SOQuartz is a Raspberry Pi CM4 compatible SoM powered by Rockchip RK3566 SoC

SOQuartz vs Raspberry Pi Compute Module

We’ve previously written about Pine64’s Quartz64 model A and model B SBC‘s, but the community has now announced another Rockchip RK3566 hardware platform with SOQuartz Compute Module compatible with Raspberry Pi CM4. We learned about the module in Pine64’s June update, where they also announced Quartz64 was now available to developers and enthusiasts with 4GB or 8GB RAM for respectively $59.99 and $79.99. But let’s have a look at the upcoming SOQuartz SoM in more detail. SOQuartz system-on-module preliminary specifications: SoC – Rockchip RK3566 quad-core Cortex-A55 processor up to 1.8 GHz with Arm Mali-G52 GPU supporting OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.2, OpenCL 2.0, Vulkan 1.1, 0.8 TOPS NPU for AI acceleration System Memory – 2GB to 8GB LPDDR4 Storage 128 Mbit SPI Flash Optional eMMC module from 16GB up to 128GB capacity or soldered-on eMMC module  (see bottom of board) Wireless module – Azurewave AW-CM256SM WiFi 5 802.11ac & Bluetooth 4.2 wireless […]

Why you should request open-source software for your IoT devices

PineTime open-source software Gadgetbridge

I usually think of open-source hardware and/or software are enabling skilled people to more easily fix bugs, improve on the design, get feedback from the community, etc… But in a world where IoT devices become more prevalent, there’s another reason why you should request open-source software: Long term support. What made me think about are two things. The first one if that I own WeLoop Hey 3S smartwatch, which I love and wear since March 2018. That’s quite a feat since most cheap devices I own often only last a few months or a year or so. I’m also used to the watch face and Weloop app interface. So what’s the problem exactly? WeLoop company closed on December 31, 2019, and while the app worked fine for about a year after that, recently I have been unable to login to the app to access my data and/or update settings for […]

PineDio indoor LoRa gateway to combine Pine A64-LTS SBC with RAK2287 LoRaWAN concentrator module

Pine64 indoor LoRa gateway

RAKwireless has offered Raspberry Pi-based indoor LoRaWAN gateways for development/evaluation purposes for several years, including the more recent RAK7246 LoRaWAN developer gateway equipped with Raspberry Pi Zero W SBC. But there’s will soon be another option, also not directly from RAKwireless, as Pine64 PineDio indoor LoRa gateway will feature RAK2287 LoRaWAN concentrator module connected to Pine A64-LTS single board computer via a custom-designed adapter board. PineDio indoor LoRa gateway preliminary specifications: SoC – Allwinner A64 quad-core Arm Cortex A53 processor @ 1.0 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU System Memory – Up to 2GB LPDDR3 Storage – 128Mb SPI boot Flash, MicroSD card slot, optional eMMC flash module Video Output – HDMI 1.4 up to 4K resolution @ 30 Hz Connectivity Gigabit Ethernet Optional WiFi & Bluetooth module LoRaWAN via RAK2287 mini PCIe concentrator module based on Semtech SX1302 with support for RU864, IN865, EU868, AU915, US915, KR920, AS923; external antenna GNSS […]

PinePhone Keyboard to make for a cheaper, albeit slower Cosmo Communicator

Pinephone Keyboard

Pine64 PinePhone is a popular Linux smartphone among the developers and Linux enthusiasts’ communities and some of the most popular Linux operating systems support by the phone include KDE Plasma Mobile, PostMarket OS, Manjaro, and UBports for an Ubuntu Touch like interface. But soon, you’ll be able to use your PinePhone like a portable Linux computer, a 5.95-inch mini laptop of sorts, that’s similar to the 2-in-1 Cosmo Communicator device, but at a much lower price, albeit with lower performance, thanks to PinePhone Keyboard accessory. The PinePhone Keyboard is not quite ready yet, but Lukasz Erecinski  (aka Luke) has shared the progress of the latest version of the prototype, and almost looks like a finished product, albeit we’re told another revision will be made as the tolerances on the keycaps are not suitable. Here are some of the main features we can expect from the keyboard: QWERTY keyboard (by default). […]

InfiniTime 1.0 firmware released for PineTime smartwatch

InfiniTime 1.0 firmware for PineTime

The PineTime smartwatch was unveiled and first launched in 2019, as a low-cost, open-source wearables development kit/platform for developers wanting to work on firmware development for the Nordic nRF52 powered device. Progress was made on various solutions such as ATCwatch Arduino firmware, and as time passed, the PineTime slowly became more like an “enthusiast-grade” end-user product. This is basically what it has become with the first stable release of InfiniTime firmware, which was selected as the default firmware in September 2020. The main features of InfiniTime 1.0 firmware include: Two clock faces – digital and analog Apps – Stopwatch, music control, navigation, heart rate, as well as Paddle and 2048 games User settings  – Display timeout, time format, wake up conditions OTA upgrades via an open-source bootloader based on MCUBoot Heart rate monitoring and step counting Between 3 and 5 days of battery life depending on usage Firmware based on […]

Linux 5.12 – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS and RISC-V Architectures

Linux 5.12

Linux 5.12 release was expected last Sunday, but Linus Torvalds decided to release one more release candidate, namely Linux 5.12-RC8, to “make sure things are all settled down“, so the latest Linux kernel is now expected this weekend.  Tihs should not yield any significant changes, so we can check what’s new in Linux 5.12, notably with regards to Arm, MIPS, and RISC-V architectures often used in SoC’s found in embedded systems. Around two months ago, the release of Linux 5.11 added support for Intel’s software guard extensions (SGX) and Platform Monitoring Technology (PMT), AMD “Van Gogh” and “Dimgrey cavefish” graphics processors, MIPI I3C host controller interfaces, and much more. Some interesting changes in Linux 5.12 include: Added support for ACRN hypervisor designed for IoT & embedded devices Added support for Playstation DualSense & Nintendo 64 game controllers, as well as Nintendo 64 data cartridges Dynamic thermal power management via a […]

Quartz64 Model B SBC revealed, Model A gets hit by production delays

Quartz64 Model B

Pine64 unveiled the Quartz64 SBC powered by Rockchip RK3566 processor a few months ago. More specifically they provided details about Quartz64 Model A at the time, a featured-rich variant with SATA, PCIe, multiple display outputs, etc… During the announcement, Pine64 also indicated a Raspberry Pi-sized Quartz Model B was in the works but did not have a prototype to showcase just yet. In the latest Pine64 April update, the community showcased the new board,  reported software progress, and information about production delays for Model A. Quartz64 Model B Specifications: SoC – Rockchip RK3566 quad-core Cortex-A55 processor up to 1.8 GHz with Arm Mali-G52 GPU supporting OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.2, OpenCL 2.0, Vulkan 1.1, 0.8 TOPS NPU for AI acceleration System Memory – 2GB to 8GB LPDDR4 Storage 128 Mbit SPI Flash optional eMMC module from 16GB up to 128GB capacity bootable SDHC/SDXC MicroSD card up to 2TB Video Output / Display […]

Chip shortage and high prices threaten supplies of SBCs and other electronics products

chips shortage

A few weeks ago, we started to hear news about a chip shortage for the automotive industry, but the shortage appears to be affecting all sectors now apparently due to a drought in Taiwan where a reservoir could be a risk of being depleted, and TSMC has been asked to reduce its water usage by 7 percent. I’ve also started to see several companies in the maker market warn about shortages and price increases. Pine64 announced it would only open pre-order for PinePhone, PinebookPro, PineTab, and other products once they could secure stocks of components, and while they hope to be able to do so within this month, there’s no guarantee. (1/2) [PSA] Re. availability of #PinePhone, #PinebookPro, #PineTab, etc., Due to component shortages, component price-increases & related issues, we will only open orders/pre-orders when production is securely underway. We are more cautious than usual, also for your sake (…) […]