In the second part of 2014, we saw a big jump in performance thanks to Cortex A15 and A17 based SoCs, and higher clocked Cortex A9 processors such as Rockchip RK3288 and Amlogic S812, but in 2015, TV box companies have focused on lowering the price and adding features such as HDMI 2.0, instead of looking for higher and higher CPU and GPU performance, and they’ve also moved to 64-bit ARM platform. Intel also continued its foray into low cost HDMI sticks and mini PCbased on Bay Trail, and later on Cherry Trail based devices. The development boards story was also very much about lower cosst with the $15 Orange Pi PC, follow a few months later by the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, although people looking for performance at any price still saw the release of Nvidia Jetson TX1 board. It’s was also a big year for IoT with the continued rise of ESP8266 with more and more options, and announcement of ESP32 Bluetooth and WiFi SoC, as well as various ever tinier boards featuring either WiFi and Bluetooth LE connectivity such as LinkIt Smart 7688 or WRTNode. We also started to see more and more wearables, and by the end of the year, I had reviewed 2 smartwatches, with one more in progress.
As every year, I’ve compiled a list of the most popular post of 2015 using the pageviews count from Google Analytics:
- Raspberry Pi 2 / ODROID C1 Development Boards Comparison (February 2015) – The big story at the beginning of the year was the release of Raspberry Pi 2 with a quad core processor., and the most popular post on CNX Software in 2015 was a comparison table against ODROID-C1 (now ODROID-C1+) board with similar features, and price, and released at the end of 2014.
- New FCC Rules May Prevent Installing OpenWRT on WiFi Routers (July 2015) – The second story went viral in social network, as some new rules at the FCC were unclear, and were worded in a few that made people believe the ability to install alternative firmware such as OpenWRT or DD-WRT was going to become impossible, or at least much more difficult. The FCC consulted with the public and a few months later, it was made clear they had no intention to prevent people from installing OpenWRT.
- Antutu Benchmark – Rockchip RK3288 (ARM) vs Intel Atom Z3735F (January 2015) – While some posts go viral, some other bring traffic in a steady manner, as is the case of this comparison between RK3288 and Z3735F processor, which got a little help from Google when several Rockchip RK3288 chromebooks were released, and people wondered about RK3288 performance.
- Raspberry Pi 2 Model B Features Broadcom BCM2836 Quad Core Processor (February 2015) – When blogging about technology, speed matters, and I was quick enough to write about Raspberry Pi 2 when I discovered one reputable website was a little early on their embargo… which brought a burst of traffic in the next few days.
- Xiaomi Mi Box Mini Review (April 2015) – Over the long term, reviews are what bring traffic to a site like this, but I have to admit I was surprised to find many people interested in Xiaomi Mi Box Mini, a device designed for mainland China, and with an interface in Chinese only. I assume people saw a cute device from a knwon company, and decided to buy it, until they released they had to find out to change the user interface to English.
- Intel Atom Z3735F vs Atom x5-Z8300 Benchmarks Comparison (August 2015) – So it looks like people are interested in performance comparison between different processor, and with the release of Atom X5-Z8300 Cherry Trail processor, some people wondered how it would perform again the previous generation Atom Z3735F Bay Trail processor. It turns out there’s not that much difference, except for 3D graphics.
- Kodi 14 Video Playback on Intel Atom Z3735F Computers Running Windows 8.1 (January 2015) – Intel Atom Z3735F was definitely a star on CNX in 2015, as it got featured in five of the 10 most popular posts this year. Specifically, people wanted to know how Kodi would run on the platform. Answer: excellent for 1080p videos.
- Getting Started with Orange Pi PC, Pi 2 and Pi Plus Development Boards (September 2015) – Orange Pi PC is probably the board that provide the most performance and features for the buck hardware-wise, but its poor and confusing documentation meant that people were looking for way to get started on the board.
- Understanding Windows 8.1 Licenses with MeegoPad T01 (and Other Intel Atom Bay Trail mini PCs (January 2015) – Chinese companies are not really well-known for their respect of licenses, and Microsoft made it confusing by offering free Windows 8.1/10 license for smaller tablets, but a different $15 to $25 license for mini PCs. The results that many Intel Bay Trail (Z3735F/Z3736F) mini PC and sticks shipped with Windows Pro trail version, a few with a free and apparently legal (but actually not) Tablet license, or the proper Windows with Bing NTE license.
- Wintel W8 Review – Dual Boot Android & Windows TV Box (April 2015) – This Intel Atom Z3735F mini PC reviewe likely got relatively popular because of the device name: Wintel.
While traffic on CNX Software in 2014 was a steady rise, it was more like a not-so-steep roller coaster in 2015 due to a long 3 month trip during which I posted less frequently.
However, the overall traffic progressed from around 4.8 million pageviews in 2014 to about 7.2 millions pageviews in 2015, or a 50% increase. Not too bad.
“M8 Android TV box” and Google+ (aka the Ghost Town) were respectively the top keyword and referral site of 2014, but in 2015 “openwrt” and scoop.it took the lead. Google Analytics only shows the last three months for keywords, and the full year for referrals, but referrals exclude search engines such as Google or Bing that bring in a vast majority of the traffic.
|Top 10 Keywords||Top 10 Referrals|
|ott tv box||facebook.com|
|mini pc windows||t.co|
|banana pi m3||forum.kodi.org|
|mxq tv box||freaktab.com|
As usual I’ve also looked at the visitors origin, operating systems, and browsers.
The US still claims the top spot, with the United Kingdom moving up to overtake Germany, but London has remained the city with the most sessions for the 3 years I actively tracked traffic.
Windows share is still strong but dropped from 57.39% to 54.90%, while Android took the second spot at 17.02% (vs 13.01% in 2014), and relegated Linux to the third spot with 11.98% instead of 15.30% in 2014. Chrome lead has extended from 48.05% to 52.93%, while Firefox went down from 27.20% to 23.54%. As a Firefox user in Ubuntu 14.04, it makes me a little sad…
But I’ll conclude this post and 2015 with a positive note, by wishing you a very happy, prosperous, and healthy new year 2016, which should see more Cortex A57 and A72 designs and products hitting the stores, the rise of ESP32 Bluetooth+WiFi SoC, hopefully better working wearables, and innovations.
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.