Bi-Montly Update: Hardware and Other Developments in the Past 2 Months
Bi-Monthly Update

This is a new entry on the forum that I intend to update with new information every other month. The purpose of this thread is to keep those of you whom may not follow all PINE64 projects on a daily basis up-to-date on how projects are progressing. It is also a chance to learn about PINE64 projects you do not know about. In short, consider it a 2-month TL : DR of information collected from the forum, partner project forums, various chats, websites and insider knowledge.  

It has now been two busy months since FOSDEM 2019. At the conference we announced a number of new and (judging by the community’s response) exciting devices, including the Pinebook Pro, Pine H64, the Pinephone and Roshambo. For this first entry I’ll focus on the aforementioned new devices, but rest assured I’ll be posting updates pertaining to devices that have been on the market for a while too in the future.

For those willing to discuss the updates of devices announced at FOSDEM 19, there is the right thread to do so. If you wish to discuss other information in this thread, just find the right place on the forum and either join or create the conversation subject.

The Pinephone

The second generation of Pinephone development kits have just started to reach developers. These new kits are, for the most part, the exact same hardware that will be found in end-user phones. Marius from UBPorts has shared a first image of the device powered on with the LCD panel working.

[Image: aQ3PFt5.jpg]

Last month we also unveiled the near-finalised look of the production phone. As things stand today, we’re confident that this is indeed how the final device will look like. That said, there is still a long road ahead of us production as it will be some time before production units start rolling off of the production line.

[Image: LlGAjuF.jpg]

The development on the device is proceeding well and I expect that my next entry will already be showcasing one or more front-ends running on the dev kit and perhaps even showcase some of the functionality. Things are at different stages throughout the different projects. Here is an extract from a quick chat with Marius regarding software status:

Quote:On the kernel side, we still need to do some work, but display is working and so is mali; (...) we have been focusing primarily on graphics at this point (...). I’m currently working on putting together a fully working mainline rootfs. Once this is done i expect that unity8 and mir will just work.

There is a thread dedicated to the Pinephone over at UBPorts forums for those of you interested in Ubuntu Touch on the Pinephone. We're active there too.

The Pinebook Pro

A handful of early pre-production units have been delivered to key community devs with the intention to get the device tree and kernel ready for partner projects - so that have a basis to work of off when dev kits ship. These early kits have proven very useful not only in getting some important parts of the Pinebook Pro - such as the LCD panel - working but also in uncovering issues with the pre-production PCB and various components. As a result, the PCB issues are now being corrected and alternative components are being tested.

[Image: ws7Szfw.jpg]

Development on the Pinebook Pro has also translated to improvements for existing RockPro64 (... and Rock64 in some instances) builds from ayufan and mrfixit2001, both of whom have been working hard to get the units into ship shape. Their current desktop images include video, 3D and browser acceleration - among a number of other improvements. Software-wise, there is solid convergence between the two devices - the RockPro64 and Pinebook Pro. So those projects that already offer support for the RockPro64 will be able to update the device tree and some kernel bits and get the Pinebook Pro images working in no time.

In a nutshell, the hardware is coming nicely and should be ready for a final evaluation soon. The very rapid software development pace has come as a surprise even to us, as things stand we already have nearly completely functional OS images for the Pinebook Pro, which enable all the exposed features of the SOC. We currently hope to have the Pinebook Pro available for purchase early Summer … but this estimate depends on the new PCB testing well and us being happy with the quality of the chosen components.

The Pine H64 model B

The Pine H64 is now in production and available for purchase from the store. Support for the board is growing daily and I just today I got word of two other new images - one minimal one with a desktop environment - are heading our way.  There are already functional Armbian mainline images for the H6 SOC as well a mainline LibreELEC build (from jernej) that performs really quite well. While some work will still be required to make the board function at it optimal, it's very impressive how much work has gone into this SOC already and how much performance can be had in such a small form-factor.
[Image: 6lrFmeY.png]
I, or someone else, will surely post information on upcoming OS images as they become available in the Pine H64 subforum.

Roshambo Retro-Gaming Case and Peripherals

Good news from our partner project Roshambo! The Roshambo retro-gaming cases, SSD Cartridges and controllers are rolling off of the production line and will be available shortly from Cloud Media store. More info on this will follow shortly. A recent piece of development pertaining to the Roshambo case (that has broader implications for the RockPro64 and Pinebook Pro) is the successful implementation for a safe shut-down option (suspend - from a software standpoint). It will be implemented in future retro-gaming OS’ builds allowing for using the shutdown and restart buttons on the case.

[Image: yBjokCT.jpg]

In Other News...

The good people over at C4Labs have unveiled their beautiful clusterboard case. If you have a clusterboard, or will be getting one, I’d say that this is probably the most elegant way of displaying it. They are currently available for pre-sale from the C4Labs website.

[Image: EDsK3C0.jpg]

We’ve shown off monster clusters of 48 and 24 RockPro64 boards that will eventually be used to host most of our services, websites, IRC, etc., If you’re a cluster fan, then you’ll surely appreciate this beauty.  

[Image: DU85eyZ.jpg]

That's all for this (first) bi-monthly update.  Check back in June.
You can find me on IRC, Discord and Twitter

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