Xiaomi Mi A2 Review with Android 9.0 Pie

Mi A2 Review Android 9.0

I had been using Xiaomi Mi A1 Android One smartphone since the end of 2017,  and was mostly satisfied with it thanks to regular (monthly) firmware update, although I was a bit disappointed by the camera overtime. Eventually I had a serious issue with Mi A1’s eMMC flash, and stopped using it at the end of last year, or roughly after one year of service, since the phone became unusable, unbearably slow. Xiaomi Mi A2 and A2 Lite where released last summer, and having seen Mi A2 was getting an Android 9.0 firmware in Q4 2018, I asked GearBest whether they could send a sample to review the latest Xiaomi Android One phone. They accepted, and I posted the first part of the review in early December. However, at this time, I did not get the update, since it was not released in Thailand, but soon enough Xiaomi Mi A2 got upgraded to Android 9.0 Pie. I’ve now been using …

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Novasom SBC-U1 is a Tiny Industrial grade ESP32 Single Board Computer

SBC-U1A Industrial ESP32 Board

Novasom Industries is an international company specializing in SBCs (Single Board Computers) with offices in Romania and the US. Most of their products are based on Arm and Intel processors, and they have two product lines their U-Line for low power IoT devices, and M-Line for applications requiring multimedia processing with various Rockchip,  Qualcomm, and Intel processors. One model in the U-Line caught my attention, as beside an NXP i.MX6ULL SBC, the company is also offering an industrial temperature grade ESP32 SBC named SBC-U1 / SBC-U1A. SBC-U1/SBC-U1A board specifications: SoC – Espressif Systems ESP32 dual core Tensilica LX6 processor @ 240 MHz, 384KB RAM Storage – 4MB flash, micro SD card slot up to 32GB Connectivity – 802.11 b/n/g WiFi 4, Bluetooth 4.1 LE I/Os – 24-pin 2.54mm pitch header with up to 15 GPIO @ 3.3V, I2C, SPI, 2-ch 12-bit ADC, 2-ch 10-bit DAC, 2x protected inputs up to 30V Misc – User LED, RTC Power Supply 5V inversion …

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MXCHIP EMW3060 WiFi IoT module sells for less than $2

MXCHIP EMW3060

Over the last few years, we’ve seen several Arm based WiFi IoT modules trying to compete with Tensilica based ESP8266 including Pine64 PADI IoT Stamp and Air602 WiFi IoT modules with similar functionalities and price (around $2) as the Espressif modules. I have not seen many projects with any of those Arm based wireless modules, likely because Espressif Systems software ecosystem is mature, and it’s hard to compete for new entrants. Nevertheless there’s a new Arm WiFi IoT module, not based on Cortex-M core, but instead, MXCHIP EMW3060 is equipped with an older ARM9 core, 256KB RAM, and 2MB flash, and sells for just $1.79 on Seeed Studio in single quantity. The price further drops to $1.55 per unit if you order 50 pieces or more. MXCHIP EMW3060 WiFi IoT module specifications: SoC ARM9 core clocked at 120 MHz System Memory – 256KB SRAM Storage – 2MB flash Connectivity – 2.4GHz radio, 802.11 b/g/n WiFI, HT/40, support Station, Soft AP, …

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tinyWiFi-5G is a NanoPi NEO Air Clone with 5 GHz WiFi

tinywifi-5G

NanoPi NEO Air is a tiny Allwinner H3 board with 802.11 b/g/n WiFi connectivity that launched in 2016 for $17.99 and is now available as NanoPi NEO Air-LTS (Long Term Support) for $28 and up. A company – or group of software developers – called tinyDebian decided to create a clone based on NanoPi NEO Air design, but replacing the 2.4 GHz Ampak AP6212 802.11n WiFi + Bluetooth 4.0 LE module by a dual-band Realtek RTL8821CS module that supports 802.11 b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.2 LE. Meet tinyWiFi-5G. NanoPi NEO Air comes with two different storage configuration (8GB or 32GB flash), but tinyDebian did not provide the full specifications of the board, so tinyWiFi-5G board specifications below are preliminary: SoC – Allwinner H3 quad-core Cortex A7 @ 1.2 GHz with an ARM Mali-400MP2 GPU System Memory – 512 MB DDR3 Storage – 8GB eMMC Flash + micro SD card slot Connectivity – Dual-band 802.11b/g/n/ac WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2 LE via …

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ANAVI Thermometer WiFi Board is Designed for Home Automation (Crowdfunding)

ESP8266 Thermostat

ANAVI Technology launched several open source hardware boards for the Raspberry Pi and ESP8266 maker communities in the past, starting with RabbitMax Flex home automation HAT for Raspberry Pi, and several others including ANAVI Light Controller ESP8266 board to control LED strips. All boards are designed with KiCad opensource EDA software, and I’ve tested several already such as ANAVI Infrared pHAT or ANAVI Light Controller, and found documentation to be very good and easy to follow. The company has now launched another ESP8266 board with ANAVI Thermometer that allows you to monitor temperature and humidity, effectively acting as a thermostat for home automation. ANAVI Thermometer specifications: SoC –  Espressif Systems ESP8266 Tensilica L106 32-bit processor Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 b/g/n Display – Mini OLED display Build-in sensor – AM2302 (DHT22) temperature and humidity sensor Expansion Terminal block for DS18B20 waterproof temperature sensor UART pins 3x slots for I2C sensors Misc – Button Dimensions – 75 mm x 40 mm Certification – …

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TTGO T-Camera ESP32 Camera Board Comes with OLED Display, Sensors

TTGO T-Camera ESP32 OLED Display

ESP32 is now being used for AI workloads such as face detection with camera boards like ESP32-CAM, or the upcoming ESP-EYE board from Espressif Systems themselves, combined with ESP-WHO face detection and recognition framework. The two aforementioned board require you to use a phone to vizualize the results, unless you blink some LEDs or connect your own display. But the just released TTGO T-Camera board includes a 128×64 OLED display which should allow you to display face detection and/or recognition results, as well as a BME280 environmental sensor, a PIR sensor, and an optional fisheye lens. TTGO T-Camera board specifications: ESP32-WROVER-B Wireless Module SoC –  ESP32 dual core Tensilica LX6 processor Memory – 8MB PSRAM Storage – 4MB SPI flash Connectivity – 2.4 GHz 802.11n WiFI 5, Bluetooth 4.2 LE Camera – 2MP OV2640 camera with normal or fisheye lens Display – 0.96″ 128×64 OLED display connected via SSD1306 I2C display controller Audio – Microphone USB – 1x micro USB …

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Year 2018 in Review, Top 10 Posts, and Some Stats

cnx software year 2018 review

That’s it, we’ve already reached the last day of 2018, and it’s time to have a look back at what happened during the past year. On the mini PC front, Gemini Lake based mini PCs took over from Apollo Lake with some performance improvements, but I expected the price point to be a bit lower than it is today.  Apart from further developments with regards to mobile processors, it feels 2018 was an off-year for processors, such as the ones found in TV boxes and development boards, with mostly more of the same. Allwinner and Rockchip did not release any really interesting processor, and Amlogic only launched S905X2 and S905Y2 which are mostly evolutions of their previous generation with an OpenGL 3.x capable GPU and USB 3.0. Rockchip RK3399 stood out this year, as despite being launched in 2016, it suddenly became popular again with many RK3399 SBCs coming to market, and RK3399Pro was announced – but not launched yet …

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Millitronic MG360 is a WiGig 802.11ad USB Adapter

Millitronic 802.11ad USB adapter

802.11ad was announced in 2016 as a new WiFi standard supporting 60 GHz frequency and up to 7 Gbps throughput, but it has recently been superseded by the backward compatible but further improved 802.11ay allowing up to 100 Gbps bandwidth, and 300 to 500 meters range in theory. The new standard is supported by Qualcomm QCA64x8 and QCA64x1 WiFi chipsets that can handle up to 10 Gbps, and found in Snapdragon 855 mobile processor. If you want your network to benefit from 802.11ad WiFi – 802.11ay is not quite available yet – , you’ll first new a compatible router such as NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 router, and end nodes supporting 802.11ad WiFi as well as. But most device on the market don’t, and in theory you should be able to add 802.11ad WiFi to any device with a USB 3.0 port, but it turns out there aren’t that many 802.11ad USB adapters on the market, and this morning I came …

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