[Update: The board featured below was initially announced as Orange Pi Zero Plus, but considering it may have confused people as it is not at all compatible with Orange Pi Zero, it has been renamed to Orange Pi 2G-IoT]
Linaro mentioned Orange Pi i96 board last fall at Linaro Connect US. It was supposed to be a $9.99 board powered by an RDA Micro Cortex A5 processor with 2Gbit RAM and 4Gbit NAND flash on-chip. There has not been any news since then, but Shenzhen Xunlong has apparently gone ahead with an RDA Micro Cortex A5 board since they’ve posted some pictures of Orange Pi Zero Plus (Note: very slow server) with an RDA Micro ARM Cortex A5 processor.
Orange Pi 2G-IoT preliminary specifications:
- SoC – RDA Micro 8810PL ARM Cortex A5 processor @ up to 1.0 GHz with 2Gbit (256 MB) on-chip LPDDR2 RAM, 4Gbit (512 MB) on-chip SLC NAND flash , 256KB L2 cache, Vivante GC860 3D GPU, and GSM/GPRS/EDGE Modem (Download datasheet)
- External Storage – micro SD slot
- Display I/F – LCD connector up to qHD resolution
- Video – Decoding up to 1080p30, encoding up to 1080p30 H.264
- Audio I/F – 3.5mm audio jack, one built-in micorphone?
- Connectivity – Bluetooth and GSM/GPRS/EDGE with SIM card slot
- Camera – MIPI CSI-2 connector for camera sensor up to 2MP
- USB – 1x USB host port, 1x micro USB port (for power?)
- Expansion – 40-pin GPIO header with SPI, I2C, ADC, GPIOs, PWM, etc…
- Misc – 8 selection jumpers, button
- Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port; maybe one pin on header
- Dimensions – ~70 x 44 mm(estimated)
- Certifications – CE and FCC based on PCB silkscreen
We don’t have much more info about the board, but since the processor is used in a few Android phones such as Aqua G2 or Challenger V40LD, so Android 4.4 Kitkat should be available for the board. Linaro, although they might not be involved, also mentioned an Ubuntu Linux for Orange Pi i96 board, so an Ubuntu Linux image is very likely to be provided. If Linaro has been involved in the kernel/software development, then you should expect somewhat OK support, but if they haven’t, I’m expecting a world of pain at the beginning, at least compared to the relatively well community supported Allwinner H3 based Orange Pi boards. If you intend to use the SIM card, you may want to check if your country has any plans to phase out of 2G, as several have already done so, and many others will shutdown 2G networks in the next few years.
The board is scheduled to be launched right after Chinese New Year in the first half of February. We don’t have pricing info, but I’d expect it to costs less than $10 + shipping as it was the price announced for Orange Pi i96 board, and you can get a complete Android RDA8810PL phone for around $25.
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.
Will this be usable after announced 2G GSM networks shutdowns?
@Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft): It’s Android 4.2.2 and not 4.4.2 (10 more months outdated)
Outdated kernel once again?
Why do they call it 2Gbit ram.. to try to trick people when comparing to other boards. They should be honest, 256Mb Ram (yuk) and 512mb storage (yuk). POS!
SoC datasheet is from 2014, Android version from 2013, chip is cheap as hell. So what to expect other than another ‘port and forget’ approach that happened some years ago?
At least this ‘Zero Plus’ is absolutely incompatible to H3 based ‘Zero’ and also H5 based ‘Zero Plus 2’ (Xunlong’s naming scheme was already a mess but they managed now to go even ‘further’). Maybe there’s something going on at Linaro (but since ’96Boards IoT Edition’ focuses on Cortex-M and not A5 like here…)
At total guess, it is aimed at signage displays in developing markets. It is a phone with gpio .
2G is being shut down this year in much of North America and Europe. Some carriers have already shut it down. The 2G bands are being converted over to 4G use. The rest of the world is continuing to use 2G. But don’t count on long term 2G support anywhere, it’s days are numbered.
bluetooth into phones modem depending on the linux installed. fatdog64-710 can do this and i use that method often. havent tried or havent succeeded in other linuxs, depends on the bluetooth installation
Finally, I’ve found another phone where the specs say it’s running Android 4.4 (and updated post). It would be really odd to have two versions of Android for that processor.
I guess it must be Android 4.4.2, so with something like Linux 3.4.
96Boards IoT specs are a bit of a mess ->http://www.cnx-software.com/2016/09/27/ble-carbon-96boards-iot-edition-board-runs-zephyr-os/
If you need cellular in a device, the safest solution is to buy bulk USB sticks. 3G USB sticks can be bought for $10. They are plug and play in Android if support for them is enabled. 4G sticks are still $40-50 in a few years they should be $10 too. Gotta make sure Qualcomm earns their $5B a year in patent royalties.
hmm yes i also occasionally use my 3G USB dongle in other puppy linux
In australia, 2G was shut down a few weeks ago. So this board is already obsolete here.
I will not be so sure that 2G will go away anytime soon.
Most probably 3G will go off first.
“I hoped that we would just need LTE-M and 5G for the internet of things, but unfortunately it does seem as if we do still need a couple of improvements for GSM. We are aligned with our big customers, the operators, to make a couple of tweaks in terms of GSM capabilities.”
Steven should have it named OPiMinus … 🙂
@Jon Smirl > “2G is being shut down this year in much of North America and Europe. Some carriers have already shut it down. The 2G bands are being converted over to 4G use. The rest of the world is continuing to use 2G. But don’t count on long term 2G support anywhere, it’s days are numbered.” @Jon Smirl : I wouldn’t count on that (at least not on the historical 900 MHz band). My bet is that 3G is likely to disappear before 2G… :). There are far too many existing devices (especially for IOT i.e. devices that won’t… Read more »
256mb RAM? No thanks. 🙁
All of the US carriers are shutting down 2G.
AT&T 2G GSM 850/1900MHz network shutdown
To help support increasing mobile Internet usage and continue to provide you with a great customer experience, we started to discontinue service on our 2G wireless network as of December 31, 2016.
Verizon (NYSE: VZ) confirmed to FierceWireless that it is currently planning to shut down its 2G CDMA 1X network by Dec. 31, 2019.
@Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)
: Linux version 3.10.62
2G/3G/4G shutdown is country specific. Ingenu release a document (email registration require) with some of estimated dates for shutdown.
For example, the document says
US: 2G – 2020, 3G 2023
Australia & China: 2G – 2016, 3G 2023
Norway: 2G – 2024; 3G – 2018;
4G cutoff is after 2025 for all countries (meaning sometimes after 2025, could be 2028, 2030… not exactly 2025).
2g in US is mostly shutdown..
att and tmobile for sure….
I would seriously consider never buying another Orange Pi. The experience with the Orange Pi PC2 H5 Allwinner board is disgusting. Months after the release of the PC2 Board and a Linux image provided by Orange Pi will still not display 720p Video. I have spoken to several people on different forums and they all insist the problem is Lack of Software drivers that have to be provided by Allwinner or Orange Pi.
Deal with these companies at your peril but I will be asking for my money back.
Software is there, otherwise there would not be Debian image from the Xunlong. Issue here is that the code is in a very bad shape and nobody from community wants to deal with it.
In NZ they are going to keep 2G data going until 2025, but probably close down voice much sooner.
Vodafone has said it will continue to allow data devices such as electricity meters to connect to its 2G network until at least 2025, regardless of when the voice service is shut down.
jernej : @Seasalt Software is there, otherwise there would not be Debian image from the Xunlong. Issue here is that the code is in a very bad shape and nobody from community wants to deal with it. Hi Jernej. The spec sheet for this PC2 Board H5 Allwinner says it will do 4000 line video. Ok I bought some assuming it would give me a better video reproduction and the ability to play 10 bit HEVC video. But unfortunately the current software that comes with the Orange Pi PC2 cannot play 720p Video let alone anything complex. The Debian image… Read more »
@Seasalt Shenzhen Xunlong mostly does hardware, and not so much software. That’s why they can sell boards so cheaply. If you need video the best bet is to use Android, as hardware video video in Linux normally comes several months later, if ever. Their choice of boards names will confuse people since they all call there boards “Orange Pi”, and for example “Orange Pi Zero” and “Orange Pi Zero Plus” are not compatible at all. But normally if you see a board with a new processor (e.g. Allwinner H5 / RDA8810PL) you should always assume some stuff won’t work at… Read more »
(Un)luckily I have been part of flaming on Armbian Forums on exactly such issues which are chicken-egg: 1. Small SBC ARM vendors cannot compete in the already price sensitive niche hobbyist market if they spend on software, a very expensive proposition. 2. Xunlong likely has the best price/performance in this market and can now proceed to the bigger IoT commercial market, with great efforts by linux-sunxi kernel and Armbian OS forums, jernej being a prominent open source contributor. 3. Xunlong also has weird naming, and this Zero Plus, IMHO, is in fact OPi minus, as another commentator suggested 🙂 4.… Read more »
@Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)
For example, the document says
US: 2G – 2020, 3G 2023
Australia & China: 2G – 2016, 3G 2023
Norway: 2G – 2024; 3G – 2018;
Those are the dates that the final towers will be shut off. 2G is already being shutdown in wide areas of US today by some carriers. Unless you live next to that final tower, you will lose service earlier. There is too much money to be made by reallocating 2G bandwidth to LTE.
Yes the device manufacturers and the politicians (in special, the corrupt ones) are loving this move.
But the battle to keep 2G working is far from over.
There are many complex implications at stake, including patents rights.
Orange pi designed it so perhaps they could explain the intended market, if they can be bothered.
@Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)
you replied to the wrong comment
They want everyone to switch to CAT-M1 LTE for IOT. AT&T had 650,000 active 2G devices when they turned off 2G. They had succeded in migrating several million 2G devices before the shutdown. T-Mobile is trying to pick up the stranded AT&T customers to give them another year or two to finish moving.
256 MB before or after tax?
In any case, it resembles an underpowered Odroid C0.
Due to popular request the board has been renamed to
ORANGE PI 2G-IOT
@nz1 That’s a nice move from Xunlong’s side and again another sign they do listen to community. Nice. @Athar FYI: You still don’t get most of what you’ve been told here and there. @Seasalt Interesting approach. You want a TV box but buy a development board instead. Why? Instead of waiting for an independent review showing what you get with a brand new H5 device mis-used as media player you blindly trust in some obscure chip specs you obviously don’t understand (‘4000 line video’) and add weird assumptions to this (’10 bit HEVC’). Why do people do this? If you… Read more »
@tkaiser Let the facts speak for themselves. #5 directly came from a dev after long thread conversation, and a couple other Armbian devs expressed concerns highlighting the snippet. No point hiding behind tech jumbo, or being sore about CHIP taking a different path and doing well. Btw, another vendor agrees here and might be taking a not so beaten path! I appreciate H5 development, but why not complete work on your own favorite device, OPi0, and fix the Wifi driver plus other tweaks? It is the user that counts. No sales, no product , no employees, AND no open source-… Read more »
Situation with HDMI monitor is actually a bit better. Icenowy tested my H3 HDMI U-Boot patches on H5 and they work, I think even with no modification. So at least simplefb is possible, which is ok for simple, desktop usage. There is additional feature too – it actually uses preffered monitor resolution.
Talking to virtual product managers is kinda boring 🙂
Good to know that situation with H5 is already as great as with H3. But we’re speaking only about community driven development here which — to be on topic again — is a real concern regarding the OPi 2G-IoT since as far as I know there exists no community around this specific SoC or RDA in general.
@Athar You are confused about the PC world. There is only one chip maker, Intel. Everyone else clones them. Things are simple because there is only one very dominant vendor. The PCBIOS is only used at boot time, once the OS is running it is ignored. The OS stopped making calls in the PCBIOS around the time Windows 3.1 shipped. While a PC OS is running it uses device drivers just like ARM does. The ARM parallel to PCBIOS is uboot which is also ignored once the OS is loaded. If ARM had one chip maker with 97% share and… Read more »
@jon smirl Yes I see what you mean. But the real question then is how come one vendor became dominant with x86? The answer simply is that this can (has) also happen in the ARM- Linux world regardless of many licensees the moment. X86 had tons of market wars too…AMD is still around. And clearly Intel now finds it difficult to move to ARM in any significant manner. In the end ARM- embedded Linux should and could have imposed market discipline and done the end users a big favor. After all that is what Android is all about ! It… Read more »
I heard that Linus does not like SBC’s because there are so many closed source blobs that have to be used to get the Android/Linux hybrids to run. I watched a seminar that cnx software posted some months ago where an arm engineer got up to speak and spent a lot of his time apologising that arm didn’t understand uefi and they were taking steps to remedy their past mistakes. It was quite instructive to watch as he was wearing shorts and the rest of his comrades wore suits. I’m not sure about his footware but its good to watch… Read more »
@Nz1 At least I have great appreciation for OPi if you read me. What users like myself want to see is OPi do much more because it can, spending some software resources! Just like Armbian has done a great job but can do better by cutting down on its self-mentioned 70-80% of time entertaining repair jobs with SD cards and power issues. But Armbian are “open source” volunteers who please themselves with no boss or focus. It is an escape from their day jobs and I get that. The whole idea of open source is to create an alternative universe… Read more »
Nz1 : Why are we complaining about a small Chinese company who produce great hardware when there are so many more worthy targets to direct our attention to? Since this small Chinese company sells too cheap which attracts weird kinds of people. Those that always buy as cheap as possible without thinking once. Those that want just a TV box but since an OPi costs less choose an Allwinner dev board instead of an Amlogic TV box for 15 bucks more. With H3 they were lucky since Jernej did an inofficial OpenELEC port. Now they expect the same to happen… Read more »
Like weird people who boot from SDcards because they are to cheapskate to buy boards with onboard storage.
@theguyuk Thinking that ‘onboard storage’ in general would be superior to SD cards is also weird. While that might be true for most eMMC chips used on more recent development boards raw NAND was and is always somewhat PITA. Just see the issues the CHIP users had (or have) when they switched from 8GB Hynix to 4GB Toshiba MLC NAND recently… or all the flashing issues their forums are full of. And then there are many people loving to do ‘off-site backups’ by simply cloning their SD cards on another host. The problem is that the ‘buy as cheap as… Read more »
@Athar Read the Wikipedia article on how Wintel because dominant. I worked for both companies and lived through it. The answer is something called ‘network effects’ on the packaged software market. These effects created a natural monopoly and drove all of the competitors out of the market. AMD exists because Intel wants them to exist, if AMD went under Intel would have 99.9% share and receive an anti-trust breakup from the US government. The conditions that formed the Wintel monopoly were a one time event, they no longer exist in the market place. The Internet has destroyed what allowed Wintel… Read more »
I believe we agree on most points 😉
But there is no such thing as one time events because you end up having different one time events. That is why the new quasi monopolies Google, FB, Amazon, Netflix et al are beating older ones we talked about in very different ways, and also each other.
@theguyuk @tkaiser The big difference is, CHIP actually learned from its early mistakes, acknowledged problems, then corrected them. Just as it mainlined, very sensibly. The 8GB to 4GB issue isn’t recent at all- CHIP has been advertising 4GB since long ago. Positive change happens with positive customer friendly attitude. Then the market (users) builds up quickly. Now compare this to “volunteers” who have nothing to lose; and keep contradicting themselves by calling their own fav SD cards as “crap.” That 2MB SPI NOR on OPi0 or other SBCs has precious little use case applicability: many Armbian devs question it. Users… Read more »
i find they shutdown batteries, and chargers, external cases, before they shutdown the network. trying to get new of these parts is a difficult task. my old phones still work fine but these parts are hard to come by.
EE Times has an article “2G Sunset a Slow Burn” -> http://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?section_id=36&doc_id=1331112
First page is about the US, and second page mentions several countries.
Basically most countries will take their time to shutdown 2G, as doing so will cause various sorts of issues.
So China has shut down their 2G but keep making new 2G chip.
I hope my country doesn’t follow any time soon or China makes 3G module cheaper.
3G module for Arduino is like US$50, while Neoway M590E GSM/GPRS is like US$2.
For OPi 2G-IoT, I’ll also see if Armbian supports.
Buy 3G USB sticks. Can be had for $10 if you shop around.
@jon smirl I checked. Yes 3G USB dongles go for $8-10 on AliExpress and other big sites with volume purchases. 4G USB dongles are still insanely expensive at $30-40 but many mobile providers discount them heavily hoping to gain market share. I really don’t see much hope for 2G- OPi could have done 3G too at little cost difference? Similarly I believe it is a good idea to have 4-8GB eMMC (“soldered SD card”) on board as opposed to making users feel disappointed with cheap SD cards. Compared with Class 10 SanDisk Ultra SD cards being recommended for many boards,… Read more »
Well, because I also use micro controller that doesn’t have USB, that will be a “wifi modem” ($12?) and “esp8266” ($2).
on the targeting, that’s close (and certainly a use-case) but no cigar. I assure you that Xunlong has a much larger market in mind: EVERYTHING. Consider the 2g just a speed bump; it wont’ be around long in the real world, and neither will the 2g-only chipset, either.
Any info on when this device will launch ?
Orange Pi 2G-IoT board has launched -> http://www.cnx-software.com/2017/03/30/orange-pi-2g-iot-arm-linux-development-board-with-2ggsm-support-is-up-for-sale-for-9-90/
@Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)
beware famous xunlong’s software support.. be cautious, very cautious in your expectations
true, 2g is going away here in the usa. but some carriers have claims to keep it running here to 2020. by then the new chipsets will also be $9. Until then, there’s a big market for this type of device at this price point here and abroad.
See if they will activate new devices. I suspect that they won’t.
Orange Pi 2G-IoT schematics -> https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8DiAFi2BTxvNURuYy1CTzlyWmJmWHdjcUo0MENPa3lyY2tF/view