Need for JZ4730 development platform with QWERTY and 7'' display?

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at
Tue Aug 25 09:05:59 EDT 2009

Hi Wolfgang,

Am 25.08.2009 um 14:14 schrieb Wolfgang Spraul:

> Hi Dr. Schaller and Nils!
> very good to see you here...

Yes, I follow the qi-developer list right from the beginning but was a  
little quiet because of other tasks and holiday season...

> We know about the Letux 400, like you said it's available in a lot of
> countries under different names, for more information see

Yes, there are many many variants out there. It looks as if it is  
becoming more and more difficult to get such a device that is really  
based on MIPS and without WinCE in ROM. Some of the brands (Razorbook,  
Bestlink etc.) indicate even no stock.

> I agree that we should pool development efforts, for developers the  
> most
> important thing to get started will be access to serial console, how

> to reflash the device (can you do USB booting on the Letux 400?).

Reflashing without u-boot is a little tricky but works:

> How do you build your rootfs?
> We are using OpenWrt and can already boot a 2.6.31 kernel on the  
> NanoNote.
> See
> If you point people to the Letux as a development platform, the one  
> thing
> that makes me a bit nervous is that the Wikipedia page says the  
> successor
> has switched to a Marvell PXA27x CPU? And the next switch to a Chinese
> ARM CPU (Jade Tech Z228) is already announced. Is that true?

Yes, that is true. It comes from the business model behind. SkyTone  
who originally designed the device and some other companies heavily  
work on the design and change things over night (I guess for component  
availability reasons). So it may happen that you get a different  
device shipped than what you had seen as a sample 4 weeks before...

> Are you planning to come out with more Ingenic-based devices?

> I think we should stick to a stable platform. The one thing software
> development needs is a stable open platform and time.
> There is a lot of ground to cover with the XBurst SoCs. The SIMD

So far our Letux 400 was a one-time effort to get a single batch of  
small MIPS based device to the European market and to support it  
better than all the mass market resellers of the same model.

Therefore, you don't need to concern about platform changes. The Letux  
400 will remain the same as it was and is... And it is the variant  
with 2GB Flash, WLAN and MIPS JZ4730 (whatever else is out there).  
This makes it very compatible to your new hardware (we are all waiting  
for...). The backside of the coin is that we have only limited stock  
of these machines. I.e. the Letux 400 is not a consumer or mass market  
thing but a developer platform.

> instructions look very interesting, MPlayer source codes already  
> exist and
> need to be sent upstream. Boot time and power consumption can be  
> optimized.
> Etc.

There is even a friend who is running GNUstep on it:

> We welcome all Letux 400 (and all other Skytone Alpha 400) developers
> to the Free XBurst devices community, and we are happy to be a part
> ourselves...

Yes, we will be happy to contribute by enlarging the base of JZ47xx  
developers. So if anyone needs L400 hardware, please drop me a note or  
go to


> Wolfgang
> On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 12:40:50PM +0200, Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller  
> wrote:
>> Hi all developers,
>> I just realized that Qi hardware is focussing a lot around the new
>> MIPS SoC. So it could be interesting to get more real Ingenic JZ  
>> based
>> hardware to active (potential) developers who want to work on kernel
>> and user space software.
>> Maybe, our Letux 400 is the right thing to use as a (inexpensive)  
>> target development platform. It is a small (7 inch, 650 g) "Netbook"
>> based on the JZ4730 (it was originally developed by SkyTone and is
>> essentially the same device that became broadly known as Razorbook).
>> Ard has collected a lot of reverse engineering results
>>  e.g. look here:
>> Nils from has worked heavily on a Linux kernel
>> and is mostly done. More links on this can be found on
>> Main activity is on the mipsbook-devel mailing list (
>> ). Looking into this material may benefit the NanoNote.
>> So if developers on this list are interested in getting more or less
>> compatible hardware, please contact me.
>> BR,
>> Nikolaus
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