Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Back from China

I'm back in one piece. It's been an exhausting trip and an amazing experience. I'm still in conversations with ChinaChip and will be writing some more updates in the following days. Meanwhile, a quick trip log:

20/11 Sat - Flight from Valencia to Paris, where I have a 6h transfer.

21/11 Sun - Flight from Paris to Hong Kong. The 12h trip is not as bad as expected because I score nothing short of 9h sleeping. They pick me up at the airport and take me to Shenzhen, have dinner, and then go to Dongguan straight to the hotel. I realize I'm gonna have a very hard time getting used to the chinese pronunciation of english.

22/11 Mon - Pick up at the hotel, not too early because I'm seriously jetlagged and wasn't able to sleep much. We go to the ChinaChip main headquarters and factory where I'm introduced to all the department heads and a few engineers. I visit all the facilities including the factory, and later have a meeting to outline the matters we should discuss in the following days. Excellent dinner with ChinaChip's president.

23/11 Tue - I've been able to sleep just a couple of hours from 10:00 to 12:00, and it's now 7:00 and I'm broken. Had arranged pick up at 9:00 but must delay it a few hours in order to try to catch some sleep. End up having lunch before going to ChinaChip's headquarters, where I spend most of the rest of the days in meetings.

24/11 Wed - Was able to sleep a bit more, so we can go early to the headquarters. More meetings in the morning, and then a walk around Dongguan downtown main square, which is amazingly huge. Late in the evening we travel to Shenzhen where we pay a quick visit to the marketing an sales offices and then go to the hotel to leave the baggage. Nice seafood dinner by the hotel and out to a club for a few beers and some fun.

25/11 Thu - Visit to the China Folk Culture Village park in Shenzhen, where you can see scaled down reproductions of the most important chinese landmarks, together with some other cultural information on the many ethnic groups. The park is huge and we spend the whole morning there. Then lunch and visit to Shenzhen's shanzhai market, which is shocking and will require a whole post. I could have very well spent several days in the market, but had to travel to Hong Kong, where we arrive by 21:00 after a tedious trip and several customs inspections. There's not much day left, so I just have a short walk on the Kwoloon shore to admire the island's view.

26/11 Fri - Full day on my own in Hong Kong. So much to see, so many people everywere. This also requires a whole post.

27/11 Sat - Plane takes off at 10:45, 13h flight (I score only 7h sleep in this one), 2.5h transfer in Paris, 1.5h flight and back in Valencia.

I'll also try to quickly summarize, for now, the content of the meetings with the ChinaChip folks:

- They will make changes to their bootloader and internal flash layout so that the dingux kernel and rootfs is installed in the internal flash. Both for the A320 and GA330 consoles. You'll have access to the internal flash from dingux (but the NTFL won't be released). The installation of dingux will be streamlined in the same way native firmware updates are, so no need to fiddle with usb tools any more.

- There will be dingux for the GA330, with full hardware support, and full open source. There's no problem with knockoffs here because it is based in their propietary CC1800 chip not available to third parties (as opposed to the JZ4732 in the A320).

- There is no schedule for the above as of now, since they're yet to decide if and how they'll sponsor it. In other words, one extreme is I work on it on a hobby basis as I've been so far and at zero cost, and the other extreme is they hire me full time. Anything in between is possible.

- The next generation of consoles will be based on the CC2000 and expected to roll out by Q2 next year. The CC2000 will be announced in a month or so, and I've been kindly asked not to reveal the details, but as you can imagine, it's beast compared to the JZ4732 and CC1800.

I'm sure I'm leaving something out, but I'll continue posting as things come up while I review my notes and prepare the reports of the meetings I'll be sending to ChinaChip. I'll also review the huge lot of pictures I took and post some.

Someone at #dingoonity said he needed a replacement speaker for his A320. Got it, but don't remember who he was. Email me, please.

20 comments:

  1. Wish i got to go to china lol, but think id go insane on a 13hr flight since i cant get to sleep very easy.

    Interesting that they put so much effort into this, they must really be interested in supporting dingux.

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  2. Nice report.

    Can we expect some developer consoles CC1800 & CC2000 from chinachip?

    I dont want to buy every console they release to support it.

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  3. @eraldo

    Indeed they're quite committed to it. More of the cost of the trip (which is insignificant for a company like CC), think of the time they spent on this. They were extremely nice and attentive each and every moment.

    @SiENcE

    Fact is that I hadn't thought of that. As you know, they have provided and will provide me with all needed hardware, but of course I think relevant developers should receive machines too. Noted, will talk to them about this.

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  4. Amazing trip. The Jetlag tends to dissapear in one week but this was intense!

    Thanks for your work.

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  5. @SiENce

    same, though if they are able to sponsor, or at least provide a unit for half the cost, I can dedicate all my free time to them and port all my dingux stuff to their consoles.

    @Booboo

    I'm glad my biggest concern (about opensource kernel) turned out fine.

    You should totally make a post about that shanzhai market, sounds like a place where you can get all the knock-offs they export to the west.

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  7. Oh WOW!!!

    I also want to go to Chengish land. hehehe :)

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  8. I've been across the Guangdong province in October, and if the shanzai markets I saw were anything to go by, Shenzhen's nothing short of amazing. Damn I miss Cantonese cooking, now.

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  9. Hi Booboo. So, the next gen consoles will released soon.. Any chance them to put d-pad and analog stick (like JXD3000) or touch screen? I think they want to compete with GP2x, right? Do you think that the future improvements in Dingux can improve the emulators performances? Is it a dream to think the Dingoo A320 some day could emulate PSX fine?
    THX a lot, regards from Brazil (Dingoo BR community)!

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  10. @Esti

    I think my body didn't even try to adapt to the local time, since the first night I was back in Spain I slept 10 hours in a row from 23:00 to 08:00. That's good, because I had enough suffering in China/HK.

    @zeartul

    I could only walk through the electronic components, computer parts and mobile phone buildings. For an electronics hobbyist or tech freak, this is like dying and going to heaven in business class. Have some photos, but not as many as I'd like.

    @Takashi

    I've got a quite versatile digestive system, and I stated from the beginning that I was willing to try as many types of food as possible. As you may know, there you always order for the whole group, and you help yourself from all the ordered dishes. That means I had the chance to try maybe like 50 different dishes from at least 4 different chinese regions. I'd say I really loved 70% of them, tolerated 25%, and just could not eat 5%. Never missed spanish food (but this was only one week, though), and in fact now I'm missing the chinese food.

    Friday in HK I ate fried rice noodles thai style at one tiny food shop at the Night Market (Temple St.). Second best, only surpassed by the exquisite Beijing Duck I had in Dongguan.

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  11. @Lula Venera

    I made quite a lot of suggestions for the new generation of consoles, and they NOTED THEM ALL. They're really eager to listen to the users, and realize this is the best way to success.

    I'll summarize the suggestions (both mine and from people at #dingoonity I talked to during one of the sleepless nights) in another post.

    I don't know the specs of the PSX, but from what I know about the CC2000 (>800MHz, GPU) and intended RAM capacity of the next gen consoles (256MB), I'd say they'll be perfectly able to emulate PSX (those knowledgeable in PSX emulation please correct me if I'm wrong).

    I'd like to be more specific about the CC2000 specs, but as I said, I've been kindly asked not to disclose anything until the official announcement.

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  12. The CC2000 sound good.

    Also the CC1800 is a competitor to GPH Caanoo.

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  13. Hi , booboo !
    About dingux at GA330 with new bootloader and flash layout: will dingux run on existing GA330 (only firmware update will be required) or will I require new hardware GA330 release ?

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  14. @vcmboot

    Yes, dingux will run from internal flash both on existing A320 and A330.

    Only the ChinaChip loader and internal flash layout will be modified to make some room for the linux kernel and rootfs.

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  15. I am mixed on your idea of the usb-a connector.

    Having a seperate dongle for wireless would be nice if it cuts the cost a lot, but the usb connector is huge and ugly.

    I think you underestimate how out of place a full sized usb port will look on something as small as the dingoo. Just use one of the mini variants and let us get adapters if needed.

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  16. Dingux running on the internal flash for existing A320 is great news.
    Do you have an ETA for the A320 ? I'm actually waiting for this feature to buy one.

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  17. @Guilhem

    No, no ETA. Problem here is that it doesn't depend on me but on changes that ChinaChip must do to their bootloader. So, the ball's on their roof at the moment.

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  18. @Booboo
    > Yes, dingux will run from internal flash both on existing A320 and A330.
    You meant GA330 (as opposite to DT A330) probably,
    but:
    Last firmware from DT A330 works 100% at DD A320.
    Does it mean that dingux from internal flash, version DD A320 will work at DT A330?
    It means wide user (and dev) base: it is good for both companies (and users).

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  19. Hi booboo.
    Do you have an ETA for Dingux on the GA330?

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  20. china chip powerpc 476fp and a DSP and a gpu and the gpu will be 800mhz ARE WE TALIKING WiiU here is this the wiiu soc or MCM

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