USB Type-C Reversible Connectors Specifications Published

We now have all sorts of USB receptacles and connectors, but this is supposed to eventually change thanks to type-C connectors, which are small and robust enough to be used in laptop, computer, smartphones, and other type of devices, and will replace the USB type A, micro and mini USB ports. Type-C connectors will also be reversible, so there won’t be a way to insert the cable upside down. The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has just announced the completion of the USB Type-C specification, and transferred it to the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) for ongoing management and the establishment of a compliance and certification program. Key features of Type C specifications include: Entirely new design Tailored for emerging product designs Robust enough for laptops and tablets; slim enough for mobile phones Similar to size of USB 2.0 Micro-B Usability enhancements – Reversible plug orientation and cable direction Supports scalable power charging […]

DIY Power Measurement Board

When I review media player or development boards, I’m often asked about power consumption figures. One way to measure power consumption is to use a Kill-a-Watt, but for low power devices it’s not always accurate enough, and it also includes the heat dissipation from the power adapter, which may or may not be useful depending on what you want to measure. For USB powered devices or boards, an easy way to measure power consumption is to use CHARGER Doctor, a small $5 USB dongle that displays both voltage and current alternatively. Unfortunately, most products I’ve received lately use barrel type connectors, so this little tool has not been as useful as I hoped. The only solution is then to measure voltage and current with a multimeter. Voltage is measured in parallel, so you just need to point the multimeter’s leads where you want to perform the measurements. However, the current […]

Khadas Mind modular mini PC

ARM Cortex A15/A17 SoCs Comparison – Nvidia Tegra K1 vs Samsung Exynos 5422 vs Rockchip RK3288 vs AllWinner A80

We’re now starting to get quite a few players with ARM Cortex A15 cores on the market, as well as some with ARM Cortex A17. So a comparison table of different quad and octa SoCs might be a useful thing to do. I’ve put aside SoCs such as HiSilicon K3V3, and OMAP5, and focused on the four latest processors: Nvidia Tegra K1 (32-bit), Samsung Exynos 5422, Rockchip RK3288 and AllWinner A80. I haven’t included Mediatek MT6595 and Qualcomm SnapDragon 805, because the two companies mainly focus on smartphones and tablets (although it appears to be slowly changing for Qualcomm), documentation is usually difficult or impossible to find, and in the case of Qualcomm they use their own ARMv7 Krait cores. I’ve highlighted some features in green, in case a particular SoC appears to have an edge. Rockchip RK3288 AllWinner A80 Nvidia Tegra K1 Samsung Exynos 5422 CPU 4x ARM Cortex-A17 […]

Technical Glossary

Throughout all articles in this blog, I use a lot of technical terms and acronyms that you may not be familiar with. This glossary will include technical terms used in Android and Linux devices, development boards, and embedded platforms. If one or more relevant terms or acronyms is/are missing, please let me know in the comment section or via the contact form. 0-9 – A – B – C – D – E – F – G – H – I – J – K – L – M – N – O – P – Q – R – S – T – U – V – W – X – Y – Z 0-9 1-Wire – A single-wire (plus ground) communications protocol used for  memory products, interface solutions, and by SW tools. 10GbE – 10-Gigabit Ethernet 10Base2 – So-called Thin Ethernet, using RG-58 coax cables and BNC connectors […]

ICE xPC Modular x86 Computer Is as Small as a Smartphone (Crowdfunding)

Until now, if we talked about mini PCs in stick form factor that always meant some ARM or MIPS processor were powering the devices. Intel is not yet into this type of form factor, but with ICE xPC (Indiegogo), you can now find an x86 computer module with the CPU, RAM, and SSD as well as connectivity modules and sensors into a box as small and thin as a smartphone. ICE xPC will also support other low power processors including Core i5 processor and/or ARM SoCs if the concept is gaining traction. ICE xPC modular computer specifications: SoC – Intel Bay Trail 4-cores Atom processor with Intel HD graphics System Memory – 4GB RAM Storage – 64 GB SSD Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi module + Bluetooth module Camera – 720p Sensors – Accelerometer, Gyro sensor Power Supply – 20 Watts. Energy used claimed: between 3 and 11 Watts. Dimensions […]

Rezence Wireless Charging Standard Gets Rid off Charging Pads, Leverages Bluetooth 4.0 LE

I’ve just found out via my twitter feed that Nordic Semiconductor had announced the availability of the Bluetooth LE-based S120 8-link central protocol stack and nRF51 Wireless Charging SDK for wireless charging applications based on a new wireless charging standard called Rezence. The Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) gave their wireless power technology the name Rezence a couple of weeks ago. Rezence uses magnetic resonance, instead of inductance used in first generation products, and bring several key improvements: Greater charging range – Your device does not need to be placed on a charging pad, but it can be placed anywhere within range (I could not find data yet). Multiple device charging – Ability to charge multiple devices with different power requirements at the same time, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and Bluetooth headsets. Up to 8 devices with Nordic Semi solutions mentioned in the introduction. Ready for the real world […]


Jynxbox M6 Android TV Box Review

I’ve shown some unboxing pictures and video of Jynxbox Android M6 earlier this week, and today I’ll write a review of this AMLogic AML8726-M6 dual core Android media player. I’ll start with my first impressions, go through the different settings, test video playback, wi-fi performance, and reports about different miscalleous tests: Bluetooth, USB mass storage, USB webcam, etc… First Boot, Settings and First Impressions First, you’ll need to insert the provided AAA batteries in to the remote control. Opening the remote is a bit tricker than I would like as the cover does not come off that easily. Before powering up the device, I’ve connected the provided HDMI cable between the device and my HDTV, and an Ethernet cable to my hub. The first Ethernet cable would not click with in the device RJ45 connector, although it works with my laptop and other devices, but using another one worked just fine. Connecting […]

Linux Kernel 3.12 Released

Linus Torvalds has announced the release of Linux Kernel 3.12: I was vacillating whether to do an rc8 or just cut the final 3.12, but since the biggest reason to *not* do a final release was not so much the state of the code, as simply the fact that I’ll be traveling with very bad internet connection next week, I didn’t really want to delay the release. Sure, we had a number of driver reverts, and there was an annoying auto-NUMA memory corruption fix series, but none of it was really worth delaying 3.12 for. But the fact that I’m going to be (effectively) off-line next week means that I’m *not* opening the merge window for 3.13 yet – since I won’t have the bandwidth to really do merges anyway. That doesn’t mean that you can’t send me pull request for the merge window early, of course – maintainers can […]

Weller PCB manufacturer