Tuesday, June 19, 2012

MK802 PC-onna-stick - first impressions and enabling 1080P

I received my MK802 in the mail today, and have been playing with in, both in Android and Ubuntu.

Initial impressions are that the firmware isn't quite there yet.. The Android build mostly worked well, but the resolution is locked at 1280x720, despite claims that it can do 1920x1080, and even up to 2160P!
It also seemed a bit slower than I was hoping, given the claims of being a 1.5 GHz Cortex A8 clone. (For comparison, my old Samsung Galaxy S was a 1 GHz A8, and it really flew! Whereas the MK802 couldn't even play Angry Birds smoothly..)

The Ubuntu port is very early days as well -- It only supports 512 Mb of the 1Gb of ram, and it's running in a simple framebuffer X mode, rather than using the Mali GPU properly. It was limited to 1280x720 as well :(
It's using the Android kernel rather than a proper Ubuntu one :/
However apart from that, it worked reasonably well as long as you didn't hit swap..

After all this, I read up on the mk802 forums, discovered the sunxi-tools for hacking around with the booting binaries, and messed around a bit, and managed a little world-first.. I managed to get 1920x1080 working at 50 Hz in Ubuntu, and it looks like that'll get ported into the Android version soon enough too. Hurrah!

I'm extremely dubious about claims the device can do up to 2160P.. It seems like it can barely do 1920x1080 at 50 Hz -- I tried 60 Hz, and there was a lot of tearing and glitches. But.. maybe with the Mali GPU being used it'd be OK?

Time will tell -- and for the moment, it's still a nifty device. It's amazing that they didn't bother putting Bluetooth into it though! You can put a bluetooth dongle on it, but then you need to use a hub too, so you can also plug in a mouse to let you configure the bluetooth pairing. :/


  1. Hi,

    Good observations regarding the device, I am thinking to buy one of this kind to use it as Media Streaming Device to my TV (its a 40 inch 1080p) with Android on it. Does this device is capable of streaming 1080p right out of the box with out any tweaks ? You mentioned in your blog that you have to tweak it a bit to do 1080, so curious ..

  2. Hi Techby,
    I'm afraid the MK802 *does not* support 1080p out of the box -- it'll only do 720p.

    The hardware is *capable* of 1080, but currently that support only works if you use Ubuntu -- in which case you lose all the hardware video decoding support, so you can't play games or video.

    However the community is getting onto hacking this device, and there are ports with GPU support in the pipeline.

    If you're not a hacker type, then you are probably best off waiting a bit longer, until other people do the work and sort these issues out.

  3. You mentioned that you were able to add bluetooth dongle. I've been trying to do this since I got the device. There doesn't seem to be a way to get the device to recognize or enable bluetooth. Could you please explain in detail how you managed it?


  4. Hi Elindric,
    I thought I'd managed to get it going with Bluetooth in the Ubuntu Precise build for it, but since trying again today, all I can get is for the bluetooth symbol to appear in the task bar, but no ability to pair devices. I'm worried I may have been mistaken in my original assessment.

    By the way, since making the post above, there has been some progress - now 800 Mb of the 1GB is available to Linux -- but we still need to find some way to compile new kernels in order to reclaim more, and enable things like Bluetooth :(

  5. Hi Elindric,
    I've managed to build my own kernel for the device now, and was able to add support for USB Bluetooth adaptors.

    I'll make a new blog post in a moment with more details