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Latest $20 Orange Pi runs Android 7.0 on new Allwinner H6

Dec 29, 2017 — by Eric Brown — 5407 views

The video-focused “Orange Pi One Plus” updates the Orange Pi One design with a new, 10-bit HDR 4K enabled quad -A53 Allwinner H6 SoC with Mali-T720, and provides GbE and HDMI 2.0 ports.

Shenzhen Xunlong has updated its $10, two-year old Orange Pi One SBC with a similarly open source, $20 Orange Pi One Plus that features the new set-top box focused, Allwinner H6 SoC. Otherwise, it has an almost identical feature set, layout, and 68 x 48mm footprint as the Allwinner H3-based Orange Pi One.

The quad-core Cortex-A53 H6 SoC has a high-end Mali-T720 GPU, and enables 4K HDR video, promising richer colors and higher brightness. Together with the Orange Pi One Plus SBC’s cutting-edge Android 7.0 image, GbE port, and HDMI 2.0a port, this should add up to a nifty, and very compact, Android media player.



Orange Pi One Plus, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The Allwinner H6 (PDF) was announced in June, and has appeared on an Android 7.0 powered Zidoo H6 PRO set-top box. No clock rate is listed for the Orange Pi One Plus, but Zidoo claims its box runs at 1.8GHz.

The Allwinner H6 provides “H.265 6K @ 30fps” video decoding and H.264 4K @ 30fps video encoding. The Orange Pi One Plus claims 4K @ 60fps decoding and “up to” 6K @ 30fps decoding with H.265 compression. It provides 4K @ 30fps with H.264.



Orange Pi One Plus (left) and Allwinner H6 block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The H6 is notable for providing full-channel, 10-bit HDR10 technology with “intelligent noise reduction, improved interlacing, and intelligent color enhancement,” says Allwinner. By decoding, processing, and outputting full-channel 10-bit video, the SoC achieves “a full color gamut range of 100% with an increase of 900% in brightness,” says the chipmaker.

With its gaudy new H6, the $20 Orange Pi One Plus is a bargain for high-end video, but there’s not a lot here for general purpose hacking. Due to size and cost restraints, I/O is minimal, and the Raspberry Pi compatible 40-pin header found on most other Orange Pi boards has been replaced with a 26-pin header. We see no claims for compatibility with the base level I/O set of the original 26-pin Raspberry Pi SBCs.



Orange Pi One Plus detail view
(click image to enlarge)

The Orange Pi One Plus is currently limited to Android 7.0. Ubuntu and Debian Linux images are currently being tested, but according to a CNX post, they will be limited to an old Linux 3.1 Kernel. Eventually, improved support should arrive, not from Allwinner of course, but from the Armbian and Linux-Sunxi communities. The latter, which will focus on the Kernel and U-Boot, has yet to receive test boards.

Although the H6 supports 2GB RAM, USB 3.0, and PCIe, the Orange Pi One Plus is limited to 1GB of LPDDR3, which would not fully exploit the H6 capabilities. USB support is limited to a USB 2.0 host port and a micro-USB port, and as with most ARM boards, there’s no PCIe. Rumors are floating on Armbian about an upcoming Orange Pi 3 Plus board that will offer some of these features.

Specifications listed for the Orange Pi One Plus include:

  • Processor — Allwinner H6 (4x Cortex-A53); ARM Mali-T720 MP2 GPU with OpenGL ES3 and DirectX 11
  • Memory — 1GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • Storage — microSD slot (up to 32GB)
  • Networking — 10/100/1000Mbit Ethernet port
  • Other I/O:
    • HDMI 2.0a with audio and HDCP 2.2 output
    • USB 2.0 host port
    • Micro-USB 2.0 OTG port with power input
    • Mic input
    • 3-pin GPIO with UART and ground
    • 26-pin GPIO expansion connector
  • Other features — IR receiver; power and status LEDs
  • Power — DC barrel jack with +5V @ 2A; PMU (AXP805); power button
  • Weight — 45 g
  • Dimensions — 68 × 48mm
  • Supported OSes — Android 7.0; Ubuntu and Debian images in testing

 
Further information

The Orange Pi One Plus is available for $20 (17 Euros) plus Shenzhen Xunlong’s typically low shipping costs. More information may be found at the Orange Pi One Plus product page and AliExpress shopping page.
 

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