Orange Pi 2G-IoT ARM Linux Development Board with 2G/GSM Support is Up for Sale for $9.90

Orange Pi 2G-IoT was unveiled at the start of the year as an ultra cheap ($10) Linux development board with 2G cellular connectivity. The board has just launched for $9.90 + shipping on Aliexpress.

Orange Pi 2G-IoT specifications have changed a little since the initial announced as WiFi is confirmed to be supported:

  • 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 +FM jack, built-in microphone?
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 b/g/n + Bluetooth 2.1/EDR module (RDA5991), and 2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE module with SIM card slot
  • Camera – MIPI CSI-2 connector for camera sensor up to 2MP
  • USB – 1x USB host port, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Expansion – 40-pin GPIO header with SPI, I2C, GPIOs, etc…
  • Debugging – 3x pin UART for serial console
  • Misc – 8 selection jumpers, power button, boot selection header
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port; optional battery
  • Dimensions – 68 x 42 mm
  • Certifications – CE and FCC (if we can believe the markings on the PCB silkscreen)

Linaro showcased Ubuntu on the similar Orange Pi i96 board at Linaro Connect Budapest 2017 last month, but I have not been able to find an image, nor source code yet. Needless to say, beginners better wait before buying this board, as everything is new, and software support is unclear at this stage. You’ll also have to check 2G sunset status in your countries, as some have stopped supporting 2G already, while others plan on keeping 2G networks for many more years.

Thanks to OvCa77 for the tip.

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@lex
@lex
3 years ago

Where can i find the u-boot / kernel sources?

@lex
@lex
3 years ago

@@lex Yes i know you have not find it yet, I was editing the post to better ask: will be SDK from Xunlong?

Leon Anavi
Leon Anavi
3 years ago

@@lex
I have just realized that it is not with Allwinner SOC like the other Orange Pi boards and now I am wondering about the same.

DurandA
DurandA
3 years ago

Any info on the power management chip for connecting a battery? I can’t find any info. This could make an excellent cheap platform for a portable console due to the built-in LCD connector.

I think they inverted LCD and CSI connector on picture label. It might be a 40-pin DPI interface.

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@DurandA
Regarding LCD connector: decades ago Xunlong started with two Allwinner A20 based boards and used the same 24 pin FPC connector for an LCD they also sold on Aliexpress. But why bother? No linux-sunxi support, no buy. It’s that easy. 😉

Theguyuk
Theguyuk
3 years ago

And the Intex Aqua G2 has Android 4.2 jellybean

Some people complain of heat problems with Challenger phone which seems aimed at India

blah
blah
3 years ago

Oh, that looks interesting, especially due to the included 2G modem. Remote sensing applications with reporting of values back over the mobile network perhaps?

Jon Smirl
3 years ago

Do note that if you are in the USA the 2G network is in the process of being shut down and the bandwidth is being redeployed for LTE use. I believe it is supposed to be completely turned off on all carriers within two years. AT&T has already shut down their 2G network. They told 200,000 paying customers, tough luck, we’re still shutting it down.

For USA LTE-M is best for future deployments. Can we get a $10 LTE-M board?

Razz Pi
Razz Pi
3 years ago

Is Orange Pi taking on FriendlyArm competitively? The pricing of this board and the recent H5 Zero product seem aimed right at FA.

Orange Pi should be worried about Friendly because they do support much better than OPi does. FriendlyArm is underrated and underappreciated, IMHO. I have a FriendlyArm NanoPi NEO and I’m quite pleased with the Ubuntu core image, the available Wiki, the available schematics and other docs, support forums where the company employees seem to appreciate customer feedback.

Theguyuk
Theguyuk
3 years ago

@Jon Smirl As Jon says Specific Network Turn-Off Dates USA AT&T has now shut down its 2G network. Canada Rogers GSM/GPRS Network is extending availability to 31 December 2020, after which point it will be fully decommissioned. New activations of GSM/GPRS only devices will not be accepted after 1 July 2018. Access to the network from 1 January 2019 will be provided without warranty. Singapore M1, Singtel and StarHub will cease the provision of all 2G services with effect from 1 April 2017. Australia Vodafone Australia has announced the shutting down of its 2G network, with the service to be… Read more »

Kebab
Kebab
3 years ago

Can the imei be changed on these boards? Just asking because its incredibly hard to make these run here without a registered imei.

JM
JM
3 years ago

@Jon

The Qualcomm patent licensing alone for LTE must be $10!

But yes this is a generally useless board with no future. No buy from me.

benjamin
3 years ago

I think this is a great iot board for markets, that still plan to keep 2g networks up.

And since this has battery support, it makes it great for embedded projects (like pulling data from sensors)

lets just hope we get a half decent working linux distro for this. I know, big ask for xunlong 🙂

Jon Smirl
3 years ago

Verizon is promising LTE M hardware for as little as $6. “I expect this price to go below $8 and maybe over time to approach … $6,” Karam said. “With this Cat-M what you are trying to do is make a solution that is really as cheap as a 2G solution, and 2G is really today in the $6 range. Cat-M is replacing 2G because 2G is [being]refarmed and Cat-1 is replacing 3G.” http://www.rcrwireless.com/20160216/internet-of-things/lte-iot-sequans-cat-m-verizon-tag4 You can buy modules with those Sequans chips right now, but the modules are $70 Not sure how to achieve that $6 price point. Maybe CNX… Read more »

Jon Smirl
3 years ago

http://www.lightreading.com/iot/iot-strategies/verizon-takes-iot-network-nationwide/d/d-id/731714

Cat M1 (also called LTE-M) is also a licensed-spectrum solution, and, in addition to reaching the market before NB-IoT, it does have some performance advantages over that recently standardized technology. However, pricing may keep Cat M1 from gaining the competitive edge it needs. According to Verizon, the company plans to offer $2-per-month data plans for Cat M1-connected devices, with additional options available for volume purchasing. In contrast, Actility estimated at the LPWAN conference in Paris last week that average costs across the market for devices connected to low-power, wide-area networks are closer to $1.

JM
JM
3 years ago

@Jon Smirl

LTE M is another game altogether!

Pycom has pre-orders (May/June deliver) for their G01 modules with an ESP32 WiFi/Bluetooth micro + Sequans module for about €24: https://www.pycom.io/product/g01-oem-module-shipping-may-2017/

They’re also about to ship the FiPy board with the ESP32 micro + Sequans LTE CAT M1 / NB1 module + LoRa and Sigfox (both via Semtch SX1276 chip) very soon at €49: https://www.pycom.io/product/fipy-preorder-shipping-april-2017/

I think $6 for the Sequans module alone in large quantities isn’t too far off.

fkpwolf
3 years ago

anyone can recommend a ZigBee IOT dev board?

Athar
Athar
3 years ago

Another strange animal from Xunlong, this time not even Allwinner 😉 1. Can a CVBS/ AV port, more flash/ RAM, mic/speaker ( if not already) and a DC jack be attached on a cheap shield, similar to the $2 shield for the ill fated OPi0? SD cards are slow and most people regret buying cheaper ones later. eMMC will standardize and be cheaper. No harm with both options that all xPi vendors ought to consider. 2. Can an Ubuntu distro (or Android 4.4.4) fit in 512MB flash and have room for apps including NodeRed and MQTT etc? 3. Maybe the… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago


Small addition for the Wi-Fi: the chip appeared in at least one Allwinner tablet and one developer already ported the Android driver to be useable with mainline kernel: https://github.com/jelly/sunxi-rda5990

Adam
Adam
3 years ago

Keep in mind that aside of the US, Canada and Australia, the majority of the world population (Asia, Africa) will use 2G for a long time, so this is a very attractive board.

Besides Ubuntu there are plenty of distros which fit on 512MB. And you don’t need a full blown desktop environment.

Theguyuk
Theguyuk
3 years ago

@Athar
This SoC is in Videocon Challenger v40ld, runs Android 4.4, so if you look at the products already using this SoC since 2016, you get a idea of it’s abilities as the Ram and Nand Flash are the same.

Athar
Athar
3 years ago

@Theguyuk

Yes I saw your comment but then it disappeared and others appeared !

I have experienced some site loading issues.

Athar
Athar
3 years ago

@Theguyuk I looked up online and yes the same spec is being sold as a $35 Android 4.4.2 phone in India ! http://www.mobilesdirect.in/40300/videocon-v40ld-512-mb-black So hopefully Xunlong might have less software support headaches here. That XR819 on OPi0 is still a fail, rebranded by some loudmouths as “low end, to be fixed with the new driver.” The 2G SIM idea is quite nice for $10. A 2G dongle alone looks like $6, about same cost as for a 3G dongle, without the integration. So this could be a better deal than the $8 WiFi Lichee Zero, which seems to promote its… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@Adam
Agree. And if an SDK/BSP relying on a somewhat recent kernel version will be provided there’s no doubt someone will port OpenWRT/LEDE to it.

Jon Smirl
3 years ago

@fkpwolf

There are several Zigbee USB sticks on the market. That is a lot simpler than messing with integrated boards. With the USB stick you can even work on your desktop. I’ve used both Zigbee and Zwave sticks this way.

parrotgeek1
parrotgeek1
3 years ago

@tkaiser
it will, Steven Zhao says he’s having trouble uploading it to github from China and it keeps dropping the connection and he doesn’t feel like dealing with it until next week/until there are more shipped orders(?).

In another email he also told me that he would patch it to 3.10.105 and fix the newer CVEs (I sent him links).

OvCa77
OvCa77
3 years ago
TC
TC
3 years ago

Adam :
Keep in mind that aside of the US, Canada and Australia, the majority of the world population (Asia, Africa) will use 2G for a long time

Germany actually decided to keep 2G longer than 3G (which will be eol’d ~2020)

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@parrotgeek1 So 3.10 is confirmed. 3.10 LTS was already EOL at the end of last year and only due to a kind soul taking over maintainership it will be EOLed now in October. And there’s also a difference how to deal with these BSP kernels: Taking mainline of same version, then import BSP stuff to have an idea what the hardware vendor has changed (auditing) and then simply apply mainline kernel branches. Or you just take the BSP kernel as it is and apply mainline patchsets. That way you might fix some CVEs but things like Allwinner’s ‘rootmydevice’ will be… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@TheJerry
And another one: https://forum.armbian.com/index.php?/topic/3946-rk3399-orange/ (features also a SIM card slot so it is somewhat comparable to Orange Pi 2G-IoT, isn’t it?)

Theguyuk
Theguyuk
3 years ago

Orange Pi software support team are going to be so busy writing all that fully functioning software with so many diverse boards.

Razvan Dragomirescu
3 years ago

@tkaiser
That appears to have a slot for a MiniPCIe modem, a lot of other boards have that (and a SIM slot connected to the right pins on the modem slot). It has no actual WWAN modem on board as far as I can tell.

Theguyuk
Theguyuk
3 years ago

Well if Aliexpress figures can be trusted, seems Orange Pi main Xunlong site has 328 orders already for 2g IoT, do remember boards are sold elsewhere too.

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@Theguyuk What’s the purpose of you posting untrue claims all the time? The ‘328’ appear in this sentence: ‘328 transactions in last 6 months.’, then there is written ‘435 orders’ in this moment and if you understand Aliexpress just a little you search for these 2 words ‘pieces available’. There it’s 1331 right now and since it has been 2000 in the beginning you can do the math yourself (or most probably not 😉 ) To get back to something newsworthy: the OS images for this board seem to be only on Baidu now so it’s time to install aria2,… Read more »

Theguyuk
Theguyuk
3 years ago

@tkaiser
Screen grab from when I posted

//i.imgsafe.org/5022a4d28a.png

But hey why let’s facts get in the way when your out insult people, like a self entitled bighead with a potty mouth and master race issues.

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft) Just had a short look into the 2G_IOT_Ubuntu1604_Server_V0_5 thing and already deleted everything. Partition table already tells us that this is just an Android image with an Ubuntu userland: Shell Number Start End Size File system Name Flags 1 131kB 2228kB 2097kB bootloader msftdata 2 2228kB 4325kB 2097kB factorydata msftdata 3 4325kB 6423kB 2097kB misc msftdata 4 6423kB 10.6MB 4194kB modem msftdata 5 10.6MB 19.0MB 8389kB boot msftdata 6 19.0MB 29.5MB 10.5MB recovery msftdata 7 30.4MB 1394MB 1363MB ext4 12345678 Number  Start   End     Size    File system  Name         Flags 1      131kB   2228kB  2097kB               bootloader   msftdata 2      2228kB  4325kB  2097kB               factorydata  msftdata 3      4325kB  6423kB  2097kB               misc         msftdata 4      6423kB  10.6MB  4194kB               modem        msftdata 5      10.6MB  19.0MB  8389kB              … Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

Fortunately I’Almost forgot. That’s the rootfs: Shell /dev/loop7 1.3G 1.2G 39M 97% /mnt/loop7 1 /dev/loop7       1.3G  1.2G   39M  97% /mnt/loop7 A ‘little bit’ too fat to fit into the 512MB flash. Fortunately a lot of scripts are in /usr/local/ (many of them from loboris who made the first H3 based Orange Pis useable) and one of the first tasks should be rootfs expansion by running loboris’ fs_resize script. The OS image seems to be either loboris’ Ubuntu Mate 15.10 upgraded to Xenial (/boot is full of garbage only useable with H3 legacy kernel) or just a weird mixture of anything (apt history… Read more »

parrotgeek1
parrotgeek1
3 years ago

@tkaiser
Why are there no kernel sources??!! This board will be unusable without them.
I’ve emailed Steven MULTIPLE times and, even when I ask multiple questions in an email he answers every question except “Will you upload the RDA8810 kernel source?”

parrotgeek1
parrotgeek1
3 years ago

@tkaiser
the following kernel command line is hard coded into u-boot. would be hard to boot from nand

mem=236M selinux=1 androidboot.selinux=permissive console=ttyS0,115200 root=/dev/mmcblk0p7 rw rootfstype=ext4 noinitrd init=/sbin/init

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

parrotgeek1 : @tkaiser the following kernel command line is hard coded into u-boot. would be hard to boot from nand Depends. There’s something called ‘Boot selector’ on the PCB so you might be able to transfer an OS image from SD card to the SLC flash, then adjust this and boot happily from a different device with the partition still being /dev/mmcblk0p7. But obviously not with this OS image since too fat. Time will tell, at least I lost any interest in this platform some hours ago after checking kernel version and the state of the OS image (could’ve been… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@tkaiser
Addendum: it’s rather easy to take this overweight Ubuntu image, throw the userland into the bin and replace it with a random armhf OpenWRT/LEDE userland. Then it would easily fit into the SoC’s flash but no one right in his mind would spend time on this since smelly kernel and stinky OS image format (being an Android with exchanged rootfs) so this is something you would need to hire someone for (I’m a bit surprised that this hasn’t happened but maybe it just needs some patience)

parrotgeek1
parrotgeek1
3 years ago

Personally this is what I will do

Remove recovery, misc partition
Change uboot config & default environment to instead use the former boot partition as FAT, with zImage and initrd.gz on it.

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@parrotgeek1 Good idea but I wonder why Xunlong’s software guy didn’t do that already? If there are sources available stuff like this should be rather simple, if not even trivial fixes will be impossible. BTW: I also forgot to look whether/how Wi-Fi would be enabled on this OS image (in the past sometimes it took months until such ‘features’ became available on the official images). I also forgot to check the ‘fs_resize’ script since if it’s not modified it will fail dealing with mmcblk0p7. Now sales exceeded 700 pieces already, I wonder how many of the buyers aren’t aware that… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago


Oh dear…

According to github.com/OrangePiLibra/OrangePi_Settings commits Wi-Fi should work on the board but who knows…

BTW: really scary that people in 2017 still do silly things like putting Wi-Fi credentials in world-readable files… but hey, the Internet of shitty things needs to grow.

parrotgeek1
parrotgeek1
3 years ago

BuddyZhang1 has a really strange style of programming (in C it’s even worse) and naming files, that makes me think he’s almost entirely self taught.

tuxtor2
tuxtor2
3 years ago

Hello, I have been playing with the Orange PI 2G IOT board and was able to retrieve a LOT of data from it. Using the serial connection on the three pin header and minicom in LOGmode I was able to make an ls -lR of the root directory, dumps of the flash images. Initially it was spewing a lot of data, but after some 15 miniutes it got quiet. With ‘su’ i could reach root level and with cat *.rc all init scripts were read. [email protected]:/ # ls acct cache config d data default.prop dev etc file_contexts fstab init init.environ.rc… Read more »

lolek
lolek
3 years ago

Setting wifi on armbian image
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XiXrGEZtEY

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