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$86 ZAP-A10 Android 4.0 Set-Top Box Powered by AMLogic AML8726-M3

August 27th, 2012 15 comments

You may already know that XBMC has been working on the Pivox XIOS DS set-top box based on AMLogic AML8726-M3. Pivosgroup has sponsored the development of XBMC for Android and Linux on their new media player, and it costs about $115 on sites like Amazon, but it’s not available worldwide right now.

If you’re looking for an alternative AMLogic AML8726-M3 device, and are a bit adventurous, you may have a look at the ZAP-A10, an Android 4.0 networked media player featuring AML8726-M3 Cortex A9 processor, with 1GB RAM and 4 GB Flash.

ZAP-A10 / GV-12 Android Media Player

ZAP-A10 Android Media Player

Here are the specs of this set-top box:

  • SoC – Single core Cortex A9 @ 1GHz (AML8726-M3) with Mali-400 GPU
  • System Memory – 1 GB RAM
  • Storage – 4GB Flash & SD card slot
  • Connectivity
    • 10/100M Ethernet
    • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • USB – 4x USB Host port
  • Video Output – HDMI and component (YPbPr)
  • Video Containers – M2TS / RM/RMVB / BD-ISO / AVI / MPG / VOB / DAT / ASF / TRP / FLV etc.
  • Audio Codecs – MP3 / OGG / WMA / WMAPRO
  • Dimensions – 11.6 cm x 11.6 cm x 2.7 cm
  • Weight – 274 g

The player is sold with an IR Remote control, a 12V/1.5A (TBC) power adapter, 1 component (YPbPr) cable, 1 audio cable (RCA) and a user manual in Chinese and English. This device features are similar to the ones for Mele A1000 except it comes with more memory, features component output & one more USB port, but does not feature a SATA port. I also do not know if debug port (JTAG/Serial) are easily accessible.

Dealextreme only mentions a Cortex A9 processor, not the exact processor used, but I asked on their forums, and one person who bought one reported that it is indeed an AML8726-M3. After further research, I found what is apparently the same product, but called GV-12 on Aliexpress, uses AML8726-M3. The seller on Aliexpress (Eny Technology) also appears to be the manufacturer, and could can check more details about the GV-12 on their site.

If you want to play around AMLogic AML8726 single core devices (M1 and M3 processors), you could check out AMLogic OpenLinux ARM Wiki , Pivosgroup github repositories and/or consult Pivos XIOS DS forums. Even if this platform is similar to Pivos XIOS DS, it does not mean all Pivos software (especially Linux/ U-Boot) will work on the Zap-A10/GV-12, and If you just want to use XBMC, you’d probably better stick to the Pivos STB, at least for now.

ZAP-10 media player sells for $86.40 on Dealextreme including shipping.

More AMLogic AML8726-MX Source Code Released by Ainol

August 25th, 2012 21 comments

Last week, I found out that AMLogic released the kernel source code for AML8726-MX, its dual core Cortex A9 processor, but this code is only for the “common” platform, and some source code specific to tablets or media players is missing (e.g. some drivers). But today, Ainol released the source code for the Ainol Novo 7 Elf II and Aurora II tablet, both of which are based on on AML8726-M6 dual core processor:

The files are pretty big, and the download very slow on my side (“1 day, 16 hours remaining”), so I’ll probably have to give up. I assume “fards” will import the source code into a new repo in his github account. Anyway, this potentially makes AMLogic AML8726-MX a very interesting development platform, although we’ll have to see if the bootloader source code is released, and what kind of multimedia libraries (GPU: OpenGL ES| Video Decoder/Encoder) for Android and Linux will be released.

I haven’t been able to look into this code (obviously since it’s still downloading), but I’m expecting to get the source code for the LCD display(s), touch screen, HDMI drivers and more. HDMI drivers are especially interesting for media player development, and hardware platforms such as Geniatech ATV1200 or ATV1600 might hopefully become hackable like the Mele A1000 with AllWinner A10.

Via: Ainol BBS

AMLogic Releases AML8726-MX Linux 3.0.8 Source Code

August 18th, 2012 29 comments

While doing a Google search to locate the open Linux page of AMLogic, I noticed another link reading “Amlogic AML8726-MX Linux kernel code released“. Interesting. So AMLogic appears to have released the kernel source code for their latest dual core Cortex A9 processor at the beginning of August and the tarball is available from their open source site:  kernel-common-2012-08-03-git-a63244fb9c.tar.gz.

A github user (fards) also imported the code to github, but he’s not affiliated with AMLogic, so don’t expect commits from AMLogic there. Let’s retrieve it:

AML8726-MX is codenamed MESON6 in the source code, and the code is in arch/arm/mach-meson6/, but let’s see if we can find a config file in arch/arm/configs. Yes! There are 4:

  • meson6_android_defconfig – Android config file (Single core)
  • meson6_defconfig – Linux config file (Single core) all Android config disabled.
  • meson6smp_android_defconfig – Android config file with smp (symmetric multiprocessing) support
  • meson6smp_defconfig – Config file with smp (symmetric multiprocessing) support, Android stuffs enabled, but no touchscreen support…

The descriptions are my guesses based on the file names and a quick look and the configs.

Since ARM8726-MX is a dual core processor, and it’s no fun using the single core version, let’s try  meson6smp_defconfig:

The warnings mean we won’t have access to some board config and drivers specific to AMLogic’s customer board, but we should still be able to build the kernel with one of AMLogic reference platforms.

There are 2 Meson6 boards available in menuconfig:

  • Meson6 socket board
  • Meson6 reference board

I have no idea what those are, so let’s carry on with the default setting (Meson6 socket board).

I first tried to build with Linaro toolchain, but this failed with :

arch/arm/mach-meson6/hotplug.c:18:20: error: inlining failed in call to always_inline âmeson_set_cpu_ctrl_regâ: function body not available

which appears to be a bug in gcc-4.7. So I’ve used the toolchain provided on openlinux.amlogic.com (Code Sourcery G++) instead:

make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=~/amlogic/arm-2010q1/bin/arm-none-linux-gnueabi- -j 12 uImage
...
UIMAGE  arch/arm/boot/uImage
Image Name:   Linux-3.0.8-g42697c8
Created:      Sat Aug 18 18:14:00 2012
Image Type:   ARM Linux Kernel Image (lzma compressed)
Data Size:    2943441 Bytes = 2874.45 kB = 2.81 MB
Load Address: 80008000
Entry Point:  80008000
Image arch/arm/boot/uImage is ready

Great, the kernel builds fine. Let’s complete this by building and installing the modules:

make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=~/amlogic/arm-2010q1/bin/arm-none-linux-gnueabi- -j12 INSTALL_MOD_PATH=build_modules modules
make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=~/amlogic/arm-2010q1/bin/arm-none-linux-gnueabi- -j12 INSTALL_MOD_PATH=build_modules modules_install

Those last steps will build the Mali drivers (ump.ko and mali.ko), and “install” all modules in build_modules directory.

For AMLogic AM8726-MX set-top boxes such as Geniatech ATV1200 (See video), this code might be enough, but fads mentioned in a comment that lcd/ips code is missing and it might be more difficult to use this code on tablets such as Ainol Novo 7 Aurora II. He also started a developers thread in slatedroid.com, join the discussion if you are a developer interested in this project.

Ainol Novo 7 Aurora II Android 4.0 Tablet Features AMLogic AM8726-MX Cortex A9 Processor

May 9th, 2012 No comments

Last week, I wrote about the Rockchip RK3066 based Cube U30GT Android 4.0 Tablet, and today I’ll blog about the Ainol Novo 7 Aurora II, one of the first Android 4.0 tablet powered by the new AMLogic AM8726-MX dual core Cortex A9 processor.

AMLogic AM8726-MX Android 4.0 Tablet

Ainol Novo7 Aurora II

Here are the specs of the device:

  • CPU – AMLogic AM8726-M6 Cortex-A9 Dual Core processor @ 1.5 GHz
  • GPU – Mali 400MP
  • RAM – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8 GB NAND Flash / microSD Card slot (Support up to 16GB)
  • Display – 7″ capacitive touch screen (5-point) IPS LCD (1024×600)
  • Camera: 2.0 MPixel front camera
  • Sensors – 4-way G-sensor
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi b/g/n. 3G via external 3G/WCDMA dongle
  • Battery – 3700mAh
  • Dimensions – 187 x 111 x 12 mm
  • Weight – 360 grams

The Aurora II will be available later this month and sell for about 190 USD. The company will also offer the cheaper Novo 7 Elf II tablet (without IPS display) for 149 USD.

Source: Liliputing

AMLogic Announces AML8726-MX Dual Core Cortex A9 Processor

April 11th, 2012 11 comments
Amlogic AML8726-MX Cortex A9 | Mali 400 SoC

Amlogic AML8726-MX (via redtabletpc.com)

Amlogic announced the availability of the AML8726-MX, a SoC based on a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor clocked at 1.5 GHz with a Mali-400 MP GPU. It is the successor of the similarly named AML8726-M with a single core Cortex A9 @ 1 GHz.

The company explains this SoC is particularly suitable for Over The Top (OTT) delivery, 3D Gaming and other Internet applications and targets the tablet, set-top-box and smart-TV markets.

AMLogic AML8726-MX include 10/100/1000 Ethernet, 2x USB interfaces, 3-in-1 Card Reader support, Analog and digital video outputs, LVDS and T-CON (Timing Controller) with backlight control, digital video and camera interfaces. Wi-Fi is supported via external chipsets.

Here are the highlights of the AML8726-MX family provided by AMLogic:

  • A dual-core Cortex-A9 processor achieving over 7500 DMIPS of performance
  • Direct to panel connection with advanced scaling, de-interlacing and picture quality enhancement
  • Industry leading power management technology to extend battery life in mobile applications
  • The ability to run Android 4.0 (ICS), Linux 3.X, OpenGL ES 2.0

Android-sale has published benchmark results (Sunspider + other?) which show AML8726-MX being noticeably faster than TI OMAP4460 and NVidia Tegra 2 (frequencies used are not mentioned however), and slightly faster than as Apple A5X (IPAD 3 processor). Those test were done with a Ramos W70 PRO 7″ Tablet which should cost 199 USD once it is available.

AMLogic Processor Benchmark

AML8726-MX vs Tegra 2 vs OMAP4460 vs Apple A5X

Amlogic AML8726-MX chips are available now for sampling and a reference development platforms running Android 4.0.3 will be available later this month.

Gocal Europe Android Digital Signage Players Based on AMLogic AML8726

April 9th, 2012 4 comments

Gocal Europe is a dutch company with offices in Shenzhen and Hong Kong providing OEM/ODM high tech solutions such as digital signage and Android TV solutions including players as well as software solutions via HelloTV.

The company has 2 digital signage players running Android 4.0 (ICS):

  • UFO-TV

This player is based on AMLogic AML8726M3 and features 1GB RAM, 4GB flash, HDMI IN and HMDI OUT.

ARM Cortex A8 UFO TV

Gocal UFO TV Digital Signage

Here are the device specifications:

  • CPU – AMLogic AM8726 M3 (ARM Cortex A9) @ 1GHz with Mali-400 GPU
  • System Memory – 1 GB
  • Flash – 4 GB
  • Video Container Formats – avi, mpeg, vob,mkv, ts, m2ts, wmv and rm
  • Video Codecs –  MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, MPEG2-HD and VC-1.
  • Audio Formats – MP3, WMA, WAV, MIDI, OGG, AC3, DTS, ACC and APE
  • External Storage – SD, SDHC and MMC cards.
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 Host ports
  • Connectivity – Ethernet 10/100 Mbps, WiFi and Bluetooth
  • Video I/F – HDMI 1.3 OUT up to 1080p and HDMI 1.3 IN up to 1080p
  • Audio I/F – Optical (SPDIF)
  • Dimension – 200 x 200 x 32 mm
  • Power – 12V / 1.5 A
  • GOCAL ANDROID HDMI- Dongle
AMLogic AM8725 Digital Signage HDMI Dongle

Gocal Digital Signage HDMI Dongle

The second digital signage player has an HDMI dongle form factor which is becoming more and more common. The hardware also appears to be based on AMLogic processor. Here are the key features for this digital signage dongle:

  • ARM Cortex A9 1GHz processor with Mali 400 GPU
  • Wi-Fi connection (802.11b/g/n)
  • Full HD 1080p playback via HDMI
  • 1x Mini USB port for power (so no MHL support here)
  • 1x USB host port for peripherals such as external HDD
  • 1x Micro SD card slot
  • IR receiver port

Both devices run a rooted Android stock version so that their customers can easily install which ever applications they require.

Both devices could also be used as an Android TV device (and later Google TV).

As mentioned above HelloTV is the content management software used with Gocal hardware players. The system is web based and by looking at the screenshots it seems to work in a fashion somewhat similar to Xibo Dashboard.

You can find further information on Gocal Android TV page and HelloTV website.

ARM Based Android Set-Top Boxes at China Content Broadcasting Network Exhibition

April 25th, 2011 No comments

The 19th China Content Broadcasting Network Exhibition (CCBN 2011) took place on March 23 – 25 2011 at the  China International Exhibition Center in Beijing.

During this event, numerous Android STB were showcased with processors from several vendors.

Trident Microsystems PNX8400

Trident Microsystems demonstrated their Cortex-A9 Apollo/Shiner SoC family, the PNX8400, which included all the major building blocks needed to develop Next Generation Broadcasting (NGB) solutions.  NGB is a government initiative for smart tv in China. On 24th of March 2011, Trident Microsystems also announced that its STB SOCs were selected for the first trial deployments of NGB in China.

LG (LG Smart Box) and Cycle Century demonstrated their Android based cable STB using Trident Microsystems NXP8400. This stb supports DVB, Conditional Access, 1080p video streaming, a browser with an Apps store, 3D gaming and VoIP.

To see more about Trident Microsystems Android STB have a look at the video below recorded at CES 2011.

HiSilicon Hi37xx

HiSilicon had several partners showcasing their latest STB Soc Hi3716 @ 1GHz (Cortex-A9).

Attached Image
(Left) Coship Smart Box based on Hi3716 (Android 2.2); (Right) Using remote mouse to play Angry Birds on Coship Smart Box.

Coship showcased their hybrid Cable Android 2.2 STB with their wii-like remote and Skyworth demonstrated their triple play box (Broadcast, Broadband and VOIP video conferencing) using HiSilicon Hi3716.

Attached ImageHiSilicon Android reference platform

HiSilicon was on the same stand as Huawei (Hisilicon is a subsidary of Huawei) where several Hi37xx solutions were on display from home control to basic and advanced High Definition STBs with internet TV.

Amlogic AML8726-M

NDS also demoed their Infinite TV Over The Top (OTT) Platform for Connected TV and companion devices based on Amlogic AML8726-M (Cortex–A9 + Mali-400). I’m not quite sure NDS InfiniteTV runs Android, but I have seen a Chinese company (Shenzhen Amidia Electronics) run Android on the AMLogic Cortex A9 platform.

You can see a short demo of the platform below

Blog entry adapted from http://blogs.arm.com/multimedia/450-arm-partners-everywhere-at-ccbn/