Since I’ve received my previous short review of the Wandboard Dual development board, there has been more work on done the platform with new Android and Ubuntu images, Jelly Bean source, Linux SDK release, and git repo setup. I’ve tried the binary images, and had a quick look at the source code and corresponding documentation.
Android 4.1.2 Image and Source Code
Wanboard has release an improved Android image on the 14th of March which you can download for both Solo and Dual version of the development board with the following Changelog:
Fix HDMI audio/playback issue with certain monitor.
Add support for wifi on wandboard-dual.
Might need to turn off “Avoid poor connections” in Wi-Fi ->Advanced to keep connection alive.
I’ve given it a try in Wandboard Dual,
and it seems Ethernet support is gone (Sorry my mistake, Ethernet IS working, but there’s no indication when it’s connected, and it’s pretty slow), Wi-Fi works but I’ve encountered the known issue above, and it’s quite slow, at least at the beginning, because of mmcqd process that seemed very busy with my microSD card. Adb is still not working so for a development board it’s quite a massive shortcoming if you want to develop Android apps for the platform.
I was able to install Google Play in the Wandboard. First download gapps-jb-20120726-signed.zip, then extract it and copy the files in the micro SD card as follows in a Linux PC:
sudo cp ~/gapps-jb/system/* /media/system/ -rf
But then I decided to stop playing with Android on Wandboard for now, because I don’t like to torture myself using a system so slow. CPU usage is always around 6 to 7, the popup window showing “App is not responding : Wait / Kill” appears very often, and sometimes even the mouse point can’t be moved around.
The company also provides 2 Android Jelly Bean source code release:
- wandboard_android_4.1.2_fullsource.tar.xz (1.6GB) – Full sourcecode for the Wandboard Android release. This is after the repo command and hence contains all necessary packages.
- wandboard_android_4.1.2_minimal.tar.xz (100MB) – Small release containing the Freescale Android Jellybean release and the necessary patches for Wandboard.
For tarballs contains a file called Wandboard_Android_4.1.2_UserGuide.pdf with the instructions to build Android, create a bootable SD card and install Google Apps.
Ubuntu 11.10 Image, Source Code and Kernel repo
The company also released an updated Ubuntu 11.10 image that you can download for the dual version only. There’s no Changelog provided with the file. All I can say is that it could be a bit smoother than before (although boot time is still over 2 minutes), both Ethernet and Wi-Fi are working, but 2D/3D GPU acceleration is still not supported, as es2gears and glmark2-es2 are still using software rendering with this image. However, hardware video acceleration is working, as I could play most Linaro samples with Totem Player:
- H.264 codec / MP4 container (Big Buck Bunny), 480p/720p/1080p – OK
- MPEG2 codec / MPG container, 480p/720p/1080p – OK
- MPEG4 codec, AVI container – OK
- VC1 codec (WMV), 480p/720p/1080p – OK
- Real Media (RMVB) – Failed. The required plugins (gstreamer-plugins-ugly) are automatically detected and installed by Totem Player, but the videos still fail to play.
- WebM 480p/720p/1080p – OK
Video codec support is pretty good, as they did not cut corners to save cost with codec licenses (maybe it’s not possible with Freescale). There are still some bugs however. For example, if one video cannot play, you’ll have to restart the board to be able to play other videos, and if you turn off your TV or change source, you may lose HDMI audio until you reboot the board.
One the audio side it’s not as good. The board can decode AC3 and Dolby Digital 5.1, but DTS, DTS-HD MA, DTS-HD HR, TrueHD 5.1 & 7.1 and Dolby Digital 7.1 do not work. I don’t know if this is an implementation or a license issue.
Wandboard team also provided a new Linux Sourcecode SDK (Release Candidate) during last week-end. The file contains source code for u-boot and wandboard linux kernel, as well as binaries, firmware, tools and documentation. The file doc/wand-dev.pdf in the tar file explains how to build U-boot and the Linux kernel, and how to create a bootable micro SD card. It also briefly explains how to p[lay with bluetooth, Wi-Fi and audio drivers.The company has also setup a git server http://repo.or.cz/w/wandboard.git for Wandboard Android and Linux development, and Wandboard is now part of mainline U-boot.
That means currently Android and Ubuntu images for Wandboard still need more work, so you can’t really expect to get the board and develop some applications without issues just yet. It seems Wandboard a
nd/or Technexion, the company providing the EDM module [Update: Albeit the MAC Address on my module belong to Technexion, I’ve been told they don’t provide the module], at least partially relies on the community to help them improve support for the board. But this is happening, as Fabio Estevan is the one behind mainlining wandboard support in U-boot, and more work is being done as others work on buildroot and Yocto Project support. You can follow the progress in Wandboard Forums. I’ve also been informed that some XBMC people are working with the board, so you may expect an XBMC release in a (little) while.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.