ZTE ZX296702 Dual Core Cortex A9 SoC Boots Android in 10 Seconds with TuxOnice

ZTE XZ296702 is a dual core Cortex A9 processor with a Mali-400 GPU that targets Android set-top boxes and media players, and while Charbax filmed a video with ZX296702-AD1 development board at Linaro Connect HK, initial patchsets were recently submitted to the Linux ARM Kernel mailing list for XZ296702 SoC and the development board.

ZX296702_Development_BoardThere aren’t any product page for ZX296702 processor, so instead let’s have a look at the board’s specifications:

  • SoC – ZTE ZX296702 dual core ARM Cortex A9 processor with Mali-400 GPU
  • System Memory – 512 MB RAM
  • Storage – 4GB flash + micro SD card
  • Video Output – HDMI + AV (RCA)
  • Audio Output – HDMI + Stereo audio (2x RCA)
  • Connectivity – Ethernet and Wi-Fi
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Power Supply – 5V

Considering the board is running Android 4.4, the specs are quite low end, however the developers claim to have performed memory optimizations, and improved the boot time to 10 seconds (Closer to 17 seconds based on the video below) in order to make the box feel like a higher-end device. I’ve been reviewing several products with higher end processors like Rockchip RK3288, Allwinner A80 or Mediatek MT6752, and fast eMMC flash, and the best devices can only boot in 15 to 20 seconds. So what kind of sorcery is that?

The developers explain that their reference platform used to boot in 30 seconds, but they’ve used open source tools, namely TuxOnice, to save RAM into the flash, and at boot time it will simply copy/uncompress the saved RAM back to memory, in the same way you use hibernation on your laptop.

ZTE ZX296702 processor is likely to be found only in ZTE set-top boxes for the Chinese and overseas market,s but I’ve also found the processor listed for sale on a Chinese website.

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