C.H.I.P, PocketCHIP & Voder’s Maker Next Thing Co. Is Still Up and Running (Correction)

[Update: Next Thing Co. CEO (Dave) contacted me to inform me the company was not closed, but there was just several unfortunate events: DNS problem with the site leading to the blog issue Next Thing Co Facebook page was closed months ago (due to too many requests from different sources) The Google Maps listing is not managed by Next Things Co themselves. I’ve left the rest of the post unchanged. (except the last sentence) ] Next Thing Co. introduced the $9 C.H.I.P computer powered by Allwinner A13/R8 in 2015, and worked with Free Electrons (now Bootlin) to bring mainline Linux to the platform. They also launched PocketCHIP portable Linux game console based on the module, and lateron introduced C.H.I.P Pro WiFi + BLE module based on Allwinner GR8 processor, and found in their Voder (previously Dashbot) car dashboard assistant. I’m actually still using a C.H.I.P board as a printer server, but this morning I was made aware that Next Thing …

Linux 4.10 Release – Main Changes, ARM & MIPS Architectures

Linus Torvalds has just released Linux 4.10: So there it is, the final 4.10 release. It’s been quiet since rc8, but we did end up fixing several small issues, so the extra week was all good. On the whole, 4.10 didn’t end up as small as it initially looked. After the huge release that was 4.9, I expected things to be pretty quiet, but it ended up very much a fairly average release by modern kernel standards. So we have about 13,000 commits (not counting merges – that would be another 1200+ commits if you count those). The work is all over, obviously – the shortlog below is just the changes in the last week, since rc8. Go out and verify that it’s all good, and I’ll obviously start pulling stuff for 4.11 on Monday. Linus Linux 4.9 added Greybus staging support, improved security thanks to virtually mapped kernel stacks, and memory protection keys, included various file systems improvements, and …

$49 Dashbot Car Dashboard Assistant is Powered by C.H.I.P Pro Allwinner GR8 Module (Crowdfunding)

Most companies specializing in development boards may sell a few accessories for their boards, but usually leave product design to their customers. Next Thing Co. does that too, but the company also produces some products like PocketCHIP portable Linux computer & retro game console, and more recently Dashbot, a voice controller assistant for your car’s dashboard powered by CHIP Pro module. Dashbot hardware specifications: CPU Module – CHIP Pro with Allwinner GR8 ARM Cortex A8 processor @ 1.0 GHz, 512MB NAND flash, 256 DDR3 RAM, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2 External Storage – micro SD slot Display – Red LED display Audio – 32-bit audio DSP for beamforming & noise suppression; fairfield audio pre-processor with 24-bit ADC; high fidelity MEMS microphone array (106 dB dynamic range) USB – 1x USB host port Power Supply – 5V via USB port or 12V via power port (aka cigarette lighter) + backup LiFePo4 battery Dimensions – 84 x 60 x 28 mm The …

Outernet Introduces Standalone & DIY Internet Satellite Kits for C.H.I.P Board, Raspberry Pi 3 Board, and Laptops

Outernet goal is to bring knowledge and/or emergency info to places without Internet either to remote places, or where Internet has been temporary shutdown due to natural disasters or political reasons through a satellite feed. In some ways, it works like a typical FM radio, but instead of receiving audio, you’ll get data. The first hardware was based on WeTek Play TV box, and called Lighthouse, but they now have a DIY kit that will work with Next Thing C.H.I.P, Raspberry Pi, or Laptops running Windows 7/10 or Linux, as well as a standalone Outernet Satellite kit including C.H.I.P Allwinner R8 development board. Let’s first check out “Basic Outernet DIY Kit” comprised of three items: L-Band Antenna Frequency: 1525 – 1559 MHz (Center frequency: 1542 MHz) 8dbi 4″  SMA Male connector Dimensions – 12 cm x 12 cm x 1.5 cm Weight – ~100 grams RTL-SDR Blog Software Defined Radio/Tuner USB dongle Ultra-low phase noise 0.5PPM TCXO RF-suitable voltage regulator …

CHIP Pro is a $16 WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 System-on-Module Powered by a $6 GR8 ARM Cortex A8 SIP

Next Thing CHIP board and corresponding PocketCHIP portable Linux computer have been relatively popular due to their inexpensive price for the feature set, as for $9, you’d get an Allwinner R8 ARM Cortex A8 processor, 512MB flash, 4GB NAND flash, WiFi & Bluetooth connectivity, and plenty of I/Os, which made it very attractive for IoT applications compared to other cheap boards such as Raspberry Pi Zero and Orange Pi One. The first board was mostly designed for hobbyists, but  company has now designed a new lower profile system-on-module called CHIP Pro based on Next Thing GR8 SIP combining Allwinner R8 SoC with 256MB DDR3 RAM that can be used for easy integration into your own hardware project. While the original CHIP board exposed full USB ports and interface for video signal, the new CHIP Pro is specifically designed for IoT with the following specs: SIP – Allwinner R8 ARM Cortex A8 processor @ up to 1.0 GHz with Mali-400 GPU …

C.H.I.P Board and Allwinner A13/R8 SoCs To Get VPU Support in Linux Mainline

Allwinner has mixed relationships with open source communities such as Kodi, especially due to issues with its closed-source CedarX VPU drivers, and some GPL violations. However to address the former, linux-sunxi community has been working on open source Cedrus library for the video processor unit on Allwinner processors, that’s been successfully tested on boards such as Orange Pi One. Free Electrons has gone  further, as they’ve made sure Cedrus now works with Linux mainline kernel, currently Linux 4.8, and tested it on Allwinner R8 based Pocket CHIP. The work has been done by Florent Revest, a 19 years old intern at the company, who delivered a new sunxi-cedrus driver, a Video4Linux (V4L2) memory-to-memory decoder kernel driver, and corresponding VA-API backend, with the implementations currently available on Github here and there respectively. Currently only MPEG2 and MPEG4 are working, but adding other codecs such as H.264, and video encoding is possible using the current framework. The short demo below shown VideoLAN …

Embedded Linux Conference & IoT Summit Europe 2016 Schedule

Embedded Linux Conference & IoT summit 2016 first took place in the US in April, but the events are now also scheduled in Europe on October 11 – 13 in Berlin, Germany, and the schedule has now been published. Even if you are no going to attend, it’s always interesting to find out more about the topic covered in that type of events, so I had a look, and created my own virtual schedule with some of the sessions. Tuesday, October 11 10:40 – 11:30 – JerryScript: An Ultra-lightweight JavaScript Engine for the Internet of Things – Tilmann Scheller, Samsung Electronics JerryScript is a lightweight JavaScript engine designed to bring the success of JavaScript to small IoT devices like lamps, thermometers, switches and sensors. This class of devices tends to use resource-constrained microcontrollers which are too small to fit a large JavaScript engine like V8 or JavaScriptCore. JerryScript is heavily optimized for low memory consumption and runs on platforms with …

Review of PocketCHIP Hackable Handheld Linux Computer

It’s not that easy to describe PocketC.H.I.P in a couple of words, as it’s so versatile. It’s a Debian based portable Linux computer with a resistive touchscreen and battery, but also a retro gaming console thanks to PICO-8, as well as a hardware development platform for IoT application with expansion header providing access to I/Os including GPIOs, I2C, SPI, UART…, and WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. Furthermore you can easily dismantle the device, in order to use the CHIP board, based on Allwinner R8 Cortex A8 processor, for a different project. So when Next Thing asked me if I was interested in reviewing Pocket CHIP, I was pretty excited, but when I received it, I scratched my head as there are so many ways to review the item, and it works out of the box with the firmware pre-loaded inside the internal flash, so a getting starting guide would have been too short: “press the power button, and have fun”. So …