Android RISC-V progress update, emulator support, and roadmap to 2023

Android 12 RISC-V

We’ve first covered Alibaba T-Head work on Android 10 for RISC-V in January 2021, and later that year they started selling the T-Head RVB-ICE dual-core RISC-V board with GPU for software development. The company has now provided an update for Android 12 RISC-V port, instructions to build Android RISC-V to run it in an emulator,  as well as a 2022-2023 roadmap. Alibaba T-head is working on hardware platforms, which appears to be similar to T-Head RVB-ICE board, with the following minimal specifications: CPU – At least Dual-core XuanTie C910 (rv64imafdcv) processor GPU – Compatible with OpenGL ES and OpenCL VPU – HW Video/Picture codec Neural Network Accelerator System Memory – 4GB or more DDR Memory Display – MIPI/HDMI Audio – Multi-Channel Audio output & input Camera – ISP with support for multiple MIPI CSI lanes USB interface(s) They built upon the work done on Android 10 to add support for […]

Sipeed Lichee RV RISC-V module gets $5+ carrier board with HDMI and USB ports, optional WiFi

Sipeed Lichee RV Starter Kit

Sipeed introduced the Lichee RV Allwinner D1 Linux RISC-V board going for just $17 with 512MB RAM last month. While with a USB-C port it could be used as a standalone part, its dual M.2 connector makes it more like a module and we noted a tiny carrier board was in the works at the time. The baseboard is now available and known as the Lichee RV Dock adding HDMI and USB ports, as well as a 40-pin GPIO header for just $5, or $8 if you’d like to get Wi-Fi 4 and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity through a Realtek RTL8723DS module. Sipeed Lichee RV Dock specifications: Supported system-on-module (SoM) – Lichee RV module with Allwinner D1 RISC-V processor @ 1 GHz, 512MB DDR3, MicroSD card slot, and USB Type-C OTG port Storage – Optional SPI flash Display interfaces HDMI port up to 4Kp30 Optional RGB interface for up to 720p30 […]

HLK-W801 board features Alibaba Xuantie XT804 based MCU with WiFi 4, Bluetooth LE 4.2

WinnerMicro W801 wireless MCU board

Earlier this month, we wrote about the 240 MHz WinnerMicro W806 Alibaba Xuantie XT804 C-Sky microcontroller with 1MB flash, 288KB SRAM found in the $2 HLK-W806 development board. But the company has a nearly identical WinnerMicro W801 microcontroller that bumps the internal flash to 2MB, and more importantly adds a 2.4 GHz radio with WiFi 4 and Bluetooth LE 4.2 connectivity, and HiLink also released the HLK-W801 board that’s nearly identical to HLK-W806, except for some extra LEDs, a USB-C port instead of a Micro USB port, and a longer form factor to make space for the PCB antenna. HLK-W801 board specifications: MCU – WinnerMicro W801 32-bit Alibaba XT804 microcontroller @ 240 MHz with 2MB Flash, 288KB RAM, FPU, DSP, crypto engine, 2.4 GHz radio Connectivity 802.11b/g/n WiFi 4 up to 150 Mbps supporting station, soft AP and station+soft AP modes, WPA2 security Bluetooth 4.2 Expansion – 2x 24-pin headers […]

WinnerMicro W806 240 MHz MCU finds it way into a $2 development board

W806 MCU development board

I’ve just been notified about an inexpensive board (HLK-W806) based on WinnerMicro W806 32-bit XT804 (XuanTie E804) microcontroller clocked at up to 240 MHz and equipped with 1MB flash and 288KB RAM. XuanTie is the microcontroller family from Alibaba’s subsidiary T-Head Semiconductor, notably XuanTie RISC-V cores, but I’ve just learned not all XuanTie cores are based on the RISC-V architecture, and as we’ll see below, Xuantie E804 core appears to be based on the C-Sky architecture. It may still be interesting, as it’s in the STM32 board price range (pre-2020), but with a much higher frequency, so let’s have a look. HLK-W806 development board specifications: MCU – WinnerMicro W806 32-bit XT804 microcontroller @ 240 MHz with 1MB Flash, 288KB RAM, FPU, DSP, crtypto engine Expansion – 2x 24-pin headers with (based on MCU specs) 1x SDIO host with support for SDIO 2.0, SDHC, MMC 4.2 1x SDIO device up to […]

Alibaba open sources four RISC-V cores: XuanTie E902, E906, C906 and C910

Alibaba open source RISC-V cores

Alibaba introduces a range of RISC-V processors in the last few years with the Xuantie family ranging from the E902 micro-controller class core to the C910 core for servers in data centers. This also includes the XuanTie C906 core found in the Allwinner D1 single-core RISC-V processor. While RISC-V is an open standard and there’s a fair share of open-source RISC-V cores available, many commercial RISC-V cores are closed source, but Zhang Jianfeng, President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence speaking at the 2021 Apsara Conference, announced that T-Head had open-sourced four RISC-V-based Xuantie series processor cores, namely Xuantie E902, E906, C906, and C910, as well as related software and tools. Those are not empty words as we can find the RTL for the four cores released on T-Head Semiconductor’s Github account with the first commits having taken place yesterday. Each repository contains the code and instructions to get started, all under […]

Alibaba T-head RVB-ICE dual-core RISC-V SBC supports Android 10, Debian 11

Alibaba T-Head RISC-V SBC with GPU

The very first RISC-V single board computer with a 3D GPU reveals itself with “Alibaba T-head RVB-ICE” SBC available for pre-order for $399 together with a 7-inch display. The board is based on Alibaba T-Head “ICE” dual-core XuanTie C910 RISC-V processor with a Vivante GC8000UL GPU, and follows the announcement of Android 10 being ported to a RISC-V board earlier this year. Besides the dual-core RISC-V processor clocked at 1.2 GHz, the board is equipped with 4GB LPDDR4, 16GB eMMC flash, and offers Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as a 48-pin GPIO header. But it lacks HDMI output, relying on an LCD interface instead, as well as full-size (Type-A) USB ports with only one micro USB 3.0 OTG port, and a USB-C port for serial console. Alibaba RVB-ICE specifications: SoC – Alibaba T-Head ICE with dual-core XuanTie C910 RISC-V processor @ 1.2 GHz, Vivante GC8000UL GPU, NPU […]

Android 10 ported to RISC-V board powered by Alibaba T-Head XuanTie C910 Processor

Android 10 RISC-V

RISC-V has made a lot of progress in just a few years, but for anything requiring 3D graphics acceleration, it’s not quite there yet. and we only expect RISC-V SoC with Imagination Technologies GPU to come out later this year on hardware such as BeagleV SBC. An OS that will definitely require 3D graphics acceleration is Android, and work has already started since T-Head, a business entity of Alibaba Group specializing in semiconductor chips, has already ported Android 10 (AOSP) on RISC-V architecture with support for graphics and the touchscreen display. The demo above runs on ICE EVB powered by a XuanTie C910 based high-performance SoC board developed by T-Head. Specifically, the ICE SoC integrates two XuanTie C910 cores (RV64) @ 1.2 GHz, one other XuanTie C910V core @ 1.2 GHz with vector extensions, a single-core 3D GPU core [Update: it’s a Vivante GC8000UL GPU], DDR4 memory support, a GMAC […]

XuanTie C906 based Allwinner RISC-V processor to power $12+ Linux SBC’s

Allwinner XuanTie C906 RISC-V Processor

Alibaba unveiled Xuantie-910 RISC-V core (aka XT910) in 2019 for powerful SoC with up to 16 cores, but an update in 2020 revealed the company planned to have a complete RISC-V core family for a wide range of application from low-power microcontrollers to server SoCs. At the time, I just assumed the company planned to keep their cores to themselves, but time proved me wrong as T-Head, the Alibaba subsidiary in charge of developing RISC-V cores, started to cooperate with Allwinner to develop open-source processors, which should lead to low-cost Linux capable RISC-V SBC very soon according to a tweet from Sipeed. Good News: We get first chip which based on XuanTie C906 (RV64GCV), it have abundant interface (HDMI/RGB/DVP/MIPI/GMAC/…), and will be able to run Debian system.Last and most important, the basic dev board price is start at 12.5$ (1% of HiFive Unleashed)。 — Sipeed (@SipeedIO) November 6, 2020 […]