Xiaomi Mi A2 Review with Android 9.0 Pie

Mi A2 Review Android 9.0

I had been using Xiaomi Mi A1 Android One smartphone since the end of 2017,  and was mostly satisfied with it thanks to regular (monthly) firmware update, although I was a bit disappointed by the camera overtime. Eventually I had a serious issue with Mi A1’s eMMC flash, and stopped using it at the end of last year, or roughly after one year of service, since the phone became unusable, unbearably slow. Xiaomi Mi A2 and A2 Lite where released last summer, and having seen Mi A2 was getting an Android 9.0 firmware in Q4 2018, I asked GearBest whether they could send a sample to review the latest Xiaomi Android One phone. They accepted, and I posted the first part of the review in early December. However, at this time, I did not get the update, since it was not released in Thailand, but soon enough Xiaomi Mi A2 got upgraded to Android 9.0 Pie. I’ve now been using …

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Banana Pi BPI-M4 Board Comes with RTD1395 Processor, M.2 Socket, Raspberry Pi 3B+ Form Factor

Banana Pi BPI-M4

Realtek RTD1395 processor is a lower cost version of RTD1295 / RTD1296 processors found in mid-range TV boxes often including HDMI input and output such as Zidoo X9s or LAKE I Home Cloud. The new processor comes with a lower-end Mali-470MP4 GPU and removed some interfaces like HDMI input and native SATA. So far, we had seen very few hardware platforms built around the processor, but SinoVoIP has just unveiled their latest Banana Pi BPI-M4 board powered by Realtek RTD1395 processor, following Raspberry Pi 3B+ form factor, and adding an M.2 key E socket with PCIe 2.0 and USB 2.0 signals. Banana Pi BPI-M4 specifications: SoC – Realtek RTD1395 quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 processor with Mali-470 MP4 GPU System Memory – 1 GB DDR4 (option 2 GB) Storage – 8G eMMC flash (max 64 GB), micro SD slot up to 256GB Video Output – 1x HDMI 2.0 port up to 1080p (TBC) Audio – Via HDMI port, 3.5mm audio jack Connectivity …

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ODROID-N2 Amlogic S922X SBC Coming in April for $63 and Up

ODROID N2

Due to RAM supply issues, Hardkernel canceled RK3399 based ODROID-N1 board last year, and decided to replace it with ODROID-N2 using a “newer SoC .. with faster CPU/GPU cores and native DDR4 support”, but they did not provide any details about the processor, and we speculated it could be the upcoming Amlogic S922X processor. Hardkernel has now formally unveiled ODROID-N2, the first Amlogic S922X SBC to be announced, with 2 to 4GB DDR4 RAM, 4x USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0a video output up to 4K 60p and more. ODROID-N2 SBC specifications: SoC – Amlogic S922X hexa-core big.LITTLE processor with 4x Arm Cortex A73 cores @ up to 1.8 GHz, 2x Arm Cortex A53 cores @ 1.9 GHz, Arm Mali-G52 GPU @ 846MHz; 12nm manufacturing process System Memory – 2GB or 4GB DDR4 RAM @ 1320 MHz Storage – 8MB SPI flash, eMMC flash module socket, micro SD card slot Video & Audio Output – HDMI up to 4K …

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MediaTek MT8183 Octa-core Cortex A73/A53 SoC Targets Chromebooks

MediaTek MT8183

MediaTek processors have been found in a few Chromebooks notably in MediaTek MT8173 powered Acer Chromebook R13, but the quad-core Cortex A72/A53 processor hasn’t made it into many models like the hexa-core Rockchip RK3399 “OP1” processor. However, I’ve been informed there are a few patchsets that have been submitted to mainline Linux and V4L2 mailing lists about MediaTek MT8183 octa-core Cortex A73/A53 processor. The latter adds a Digital Image Processing (DIP) driver on MediaTek MT8183 SoC, “which will be used in camera features on CrOS application” and some code related to MT8183 is found in Chromium OS repository, so those clues should confirm the octa-core processor will end up in Chromebooks, with the current MT8183 reference board being named Kukui. There aren’t any product pages for MT8183 on MediaTek website just yet, but by looking at the source code (e.g. Device tree file), and some clues around the web, we can derive the main features of the processor: CPU – …

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Estone MJ-100 10.1″ Rugged Tablet is Equipped with Rockchip RK3399 Processor, a Barcode Scanner

Enstone MJ-100

Launched several years ago, Rockchip RK3399 is now a mature platform found in Chromebooks, some laptops, SBCs, and various other products. Estone Technology offers something a little different with MJ-100 rugged tablet with a 10.1″ display, IP65 waterproof rating, MIL-STD-810G shock & drop resistance, as well as ESD protection. The Android 7.1 tablet also comes with up to 4GB RAM, up to 256GB flash storage, 4G LTE connectivity, GPS / GLONASS support, and some unique features like sealed IO ports, an optional 1D/2D barcode reader, or an optional medical grade power supply. Estone MJ-100 rugged tablet specifications: SoC – Rockchip RK3399 big.LITTLE hexacore  processor with 2x Arm Cortex A72 cores @ 1.8 GHz, 4x Cortex A53 core @ 1.8 GHz, Arm Mali-T860MP4 GPU System Memory – 2GB LPDDR4 RAM (Optional: 4GB) Storage – 64GB, 128GB or 256 GB of eMMC 5.1 flash, micro SD/SDXC/SDGC/SD3.0 card slot up to 64GB Display – 10.1″ IPS, 1920 x 1200 resolution; 250nit brightness; 10-point …

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Nitrogen8M_Mini is the First NXP i.MX8 8M Mini SBC

Having just written about one of the first NXP i.MX 8M Mini systems-on-module, let’s stay with NXP’s latest 14-nm processor as Boundary Devices have been working on a variant of their Nitrogen8M SBC based on MXP i.MX 8M Mini processor and aptly called Nitrogen8M_Mini. The board is also known as the less human-friendly Nit8MQ_Mini_2r8e SBC, and comes with the following specifications: SoC – NXP i.MX 8M Mini with 4x Cortex A53 cores, 1x Cortex-M4F real-time core, Vivante GCNanoUltra 3D GPU, Vivante GC320 2D GPU System Memory –  2GB LPDDR4 (Optional 4GB version) Storage – 8GB eMMC flash, expandable up to 128GB, UHS SD card slot Display – 4-lane MIPI DSI interface up to 1080p Video Encode / Decode – 1080p H.264, VP8/1080p60 H.265, H.264, VP8, VP9 Audio – 3.5mm headphone jack, analog MIC jack, 2W audio amplifier, L&R speaker headers Camera Interface – 1x 4-lane MIPI-CSI interface Connectivity Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45) Optional QCA9377 BD-SDMAC 802.11 ac version + Bluetooth 4.1 …

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Wechip R69 Allwinner H3 TV Box goes for $19 Shipped

Wechip R69

A few years ago, it was relatively easy to purchase sub $20 TV boxes with some patience, but with the increase in RAM and flash prices, it’s been more difficult to find those ultra-cheap TV boxes. It turns out there’s such a deal now on Aliexpress where Wechip R69 TV box is sold for just $18.99 shipped. Now with an Allwinner H3 processor, 1GB RAM, and 8GB flash, I would not necessarily recommend such device for your media needs, but they can be useful for some specific use cases like a simple digital signage, or even to run Linux with some efforts. Wechip R69 also looks to be similar to Sunvell R69 TV box that is officially supported by RetroOrangePi, but with the pin-to-pin compatible Allwinner H2 processor, so it could make an inexpensive retro gaming console as well. Wechip R69 specifications: SoC – Allwinner H3 quad-core Cortex A7 processor with Mali-400MP2 GPU System Memory – 1GB DDR3 Storage – …

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Adiantum Enables Faster File Encryption in Devices without AES Crypto Accelerator

Adiantum performance

File Encryption is enabled – even required – by default in most Android devices, as it protects your data would you lose your phone, or have it stolen. Encryption in Android leverages the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), and most modern 64-bit processors – like the ones based on Armv8 – come with a crypto accelerator that boosts performance several folds compared to a software only solution. But there are also many low end devices, for example based on Arm Cortex-A7, that lack crypto extensions, and enabling AES encryption would make the devices even slower than they already are. So in order to provide file encryption on entry-level hardware without comprising too much on performance, Google has developed Adiantum encryption optimized to run on targets without crypto accelerator. As explained in a Google Security blog post, Adiantum uses the ChaCha stream cipher – as used in HTTPS – in a length-preserving mode since file systems work in 4096 bytes block. The …

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