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

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 (Gigabit Ethernet) interface, as well as 4Kp60 HEVC/AVC/JPEG video decoding. […]

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Pine64 mailbag – PinePhone postmarketOS Edition, PineCone BL602 board, and Pinecil soldering iron

Pine64 community was pretty busy last year with the launch of several products. Recently I’ve received a couple of packages with some of those products, namely PinePhone Community Edition: PostmarketOS, PineCone WiFi & BLE IoT board based on BL602 RISC-V SoC, and Pinecil soldering iron also based on a RISC-V chip for control, but this time GD32V generic-purpose MCU. I’ll most show what I have received without going into too many details, except for PinePhone which I have already set up and used for one hour or so. PineCone BL602 board I received PineCone at the end of last year in a separate envelope with the board only. There’s not much to it with the BL602 processor offering WiFI and Bluetooth, a USB-C port for programming and power, and a few I/Os. The board is interesting as it is the first RISC-V IoT board with wireless connectivity built into the chip. There’s an SDK, but it’s not yet an easy-to-use […]

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$119+ BeagleV powerful, open-hardware RISC-V Linux SBC targets AI applications

Running Linux on RISC-V hardware is already possible, but you’d have a choice of low-end platforms like Kendryte K210 that’s not really practical for anything, or higher-end board like SiFive HiFive Unmatched or PolarBerry for which you’d have to spend several hundred dollars, or even over one thousand dollars to have a complete system. So an affordable, usable RISC-V Linux SBC is clearly needed. We previously wrote about an upcoming Allwinner RISC-V Linux SBC that will be mostly useful for camera applications without 3D GPU, and a maximum of 256MB RAM. But today, we have excellent news, as the BeagleBoard.org foundation, Seeed Studio, and Chinese fabless silicon vendor Starfive partnered to design and launch the BeagleV SBC (pronounced Beagle Five) powered by StarFive JH7100 dual-core SiFive U74 RISC-V processor with Vision DSP, NVDLA engine, and neural network engine for AI acceleration. BeagleV specifications: SoC – StarFive JH7100 Vision SoC with: RISC-V U74 dual-core with 2MB L2 cache @ 1.5 GHz […]

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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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ESP32-C3 WiFi & BLE RISC-V processor to launch at ESP8266 price

[Update December 2020: While we first reported ESP32-C3 would be pin-to-pin compatible to ESP8266 based on the tweet mentioned in the post, the datasheets show both are clearly not pin-to-pin compatible, and instead it looks like the goal is to provide pin-to-pin compatible modules] When we reported about ESP32-S2-MINI modules last September, we also noted Espressif teased us with ESP32-S3 and ESP32-C3 with close to no details. ESP32-S3 is expected to be a multi-core WiFI & Bluetooth processor with AI instructions/accelerator, but there were no details about ESP32-C3 at all, and we only found out it would be a RISC-V processor several weeks ago. But Twitter user Johnny Wu posted a screenshot in Chinese and its translation claiming ESP32-C3 was finally released by Espressif Systems. [Update: The datasheet has been released. See comments.] ESP32-C3 WiSoC is pin to pin compatible with ESP8266, works with ESP32 development framework (e.g. ESP-IDF), supports Wi-Fi & Bluetooth LE 5.0 connectivity, and integrates 400KB SRAM […]

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Cmsemicon ANT32RV56xx is a RISC-V microcontroller for wireless charging

We’ve seen RISC-V architecture used in general-purpose microcontrollers, AIoT processors, as well as WiFi and Bluetooth IoT SoC’s such as ESP32-C3 and BL602. Allwinner is also prepping a RISC-V application processor, and we’ve covered plenty of other developments in our RISC-V 2020 highlights post. But we’ve now been made aware of another application-specific RISC-V microcontroller from a Chinese fabless vendor I had never heard of. Meet Cmsemicon ANT32RV56xx RISC-V microcontroller for wireless charging applications. Cmsemicon ANT32RV56xx “tentative” key features and specifications: MCU Core –  RISC-V RV32EC core @ 48MHz 32-bit hardware divider (HWDIV) Memory – Up to 32KB ILM-SRAM, up to 8KB DLM-SRAM Storage – 64KB program FLASH (APROM+BOOT), 1KB FLASH data area Peripherals Up to 46 I/Os 6x Enhanced PWM (EPWM) 1x I2C, 1x SPI/SSP, 2x UART Up to 20x 12-bit ADC up to 100Ksps Up to 20x 12-bit ADC up to 1.2 Msps Capture/compare/pulse width modulation for up to 4-channel to connect to the hall sensor Timers – […]

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BBC Dr Who HiFive Inventor Coding Kit review – Tynker visual programing and MicroPython

The BBC Doctor Who HiFive Inventor Coding Kit was announced at the end of November 2020 with the goal of teaching IoT to young kids. But one day,  I noticed the postman left a package on the ground right next to my house’s gate for some reason. I had no idea what it could be until I read it was from SiFive on the package. So here I am about to review BBC Doctor Who HiFive Inventor Coding Kit! The package actually included two small packages with one being an “expansion board”… HiFive Inventor Coding Kit Unboxing We’ve already written about the specs in the announcement post, but here they are again for those who forgot it’s based on SiFive FE310 RISC-V microcontroller and ESP32 for WiFi and Bluetooth. Let’s open the thinner “expansion board” package first. It’s actually the HiFive Inventor board – aka the mainboard – that comes with a getting started guide as well as a USB-C […]

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Linux 5.10 LTS release – Main changes, Arm, MIPS and RISC-V architectures

Linus Torvalds has just released Linux 5.10: Ok, here it is – 5.10 is tagged and pushed out. I pretty much always wish that the last week was even calmer than it was, and that’s true here too. There’s a fair amount of fixes in here, including a few last-minute reverts for things that didn’t get fixed, but nothing makes me go “we need another week”. Things look fairly normal. It’s mostly drivers – as it should be – with a smattering of fixes all over: networking, architectures, filesystems, tooling.. The shortlog is appended, and scanning it gives a good idea of what kind of things are there. Nothing that looks scary: most of the patches are very small, and the biggest one is fixing pin mapping definitions for a pincontrol driver. This also obviously means that the merge window for 5.11 will start tomorrow. I already have a couple of pull requests pending – you guys know who you […]

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