$199 Gizmo Explorer Kit Powered by AMD G-Series APU is Now Officially Available

Back in November, I came across the Gizmo Explorer Kit, an embedded development platform based on AMD G-Series G-T40E dual core APU that includes the development board itself (Gizmo Board), two expansion I/O boards, Sage SmartProbe JTAG development tool, some accessories such as cables and power supply, and a DVD with the documentation and SDK. Today, Sage Electronic, Texas Multicore Technologies, and Viosoft officially launched GizmoSphere community that aims at “fostering innovation and development for x86-based embedded Accelerated Processing Units (APUs), and driving and enabling technology projects of interest to independent developers with a focus on stimulating and encouraging innovation for existing and new applications that leverage APUs”. To help with this initiative, they also produce the Gizmo Board, and corresponding Gizmo Explorer Kit, a development board that boots with coreboot, and can run a variety of operating systems such as Android, Linux, Windows, and other RTOS. You can refer to my previous post for a complete description of the Gizmo …

Embedded Linux Conference 2013 Schedule

The Embedded Linux Conference (ELC 2013) will take place on February 20 – 22, 2013 at Park 55 Hotel in San Francisco, California. ELC consists of 3 days of presentations, tutorials and sessions. There will be over 50 sessions during those 3 days. I’ll highlight a few sessions that I find particularly interesting, and that did not get presented at ELCE 2012 (AFAICR). February 20 11:00 – Anatomy of the arm-soc git tree by Olof Johansson, Google We are now two years into the new maintainer model for ARM platforms, and we have settled down into a workflow that maintainers have adjusted well to. Still, when new platforms arrive, or when maintainer ship changes hands, there’s sometimes a bit of ramp-up in getting used to how we organize our git tree and how we prefer to see code submitted to fit that model. This presentation will give an overview of how we have chosen to organize and maintain the arm-soc …

VIA ARMOS-800 Embedded System Features a Freescale i.MX537 based Pico-ITX Board

VIA Technologies has recently announced the VIA ARMOS-800, an fanless system designed around VIA VAB-800 Pico-ITX board powered by Freescale i.MX537 processor. The VIA ARMOS-800 provides a ruggedized low-power system for industrial and in-vehicle applications such as a digital signage. Here are VIA ARMOS-800 specifications: Processor – 800MHz Freescale Cortex-A8 single core i.MX537 System Memory – 1GB DDR3-800 SDRAM using 128M x16 memory devices Storage – „„ 4GB onboard eMMC Flash memory + ob-board micro SD connector Graphics – Supports two integrated graphics processing units: an OpenGL ES 2.0 3D graphics accelerator and an OpenVGTM 1.1 2D graphics accelerator Video Output – VGA and HDMI Audio I/O – Line-In, Line-out, Mic-in connectors Connectivity: Ethernet – 10/100 PHY transceiver (SMSC LAN8720A) Wi-Fi – Optional VIA 802.11n Wireless module VNT 9271 USB – 3x USB connectors + 1x on-board USB 2.0 pin header COM – 1x D-Sub 9-pin female connector CAN – 1x D-Sub 9-pin female connector (TI SN65HVD1050 CAN transceiver) GPIO …

How to Access the Serial Console in HI802 / GK802 mini PC

One of the advantage of HiAPad Hi802 (aka Zealz GK802) is that it provides access to UART and I2C pins via through holes on the board. UART4 Tx and Rx pins give you access to the serial console which is a must for bootloader (U-boot), and kernel development or for debugging. The first thing is the open the casing and locate the debug pins on the board. The very best way is probably to solder a pin header, but since I don’t have header, nor soldering iron, I’ve done it the “MacGyver” way with 3 wires connected to TxD, RxD and GND, and some sticky tape. You can now insert the other side of the wires into your USB to TLL debug board (GND <-> GND, Tx <-> Rx, and Rx <-> Tx), and connect it to your Windows or Linux PC. The serial board should be recognized as a serial device. It usually shows as COM1 in Windows, and …

Mozilla Unveils Firefox OS Developer Preview Phones

Mozilla has just announced an entry level developer phone for Firefox OS based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 processor, 512 MB RAM, and 4GB Flash. You may think the specs are quite poor, but this actually makes sense since Firefox OS is initially destined at emerging markets. Here are the full specifications of  this smartphone (Codenamed Keon): CPU – Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 1Ghz System Memory – 512 MB RAM Storage – 4GB Flash + microSD slot Display – 3.5″ HVGA Multitouch Network – UMTS 2100/1900/900 (3G HSPA), GSM 850/900/1800/1900 (2G EDGE) Camera – 3 MP rear camera Misc – Wifi N, Light and proxmity Sensor, G-Sensor, GPS, MicroUSB Battery – 1580 mAh The phone supports over the air updates, and comes unlocked, so you can simply add your own SIM card. These developer phones are being developed by Geeksphone in partnership with Telefonica. If you don’t have the developer phone yet, you can still get started by running Firefox OS …

ST Ericsson Demonstrates NovaThor L8580 Multi Cortex A9 SoC @ 2.8 GHz

We’ve first heard about ST Ericsson NovaThor L8580 in July 2012, and the company demonstrated their new processor at CES 2013. This SoC features 4 (or is it 2?) Cortex A9 cores, and a PowerVR SGX544 GPU, but the real advantage of this processor is the new process technology called FD-SOI (Fully Depleted Silicon On Insulator) which, combined with some other power and performance optimization techniques,  allows some fun stuffs such as: 2.8 GHz dual core operation 1 GHz operation at 0.63V instead of 1.1V when using bulk CMOS technology. You can see those 2 use cases in the video demo. In the first demo, a phone prototype based on L8580 @ 2.8Ghz is clearly faster than the Samsung Galaxy S3 based on Exynos 4412, and the second demo shows power measurement of the prototype when ran at 1GHz. Other key features of L8580: Low-power eQuad processor clocked at up to 2.5Ghz based on ARM Cortex-A9 processor Imagination Technologies POWERVR …

LTSI 3.4 is Now Available for Download

Nearly 2 years ago, the Linux Foundation’s Consumer Electronics (CE) working group created the Long Term Support Initiative (LTSI) Linux kernel for consumer electronics devices in order to have a common stable platform released every 2 years, and share the kernel development work among competing companies including Hitachi, LG Electronics, NEC, Panasonic, Qualcomm Atheros, Renesas Electronics Corporation, Samsung Electronics, Sony and Toshiba. Last week, the  CE working group has released LTSI 3.4 kernel, based on Linux 3.4.25 kernel release and including several backported features from newer kernels including:   The Contiguous Memory Allocator (CMA), which is extremely useful for embedded devices that have very limited hardware resources and will better handle the large memory requirements of multimedia applications. CMA originally was merged into the 3.4.0 kernel release, but its functionality was quite limited. Since then, the feature has been significantly improved in the kernel.org releases and those fixes have been added to the LTSI 3.4 kernel release. For more information about this …

Norco BIS-6332A Freescale i.MX6 OPS Compliant Digital Signage Platform

Norco recently unveiled a BIS-6332A, a platform based on Freescale i.MX6 processor compliant with Intel’s Open Pluggable Specification (OPS) mainly to be used as a digital signage player, but also as a fanless Box PC, a media player, a point of sale and more. The open pluggable specification (OPS) defines mechanical and electrical characteristics so that you can easily replace a OPS compliant board or device with another compliant platform. Here are the specifications of the device: SoC – Freescale Cortex-A9 i.MX 6 series (Single-core/dual-core/ Quad Core CPUs) System Memory – Onboard 1GB/2GB DDR3 800MHz RAM Storage: 1xMicro SD 4GB/8GB iNAND flash 1x SATAII for 2.5″ HDD or SSD Video Output – 1x HDMI (front panel), 1x HDMI ( extended by OPS slot) and LVDS Connectivity: 10/100/1000Mbps LAN (Atheros AR8033) On-board USB WIFI 3G (optional) USB –  2x USB on front panel, 3x USB provided via OPS slot, one 2x5Pin USB interface Audio – 1x Mic, 1x Headphone LED – Indicator …