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|Headquarters||Zhuhai, Guangdong, China|
Allwinner Technology is a Chinese fabless semiconductor company that designs mixed-signal systems on a chip (SoC). The company is headquartered in Zhuhai, Guangdong It has a sales and technical support office in Shenzhen, Guangdong, and logistics operations in Hong Kong.
Since its founding in 2007, Allwinner has released more than fifteen SoC processors that have been widely implemented in Android-based tablets, as well as in smartphones, over-the-air OTT boxes, video camera systems, car DVRs, and car media players.
- 1 Product history
- 2 Chipset specifications
- 3 Allwinner processor ecosystem
- 4 Free and open-source software support
- 5 Linux controversies
- 6 See also
- 7 References
In 2012 and 2013, Allwinner was the number one supplier in terms of unit shipments of application processors for Android tablets worldwide. According to DigiTimes, in Q4 2013 Allwinner lost its number one position in terms of unit shipments to the Chinese market to Rockchip. For Q2 2014, Allwinner was reported by DigiTimes to be the third largest supplier to the Chinese market after Rockchip and MediaTek. DigiTimes has also projected that Allwinner will fall to the number four position in Q4 2014, being passed by Intel, as Allwinner's unit shipments continue to decline.
From 2007 to 2011, Allwinner introduced its F-series processors, F10, F13, F18, F20, F1E200, F1C100, F20. This series runs Allwinner's self-developed operating system Melis2.0, which is now mainly used in vehicle multimedia system, E-ink reader, video intercom system, etc.
In 2011, the company became an ARM processor licensee, and subsequently announced a series of ARM Cortex-A8 powered mobile application processors, including A10, A13, A10s and A12, which were used in numerous tablets, and also in PC-on-a-stick and media center devices. They have also been adopted in free hardware projects like the Cubieboard development board.
A2x and A3x family
In December 2012, Allwinner announced the availability of two ARM Cortex-A7 MPCore powered products, the dual-core Allwinner A20 and quad-core Allwinner A31. Production of the A31 started in September 2012 and end products, mostly high-end tablets from Chinese manufacturers, appeared on the market in early 2013, including the Onda V972. Allwinner was the first to make this ARM processor core available in mass production.
In March 2013, Allwinner launched its quad-core Phablet processor A31s. Based on quad-core cortex-A7 CPU architecture, this processor allows 3G, 2G, LTE, WIFI, BT, FM, GPS, AGPS and NFC using a minimum of external components.
In June, 2014, Allwinner announced the A33 quad-core SoC that is pin-to-pin compatible with Allwinner's A23. The new SoC features four Cortex-A7 cores with 256 KB L1 cache, 512 KB L2 cache and a Mali-400 MP2 GPU. A new feature is the support of OpenMAX API. Allwinner has positioned the A33 for entry-level tablets, targeting quad-core tablets priced from $30 to $60, and in July 2014 announced that it has started mass production of the chip and will sell for as low as $4 per chip.
On June 30, 2014, Chinese brand Onda officially released its octa-core Onda V989 tablet, which is based on Allwinner A80. This is the first Allwinner A80-based tablet that is available to consumers, priced at CNY 1099 (~US$177).
In September 2014, Allwinner announced the Allwinner A83T, an octa-core tablet processor that packs eight highly energy-efficient Cortex-A7 cores that can run simultaneously at up to around 2.0 GHz. It also includes a PowerVR GPU. The first tablet with the chip is expected to hit the market in Q4 2014.
The V-Series are video encoding processor targeting applications such as smart DVR, IP camera and smart home applications. It is similar to the A series SoC, but adds support for functions such as digital watermarking, motion detection and video scaling, as well as a CBR/VBR bit rate control mode.
H-Series (OTT box application)
The H-series, introduced in 2014, are integrated application processors primarily targeted at OTT set-top box applications.
Allwinner has launched the A80 octa-core OTT box solution, targeting at high-end OTT box market, and launched the Allwinner H8 octa-core processor for mid-range OTT boxes, and most recently launched the quad-core Allwinner H3 targeting the US$35 - $50 OTT box market.
Android 5.0 Lollipop support
In December 2014, Allwinner released its Android 5.0 SDK for Allwinner A33 quad-core solution.
In July 2014, Allwinner announced that its first 64-bit tablet processor was to hit the market soon.
The Allwinner SoC family includes A-series, which is intended for Android OS, and F-series, which is intended for the company's self-developed Melis operating system.
The A-Series, including the A10, A20 and A31 SoCs, have a proprietary in-house designed multimedia co-processing DSP (Digital Signal Processing) processor technology for hardware accelerated video, image, and audio decoding, called CedarX (with subprocessing called "CedarV" for video decoding and "CedarA" for audio decoding), able to decode 2160p 2D and 1080p 3D video. The main disadvantages with CedarX technology and associated libraries is that Allwinner's own CedarX proprietary libraries have no clear usage license, so even if the source code for some versions is available the terms-of-use is unknown in open source software, and there is no glue code for any other multimedia frameworks on GNU/Linux systems that could be used as a middle-ware, like for example OpenMAX or VAAPI.
The A-series are integrated application processors primarily targeting tablets as well as targeting mini PCs, development boards and TV boxes.
|SoC||Fab||CPU cores||CPU type||L2 cache||GPU||Video Decoder||Video Encoder||Package||Application||Examples|
|A10||55 nm||1||Cortex-A8||256 KB||Mali-400 @ 300 MHz||2160p||H.264
1080p @ 30 fps
19 mm × 19 mm
0.80 mm Pitch
|Tablet, smart TV||Gooseberry, Cubieboard, MarsBoard, Fusion5|
14 mm × 14 mm
0.65 mm Pitch
|HDMI Dongle||OLinuXino A10S|
20 mm × 20 mm
|A20||2||Cortex-A7||256 KB||Mali-400 MP2 @ 350 MHz||2160p||H.264
1080p @ 30 fps
19 mm × 19 mm
0.80 mm Pitch
|Tablet, smart TV|
|A23||40 nm||1080p @ 60 fps multi-format||H.264 1080p @ 60 fps||BGA280 14x14 mm 0.80 mm pitch||Tablet||Kiano SlimTab 8|
|A31||4||1 MB||PowerVR SGX544 MP2 @ 350 MHz||2160P
|H.264 1080p @ 60 fps||BGA609 18 mm × 18 mm, 0.65 mm Pitch||Tablet, Smartphone, smart TV|
|A31s||H.264 1080p @ 30 fps||BGA460 18 mm × 18 mm, 0.80 mm Pitch||Phablet,Tablet, smartphone, smart TV|
|A33||512 KB||Mali-400 MP2 @ 350 MHz||1080p @ 60 fps multi-format||H.264 1080p @ 60 fps||BGA282 14 mm x 14 mm, 0.80 mm Pitch||Tablet||GoTab GT97X|
|A80 Octa||28 nm HPM||8||big.LITTLE:
Cortex-A15 + Cortex-A7
|2 MB + 512 KB||PowerVR G6230 (Rogue) @ 533 MHz||4K×2K @30 fps, H.265/VP9 1080p @30 fps||H.264 HP/VP8 4K×2K @30 fps||FCBGA636 19 mm x 19 mm, 0.65 mm Pitch||Tablet, smart TV, TV box, mini PC|
|A83T||28 nm HPC||8||Cortex-A7||?||PowerVR SGX544 @ 700 MHz||1080p @ 60 fps, supports H.264, HVEC MP/L5.2||H.264 1080p @ 60 fps||FCBGA 345 14mm x 14mm||Tablet||InFocus CS1 A83 (C2107)|
|A64||40 nm||4||Cortex-A53||512 KB||Mali-400 MP2||H.264/H.265||H.264 1080p @ 60fps||BGA396, 15 mm x 15 mm, 0.65 mm Pitch||Tablet||PINE64, PINE64+|
The H-series, introduced in 2014, are primarily targeted at OTT set-top box applications.
|SoC||FAB||CPU core||CPU type||L2 Cache||GPU||Video Decoder||Video Encoder||Package||Application||Examples|
|H3||28 nm||4||Cortex-A7||512 KB||Mali-400 MP2 @ 600 MHz||1080p @ 60 fps, 4K H.265 @ 30 fps||H.264 1080p @ 30fps||FBGA347, 14 mm x 14 mm, 0.65 mm Pitch||OTT box||Zidoo X1, Tronsmart Draco H3, Orange Pi PC|
|H8||28 nm HPC||8||?||PowerVR SGX544 @ 700MHZ||1080p @ 60 fps, 1080p H.265/VP9 @ 30 fps||H.264 1080p @ 60 fps||FCBGA 345 14mm x 14mm|
|H64||?||4||Cortex-A53||?||Mali-400 MP2||H.264/H.265||BGA396, 15 mm x 15 mm, 0.65 mm Pitch|
|SoC||CPU||Memory||Video Decoder||Video Encoder||Package||OS||Application|
|F1C100||ARM9||SDR||720p||N/A||LQFP128||Melis 2.0||Car MP5, Car Headrest, Visual Bombox, Visual Radio|
|F1E200||DDR||1080p||N/A||eLQFP128||E-ink Reader, PMP|
|F10||DDR||1080p||N/A||LQFP176||Multimedia Box, HD Player|
|F13||DDR||1080p||MPEG4 720p @ 30 fps||LQFP176||Car MP5|
|F18||DDR||1080p||MPEG4 720p @ 30 fps||LQFP216||Visual Intercom System|
|F20||DDR/DDR2||1080p||H.264 1080p @ 30 fps||BGA400||Car DVR, Multimedia Box, Mobile Karaoke|
|SoC||Cores||CPU type||GPU||Video Decoder||Video Encoder||Package||Application||Examples|
|R8||1||Cortex-A8||Mali-400 MP2||1920p@30fps||1280p@30fps||eLQFP176||IoT, Linux on the Stick, Smart Device||$9 Next Thing Co.'s CHIP computer|
|R16||4||Cortex-A7||1080p@60fps||1080p@60fps||BGA282||IoT, Security Systems||NES Classic Edition|
|R40||1080p@60fps||1080p@60fps||FBGA468||IoT, Security Systems|
|R58||8||PowerVR SGX544 MP1||1080p@60fps||1080p@60fps or 720p@120fps||FCBGA345 14mm x 14mm||Hybrid PC, Tablet, Multimedia Box, HD Player|
Allwinner processor ecosystem
Allwinner Technology cooperates with around ten IDHs based in Shenzhen, China, who develop solutions based on Allwinner processors. They include iNet Technology, Worldchip Digital Technology, Sochip Technology, Topwise Communication, ChipHD Technology, Highcharacter Science and Technology, WITS Technology, Ococci Technology, Next Huawen Technology, and Qi Hao Digital Technology.
Apart from the white-box market, Allwinner processors can also be found in many brand products, including HP, MSI, ZTE, NOOX, GoTab, Skyworth, MeLE, Polaroid, Micromax, Archos, Texet, Ainol, Onda, Ramos, Teclast, Ployer, Readboy, Noah, RF, Bmorn, Apical, Astro Queo, etc.
Free and open-source software support
Due to the low price of the A10 SoC, the fact that it has a special rescue mode, and the early availability of U-Boot and Linux kernel source (through several device makers), the Allwinner SoCs have been popular among open source software developers. Since at least 2012 the linux-sunxi community has been one of the most active ARM SoC communities, and the slightly older hardware has only very minimal dependence on firmware or blobs.
Since 2014 Allwinner is also an official member of the Linaro group, a non profit engineering consortium aimed at developing open source software for the ARM architecture. However, it has been noted that most of the contributions that Allwinner has made to the Linaro group has been in the form of binary blobs, which is in clear violation of the GNU GPL license that the Linux kernel uses.
Allwinner has been accused multiple times of violating the GPL license by not providing Linux/Android kernel source code or U-Boot source, and by using LGPL-licensed code within their binary blobs, etc.
Allwinner has also been accused of including a backdoor in its published version of the Linux kernel. The backdoor allows root access by simply sending a text message to the device. While this may be a remnant of debugging during the development process, it presents a significant security risk to all devices using the Allwinner provided kernel.
- Lin, Eric. "Digitimes Research: China tablet SoC developers enjoy robust shipment growth in 2012". DigiTimes. DigiTimes Research. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "Allwinner Technology Home Page". Allwinner. Retrieved 2015-01-02.
- "Digitimes Research: Tablet AP shipments to China to rise 53% in 3Q13". Digitimes. Retrieved Sep 23, 2013.
- "London Calling: Did Allwinner outsell Intel, Qualcomm?". eetimes. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- "Qualcomm, Intel Threatened as Allwinner Nabs Tablet Share". Bloomberg. 2014-03-17. Retrieved 2014-08-01.
- ARM processor licensee on ARM.com
- Onda V972 tablet features an Allwinner quad-core CPU, Retina-style display on Liliputing.com
- Allwinner launches quad-core CPU A31s for phablets on Liliputing.com
- "A New Weapon in the Tablet Wars: Allwinner Announces the Ultra-Efficient Dual Core A23 Processor for Tablets". Allwinner. September 2013. Retrieved 2015-01-02.
- "Allwinner Announces Stunning Specs for New 1.5GHz Dual Core A23 Processor". Allwinner. October 2013. Retrieved 2015-01-02.
- "AllWinner A33 Quad Core SoC is Pin-to-Pin Compatible with AllWinner A23". Retrieved June 11, 2014.
- "Allwinner A33, World's First $4 Quad Core Tablet Processor, Now in Mass Production". Allwinner. July 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-01.
- "Allwinner unveils Allwinner A80 Octa processor". Liliputing. Retrieved September 30, 2013.
- "A80 Octa core BigLittle SoC from Allwinner will be ready in 2014". olimex. Retrieved Oct 1, 2013.
- "Onda V989 AllWinner A80 Android Tablet is Now Available for Pre-order".
- "Allwinner's A83T: a Heavyweight Octa-Core for Full HD Tablets". PR Newswire. 2014-09-04. Retrieved 2014-09-27.
- cnxsoft. "AllWinner V10 and V15 SoCs Target Video Recording Applications". cnx-software. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
- "Allwinner H3 is a Quad Core SoC for Sub $50 4K H.265 Media Players". Allwinner. Retrieved 2015-01-02.
- "Allwinner has released its Android 5.0 SDK for Allwinner A33 quad-core solution". Allwinner. Retrieved 2015-01-02.
- "Allwinner's first 64-bit tablet processor to hit the market soon". Allwinner. July 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-02.
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- "Allwinner throws A20 dual-core and A31-quad-core processors into ARM fray". Engadget. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
- "A20 - linux-sunxi.org". linux-sunxi community. 2014-12-04. Retrieved 2015-02-01.
- "A20 User Manual Revision 1.3" (PDF). linux-sunxi community. Allwinner. 2014-10-21. Retrieved 2015-02-01.
- "HP 8 1401 Tablet Product Specifications". HP Consumer Support. HP. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- "Allwinner A33 Processor Goes Official, Cortex-A7 Quad-core And Mali-400 MP2 GPU". GSM Insider. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
- "A33 Product brief PDF". Allwinner download center. Allwinner. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- "GoTab GT97X". 2014-12-16.
- "A80". Allwinner. Retrieved 2015-01-02.
- "Allwinner UltraOcta A80 OptimusBoard to be Unveiled at 2014 CES". Allwinner. Retrieved 2014-10-03.
- Brad Linder. "Zero Devices Z8C is a TV box with an Allwinner A80 octa-core CPU". Liliputing. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
- "Tronsmart Draco AW80 is an Allwinner A80 Android mini PC with Up to 4GB RAM". Cnx-software.com. 2014-10-31. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
- "Octa-core A83T". Allwinner. Retrieved 2015-01-02.
- "Infocus CS1 A83 (C2107) Android Tablet Review". 2014-12-16. Retrieved 2015-01-02.
- "AllWinner A64 is a $5 Quad Core 64-bit ARM Cortex A53 SoC for Tablets". CNX Software. 2015-01-08. Retrieved 2015-01-09.
- "FAQ - PINE 64". PINE 64. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
- "Allwinner H3 Quad-Core Announced: a Full 4K OTT Box Solution". Allwinner. December 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-03.
- "H3". Allwinner. Retrieved 2015-01-03.
- "H8". Allwinner. Retrieved 2015-01-03.
- "Allwinner H64 based Nobel64 Could the First Affordable 64-bit ARM Development Board". CNX Software. 2014-10-13. Retrieved 2015-01-09.
- "Allwinner R8 SOC description". Allwinner R8. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
- "NextThingCo/CHIP-Hardware" (PDF). GitHub. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
- "R16 SOC description". Allwinner R16. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
- "R40 SOC description". Allwinner R40. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
- "R58 SOC description". Allwinner R58. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
- Sunxi Community website
- FOSDEM talk about the Sunxi Community on the FOSDEM website.
- Announcement of Allwinner membership on Linaro news site.
- Allwinner GPL Violations
- "GPL Violations". linux-sunxi.org. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
- "Allwinner Caught Obfuscating Their Improperly Licensed Code". Phoronix. 2015-03-19. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
- Gallagher, Sean (11 May 2016). "Chinese ARM vendor left developer backdoor in kernel for Android, "Pi" devices". Ars Technica. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
- Chirgwin, Richard (9 May 2016). "This is what a root debug backdoor in a Linux kernel looks like". The Register. Retrieved 11 May 2016.