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 subsystem that allows the power usage of groups of devices […]

Sony announces Altair ALT1255 5G-ready NB-IoT chipset with 2G fallback

Sony ALT1255 NB-IoT

Sony Semiconductor Israel, previously known as Altair Semiconductor, has announced the launch of the Altair ALT1255 NB-IoT (NB2) chipset. The 5G-ready chip comes with an integrated SIM, a user MCU, and a GSM/GPRS fallback modem. Sony Altair ALT1255 NB-IoT chipset specifications: MCU core – Arm Cortex M4 MCU with 192KB RAM for user applications Cellular connectivity CAT-NB1 up to 27.2 Kbps DL, 62.5 Kbps UL CAT-NB2 up to  127 Kbps DL, 158 Kbps UL Carrier-grade integrated SIM (iSIM) 3GPP Release 14 Features – eDRX, PSM, Relaxed monitoring, RAI (Release Assistance Indication), Large TBS, and Dual HARQ processes “OneSKU” frequency range 617 – 960 MHz and 1695– 2200 MHz; Frequency bands HD-FDD bands – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 66, 70, 71 and 85 Optional support for 410-467.5 MHz bands: 31, 72, 73, 87, 88 2G quad-band support: GSM-850, E-GSM-900, DCS-1800, PCS-1900 Network protocols – IPV4/V6 IP stack, TLS/DTLS, HTTP(s), […]

Sony Spresense 6-core MCU Development Board Now Supports Java

Sony Spresense board was introduced in spring 2018 with a 6-core Cortex-M4 microcontroller from the company, GPS & GLONASS, as well as audio support. The breadboard-compatible board could also be inserted into an Arduino UNO R3 compatible base board, and Sony offered support for both the Arduino IDE and a C-based NuttX-based SDK. You’ll find some more details and photos in our “review”. Sony has now partnered with MicroEJ to provide developers with Java support on Spresense board through MicroEJ Virtual Execution Environment (VEE). A Java simulator (VEE Virtual Device) allows you to develop software for Spresense independently of the hardware. Beside plenty of libraries, MicroEJ VEE features MEJ32 32-bit virtual core is compatible with various architectures including ARM Cortex-M, ARM Cortex-Ax, RX, V85, MIPS32, TriCore, and Tensilica. Java enables application portability which means that any GUI/IoT/Security or application code can run on various embedded systems supported by MicroEJ VEE. There are three main tools for developers: MicroEJ SDK to […]

Using Sony PS3 Eye Camera as an Inexpensive Microphone Array

PS3 Eye

Almost exactly two years ago to the day, we published an article showing how microphone arrays performed against a single USB microphone, and the latter started to have a poor wake word detection success rate at around 3 meters array even in a silent room, and it got worse with white noise or background music, while the microphone arrays would pick up the wake word with a much higher success rate in all conditions. The price of smart audio development kits varies a lot from $500 for Intel Speech Enabling Developer Kit to $129 for an Allwinner R18-based 3-Mic Far-Field Amazon AVS Development Kit, and $99 for ReSpeaker Core v2. If you’ve already got a Raspberry Pi 3/4 board, you can get cheaper options such as ReSpeaker 4-Mic Array for $25, but nothing beats the price of Sony PS3 Eye camera that comes with a 4 microphone array and sells on Amazon for around $7.5. You may even already have […]

Sony CXM1501GR ELTRES LPWAN Module Promises a Range of over 100 Km

While there are many LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) standards, three appear to dominate the news namely LoRaWAN, SigFox, and 3GPP NB-IoT/eMTC. They all offer long range and up to 10-year of battery life enabled by the use of low bitrate which is fast enough to send sensor data. We can now add another LWPAN standard to the list, as Sony has developed ELTRES wireless communication standard suitable for IoT networks, and announced their CXM1501GR ELTRES module with a range of over 100km, even while traveling at 100km/h. Key features and specifications: ELTRES Connectivity Antenna radiated power – 20mW Communication direction – Uplink only Frequency – 923.6 MHz to 928.0 MHz (23-channel frequency hopping) Main modulation system – π/2 Shift BPSK Sub-modulation system – Linear chirp modulation Transmission system – Four repeated transmissions of 0.4 sec or shorter packets Reduction of interference with other systems – CSMA (Carrier Sense Multiple Access) Error correction code – LDPC (Low Density Parity […]

Android 10 Beta 3 Now Available on 15 OEM Phones

Android 10 Dark Theme

Google introduced Android Q in March with the first beta and preview SDK release. The new version of Android introduced more privacy protections, support for foldables, sharing shortcuts, connectivity improvements (e.g. WPA3 security), new camera and multimedia features such as dynamic depth photos and AV1 media codec support, as well as an updated neural network API, higher ART performance, and security improvements. Google has now announced Android 10 Beta 3 with a few new features over the first preview release, and support for 15 OEM phones on top of the 6 Pixel phones already supported. Some of the new improvements in Android 10 Beta 3 include: Scoped Storage feature giving users control over files and preventing apps from accessing sensitive user or app data. See the corresponding developer page for details. Update of BiometricPrompt authentication framework to support biometrics, e.g. face recognition, at a system level. Project Mainline described as a new approach to keeping Android users secure and their […]

Sony Spresense Board Review with NuttX based Spresense SDK

Sony Spresence Kit Assembled

Sony Spresense Arduino compatible board with audio and global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) support and its extension board launched in Japan this summer. The company has now expanded markets, and is offering the boards in the United States and Europe as well. They also tasked an agency to send samples to various reviewers, and I got selected to receive one as well. I’ll start the review by checking out the hardware, shortly discuss software development options, and report my experience with Spresense SDK. Sony Spresense Unboxing I received two packages… … one the main board, and the other for the extension board. The main board package only comes with CXD5602PWBMAIN1 board and an information sheet. The top of the board includes a reset button, four user LEDs, a power LED, a boot recovery button, the camera interface, Sony CXD5247 power management and audio analog interface chip (Black on the photo below, but in reality it’s a reflective surface), Sony CXD5602 hexa […]

Sony PlayStation Classic Teardown Reveals MediaTek MT8167A Processor

Sony PlayStation Classic Main Board

Miniature versions of popular game consoles from earlier decades have been all the rage recently, but they all have one thing in common: the inability to add games by default. But eventually, people find ways. For example, when it was found Nintendo NES Classic Mini was found to be powered by an Allwinner R16 processor, enthusiasts found ways to run RetroArch on the device with some efforts. One of the latest announcement was Sony PlayStation Classic, and as reviewers got hold of early sample of the miniature gaming console, it  got torn down by HDBlog Italia. That means we now have a good idea of the technical specifications of the console: SoC – MediaTek MT8167A quad core Arm Cortex-A35 processor @ 1.5 GHz with PowerVR GE8300 GPU System Memory – 1GB DDR3-1866 (Samsung K4B4G1646E-BYMA) Storage – 16GB eMMC 5.1 flash (Samsung KLMAG1JETD-B041) Video Output – HDMI port up to 720p resolution Audio – MediaTek MT6392A audio codec USB – 2x […]