

GOLE1_Android_Tablet_Mode

That was much more usable. The display has a 1280×720 resolution so don’t expect an amazing experience, and viewing is rather poor even at maximum brightness, but at least I could use it to check my emails with gmail, and read some news. I used it for about 30 minutes, and I have to say it’s a little heavy, so it might not be ideal over longer period of time. If I had my phone sufficiently charged with me, I would never consider using GOLE1 as a portable device.

But maybe it’s better as a mini PC with dual displays support thanks to its extra HDMI port. So I connect a whole bunch of USB devices including two RF dongles for air mouse and gamepad, a USB 3.0 harddrive to the USB 3.0 port, and a USB hub for USB keyboard and mouse, plus the usual cable for TV (HDMI), display, and power. I first placed the mini PC flat on the table, and it will show in portrait mode in both the 5″ display and TV (Please ignore the vertical lines on the television, as it is the TV’s problem).

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That’s just a small issue, as you can move the device around to switch to landscape mode.

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The next problem is that it will automatically enter sleep mode after a few seconds of inactivity. That’s annoying, but there a simple fix, as you can disable sleep mode in the display menu. You can also change video output up to 3840×2160 @ 30 Hz or 4096×2160 @ 24 Hz if your TV supports it.

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This won’t change the user interface / frame buffer resolution however, which is set to 1280×720, and with the DPI settings used (fixed in firmware), text looks quite big on the TV. There’s also no option to force landscape mode, so you’d probably have to install Set Orientation app using Googke Play to make sure the screen is in landscape mode. The unusual position of the status bar on the right while in landscape mode, and the fact that both the 5″ display and TV display would be turned on during might be an annoyance while playing videos for example. So GOLE1 can be used as an Android TV box, but I don’t find it to be doing a good job at it. Extended display, i.e. different content on either screen, is not possible in Android.

So let’s boot Windows 10 instead in the same configuration, and by default the system is using mirroring mode.

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Windows 10 works fine, but by default the resolution set to 1280×720 on the TV too in that mode, so it’s not ideal. You can change it to whatever output you want however, and I did manage to change it to 1920×1080 @ 60 Hz. The text becomes completely unreadable on the small display, but it’s pretty good on the large disaply. You may want to force the orientation to landscape in Windows options so the 5″ screen don’t rotate to portrait mode.

I also tested Extended Desktop in Windows with the TV screen used as the primary display, and set to the resolution I want, e.g. 1920×1080 @ 60 Hz (up to 4K @ 30 Hz), while the 5″ display remains at 1280×720 resolution.

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This works, but just like in portable mode, the text on the 5″ display is hardly readable, and when you launch an app from the TV screen, it may launch in the small display, so you may have to drag it to the big screen to use it. I think this setup is most useful in very specific applications, where the 5″ display would be used with a remote app, and the big display showing whatever the user want, something like a digital signage system with the user being able to select options from the built-in touchscreen, and info shown on the large monitor. For most people, the best option might be to select Single Display mode to turn off the 5″ display completely.

I have not tried Ubuntu, but Brad Linder of Liliputing did, and actually successfully loaded both Ubuntu 16.04 and Remix OS operating systems from a USB stick. Built-in WiFi and Audio did not work, as expected since you need to work a little harder to enable Audio and Wifi, so he used a USB audio card and an external USB Wifi dongle… Mirroring did not work, but Extended Desktop was usable.

GOLE1 Android 5.1 Info and Benchmarks

Now that we’ve gone through the different configurations / use cases made possible with GOLE1, I’ll report some more information about the operating systems themselves, starting with Android. Note that while I’m mostly used the device in landscape mode, I took the screenshots in portrait mode, because it is more convenient for the review, as text would often be split over multiple screens in landscape mode.

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The device runs Android 5.1 on top of Linux 3.14.37. I had no trouble using Google Play, and browsing, but as mentioned previously the screen resolution and density use makes it really big on the large screen. Using it as an Android tablet was better, although the screen is small, and device heavy. I have not evaluate the battery life, because I got an early sample with a smaller battery.

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CPU-Z shows an Intel Atom x5-Z8300 quad core CPU up to 1.84 GHz with Intel HD graphics is used by the device called “AOSP on Intel Platform (cht_cr_mrd_w)”. Screen resolution is 720×1280 with 294 dpi, with 3847MB total RAM, and 4.82 GB internal storage.

GOLE1 got a decent 49,457 points in Antutu 6.0 (in landscape mode), but remember that the 1280×720 resolution will have posively affected the 3D graphics results compared to platforms running at a more common 1920×1080 resolution.

GOLE1_Antutu_6.0

The 64GB flash was expected to be faster than most 8/16GB flash used in TV boxes, and the results obtained with A1SD bench are indeed pretty good with 58.82 MB/s sequential read speed, and 46.03 MB/s write speed.

Read and Write Speed in MB/s

Read and Write Speed in MB/s

Normally, I’d also measure USB hard drive performance here, but none of my USB HDD partitions would show in Android.

I could use the Fast Ethernet connection without issues in Android, but WiFi performance varies much more between device, so that’s what I measured it connected to my 2.4GHz router. The device could also find my 5 GHz access point (802.11n only, no 802.11ac). WiFi throughput is tested by transferring a 278MB file over SAMBA back and forth using ES File Explorer. Download speed was acceptable at around 2.2 MB/s, but I got some stalling issue during one upload, and generally was slower, around 1.5 MB/s when no connection loss. The average was still a rather weak 1.8 MB/s.

WiFi Throughput in MB/s - Click to Enlarge

WiFi Throughput in MB/s – Click to Enlarge

GOLE1 Windows Info and Benchmarks

Windows 10 desktop in GOLE1 is completely standard, apart that the resolution is 1280×720 on your monitor or TV by default.

Click for Original Size

Click for Original Size

One of the reason of adding an often useless 5″ display to a mini PC is to get it into the “tablet with small screen” category with Microsoft, so that you can install Windows 10 with a free license… So that’s no surprise Windows 10 Home 64-bit is activated in the device, although I though it was not valid for 4GB. If Microsoft was not such an obscure company people could check themselves whether the license is right, but AFAIK the license conditions are not published publicly.

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The system info windows also shows the model is GOLE1 (F1) powered by Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor @ 1.44 GHz with 4GB RAM.

My USB hard drive connected to the USB 3.0 is still not detected in Windows 10, and I can only see the 49.6 GB partition. There’s 33.8 GB free, but I took the screenshot at the end of the review.
GOLE1_C_DriveWhile storage performance was very good for an Android TV box, Windows based mini PCs often achieve well over 100MB/s (up to 400 MB/s) sequential read and write speeds, and relatively fast random I/Os, which is not really the case here.

GOLE1_CrystalDiskMarkHWiNFO64 reported information is pretty standard.

GOLE1-HWiNFO64At first, I decided to skip Windows 10 benchmarks, because Intel Atom x5 processors performance is well known, so I only ran AIDA64 Extreme System Stability Test for 10 minutes, while monitoring thermal throttling stage, CPU cores frequency and temperature with HWiNFO64.

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Click to Enlarge

The CPU temperature was rather high for all 4 cores at over 80 C, but HWiNFO did not report any throttling. However, when checking the maximum CPU frequencies, it’s obvious something is very wrong, because it never went over 1,200 MHz, while Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor base frequency is 1.44 GHz, and turbo frequency is 1.84 GHz.

So I changed my mind about benchmark, and after letting the system cool down for a while, I installed and ran PCMark 8 HOME ACCELERATED 3.0 benchmark.

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Click to Enlarge

GOLE1 got 1,254 points, which compares to 1,354 points on Atom x5-Z8300 based Tronsmart Ara X5, so about 7% slower which could be caused by the slower eMMC flash or some throttling, although the processor did not overheat, and frequency got up to 1.84 GHz during the benchmark.

I left GOLE1 connected to the mains all day during Windows 10 testing, and strangely, I could see the system reporting the battery was “Not Charging”.

GOLE1_Charging_IssueHowever, I also checked later, and the battery level went up to 40% still not charging, and latter down to 33%. So it looks like the system will not always charge to battery while Windows 10 is running, and you have to turn the mini PC off to charge it.

Conclusion

In theory, GOLE1 is an awesome little device which can be your Windows or Android tablet, Android TV box, or Windows 10 mini PC, as you see fit. But in practice, Windows 10 is really hard to use on a 5″ screen, Android works better, but the screen is high reflective making it poorly suited to outdoor use,  when you connect the device to your TV with Android, the resolution is limited to 720p, and you have to hack your way out to make it usable. In Windows 10, it’s a little better when using a TV in either Single Display, Mirroring, or Extended Display mode. The 5″ screen is still unreadable in most modes, so Single Display might be the best option. GOLE1 can do many things, but none of them very well. It might be useful in some specific applications, where you may want a touch screen display with a control app, to let the user access info or play videos on the large screen, or simply use it as a control panel for some machines without external display.

PROS

  • Innovative design combining tablet and mini PC
  • Dual boot of Windows 10 Home (activated) and Android 5.1
  • Affordable price

CONS

  • Windows 10 is close to unusable on a 5″ screen with the default resolution 1280×720 and DPI settings.
  • 5″ screen has poor visibility outdoors even with maximum brightness
  • GOLE1 is a rather heavy as a portable device
  • Poor WiFi performance, and unreliable at times
  • My USB 3.0 hard drive was no recognized in either Android or Windows (power supply issue?)
  • The system appears to default to Portrait mode when placed on a flat surface
  • Battery does not appear to be charging continuously in Windows 10
  • Minor – Android set to sleep very fast (a few seconds) by default, which is a real annoyance when connected to TV (Settings changes fix this)
  • GOLE1 is throttling under heavy load after a couple of minutes.

“Jack of all trades, master of none” is probably appropriate for GOLE1 F1. I’d still like to thank GOLE for giving me the opportunity to review GOLE1. You can purchase the device for $99 with 2GB RAM/32GB flash, and $154.99 with 4GB/64GB (as reviewed here) on GearBest (GBGF4 or TENOFF coupons may lower the price further). You’ll also find both models sold as “GOLE F1” on Banggood.

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 7 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 13 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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