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Android mini-PC jumps on Cortex-A17 trend

Sep 2, 2014 — by Eric Brown 5,640 views

Tronsmart has launched an $80-and-up “Orion R28” mini-PC that runs Android 4.4 on a quad-core, Cortex-A17 Rockchip RK3288 SoC clocked at 1.8GHz.

Like Ugoos, Tronsmart has tapped Rockchip system-on-chips such as the quad-core, Cortex-A9 RK3188, which fuels its Android-ready Tronsmart T428 stick computer. Tronsmart’s latest mini-PC — the Orion R28 — advances to Rockchip’s quad-core RK3288 SoC, which uses the Cortex-A17 architecture, a faster, smaller, and more power efficient heir to the Cortex-A9. The SoC has already appeared in the Rikomagic MK902II and the Ugoos UT3 mini-PCs.

Orion R28 Pro front and rear views
(click images to enlarge)

Like its competitors, the Orion R28 integrates ARM’s Mali T764 GPU. The T764 supports up to 4Kx2K and Full [email protected] display resolution, yet is said to draw one-fourth the power of the earlier Mali-T604.

Tronsmart retail partner is taking pre-orders for an $80 Pro and $120 Meta version, each measuring 6.25 x 3.24 x 1.12 inches. Both models offer 2GB of DDR3 RAM.


The Pro has 8GB of eMMC storage and a Broadcom AP6210 wireless module with 802.11n WiFi, while the Meta has 16GB plus a Broadcom AP6335 module with the faster 802.11ac WiFi. The prices are discounted and will last only another week before dropping to $125 and $140 respectively.

Orion R28 Pro back port detail
(click image to enlarge)

Later this year, Tronsmart plans to release a Telos version with a whopping 4GB of RAM. The Telos will feature 32GB of eMMC storage, as well as the high-end Broadcom AP6335 module.

All three models run Android 4.4 and provide gigabit Ethernet ports. Other common features include Bluetooth 4.0, a microSD slot, and an HDMI 2.0 port. You get three USB host ports and a micro-USB OTG port, as well as AV out and S/PDIF out ports.

Orion R28 Pro side port detail
(click images to enlarge)

The Orion R28 ships with an IR remote, as well as an external antenna. Miracast/SMB, Airplay, and DLNA are all supported, and Tronsmart also provides OTA updates.
Specifications listed for the Pro and Meta versions of the Orion R28 mini-PC include:

  • Processor — Rockchip RK3288 (4x Cortex-A17 cores @ 1.8GHz); Mali-T764 GPU
  • Memory:
    • 2GB DDR3 RAM
    • 8GB (Pro) or 16GB (Meta) eMMC flash
    • MicroSD slot (up to 32GB)
  • Video support — 2160P multi-format video decode, H.265, 4K2K
  • Audio support — MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG, APE, FLAC, AAC, AC3
  • Wireless:
    • Bluetooth 4.0
    • IR with remote
    • Pro — 802.11b/g/n (Broadcom AP6210)
    • Meta — 802.11b/g/n/ac (Broadcom AP6335)
    • External antenna
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • 3x USB host
    • Micro-USB with OTG
    • HDMI 2.0 out
    • AV out
    • Optical S/PDIF out
    • 2x RS232 (reserved)
  • Other features — Miracast/SMB, Airplay, and DLNA support; OTA updates; multi-language support
  • Power — 5V, 3A
  • Weight — 6.2 oz.
  • Dimensions — 6.25 x 3.24 x 1.12 in.
  • Operating system — Android 4.4

Further information is taking pre-orders for Tronsmart’s Orion R28 in both the $80 (Pro) and $120 (Meta) versions. These provide 8GB and 16GB storage, and 802.11n and 802.11ac WiFi, respectively. In a week, prices will increase to $125 and $140, respectively. Tronsmart and also offers volume discounts with rebates for custom ROMs, referrals, and review videos.

More information may be found at the brief Tronsmart Orion R28 announcement, as well as the Pro and Meta product pages on

(advertise here)

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2 responses to “Android mini-PC jumps on Cortex-A17 trend”

  1. sola says:

    This machine would be strong enough for a lightweight Linux desktop as well as Android.

    Is there any support for Linux on this?

  2. CFWhitman says:

    It looks really intriguing at the moment, but I’ve become leery of any devices that don’t try to tap into community firmware development (be it conventional Linux distributions like Debian, XBMC (soon to be called KODI) distributions like Geexbox, or Android distributions like Cyanogenmod) because of the way things turn out in the long run.

    Projects that tap into community firmware development successfully tend to start out slowly. If they have cutting edge hardware (and they usually start out slightly behind the cutting edge), then by the time the software is really good, the hardware is probably still better than average, but no longer cutting edge. These devices, though, have updates for years to come and are useful long after manufacturing stops. You can get plenty of online help and reliable instructions for installing a new version of the operating system. You may one day find that you can do all sorts of things with them that were never thought of when they were released.

    Projects that don’t try to tap into community development often have only one real operating system update or perhaps no updates beyond patches (that is, if it starts out as Android 4.4, then it ends up with some local fixes, but still Android 4.4). Whatever updates there are, interest from the company in making any more ends within six months of the end of manufacturing.

    I don’t want an endless parade of neat gadgets that I replace every year or two, and watch the usability of each device fade at a year and a half old as it languishes on old versions of software.

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