ClockworkPi Gameshell Review – Part 1: Unboxing & Assembly Guide

ClockworkPi Gameshell Review

ClockworkPi Gameshell is a portable retro gaming console kit designed to be hackable being powered by Allwinner R16 processor to run Linux, as well as an Arduino compatible Atmel AVR MCU. It’s partially open source hardware with PDF schematics, and firmware source code available on Github. The device launched last year on Kickstarter, raised close to $300,000, and started shipping to backers last summer. The company has now sent me a sample for review, so let’s have a look. The first part of the review will be more than just an unboxing, since the game console is meant to be assembled by the end user, and I’ll report my experience doing so. ClockworkPi Gameshell Unboxing The kit comes in a fairly large package that reads “GameShell – Redefine Portable Game Console” and lists the main specifications with quad core Cortex A7 processor, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, 1GB RAM, 16GB micro SD storage with OS,  micro HDMI output, and a 1,200 …

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Linux 4.20 Release – Main Changes, Arm and MIPS Architectures

Linux 4.20 Changelog

After Greg K-H handling Linux 4.19 release, Linus Torvalds is back at the helm, and released Linux 4.20 just before Christmas: Let’s face it, last week wasn’t quite as quiet as I would have hoped for, but there really doesn’t seem to be any point to delay 4.20 because everybody is already taking a break. And it’s not like there are any known issues, it’s just that the shortlog below is a bit longer than I would have wished for. Nothing screams “oh, that’s scary”, though. And as part of the “everybody is already taking a break”, I can happily report that I already have quite a few early pull requests in my inbox. I encouraged people to get it over and done with, so that people can just relax over the year-end holidays. In fact, I probably won’t start pulling for a couple of days, but otherwise let’s just try to keep to the normal merge window schedule, even …

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Linux 4.19 Release – Main Changes, Arm and MIPS Architectures

Linux 4.19 Changelog

With Linus Torvalds taking a leave from the Linux kernel project, Greg Kroah-Hartman was the one to release Linux 4.19 last Sunday: Hi everyone! It’s been a long strange journey for this kernel release… While it was not the largest kernel release every by number of commits, it was larger than the last 3 releases, which is a non-trivial thing to do. After the original -rc1 bumps, things settled down on the code side and it looks like stuff came nicely together to make a solid kernel for everyone to use for a while. And given that this is going to be one of the “Long Term” kernels I end up maintaining for a few years, that’s good news for everyone. A small trickle of good bugfixes came in this week, showing that waiting an extra week was a wise choice. However odds are that linux-next is just bursting so the next -rc1 merge window is going to be bigger …

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Linux 4.18 Release – Main Changes, Arm and MIPS Architecture

Linux Changelog 4.18

Linus Torvalds has just announced the release of Linux 4.18: One week late(r) and here we are – 4.18 is out there. It was a very calm week, and arguably I could just have released on schedule last week, but we did have some minor updates. Mostly networking, but some vfs race fixes (mentioned in the rc8 announment as “pending”) and a couple of driver fixes (scsi, networking, i2c). Some other minor random things (arm crypto fix, parisc memory ordering fix). Shortlog appended for the (few) details. Some of these I was almost ready to just delay to until the next merge window, but they were marked for stable anyway, so it would just have caused more backporting. The vfs fixes are for old races that  are really hard to hit (which is obviously why they are old and weren’t noticed earlier). Some of them _have_ been seen in real life, some of them probably need explicit help to ever …

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Xiaomi Mi AI Speaker Mini Smart Speaker is Selling for $27 (in China)

Smart speakers are becoming cheaper and cheaper, and in the US and some other countries, Amazon Echo Dot can be purchased for under $50. But Xiaomi has come up with an even cheaper model – for the Chinese market – with their Allwinner R16 based AI Speaker Mini that has just launched for 169 RMB, or about $27, in China. XIaomi Mi AI Speaker Mini specifications: SoC- Allwinner R16 quad core Cortex A7 processor @ 1.2 GHz System Memory / Storage – TBD Speaker 1.5″ 4Ω speaker Frequency Range – 140Hz – 20000Hz Speaker sensitivity – 78dB/m/W Maximum output power – 2W 4x Microphones Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1 with A2DP support Misc – Microphone on/off button, volume buttons, and play/pause button Power Supply – 5V/2A via micro USB port Dimensions – 90 x 90 x 50 mm Weight – ~210 grams The speaker ships with a power supply, and a user manual. It is compatible with smartphones …

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C.H.I.P, PocketCHIP & Voder’s Maker Next Thing Co. Is Still Up and Running (Correction)

[Update: Next Thing Co. CEO (Dave) contacted me to inform me the company was not closed, but there was just several unfortunate events: DNS problem with the site leading to the blog issue Next Thing Co Facebook page was closed months ago (due to too many requests from different sources) The Google Maps listing is not managed by Next Things Co themselves. I’ve left the rest of the post unchanged. (except the last sentence) ] Next Thing Co. introduced the $9 C.H.I.P computer powered by Allwinner A13/R8 in 2015, and worked with Free Electrons (now Bootlin) to bring mainline Linux to the platform. They also launched PocketCHIP portable Linux game console based on the module, and lateron introduced C.H.I.P Pro WiFi + BLE module based on Allwinner GR8 processor, and found in their Voder (previously Dashbot) car dashboard assistant. I’m actually still using a C.H.I.P board as a printer server, but this morning I was made aware that Next Thing …

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$129 Allwinner R18 based 3-Mic Far Field Amazon AVS Development Kit in the Works

Several companies are already offering development kits for Amazon AVS (Alexa Voice Service), but as we’ve seen in the past, those are rather expensive with far-field kits such starting at $349 with kits such as Synaptics AudioSmart 4-Mic Development Kit, or Intel Speech Enabling Developer Kit, and hands-free kits being barely cheaper at $299 and up. But there will soon be a cheaper solution, as Allwinner and SinoVoIP (aka Banana Pi) are working on “SoC-Only 3-Mic Far-Field Dev Kit for Amazon AVS” that includes 3 microphones, and works without special DSP, relying instead on Allwinner R18 processor’s audio codec and capabilities. Allwinner SoC-Only 3-Mic Far-Field Dev Kit for Amazon AVS (aka R18-AVS-EVK) specifications: SoC – Allwinner R18 quad-core Cortex-A53 processor @ 1.15GHz with Mali400MP2 GPU System Memory – 1GB DDR3 Storage – 8GB eMMC flash Video Output – HDMI Audio – 6x Microphones, 2x AEC, AUX and headphone output; GMEMS voice recognition algorithm Connectivity – Dual band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 USB …

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Gameshell Portable Retro Gaming Console Features Clockwork Pi Allwinner R16 Board (Crowdfunding)

Allwinner R16 with its lowly four Cortex A7 cores and Mali-400MP2 GPU would not normally come to mind when designing a gaming console. But Nintendo used the R16 processor twice in their retro gaming consoles: NES Classic and SNES Classic Edition. Clockwork, a startup based in Hangzhou, China, decided they could also do gaming console with the processor: Gameshell. But their product is quite different, as it’s both a portable console with 2.7″ display, and a development platform with the console based on Clockwork Pi development board, and an Atmel AVR (Arduino) based keypad board. Gameshell specifications: Clockwork Pi development board SoC – Alwinner R16-J quad core Cortex A7 processor @ 1.2 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU System Memory – 512MB or 1GB (in future revision of the board) Storage – 1x micro SDHC slot Video Output / Display I/F – 18-bit RGB display interface, micro HDMI (planned in revision of the board), Audio Output – Via HDMI, 3.5 mm stereo …

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