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Posts Tagged ‘ufs’
Orange Pi Development Boards

HiKey 960 Android Development Board Gets a 4GB RAM Version for $250

January 13th, 2018 6 comments

Hikey 960 development board is one of the most powerful Arm boards on the market thanks to Huawei/Hisilicon Kirin 960 octa-core processor with four ARM Cortex A73 cores, four Cortex A53 cores, and a Mali-G71 MP8 GPU, fast storage with 32GB UFS 2.1 flash, and 3GB LPDDR3 memory. Like the earlier Hikey (620) board, the board is also an official reference board for AOSP, so you should be able to run the latest Android version, and also play with sensors using Neonkey SensorHub 96Boards mezzanine board.

If you are somehow limited by the 3GB RAM on the board, you can rejoice as Seeed Studio has just launched a 4GB RAM version selling for $249, or about $10 extra. Note that shipping is only scheduled for February 2, 2018, so those are pre-orders.

The rest of the specifications for Hikey 960 4GB RAM version are unchanged:

  • SoC – Huawei Kirin 960 octa-core big.LITTLE processor with 4x ARM Cortex A73 cores @ up to 2.3 GHz, 4x Cortex A53 cores @ up to 1.8 GHz, and a Mali-G71 MP8 GPU @ up to 900 MHz
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4 SDRAM @ 1866 MHz
  • Storage – 32GB UFS flash storage + micro SD card slot up to 2TB (SD3.0, SRD104)
  • Video Output / Display Interface – 1x HDMI 1.4 up to 1080p; 1x 4-lane MIPI DSI connector up to 3840×2400 @ 60 Hz via HS expansion connector
  • Video Decode – H265\HEVC MP/High Tier, Main/High Tier, H.264 BP/MP/HP, MPEG 1/2/4, VC-1, VP6/8, RV8/9/10, DIVX, H265 up to 4K @60fps
  • Video Encode – 4K @30fps H.265/H264
  • Audio – Via HDMI, Tensilica HiFi 3.0 DSP audio subsystem
  • Connectivity – Dual band 802.11 a/b/g/n/a WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 with two antennas (TI Wilink 8 WL1837 module)
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 type A host ports, 1x USB 2.0 type C OTG port
  • Camera – 1x 4-lane MIPI CSI, 1x 2-lane MIPI CSI via HS expansion connector
  • Expansion
    • PCIe Gen2 on M.2 M Key connector
    • 40 pin low speed (LS) expansion connector with +1.8V, +5V, DC power, GND, 2x UART, 2x I2C, SPI, I2S, 12x GPIO
    • 60 pin high speed (HS) expansion connector: 4L MIPI DSI, 2L+4L MIPI CSI, 2x I2C, SPI (48M), USB 2.0
  • Misc – LEDs for WiFi & Bluetooth, 4x user LEDs, power button, reset button
  • Power Supply –  8V-18V/2A via 4.75/1.7mm power barrel (EIAJ-3 Compliant); 12V/2A power supply recommended; PMU: Hi6421GWCV530, Hi6422GWCV211, Hi6422GWCV212;
  • Dimensions – 85mm x 55mm
  • Weight – 60 grams

Click to Enlarge

Hikey 960 is purely an Android development platform, as even though there are references to Debian Dekstop/Developer images, there don’t seem to be available for download, so AFAICS there’s no Linux support. Beside information provided in Android developer’s website (linked above), you’ll also find software and hardware documentation on 96Boards Github account.

UFS 3.0 Embedded Flash to Support Full-Duplex 2.4GB/s Transfer Speeds

September 10th, 2017 3 comments

All my devices still rely on eMMC flash for storage, but premium smartphones, for example, make use of UFS 2.0/UFS 2.1 flash storage with performance similar to SSD, with Samsung UFS 2.0 storage achieving up to 850MB/s read speed, 260 MB/s write speed, and 50K/30K R/W IOPS. UFS 3.0 promises to roughly double the performance of UFS 2.0/2.1 with transfer rates of up to 2.4 GB/s, and separately, the UFS Card v2.0 standard should deliver UFS 2.1 performance on removable storage.

Image Source: Next Generation of Mobile Storage : UFS and UFS Card – Click to Enlarge

Several Chinese and Taiwanese websites, including CTimes and Benchlife, have reported that companies have started getting UFS 3.0 & UFS Card v2.0 licenses from JEDEC, and Phison is working on a controller to support both new standards, and scheduled to launch in 2018.

Premium smartphone SoC are only expect to support UFS 3.0 in 2019 and beyond, and hopefully by that time eMMC will have been replaced by UFS 2.0/2.1 in entry level and mid range devices. The outlook for UFS cards is less clear, as I’ve yet to see a product equipped with a UFS slot.

Click to Enlarge

Based on a recent presentation at the Flash Memory Summit, (typical) embedded storage capacity will also increase to 32GB for IoT / multimedia applications, 256GB for smart home products and drones, 512GB for mobile devices, and over 1TB for automotive applications.

Via Liliputing

Embedded Linux Conference & Open Source Summit Europe 2017 Schedule

August 27th, 2017 4 comments

The Embedded Linux Conference & IoT summit 2017 took place in the US earlier this year in February, but there will soon be a similar event with the Embedded Linux Conference *& Open Source Summit Europe 2017 to take up in Europe on October 23 – 25 in Prague, Czech Republic, and the Linux Foundation has just published the schedule. It’s always useful to find out what is being discussed during such events, even if you are not going to attend, so I went through the different sessions, and compose my own virtual schedule with some of the ones I find the most interesting.

Monday, October 23

  • 11:15 – 11:55 – An Introduction to SPI-NOR Subsystem – Vignesh Raghavendra, Texas Instruments India

Modern day embedded systems have dedicated SPI controllers to support NOR flashes. They have many hardware level features to increase the ease and efficiency of accessing SPI NOR flashes and also support different SPI bus widths and speeds.

In order to support such advanced SPI NOR controllers, SPI-NOR framework was introduced under Memory Technology Devices (MTD). This presentation aims at providing an overview of SPI-NOR framework, different types of NOR flashes supported (like SPI/QSPI/OSPI) and interaction with SPI framework. It also provides an overview of how to write a new controller driver or add support for a new flash device.

The presentation then covers generic improvements done and proposed while working on improving QSPI performance on a TI SoC, challenges associated when using DMA with these controllers and other limitations of the framework.

  • 12:05 – 12:45 – Free and Open Source Software Tools for Making Open Source Hardware – Leon Anavi, Konsulko Group

The open source hardware movement is becoming more and more popular. But is it worth making open source hardware if it has been designed with expensive proprietary software? In this presentation, Leon Anavi will share his experience how to use free and open source software for making high-quality entirely open source devices: from the designing the PCB with KiCAD through making a case with OpenSCAD or FreeCAD to slicing with Cura and 3D printing. The talk will also provide information about open source hardware licenses, getting started guidelines, tips for avoiding common pitfalls and mistakes. The challenges of prototyping and low-volume manufacturing with both SMT and THT will be also discussed.

  • 14:20 – 15:00 – Introduction to SoC+FPGA – Marek Vašut, DENX Software Engineering GmbH

In this talk, Marek introduces the increasingly popular single-chip SoC+FPGA solutions. At the beginning, the diverse chip offerings from multiple vendors are introduced, ranging from the smallest IoT-grade solutions all the way to large industrial-level chips with focus on their software support. Mainline U-Boot and Linux support for such chips is quite complete, and already deployed in production. Marek demonstrates how to load and operate the FPGA part in both U-Boot and Linux, which recently gained FPGA manager support. Yet to fully leverage the potential of the FPGA manager in combination with Device Tree (DT) Overlays, patches are still needed. Marek explains how the FPGA manager and the DT Overlays work, how they fit together and how to use them to obtain a great experience on SoC+FPGA, while pointing out various pitfalls.

  • 15:10 – 15:50 – Cheap Complex Cameras – Pavel Machek, DENX Software Engineering GmbH

Cameras in phones are different from webcams: their main purpose is to take high-resolution still pictures. Running preview in high resolution is not feasible, so resolution switch is needed just before taking final picture. There are currently no applications for still photography that work with mainline kernel. (Pavel is working on… two, but both have some limitations). libv4l2 is doing internal processing in 8-bit, which is not enough for digital photography. Cell phones have 10 to 12-bit sensors, some DSLRs do 14-bit depth.

Differences do not end here. Cell phone camera can produce reasonable picture, but it needs complex software support. Auto-exposure / auto-gain is a must for producing anything but completely black or completely white frames. Users expect auto-focus, and it is necessary for reasonable pictures in macro range, requiring real-time processing.

  • 16:20 – 17:00 – Bluetooth Mesh with Zephyr OS and Linux – Johan Hedberg, Open Source Technology Center, Intel

Bluetooth Mesh is a new standard that opens a whole new wave of low-power wireless use cases. It extends the range of communication from a single peer-to-peer connection to a true mesh topology covering large areas, such as an entire building. This paves the way for both home and industrial automation applications. Typical home scenarios include things like controlling the lights in your apartment or adjusting the thermostat. Although Bluetooth 5 was released end of last year, Bluetooth Mesh can be implemented on any device supporting Bluetooth 4.0 or later. This means that we’ll likely see very rapid market adoption of the feature.

The presentation will give an introduction to Bluetooth Mesh, covering how it works and what kind of features it provides. The talk will also give an overview of Bluetooth Mesh support in Zephyr OS and Linux and how to create wireless solutions with them.

  • 17:10 – 17:50 – printk() – The Most Useful Tool is Now Showing its Age – Steven Rostedt, VMware

printk() has been the tool for debugging the Linux kernel and for being the display mechanism for Linux as long as Linux has been around. It’s the first thing one sees as the life of the kernel begins, from the kernel banner and the last message at shutdown. It’s critical as people take pictures of a kernel oops to send to the kernel developers to fix a bug, or to display on social media when that oops happens on the monitor on the back of an airplane seat in front of you.

But printk() is not a trivial utility. It serves many functionalities and some of them can be conflicting. Today with Linux running on machines with hundreds of CPUs, printk() can actually be the cause of live locks. This talk will discuss all the issues that printk() has today, and some of the possible solutions that may be discussed at Kernel Summit.

  • 18:00 – 18:45 – BoF: Embedded Linux Size – Michael Opdenacker, Free Electrons

This “Birds of a Feather” session will start by a quick update on available resources and recent efforts to reduce the size of the Linux kernel and the filesystem it uses.

An ARM based system running the mainline kernel with about 3 MB of RAM will also be demonstrated. If you are interested in the size topic, please join this BoF and share your experience, the resources you have found and your ideas for further size reduction techniques!

Tuesday, October 24

  • 10:55 – 11:35 – Introducing the “Lab in a Box” Concept – Patrick Titiano & Kevin Hilman, BayLibre

Continuous Integration (CI) has been a hot topic for long time. With the growing number of architectures and boards, it becomes impossible for maintainers to validate a patch on all configurations, making it harder and harder to keep the same quality level without leveraging CI and test automation. Recent initiatives like LAVA, KernelCI.org, Fuego, (…) started providing a first answer, however the learning curve remains high, and the HW setup part is not covered.

Baylibre, already involved in KernelCI.org, decided, as part of the AGL project, to go one step further in CI automation and has developed a turnkey solution for developers and companies willing to instantiate a LAVA lab; called “Lab in a Box”, it aims at simplifying the configuration of a board farm (HW, SW).

Motivations, challenges, benefits and results will be discussed, with a demo of a first “Lab in a Box” instantiation.

  • 11:45 – 12:25 – Protecting Your System from the Scum of the Universe – Gilad Ben-Yossef, Arm Holdings

Linux based systems have a plethora of security related mechanisms: DM-Crypt, DM-Verity, Secure Boot, the new TEE sub-system, FScrypt and IMA are just a few examples. This talk will describe these the various systems and provide a practical walk through of how to mix and match these mechanisms and design them into a Linux based embedded system in order to strengthen the system resilience to various nefarious attacks, whether the system discussed is a mobile phone, a tablet, a network attached DVR, a router, or an IOT hub in a way that makes maximum use of the sometime limited hardware resources of such systems.

  • 14:05 – 14:45 – Open Source Neuroimaging: Developing a State-of-the-Art Brain Scanner with Linux and FPGAs – Danny Abukalam, Codethink

Neuroimaging is an established medical field which is helping us to learn more about how the human brain works, the most complex human organ. This talk aims to cover neuroimaging systems, from hobbyist to professional, and how open source has been used to build state-of-the-art systems. We’ll have a look the general problem area, why open source was a good fit, and some examples of solutions including a commercial effort that we have been involved in bringing to market. Typically these solutions consist of specialist hardware, a bespoke software solutions stack, and a suite to manage and process the vast amounts of data generated during the scan. Other points of interest include how we approached building a maintainable and upgradeable system from the outset. We’ll also talk about future plans for neuroimaging, future ideas for hardware & discuss areas lacking good open source solutions.

  • 14:55 – 15:35 – More Robust I2C Designs with a New Fault-Injection Driver – Wolfram Sang, Renesas

It has its challenges to write code for certain error paths for I2C bus drivers because these errors usually don’t happen on the bus. And special I2C bus testers are expensive. In this talk, a new GPIO based driver will be presented which acts on the same bus as the bus master driver under inspection. A live demonstration will be given as well as hints how to handle bugs which might have been found. The scope and limitations of this driver will be discussed. Since it will also be analyzed what actually happens on the wires, this talk also serves as a case study how to snoop busses with only Free Software and OpenHardware (i.e. sigrok).

  • 16:05 – 16:45 – GStreamer for Tiny Devices – Olivier Crête, Collabora

GStreamer is a complete Open Source multimedia framework, and it includes hundreds of plugins, including modern formats like DASH, HLS or the first ever RTSP 2.0 implementation. The whole framework is almost 150MB on my computer, but what if you only have 5 megs of flash available? Is it a viable choice? Yes it is, and I will show you how.

Starting with simple tricks like only including the necessary plugins, all the way to statically compiling only the functions that are actually used to produce the smaller possible footprint.

  • 16:55 – 17:35 – Maintaining a Linux Kernel for 13 Years? You Must be Kidding Me. We Need at Least 30? – Agustin Benito Bethencourt, Codethink Ltd

Industrial grade solutions have a life expectancy of 30+ years. Maintaining a Linux kernel for such a long time in the open has not been done. Many claim that is not sustainable, but corporations that build power plants, railway systems, etc. are willing to tackle this challenge. This talk will describe the work done so far on the kernel maintenance and testing front at the CIP initiative.

During the talk it will be explained how we decide which parts of the kernel to cover – reducing the amount of work to be done and the risk of being unable to maintain the claimed support. The process of reviewing and backporting fixes that might be needed on an older branch will be briefly described. CIP is taking a different approach from many other projects when it comes to testing the kernel. The talk will go over it as well as the coming steps. and the future steps.

Wednesday, October 24

  • 11:05 – 11:45 – HDMI 4k Video: Lessons Learned – Hans Verkuil, Cisco Systems Norway

So you want to support HDMI 4k (3840×2160) video output and/or video capture for your new product? Then this is the presentation for you! I will describe the challenges involved in 4k video from the hardware level, the HDMI protocol level and up to the kernel driver level. Special attention will be given to what to watch out for when buying 4k capable equipment and accessories such as cables and adapters since it is a Wild, Wild West out there.

  • 11:55 – 12:35 – Linux Powered Autonomous Arctic Buoys – Satish Chetty, Hera Systems 

In my talk/presentation, I cover the technical, and design challenges in developing an autonomous Linux powered Arctic buoy. This system is a low cost, COTS based, extreme/harsh environment, autonomous sensor data gathering platform. It measures albedo, weather, water temperature and other parameters. It runs on a custom embedded Linux and is optimized for efficient use of solar & battery power. It uses a variety of low cost, high accuracy/precision sensors and satellite/terrestrial wireless communications.

I talk about using Linux in this embedded environment, and how I address and solve various issues including building a custom kernel, Linux drivers, frame grabbing issues and results from cameras, limited power challenges, clock drifts due to low temperature, summer melt challenges, failure of sensors, intermittent communication issues and various other h/w & s/w challenges.

  • 14:15 – 14:55 – Linux Storage System Bottleneck for eMMC/UFS – Bean Huo & Zoltan Szubbocsev, Micron

The storage device is considered a bottleneck to the system I/O performance. This thinking drives the need for faster storage device interfaces. Commonly used flash based storage interfaces support high throughputs, eg. eMMC 400MB/s, UFS 1GB/s. Traditionally, advanced embedded systems were focusing on CPU and memory speeds and these outpaced advances in storage speed improvements. In this presentation, we explore the parameters that impact I/O performance. We describe at a high level how Linux manages I/O requests coming from user space. Specifically, we look into system performance limitations in the Linux eMMC/UFS subsystem and expose bottlenecks caused by the software through Ftrace. We show existing challenges in getting maximum performance of flash-based high-speed storage device. by this presentation, we want to motivate future optimization work on the existing storage stack.

  • 15:05 – 15:45 – New GPIO Interface for User Space – Bartosz Golaszewski

Since Linux 4.8 the GPIO sysfs interface is deprecated. Due to its many drawbacks and bad design decisions a new user space interface has been implemented in the form of the GPIO character device which is now the preferred method of interaction with GPIOs which can’t otherwise be serviced by a kernel driver. The character device brings in many new interesting features such as: polling for line events, finding GPIO chips and lines by name, changing & reading the values of multiple lines with a single ioctl (one context switch) and many more. In this presentation, Bartosz will showcase the new features of the GPIO UAPI, discuss the current state of libgpiod (user space tools for using the character device) and tell you why it’s beneficial to switch to the new interface.

  • 16:15 – 16:55 – Replace Your Exploit-Ridden Firmware with Linux – Ronald Minnich, Google

With the WikiLeaks release of the vault7 material, the security of the UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) firmware used in most PCs and laptops is once again a concern. UEFI is a proprietary and closed-source operating system, with a codebase almost as large as the Linux kernel, that runs when the system is powered on and continues to run after it boots the OS (hence its designation as a “Ring -2 hypervisor”). It is a great place to hide exploits since it never stops running, and these exploits are undetectable by kernels and programs.

Our answer to this is NERF (Non-Extensible Reduced Firmware), an open source software system developed at Google to replace almost all of UEFI firmware with a tiny Linux kernel and initramfs. The initramfs file system contains an init and command line utilities from the u-root project, which are written in the Go language.

  • 17:05 – 17:45 – Unikernelized Real Time Linux & IoT – Tiejun Chen, Vmware

Unikernel is a novel software technology that links an application with OS in the form of a library and packages them into a specialized image that facilitates direct deployment on a hypervisor. But why these existing unikernels have yet to gain large popularity broadly? I’ll talk what challenges Unikernels are facing, and discuss exploration of if-how we could convert Linux as Unikernel, and IoT could be a valuable one of use cases because the feature of smaller size & footprint are good for those resource-strained IoT platforms. Those existing unikernels are not designed to address those IoT characters like power consumption and real time requirement, and they also doesn’t support versatile architectures. Most existing Unikernels just focus on X86/ARM. As a paravirtualized unikenelized Linux, especially Unikernelized Real Time Linux, really makes Unikernels to succeed.


If you’d like to attend the real thing, you’ll need to register and pay a registration fee:

  • Early Registration Fee: US$800 (through August 27, 2017)
  • Standard Registration Fee: US$950 (August 28, 2017 – September 17, 2017)
  • Late Registration Fee: US$1100 (September 18, 2017 – Event)
  • Academic Registration Fee: US$200 (Student/Faculty attendees will be required to show a valid student/faculty ID at registration.)
  • Hobbyist Registration Fee: US$200 (only if you are paying for yourself to attend this event and are currently active in the community)

There’s also another option with the Hall Pass Registration ($150) if you just want to network on visit with sponsors onsite, but do not plan to attend any sessions or keynotes.

Intrinsyc Open-Q 835 Development Kit Features Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Processor, Support Android 7 and Windows 10

June 7th, 2017 1 comment

Intrinsyc has just launched one of the first development boards powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with their Open-Q 835 devkit equipped with 4GB LPDDR4x, 128GB UFS 2.1 flash, 802.11ad WiFi, dual camera support and more.

Open-Q 835 Devkit with Cooling Plate Underneath

Open-Q 835 development kit is comprised of a “processor board” and a baseboard with the following specifications:

  • Processor Board
    • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (APQ8098) octa-core processor with four high performance Kryo 280 cores @ 2.20 GHz/ 2.30 GHz (single core operation), four low power Kryo cores @ 1.9 GHz, Adreno 540 GPUwith  OpenGL ES 3.2, OpenCL 2.0 Full support, and Hexagon 682 DSP with Hexagon Vector eXtensions (dual-HVX512)
    • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4x RAM
    • Storage – 128GB UFS2.1 Gear3 2 lane Flash
    • Connectivity
      • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4/5Ghz 2×2
      • Bluetooth 5.0 + BLE
      • WiGig60 802.11ad with on-board antenna
    • Dimensions – 70 x 60 mm
  • Carrier Board
    • Display – 1x HDMI 2.0 out up to 4K Ultra HD, 2x 4 lane MIPI DSI + Touch Panel connector for optional LCD panel accessory
    • Audio
      • On-board Audio Codec; Audio in & out expansion headers, 1x ANC Headset Out
      • Optional SW features – Qualcomm Fluence HD with Noise Cancellation, high fidelity music playback 24-bit/192kHz, Dolby 5.1 support
    • Camera
      • 3x 4-lane MIPI CSI connectors
      • Dual Qualcomm Spectra 180 ISP
      • Optional SW Features – Qualcomm Clear Sight camera; Hybrid Autofocus, Optical Zoom; HW-accelerated Face Detection; HDR Video Record
    • Other Interfaces
      • GNSS daughter card with GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, and Galileo, PCB antenna and SMA connector option
      • 1x UART debug (USB micro-B)
      • 1x USB3.1 Type C
      • 1x uSD 3.0 UHS-1
      • I2S, SPI, GPIO, sensor header
    • Power Supply – 12V/3A DC; optional 3,000 Li-Ion battery
    • Dimensions  — 170mm x 170mm (mini-ITX form factor)

The company provides support for Android 7 Nougat, and Windows 10 should be feasible too but you are asked to “contact sales”. An optional WQHD AMOLED LCD is also available. Intrynsic explains the development kit is particularly suited for OEMS and device makers evaluating the processor and peripherals, and for premium mobile device development.

The “Early Adopter Version” of Open-Q 835 development kit can be purchased for $1,149, subject to an approval process. You may be able to find additional details on the product page.

96Boards Compliant HiKey 960 ARM Cortex A73 Development Board is Now Available for $239

April 26th, 2017 37 comments

The most powerful 96boards development board – HiKey 960 – has finally been launched, and can be purchased for $239 on Aliexpress, Amazon US, Switch Sense (Japan), Seeed Studio, or All Net (Germany).

HiKey 960 specifications have not changed much since we found out about the board:

  • SoC – Kirin 960 octa-core big.LITTLE processor with 4x ARM Cortex A73 cores @ up to 2.4 GHz, 4x Cortex A53 cores @ up to 1.8 GHz, and a Mali-G71 MP8 GPU
  • System Memory – 3GB LPDDR4 SDRAM (PoP)
  • Storage – 32GB UFS 2.1 flash storage + micro SD card slot
  • Video Output / Display Interface – 1 x HDMI 1.2a up to 1080p, 1x 4-lane MIPI DSI connector
  • Connectivity – Dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 with on-board antennas
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 type A host ports, 1x USB 2.0 type C OTG port
  • Camera – 1x 4-lane MIPI CSI, 1x 2-lane MIPI CSI
  • Expansion
    • PCIe Gen2 on M.2 Key connector
    • 40 pin low speed expansion connector with +1.8V, +5V, DC power, GND, 2x UART, 2x I2C, SPI, I2S, 12x GPIO
    • 60 pin high speed expansion connector: 4L MIPI DSI, 2L+4L MIPI CSI, 2x I2C, SPI (48M), USB 2.0
  • Misc – LEDs for WiFi & Bluetooth, 4x user LEDs, power button, copper heatsink for CPU
  • Power Supply –  8V-18V/2A via 4.75/1.7mm power barrel (EIAJ-3 Compliant); 12V/2A power supply recommended; PMU: Hi6421GWCV530, Hi6422GWCV211, Hi6422GWCV212;
  • Dimensions – 85mm x 55mm

The board officially supports Android Open Source Project (AOSP) with Linux 4.4. Binary images, and instructions to build from source are available in the Documentation page. You’ll also find the hardware manual and schematics over there. There’s no firm commitment to a Linux distributions release, but based on comments from the launch video (embedded below), there could be some later on, and Linux mainline is also being worked on. Stocks are currently limited so you can buy one or two boards, but larger quantities would require a longer lead time. LeMaker also mentions kits with power supply, mini PCIe card… being available soon.

The video will eventually be uploaded to YouTube, but in the meantime I’ve embedded the Facebook video.

Samsung Galaxy S8 & S8+ Smartphones Launched with Infinity Screen, Samsung DeX Desktop Mode, Bixby Assistant

March 30th, 2017 2 comments

Samsung has finally launched their latest Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895 processor, 5.8″ and 6.2″ screens , and some of the most interesting features include the “infinity screen” with ultra thin bezels, Samsung DeX allowing for a desktop experience on a large monitor when the phone is docked, as well as Bixby assistant.

Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ specifications:

  • SoC (one or the other depending on markets)
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor with four Kryo 280 cores @ 2.3 GHz, four Kryo 280 cores @ 1.7 Ghz;; Adreno 540 GPU; 10nm process
    • Samsung Exynos 8895 octa-core processor with four M2+ cores @ 2.35 GHz, four Cortex A53 cores @ 1.9 GHz, ARM Mali-G71 GPU; 10nm process
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 64GB UFS 2.0 flash; micro SD up to 256 GB
  • Display
    • Galaxy S8 – 5.8” quad HD+ (2960×1440), (570ppi)
    • Galaxy S8+ – 6.2” quad HD+ (2960×1440), (529ppi)
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio jack, speakers
  • Cellular Connectivity – LTE Cat.16
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), Bluetooth v 5.0 (LE up to 2Mbps), ANT+, NFC, GPS, Galileo, Glonass, BeiDou
  • Camera – Dual Pixel 12MP OIS (F1.7) rear camera; 8MP AF (F1 .7) front-facing camera
  • USB – USB Type-C
  • Sensors – Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, HR Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor, Iris Sensor, Pressure Sensor
  • Battery – S8: 3,000 mAh; S8+: 3,500 mAh; fast charging; wireless charging compatible with WPC and PMA7
  • Dimensions & Weight
    • Galaxy S8 – 148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm, 155g
    • Galaxy S8+ – 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm, 173g
  • IP Rating – IP68 water and dust resistance

Both phones will run Android 7.0, and support payment by NFC or MST. The main innovation from the hardware perspective is the Iris scanner that allows you login to the phone by just looking at it.

Let’s see what this “infinity screen” is all about:

Samsung calls is that way because the bezel on the left & right sides are barely visible, and very thin on the bottom and top of the phone, where they still managed to cram a camera and a few sensors.

The company has also decided to start working on convergence with Samsung DeX, a desktop mode triggered when you connect the phone to a dock – called DeX Station – itself connected to a big screen. You’ll get a start menu and multi-window support a bit like in Windows Continuum, and other Android phone desktop initiatives like Remix Singularity or Auxens OXI.

Samsung’s Bixby Assistant is described as “an intelligent interface that will help users get more out of their phone. With the new Bixby button, you will be able to conveniently access Bixby and navigate through services and apps with simple voice, touch and text commands. Contextual awareness capabilities enable Bixby to offer personalized help based on what it continues to learn about the user’s interests, situation and location. Users can easily shop, search for images and get details about nearby places with Bixby’s image recognition technology”. So it’s not only a voice assistant, but also learns about the user’s habit, and can leverage image recognition for example to translate signs written in a foreign language.

The phones can also be used for virtual reality using Gear VR with Controller powered by Oculus, or to capture 4K 360-degree videos, 15MP photos, or stream 2K live videos with Gear 360.

Samsung Galaxy S8 & S8+ pre-orders will begin on March 30, 2017, for respectively $750 & $850 (MSRP) with a free GearVR headset with controller. The phones will also be found in shop – in the US – starting on April 21, 2017, where you’ll also be able to buy Gear VR with Controller for $129.99,  or just the controller for $39.99. Visit Samsung S8/S8+ product page for further details.

HiKey 960 Development Board Powered by Hisilicon Kirin 960 Cortex A73/A53 Processor To Sell for $239

March 4th, 2017 19 comments

LeMaker is about to launch a successor to Hikey board with a new 96Boards compliant development board with HiKey 960 featuring the powerful Hisilicon Kirin 960 processor found in Huawei Mate 9 smartphone, as well as 3GB LPDDR4 memory, 32GB UFS storage, HDMI, USB 3.0 ports and so on.

Hikey 960 board specifications:

  • SoC – Kirin 960 octa-core big.LITTLE processor with 4x ARM Cortex A73 cores @ up to 2.4 GHz, 4x Cortex A53 cores @ up to 1.8 GHz, and a Mali-G71 MP8 GPU
  • System Memory – 3GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
  • Storage – 32GB UFS flash storage + micro SD card slot
  • Video Output / Display Interface – 1 x HDMI 1.4 up to 1080p, 1x 4-lane MIPI DSI connector
  • Connectivity – Dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac? WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 with two antennas
  • USB – 2 x USB 3.0 type A host ports, 1x USB 2.0 type C OTG port
  • Camera – 1x 4-lane MIPI CSI, 1x 2-lane MIPI CSI
  • Expansion
    • PCIe Gen2 on M.2 Key connector
    • 40 pin low speed expansion connector with +1.8V, +5V, DC power, GND, 2x UART, 2x I2C, SPI, I2S, 12x GPIO
    • 60 pin high speed expansion connector: 4L MIPI DSI, 2L+4L MIPI CSI, 2x I2C, SPI (48M), USB 2.0
  • Misc – LEDs for WiFi & Bluetooth, 4x user LEDs, power button, reset button
  • Power Supply –  8V-18V/2A via 4.75/1.7mm power barrel (EIAJ-3 Compliant); 12V/2A power supply recommended; PMU: Hi6421GWCV530, Hi6422GWCV211, Hi6422GWCV212;
  • Dimensions – 85mm x 55mm

The board will support Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and Linux. Some instructions  to build AOSP from source code and get started with the board can be found on Github, and a Wiki page has also been setup, but it’s basically empty right now, except for a short comparison between Hikey (620) and Hikey 960. Linux support will be done via Linaro Reference Platform Build (RPB), which should mean Debian support.

You may be able to find more information on LeMaker’s Hikey 960 product page, and the board is currently listed for $239 on Lenovator, but out of stock.

Thanks to Theguyuk for the tip.

Samsung eMMC and UFS 2.0 embedded Flash Chips and Performance in 2016

October 31st, 2016 2 comments

Samsung does not always keep up its website up-to-date when it comes to its embedded flash chips, and performance metrics such as sequential read/write and random read/write values are not shown for all devices. The former is mostly important for data storage, while the latter may make a big difference for the operating systems responsiveness, and applications that rely on many short write and/or read operations. A table with the latest Samsung eMMC 5.0/5.1 and UFS 2.0 chips, and performance metrics somehow dropped in my computer.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The company offers low end eMMC 5.0/5.1 flash with capacities between 4 and 16 GB with performance up to 285/40 R/W MB/s and 8K/10K R/W IOPS, mainstream chips between 32 and 128 GB delivery up to 310/140 MB/s and 14K IOPS, and all UFS 2.0 device are faster than any of the eMMC flash (limited in theory to 400 MB/s) with capacity between 16GB and 256GB, sequential read/write speed up to 850/260 MB/s, and 50K/30K IOPS. KLUEG8U1EM-B0B10 UFS 2.0 flash performance is quite impressive as sequential read speed is about equivalent, if not faster, than many 256 GB SATA III SSD drives, but sequential write speed, looks a little slower. IOPS values could also mean fast booting times (less than 10 seconds?), and excellent overall system responsiveness.

Categories: Hardware Tags: emmc, samsung, ufs