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DPF design runs Linux on ARM11

Jan 8, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 14 views

[Updated: Jan. 15, 2009] — Chumby demonstrated an Internet-connected digital photo frame (DPF) reference design developed with Samsung Electronics. Based on Samsung's ARM11-based, 533MHz S3C6410 system-on-chip (SoC), the WiFi-enabled design includes an 8-inch touchscreen, and delivers content from… Chumby's Linux-based “push” info-tainment stack and web-site.

(Click for larger view of a mockup of the Chumby's Samsung-based DPF reference design )

Chumby's new hardware-software DPF design incorporating Samsung's S3C6410 is almost identical to another newly demonstrated design collaboration with Marvell. The latter design instead uses Marvell's 1GHz PXA168 SoC and specifies a Marvell WiFi chipset instead of a generic WiFi part.

Both the Samsung and Marvell DPF designs designs incorporate 8-inch touchscreens, although alternate sizes may be available according to Chumby. Other features include 128MB DDR2 SDRAM, 2GB to 8GB flash, a memory card reader, USB port, speakers, and audio I/O. Both designs use the Linux-based software stack first used in Chumby's digital alarm clock. The stack can deliver ads and services from Chumby's network of third-party content providers, Chumby says. (See farther below for more on Chumby's services).

Chumby/Samsung DPF reference design block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Specifications for the Samsung version of the Chumby DPF design are said to include:

  • Processor — ARM11-based Samsung S3C6410 at 533MHz with cryptoprocessor
  • Memory — 128MB DDR2 SDRAM
  • Flash — 2GB to 8GB NAND flash
  • Flash expansion — card reader with support for CF, SD, MMC, MS, and XD memories
  • Display — 8-inch 800 x 600-pixel touchscreen LCD with dimmable backlight
  • USB — 1 x USB
  • WiFi — WiFi b/g
  • Audio — integrated speakers; mic input; headphone/line output
  • Options — video camera; IR and ambient light sensor
  • Video formats — MOV, H.264, AVI, MJPEG, MPEG-4, MP4; accepts On2 and Sorenson streaming, and YouTube
  • Audio formats — iPod via USB and memory stick; Internet radio, including ShoutCast, RFC, Pandora
  • Image formats — JPEG, GIF, PNG
  • Power — +5V 2.5A; RTC with battery backup
  • Operating system — Linux

Announced last February, the S3C6410 (block diagram pictured below) is equipped with an ARM1176 core along with what Samsung refers to as “advanced hardware blocks for multimedia processing.” A hardwired Multi-Format Codec (MFC) unit allows the S3C6410 to perform video capturing in MPEG4/H.263/H.264 formats, and play back video in MPEG4/H.263/H.264/VC1 formats, while still delivering long battery life, Samsung says.

S3C6410 block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Chumby spreads out

Chumby's original Chumby device (pictured below, right) began shipping last February for $180. The alarm-clock sized Chumby boasts hackable, open-source Linux software, and even hackable hardware and “outerware.” Based on an undisclosed 350MHz ARM processor with 64MB of SDRAM and 64MB of NAND flash, the device is equipped with a 3.5-inch touchscreen with 320×240 resolution.

(Click for details)

Chumby's Samsung DPF reference design will provide access to Chumby services and content, including over 1,000 Internet widget applications and tens of thousands of Internet radio stations, says Chumby. Specific features for the DPF device are said to include drag-and-drop photo and video sharing, social networking, multimedia messaging, games, Internet radio, animation, video clips, and streaming news, weather information, and RSS feeds. Users can connect to Photobucket, Facebook, and Flickr photo-sharing services, plus integrate photo sharing with audio, says the company.

The existing Chumby device displays a continuous stream of rotating personalized “push content” channels from the Chumby Network. The network is subscription-free, but is subsidized by advertising. Content providers are said to include CBS, MTV Networks, MySpace, The Weather Channel Interactive, AOL's SHOUTcast, and Scripps Networks.

In an April an interview with LinuxDevices, in conjunction with a Chumby announcement of new accelerometer-based games for the device, Stephen Tomlin, Chumby's CEO, hinted that an announcement with a DPF company may be in the works. At the time, he also talked up Chumby's new Linux developers' site, which offers forum entries, schematics, and other materials for developing Chumby hardware add-ons, software, and widgets.

Stated Richard Yeh, marketing director for Samsung Semiconductor's System LSI Business, “By partnering with emerging market leaders such as Chumby, we have an opportunity to dynamically change the way people view and share information in real-time via the Internet.”

Stated Chumby's Tomlin, “Digital photo frames are an ideal platform for delivering chumby technology and content to millions of homes.”


The Chumby/Samsung DPF reference design is available from Chumby as an open-chassis evaluation kit, starting at $600, says Chumby.

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