How-to Upgrade Firmware on AllWinner A31 mini PCs

I’ve just received a mini PC powered by AllWinner A31, and I had to (re-)install the firmware, so I’ll explain the steps I followed in this post. The procedure is for CS868 mini PC, but it should be similar for all Android HDMI TV dongles, and media players based on AllWinner A20 or A31.The procedure below only works in Windows, and has been tested in Windows XP. I’ll mention a possible method in Linux at the end of the post. Download the latest CS868 firmware and tools, and extract “cs868 firmware and update tool 20130507.rar” file Download PhoenixUSBPro tool in English, and extract This is optional as the Chinese version is included in rar file above. Double-click on PhoenixUSBPro/PhoenixUSBPro.exe to start the program Click on Update to upgrade the tool to the latest version if need be. Click on Key to to load the key file (AW_LCTOOLS.key), on Image to load the firmware file (sun6i_android_fiber-onda809q9_20130507_V2.0_media_ck_288.img), and click on Start. Now …

N70-A and N70-B AllWinner A20 and A31 Based Android Netbooks with 13.3″ Display

Last year, H6 Android Netbook featured AllWinner A10 Cortex A8 processor, 1GB RAM, 4GB Flash, and came with a 10.1″ display with 1024×600 resolution, and people who tried did not seem very satisfied with their purchase. This year however, we should get more better hardware thanks to devices like N70-A and N70-B, respectively powered by AllWinner A20 with 1GB RAM, and AllWinner A31 with 2GB RAM, that both come with a 13.3″ display (1280×800). There’s also N101-A model powered by AllWinner A20, but it comes with a 10.1″ display with 1024×600 resolution.  All models are available with 8, 16 or 32GB flash, feature Wi-Fi 802.11n and Ethernet connectivity, a 0.3MP front camera, an SD card reader, 2 USB ports, 1 HDMI output, as well as mic IN and headphone jacks. For some reasons, AllWinner A20 models runs Android 4.2.2, but AllWinner A31 still runs Android 4.1.2. You should be able to load Linux on AllWinner A20 based model in the …

My Attempt at Adding Multiple Users Support to Android 4.2 HDMI TV Sticks

A few day ago, I noticed MoDaCo posted instructions to enable multiple users support on Nexus 4 smartphone via Liliputing’s Lilbits. They indicate that it may also work on other Android 4.2 devices, so with more and more Android mini PCs and set-top box running the latest version of Android, but lacking. multiple user support, I decided to give it a try on Tronsmart T428. My little experiment did not end up being that successful despite the picture below. But who knows, maybe some of my clever readers will find a solution. The instructions below may “work” on any rooted Android 4.2 devices including smartphones, mini PCs, media players, etc… You’ll need to install 2 apks: Xposed Framework – Scroll down on this page, then download and install XposedInstaller_2.1.4.apk. Finally run the installer, and reboot. MoDaCo Toolkit Xposed module – A link on this page will let you download com.modaco.toolkit.apk. After installation, click on it, validate the module in Xposed …

New Tronmart Prometheus Firmware Fixes XBMC Audio/Video Sync, Adds DLNA and Smartphone Control App

A new firmware is now available for Tronsmart Prometheus with the following key changes: New Android 4.2 XBMC audio/video sync bug fix DLNA support Smartphone control function Internal storage for apps increased to 2GB In order to use the smartphone control function, you need to download and install RC_Client.apk into your Android smartphone or tablet, and run this app to control your Prometheus. I haven’t tried myself, and they did not provide detail, so I don’t know whether functionalities are similar to DroidMote. To update your device if It’s already running the previous Android 4.2 beta firmware: Download and extract Tronsmart Prometheus new stock firmware.zip.  It would be really nice if they could just provide version numbers for firmware releases. Open the download folder, copy the 5 files in the root folder of an SD card, and insert it into your device. Use a paper clip to press and hold the reset key at back  of the box, and power …

Installing Android Studio IDE in Ubuntu – Hello World Application

Google I/O started yesterday, and Google released an early access preview version of Android Studio, a new IDE based on IntelliJ IDEA with drag-and-drop GUI layout editor, Gradle-based build system, Lint tools, the ability to preview how apps look on different screen sizes, and more. This may eventually replace the Eclipse + ADT Plugin combination currently used, so I’ve decided to give it a try in Ubuntu 13.04 64-bit, but it’s also available for Windows and Mac OS X. First, head over to Android Studio Installation instructions, and download Android Studio for you operating system via your Browser (You’ll have to accept an EULA), then open a terminal to extract it: Now let’s start Android Studio: And I did press enter to continue, but Android Studio complained about JAVA_HOME no being defined. Let’s just install Sun Oracle JAVA JDK since this is the recommended method. I’ve used the  instructions provided on Mark Loiseau blog to do so. Download the latest …

How to Play Games in Android mini PCs / STBs With a PS3 Bluetooth Controller

Android mini PCs ( HDMI TV dongles) are great to make your TV smart, and you may expect to be able to play Android games on your TV easily. The reality is that the keyboard and mouse, or remote controls used with those devices, are not suitable for games, and most games do not play at all. Of course, OUYA and GameStick projects will take care of this, as well as the recently available Project SHIELD ($349) , but if you already have one of those mini PCs, you may not want to spend the money for another device. Luckily there’s a solution, and with some efforts, you can play many games, but not all, with a PS3 Bluetooth controller connected to your Android mini PC or Set-Top Box. I decided to give it a try by buying “GOIGAME Rechargeable Bluetooth Wireless DoubleShock III Controller for PS3” for $16.60, which is a clone of Sony’s PlayStation 3 Dualshock 3 Wireless Controller, …

Microchip Unveils 2 Arduino Compatible Boards, and a Prototype-Friendly PIC32 MCU

Microchip Technology has announced several new tools,  expanding its Arduino compatible chipKIT platform ecosystem, based on Microchip’s 32-bit PIC32 microcontrollers (MCUs) available in  low pin count SOIC or SPDIP packages. Digilent’s chipKIT DP32 board features basic I/O and interface components, including a prototyping aera, user buttons, and a potentiometer. The board (part # TDGL019) costs $23.9, and should be available on May 17 at microchipDIRECT. The chipKIT Fubarino Mini board, from a partnership between FUBAR Labs and Schmalz Haus, provides another option for Arduino-compatible development with 32-bit PIC32 MCUs, using a smaller form factor. The board is supposed to be available today for $19.95 on microchipDIRECT, but I could not find it yet. If you don’t want/need a development board,  the company also provides PIC32MX250F128B MCU in PDIP package (28-pin) preprogrammed with chipKIT USB Bootloader.  This MCU, clocked up to 40Mhz, includes 128 KB Flash and 32 KB RAM, as well as  integrated peripherals for touch sensing, graphics, audio processing, USB …

Raspberry Pi Camera Module Is Now Available, How-to Use It

About one year after showing the first image from the camera module prototype, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the Camera board is now available for purchase on RS Component or Element14. Navigating either of these sites is a nightmare, but, if you’re lucky, you should eventually find the camera board for around $25 before taxes and shipping. “Raspicam” features the following hardware specifications: Omnivision 5647 sensor in a fixed-focus module 5MPixel sensor Still picture resolution: 2592 x 1944 Max video resolution: 1080p Max frame rate: 30fps Size: 20 x 25 x 10mm Connection by flat ribbon cable to 15-pin MIPI Camera Serial Interface (CSI) connector S5 on Raspberry Pi computer board The first thing you’ll have to do with the camera is to connect it to the CSI connector on your Raspberry Pi, just behind the Ethernet connector on model B. James explains it very clearly in the video below. ] Now that the camera is connected, you’ll need to …