ECS LIVA Q1A Arm mini PC runs Linux or Android on Rockchip RK3288 or RK3399 SoC

ECS started the LIVA Q product line of tiny mini PCs in 2017, and so far all were based on low power, affordable Intel processors including last year’s LIVA Q1L/Q1D mini PCs powered by Intel Celeron or Pentium Apollo Lake processors. But at CES 2021, ECS will showcase its first Arm-based LIVA mini PCs with LIVA Q1A and Q1A Plus respectively powered by Rockchip RK3288 quad-core Cortex-A17 SoC and RK3399 hexa-core Cortex-A72/A53 processor running Linux or Android. ECS LIVA Q1A / Q1A Plus specifications: SoC LIVA Q1A – Rockchip RK3288 quad-core Cortex-A17 processor @ up to 1.6 GHz with Mali-T764 GPU LIVA Q1A Plus – Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core processor with 2x Cortex-A72 cores @ up to 1.8 GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 cores. and a Mali-T860MP4 GPU System Memory – 2GB LPDDR3-1600 Storage – 32GB (default) or 64GB eMMC flash,  1x MicroSD slot Video and audio output Both models – 1x HDMI 2.0 up to 4Kp60 with CEC support (Please note RK3288 […]

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Security Tip – How to detect Juice Jacking on Android smartphones

A few years ago I wrote about the danger of “juice jacking” highlighting the security risks posed by USB charging in public places, where a bad actor could attempt to hack your phone or laptop to steal your precious data or install malware/ransomware. In most cases, there are no risks at home, but it’s when you charge your device in a public place notably an airport or train station that you could be at risk of hacking. If you’re using an Android phone, there’s an easy way to detect Juice Jacking, and whether something fishy is going on as shown in the screenshots below. On the left screenshot, I connect my phone to a USB charger, all that changed was the battery icon changed to show it’s charging. But on the right screenshot, I connected my smartphone to my laptop, and since it’s trying to access data, I’m offered three options: transfer photos, transfer files, or charge only. I suppose […]

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Year 2020 in review – Top ten posts and stats

It’s this time of the year when we look back at what happened, and what may be next. 2020 did not pan out as planned in more ways than one, but there were still some interesting developments. Based on 2019 announcements, 2020 was promising to be an exciting year for Amlogic and Rockchip with the expected launch of RK3588 and S908X high-end processors for 8K capable devices,  but we’ll have to wait for 2021 for this to happen. Instead, the most interesting processor of the year from the Allwinner, Amlogic, and Rockchip offerings was probably Amlogic S905X4 processing adding AV1 hardware decoding. As pointed out in our “RISC-V 2020 highlights” post, it was a fairly eventful year for RISC-V architecture, although there’s still a long road ahead, especially for application processors. We had seen some general-purpose and Bluetooth RISC-V MCUs in 2019, but 2020 saw the launch of the first WiFi IoT RISC-V chips with ESP32-C3 and BL602, Alibaba making […]

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Pumpkin i500 SBC uses MediaTek i500 AIoT SoC for computer vision and AI Edge computing

MediaTek Rich IoT SDK v20.0 was released at the beginning of the year together with the announcement of Pumpkin i500 SBC with very few details except it would be powered by MediaTek i500 octa-core Cortex-A73/A55 processor and designed to support computer vision and AI Edge Computing. Pumpkin i500 hardware evaluation kit was initially scheduled to launch in February 2020, but it took much longer, and Seeed Studio has only just listed the board for $299.00. We also now know the full specifications for Pumpkin i500 SBC: SoC – MediaTek i500 octa-core processor with four Arm Cortex-A73 cores at up to 2.0 GHz and four Cortex-A53 cores, an Arm Mali-G72 MP3 GPU, and dual-core Tensilica Vision P6 DSP/AI accelerator @ 525 MHz System Memory – 2GB LPDDR4 Storage – 16GB eMMC flash Display – 4-lane MIPI DSI connector Camera – Up to 25MP via MIPI CSI connector Video Decoding – 1080p60 H.264, H.265 / HEVC, MPEG-1/2/4 decoder, Encoding – 1080p30 H.264 […]

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GameSir x2 Type-C game controller transforms your phone into a gaming console

In recent days, we’ve written about Arm-based portable retro-gaming consoles running Linux or Android with products such as ODROID-Go Super and KT R1.  The former is affordable at $80, but people may complain about performance, while the latter is much more powerful, but is expected to cost around $200. If you’d like a rather powerful portable retro-gaming console, but don’t plan to spend more than the $80 asked for Odroid-Go Super, you could always connect your smartphone to GameSir x2 gamepad/game controller that brings most of the same buttons and joysticks through the USB-C port of your phone and sells on Banggood for $69.99 shipped. GameSir x2 key features and specifications: Host interface – USB-C port that can rotate by up to 51° during installation Max phone length – 167 mm User inputs –  2x analog joysticks, D-Pad, XYAB buttons, L1/2 and R2/3 buttons, home button Power Consumption – Around 2 mA GameSir x2 game controller should work with any […]

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KT R1 high-performance Amlogic S922X portable gaming console coming soon

Hardkernel recently unveiled plans to launch ODROID-Go Super portable retro-gaming console with a larger 5-inch display at the end of January. The console is still based on the relatively low-end Rockchip RK3326 quad-core Cortex-A35 processor coupled with just 1GB RAM found in ODROID-Go Advance. It does the job for the emulators targetted by the platform, but for a wider range of emulators, a faster processor, and more memory would be nice to have. That’s what the developers of KT R1 portable game console aim to achieve with a much more powerful Amlogic S922X hexa-core Cortex-A73/A55 processor and up to 4GB RAM. KT R1 preliminary 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-G52MP4 GPU @ 846MHz; 12nm manufacturing process System Memory – 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4 RAM Storage – 16 to 128GB eMMC flash, microSD card slot Display – 4-inch […]

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Banana Pi BPI-M5 SBC with 4GB RAM, 16GB flash launched for $53

Last September, we wrote Banana Pi team was working on an Amlogic S905X3 SBC called BPI-M5 and very similar to Hardkernel ODROID-C4 board launched in April 2020. At the time, we noted the Banana Pi BPI-M5 did add a 16GB eMMC flash on-board by default, while ODROID-C4 requires booting from a MicroSD card or a separate eMMC flash module. We also pointed out software and community support is usually much better for the ODROID board, and it was brought to our attention that BPI-M5 board uses 5V voltage only via USB-C, while the Hardkernel board support a wider 5.5V to 17V via a power barrel jack, and this could lead to potential power issue for customer connecting drives to USB 3.0 ports. The good news is that you can now buy Banana Pi BPI-M5 SBC on Aliexpress for $53 plus shipping. Banana Pi BPI-M5 specifications haven’t changed, and we can see the board compared to ODROID-C4 and Raspberry Pi 4 […]

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Orange Pi R1 Plus router SBC features Rockchip RK3328, Dual GbE

FriendlyELEC NanoPi R2S SBC for headless applications with Rockchip RK3328 processor and dual Gigabit Ethernet ports is getting some competition, as with Orange Pi R1 Plus board, Shenzhen Xunlong Software has updated its Orange Pi R1 board powered by an Allwinner H2+ to RK3328 processor coupled with 1GB RAM, and offering dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, plus one USB port for router applications. Orange Pi R1 Plus board specifications with highlights in bold or stricken through showing differences against R1 board: SoC –Rockchip RK3328 quad-core Cortex-A53 @ 1.5 GHz with Arm Mali-450MP2 System Memory – 1GB DDR4 RAM Storage – MicroSD card slot, 16 MB SPI flash Connectivity – 2x Gigabit Ethernet via RTL8211E transceiver and RTL8153B USB 3.0 to Ethernet chip + 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (Realtek RTL8189ETV) with u.FL antenna connector and external antenna USB – 1x USB 2.0 port, 1x USB-C OTG port Expansion headers Unpopulated 26-pin “Raspberry Pi B+” header 13-pin header with earphone, 1x GPIO, TV-out, UART, […]

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