Allwinner R328 Smart Speaker & System-on-Module Spotted in China

Allwinner R328 Smart Speaker

Earlier this year, Allwinner introduced some AIoT (AI + IoT) processors including Allwinner R328 dual-core Cortex-A7 processor for “low-cost voice interaction solutions” aka low-cost smart speakers. I did not pay too much attention at the processor at the time, but since then, the company has released a product brief with some more details about the processor. We can see it integrates 64MB to 128MB DDR3 memory which should be enough to run Linux without external memory, and truly provide a low-cost solution for smart speakers, and I was told the chip may cost around $3. I was also asked whether Allwinner R328 smart speakers were already shipping. A Google search in English did not help, so I had to switch to Chinese, and after visiting several sites, I could see some Allwinner A328 platforms including a smart speaker and a system-on-module were showcased at some event in China. We’ve got a photo, but that much more info about the speaker …

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FCC: That Cheap Chinese TV Box may end up Costing you $147,000

FCC TV Box Fine

Buying inexpensive TV boxes from China is fun, but in order to provide the lowest possible price, some manufacturers may cut corners, and forgo things like FCC certification. It seems the FCC has noticed an issue an enforcement advisory / public notice entitled “VIDEO TV SET-TOP BOXES, INCLUDING THOSE THAT STREAM INTERNET CONTENT, MUST COMPLY WITH FCC EQUIPMENT AUTHORIZATION REQUIREMENTS” with the threat of fines exceeding $147,000. If you are an individual you may think that you are safe since you are not “marketing” anything, but a footnote explains the meaning of marketing: Importing, advertising and selling are three aspects of “marketing” under the Commission’s rules. The text of the notice further mentions that even just operating the device is a violation, and anyone doing so should stop immediately. The document explains a little more about the fines: Users, manufacturers, importers, and retailers that violate Commission marketing or operating rules may be subject to the penalties authorized by the Communications …

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Gaokede Building in HuaQiangBei Electronics Market Closed, Scheduled for Destruction

Huaqiangbei gaokede building closed

HuaQiangBei electronics market is one of the most popular places for makers in Shenzhen, as you can purchase any kind of components in shops spread across several multi-story buildings. If you can’t find something over there, you’re unlikely to find it anywhere else. So this morning when I read an article entitled “Vendors protest eviction from Shenzhen’s historic Huaqiangbei electronics market” with photos like the one above I was shocked initially thinking the complete market would potentially close. I can still clearly remember SEG building along the main street when I lived in China many years ago. This building is still up and running, and instead Technode reports about the closure of the eight-story Gaokede building which was planned since the end of 2018, and the owner cut off electricity and water supplies yesterday. Even if you are a regular visitor, you’d be forgiven if you forgot where Gaokede is located exactly. It’s building 2 on the map above, while …

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Black Friday 2018 – International Deals

Black Friday 2018 GearBest

November 11.11 is now behind us, but that means Black Friday and Cyber Monday are soon approaching and as usual I’ve gathered some deals or events geared towards an International audience, mostly through various China based online shopping websites. GearBest Black Friday activity has already started with the run-up stage on November 14-21 with deposit expansion and lucky draw, followed by the main event taking place on November 21-26 with $100-$200 coupons and 24-hour flash sale, and finally Cyber Monday event from November 26-31 with activity details to be determined. There’s also a Black Friday coupon that works sitewide: BlackFriday-GB. The coupon provides 10% discount on order of $10 or more on items located in the Chinese (CN-099) warehouse, and not yet discounted. The coupon is valid until November 26, 0:00 UTC+8 Beijing Time (unless more than 20,000 units are sold with the coupon) GeekBuying’s promise of up to 80% discount in their Black Friday event should probably be taken …

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Xiaomi Introduces Mi Box 3c and 3s TV Boxes with Artificial Intelligence Capabilities

Xiaomi has launched two new upgraded models based on their Mi Box 3 TV box powered by Amlogic S905-H processor, with Mi Box 3s with Amlogic S905X-H and 2GB RAM, and Mi Box 3c with Amlogic S905-H and 1 GB RAM. Beside the box hardware changes, the most significant updates are the replacement of MIUI TV interface by allegedly the first set-top box system with AI in the world, which the company calls Patch Wall, as well as Mi Touch IR remote control which include a touch ring in place of the usual arrow keys (3s only). Xiaomi Mi Box 3s specifications: SoC – Amlogic S905X-H quad core ARM Cortex A53 processor + Mali-450MP GPU System memory – 2GB RAM Storage – 8GB eMMC flash Video Output – HDMI2.0a port with HDR support + AV port Audio – Dolby and DTS support Connectivity – WiFi 802.11ac Dual band 2.4 / 5GHz, Bluetooth 4.1 USB – 1x USB 2.0 port Xiaomi …

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TV Box Market Data (for China): Weekly Sales, Average Prices, Most Popular Devices & Streaming Services

I’ve recently seen a tweet from IloveRockchip twitter account about the weekly sales data, and market share of octa-core, quad-core, and other OTT TV boxes. The chart below shows 108,000 Android TV boxes were sold on the 37th week of 2016 (September 12 – 18), and that while quad core TV boxes still held 77% market share that week, octa-core sales grew by 108%. The downside is that the data is only for the Chinese market. But I still found interesting to investigate whether I could get more information. The research company, All View Cloud, will release weekly data to their paid customers, but a free sample report for Week 21 (16-22 May) can be downloaded from their website (N.B.: The link does not work in Firefox for me, but it does in Chrome). “SALES” must be the quantity, roughly between 100,000 and 150,000 units sold per week, and if we extrapolate with the 5-week data above, that means about …

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NayuOS is a Developer Friendly Chromium OS Fork without Google Services

People at Nexedi, an European based open-source software publisher, are doing a lot of development work on Chromebooks, but with Chrome OS, all your data is kept on Google servers when you login, and by default the OS basically runs Chrome browser with barely any development tools. So the company leveraged Chromium OS, the open source version of Chrome OS, to create their own operating system, called NayuOS, that does not run any proprietary software, does without Google servers, and comes with git, nmp and other developer tools by default. The operating system should also provide a better Chromebook experience in China, thanks to the company’s re6stnet app and GrandeNet system allowing to have IPv6 available even when ISPs only provide IPv4, and to work around the unreliable Internet infrastructure in China. The source code and instructions to build an image yourself are available, but the company also released binary images for several Chromebooks including Dell Chromebook 13, Acer C720 …

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Loongson Introduces MIPS64 3A2000 & 3B2000 Processors Based on GS464E Architecture

Loongson recently unveiled two new quad core processors Loongson-3A2000 & Loongson-3B2000 targeting respectively consumer electronics and server, and on the company’s new GS464E architecture using MIPS64 cores. Both processors are 4-way superscalar processors built on a 9-stage, super-pipelined architecture with in-order execution units, two floating-point units, a memory management unit, and a crossbar interconnect. According to Imagination Technology, Chinese media reported that 3A2000 CPU was designed at high-performance consumer electronics products such as desktop computers and laptops, 64-bit embedded and DSP applications, and network routers, while 3B2000 will be used in 8 to 16 core server systems, meaning there would be 2 to 4 quad core processors in these servers. I could not find anything about the new processors on Loongson product page, but a white paper describes GS464E architecture in details. Unfortunately, the document is entirely in Chinese, except the abstract and some charts and tables: Loongson GS464E is the most recent processor architecture introduced by Loongson Technology. In …

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