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Orange Pi hacker board sports 3G radio

May 29, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 1123 views

Shenzhen Xunlong’s open-spec, $25 “Orange Pi 3G-IOT” SBC runs Android 4.4 on a dual Cortex-A7 MediaTek MT6572, and supplies WiFi, BT, GPS, FM, and 3G, along with 40-pin GPIO.

If you want a cellular connected hacker board, but don’t have access to or want 2G service and don’t have or can’t afford 4G LTE, Shenzhen Xunlong’s new Orange Pi 3G-IOT may be the “just right” compromise between the Orange Pi 2G-IOT and Orange Pi 4G-IOT. All three boards have different dimensions, processors, and features, but stand out with their built-in cellular connections.



Orange Pi 3G-IOT, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Orange Pi 3G-IOT runs on a five-year old MediaTek MT6572 SoC, which appeared on the Firefox OS powered, Africa destined Orange Klif phone. The SoC provides dual 1.2GHz Cortex-A7 cores, a Mali-400 GPU, and integrated radios for an HSPA+/TD-SCDMA baseband. There’s also built-in support for WiFi, Bluetooth, FM, and GPS.

The Orange Pi 3G-IOT provides all of these features, although as the CNXSoft post that alerted us to the board noted, the only visible antennas are for 3G and WiFi/Bluetooth. It’s unclear if the external antennas shown in all the photos are optional. A mini-SIM slot supports the 3G GSM radio.



Orange Pi 3G-IOT front and back detail views
(click images to enlarge)

The Orange Pi 3G-IOT has 512MB of old-school DDR2 RAM with 4GB eMMC and a microSD slot. Other features include an LCD interface with capacitive touch, plus a MIPI-CSI camera interface, an audio jack, a mic, and an optional speaker. You get USB 2.0 host and micro-USB power ports plus a 40-pin expansion connector with no Raspberry Pi compatibility promises.

Although a wiki page has yet to appear for the board, Shenzhen Xunlong says it is open source. Currently, only the aging Android 4.4 is available, although if the Orange Klif phone is any indication, the SoC has no problems running Linux.



Orange Pi 3G-IOT angle views
(click image to enlarge)

Specifications listed for the Orange Pi 3G-IOT include:

  • Processor — MediaTek MT6572 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-4000 MP1 GPU
  • Memory/storage:
    • 512MB DDR2
    • 4GB eMMC
    • MicroSD slot with hot-plug support
  • Wireless:
    • WiFi, Bluetooth, FM, and GPS combo module
    • 3G — GSM 850/900/1800/1900; WCDMA B1/B2/B5/B8; TD-CDMA; CDMA2000
    • Mini-SIM card slot
    • WiFi/BT antenna connectors (ext. antennas may be optional)
  • Display/Media:
    • LCD interface (FWVGA via FPC zif connector) with capacitive touch
    • MIPI-CSI camera interface
    • 3.5mm earphone audio jack
    • Mic
    • Optional speaker
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 2.0 host port
    • Micro-USB port with power support
    • 40-pin expansion header
  • Other features — 2x LEDs
  • Power — 5V 2A via micro-USB; power button; optional battery
  • Dimensions — 68 x 52mm
  • Operating system — Android 4.4 with C, C++, Kotlin, Java, Shell, and Python support

 
Further information

Shenzhen Xunlong’s Orange Pi 3G-IOT is available now for $24.90 plus shipping ($3.95 to the U.S.). More information may be found at the Orange Pi 3G-IOT AliExpress shopping page, and more should eventually appear on Shenzhen Xunlong’s Orange Pi community site.
 

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