Entry-point development kit for MIPS runs Linux and Android

August 27, 2014 // By Julien Happich
Released by MIPS' licensor Imagination, MIPS Creator CI20 is a 90.2 x 95.3mm platform running Debian 7 and, soon, Android 4.4 KitKat.

Aimed at providing a low cost development system for use by the open source community, the new platform includes an Ingenic JZ4780 apps processor which is able to support Linux-based operating systems, including Android.

The company says it is giving away the first batch of these boards for free to application developers that submit interesting projects on its website at http://store.imgtec.com/mips-creator-ci20/

Ingenic JZ4780 is an ultra-low power SoC using a MIPS32-based dual-core CPU clocked at over 1.2GHz and a PowerVR SGX540 GPU. The Ingenic XBurst architecture features both SIMD and FPU instruction sets; the FPU supports both single and double floating point, IEEE 754 compatible formats.

On top of a fast Ethernet connection, CI20 is one of the few development boards on the market to offer both high-speed Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. The board also has a OpenGL ES 2.0-capable PowerVR SGX540 GPU and dedicated video hardware for a suite of video codecs, including MPEG-4, H.264, VP8, MPEG-2, RV9 and others. 

Two USB ports (EHCI and OTG) and many more peripheral I/Os (GPIO, SPI, I2C, IrDA, JTAG, etc.) complete the package. An HDMI connector is included for connection to a monitor screen and the board comes with an external 5V power supply.

The board can boot operating systems directly from flash memory or from an SD card. OS images are available for Debian 7, Gentoo, Yocto, Arch, and other Linux distros – with Android v4.4 soon available. The Linux kernel BSP (currently for 3.0.8 and 3.16) is open on github and up-streamed imminently; graphics support includes Xorg-compliant OpenGL 2.1 and OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 drivers.

MIPS Creator CI20 will work with many of the software projects hosted by the recently-launched prpl foundation , an open-source, non-profit foundation that encourages collaboration among the Linux community.

Imagination; www.imgtec.com

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