Libre Computer introduces three products of their CC-series which are form-factor compatible with the Raspberry Pi boards and based on open-market hardware. Depending on the model, these single-board computers (SBCs) offer higher performance, more RAM, and/or more IO while sharing the existing aftermarket parts ecosystem. All three products were featured on crowdfunding and supported by free and open source software (FOSS) like Linux and u-boot.
AML-S905X-CC, nicknamed Le Potato, is based on the popular Amlogic S905X SoC. It offers up to 2GB of RAM, four 64-bit cores, 4K60 video playback with HDR, and built-in infrared receiver. This board is the most power-efficient platform of the three and uses less than one watt at idle. There is a large suite of available software for the S905X SoC and it is the only one that has previously passed certification for Google’s Android TV platform. Currently, video decode is missing from upstream Linux and is only available from Amlogic’s BSP with Linux 4.9. Android up to 8 Oreo is available with design contract.
ROC-RK3328-CC, nicknamed Renegade, is based on the Rockchip RK3328 SoC. It offers up to 4GB of high-speed DDR4, four 64-bit cores, 4K60 video playback with HDR, USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet. Perfect for IO intensive application like home media center, NAS, microservice virtualization, and more. HDMI support in upstream Linux is scheduled to be completed in Q4 2018. Ubuntu and Debian with accelerated video and 3D is available based on Rockchip’s BSP with Linux 4.4. Android up to 8 Oreo is schedule to be available in Q3 2018 with design contract.
ALL-H3-CC, nicknamed Tritium, is based on three separate Allwinner SoCs: H2+, H3, and H5. The H2+ variant offers 512MB of RAM, four 32-bit cores, and 1080P video playback. The H3 variant is the H2+ variant with 1GB of RAM and 4K30 video playback. The H5 variant offers 2GB of RAM, four 64-bit cores, and 4K30 video playback. There is a large software community behind Allwinner SoCs called linux-sunxi and they have been upstreaming Linux hardware support for almost a decade. This platform also has a crowdfunded effort for video decode Linux upstream underway by Bootlin. Android up to 7 Nougat is available.
Libre Computer platforms are radio-less, FCC and CE certified, long-term-supported (LTS 5Y+) single-board computers. Libre Computer offers hardware customization on all supported SoC platforms. Standard boards with components added/removed can be ordered with 1K MOQ. Small effort customization/mezzanine design contract can be requested with 5K MOQ. Full custom design contracts are available for orders with 20K MOQ. Industrial design, software, project management resources are available as part of design contract.
Evomotion shows their latest Wunder360 C1 & S1, with features of 360° 3K Video and 4K Photo, Social 360 Live Streaming, Built-in 9-Axis IMU Stabilizer, 5G Wi-Fi, Off-line streaming, ReFrame & Auto Tracking and In-camera stitching Tech for both products. S1 camera also has a waterproof case and removable battery support. I filmed this interview also using the Wunder360 camera which you can watch using your VR headset (by your Smartphone with Cardboard style box or by All-in-one VR headset) here.
Sunchip shows some of their latest products including their all-in-one AR system based on Rockchip RK3288, RK3399 board for digital signage. $58 Amlogic S912 TV box, $26 RK3126 HDMI Stick, $200 Apollo Lake Box. 360 panoramic camera. $7 single Smart Wi-Fi Plug, $11 for dual Wi-Fi plug.
Tom Cubie of Vamrs introduces two new Rockchip RK3399Pro based development boards with http://96boards.ai at Linaro Connect Hong Kong 2018, a new ecosystem of development boards for Artificial intelligence development, where the new Rockchip RK3399Pro includes an NPU (2.4 TOPS capable NPU) teamed up with Open AI Lab (who I interviewed here) to support the AI framework.
Rockchip has now officially joined 96Boards as Steering Committee member, which means ROCK960 and other futures 96rocks boards based on Rockchip processors now have official identity in the 96boards/linaro community.
ROCK960 Enterprise Edition board runs Rockchip RK3399Pro hexa core dual ARM Cortex-A72, quad ARM Cortex-A53, Mali-T860MP4 GPU with 2.4 TOPS capable NPU, up to 4GB RAM, Dual SATA 3.0 port with RAID 0/1 support, HDMI 2.0/eDP up to 4K @ 60 Hz, Dual MIPI CSI camera interfaces, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi, 3x USB 3.0, 5x USB 2.0, PCIe 2.1 x16 slot and more.
Rock960 consumer edition which I previously also filmed here is about to be manufactured now to be available next month.
OPEN AI Lab aims to promote the industry development of Arm embedded smart machines, build an embedded SoC basic computing framework for smart machine application scenarios, and integrate application scenario service interfaces. Committed to promoting the in-depth collaboration of the entire industry chain of chips, hardware, and algorithm software, artificial intelligence will be available where there is computation. You can also watch Mingfei Huang's keynote about Open AI Lab here.
Rockchip has optimized their RK3229 and RK3036 Quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 System on Module solution to run Android Things or another optimized Linux OS to be able to support Google Assistant, Alexa, iflyertek, DuerOS for high-end to low cost smart speaker products and intelligent voice interactive products, supports sound source localization, sound field enhancement, echo cancellation and noise suppression technology. This Rockchip RK3229 Solution supports 8 channel digital silicon microphones directly connected chip solution, and thus achieves an overall solution of cost-effectiveness and high expandability for the Smart Speakers market.
Yang Zhang, Director of http://96boards.org presents the ROCK960 featuring Rockchip RK3399 Dual-core ARM Cortex-A72, Quad-core ARM Cortex-A53, Mali-T860MP4, USB 3.0, HDMI 2.0, USB Type-C with DisplayPort 1.2, 4-lane PCIe 2.1 for high speed communication to FPGA or external GPU is possible. Rock960 will be used by open AI efforts, with ARM Computing Library available for openCL acceleration. ROCK960 supports Android 7.1, Debian Stretch and Yocto officially, other distributions can be supported by the open source community. Rockchip provides multimedia Linux support for ROCK960. The likely price for the board is going to be $99 for 2GB RAM with 16GB emmc and $139 for 4GB RAM with 32GB emmc.
* SoC – Rochchip RK3399 hexa-core big.LITTLE processor with two ARM Cortex A72 cores up to 1.8/2.0 GHz, four Cortex A53 cores @1.4GHz and ARM Mali-T860 MP4 GPU with OpenGL ES 1.1 to 3.2 support,
OpenVG1.1, OpenCL 1.2 and DX 11 support
* System Memory – 2 or 4GB RAM
* Storage – 16 or 32GB eMMC flash + micro SD card
* Video Output – 1x HDMI 2.0 up to 4K@60 Hz with CEC and HDCP
* Connectivity – WiFi 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO up to 867 Mbps, and Bluetooth
4.1 LE (AP6356S module) with two on-board antennas, two u.FL antenna
* USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 3.0 type C port
with DP 1.2 support
* 1x 40 pin low speed expansion connector – UART, SPI, I2C, GPIO, I2S
* 1x 60 pin high speed expansion connector – MIPI DSI, USB, MIPI CSI, HSIC, SDIO
* 1x M.2 key M PCIe connector with support for up to 4-lane PCIe 2.1
(max bandwidth: 2.0 GB)
* Misc – Power & u-boot buttons. 6 LEDS (4x user, 1x Wifi, 1x Bluetooth)
* Power Supply – 8 to 18V DC input (12V typical) as per 96Boards CE
specs; Battery header
Dimensions – 85 x 54 mm (96Boards CE form factor)
The team behind the ROCK960 is Vamrs Limited, a startup based on Shenzhen, China, with eight employees with average more than 10 years electronics and embedded experience. Vamrs is a 96boards contract Manufacturing Partner. (https://www.linaro.org/company/vamrs/)
Distributors and interested parties can contact Vamrs at email@example.com
My impressions on the coolest ARM Powered Laptop yet, the Samsung Chromebook Plus ($419 top selling 2-in-1 on Amazon.com) that features a Rockchip OP1 dual ARM Cortex-A72 with quad ARM Cortex-A53, ARM Mali-T860MP4 GPU. The performance is great on this device, with the firmware updates from Google also speeding things up regularly, this device is amazingly cool and aweome. But in this video I mention a few things I am hoping Google can improve in the software, mostly to do with improving the Android apps for productivity, I'd like a 4K video editor that works and that is hardware accelerated, I think that Google needs to help PowerDirector and Kinemaster get hardware acceleration and 4K video editing support on this device. Even better perhaps would be if Google could contact the Lumafusion developers and support them to port their 4K60 video editor to Android and optimized for the OP1 processor. Other missing apps in the Google Play store are Microsoft Office, Popcorn time, I don't want to be setting my Chromebook in Developer mode just to sideload apps that may not even be optimized for the Chromebook yet. Photo editors such as GIMP on Android, Adobe Photoshop need to get supported. Few more other productivity apps for developers, creatives, professionals and students I think need to get ported to this Chromebook Android device. Then Google also needs to improve the features of the stylus touch pen on this device, I'd like the stylus shortcuts and gestures allow to do productive work and study such as annotation collaboration, screen region selector saves to JPG to use as thumbnails in YouTube. In terms of the hardware, I am only hoping to be able to prove that USB Type-C SD card adapter to a USB3 Hard drive file transfers are fully fast enough (as fast as on any Intel Windows machine, hopefully), and also I hope to be able to prove that Wi-Fi performance is just as fast and reliable as with any other laptop. Except the missing backlight on the keyboard and the slightly smaller keyboard than full size, otherwise I think this laptop hardware is pretty much near perfect. It is now my main laptop, I just wish that I could do 4K60 video editing in a good Android video editing app, that the Android and the Chrome OS part get better integrated, for example when I save files in Android apps I want to be able to easily get access and upload these files from the Chrome OS Chrome Browser. I'll be posting more videos about my Samsung Chromebook Plus in the weeks and months ahead as I expect that it will get better with Google's full support. Samsung really needs to soon start selling it in Europe!
Rockchip made the OP1 the world's most optimized Chromebook processor. OP1, also known as RK3399-C, Hexacore dual ARM Cortex-A72, quad ARM Cortex-A53 with Mali-T860MP4 GPU. Rockchip is the only chip maker which has been optimizing processors for Chromebooks over the past 3 years, with all the lessons they learned with the RK3288 quad-core ARM Cortex-A17 which shipped in several Chromebooks in 2015, they were able to improve on that, optimize every detail and in collaboration with Google and Samsung.
I hope somehow I can get my Chromebook Plus before MWC. Seems unlikely, Amazon.com and B&H don't have any in stock (I need it shipped here to Europe, I should probably have ordered it on Samsung.com or Bestbuy.com and forwarded to Europe using Borderlinx or another similar package US-to-Europe forwarding service, but it seems too late). Samsung seems slow at getting these out to the world. Here's what needs to happen with the OP1 RK3399-C Chromebook platform:
- Make these available worldwide. $299, $349, $449, $549 with different skews from FHD 4GB RAM 32GB Flash at $299 to 2400x1600 8GB RAM 128GB Flash at $549. Samsung, Asus, Acer, Lenovo, HP, all need to get in on the OP1 flip platform.
- Make sure there are 10-20 perfectly optimized apps for productivity covering all the basics people need on a Laptop. At least a few apps that cover "what people need on Windows/Mac" need to work on the Chromebook with OP1, make sure there is 3 perfectly optimized Office apps (Microsoft Office included), 3 perfectly optimized video and image editing apps (should be good enough for semi professionals to do fast rendering smooth 4K video editing and "anything that's done with Photoshop/GIMP"), 3 perfectly optimized Chat/Video-conferencing apps including Skype, Whatsapp, Hangouts, few more "Facebook Messenger", "Snapchat", whatever young people use.. Just make sure there is a good range of very well optimized apps, that will show the way for other developers to also optimize thousands among the 2 million Android apps best suited for productivity. Have 10 "Nintendo-quality" awesome games work perfectly also, for optional gamepad bluetooth gameplay on large display or with any cheap $10 Type-C to HDMI on a HDTV. Google can offer "free" app re-optimization support to the developers who have promizing Android apps that just need to be slightly upgraded to work great on large display and well optimized also for keyboard/mouse usability.
- Nougat multi-window resizable. All the features of Remix OS, Phoenix OS, nicely resizable multi-window Android framework needs to be there.
- App/extension for perfect stylus annotation collaboration, annotate any webpage, any article, any document, and have collaborators over Google Drive. We also need a perfect community(ies) for "the annotated web", when you select any text and you type in your comment/annotation on the keyboard. Needs to be ultra smooth and easy to use to make this revolutionary for productivity. It has to be a must-have for any student, for any professional and for any creative. If you select any text on any article on any webpage that has a comment section, then that selected section is automatically "quoted" when you type your comment, hit enter to post your comment about that selected quote. Or easily Google+1/tweet/blog, write your comment and link when you highlight a text. Thus different configurable modes/features for that pop-up menu when the stylus is taken out of its slot. Some will always want to annotate docs to collaborate in Drive, others will always want to auto-share quote and link article to Google+ or to Blog with typed comment, and easy switch between Stylus modes, should work with any content. Just only being able to annotate/scribble on a screenshot is too basic.
- Maximum dual display (external display) productivity, using Type-C to HDMI dongles/docks, it needs to be super easy to "open link in new highlighted or background tab in other window on other display" or to tab browse on one display while Android multi-window apps run on the other display.
- Android for productivity on these Chromebooks obviously has to be a taster of what can become available with "Android Continuum" once Android super phones dock with external displays and Lapdocks using DisplayLink, MHL, Slimport or a Chromecast-Continuum background app with Nougat/Miracast. Somehow, I wish the OP1 Chromebooks Type-C port would also allow for Lapdock functionality, to use your external superphone on Kirin 960 or Snapdragon 835 to "speed up" your OP1 Chromebook performance, somehow. Perhaps run some tabs/apps on the OP1 while others can be accelerated by your external phone which might have a more powerful ARM Processor. All the while the OP1 Chromebook also charges your phone by that same Type-C port. Somehow combine the Hexacore ARM Cortex-A72/A53 of your OP1 Chromebook with the Octa-core ARM Cortex-A73/A53 of your phone, also combine the GPUs, to have all these 14 ARM cores work nicely over that Type-C cable or even wirelessly (especially if your phone is the LTE hotspot for your Chromebook) for your optimal productivity.
Seriously Google, partner with Microsoft, pre-load Microsoft Office with some amount of included free months of trial for Office 365, pre-load Skype, help Microsoft make a perfect LinkedIn app, and also partner with Adobe pre-load some perfectly optimized Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere for Android, need to be VERY usable, very optimized for Android productivity and also include the Adobe Creative Cloud trial on there. Do this Google. And people will be impressed. No need to "force people to use Google Drive and Google Photos only", you can bundle free trials for your services too (consumers will prefer Google apps anyway if those are better), just make sure the advanced apps people "need on Windows/Mac", that those, even for semi professionals/enthusiasts, that those already work good BUNDLED on Chromebook with OP1. Close the gap and shut down any argument people might have against the Chromebook. Wanna do even more? Convince Apple to pre-load fully optimized iTunes and Garageband on the Chromebook with OP1 also (I'm sure Apple already has secret betas for these apps for Android, ready to release "just in case"). Don't you know how to convince Apple this is a good idea? Let me know, I'll tell you how. Shame them if they don't.
Before the end of 2017, Google needs to "open up" the marketing angle on Chromebooks (basically fully supported (same auto security/feature updates) Chromium OS rebrand service for Chrome OS for any competitor), so Microsoft, Apple, Baidu/Tencent, Yandex and Adobe/Salesforce/others will be shipping customized Chromebooks with their apps/shortcuts defaults pre-installed. Don't force anyone only ship with Google apps/shortcuts/search, let the consumers change those defaults if Google is better. Login should not only be using Google account, let users login with any other Microsoft/Apple/Baidu/Tencent/Yahoo/whatever user account. Let your competitors ship your free and open source software and with your usual Chrome OS support when it comes to security/speed/feature updates), help subsidize/promote the platform. Let competitors submit improvements/patches to the platform. Before the end of 2017, sub-$100 ARM Chromebooks need to reach every child in the world, just as OLPC intended more than a decade ago.
Don't make OP1 Chrome OS exclusive, let it nicely run anything else. Let people boot into any Linux or into any other OS from MicroSD card or from a simple Type-C Flash memory dongle. So if Microsoft wants people to dual-boot or to replace Chrome OS with Windows 10 (with x86 win32 app emulation support) they should be able to do it. If Apple wants consumers to dual-boot or replace Chrome OS by a new Mac iOSX UI, let them do that. If consumers want to dual-boot or replace Chrome OS by Ubuntu or any other Linux, let them easily do that. Even have staff of Google employees support that and "recommend" stable OSes that work nicely. Always stable "factory reset" to manufacturer's shipped official or custom Chrome OS no matter what would be ok, if there is a memory for that.
- Google confirms Android apps out of the box on all Chromebooks launched from this point forward (9to5google.com)
- Every new Chromebook from here on out will support Android apps (liliputing.com)
- All Chromebooks launching in 2017 will be compatible with Android apps (techcrunch.com)
- Samsung's latest Chromebook shows the future of Google's laptops - but it has a long way to go (GOOG, GOOGL) (businessinsider.com)
- Samsung's new Chromebooks get Google Play access and a stylus (techcrunch.com)
- Samsung's new 2-in-1 Chromebooks now include a stylus (mashable.com)