OLinuXino booting Android

We can’t say the name rolls off the tongue, but it is beginning to look like the OlinuXino is going to happen. Here you can see the prototype hardware booting Android. If this is the first time you’re seeing the hardware you can think of it in the same category as the Raspberry Pi. It’s a butt-kicking ARM platform that comes as a bare-board with which you can do what you please.

Olimex Ltd. put together the offering, which seems to be part of the name mash-up (Olimex + Linux + Arduino?). The board hosts an ARM Cortex-A8 processor which runs at 1 GHz. There’s a half a gigabyte of ram, four USB and one USB-OTG ports, and a big array of breakout pins. One eyebrow-raising choice was not to include an HDMI connector. Instead the board offers VGA and Audio outputs. There is a pin header meant for an LCD screen, as seen in the image above, so it could be that the intention here is for smaller or more portable applications. But like we said, the form factor really lets you do what you want.

Possibly the best part is the price. The target for the top-of-the-line board is 55 Euros (about $68) and that comes with WiFi and 4 GB of NAND storage on the board. There’s a bunch of posts on the project, including a look at the PCB routing work. This link to the A13 tag will give you the widest overview of the work so far.

[Thanks Acce]

17 thoughts on “OLinuXino booting Android

    1. Well, given that it has more capabilities than a Raspberry Pi, this is much more interesting. The difference is OLinuXino is not made by a charity foundation that limits its capabilities, while the Raspberry Pi is. So give Raspberry Pi a slack :D

  1. The processor is an Allwinner A13, which is a stripped down (cheapified) version of the Allwinner A10. A13’s don’t have HDMI and never will. You can get fully built A10 tablets from for $78 from ebay, and cheaper if you are in china. Also, the A10 based 1GB/4GB MK802 also goes for about $70. They all come with a rooted ICS. Unless it costs <$50, an A10-based device will be the better value.

    1. Invalid comparsion. The Chinese devices don’t have broken out GPIOs in convenient format, and as the FP said this can have HDMI with a shield if you really need that; I don’t, VGA is nice for those old monitors always lying around.

      1. Not true at all. The A13 was specifically designed to reduce cost by eliminating HDMI. You can add a header all you like, but there will be no HDMI support. VGA->HDMI is not HDMI.

        This IS the processor (and common design) used in all of those Chinese devices, well the stripped down version. Again, an A10 tablet will give you more feature for the price. If you *must* have GPIO, go for an FTDI chip or a $12 EZ-USB breakout board and not get bound up dealing with a specific processor’s GPIO lines.

      2. Actually yes, it’s true. It’s not VGA -> HDMI, it’s LCD -> DVI (digital -> digital) and for image purposes it is HDMI. If you need other HDMI functions then you’re looking for a home theater device, not for a board like this, nevermind that if you need DVI then your’s is already probably the wrong application for this board.

        I know this is the chip used in Chinese devices, but it’s far from the same design. When have you seen a tablet PCB with connections and form factor meant to be easy to integrate into your own projects?

        Both the FTDI chip and Ez-USB board will block one USB port, add extra cost to your already-slightly-more-expensive “solution”, and neither will deliver honest-to-goodness GPIOs, let alone 70 of them.

        Face it: Your beloved Chinese tablets are not a solution for projects that call for a board with characteristics like this one.

        Maybe you are misled by the Android demo into thinking Android is the intended application for the board; it isn’t, that was just a demo.

    2. Of course HDMI is about the audio as much as the video. There’s not even a DVI header on this board. You don’t even get SPDIF, just a headphone jack. Your “LCD->DVI” breakout solution has to be done by hand, which isn’t free. Also, you lose VGA when you enable LCD. A10 devices don’t have this limitation (be it a tablet, MK802, etc). ICS is a bonus and it’s free. Also, can this bare board even deliver on $68 with *Free* shipping? From Europe? Forget it.

      What is “honest-to-goodness GPIO”? It’s not 70
      GPIO pins. It’s “17 for adding NAND flash; 22 for connecting LCDs; 20+4 including 8 GPIOs which can be input, output, interrupt sources; 3x I2C; 2x UARTs; SDIO2 for connecting SDcards and modules; 5 system pins: +5V, +3.3V, GND, RESET, NMI.” And it’s bound to the processor, meaning your project has no portability at all. Yes, an EZ-USB,etc consumes *one* USB port (gasp). You can prototype on a PC and deploy to mobile (or any other platform) easily. If you need more pins, just plug in another as needed. You’re beating a dead horse. But don’t believe me, let the people decide with their wallets given all the facts.

  2. Ridiculous marketing types and the names they come up with… ino… This device doesn’t remote resemble the functionality associated with Arduino’s… Would have been better stealing some variation on the Rasberry Pi…

      1. No it isn’t about any claim of “exclusive right” particularly considering this is a company with a track record of ignoring such rights…

        It is about the stupidity of Marketing using a name they simply don’t understand. the ‘ino’ means a device that can do bit fiddling. This device is not suited to such (any more than the Rasberry Pi is)…

        It lacks real time response…

  3. Well that’s interesting, certainly the breakouts are helpful.

    If you’re not in need of breakouts there are various products floating around such as the AK802 (or MK depending on the amount of RAM) with a cortex A8 processor, 1GB or 512MB of RAM respectively, HDMI out, wifi and so on. There are Mele A1000s if you need sata and vga, there’s the Odroid-X if you want a lot of processing power (same CPU/RAM as a Samsung Galaxy S 3). All of these are reasonably cheap. Just saying that if you’re currently looking at a RasPi or one of these you’ve got a range of products that might suit your needs.

    I bought a RasPi but too late realised that I didn’t want GPIO, I wanted a low power desktop replacement. GPIO is always useful though, so I’m sure it’ll end up as a very smart dynamic EQ or something :P

  4. A little off topic. What display is it connected to the OLinuXino board?

    I am searching for a suitable capacitive display to play with STM32F4 Discovery. There are some interesting and relatively cheap kits based on SSD1289 (LCD) and XPT2046 (touch) controllers available but resistive only. Capacitive LCD kits seem to be hard to find ..

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