Allwinner A10 linux board coming

This is very interesting. A UK company is planning to create a board with a similar price to the RaspberryPi, but with a much more powerful CPU.

Yeah, that is going to be the main thing that will hinder adoption of the RasPi, after the hype has died down. The 1.5GHz A8 ARM CPU in the Allwinner A10 is three times faster than the ARM11 CPU in the RasPi (that's what they claim anyway).

Here is the news report:
http://www.itwire.com/opinion-and-analysis/open-sauce/52054-british-company-looks-to-create-cheap-open-platforms

A couple of very interesting points about this initiative: it seems the chip will be GPL-compliant (not really sure about what they are claiming here), and their first board will be a PCMCIA board.

That last one seems odd, but they are talking about a new-generation PCMCIA, which, it seems from further reading that it serves as a compact expansion bus. You can have a CPU board, with lots of I/O on one end, PCMCIA plug on the other, and add all kinds of interfaces. More info:
http://elinux.org/Embedded_Open_Modular_Architecture/PCMCIA

Here is a page on the Allwinner A10 chip:
http://rhombus-tech.net/allwinner_a10/

This page shows a cut-and-paste of what the board is going to look like:
http://rhombus-tech.net/allwinner_a10/news/

If they really can bring this out at a RasPi-price, well even a bit more, then they are onto a winner. I'll be watching progress!


Posted on 11 Jan 2012, 18:42


Comments:

Posted on 11 Jan 2012, 22:51 by Jota
Yes!
This is truly amazing!
$7 for a Cpu that is as powerful than a Intel cpu that costs $40 or more...




Posted on 12 Jan 2012, 4:46 by Dougal
Hmm
"that is going to be the main thing that will hinder adoption of the RasPi, after the hype has died down."

Well, considering the RaspberryPi is intended for schools to teach kids how to program... I can't see how the CPU speed is relevant.
Besides, the RaspberryPi can play 1080p video, which even the much-hyped device from Cupertino can't do...


Posted on 12 Jan 2012, 6:35 by BarryK
Re CPU speed
Dougal,
Yes, it is fine for teaching. I was thinking of the many people who might want to use it to run the usual Linux apps. Yes, the GPU is very good, but the A10 has one also.

Anyway, we shall see. I shouldn't be speculating. Wait until the RasPi is out there and see what people try to do with it.

I am sure that as the RasPi is going to be very successful. A bit down the track they might be able to do it with a faster chip, maybe Broadcom will come to the party there.



Posted on 12 Jan 2012, 8:23 by technosaurus
lgpl cpu
Opencore.org has open source hardware designs. For instance:

http://opencores.org/openrisc,or1200


Posted on 12 Jan 2012, 22:21 by Raffy
Mali400 GPU
Quote: "1.5ghz ARM Cortex A8 with a MALI400 GPU"

That's not bad at all, as MALI is a good GPU.


Posted on 14 Jan 2012, 7:10 by BarryK
EOMA-PCMCIA
Ok, it is clear now, as I have read a bit more. I must not refer to it as PCMCIA as they are only using the plug/socket hardware. Their FAQ explains that the PCMCIA hardware is still mass-produced and thus still cheap:
http://rhombus-tech.net/faq/

EOMA-PCMCIA is a compact format for expanding their CPU board. The EOMA-PCMCIA home site shows how this can be a standardised format for the same CPU card to be used in a tablet, notebook, desktop PC, any embedded system. Yes, I can see the enormous benefit for everyone to have such pluggable standardised hardware.

This is what EOMA-PCMCIA has:

RGB/TTL: 28 pins
USB2: 2 pins
I2C: 2 pins
10/100 Ethernet: 4 pins
SATA-II: 4 pins
GPIO: 16 pins
5V Power: 2 pins @ 0.5A per pin

Plus 10 ground pins, making 68 pins total.

The A10 chip has some other stuff, such as PATA interface, that can also apparently be brought out on the EOMA-PCMCIA pins.



Posted on 14 Jan 2012, 22:16 by Dougal
EOMA-PCMCIA
Isn't this the same idea like what Samsung is doing with its new TVs?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2012/jan/10/ces-2012-samsung-smart-tv
Seems like their "Smart Evolution" thing might be such a card to easily upgrade the CPU/SoC to a newer version.


Posted on 15 Jan 2012, 2:29 by Sage
EOMA-PCMCIA
At present, this type of port is only a modest step away from the proprietary 'docking' ports offered with certain laptops and equipment a decade ago. In the marketplace, acceptance is everything - the latter, esp. being proprietary, weren't.
Same problem with the Samsung TV. Their boardroom may see it only as an element of commercial leverage. Only takes a couple of jokers to add a couple of pins, take ditto away, or, like Dell and the PSU input socket fiasco, shift the wiring configuration along by a couple of positions! Plug a Sony into a Samsung and call the fire brigade!
The masterstroke that IBM pulled was to make the PC standardised by going open-source. Many financial gurus considered that was also their biggest mistake...
We shall see.


Posted on 4 Apr 2012, 21:17 by Raffy
Ainol Novo Tablets
It looks like the Ainol Novo escaped our radar - it has launched last December 2011 and its cheapest build, the Paladin, once upgraded to Android 4.0.3, works well in English and is able to use compatible apps from Google Market (recently renamed to Google Play).

I have been using the Paladin in the past two days and have no complaints. :)


Posted on 4 Apr 2012, 21:37 by Raffy
Ainol Novo Products URL
Oops, here's the product URL.

Quick shot after upgrade to Android 4.0.3 and before clearing the (mostly Chinese) applications.



Posted on 5 Apr 2012, 8:24 by BarryK
Re Ainol tablets
Raffy,
I think that I read somewhere that they dropped the ARM and A10 chips, have gone over to MIPS. Tablets with the A10 are old stock.