Hikey 970 Documentation, HiAI DDK, Linux Firmware Images, and Support Forums

Hikey 970 board has impressive specifications with Huawei Kirin 970 SoC featuring an octa-core Arm Cortex A73/A53 processor and an Arm Mali-G72-MP12 GPU, coupled with 6GB LPDDR4x and 64GB UFS storage. It’s also one of the first broadly available developer platforms equipped with a Neural Processing Unit for artificial intelligence applications. However when it launched in April, Hikey 970 documentation was lacking, and despite the board is supposed to run both Android (AOSP) and Linux distributions such as Ubuntu or Debian, so far only AOSP is shown in the download section, with Linux distributions “coming soon”. But if you want to start as soon as possible there are still some good news. First, some documentation for the board has been released on Github, including getting started guides, hardware documentation (schematics, user manual, etc..), and some instructions to build AOSP from source code, and flash it to the UFS storage. If you are interested in Huawei artificial intelligence SDK (HiAI DDK) …

Armbian History, Infrastructure, and Progress Report

Armbian-Services

Many of us rely on Armbian Debian and Ubuntu images for our cheap Arm development boards since they usually offer better support than vendor supplied firmware images. The community has just updated Armbian website, but the thing that caught my eye in the announcement was a link to a 45-minute presentation by Igor Pečovnik, working full-time on the project, that details the history about Armbian, and provides a relatively recent progress update as it was made at BalCCon – Balkan Computer Congress in November 2017. I’ve embedded the video further below, but first I’ll provide summary of the key point made during the presentation. It all started with Cubieboard (A20) as Igor was trying to fix some issues, and learn how to improve software support on the board. Several people joined his efforts on Cubieboard forums, and eventually Armbian website launched in mid 2014 running on the Cubieboard then ODROID-XU4 board as interest and traffic increased. The main motivations of …

RockPro64 Board is Now Available for $59.99 and Up for Early Adopters & Developers

Several Rockchip RK3399 development boards and SBCs were announced or launched in Q4 2017 / Q1 2018, including Orange Pi RK3399, ODROID-N1, Rock960, etc… RockPro64 was the most aggressively priced of the lot as it was expected to launch for about $60. The good news is that Pine 64 is now selling the first production batch for $59.99 (2GB RAM) or $79.99 (4GB RAM). The less good news is that software is still being worked on so the company only recommends it for early adapters and developers. RockPro64 specifications have changed a bit since the board now comes with LPDDR4 memory instead of LPDDR3: SoC – Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core processor with 2x ARM Cortex A72 cores up to 2.0 GHz, 4x Cortex A53 cores, and an Arm Mali-T860 MP4 GPU System Memory – 2 or 4 GB LPDDR4, dual channel Storage – eMMC flash module (up to 128 GB), micro SD card (bootable), 128 Mbit SPI flash Video Output & …

24 Orange Pi Zero Boards Cluster and ArmWizard’s Debian Image

ArmWizard forum member “-W.-” needed a cluster to test his firmware build and deployment solution for Orange Pi Zero boards which can deploy the firmware to multiple boards from one single board. So he procured 24 Orange Pi Zero boards, a 24-port switch, some USB hubs and debug board, as well as some other accessories, power supplies, and two wooden planks. That’s the results after assembly. So we have 4 tower of six Orange Pi Zero boards fairly neatly connected to the 24-port Ethernet switch with 30 cm Ethernet cables, and four black USB hubs for the USB to TTL debug boards. The side view below shows the boards are powered by micro USB cables connected to three different power supplies, cooling achieved via four fans,  and the power extension is hidden right underneath close to the Ethernet switch. The cluster will also be used for machine learning latter on,  at least to detect potential bottlenecks due to the relatively …

Run Linux Apps in (PixelBook) Chromebook with Crostini VM

Ever since the first Chromebooks were released, it has been possible to run Ubuntu or other Linux distributions using Crouton (Chromium OS Universal Chroot Environment) on Chrome OS devices, but that requires to enable developer mode, which disables some of security features that come with Chrome OS. Google has now make it easier and safer with Crostini VM that does not require developer mode. The only downsides for now are that it only works on Google Pixelbook, and you need to install/run Chrome OS v67 dev channel with the #enable-cros-container flag enabled. Using Crostini is fairly straightforward. First start crosh terminal with Ctrl++Atl+t, and running the following command to create a VM, and launch a container:

This will start a Debian Stretch environment with networking and GUI support, so you can install & run programs like you would in Debian (e.g. apt install htop).  Kevin Tofel at AboutChromebooks managed to install the Eclipse IDE (See screenshot above) and Sublime …

Hikey 970 Development Board is Now Up for Pre-order for $299.99

Four A.I. development boards compliant with 96Boards specifications were announced at Linaro Connect HK 2018 last month: HiKey 970, Ultra96, as well as ROCK960 PRO & Enterprise Edition. So for we only knew pricing for Ultra96 ($249), but I’ve now noticed Hikey 970 “Super Edge AI Computing Platform”  is now up for pre-order for $299.99 on Lenovator website, with shipping planned for the end of April. [Update: Also found on Seeed Studio for the same price] Hikey 970 specifications: SoC – Huawei/Hisilicon Kirin 970 with 4x Cortex A73 @ 2.36GHz,  4x Cortex A53 @ 1.8GHz, Arm Mali G72-MP12 GPU, NPU (Neural Processing Unit) with 256MAC/cycle @ 960MHz System Memory – 6GB 1866MHz, 4 Channel LPDDR4x Storage – 64GB UFS storage, micro SD card slot, PCIe Gen3 on M.2 M key connector Video Output – HDMI 1.4 type A up to 1080p60 (TBC), 1x 4-lane MIPI DSI (via HS expansion connector) Video – MPEG2 @ 80 Mbps, MPEG4 @ 50 Mbps, …

Banana Pi BPI-W2 Multimedia Router / NAS Board Launched for $93

RTD1296-Development-Board

SinoVoIP has really been busy for products launches this month, as Banana Pi BPI-W2 is the fourth board they’ve started selling on Aliexpress. The board is designed for media, storage, and networking application, thanks to its Realtek RTD1296 quad core processor combined with 2GB RAM, dual Gigabit Ethernet, dual SATA interfaces, M.2 slots, USB 3.0/2.0 ports, HDMI 2.0a output and input, and more. Banana Pi BPI-W2 specifications have not changed since the early announcement last fall: SoC – Realtek RTD1296 quad core Cortex A53 processor with ARM Mali-T820 MP3 GPU System Memory – 2GB DDR4 RAM Storage – 8GB eMMC flash (optional 16, 32 or 64GB), 2x SATA 3.0 interfaces,  micro SD slot up to 256GB Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60 Hz, mini DP Input – HDMI 2.0 input up to 1080p60 Playback – HDR, 10-bit HEVC/H.265 up to 4K @ 60fps, H.264 up to 4K @ 24 fps, VP9 up to 4K @ 30 …

SudoProc is a Tiny LGA System-on-Module Based on Rockchip RK3288 SoC

Most systems-on-module are designed to be inserted into a baseboard thanks to an edge connectors or one or more board-to-board connectors, although I’ve also seen some with castellated pins allowing them to be soldered to the carrier board. The guys at Sudo Systems LLC have taken a different approach as they went with a custom designed 210-pin LGA (Land grid array) module instead, which is based on Rockchip RK3288 processor, and extremely compact at  65 x 40 x 4.3 mm. SudoProc module specifications: SoC – Rockchip RK3288 quad core Cortex-A17 processor @ up to 1.8 GHz with Arm Mali-T764 GPU System Memory – 4GB LPDDR3 (Samsung) @ 1066MHz; 2 x 32 bit, dual channel Video Decoding –  H.264 decoder @ [email protected], H.265 decoder @[email protected], and H.264/MVC/VP8 encoder [email protected] Storage – 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB or 512GB eMMC 4.5 flash LGA package with 210 pins exposing: Storage I/F – 8-bit NAND flash I/F, 4-bit SDMMC 3.0 Video I/O eDP 1.3 @ …