PocketCHIP was a Linux handheld computer powered by Allwinner R8/GR8 Cortex-A8 based CHIP board. The battery-powered device came with a small resistive display, 512 MB RAM, 4GB NAND flash, and a keyboard allowing to run Debian with PICO8 GUI so you could play retro games, access the terminal and so on.
But since Next Thing Co folded last year the products are not available anymore. Since the designs were open source, Source Parts first tried to resurrect the board via their slightly modified Popcorn Computer but the Kickstarter campaign was unsuccessful.
The company is now attempting to bring back PocketCHIP (sort of) with Pocket Popcorn Computer (abbreviated as Pocket P.C.) with a new design, and a much more powerful quad-core Cortex-A53 processor and overall better specs.
Pocket Popcorn Computer specifications:
- SoC – Allwinner A64 quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 CPU with Arm Mali-400MP2 GPU
- System Memory – 2GB DDR3 RAM
- Storage – 32GB eMMC Memory, Internal microSD card connector
- Display – 4.95″ Full HD 1920x1080px IPS LCD
- 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi 4, Bluetooth 4.0
- Optional for LoRa version
- U-BLOX CAM-M8Q concurrent GNSS module
- Murata CMWX1ZZABZ-078 LoRa Module with STMicro STM32L0 series ARM Cortex M0+ MCU and Semtech SX1276 LoRa transceiver
- USB – 4x USB-C ports including 1x Device Port with USB PD, 2x Host Port (1x w/ PD, 1x w/o PD), one for serial console output
- User Input – Programmable USB QWERTY keyboard with backlight powered by an STMicro STM32F103C8T6 Arm Cortex-M3 MCU, featuring 25x RGB APA102-2020 LEDs, and 59x Silicone Buttons
- Security – Infineon OPTIGA TRUST M Secure Element
- Battery – 3,200mAh removable battery
The device can run Debian 10 with mainline Linux, and is compatible with Gadget-OS Buildroot. The firmware for the keyboard and LED controller will be open source. Allwinner A64 is the same processor as found in PinePhone, so maybe both projects can benefit from each other.
The development team at Source Parts has completed the electrical design, sourced of all the components and produced multiple PCB prototypes. But before going ahead with producing the tooling/mold for the enclosure they are taking pre-orders for Pocket P.C. for $199 for the standard version ($50 discount over retail), and $299 for the LoRa version (no discount) that adds LoRa and GNSS (GPS).
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.
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