Category Archives: Android

Meet Smartenit Harmony G1, Smart Home Mini PC

We are continuing our series of posts dedicated to products that will be officially announced at CES 2015, and now we have a special product.
Why special? because it just might be the first of it’s kind – the world’s first Smart Home Mini PC (actually I just coined this term, hopefully it would catch on).
You might know Smartenit for their Home automation projects (if not, you can look up “iSmartenit” on Google Play or  AppStore).
With their Harmony G1 you can do much more than watching movies on Netflix, Hulu, or from an USB drive or local network: you can also control your lights, irrigation system, watch live feeds from your security cameras and even receive alerts on your sensors (windows or front door locked/unlocked, motion detection), see power consumption for your appliances, etc.

harmony-g1

Hardware:
– Dual Core ARMv7  CPU @ 1 Ghz
– 1GB RAM, 4GB Nand
– Android 4.2.2
– 2 USB 2.0 ports
– HDMI and AV out
– SD card (up to 64 GB)
– Ethernet and 802.11 b/g/n wi-fi

Are you a developer? Check out the Harmony socket XML API!

Mini PC DB in 2015

2015 arrived, and it will be an exciting year, here’s why:

– The rise of Windows Mini PC’s
Most Mini PC’s we are featuring on MiniPCDB are below $250, and most of them are using now Android.
But during the last 3 months of 2014 there were quite a few Mini (HT)PC’s announced that would use the Intel Z3735F and they are now just around the corner.
Windows 8.1 with Bing will bring a nice change to the otherwise quite plain market when it comes to operating systems (all other units were using Android 4.4, and rarely Linux, mostly without video hardware acceleration).

The Android 5.0/5.1 Lollipop (Android TV)
Until now, Android TV boxes were simply turning your TV or monitor in a touch-less tablet.
Now Android TV is just around the corner, and we expect to see updates to Android 5.0 from some of the established brands like Minix or Tronsmart.
Finally the UI will be aimed at TV’s (“10-foot user interface”) and we’ll have apps that are specifically designed to be displayed on a TV.

Allwinner A80
For a few months now, Allwinner A80 is said to have the greatest potential due to the massive power of the 8-core CPU with 64-cores GPU.
But as we know, having a bunch of extra cores is good for marketing as it looks great on paper, but without the software to put those cores to work it simply doesn’t make much of a difference.
Allwinner is making efforts alongside manufacturers and there could be some interesting new TV and development boxes with Linux and Android L early this year.

(Even) More Intel devices
More and more cheap Intel devices like Intel’s NUC series (or Gigabyte’s Brix) are coming – see our posts on Mr.Nuc .

XBMC/Kodi
XBMC folks had a fantastic year – basically now when a manufacturer releases an Android TV box (or any other TV box for that matter) they feel the need to announce that it will support XBMC.
This brings more exposure to XBMC and they deserve it – a fantastic project that simply changed living-room entertainment forever.

OpenELEC
OpenELEC  was built with a simple (but great) idea in mind – turn a Mini PC/computer into a “Kodi” machine – you can install it in minutes time and although it’s Linux-based you don’t even need to know much about Linux to use it.
Fast way of getting your own Media Center with a limited budget and great results.

MiniPCDB
Our goals are beyond this blog, we plan on having a full website completed by Q2, with anything a Mini PC enthusiast should need to know.

Follow us on Twitter, as we plan to release there any new information regarding the website and it’s planned features.
You think you can contribute with a subject? Just contact us!

 

Follow-up on Mr.Nuc

A few days ago (or last year, depending on how you look at it), I’ve published a short post about a Chinese tiny PC made by Realan, Mr.Nuc.
In a matter of hours that post got popular and the story spread on several websites in different languages.
Below are few of them:
Liliputing (English)
Ubergizmo (English)
MiniMachines (French)
24Gadget (Russian)
Comptoir Hardware (French)
Cnews.cz (Czech)

What’s to be learned from this?
There is certainly a market for these devices, and 2015 could be the year of “Wintel” Mini PCs.
There are literally dozens of Baytrail Z3735F or Z3736F devices  with Windows 8.1 with Bing coming in the next month or so (Minix Z64, Pipo X7, Mele, etc) – but if the price is right, manufacturers can sell “NUC- type” devices easily as well.

Mr. Nuc has a nice case, most people liked it, but they should ditch that cooling fan and make it cheaper, otherwise they will compete with Intel’s NUC devices and people will choose Intel if the price is similar.

Minimachines noticed the similarities between Mr.NUC’s motherboard and the Intel® NUC D34010WYK (see their animated GIF) – that could mean that Mr.NUC is a clone or they actually have some sort of partnership.
Looks like they do have a partnership with Intel (see this news story on their website).

Here are some more pictures with Mr. NUC.

Mr.NUC-red Mr.NUC-red-2 Mr.NUC-red-3 Mr.NUC-flavors Mr.NUC-more Mr.NUC-teacup Mr.NUC-classic Mr.NUC_black_2 Mr.NUC-black Mr.NUC_eiffel Mr.NUC_turtle Mr.NUC_unboxing_2

 

Tronsmart Draco unboxing

A bit late to the party, I know, but I finally received my Tronsmart Draco AW80.
Draco AW80 and Telos AW80 are basically the same product, the only difference is on the GBs or RAM (2 vs 4) and the internal eMMC storage (16 vs 32).
You could have great expectations from a device that has an 8-core CPU@2Ghz and 64-core GPU, plus Gigabit ethernet and dual-band wi-fi.
Practically these specs are a dream come true for many Mini PC  enthusiasts… but does this device really lives up to the expectations?
I’ll answer this question in a another post, early next year.

Until then, here are the unboxing pictures.

Unboxing: Tronsmart Draco AW80 Tronsmart did a great job with the product box itself: it has a stylish black box that certainly catches your attention.
Unboxing: Tronsmart Draco AW80 Open the box and you’ll get to see the TV box itself, nicely wrapped.
Accesories: Tronsmart Draco AW80 Draco AW80 accessories: they are all individually wrapped
Included in the package: Tronsmart Draco AW80 Draco AW80 accessories: power, USB cable, IR remote, HDMI and SATA cables
Tronsmart Draco AW80 and it's remote The remote has “Defender” written on it, no clue why. There’s a layer of plastic coating above the Tronsmart logo on top, remove it and it will look better
Tronsmart Draco AW80 side view Side view: 2 USB ports, SD card, SATA external port for 3.5″ HDDs
Tronsmart Draco AW80 back view Back view with external Wi-fi antenna, Ethernet port, USB 3.0 (OTG), HDMI out, AV out, optical out ports

Egreat 2015 roadmap

[Update] – more details about the Egreat Wintel Mini PCs can be found here.

A while ago I talked about Egreat and their plans.
Nothing major happened since then, no major products launched by Egreat (not outside China anyway).

But from what I’ve learned recently things are about to get better for the Chinese manufacturer.
We managed to get a sneak peek at the products that Egreat will announce at CES 2015:

Egreat U10 Allwinner A80

Egreat U10

Allwinner A80 octa-core CPU
2GB RAM, 16GB
Gigabit ethernet+dual band wi-fi
Bluetooth 4.0
Android 4.4

Egreat I2 Wintel Mini PC

Egreat I2

Intel Bay Trail 3735F CPU
2GB RAM, 32GB
Bluetooth 4.0
Android/Windows 8

Egreat I3 Wintel Mini PC

Egreat I3

Intel Bay Trail 3735F CPU
2GB RAM, 32GB
Bluetooth 4.0
Android/Windows 8

Egreat I6 Wintel Mini PC

Egreat I6

Intel Bay Trail 3735F CPU
2GB RAM, 32GB
Bluetooth 4.0
Android/Windows 8

Egreat A2 Mini PC

Egreat A2

Realtek RTD1195 CPU
External SATA port
Android 4.4

Egreat A6 Mini PC

Egreat A6

Amlogic S812-H CPU (?)
2GB RAM, 16GB eMMC
Gigabit ethernet + dual band, 2.4GHz/5.0GHz 300M WiFi
4K/2K H.265/HEVC hardware decoding
External SATA port
Android 4.4

Egreat A9 Mini PC

Egreat A9

Mstar MSO9180 CPU
2GB RAM, 16GB eMMC
Gigabit Ethernet + dual band, 2.4GHz/5.0GHz 300M WiFi
Internal 3.5” HDD
Aluminum case with VFD
Android 4.4
Can record from HDMI-IN in 1080P

 

Basically:
– Egreat takes a shot at the hottest CPU available now (Allwinner A80)- with it’s 8-cores and 64-cores CPU is expected to provide good performance for a while
– Egreat launches 3 “Wintel” models – they seem to share the same PCB, only different casing, which is not uncommon for Egreat
– Egreat A2, A6 and A9 are claimed to have full BD ISO support (including 3D), and they also have promised an UART port for “DIY development”
– also, they plan to launch internationally two Android-based game box devices, named Egreat K1 and respectively Egreat K3

Let’s see what will come out of this, 2015 could be an (E) great year 🙂

Finally a new RTD1195 device: Zappiti 4K

If you visited this blog before you might know that the Realtek RTD1195 platform was pretty much announced here.
Several months passed without any device actually being shipped, then I got an early build of EweatEW902 that I couldn’t actually review due to the board not being compatible with newer FW updates…
There were rumors about a Mede8er device with this CPU, but so far that device did not appear at all.

But enough history (and self-promotion:-) )

Today I learned that there’s a new RTD1195 device from the reputable french company Zappiti.
You might have heard about them before, they started with a pretty good media center software that scans your entire movie archive and then adds nicely formatted metadata for all your files.
Hardware-wise, they worked with Dune HD before and now they are launching a “Z”-branded device.

As usual with RTD1195 devices, this will have:
– dual core CPU
– dual-core GPU
– HDMI 1.4 (in and out)
– 1 x USB 3.0 and 2 x USB 2.0
– gigabit ethernet
– 2 x wi-fi antenna (802.11n only)
– internal 3.5” SATA, you can add a 6TB HDD (or smaller)
– included airmouse with qwerty keyboard (+ a standard IR remote)

zappiti-4k-remote
But it does make quite a few interesting promises:
– 3D BD-ISO support,
– Pass through and stereo downmix (DTS, DTS-HD, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD)
– HEVC, H.265 (many others) – video bitrates supported up to 120Mbit/s

[Update]
– Dolby Atmos
– Ultra HD and 4K viles (DivX, UHD, HEVC) are also expected to run smoothly
– available in January (can be pre-orderered from http://store.zappiti.com/ )

AC Ryan Veolo 4K

[Update – AC Ryan Veolo 4K is now available on Amazon – read here how to get a free Veo Navigator and 10% off with your purchase]
Back in 2012 when AC Ryan Europe filed for bankruptcy things didn’t look to good for the manufacturer.
But AC Ryan Asia/Pacific didn’t went away, they even launched a second version of their Veolo line (the “Veolo 2”) that proved to be not only smaller, better looking and cheaper than the original Veolo product.

Now it’s time for a third version, that appears very attractive (at least on paper):
– Rockchip RK3288 (quad-core, 1.8Ghz)
– GPU: Mali T764
– 2GB RAM,  16GB Nand flash (Nand, really AC Ryan??)

– HDMI 2.0
– Gigabit ethernet
– Dual-Band Wireless
– Bluetooth 4.0

Comes with Android 4.4 and it promises all major video formats, including h.265 and BD ISO.
AC Ryan took steps into designing their own movie-oriented UI, with cover art and synopsis auto-download. ac-ryan_veolo-4k_UI

could this be the best RK3288 device yet?

 

Unboxing : Eweat EW902 Realtek RTD1195 tv box

Founded in 2013, Eweat is a rather new manufacturer, so you might not find much about them on the internet …yet.
But they are ready to make a name for themselves, and since their engineers are used to work with Realtek’s chipsets (from 1073 to 1186), they have big expectations from their Eweat EW902 item.

About Realtek 1195
This blog was one of the first to announce the new Realtek chipset back in May.
Since then the production was delayed a few times, but it looks like we are finally getting close.
So what does the Eweat EW902 bring to the table?

EW902 has pretty much everything you might need for a simple home entertainment system, finally we get a SATA port, USB 3.0, and gigabit Ethernet in a single device.eweat-ew902-accessories

What’s in the box: HDMI cable, power adapter,RCA SATA cable, Quick Guide, simple IR remote

eweat-ew902-USB3.0
Eweat EW902 – Realtek RTD1195 – USB 3.0 and SD card ports

The remote is simple, IR based, can shutdown, then restart the unit, just as you would expect (several Android tv boxes can only put the unit to “sleep” via their remotes)

eweat-ew902-remote
the simple IR remote

For some reason Realtek wants to add HDMI-In to these boxes – but, so far, there is no recording from external sources via HDMI – very disappointing to many.

eweat-ew902-back-view
Back view: the dual antenna, gigabit Ethernet, HDMI (in and out), AV, optical, on/off button
eweat-ew902-side-view
left side contains two USB 2.0 ports and the SATA port

 

How to install firmware upgrades to a Realtek RTD1195 unit:
– if you ever used a Realtek 1185 or 1186 device you will find this familiar:
– put the upgrade file (named install.img) on a USB stick,  in the root folder
– on the right side of the mini PC there is a “restore” button, hidden in a tiny hole: press it with a toothpick or something like that
– keep pressing and switch on the TV box using the button on the back or the IR remote
– that’s all : a blue progress bar will appear and the TV box will reboot automatically when done.

 

Meet RKM MK802V, the smallest android mini PC with Ethernet

[Update 08/10]
It’s confirmed! the new Rikomagic will be named Rikomagic V5.
Rikomagic V5 will be available around first week of November.

[Update 05/10]
The product might not be called MK802V after all, my sources are telling me. Rikomagic might use a different name pattern, maybe even “RKM V5”.

A few weeks ago I mentioned that Rikomagic is working on a new dongle-shaped RK3288-powered android mini PC .
Now it’s time to share some pictures and details .
We finally have an Ethernet port (and Gigabit, nevertheless).
To make things sweeter, HDMI port is HDMI 2.0 and the wi-fi is dual band (full specs below)

rikomagic-MK802V

rikomagic-MK802V-front
Rikomagic MK802V hardware specs:
CPU : Rockchip RK3288 – quad core, 28nm, ARM Cortex-A17, up to1.8GHz
GPU: Mali-T764
RAM: 2GB
ROM : 8 or 16GB
Ethernet : Gigabit
Wi-fi : dual band 2.4GHz/5GHz (802.11 b/g/n and 802.11 a/c)
Bluetooth : 4.0
SD Card : up to 32GB