Tronsmart Prometheus Review

Now is the time to review another device sent to me by Geekbuying. Tronsmart Promotheus is an Android 4.1 Android set-top box powered by AMLogic AML8726-MX (aka AML8726-M6) with 1GB RAM and 4GB Flash, 3 USB ports, as well as Wi-Fi and Ethernet for connectivity. This device, which looks like a spaceship (my wife said it looks like a buffalo), has the potential to run XBMC with full hardware acceleration in Android and/or Linux. Tronsmart Prometheus Unboxing I’ve received the box in the package below. Apart from Promotheus media player, the package contains a 12V/1A power supply, an HDMI cable, an AV cable and a user manual in English that appears to be useful for once. It explains how to connect to device to the TV, to the networks, and to the power, how to do firmware upgrade, and how to troubleshoot it. It is presented in a way that may actually may want you to read it. Time for …

Headless Connected Oscilloscope based on Cubieboard or Beaglebone

Warsaw ELHEP (Electronics for High Eenergy Physics Experiments) Group is currently working on MMS (Mobile Measurement System) Project. This project features what I would call a “headless connected oscilloscope”, which can be detected on the network via SSDP, send the data via Websocket, and display it on iOS, Android, or Windows Phone devices. This oscilloscope does not feature any screen, and receives/transmits data via Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth. The original hardware is based on three main boards: CTI-VMAX – ARM9 with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Ethernet connectivity. ARM SCOPE v1.0.1 with  8 channel ADC. ARM SCOPE v1.0.2 with 4 high speed ADC (100MSPS). The ELHEP researchers have been looking at replacing CTI-VMAX with low cost boards, and after considering several options, they chose to design two versions of their oscilloscope: one based on Cubieboard, and the other on the Beaglebone. So they designed expansions boards for the Cubieboard and Beaglebone in order to connect the ARM SCOPEs. This project involved hardware …

Linux Conference Australia and FOSDEM 2013 Videos are Now Online

FOSDEM 2013 took place last week, and the organizers are in the process of uploading videos. Up to now, 5 main tracks sessions have been uploaded (Firefox OS;  Free, open, secure and convenient communications; FreedomBox 1.0;  Samba 4; and systemd, Two Years Later) as well as over 20 lightning talks. You can find the videos at http://video.fosdem.org/2013. You may also want to check my previous post for a lists of interesting talks, and I’ll probably feature some FOSDEM 2013 videos in this blog, at least the open source GPU driver talk. Linux Conference Australia took place on January 28 – February 1, 2013, and the 5-day conference featured lots of talks including several dealing with graphics in Linux, and one developer apparently trashing X in terms of complexity and performance, and explaining how Wayland was better. Others Linux sessions dealt with subject such as 3D printing, supercomputing, Arduino, big.LITTLE processing, open source, git, Raspberry Pi, UEFI, and much more. You …

Review of Measy U2C Rockchip RK3066 Mini PC With Built-in Camera

I’ve received 2 new devices to play with this week, as Geekbuying sent me Tronsmart Promotheus set-top box and Measy U2C, a mini PC with a webcam, so that I can test and review them. Today, I’ll leave the “Spaceship” set-top box parked in another galaxy, and I will review Measy U2C mini PC. This HDMI dongle is powered by Rockchip RK3066, runs Android 4.1.1, and comes with 1 GB RAM, 8GB Flash, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth connectivity, and a built-in 2MP Webcam. For complete specs, you can check my post about B12 mini PC since this device uses the same board internally. Geekbuying sells this all-in-one mini PC for $74.99 including shipping. As usual, I’ll post some unboxing pictures, and then review the device, this time, with a section dedicated to the webcam, since this is the key selling point of this mini PC. Measy U2C Unboxing Measy U2C comes in the prettiest package I’ve ever received for a mini …

Quake 3 Arena Demo Using Lima Driver is (Slightly) Faster than Mali-400 Binary Driver

As mentioned previously, Luc Verhaegen was to give a talk about the status of Lima driver (reverse-engineered Mali-200/400 GPU driver), as well as other GPU open source implementation, at FOSDEM 2013. This is now done, and part of the talk included a demo of Quake 3 Arena (q3a timedemo) running on tablet featuring AllWinner A10 SoC (Cortex A8 @ 1Ghz, Mali-400MP1 GPU @ 320 Mhz, and DDR3 memory @ 360MHz), and a 1024×600 LCD. The fact it works is already a great achievement in itself, but this demo runs at 47.2fps with Lima driver (limare), whereas it can be rendered at 46.2fps using the binary driver. In his blog, Luc also explains that apart from being 2% faster, it also uses 3% less cpu than the binary driver! Take that binary blobs! There’s still more work to do however, as this Quake 3 Arena port is not playable yet for 2 reasons: There’s no input support via the touchscreen driver yet. …

Beyond Semiconductor BA25 Application Processor

You know ARM, MIPS, and maybe PPC processor cores, but have you ever heard about Beyond Semiconductor RISC architecture? I hadn’t, until I read an article on EETimes. Beyond Semiconductor, a company founded in 2005, and based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, has apparently released its own embedded cores for a while including BA12, BA14 and BA22 which are respectively equivalent to ARM9, Cortex A9 and ARM11 in terms of performance. They count big names such as STMicro, Lattice Semi and Ericsson among their licensees. More recently, the company announced its first application processor called BA25, that equivalent to Cortex A8/A7 architecture with 1.7 DMIPS/MHz, and is clocked up to 800 MHz on 65nm LP. Beyond BA25 32-bit processor designed for systems running applications on general-purpose operating systems such as Linux and Android, and targets applications such as set-top boxes and media players, Image and video processing systems, and wireless, battery-powered, or ultra-low-cost devices. Here are the key features of BA25 core: …

U-boot, Linux Kernel, and Android Patches for Freescale i.MX6 HDMI TV Dongles

We can now get some quad core Android mini PCs (e.g. Hi802, GK802) featuring Freescale i.MX6Q processor, Freescale has released full documentation and source code its development platforms, Hi802 / GK802 HDMI TV dongles are easily hackable, and there’s even an Ubuntu image for the devices. So it looks pretty good ,right? Well almost.. there are some patches and config for GK802 that have not been released by Richtechie, so we can’t modify the  bootloader and Linux kernel. But this may change, as ARMTvTech forum user hste noticed some Freescale i.MX6 HDMI dongle patches om IMX Community website. Even though I’m not sure those are fully compatible with Hi802 / GK802, this could be a starting point. Today, I’ll provide the instructions to build u-boot, the linux kernel and Android ICS with those patches in a machine running Linux 12.04 64-bit. Patch Sets Descriptions There are two set of patches that can be applied to R13.4-GA release: hdmidongle_REVB_R13.4_patch-20121115.tgz –  Adds HDMI …

linaro-android-tools Scripts Upgrade Android Kernel & Initrd via ADB

With Linaro 13.01 release, Linaro announced linaro-android-tools (aka Kernel Update Tools), a set of tools to improve development time for kernel developers. Today, they published a blog post explaining those scripts allow developers to update the kernel without having to take out the SD card from their development board, and instead update the firmware via ADB with a PC connected via the network or USB. Currently there are 2 shell scripts: update-android.sh – To update kernel files in boot partition such as boot.tar.bz2, single files (e.g. uImage) or kernel modules. Usage: For example: update-uInitrd.sh – To update files in the initrd Usage: For example: Those 2 scripts are available in Linaro git repository: Currently the scripts only support Pandaboard, Origen, Versatile Express, and Versatile Express A9 boards,but they could be easily modified to support other boards supporting linaro packages.