Mele A1000 Android set-top box based on AllWinner A10 is one the best platform to play with Linux on ARM, thanks to its low cost, numerous features, hackability, and the work of the developers’ community on arm-netbook mailing list, and now in sunxi-linux. I like it so much it’s the first item in my short list of hackable gadgets. However, the hardware specifications of the original Mele A1000 may be too weak for some of today’s applications. So I’m pleased the announce that Mele A1000G Quad is now available (for pre-order) with AllWinner A31 quad core Cortex A7 SoC, 2GB RAM and 8GB Flash.
Here are the specifications for Mele A1000 Quad STB:
- SoC – AllWinner A31 quad core Cortex A7 @ 1.5GHz + PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU
- System Memory – 2GB DDR3 RAM
- 8GB Flash
- SD card slot
- SATA connector (most probably via a USB to SATA chipset)
- Video Output – HDMI 1.4
- Audio I/O – HDMI + S/PDIF optical + Audio jack output
- Video Playback – Up to 2160p @ 60 Mbps
- USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x mini USB 2.0 OTG port
- Ethernet – 10/100Mbps
- Wi-Fi – 802.11 b/g/n
- Power Supply – 5V/2A
It just looks like the old model, except VGA output is missing, which is unfortunate as I found it very convenient for my use. I’m not sure if composite and component outputs are available, because even though they are missing from the specs, the corresponding cable is shown in the picture.
Mele A1000G Quad is available for pre-oderfrom Mele Aliexpress store for $119.99 + shipping. The total is just over $140 to Thailand with Hong Kong Post, and the media player will start to ship in May. There may be a way to get it with a discount however, as Mele has reached out to arm-netbook mailing list as they plan to sell some to developers. There will also be an AllWinner A20 version with 1GB RAM, 4GB flash, but there’s not much information for now. If you are interested, just register to the mailing list, and reply that you are interested in purchasing the device in the thread.
We are still not 100% sure if it is hackable, but AllWinner A31 source code is already available, and it’s likely the serial port will still be easily accessible as Mele proposed the device to developers. The PowerVR GPU in AllWinner A31 is another issue, as there won’t be Linux support, but thanks to libhybris, and the projects taking advantage of the library such as Ubuntu Touch / Mir display server, it should eventually be possible to use the Android libraries and drivers for the GPU in Linux distributions.