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Posts Tagged ‘ubuntu’

FriendlyARM Introduces NanoPi NEO AIR Board with WiFi & BLE, Camera Interface and 8GB Storage for $17.99

September 28th, 2016 23 comments

FriendlyARM launched NanoPi NEO board with Allwinner H3 processor, Ethernet, and USB ports for $7.99 to $9.99 in July, and the company is back with a new board with the same form factor and processor, by trading Ethernet for WiFi, dropping one USB 2.0 port for a DVP camera interface, and adding an 8GB eMMC flash.

nanopi-neo-airNanoPi NEO AIR specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7 @ 1.2 GHz with an ARM Mali-400MP2 GPU up to 600 MHz
  • System Memory – 512 MB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC Flash (Samsung) + micro SD card slot
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 LE (via Ampak AP6212 module) with IPEX antenna connector
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG port, 2x USB via headers
  • Camera – 1x DVP camera interface with optional 5MP CAM500B camera
  • Expansion headers
    • 24-pin header with I2C, 2x UART, SPI, PWM, and power signals
    • 12-pin header with 2x USB, IR pin, SPDIF, and I2S
  • Debugging – 4-pin header for serial console (unpopulated)
  • Misc – Power and status LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via micro USB port or VDD pin on serial header
  • Dimensions – 40 x 40 mm
  • Weight – 7.5 grams without headers; 9.7 grams with headers

The company provides an Ubuntu Core + Qt firmware image, which will most likely be pre-loaded in the eMMC flash on the board when shipping. More details about hardware and software can be found on the Wiki (English translation in progress).

nanopi-neo-air-cameraAs mentioned in the specifications, FriendlyARM will also offer an optional 5 megapixel “CAM500B” camera board that can be connected to the DVP interface of the board. The Wiki shows instructions to stream the video to a web page using mjpg-streamer.

armbian has also been working on supporting the board, but I’m unclear about the status right now. I’m sure you’ll soon find out by reading the comments’ section of this post.

NanoPi NEO AIR can be purchased for $17.99 with 3 headers, but you may consider adding the heatsink for $2.97, and a 3dB WiFi antenna for $3.99. I could not find CAM500B camera module, but for reference CAM500A camera module (possibly not compatible) is sold for $19.99.

Orange Pi Zero and Orange Pi i96 96Boards IoT Edition Boards Coming Soon

September 27th, 2016 15 comments

Shenzhen Xunlong Orange Pi boards are relatively popular thanks to their low price, and support on communities such as Armbian, but two new upcoming Orange Pi boards might make the company even more relevant in the development board space. First, the company is nearing completion of the tiny, and hopefully ultra cheap, Orange Pi Zero board with Allwinner H2+ processor, and Linaro has announced that an Orange Pi i96 boards compliant with 96Board IoT specifications is also coming soon.

Orange Pi Zero

The board has not been released, but some pictures have been uploaded to Armbian forums.

orange-pi-zero

Orange Pi Zero looks quite similar to NanoPi NEO board but with different processor, a slightly larger form factor, and both Ethernet and wireless connectivity. We don;t have other information for now, but it still possible to get most of Orange Pi Zero specifications from the photos:

  • SoC – Allwinner H2(+) quad core Cortex A7 processor with Mali-400MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 512 MB DDR3-1866 (Samsung K4B2G1646F-BFMA)
  • Storage – micro SD card slot
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet + wireless connectivity with u.FL antenna connector (likely WiFi)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Expansion headers – 26-pin header +13-pin header
  • Debugging – 4-pin header for serial console
  • Misc – 2x LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port or 5V pin on 4-pin header (TBC)
  • Dimensions – 46 x 46 mm (TBC); NanoPi NEO size: 40mm x 40mm)

allwinner-h2-plus-boardThat’s all we know at this time. Orange Pi Zero was previously touted as a $5.90 board (shipping not included), but I’d be really surprised if they could sell it that cheap considering there’s both Ethernet and WiFi (or another wireless interface) on-board.

Orange Pi i96

Shenzhen Xunlong is very good at making – in my experience reliable – hardware at a cheap price, but if you’ve ever tried one of their firmware images, you may have come across issues, which is why communities like Linux-sunxi and armbian are so important for software support. 96Boards platforms are supposed to have one of the best and up-to-date software support, as Linaro have some engineers working full time on the project, however in a world of $35 or less development boards, the price of 96Boards compliant development boards even below $100 has not been competitive enough or the new standard to take-off.

So I’m hopeful that Orange Pi i96 board will bring the best of both world, with a low price associated with Orange Pi boards, and software support and documentation from Linaro/96Boards.

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Source – Linaro Connect US 2016 Welcome Keynote (via Nanik) – Click to Enlarge

The board won’t be based on any Allwinner processors however, but instead feature an RDA Micro Cortex-A5 processor (possibly RDA8810PL) with 2Gbit (256 MB) on-chip RAM, 4Gbit (512 MB) on-chip NAND flash, a micro SD card, two USB 2.0 ports, a CSI camera connector, and WiFi 802.11 b/g/n connectivity. The board will run Ubuntu, and like the recently announced BLE Carbon will be compliant with 96Boards IoT Edition “standard” specs, except it will use “Cortex-A profile and 1.8V I/Os” variation of the standard. The price will be less than $10 🙂

Parrot S.L.A.M Dunk is a Ubuntu & ROS Computer with 3D Depth Cameras for Drones & Robots

September 26th, 2016 No comments

Parrot and Canonical have partnered to develop the Parrot S.L.A.M.dunk development kit for the design of applications for autonomous navigation, obstacle avoidance, indoor navigation and 3D mapping for drones and robots, and running both Ubuntu 14.04 and ROS operating systems. The name of the kit is derived from its “Simultaneous Localization and Mapping algorithm” (S.L.A.M) allowing for location without GPS signal.

parrot-slam-dunk

Parrot S.L.A.M Dunk preliminary specifications:

  • SoC – NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor
  • Camera – Fish-eye stereo camera with a 1500×1500 resolution at 60fps
  • Sensors – Inertial-measurement unit (IMU), ultrasound sensor up to 15 meters range, magnetometer, barometer
  • Video Output – micro HDMI
  • USB – 1x micro USB 2.0 port, 1x USB 3.0/2.0 port
  • Weight – 140 grams

Parrot S.L.A.M dunk can be fitted various drones and robotic platforms such as quadcopters and fixed-wings, rolling robots and articulated arms using mounting kits. The computer module is then connected to the host platform via a 3.5mm jack cable and a USB cable in order to send and receive commands and data.

parrot-slam-dunk-drone-3d-depthThis morning I wrote about SoftKinetic 3D sensing camera based on time-of-flight technology, but Parrot S.L.A.M Dunk is based on more commonly used stereo vision cameras. The micro HDMI allows developers to connect the computer to a monitor in order to develop their application for Ubuntu and ROS.

Parrot S.L.A.M Dunk will be available in Q4 2016 at an undisclosed price. More information should eventually be found in Parrot Developer website.

Marvell ESPRESSOBin Board with Gigabit Ethernet, SATA, mini PCIe, and USB 3.0 To Launch for $39 and Up (Crowdfunding)

September 23rd, 2016 32 comments

I can often read people hoping for an inexpensive community board for network, storage and connectivity applications with high speed interface like SATA, multiple Gigabit Ethernet port, USB 3.0 and/or mini PCIe, and that’s exactly what Globalscale Technologies is about to offer with their Marvell ARMADA 3700 based ESPRESSOBin development board to go for $39 and up via Kickstarter.

espressobinMarvell ESPRESSOBin board specifications:

  • SoC – Marvell Armada 3700LP (88F3720) dual core ARM Cortex A53 processor up to 1.2GHz
  • System Memory – 512MB DDR3 or optional 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 1x SATA interface, 1x micro SD card slot with footprint for an optional 4GB EMMC
  • Network Connectivity
    • 1x Topaz Networking Switch
    • 2x GbE Ethernet LAN
    • 1x  Ethernet WAN
    • 1x MiniPCIe slot for Wireless/BLE periphereals
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, 1x micro USB port
  • Expansion – 2x 46-pin GPIO headers for accessories and shields with I2C, GPIOs, PWM, UART, SPI, MMC, etc…
  • Misc – Reset button, JTAG interface
  • Power Supply – 12V DC jack or 5V via micro USB port
  • Power Consumption – Less than 1W thermal dissipation at 1 GHz
marvell-armada-3700-block-diagram

Marvell ARMADA 3700 Block Diagram

The board will run mainline Linux & U-boot, and the company will release Ubuntu, ArchLinux ARM, Debian, and OpenWrt firmware, with support for the Yocto Project as well. Some documentation and source code can be found on the Wiki in Github.

Typical applications include NAS, video camera monitor, plex media server, IoT gateway with wireless module and/or dongle with Zigbee, Bluetooth, , Zwave…. The board was first showcased at Computex 2016.

ESPRESSOBin will be launched on Kickstarter in the next few days. Keep in mind that the page is still in draft mode, so information is subject to change, but based on the details currently available, they plan to raise at least $25,000, and a $39 early bird pledge will be asked for the first boards (with 512MB RAM), with the price going up to $49 after (with 1GB RAM). There’s also a model with a wireless module and 12V power supply for $69, and “cluster” rewards with multiple boards. Delivery is scheduled for December 2016 for early bird rewards, and February 2017 for others. If you are interested in the board, and want to make sure you don’t miss out on the early bird pledge, you can register to be notified when the project launched in the KS page.

Thanks to Ray for the tip.

Nextcloud Box is a $80 Private Cloud Server with 1TB HDD for Development Boards

September 17th, 2016 28 comments

While there are plenty of cloud services provided by companies such as Dropbox or Google, you may want to manage you own private cloud server instead for performance and/or privacy reasons. One typical way to do this is to install Owncloud or Nextcloud (a fork of Owncloud), on a Linux computer or board such as Raspberry Pi 3. The former is usually a little expensive for just this task, the latter often results in cable mess, and in both case, some people may not be comfortable with setting it all up. Nextcloud, Western Digital, and Canonical seems to have addressed most of those issues with Nextcloud Box including a 1TB USB 3.0 WDLabs harddrive, Nextcloud case with space for the drive and small ARM or x86 Linux development boards, and a micro USB power supply.

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The kit also include a micro SD card pre-loaded with Snappy Ubuntu Core, Apache, MySQL and Nextcloud 10 for the Raspberry Pi 2. They are also working on SD card images for ODROID-C2 and Raspberry Pi 3 boards, but readers of this blog should also be able to use the kit on any ARM or x86 Linux development boards that fit in the case, as all you need to do is install you favorite Linux distribution, and install & configure Nextcloud.

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Click to Enlarge

Some more information and links to purchase can be found on Nexcloud Box product page. Price is $79.99 in the US, 70 Euros in Europe including VAT, and 60 GBP in the United Kingdom. The kit is not available in the rest of the world for now. Remember than you’ll need to add your board, and with a Raspberry Pi 3 the total cost would end up being around $120, but with cheaper boards you should be able to keep the total price below $100 even once shipping is taken into account.

Receive Android SMS & Call Notifications in Ubuntu 16.04 with KDE Connect (or Not?)

September 15th, 2016 11 comments

I often miss calls, and I may be slow to answer SMS on my Android phone, but I’m often in front of my computer, so I decided to look for solutions to show SMS and call notifications on my computer running Ubuntu 16.04. I first found LinConnect, but it does not seem to be developed anymore, and after some more research I discovered that KDE Connect should do the job. The developer just released KDE Connect 1.0 a few weeks ago with add encryption, the ability to reply to SMS from your computer and more… One person posted instructions for Kubuntu 16.04. There’s just a problem it won’t work with Unity desktop, only KDE Plasma, due to a lack of support for Qt 5.6.

You can still use the older version without encryption and other new features by “simply” running:

However the installation failed for me:

An “apt install -f” did not help, so I uninstalled kde-l10n-th package:

Ran “sudo apt install -f”, and the installation went through. It’s possible it’s an error specific to Thai language only. I’m unclear whether the bug is due to that package, or KDE Connect.

Now you can install KDE Connect Android app on your phone, and start KDE Connect Settings on your computer and enable the server in order to pair your phone.

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KDE Connect Settings (Ubuntu) – Click to Enlarge

kde-connect-android-app

I could connect to the server, and set notifications for apps. You can also set several options in KDE Connect in Ubuntu 16.04, and the program seems quite powerful.

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Click to Enlarge

Sadly, I only manage to get a notification once in the top right corner for an upcoming call (I was not fast enough for a screenshot), and after it I did work anymore. You can also open KDE Connect Monitor to have a look at notifications, but in the case of calls it will only show you the missed called, not when the call starts. The Blue button on the top right is used to make your phone ring in case you can’t find it.

android-smartphone-notifications-ubuntu-computerIt’s not really ideal, so I decided to go ahead and install the latest version.

The first step is to install the Kubuntu backport.

Sadly I canceled it, because I went through many dependencies errors during installation, maybe I did something wrong.

In case it works, you can use the PPA for Kubuntu 16.04 / 16.10, and install KDE Connect 1.0:

Overall, this was a time consuming experience, and KDE Connect did not work reliably for me. Any tips are welcomed.

WeTek Play 2 Amlogic S905 TV Box Gets Ubuntu 16.04 Mate and Minimal Firmware Images

September 7th, 2016 5 comments

WeTek Play 2 is the latest TV box from WeTek with DVB or ATSC tuner, and powered by Amlogic S905-H processor. It ships with Android 5.1.1, but Ubuntu 16.04 Mate and Ubuntu 16.04 minimal firmware images have been released by the community.

WeTek_Play_2_Ubuntu_16.04-Mate

You can try Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Mate (with desktop environment) or the headless Ubuntu 16.04 LTS minimal image by uncompressing the images, and flashing them to a micro SD card with dd or Win32DiskImager.  Two default credentials (username/password) are provided:  wetek/wetek and root/wetek. This required the latest Play 2 Android firmware, so make sure you get the latest OTA update before trying Ubuntu. The Ubuntu 16.04 images should just boot from the SD card without replacing or affecting your Android installation.

If this type of images for Amlogic S905 seems similar, it’s because are based on Hardkernel ODROID-C2 Ubuntu 16.04 images. You can find the Linux kernel for WeTek Play 2, against a fork of ODROID-C2 kernel, on github. To build the kernel and modules, run those two command after having cloned the source code:

It’s unclear whether tuner support is part of the images at this stage.

MinnowBoard Turbot SBC Gets a Quad Core Atom E3845 Processor, Better Ethernet, and a Fansink

September 6th, 2016 10 comments

MinnowBoard Turbot open source hardware SBC was released in 2015 with an Intel Atom E3826 dual core Bay Trail-I processor, 2GB RAM, SATA and Gigabit Ethernet support, and a new version – MinnowBoard Turbot Quad – with a more powerful quad core processor, an heatsink and fan, and better Ethernet connectivity will be launched in December.

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MinnowBoard Turbot Quad “MBT-4210” board specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom E3845 quad core Bay Trail-I processor @ 1.92 GHz with Intel HD graphics @ 542 / 792 MHz (10W TDP)
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3L 1067 MT/s (Soldered)
  • Storage – 1x SATA2 3Gbs, 1x micro SD card slot, , 8 MB SPI Flash for firmware (Tianocore UEFI, Coreboot, SeaBIOS)
  • Video & Audio Output – 1x micro HDMI connector
  • Connectivity – 10/100/1000M Ethernet RJ-45 connector (Intel i211 instead of Realtek NIC on first board)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 host, 1x USB 2.0 host
  • Debugging – Serial debug via FTDI cable, firmware flash port header
  • Expansion headers
    • Low-speed expansion (LSE) port – 2×13 (26-pin) male 0.1″ pin header with access to SPI, I2C, I2S Audio, 2x UARTs (TTL-level), 8x GPIO (including 2x supporting PWM), +5V, and GND
    • High-speed expansion (HSE) port –  60-pin high-density connector with access to 1x PCIe Gen 2.0 Lane, 1x SATA2, 1x USB 2.0 host, I2C, GPIO, JTAG, +5V, and GND
    • 8x buffered GPIO
  • Power Supply – 5V/4A DC input via 2.5mm center pin positive power jack; 5V DC output via  2-pin header
  • Dimensions – 99 x 74mm
  • Temperature Range –  Operating: TBD; Storage: -20 to +85 deg C
  • Certifications – FCC Class B, CE, IEC-60950, RoHS/WEEE

The company claims the new processor is 2.5 times faster than the dual core processor used in the first board, likely referring to multi-core performance at a higher clock speed, and the fansink should make it more suitable for higher temperature applications. Gigabit Ethernet is also supposed to benefit from replacing a Realtek GbE controller by Intel i211.

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MinnowBoard Case – Click to Enlarge

The board leverages MinnowBoard MAX ecosystem, with support for many different operating systems including Debian GNU/Linux, Brillo, Windows 8.1 / 10, Android 4.4, and Ubuntu. MinnowBoard Turbot (Quad) is also compatible with the Yocto Project, 64-bit Intel firmware, Coreboot and U-boot, and more with details available on Minnowboard Wiki. The board will be open source hardware with the files released under a Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license. The hardware should not be that different from MinnowBoard Turbot (dual core) whose schematics, PCB layout, gerber files, and BoM can be found on MinnowBoard Turbot Wiki.

The board can be pre-ordered for $189.95 on Netgate, but you may consider adding accessories like a metal case (+$19), 5V/2A or 4A power supply ($10.95/$12.95), and/or a HDMI cable ($9.995). Bear in mind that shipping is only scheduled for December 2016.

Thanks to Freire for the tip.