You may have read Pine64’s April’s Fools spoof about the PineBuds and PinePod earlier this month. It turns out those will be real, and the Pine64 PineSound development board will be used to bring the PineBuds earbuds and PinePod digital audio player to market.
The PineSound board features Bestechnic BES2300 Bluetooth 5.0 audio chip, two coaxial & optical input and output, a 3.5mm headphone jack, 4.4mm and 2.5mm balanced jacks, an SMA connector, a USB Type-C connector, plus interfaces for a touchscreen display.
PineSound preliminary specifications:
- WiSoC – Bestechnic BES2300-YP dual-core Arm Cortex-M4F @ up to 300 MHz with HW DSP instruction, 992KB SRAM, 4MB flash, Bluetooth 5.0 dual mode. Supports hybrid ANC (active noise cancellation) and TWS (true wireless stereo). Note: the datasheet has been made available in the comments section.
- Display – LCD (should be SPI) and touch panel connectors
- Coaxial & optical input (left)
- Coaxial & optical output (right)
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- 4.4mm and 2.5mm balanced jacks
- 40-pin audio header for up to 5 microphones, stereo speakers
- USB – 1x USB Type-C port
- Expansion – 40-pin PI-2 GPIO expansion header
- Misc – Volume, Reset, and Power buttons, SMA connector
I was unable to find any public SDK, but Pine64 should soon release one, and Ben (Ralim) had the chance to play with the development board and the SDK, and here’s what he said about it:
[T]here are some binary blobs in the firmware around Bluetooth [and] some for voice assistants (but I don’t know if we would ship them). But it was in a compilable and runnable state with fairly complete hardware drivers. I see it a bit like the bl602, where we have a working SDK with some blobs, but the hardware is very good for hacking on. The main MCU so far is quite powerful and battery efficient. Flashing is easy over a UART serial port [too].
Ultimately the goal is to provide audio products like the PineBuds pictured below.
The PineBuds wireless Bluetooth earbuds will come with six microphones in total, 3 on each bug, and a touch-based input located on the side. They’ll support ambient and environment noise cancellation, offer long battery life, and could also be used as hearing aids. The cradle will be used to house and charge the earbuds but has also been designed to ease firmware flashing with a built-in UART. It’s too early to talk about pricing since the PineBuds will not be available for several, but for reference, consumer TWS earbuds based on Bestechnic BES2300 are selling for around $75.
Another important point is that PineSound, PineBuds, and PinePod are community projects, and their success and pace of development will entirely depend on the interest of the developer community. Other such projects were the PineTime smartwatch and Pinecil soldering iron which were very successful, as well as the PineCube open-source camera which, as Pine64 reckons, has been a failure. So we’ll have to see how it goes. The next step is the launch of the PineSound development board which should take place in the next few months.
As a side note, Pine64 will soon launch pre-orders for QuartzPro64 SBC powered by Rockchip RK3588 SoC, and the board will be subsidized, so that qualified developers can purchase it for $150 despite the ~$300 BoM cost. You can register your interest on Pine64 website.
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.