Android scripts for OLinuXino

Android-bot

The Android images for our OLinuXino boards are not the stock images with the Allwinner SDK, some small things were changed to add support for our WiFi modules etc. We wanted to publish the sources for a very long time, but the files are 6 GB for each board and this is not easy to store and serve.

Now the configs are on GitHub with links to the Allwinner stock SDK sources so if you want to build your own Android image you have these as templates.

Allwinner did it again – New quad core powerful chip pin to pin compatible with A10 and A20!

A20-OLinuXino-LIME2-1

A10 was one of most successful chips made by Allwinner, for couple of years it was top seller in tablets and other devices, A10 also was selected for our EUR 30 low cost Linux board the LIME.

Then Cortex-A8 single core become obsolete, then Allwinner released A20 – Dual Core more powerful and power efficient Cortex-A7 processor with pin to pin backward compatibility to A10.

This was incredible wise move for Allwinner as people could just re-use their old PCB designs without spending time to change PCBs.

A10/A20 had one nice feature – they have LCD, HDMI, SATA, Ethernet, in A20 Allwinner even add Gigabit Ethernet on top of the normal 100M Ethernet. All other new devices they release have either LCD either HDMI but not both and we miss SATA interface in all new Quad core devices they released.

Now they did it again – we got information from Allwinner that they are about to release Quad core more powerful processor which to be pin to pin compatible with A10/A20 we still don’t know the name, maybe A40 ? 🙂

Anyway this is very clever move as all existing designs which people have can be re-used. This means more modern SoC with more power but without forcing you to re-design your boards.

So expect Quad core LIME soon and I guess at same price range like other LIMEs!

A64 the first Cortex-A53 chip from Allwinner is now in production and cost only $5 in volume

A64

In January 2015 Allwinner announced that start working on their Cortex-A53 chip with name A64. Today we got notice that A64 now is in production and ready for ordering.

A64 target is tablets, it have quad core Cortex-A53 inside, with Mali400MP2 GPU, supports MIPI, RGB, LVDS, HDMI with 4K output. The video engine supports H.264 and H.265 encoding and decoding, Audio codec and 5Mpix camera sensor.

The connectivity is weak – no native Ethernet, but just USB-OTG and USB-Host, SPI, I2C, UARTs and LRADC.

The price is again smashing $5 for the A64 SoC probably this is the lowest cost Quad Core Cortex-A53 chip on the market.

A64 comes in small sexy 13×13 mm BGA443 package with 0.5 mm step which makes PCB escape a little bit expensive and minimum 6 Layer PCB design with quite demanding technology.

How to get in the News? Tell people that you will make and sell something which cost you $20 for $9!

photo-original

Probably everybody heard for the next big thing after Raspberry Pi – the C.H.I.P. computer which sells for only $9.

What?? Single board computer with 512MB RAM and 4/8GB Flash and WiFi for only $9?

When Raspberry Pi foundation advertised they will make Linux computer for $25 very few believed this is possible, then after some time hitting rocks on the road they made partnership with Farnell and RS and made this happen. Actually lot of Android TV sticks in this price range were available so the technology was there just nobody from Western world had explored it.

The Rpi got quite successful, so lot of companies followed in the aim to make the next better Raspberry Pi (we at Olimex also 🙂 went to this route with OLinuXino OSHW Linux computers fixing the fact that RPi is closed source design).

The $35 was the magic number if you come close to it more chances to attract people you have.

Then few weeks ago there was the next big thing – computer with the specs of Raspberry Pi for only $9 on Kickstarter.

This blew people’s mind – they start fantasies like how Allwinner produce 1Ghz SOCs for $1 like on this thread on G+.

These guys plan was set for sale of 5000 computers, we purchased more than 150K SoCs chips from Allwinner last year alone and I know the DDR and Flash memory market, so I was quite skeptical this $9 is achievable even for the Bill of Materials not for sale price.

I asked Allwinner for quote and got $4.80/5K order (which is the original Kickstarter goal of Next Thing Co. guys). I assumed this price is for the module they use with the 512MB RAM and 4GB Flash (despite just the DDR and Flash exchange market price is higher than this number, well I hoped Allwinner manufacturing this module have some magic prices not applicable for mortals with the million of units they sell :).

Today I got datasheet of R8M and price of it is $16 including the PMU. Whaaat? Just the module is $16 but these guys sell this module on board with connectors and WIFI for $9 how this is possible?

I asked Allwinner again if there is mistake and they confirmed there is no mistake, R8 price is $4.80, R8M module price $16. Allwinner confirmed R8 just SOC cost $4.80 but this makes not much sense either this is the price of A33 quad core SOC why they price so expensive obsolete A13 Cortex-A8 SOC???

On my question how then Next Thing Co. sell this computer for $9 Allwinner response is:

“CHIP 9$ computer launched a big advertising campaign to promote their new development board, their actual cost is higher than 9$. After the Kickstarter their computer will sell for 39$.”

So, sorry guys to break your dreams for 1Ghz SOCs costing $1, maybe in future this would be possible, but not now.

The C.H.I.P. is just CHEAP marketing. At least for me R8 is not interesting at this price, better use A33 Quad core or H3 for your next design they are in same price range.

EDIT Update 08-06-2015: On the question why R8 cost is same as for quad core processor the response from Allwinner is:

R8 is new IC just published especially on IoT, it is not like A33 this one had used on a large scale forTablet PC.

So R8 is more expensive as produced in lower quantities than A33 which is selling for tablets in big volumes.

A31-SOM update

a31-som

About year ago we posted on this blog about our work on A31 SOM module, a lot of time passed away so we would like to make clear statement about it’s status.

A31 SOM hardware was complete long time ago, but we found lot of bugs in A31 during the software development. Lot of things do not work as expected and the chip have overall poor performance. The video is with PowerVR which means there will be no Linux acceleration forever. All you will got running on it with hardware acceleration is Kernel 3.4 with Android. Memory do not work reliable above 200Mhz clock which is terrible performance. While we have hesitated if we have to put more effort on this chip we got notice from Allwinner that they discontinue A31 and A31s production which ended our hesitation.

A31 has very short life, Tom Cubie shared on IRC before while that Allwinner internally hate this chip with all it’s bugs too 🙂 so I guess Allwinner also got relieve to get rid of it.

Leasons learned, we move forward 🙂

How 50 000 A10 SoCs from Allwinner looks like?

A10-CARTONS

A10 Cortex-A8 chip is the heart of A10-OLinuXino-LIME EUR 30 Linux Open Source Hardware computer. Allwinner start the production of A10 back in 2012 and at the end of 2014 decided to stop it’s production as none of the mass volume producers like tablet or Android IPTV dongle manufacturers wanted to continue to manufacture with it.

For our type of business though – embedded applications it’s not good to change your design every couple of years, so we asked Allwinner if there is minium quantity of A10 which they will be able to run custom production for us and they said 50 000 pcs. We placed our order in December 2014 and they shipped to us on 30 of March as we agreed. Now we have enough stock to keep producing A10-OLinuXino-LIME for a while, and if the stock is over we can make new order to Allwinner, this way we can keep the A10-OLinuXino-LIME production as long as there is demand for it.

A10-CARTON

As you can see these chips are fresh and left the factory 20/03/2015 🙂

Allwinner is fooling around Open Source Community

Allwinner_GPL_LGPL

Linux Sunxi community found GPL licensee violations in Allwinner CedarX media codec library, these violations were reported to Allwinner – the result? Allwinner push in GitHub new binaries with stripped symbols to make it harder to detect the GPL violations. Shame on you Allwinner and this comes after all the marketing crap and high level management statements about how committed they are about Open Source!

More details on this drama you can read at here and here  cnx-software blog and at Phoronix.

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries