Dual Core A9 Mini Android 4.1 -like a USB flash drive

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Dual Core A9 Mini Android 4.1 -like a USB flash drive

Postby Trashcooky » April 11th, 2013, 8:57 pm

Well, having been pointed in the right direction by Charlie I decided to buy a dual core 1.6 GHz CPU + quad core Mali GPU android 4.1 on a stick: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008 ... UTF8&psc=1 which although not stated on the details came with power pack and USB lead included.

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This is the specification:

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The Jellybean OS is a sort of Hybridised version optimised specifically for use as an HDMI device using a 2.4 GHz remote keyboard/mouse combo

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There is an additional icon along the bottom of the screen which allows for 2 viewing modes, as either TV mode as shows in the picture above or the usual android mode where all the icons revert to the stock android ones.

This is what the device looks like inside although this picture is of the earlier model I don't believe the hardware has changed , just the case:

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My first impressions upon un-boxing is that the box shouts quality over and above what the device deserves although it does appear quite sturdy apart from the flip up aerial - as with many electronic devices it comes in a box many many times larger that the contents.

I had previously obtained an HDMI extension lead from Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004 ... UTF8&psc=1
to allow me more chance to hide the device behind the TV and using the supplied power supply and lead I was soon connected up to the kitchen TV.

I was disappointed with the WIFI reception as my WIFI which supplies the kitchen via a repeater/extender was shown as out of range on the device even though all my other devices (laptop and tablet) connect and work OK - however my next door neighbour's WIFI seemed quite strong so I moved to the lounge as I have got things set up so that with the dongle behind the TV it will only be about 3 feet away from my router.

This proved to be effective and solved the WIFI issues but does emphasise that in order to work trouble free you do need a good strong WIFI signal available to the area where you want to use the device. This could be why a WIFI analyser app is pre-installed:

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Those of you who have followed my exploits so far with the raspberry Pi will know that my prime reason for wanting a device like the RPi or this dongle is purely to stream my movie collection from a NAS drive to my TV. The RPi did the job but not as fluidly as I liked so I am very pleased to report that even though the RPi was directly connected via ethernet and this dongle is connected by WIFI, XBMC absolutely blazes along :D

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This pic is not from my system and is only for illustration.

So far I can thoroughly recommend this device for the purposes for which I want it which is purely the full and fast use of XBMC.
I shall be interested to see Charlie's review on his device as we both have differing reasons for purchase.
My device is not rooted but I don't need it to be.
I shall keep my stock OS as it is optimised for my purposes whereas I believe Charlie can now change his if he wishes.

In both cases, you can turn your TV into a fully internet connected android Jellybean based smart TV for less than £50.00.

One advantage over the RPi is that I don't need to purchase separate codecs to play Windows based files or MPEG2.
If it isn't broken then don't try to fix it!
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Re: Dual Core A9 Mini Android 4.1 -like a USB flash drive

Postby Trashcooky » May 10th, 2013, 2:12 pm

Further my original post on this device I ran into overheating problems which kept causing the unit to freeze.
I contacted the supplier who was responsive and helpful although I felt that their suggestion of re-flashing the firmware using a provided flash tool and reportedly updated firmware was a bit of a cheek.

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Although I am among enthusiasts who happen to know what flashing new firmware meant, I still found the packages they provided me with to be less than helpful with the software being in Chinese and the email written in pigeon Engrish...
Not an appropriate response at all for the general public I suggest.

Having updated the firmware I discovered that the WIFI (which had been excellent- between crashes) no longer functioned at all so I returned the unit and they sent me a new one and fully refunded my postage - so as customer service goes I am not complaining too much.

Unfortunately the replacement unit suffered also from overheating and a very weak WIFI so I have sent this unit back and asked for a refund.

In the interim I received an email from DABS offering me this
Brand New WD TV Play Media Player - Save £10, Now Only £49.99!

Unfortunately, as far as I can discover no-one has managed to port XBMC to a SIGMA based chip device yet so I will be stuck with the Western Digital's own Media Centre interface but this has some fairly good reports on the current release models although there has been much criticism in the past on older units with previous firmware.

As far as I can discover, the SIGMA CPU is supported by a MOCHI MEDIA GPU with 512 DDR2 ram and 2 GIG Nand with the operating system on it. My only real interest in this device is that it is fully DLNA so I can stream movies in Full 1080p from my NAS.

The device has 802n WIFI and also an Ethernet port which I can use to get the best possible transfer of data from my NAS to my TV. There are a load of pre-installed web streaming apps such as Netflix, Spotify etc which I probably won't use.

When I get the unit and run it through it's paces I will give an update on how it performs. Although the CPU only runs at 700Mhz it is a dedicated streaming device whose max resolution output well beats the android "Allreli" PC on a stick that I have sent back.
If it isn't broken then don't try to fix it!
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Trashcooky
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Re: Dual Core A9 Mini Android 4.1 -like a USB flash drive

Postby Trashcooky » July 2nd, 2013, 6:02 pm

I said I would report back about Brand New WD TV Play Media Player - Save £10, Now Only £49.99! Because the Dual Core A9 Mini Android 4.1 -like a USB flash drive didn't work out.

Well I have had the Western digital device for a month now and this is what I have found.

1. Good access to some free films using the pre-installed apps, providing you don't mind the weird, the obtuse and the ancient.

2.The interface is very basic being only a folder explorer, so no nice fancy fan art like you get with XBMC

3. For the money, the device is good value as it plays everything I throw at it including blue-ray.

4. It is totally silent in operation.

5. The supplied remote control (and battery) is very basic with significant pressure required on the rubber buttons. None the less it is more than adequate for the task.

6. This unit does what I need but not what I want so I shall be keeping a close eye on the OUYA ANDROID OPEN SOURCE CONSOLE .
If it isn't broken then don't try to fix it!
User avatar
Trashcooky
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Posts: 1672
Joined: January 4th, 2012, 8:52 pm
Location: South East England
Real Name: John
Scroll Version: Original Scroll Excel 2.3 now running Sugsy 89's 4..0.4 ICS
Tabtronics Mini 8" XGA 4:3 ration JB 4.2.2
Zopo C2 Platinum 4.2.1 - 480 ppi


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