Lemon Pi Board is a $35 Raspberry Pi 2 Alternative Powered by Actions Semi S500 SoC (Crowdfunding)

I wrote about ActDuino S500 last month. It’s a development board powered by Actions Semi S500 quad core Cortex A9 processor, but very few details were available, and release date and pricing had not been disclosed. EmbedStudio, a Shenzhen startup, has now launched an Indiegogo campaign (flexible funding) for their Lemon Pi board based on S500 processor.

Lemon_Pi Lemon Pi specifications:

  • SoC – Actions Semi S500 quad core Cortex A9r4 processor with 512KB L2 Cache and a PowerVR SGX544 GPU with OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0, OpenVG 1.0.1, and OpenCL support
  • Memory – 1GB DDR3 RAM (Option: 2GB, not part of crowdfunding rewards)
  • Storage – micro SD slot. Option: Up to 64GB eMMC 4.5 flash, not part of crowdfunding rewards.
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4 with HDCP, 3.5mm jack for CVBS (AV), MIPI DSI
  • Audio – HDMI, AV (Line out / microphone)
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet (RJ45; RTL8201F)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB 3.0 port (OTG)
  • Camera –  MIPI CSI-2 interface
  • Expansion Header – 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header with I2S, PCM, 16 GPIOs, UART, SPI, and I2C.
  • Misc – On/off, reset and ADFU (Actions Device Firmware Update) keys, IR receiver
  • Power Supply – 5V/700mA via micro USB port- ACT260X PMIC and Audio codec chip
  • Dimensions – 85 x 56 mm

Lemon_Pi_Board_BottomThe board is said to run Android 5.0 and Ubuntu 12.04 using Linux 3.10 LTS. 3D hardware acceleration is enabled in Ubuntu too. They claim the source code can be found on github, but I could not find it (yet).

A $25 pledge for “Super Early Bird reward” should get you board, with a standard pledge being $35. Shipping via Hong Kong Post (Tracking not mentioned) is $5 extra to anywhere in the world. Most boards are scheduled to ship on August 2015, but a few beta? boards will ship as early as June.

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72 Replies to “Lemon Pi Board is a $35 Raspberry Pi 2 Alternative Powered by Actions Semi S500 SoC (Crowdfunding)”

  1. PowerVR, argh, vendor lock in. This LemonPI has a life expectancy of 2 year max. Just like my Dell mini 1010 (Poulsbo).

    Even the original PI with the Video Core IV from BCM has a better chance of a OSS GPU driver.

    I Don’t know how Imagination Tech does it. But they keep on slithering in.

  2. What does this mean on Indiegogo page?
    *Please don’t remember adding shipping perk option with this perk in your total order

  3. @Gabe
    I think they just made separate rewards or shipping. That makes it unnecessarily complicated to pledge, but I understand if you pledge for a $35 board, you also need to add $5 (HK post) or $30 (DHL).

  4. This company promises on Indiegogo page a website that will be ready by April & now it’s the end of May, still no website.

  5. @Phil
    you are right
    sorry, we make a mistake to label ethernet and usb2.0 position

  6. @Gabe
    hi, cnxsoft is right.
    shipping cost need to be added additionly.
    $5 (HK post) or $30 (DHL).

  7. @onebir
    quad-core A9 more powerful than A5/A7
    imagination GPU that Apple use
    android 5.0

  8. Another ARM based board to the collection. There are SoCs out there with different cpus that have linux support (and other OSes).
    Nothing new, it is the same as the other ones of its kind.

  9. Well this is nice but with a PowerVR GPU thanks but not thanks. An open source for the rPi and rPi2 GPU is being worked on while there’s not such hope for PowerVR…

    This limits the usability of the board IMO as there’s not reason to be sure you’ll have a working driver for the latest kernel or latest X or latest Mesa or a Wayland driver ….

    Choice is always good but I don’t really see this offering much over the rPi2 … am I missing something ?

  10. guy got PhD from US university and they wrote THIS? I’m sick of Chinglish and Chinese mentality regarding the quality (and accuracy) of descriptions.

    I would stay clear. On top of that powervr….

  11. 🙂 I am stewar,not pino. I am sorry my chinglish bothers you. I will try to improve my english expression to be unstood. Many thanks.

  12. I mean $35 is cost of board.
    $35 does not include shipping cost.
    you will add shipping cost additionally when selecting perk manually.

  13. because Imagination official GPU driver can only support ubuntu12.04 now.
    later they will update to support 14.04

  14. because Imagination official GPU driver can only support ubuntu12.04 now.
    later they will update to support 14.04

    Well, this is a bad start, no?
    (but no surprise here)
    Your “near future” is what YEAR, exactly??

  15. If anyone needs help with producing proper English technical documentation from Chinglish, we can help.

  16. How long until we can get a quad A53 or A72 with gigabit for around the same price ? 18 months ?

    Saying something is for digital signage and only having 1 display connector is an utter joke

  17. As the others I don’t see anything positive when binary imagination drivers are present.

    It seems the Mali approach is a bit better? With user land blobs?

  18. If they wanted better (free labor from) community support then they should have selected a much more open source friendly SoC platform to build this on than closed hardware such as Action Semi with PowerVR GPU.

  19. @Al

    I’d pay even more for that now, say $100, there are no good ARM64 boards out there. It would have been nicer to have one of that instead of this rPi2 competitor which has nothing important to offer in it’s favor.

  20. I’ve also noticed there’s mention of a “PowerVR SGX544 GPU open source driver” which is very , very odd indeed. I’m guessing this is either an error or it’s about some sort of open source kernel module paired with a closed source userland blob.

  21. JotaMG :

    because Imagination official GPU driver can only support ubuntu12.04 now.
    later they will update to support 14.04

    Well, this is a bad start, no?
    (but no surprise here)
    Your “near future” is what YEAR, exactly??

    Hahaha, well said!

    The “Ubuntu 12.04” support (3 years old) was also an alarm bell for me. Or as Brüno says “Nicht, nicht!”.

  22. And it’s a flexible campaign. Maybe they won’t gather enough money, boards will be never sent out & you remain without money.

  23. Gabe :
    And it’s a flexible campaign. Maybe they won’t gather enough money, boards will be never sent out & you remain without money.

    hahahaa +1

  24. I stopped at Actions Semi, or was it Shenzehn? Point is i stopped, if any newbie reads this: don’t jump at the hopeful firmware, think you’ll get the option for 2gb ram, or expect it sent to you at all. I’m gagging that the crowd source site keeps this up. Andrd 5 is the new Honeycomb. @imagination stop. Just stop.

  25. Dear Gabe,
    Firstly, our team believe we will succeed in our compaign with help of everyone who pay attention to us and support us, like you. We also thank anyone who don’t give financial contribution but give attention.

    Seondly, If we can’t achieve the $10,000 USD goal we set originally, we will still to sent out Lemon Pi to every contributer and make friend with everyone and reply every email sent to us.
    We will keep our promise for every contributer whom we treat as our first investors. We will not break heart of anyone who helps us. Although this situation will sustain losses in business,even make us go bankrupt at startup. I will sent Lemon Pi at promise price to every contributer. we believe it worth the effort.
    Thanks for your doubt also, it make me speak out my thoughs clearly.

    from stewar@embedstudio.com


  26. sorry, we can’t give exact time, we can only wait for support from Imagination who is vender of PowerVR544


  27. I think 12 months one year maybe enough for $35 quad-core A53.

    I think only one HDMI connect can support digital signage, why not? thanks for your information



  28. @lemon pi thingy creator : reading these comments, and my own i wan’t to say that i think most of us are tired of the bait and switch. Whether it’s manufacturer A or B, you just happened to land in a forum full of people over the blatency of Asian continental board manufacturers telling us one thing and finding out the opposite AFTER weve paid. Or being shady with schematics knowing many consumers are not going to arrive in Guangdon province to hunt down 35.00 . so many sleek adverts but so little care that we actually read (and notice) the grammatical slight of hand game. Instead of “so sorry” say ” you’re correct” “we WILL make it right” own the issue, your reputation is on the line, especially if you’re asking for £€¥$ up front. I think you get the idea, its not you personally, but it’s an industrial machine that I’m sore with. If you need a second view of your campaign for factual correction, I’m sure many of us would rather help than be swindled , i volunteer my time to show you, how to be the first to make that difference, EARN that buck. If it’s a crap product, then it’s a crap product. If it’s not, prove it. Send a sample to Jean-Luc@cnx soft for testing ( let me be him lol) , E for effort, A for nice try… Paul Taraneh

  29. @paul
    I couldn’t agree more with your opinion. as what I said on campaign, “become one of the partners or volunteers partner or volunteer within our team EMBEDSTUDIO “. I warmly welcome anyone to help make this project more successful.
    Please contact us info@embedstudio.com;embedstudio@qq.com for further detailed discussion.
    Many thanks.

  30. The name of the product also is not very inspiring. Lemon has a negative conotation, according to merriam webster:
    “a product that is not made well : a product that does not work the way it should” taken from:
    You should have given another fruit name like Kiwi Pi, Pomelo Pi or Lychee Pi.

  31. @Gabe

    Dear Gabe,
    Public datesheet is be preparing by Actions semi. When we get their authorized official public version, we will release immediatly.
    Many thanks for your detailed explanation for one meaning of Lemon. actually we do not realize and have no ideas about it. We will consider your valuable advice seriously. Let us try our best to make Lemon Pi work well.

  32. So you finished porting Ubuntu 12.04, does hardware video acceleration work under it(playing videos from KODI, VLC)?

  33. yes, Ubuntu 12.04 with GPU acceleration and XBMC/KODI with hardware video decode all already run on Lemon Pi, we are fixing some bugs for it

    recently ,I will update FAQ according to questions these days on campaign


  34. @onebir

    Everyday I am asking for Actions and Imagination to accelerate this process. I will keep everyone informed when there is exact time.

  35. @embedstudio

    I give you an idea, when you release ubuntu 14.04 with native GPU acceleration and hardware video decoding, get the word LEMON, shake it very hard and you will find the word MELON which is a sweet fruit and very inspiring according to merrian-webster, release a second improved board with this name.

    No jokes here, i will contribute to your campaign as i did for cubieboard, i just would like to have a look at the BSP/SDK before i do it, could you give a link to download it?

  36. @@lex:

    In some dialects “melon” – the fruit – also as some negative connotations.
    From what I know, raspberry and orange are really the best ones…
    Wait, I have a winner…

    COCONUT PI !!!
    “hard to break, delightful inside”

    (ok, I’m inspired, I better rush now to the patent office)


  37. @@lex

    hi Lex, Thanks for you advice 🙂 I heard even founder of RPi didn’t like PRi name, but everyone like it eventually. Hope that day will come for Lemon Pi.
    Now we are hurrying up preparing BSP/SDK.
    Please Email to me to tell me you are Lex in order for me to keep you updated specially for you.
    info@embedstudio.com or embedstudio@qq.com

    http://www.embedstudio.com is available now. But more content will be updated later.
    Many thanks for your attention and following of Lemon Pi. Don’t
    hesitate to ask any question or give advice to us. We will keep you
    updated and respond to you as soon as possible. Please help us spread
    Lemon Pi to more your friends. Many thanks. Keep in touch.

  38. @ embedstudio

    I heard even founder of RPi didn’t like PRi name, but everyone like it eventually. Hope that day will come for Lemon Pi.

    You see, the difference, and it’s a BIG one, is that RPi was a pioneer, the first and cheap one that was available, so at that time, no one really pay attention to the name.
    Probably, if it was named “Shit Pi” it will still be a success.
    At the time, they don’t have concurrents.
    (and the same applies to the first Cubieboard, that also was innovative)

    Now, you are coming to a market that has lot of choices, your potential clients are more savvy, more exigent.
    If you want to sell your devices, every little detail now counts, from the name to the support, etc.
    “Embedstudio” is a good name, “Lemon Pi” a not so good one, but good enough for a first take.

  39. A plus point is that all expansion boards of the rpi will work on this lemon pi, but I want to see this first. The same for Kodi with full HW support. If a board should donated to Lakka, then they can make a port also.
    I assume hdmi-cec is also supported.
    If all these things should be true then I will take this board in consideration as it will always be usable when kernel support seems to drop, especially with the powervr gpu. If it would have mali then we could have a more longtime support when lima gets stable/packaged.

  40. @ex :
    I have read somewhere else that it had 16 Kb L1/L2, are there different S500 versions or i was just mistaken…

    Thanks, must be the water… 🙂

  41. What the hell? Actions Semiconductor had NO docs at all (sad past experiences)! And many other manufacturers offer more for less money. This board has nothing new, and in fact it isn’t cheap…

  42. Ok…. months later here we are in February 2016 – my Lemon Pi turned up today with no info whatsoever 🙂

    I went off to their site – there’s the datasheet – still no links to operating systems – so right now it’s a brick.. Any ideas where to look guys? I’ll do a review at http://tech.scargill.net once I can actually get something running on it.

  43. @cnxsoft
    I’ve very glad you’ve done the groundbreaking work on this including figuring out the password! My image loaded first time and as I speak I’m loading it onto a quality 16GB card. Fingers crossed…. Still doesn’t explain why the Lemon Pi apparently has no software!

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