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nick.mccloud
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Fri May 18, 2012 4:45 pm

The Android community has yet to rival the Debian/Fedora/Arch/Linux in general communities combined - that is what makes the Pi community so attractive (especially me) - you have access to a world of Linux resources.

Yes, I know Android is Linux underneath, but even so.

robwriter
Posts: 114
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Fri May 18, 2012 6:40 pm

I don't think that this needs to be considered a rival to the Pi. There's space for >1 device.

That said, I concur that the community is the thing that can turn the Pi in to a really useful tool. I can't develop device drivers, but I can do some coding and can certainly do testing of hardware and software. I've had a couple of chinese tablets but gave up on them. Ultimately the hardware they had was capable of much more, but there was no support from the manufacturer, and so the potential was wasted.

The Pi may be less powerful, but you can be sure that in a years time it's software will be tweaked to the max!

rasbeer
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Sat May 19, 2012 8:06 pm

robwriter wrote:I don't think that this needs to be considered a rival to the Pi. There's space for >1 device.

That said, I concur that the community is the thing that can turn the Pi in to a really useful tool
I think this is right - the Pi should offer a sizeable community friendly to people with all levels of experience, all using (almost) identical hardware. That ought to make learning about Linux (& programming) quite a bit easier.

I don't think there's any need for defensiveness re other SOC-based low cost platforms (whether development boards or STB or anything else). Some of them may be more powerful etc, but hardware complexities & a smaller, likely less newbie-friendly community means they won't offer the same educational opportunities.

Even if more powerful similar SOCs become available at an acceptable price pretty soon - I have no idea how likely this is - it might not make sense to try to rush our a model C, at a cost of too much hardware fragmentation in the Pi community.

But people will also want to do specific things with SOC-based computers that the Pi might not be well suited to. What harm does it do if they discuss them here? After all, it is the off-topic section...

Skiesare
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Sun May 20, 2012 9:00 am

I'm really pleased to see all these Pi like devices starting to emerge. It's like the good old days of the 8 bit revolution, with new designs coming out all the time from different people in different countries with different goals and design philosophies. The complete lack of documentation and community makes this feel like a Jupiter Ace to the Pi's BBC Micro but it's still interesting and could fulfil tasks less well suited to the Pi. It has built in wireless keyboard and mouse support and WiFi for example.

According to http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/mobile- ... s-just-74/ this will run Linux distros. All of the press reports mention a microSD slot but the pictures seen to show a standard sized slot.

Bring 'em on, bring 'em all on. This time round I afford to buy some just to muck about with them for fun.

jamesh
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Sun May 20, 2012 10:45 am

rasbeer wrote:
robwriter wrote:I don't think that this needs to be considered a rival to the Pi. There's space for >1 device.

That said, I concur that the community is the thing that can turn the Pi in to a really useful tool
I think this is right - the Pi should offer a sizeable community friendly to people with all levels of experience, all using (almost) identical hardware. That ought to make learning about Linux (& programming) quite a bit easier.

I don't think there's any need for defensiveness re other SOC-based low cost platforms (whether development boards or STB or anything else). Some of them may be more powerful etc, but hardware complexities & a smaller, likely less newbie-friendly community means they won't offer the same educational opportunities.

Even if more powerful similar SOCs become available at an acceptable price pretty soon - I have no idea how likely this is - it might not make sense to try to rush our a model C, at a cost of too much hardware fragmentation in the Pi community.

But people will also want to do specific things with SOC-based computers that the Pi might not be well suited to. What harm does it do if they discuss them here? After all, it is the off-topic section...
I'm not convinced on the HW fragmentation argument, should there be a faster Raspi. Because that is all it would be - faster. The OS would be the same, the same apps would run. Just faster. They still wouldn't be modern desktop fast though, so decent programming would still be a necessity.
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rasbeer
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Sun May 20, 2012 11:54 am

jamesh wrote: I'm not convinced on the HW fragmentation argument, should there be a faster Raspi. Because that is all it would be - faster. The OS would be the same, the same apps would run. Just faster. They still wouldn't be modern desktop fast though, so decent programming would still be a necessity.
I hope you're right actually. But it looks like speed could be a real issue for some applications on the existing RasPi, and wouldn't extra memory make some currently impossible things possible?

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AndrewS
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Sun May 20, 2012 7:07 pm

rasbeer wrote:But it looks like speed could be a real issue for some applications on the existing RasPi
Or an opportunity for clever optimisations ;)

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Ed Raket
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Sun May 20, 2012 9:21 pm

Programming is the key, remember when programs where written in assembler? programs flew on a 386... never mind a 486 DX! Grafic cards where a joke these days. lazy programming coused huge liberaries for simple instructions, software bloated hardware specs for decades... if you can have a live cd of a complete (windows like) os distro only < 3Mb in sise, If they can make a 64k demo that last for 10 mins, and filles you with joy! Maybe we should forget the hardware specs, and learn to code again. A Pi has SO MUCH potencial with the right programs, that maybe we should relearn to code again. Maybe we should not WANT to use a 150Kb lib for a 3Kb instruction... Please tel me if im wrong, but i think it's time for a new way of thinking and coding. In the future we just cant use a ferrari to for groseries, we have to use a suzuki economicly to make sence. otherwise we keep falling behind on specs...

my 2 cnts, from a coding NooB ;)

gladoscc
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Pi-like USB stick computer. 1.5GHz, $76

Tue May 22, 2012 2:43 am

There's a new Android USB-stick device that sells for $76. Runs Android 4.0, rooted, you can install another arm linux distro too.

It looks like a good device to buy if you're tired of waiting for the Pi. It's more expensive, but also more powerful.

It's going to be rebranded under a lot of different names too.

Specs:

OS

Android 4.0

Main Chip

Allwinner A10 / 1.5GHz Cortex-A8

Memory

512MB DDR3

Storage

4GB Nand Flash

Graphical processor

2D / 3D / OpenGL ES2.0(AMD Z430) / OpenVG1.1(AMD Z160)@27M Tri/sec
[ Mali 400 ]
Network

Wireless 802.11b/g, WAPI(Ralink8188)

Expand Memory

Micro TF 2-32GB

IO/Ports

Micro 5pin USB/ USB2.0 data transfer/ OTG and host expand

Keyboard

Support virtual keyboard, support 2.4G wireless keyboard, fly mouse

Audio

AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, QCP, MP3, WMA, WAV, MIDI, M4A

Video

WMV/ASF/MP4/3GP/3G2M4V/AVI/MJPEG/RV10/DivX/VC-1/MPEG-2/
MPEG-4/H.263/H.264/1280*720P HD 30 fps, 1080P/720*480 D1 30fps

Andriod APP

Youku, Tudou, QQ, Youtube, Twitter, AngryBird, Office, Gmail, Browse, Skype, and more!

HDMI

1080P & 2160P

Power Input

5V2A

Size

8.8 x 3.5 x 1.2cm

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Jim Manley
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Re: Pi-like USB stick computer. 1.5GHz, $76

Tue May 22, 2012 5:05 am

Please move to this worn-out thread:

http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewt ... =63&t=6068 (The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived)
The best things in life aren't things ... but, a Pi comes pretty darned close! :D
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In theory, theory & practice are the same - in practice, they aren't!!!

blc
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Tue May 22, 2012 1:56 pm

I'm kind of in two minds about this thing. Firstly, it is definitely not a Pi competitor/rival - there's no way it will be able to match the community behind the Pi. There may be some small support for it somewhere at some point, but nowhere near the activity currently going on with the Pi.

OTOH, it is a powerful little piece of kit. It will be somewhat hampered by not being a "full" Android distribution and the lack of hardware drivers for other OS'. Although the Samsung Galaxy Note has the same GPU, so maybe some enterprising hacker somewhere might figure something out.
Ed Raket wrote:Programming is the key, remember when programs where written in assembler? programs flew on a 386... never mind a 486 DX! Grafic cards where a joke these days. lazy programming coused huge liberaries for simple instructions, software bloated hardware specs for decades... if you can have a live cd of a complete (windows like) os distro only < 3Mb in sise, If they can make a 64k demo that last for 10 mins, and filles you with joy! Maybe we should forget the hardware specs, and learn to code again. A Pi has SO MUCH potencial with the right programs, that maybe we should relearn to code again. Maybe we should not WANT to use a 150Kb lib for a 3Kb instruction... Please tel me if im wrong, but i think it's time for a new way of thinking and coding. In the future we just cant use a ferrari to for groseries, we have to use a suzuki economicly to make sence. otherwise we keep falling behind on specs...

my 2 cnts, from a coding NooB ;)
Just wanted to pick up on this from a gaming POV, as I am a bit of a keen PC gamer. The reason that graphics libraries are so massive is likely because of standardisation. Pretty much every modern PC game out there uses either DirectX or OpenGL (and I'm not trying to debate the merits of either platform here - don't really want to open that can of worms...), and pretty much all PC graphics hardware supports both libraries. New features in DirectX/OpenGL force the hardware manufacturers to release new generations of hardware, and new developments in graphics hardware enable new features in DirectX/OpenGL; it's a bit of a vicious cycle, really.

It might not be the most efficient way to write the code, and some manufacturers may support/utilise aspects of either library better than others, but it does allow games developers to write software without having to tailor it for every possible combination of hardware out there. The advantage we have with the Pi - and this goes for games consoles to some degree, too - is that the hardware is fixed: you can afford to bypass the libraries and get down to the level of programming the bare metal directly because you know that your software will be run on hardware that it was designed for (or at least you could for the Pi if you didn't have to access the GPU via a binary blob - again, not trying to debate the merits of this either way). The PC doesn't have that: there are literally millions of possible combinations of CPU, GPU, motherboard, RAM, speeds, etc.

It reminds me somewhat of the early days of dedicated 3D graphics processors and GLIDE vs OpenGL vs nascent DirectX. GLIDE looked the best by far at the time, but it was only supported on 3dfx graphics cards. In the very early days of the first 3dfx Voodoo card - before DirectX, OpenGL, Nvidia and ATi started to pull their socks up - there were no other hardware rendering options: No 3dfx? Crappy software rendering for you, my friend. Personally I'm very grateful for what standardisation has done for PC gaming (and for the PC in general).

Of course, none of the above necessarily implies that this is the right way to do things; but when games have budgets and development times bigger than many movies these days, it seems like the only realistic option.

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ArborealSeer
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Tue May 22, 2012 2:37 pm

spending almost 300 quid on an orchird righteous 3d (3dfx) just to see transparent water in glquake :(

i did become unstoppable in claustrophobolopolis.. took 4 guys ganging up and ambushing me just as the quad damage ran out to take me down.. muhaha!
Pi Status > Farnell, Arrived 24/5- RS, Arrived 1/6

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Ed Raket
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Tue May 22, 2012 4:31 pm

@BLC: i think that pretty much sums it up ;) and i used to have a VooDoo 1 card... LOL :mrgreen:

prodata
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Tue May 22, 2012 4:35 pm

And another...

http://www.reghardware.com/2012/05/22/c ... _pi_alike/

from VIA @ $49 and due in July. I'm not up on my ARM nomenclature - what's ARM11 - is that the same as the Pi do I recall?

Actually, a few more details here:

http://apc.io/

No power consumption though, but does apparently run Android and have VGA.

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johnbeetem
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Tue May 22, 2012 6:31 pm

prodata wrote:And another...

http://www.reghardware.com/2012/05/22/c ... _pi_alike/

from VIA @ $49 and due in July. I'm not up on my ARM nomenclature - what's ARM11 - is that the same as the Pi do I recall?
Yes, same ARM1176JZF core as RasPi, except that the WonderMedia (subsidiary of VIA) website doesn't have the "-S" suffix. Wondermedia 8750 clocks at 800 MHz instead of RasPi's 700 MHz.

obarthelemy
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Tue May 22, 2012 8:39 pm

Actually, that VIA one looks good. An established company, a good price, and better I/O for general use. Pity about Android instead of a real OS, hopefully this will be fixed shortly by the community. Also, I think their ITX format variant will let us easily put it in regular ITX cases along with USB hard disks.

millinho
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Wed May 23, 2012 3:00 pm

i didn't find anything about an audio out,so i only get the sound via the hdmi port?

hzrnbgy
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Thu May 24, 2012 3:29 am

If you look at the spec, it has Audio In / Mic out

Einstein
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Tue May 29, 2012 9:55 am

Ed Raket wrote:Programming is the key, remember when programs where written in assembler? programs flew on a 386... never mind a 486 DX! Grafic cards where a joke these days. lazy programming coused huge liberaries for simple instructions, software bloated hardware specs for decades... if you can have a live cd of a complete (windows like) os distro only < 3Mb in sise, If they can make a 64k demo that last for 10 mins, and filles you with joy! Maybe we should forget the hardware specs, and learn to code again. A Pi has SO MUCH potencial with the right programs, that maybe we should relearn to code again. Maybe we should not WANT to use a 150Kb lib for a 3Kb instruction... Please tel me if im wrong, but i think it's time for a new way of thinking and coding. In the future we just cant use a ferrari to for groseries, we have to use a suzuki economicly to make sence. otherwise we keep falling behind on specs...

my 2 cnts, from a coding NooB ;)
I cut my teeth on the early 8bit CPUs, and spent time in engineering the 128 and 512KB Macinstosh CPU's, given these were floppy based and had limited RAM and nowhere to have as a cache/scratch area the performance for a 16bit single tasking OS was usable still today, but compared to Windows 3, it was so far ahead, that it sparked MS OS's need/trend for ever more powerful CPUs and more memory in order to account for the CPU running TWO operating systems, DOS and Windows. Windows was, in effect a DOS application.

When you start to develop and write device level components (memory, I/O, CPU et-al) in a high level language and then continue to write the OS in a similar high level language the best compilers on earth won't cut the code as tight as an engineer who knows the nuts and bolts of the hardware, registers and OS, not to mention which language is best for the job in hand and works with that.

I'm excited to see people, kids and us old hands, rediscover what we can achieve with a light OS, fairly handy CPU, limited RAM and tightly crafted code. That is NO excuse for undocumented code though!

As for the ARM devices coming from China, we're trying to compare raspberries with strawberries. The two go together well, but satisfy different pallets.

The RPi is aimed to get people 'hands on' with the code and close to the hardware, to inspire, spark the passion and deliver on imagination that comes from writing you own code, driving your hardware. The units coming from China with a pre-installed Android OS are ideal as set top boxes, or TV web browsers, a cordless keyboard/track pad, sit back and research the web from your armchair without a £500 web browser frying your thighs.

Now, if you took and Arm embedded CPU and integrated it with a MS Kinect so you could have gestures but not touch screen, well, wow, that I'd wouldn't still be sat here writing this! Providing the performance was good overall and the solution was stable (OS/software) the name or detail would be academic, to simply have a small box held on the back of the LCD with velcro, or on top of my AV switcher/amp must appeal to a lot of people, not for heavy web access, but for light web use, connection to the home media server and even to hosted office based apps and email. None of which need many horses to deliver.

I think both platforms can survive, the packaged, more expensive solution for the TV web boxes and the open and open source RPi with a choice of OS and that can be expanded and developed in many different ways, many only as limited as the users imagination. What is great is the sheer volumes that have already been shipped. I'm wondering what the total volume of C64, VIC20 and Beebs etc were each year. Oh, not forgetting the ZX Spectrum!

It will be interesting to see how many of us here have more than one RPi by the end of the year, indeed, how many of us will have three or more?

bnolsen
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Tue May 29, 2012 10:30 am

People need to remember that these "competitors" are really just computing devices, not suitable for machine control.

Just a quick update on the mele a[12]000 and allwinner a10 (and a13) devices.

The mele a1000/2000 are identical except for the case. Onboard wireless is 'n' capable. Antenna is just a crummy pcb trace though.

The "2160p" claim is for video decode only, not display. android supports 1080p display, current fbdev I only get 720p.

At this point I believe the allwinner a10 is totally open across the board regarding important hardware blocks.

The xbmc project was provided full spec/access/code for the DSP unit. That means full unadulterated access to hardware acceleration necessary to implement any codecs, past and future.

There's two avenues for gpu acceleration. There's the PITA of getting the mali binary blobs working (I believe the amlogic based kde spark tablet is going that route). There was a mali update at linuxtag where the fragment shaders are 100% reverse engineered and the vertex shaders 80%. Again a work in progress, but they've gotten very far in only 6 months.

One thing lacking is a unified community behind a unified device. Everything is still very cutting edge with a few volunters pushing ahead. Hopefully things will stabilize while the a10/a13 is actually still in manufacture.

BillStephenson
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Tue May 29, 2012 5:07 pm

I think devices like this are great for us all, and especially this project.

There are certainly things to be learned here from how their team approached the engineering of this device, and much of what is done with the RPi might also be applied to other devices like this.

In the process of that evolution we should see better, less expensive, versions of the RPi coming. And we should see high performance RPi compatible versions of commercial products like this coming. That's all good for all of us and it seems to be exactly what the goals of the project are aimed at.

The RPi is a starting point, not the end point.

globulas
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Wed May 30, 2012 3:49 pm

Having recieved 2 x Raspberry Pi`s in 3 days, then the following day one of these android devices i can see the benefit of both items. I have shown both devices to primary and secondry teachers and feedback was good for both. The only complaint was lack of case etc for PI and proper instructions.

The android device just works and is great for Google Play apps. It works fine with many of the educational apps and it plays hd video very well. The only problem i have encountered is some apps auto rotate to portrait mode so you look a right plonk with a huge phone on its side in place of your TV!!

The PI is a different animal all together. It is certainly not a mainstream consumer item, not in its current form anyhow, but a tool to help with the progression of proper IT in education.

Richard

Urgenus
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:35 am

Hmmn.

This cost about $28 more than RPi (from DX), but it has a 4GB memory and WIFI and you can get it right away unlike RPi that's never here (well ok 2-3weeks delivery from china, but still beats RPi i think).

So i'll order mine today, let see how many months before RPi i got one to play :D

Edit: I calculated the price difference wrong, because i have to byu SD card for the RPi (if and when i even get RPi).
- RPi 39Euros delivered from RS + 5Eur SD card (Cheapest 4GB SDHC with delivery in my coyntry), so RPi with memory costs 44Eur that is about $55
- Android mini-pc is $78 from DX home delivered.

So the price difference is $23 that is about 18€. And with that 18€ you get faster CPU, WIFI and the most important feature is fast delivery and you can touch and use your machine unlike RPi that you see only in forums and youtube videos.
Last edited by Urgenus on Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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AndrewS
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:39 am

Good luck, it'll be really interesting to hear what you manage to "do" with this Chinese device (from a curiosity point of view).

Urgenus
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Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:48 am

AndrewS wrote:Good luck, it'll be really interesting to hear what you manage to "do" with this Chinese device (from a curiosity point of view).
Well atleast touch it fysically, and see it with my own eyes in 3 weeks i hope :)

And then we see what can we do with it.

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