More than a year ago an Norwegian company FXI technologies showed the Cotton Candy. An USB stick-sized portable computer prototype, complete with a dual-core 1.2-GHz Samsung Exynos ARM CPU (same as in the Galaxy S II), 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI-out and a microSD card slot for memory. China copied the idea and flooded the market with cheaper and more powerful models.
After toying with the RPi with XBMC, i wanted too see if XBMC on a so called Android stick could handle high-bit rate video e.g. blueray quality movies packed in MKV. Purchased a MK808B (Google TV player) for about €80 p&p.
- 1.6GHz Rockchip RK3066 Dual Core processor (ARM Cortex-A9)
- 1GB DDR ram, NAND flash 8GB rom, Micro SD slot supports upto 32GB
- Video format: WMF, ASF, 3GP, 3G2M4V, AVI, MJPEG, RV10, DivX, MP4, VC-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.263, H.264, 1280*720P HD 30 fps, 1080P/720*480 D1 30 fps
- Audio format: supports MP3/WMA/APE/FLAC/FLAC/AAC/OGG/AC3/WAV
- WIFI 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0
- Google Android 4.1 (Flash 11.x, HTML5)
- Working environment: 5°C-35°C !
Installation is easy, hookup HDMI, power, keyboard and mouse. Setup WIFI and fetch & install the latest XBMC package (Frodo RC3) Done.
The problem with any app running on the MK808B is the annoying android home strip. Yeah there is app for this too… Still from the app perspective it is still running in an window-ed environment and is stuck at sub-HD resolution of 1280×720 (HD is 1920×1080).
The MK808B supports 802.11 b/g/n, but strangely it always falls back to 54G. Watching Youtube is a nightmare due to many buffering interruptions. Bad or shorted antenna wires? I checked this but this is not the case.
Disabled WIFI and hooked up an USB-to-ethernet adapter (LevelOne USB-0301 10/100mbps) €25. This worked much better but high-bit rate content is played back with stutters, skipping frames and a lot of buffering moments.
Currently XBMC on top of Android run on the MK808B does not cut it. For ‘upgrading’ your flat tv with web services and using the supplied video player it will do the job. Spend some bucks on a rc like the Mele F10 Fly mouse. The ‘phone’ interface is very odd on a tv.
Most stores do state that the MK808B does support Ubuntu 12.10+. Do keep in mind that Rockchip does not support the open-source community and native support for the Mali GPU is still in its infancy. Read more at CNX-software. Mine Android stick had ADB and developer mode are both enabled and has root. Install a root checker from the play store to check this.
If not, there are two ways to enable ADB
- Install ‘Launcher Pro’ and make a new short-cut that points to ‘Development Settings’ which is missing in the normal settings menu. Shortcut → Activities → Settings → Development (com.android.settings.DevelopmentSettings). And then enable USB debugging.
- Install an terminal emulator and execute by typing the following command “
am start -a android.intent.action.main -n com.android.settings/.DevelopmentSettings“. And enable USB debugging when the popup comes up.