PinePhone “Community Edition: UBports” Linux Phone Launched with Ubuntu Touch

PinePhone Community Edition UBports

PinePhone “BraveHeat” Limited Edition Linux smartphone launched last November as promised for $149.99. As the codename implied, it was for the enthusiasts as the phones that were part of that product batch may have had some defects, and came without an operating system, meaning the users had to flash the firmware themselves. But there’s now a new edition, namely PinePhone “Community Edition: UBports” pre-loaded with UBports with Ubuntu Touch featuring Lomiri user interface. The specifications are exactly the same with an Allwinner A64 quad-core Cortex-A53 processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB eMMC flash, a 5.95″ display with 1440×720 resolution, and 4G LTE cellular connectivity. The only difference is that Ubuntu Touch is preloaded to the device, and the back of the phone should have a marking showing you purchased UBports Edition. What should be noted is that it’s still not considered as a consumer device, as UBports is still beta, and the phone is primarily aimed at UBports community members who can …

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Pine64 is Giving Away 50,000 Face Masks to Makers

Pine64 Face masks giveaway

It’s interesting how to see how different countries handle the COVID-19 pandemic response. In Asia, virtually everybody is now wearing a face mask, sometimes hand-made due to supply issues, but in Europe and North America at least, I’ve seen authorities tell healthy people not to wear a mask at all, and reserve them to health professionals. I’ve even seen some nasty comments on Twitter complaining about people wearing masks at the grocery store (in the US) as they took supply out of health professionals. I personally think this is madness for a disease that is known to transmit from asymptomatic people, and I’m shocked to learn some people working at supermarkets are not given masks. But when I send photos from Thailand to my brother in France, he’s always surprised to see everybody wearing a mask. But everything points to masks being effective. N95 masks are the best, followed by surgical masks, but hand-made masks, or even wearing a bandana …

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Linux 5.6 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS & RISC-V Architectures

Linux 5.6 Changelog

Linus Torvalds has just announced the release of Linux 5.6 on the Linux Kernel Mailing List: So I’ll admit to vacillating between doing this 5.6 release and doing another -rc. This has a bit more changes than I’d like, but they are mostly from davem’s networking fixes pulls, and David feels comfy with them. And I looked over the diff, and none of it looks scary. It’s just slightly more than I’d have preferred at this stage – not doesn’t really seem worth delaying a release over. So about half the diff from the final week is network driver fixlets, and some minor core networking fixes. Another 20% is tooling – mostly bpf and netfilter selftests (but also some perf work). The rest is “misc” – mostly random drivers (gpio, rdma, input) and DTS files. With a smattering of fixes elsewhere (a couple of afs fixes, some vm fixes, etc). The shortlog is appended, nothing really looks all that exciting, …

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HardROCK64 SBC with Rockchip RK3399 Processor to Launch in April for $35 and Up

HardROCK64 SBC

If you thought we didn’t have enough Rockchip RK3399 SBCs already, Pine64 is working on a smaller and cheaper version of the RockPro64 single board computer with HardROCK64 SBC powered by RK3399 processor and following Raspberry Pi form factor. HardROCK64 specifications: SoC –  Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core processor with 2x Arm Cortex-A72 @ up to 1.8 GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.4 GHz, a Mali-T864 GPU, and a VPU with 4K VP9 and 4K 10-bit H265/H264 decoding System Memory – 1GB, 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4 Storage – SPI flash, eMMC flash socket, MicroSD card slot Video Output – HDMI 2.0, AV port, MIPI DSI connector Audio – Analog stereo audio via AV port, digital audio via HDMI Camera – MIPI CSI connector Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual-band WiFi 5 (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 5.0 USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USB 2.0 ports Expansion – 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header Misc – Fan & RTC headers, heatsink mount, IR receiver …

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Coronavirus Impact on Manufacturing and Shipping from China

Coronavirus manufacturing china

Unless you are living under a rock, you may have heard about the coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China. The Hubei province, and much of China, is in complete lockdown with many businesses closed, and people staying home as the government extended Chinese New Year for a few days until the epidemic is under control. This should obviously have an economic impact, at least in the short term, for the next few weeks or months since people are asked to stay home, and so much of what we consume is manufactured in China. And indeed, I’ve seen more and more companies announcing delays due to the virus, and I’ll provide some examples. Freetronics, an Australian company selling boards and other electronics products, has issued a notice explaining they are directly impacted since they work with manufacturers are based in Wuhan, Beijing, and Shenzhen: Bare PCBs for both Freetronics and SuperHouse products are mostly produced by Gold Phoenix, which is located in …

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Year 2019 in Review – Top 10 Posts and Stats

Happy New Year 2020

2019 is closing to an end, or you may already be into 2020 while reading this post. In any case, that means it’s time to look back at 2019 and look forward to the events and new products to take place next year. While 2018 was a boring year for new processors, 2019 brought us some interesting new chips such as Amlogic S922X / A311D, or the first Arm Cortex-A55 only processors such as Amlogic S905X3. Rockchip RK3399Pro was promising when it was announced last year, but it never really took off. It was a pretty quiet year for Allwinner as well. RISC-V architecture has been ramping up with the first general-purpose RISC-V MCU: GD32V, WCH CH572 Bluetooth LE MCU, the launch of more SiFive RISC-V cores, and Kendryte K210 RISC-V AI processor announced last year has found its way into more and more boards. There have also been the usual launches of mobile Arm processors from Qualcomm, Samsung, and …

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Nordic Semi nRF52832 Powered PineTime Dev Kit is Now Available for $24.99

PineTime Dev Kit

PineTime was announced as a $25 smartwatch & companion for PinePhone Linux smartphone which itself sells for $150. PineTime specifications are still not frozen, but we do know it will be based on  Nordic Semi nRF52832 or nRF52840 wireless SoC, come with a 1.3″ 240×240 capacitive touch display, and support a variety of operating systems such as ZephyrOS, FreeRTOS, Arm Mbed or NuttX depending on community involvement. So far it was not available for purchase, but in Pine64’s December update about their various projects, Lukasz Erecinski announced the PineTime dev kit is now available for pre-order for $24.99. PineTime Dev Kit specifications: WiSoC – Nordic Semiconductor nRF52832 ARM Cortex-M4F @ 64 MHz with 512KB Flash, 64KB RAM, Bluetooth 5.0 LE connectivity Storage – 4 MB SPI NOR Flash Display – 1.3″ 240×240 IPS capacitive touchscreen with 65K colors Sensors – Accelerometer, PPG Heart Rate Sensor Actuator – Vibrator Battery Built-in 170-180 mAh LiPo battery Charging via 2-pogo pin @ 5V/500mA …

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PinePhone “BraveHeart” Limited Edition Linux Smartphone is Now Available for $150

Pinephone

Pinephone is a Linux smartphone powered by an Allwinner A64 processor, and running one of the various Linux mobile distributions such as PostmarketOS or Ubuntu Touch among others. Last time we wrote about Pinephone mass-production schedule, the phone was expected to start shipping in October, and there has been a slight delay, but the good news is that Pinephone “BraveHeart” Limited Edition is now up for sale for $149.99. Note this batch is for enthusiasts as the phone may have some defects, and comes without operating system with the users having to flash it themselves. Pinephone specifications: SoC – Allwinner A64 quad-core Cortex-A53 processor @ up to 1.2 GHz with Arm Mali-400MP2 GPU System Memory – 2GB LPDDR3 SDRAM Storage – 16GB eMMC flash,  MicroSD Card (SDHC/SDXC) up to 2TB Display – 5.95″ IPS capacitive touchscreen with 1440×720 resolution Audio – Mono loudspeaker, 3.5mm stereo audio jack with mic support Cameras 5MP rear camera with 1/4″ sensor, LED Flash 2MP …

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