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Touchscreen Net radio design runs Linux

Jan 8, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Fluffy Spider Technologies (FST) and Zylux Acoustic have jointly developed a hardware/software Internet radio reference design that runs FST's FancyPants lightweight graphics stack on Linux. The “Rich Internet Appliance” design combines Internet Radio with YouTube video and Picasa image search and display features, says FST.

(Click for larger view of a prototype demo of the Rich Internet Appliance radio interface)

The “Rich Internet Appliance” design appears destined for a hybrid device that combines an Internet radio with a media-savvy touchscreen digital picture frame (DPF). Built by Taiwanese audio-equipment OEM/ODM Zylux, the reference design is equipped with an Atmel AVR32 system-on-chip (SoC), which is based on Atmel's own AVR32 RISC core. According to FST, the processor used by Zylux performs like an ARM9 processor running at 250MHz.

In May, FST released version 2.0 of FancyPants, a small-footprint embedded graphics framework similar to Qt Core or GTK. Designed primarily for mobile phones, the Linux-compatible GUI environment added object-oriented scripting, custom video thumbs, and the ability to run multiple embedded applications simultaneously on the same screen. Recently, FST released a version of the stack aimed at mobile Internet devices (MIDs).


Picasa interface (left) and YouTube search results (right)
(Click on either to enlarge)

No other details were provided on the reference design except for what could be gleaned from a demonstration video (downloadable below). As revealed in the above screenshots, the video shows a custom interface based on FancyPants, running on a Zylux demo board with “no FUP, no graphics acceleration, and 16MB of memory,” according to FST. The unpackaged prototype display offers a resolution of 640 x 480, says the company.

The demo starts with the Internet radio (pictured at top), tuning to a ShoutCast streaming server. Users can press one button to display stream information, and another to change stations. The demo then moves to the Picasa viewer search screen, where an onscreen keyboard is provided, and thumbnails can be selected to create a slideshow (above left). A similar interface is provided for a YouTube search screen. In this case, thumbnails show the video clips (above right), as well as information such as rating, author, and number of views. The videos are then played “at natural resolution, unscaled,” in FST's words.

Stated Paul Yip, CTO of Zylux, “FST's FancyPants product delivers high performance graphics, audio, video and unrestricted layouts for embedded devices.”

Availability

Neither FST or Zylux indicated when the reference design might be available. Zylux is demonstrating the reference design by invitation only at CES this week. The video demo should be available in an FST zip download, here.


 
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