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Allwinner Technology is a fabless semiconductor company that designs mixed-signal systems on a chip (SoC). The company is headquartered in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China. 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 over fifteen SoC processors for use 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, including the F10, F13, F18, F20, F1E200, F1C100, and F20. This series runs Allwinner's in-house operating system Melis2.0, which is now mainly used in vehicle multimedia systems, E-ink readers, video intercom systems, and so on.
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 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 the 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, which will sell for as low as $4 per unit.
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 was 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||GPU (Clock)||Video Decoder||Video Encoder||Package,
Size (mm), Pitch (mm)
|A10||55 nm||ARMv7-A||Cortex-A8||1||256 KB||Mali-400 (300 MHz)||2160p||H.264 1080p @ 30 fps||BGA441, 19×19, 0.80||Tablet, smart TV|
|A10s||BGA336, 14×14, 0.65||HDMI Dongle||OLinuXino A10S|
|A13||eLQFP176, 20×20||Tablet, E-reader|
|A20||Cortex-A7||2||256 KB||Mali-400 MP2 (350 MHz)||BGA441, 19×19, 0.80||Tablet, smart TV|
|A23||40 nm||1080p @ 60 fps multi-format||H.264 1080p @ 60 fps||BGA280, 14×14, 0.80||Tablet||Kiano SlimTab 8|
|A31||4||1 MB||PowerVR SGX544 MP2 (350 MHz)||2160p
|BGA609, 18×18, 0.65||Tablet, Smartphone, smart TV|
|A31s||H.264 1080p @ 30 fps||BGA460, 18×18, 0.80||Phablet,Tablet, smartphone, smart TV|
|A33||512 KB||Mali-400 MP2 (350 MHz)||1080p @ 60 fps multi-format||H.264 1080p @ 60 fps||BGA282, 14×14, 0.80||Tablet||GoTab GT97X|
|A80 Octa||28 nm
Cortex-A15 + A7
|8||2 MB +
|PowerVR G6230 (Rogue) (533 MHz)||4K×2K @30 fps, H.265/VP9 1080p @30 fps||H.264 HP/VP8 4K×2K @30 fps||FCBGA636, 19×19, 0.65||Tablet, smart TV, TV box, mini PC|
|A83T||Cortex-A7||1MB||PowerVR SGX544 (700 MHz)||1080p @ 60 fps, H.264, HVEC MP/L5.2||H.264 1080p @ 60 fps||FCBGA345, 14×14||Tablet||InFocus CS1 A83 (C2107)|
|A64||40 nm||ARMv8-A||Cortex-A53||4||512 KB||Mali-400 MP2||H.264/H.265||BGA396, 15×15, 0.65||Tablet||PINE64, PINE64+|
The H-series, introduced in 2014, are primarily targeted at OTT set-top box applications.
|SoC||Fab||CPU||GPU||Video Decoder||Video Encoder||Package||Application||Examples|
|H2||40nm||ARMv7-A||Cortex-A7||4||?||Mali-400 MP2 @ 600 MHz||1080p @ 60 fps||H.264 1080p @ 30fps||?||OTT box||Orange PI Zero|
|H3||4||512 KB||1080p @ 60 fps, 4K H.265 @ 30 fps||FBGA347, 14 × 14 mm, 0.65 mm Pitch||Zidoo X1, Tronsmart Draco H3, Orange Pi PC, NanoPi NEO|
|H8||28 nm HPC||8||?||PowerVR SGX544 @ 700MHZ||1080p @ 60 fps, 1080p H.265/VP9 @ 30 fps||H.264 1080p @ 60 fps||FCBGA345, 14 × 14 mm||Cubieboard 5|
|H64||40nm||ARMv8-A||Cortex-A53||4||?||Mali-400 MP2||H.264/H.265||BGA396, 15 × 15 mm, 0.65 mm Pitch||Orange Pi Win, Orange Pi Win Plus|
|H5||512 KB||Mali-450 MP4||H.264/H.265 4k@30fps VP8 1080p@60fps||FBGA347, 14 × 14 mm, 0.65 mm Pitch||Orange Pi Zero Plus, Orange Pi PC2, Orange Pi Prime, NanoPi NEO2, NanoPi NEO Plus2|
|H6||28nm||ARMv8-A||Cortex-A53||4||512 KB||Mali-T720 MP2
@600 MHz OpenGL ES 3.1
H.264/AVC, VP9 4K@30fps VP6/VP8, 1080P@60fps
|H.264 BP/MP/HP@level 4.2 4K@30fps||BGA451, 15 x 15mm,
|OTT, DVB and IPTV markets||Zidoo H6 Pro, Orange Pi One Plus, Orange Pi Lite 2|
|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||N/A||LQFP176||Multimedia Box, HD Player|
|F13||MPEG4 720p @ 30 fps||Car MP5|
|F18||LQFP216||Visual Intercom System|
|F20||DDR/DDR2||H.264 1080p @ 30 fps||BGA400||Car DVR, Multimedia Box, Mobile Karaoke|
|SoC||CPU||GPU||Video Decoder||Video Encoder||Package||Application||Examples|
|R8||ARMv7-A||Cortex-A8||1||?||Mali-400 MP2||1080p@30fps||720p@30fps||eLQFP176||IoT, Linux on the Stick, Smart Device||$9 Next Thing Co.'s CHIP computer|
|R16||Cortex-A7||4||512 KB||1080p@60fps||1080p@60fps||BGA282||IoT, Security Systems||NES Classic Edition, SNES Classic Edition|
|R40||?||FBGA468||IoT, Security Systems|
|R58||8||?||PowerVR SGX544 MP1||1080p@60fps or 720p@120fps||FCBGA345, 14mm × 14mm||Hybrid PC, Tablet, Multimedia Box, HD Player|
|R18||ARMv8-A||Cortex-A53||4||512 KB||Mali-400 MP2||?||?||?||?|
|SoC||CPU||GPU||Video Decoder||Video Encoder||Package||Application||Examples|
|T2||ARMv7-A||Cortex-A7||2||?||Mali-400 MP2||1080p@30fps||1080p@30fps||FBGA441, 19mm × 19mm||In-Car Entertainment, SatNav||Nowada K1201|
|T3||4||512Kb||1080p@45fps||1080p@45fps||FBGA468, 16mm × 16mm||Ezonetronics CT-0008|
|T8||8||?||PowerVR SGX544 MP1||1080p@60fps||1080p@60fps||FCBGA345, 14mm × 14mm||Roadover T800 IX25|
Allwinner processor ecosystem
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Allwinner Technology cooperates with around ten independent design houses (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 nonprofit 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 any installed app to have full root access to the system. 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.
- Allwinner A1X
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