KDE Plasma Bigscreen for TVs and TV Boxes Offers a Linux Alternative to Android TV

Plasma Bigscreen

KDE Plasma is a desktop environment initially developed for Linux Desktop PC or SBCs, but that’s also available on Linux phones with Plasma Mobile (previously known as Plasma Active). The developers have now decided to work on a version for the big screens with Plasma Bigscreen suitable for TVs and TV boxes and offering an open-source, Linux-based alternative o Android TV. Plasma Bigscreen is community supported, completely free and open-source, and offers an interface fairly similar to Android TV launcher. It is optimized for IR remote control use including (experimental) CEC support, as well as voice control through MyCroft open-source AI & voice assistant and Bluetooth or RF remotes with a built-in microphone such as WeChip G20 or W2, or a USB microphone. By default, Plasmas Bigscreen connects to Mycroft’s Home server, which uses Google’s STT (Speech to text) sending anonymized utterances to Google, but it’s also possible to switch to self-hosted systems such as Mozilla DeepSpeech, or just de-activate …

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NanoPi R2S Dual GbE IoT Board and Gateway Launched for $22 and Up

NanoPi R2S Dual Gigabit Ethernet SBC

We first covered NanoPi R2S SBC back in mid-January 2020. Specifically designed for headless and IoT application the board features a Rockchip RK3328 processor combined with 1GB RAM, and contrary to most competing platforms on the market such as Orange Pi R1 or NanoPi R1S, R2S comes with two true Gigabit Ethernet ports. At the time, the board was not available for sale, but now FriendlyELEC has started to take orders for just $22.00, and adding a yellow case adds $3 to the total. This is around $5 extra compared to NanoPi R1S gateway which was expected with extra RAM (1GB) and true dual GbE connectivity. But in the age of COVID-19, nothing runs quite as smoothly as it used to and the company expects shipping delays: Because of the epidemic, postal services in a lot of countries get delayed. Customers who need orders urgently need to choose DHL. EU customers who need DHL service to deliver orders need to …

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ARM9 in 2020 – Meet Microchip SAM9X60 SoC & Evaluation Kit

SAM9X60-EK Evaluation Kit

In my first job, I wrote code for a MIPS processor for VoIP phones, then I switched to NEC/Renesas MCUs for CD and DVD players, before going back to Linux and my first experience with an Arm processor: Cirrus Logic EP9307 with a single ARM9  (ARM920T) core clocked at 200 MHz. That was in 2005, and according to Wikipedia various ARM9 cores were released between 1998 to 2006, and now such cores are not recommended for new IC designs with most companies now building their chips around Arm Cortex-A/M/R cores. At the end of last year, we wrote about Banana Pi BPI-F2S SBC based on Sunplus SP7021 “Plus1” quad-core Cortex-A7 processor with ARM9 and 8051 co-processor. Odd enough but at least the ARM9 core is not the main processor, however, while looking at the upcoming Linux 5.6 Linux kernel log I read an entry about a new SAM9X60 ARM926-based SoC from Microchip. Microchip SAM9X60 ARM9 Processor Quite surprising to have …

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NXP LX2160A based NSA 6310 uCPE Runs Ubuntu, Supports up to 25Gbps Ethernet

NSA 6310 LX2160A uCPE

NXP QorIQ LayerScape LX2160A networking processor with 16 Cortex-A72 cores, 16 Ethernet interfaces with support for up to 100GbE connectivity, 4 SATA III, and 24 SerDes lanes, was first announced in 2018, and at the time the company expected the processor to be found in enterprise storage controllers, appliances handling network function virtualization (NFV), white-box switching (e.g. control plane for L2 switches in TOR and EOR applications), and 5G packet processing. So far, we’ve reported about one appliance using the processor, namely SolidRun Janux GS31 Edge AI Server that combines the NXP networking processor with up to 128 AI accelerators for inference at the edge. The just-announced Nexcom NSA 6310 uCPE (Universal Consumer Premise Equipment) serves several purposes aiming to help telecom companies build virtualization environments, and with the ability to connect FPGA and AI/ML accelerators via PCIe interface can also support AI edge processing. NSA 6310 specifications: SoC (one or the other) NXP LX2160A 16-core Arm Cortex-A72 processor @ …

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Arrow Embedded To Go Free Online Conference, and 3,000 Development Boards Giveaway

Arrow Embedded to Go

With the coronavirus outbreak on-going, many events are either canceled or moving online. Arrow Electronics has now announced what appears to be a completely new online event. Embedded To Go virtual technology exhibition for embedded systems will take place on April 1-3, 2020, and offer technical presentations, information on newly launched technology, and access to Arrow’s sales and engineering teams. The event will entirely free to attend, and you can register online today with a company’s email address. The event will start in about 10 days by so far the virtual “booth map”, “supplier guide” and “lecture area” are inaccessible. We only know what the event should consist of thanks to an article on EENew Embedded: Technical presentation webinars will be hosted by leading suppliers covering AI, IoT and Edge computing, precision measurement, high-performance computing, intelligent condition-based monitoring, and other technological subjects. Information will also be available in the form of videos and white papers on boards and applications. A …

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Purism Librem Mini Linux Mini PC is Powered by an Intel Core i7-8565U Whiskey Lake Processor

Whiskey Lake Linux Mini PC

Purism has been known for its Linux-based secure and privacy-focused laptops for years, and more recently they developed Librem 5 Linux smartphone with the same philosophy in mind. But now the company has introduced Librem Mini based on an Intel Core i7 Whiskey Lake processor with up to 64GB DDR4 RAM and running PureOS Linux distribution, and Coreboot based PureBoot bootloader that disables and neutralizes Intel Management Engine (IME). Librem Mini specifications: SoC – Intel Core i7-8565U quad-core/octa-thread Whiskey Lake processor @  1.8 GHz / 4.6GHz (Turbo) with Intel UHD Graphics 620; 15W TDP System Memory – x SO-DIMM slot for up to 64GB DDR4-2400 RAM Storage – 1x SATA III 6Gbps SSD/HDD (7mm thickness), 1x M.2 SSD (SATA III/NVMe x4) Video Output – 1x HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60Hz, 1x DisplayPort 1.2 up to 4K @ 60Hz Audio – 3.5mm audio jack (Mic & Headphone), digital audio via HDMI Connectivity Gigabit Ethernet Optional WiFi Atheros ATH9k Module …

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reMarkable 2 is a $399 e-Paper Tablet with Pressure Sensitive Pen

reMarkable 2 ePaper Display

reMarkable digital notepad and e-reader was unveiled in 2016, and designed to feel like using actual paper sheets. The device came with a single-core Cortex-A9 processor, a 10.3″ E-Ink display with 1872×1404 resolution, and WiFi connectivity to backup your notes and/or drawings to the cloud or mobile phone. The company is now back with reMarkable 2 e-Paper tablet equipped with a faster and more efficient dual-core Cortex-A7 processor, 1GB RAM, a second-generation CANVAS 10.3″ e-Paper display with the same 1872×1404 resolution but lower latency. The second-generation e-Paper tablet also benefits from a thinner design and much-improved battery life. reMarkable 2 specifications: SoC – Dual-core Arm processor @ 1.2 GHz (possibly NXP i.MX 7Dual processor) System Memory – 1GB LPDDR3 RAM Storage – 8GB internal storage good for around 100,000 pages Display – 10.3″ monochrome digital paper “CANVAS” capacitive touch display partially based on E-Ink Carta technology with 1872×1404 resolution (226 DPI); 21ms latency Connectivity – Dual-band WiFi USB – 1x …

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DFI GHF51 Ryzen Embedded R1000 SBC is about the Size of a Raspberry Pi

DFI GHF51 1.8-inch Ryzen Embedded SBC

We’ve seen a fair amount of AMD Ryzen Embedded boards over the last few months including 3.5″ Ryzen Embedded SBC‘s such as Kontron SBC-VR1000 and IBASE Technology IB918, as well as larger boards such as SAPPHIRE FS-FP5R 5×5 motherboard. The most compact Ryzen Embedded board we covered so far must have been the upcoming Sapphire NP-FP5 based on Ryzen R1305G processor with a 4″x4″ (10.16 x 10.16 cm) form factor. But DFI GHF51 1.8″ SBC takes the crown of the smallest Ryzen Embedded SBC, with the business card / Raspberry Pi sized board measuring just 84 x 55 mm, and featuring an AMD Ryzen Embedded R1000-series processor combined with up to 8GB RAM. DFI GHF51 specifications: SoC – AMD Ryzen Embedded R1000 Series with Radeon Vega 3 GPU; 12W CPU System Memory – 2GB/4GB/8GB single-channel DDR4 3200MHz Storage 1x 16GB/32GB/64GB eMMC flash 64Mbit SPI Flash for BIOS (supports UEFI boot only) Video Output – 2x micro HDMI 1.4 ports up …

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