Category Archives: Hardware

Let’s make an Amazon Alexa device!

Wow, it’s been a while since I posted on here. I’ve been really busy working on programming projects with some of my friends and just haven’t had anything super interesting to blog about.

Enough with that though, let’s get on to what this is actually about! I recently saw a video done by the Youtuber Novaspirit Tech where he takes a Raspberry Pi 2 and implements the Amazon Alexa system!

I’ve had a Pi Model B since a few months after they initially launched and more recently received a Pi 2 from Element14 (you can watch my video reviews of them over on my, admittedly also recently neglected, Youtube channel AEVES Tech) and have been looking for interesting projects to do with them.

This hit the spot perfectly, and so I started out setting up my Pi Model B! Now, most of the tutorials use the Pi 2 as the base device, but my Pi 2 is currently serving as a code server for me, and I didn’t really want to go through the trouble of transferring everything over. Plus, I figured it might make the process a bit more interesting, in case I had to tweak some values.


Setting up the Pi

Obviously, the first thing needed here is to get the Raspberry Pi up and running.

The process of installing Raspbian differs a bit between whatever OS you’re using (Linux, Mac OS X, Windows) so I’m just going to give you a link to the official Raspberry Pi foundation’s page on how to do it.

Once you’ve got the SD card flashed, go ahead and stick it in the Pi. The next part depends on whether or not you want to have the Pi connected over WiFi or not. If you’re planning to just connect over Ethernet then you can skip over this section and move on.

I’ve always used the Edimax EW-7811UN and never had any problems with it on Raspbian, so if you need to buy an WiFi dongle I can definitely recommend this one.

I set up WiFi via the Terminal over SSH, which can be a little bit complicated, so I’m going to go over that here. If you’ve got your Pi connected up to screen and are using the GUI it’s easier.

Once you have terminal access (via SSH over Ethernet or via a Serial to USB cable) you’re going to need to find the SSID for your network. To do this, go ahead and run sudo iwlist wlan0 scan.

This is going to spit out a whole bunch of information, most of which we’re not going to need. Look out for these two lines:

  • ESSID:"networkNameHere"

    This is the network name that you want to connect to. Make sure it’s your network, we’re going to use this value later on.

  • IE: IEEE 802.11i/WPA2 Version 1

    This is the security type. Most modern routers are set up to use WPA2 Personal, and this tutorial will work with both that and WPA, but it may have issues with WPA2 Enterprise or WEP. If your network is set up with WEP, then you’ll have to adjust the setup a bit later on, and you really should think about changing to WPA2.

Now that we have that information, go ahead and run sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf and enter the following text:

network={
    ssid="networkNameFromEarlier"
    psk="yourWiFiNetworkPassword"
}

If you’ve got a WEP network, then you’ll need to change out the psk line for wepkey0=your104BitWEPkey. Make sure you don’t put quotes around that key.

To save the file, press Ctrl-X then Y and then Enter. This will save the file. Go ahead and reboot the Pi via sudo reboot.

Once you’ve rebooted, you can check if you’re connected or not via running ifconfig wlan0 and seeing if there is an IP address next to the inet addr field:

$ ifconfig wlan0
    wlan0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 80:1f:02:bf:04:ec 
     inet addr:192.168.0.12 <-- there is a number here Bcast:192.168.0.255 Mask:255.255.255.0
     inet6 addr: fe80::8ec:9767:b412:4a91/64 Scope:Link
     UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1
     RX packets:20891 errors:0 dropped:209 overruns:0 frame:0
     TX packets:7167 errors:0 dropped:4 overruns:0 carrier:0
     collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
     RX bytes:22347220 (21.3 MiB) TX bytes:996632 (973.2 KiB)

If you have an IP address, then we can move on. Otherwise, make sure you typed the network password correctly in that file and try again.


Setting up Alexa

Hooray! You got the Pi set up, now we get to get started on the fun part, setting up Alexa!

You’re going to need to sign up for an Amazon Developer account, which you can do here. You’ll need to sign in to your Amazon account, and then go to this address: developer.amazon.com/edw/home.html. Once you’re there, click on the Get Started> button for Alexa Voice Service:

Selection_019

From there, you’re going to click on Register a Product and in the drop-down, select Device:

Selection_020

Now, you’re going to proceed through the four parts of the setup process. They’re personal choice for the most part, and the site does a good job of guiding you through, so there’s nothing I really need to explain other than the Web settings part.

This is important because of how you get permission to use Alexa (via OAuth), you have to set up origins and return URLs, otherwise you won’t be allowed to connect to the Alexa voice service. So, you’re going to need your local IP address for the Pi. This is pretty simple to get, just run ifconfig wlan0 | grep "inet addr" (swap wlan0 for eth0 if you’re connecting over Ethernet.). You’re going to want to take the value right after the red text:

Selection_021

In my case, it’s 192.168.0.106.

Take that value and under the Web Settings tab on the Security Profile page:

Selection_024

put that value in like this:

Selection_023

swapping out 192.168.0.106 for whatever IP address you got. Finish up the rest of the setup, and you’re ready to get on to the rest of the setup. Make sure to write down the Device Type ID, Security Profile Description, Security Profile ID, Client ID, and Client Secret – you’ll need them for the setup script later.

I’m using the code from sammachin’s AlexaPi repository, but it’s going to require a few tweaks to actually work. For now, just run git clone https://github.com/sammachin/AlexaPi and it should get the code right off Github!

If you get an error about git not being installed, just run

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install git

and then try again.

Once you get the code, go ahead and type cd AlexaPi and then sudo ./setup.sh. This is going to install a few different required libraries and set up the Python code. You’re going to need the credentials you got from Amazon earlier, so put those in as requested.

Now, the setup script doesn’t work correctly, it doesn’t actually create the required creds.py file, so we’re going to have to manually do that ourselves.

Run mv example_creds.py creds.py and then nano creds.py. You’ll get a file that looks something like this:

# RENAME THIS FILE TO creds.py before use!
import os

#Alexa Settings
ProductID = ""
Security_Profile_Description =""
Security_Profile_ID  = ""
Client_ID = ""
Client_Secret = ""

# Alexa Refresh Token
refresh_token = ''

and put in the information from Amazon where it belongs in the file. Don’t worry about refresh_token still being blank, that gets taken care of in a bit.

If you are logged into your Pi as root, then you’re ready to go, go ahead and skip down to the hardware setup section. If not, read on.

The original code was written to be run as root, but this isn’t exactly good practice, so we’re going to have make a few changes to make it run correctly.

First you’re going to need to edit the startup script in /etc/init.d/alexa, run sudo nano /etc/init.d/alexa and look for the line

python /root/AlexaPi/main.py &

and change out /root for /home/pi. Once you do that, save and exit via Ctrl-X, Y, Enter.


Setting up the hardware

Since the Pi doesn’t have a built-in Microphone port, you’re going to have to use a USB device. It can be a USB microphone or a USB soundcard that has a microphone port. Plug that in, as well as connecting a speaker, either via the Pi’s 3.5mm jack, or via USB.

I’m using my CAD U1 USB microphone, and connecting a speaker up via the 3.5mm jack and it works just fine.

You’re also going to need to hook up a push-button connected to GPIO pin 18 and GND. Part of the terms & conditions of using the Alexa voice service is you can’t have it be voice activated, so we have to manually activate the listening via pressing a button.

Here’s a diagram to show you how to connect it up, if you don’t already know:

pi_alexa


Final Setup

Now that we have the microphone, speaker, and button connected, we can go ahead and finish everything up!

You’re going to need to run sudo python auth_web.py and then go in a webbrowser to yourPisLocalIPAddress:5000. This will redirect you to an Amazon page asking you to log in and then confirm that you want this device to have access to parts of your account. Go ahead and continue through the login process.

After you log in, it should show a page letting you know that it succeeded and you can now reboot your Pi. Go ahead and do that via sudo reboot and wait for it to reboot.

You should now be able to boot your Pi and hear a female voice say “Hello”. Once you hear this, you can press and hold the button and ask Alexa a question!

If you don’t hear this after a while, you may have to SSH in and manually run the script. Just ssh in to the Pi and run

cd AlexaPi && sudo python main.py &

You should hear the “Hello” voice in a bit, and you can go ahead and ask away.

Congratulations, you’ve just created your own Raspberry Pi-based Alexa device!


Conclusion

Is this really useful? I suppose it depends on how you define that.

It’s a bit cheaper to build this than buy the $129 Amazon Tap, especially if you already have all the parts on hand. However, it looks far less pretty and isn’t officially supported by Amazon, so they could decide to end the AVS (Alexa Voice Service) at any time, leaving you with a Raspberry Pi connected to a speaker and microphone.

For the time being, it’s a fun little way to put your Raspberry Pi to use, and, if you really wanted an Amazon Echo and don’t mind a little bit of open circuitry, it’s saves you a little bit of money.

 

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Installation of proprietary NVIDIA drivers on Ubuntu 14.04.1

I recently built a brand new PC – which was awesome – with an i5-4690k, 8GB RAM, and a EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti GPU.

Now, for basic work, the open source Nouveau drivers work just fine. However, this system was made to be a high performance video editing & graphics rig – so I wanted to have the best performance possible; and NVIDIA’s proprietary drivers provide the best performance.


Normally, one could simply open up the Additional Drivers tab in Software & Updates, but my system, strangely, said there were no drivers available:

Screenshot from 2014-12-16 17:50:06

This was very strange, as I knew that there should be something listed there.

So, I took to Stack Exchange. The Stack Exchange network, in this case specifically Ask Ubuntu, is an amazing tool and has helped me countless times. I was talking with a couple of more advanced Ubuntu users (if you’re on Ask Ubuntu – Seth & Mateo) and we managed to find a solution – though it was rather hacky to say the least.


Tricks, Traps, and Hackery

When I say the solution was hacky, it’s not hacky in the form that I was piecing together drivers and compiling my own kernel – it’s that it was hacky because of the amount of steps it took to complete what should have been relatively simple.

First off, I tried running updates. That should be the first thing you do when debugging an issue, unless of course there is a known issue with an update that’s even worse. Then you might want to skip the update. That didn’t help any, still nothing was shown.

Next up, I looked around at other solutions to the same problem. As I soon found out, this is actually a fairly common bug in 14.04, with the NVIDIA drivers not showing up. Most of the solutions involved enabling the Xorg-Edgers PPA – something I wasn’t totally comfortable with, since the Xorg-Edgers PPA is a bit bleeding edge and I didn’t want to mess with the black screen bugs it has been known to cause.

So, I went on and decided just to go with the drivers straight from NVIDIA. Granted, they aren’t as community tested as the ones from Ubuntu, but they’d do the trick. So, I downloaded the newest stable .run file from NVIDIA for my GPU (you can access it here, if you need to – I believe this is the page with the newest drivers.)

Once the driver installer had downloaded I tried to run it from a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T), but got this:

Screenshot from 2014-12-21 13:36:18

Obviously, I had to run the command when an X server wasn’t running. Pretty simple stuff – just pull up a TTY, kill lightdm, and you’re golden! Right? Wrong.

For whatever reason, there was/is a bug with the Nouveau drivers I had that meant I couldn’t access a TTY (nothing displayed), unless I booted with the GRUB flag nomodeset. Again, big deal. Just add the flag and reboot. Well, it’s not that simple. Turns out that when I added nomodeset I did get the TTYs…but my GUI was all messed up. So, I removed the GRUB flag nomodeset and rebooted. No TTYs but a working GUI. I guess it was choose your own poison day at Canonical.

This is where the awesome guys on Ask Ubuntu come in. I popped on over there and we started working together to figure it out.

The first solution that was suggested was running the command sudo init 1 command, which was supposed to take me into single user mode with just a command line – nothing else. However, for reasons unbeknownst to me and the other users trying to help me, I was simply being shown the Ubuntu boot splash and nothing else. Yet another issue.

So, that theory went out the window.

Now, you’re probably wondering – why didn’t you just boot with the nomodeset GRUB flag, install the drivers, and the remove the nomodeset flag? Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t do that. After trying a few other things with init I booted with that flag, killed lightdm via sudo killall lightdm, and ran the installer. There was actually a warning that came up saying that a script had failed – but I ignored that (one of the other users said they’d had the same thing & just ignored it – no problems).

I removed the nomodeset flag, rebooted, and had a working desktop with decent FPS. Actually, quite awesome FPS – especially compared to my old laptop. Just to give you an idea of the performance increase it gave me – remember that I had said I wasn’t getting more than 20 FPS in Minecraft? Well, a picture is worth a thousand words:

fps

That’s with the render distance set to 14 and the graphics cranked all the way up. I had just barely loaded up the world and so was having lots of chunk updates. Once the world had fully loaded I could get well over 150 FPS stable on render distance 25 & everything fancy.

Now, I know that Minecraft isn’t exactly the crown gem of gaming prowess – far from it actually – but it’s what I had. I don’t game much, so my library is very limited and I don’t have any intensive games.

But yeah, that’s my experience/process with/that I took installing NVIDIA graphic drivers on Ubuntu 14.04.1. Not sure if it’ll help anyone much, but it’s what I had to do and I figured I’d blog about it!

Now, this didn’t actually fix the bug with the Additional Drivers not showing up correctly – I actually had another issue occur later on with Unity not loading correctly (I think I must have rebooted at an…inopportune time) and the solution for that (which I’m also going to be writing about) actually fixed it.

Make sure to comment below with any experiences you’ve had with graphic drivers and tell me what you thought about the post!

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First Working Project Ara Prototype Introduced

Project Ara isn’t one of the most well known projects out there – though I think it is definitely an awesome one.

Basically put, Project Ara allows you to build your own phone – choosing everything from the CPU and screen to the battery and speakers. Want a better, larger battery? Just change out the module for a replacement one. Accidentally dropped your phone and cracked the screen? Just buy a new screen module, slide out the old one, and slide in the new one.

It’s a great idea, and recently the first working prototype was revealed. The original prototype, while it technically worked, it froze within seconds of booting and was far less nice looking than the Spiral One, the current prototype.

If you watch the video above, you can get a pretty good gist for what the project is – modular phones that you can customize far more easily and less expensively than the options today.

While there are only a few seconds in the video that actually show the phone working, it is definitely a step up from what was shown at I/O (Google’s tech conference) in June of 2014.

The Spiral 2, a more advanced version of Spiral 1 that makes use of specific, custom-made chips from Toshiba, should be released at the Project Ara developer  conference in January of 2015. They also are planning on releasing their Module Developer’s Kit, which will allow developers to create modules for the Ara phone.

Make sure to leave a comment down below with your thoughts on Project Ara!

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PiTop Status Update – Indiegogo campaign launched today

You may remember a little while ago I posted about a cool new project I had found out about, the PiTop.

As you may remember, the PiTop is a project that gives you all the pieces you need to create a Raspberry Pi (Model B+) powered laptop. From the 3D-printed case, to the 13 inch HD screen, to the built-in WiFi & Bluetooth, you get to create a full-on, portable, Raspberry Pi-powered laptop.

If you want to know more about the project, go ahead and click through on the link above, as this post is just simple status update.

Status update inbound!

So, what’s this status update you’re talking about? Well, it’s that the PiTop’s crowd-funding, indiegogo campaign has been launched. This means you can now back the project, and get early-bird pricing on the product.

Currently $229, the Super Early Bird discount (full kit, including Model B+ Pi) has already sold out and the project is already at 47% of its $80,000 goal. Pretty impressive for the first day and the full goal should be easily reached, with an entire month left.

You can still pick up an early-bird version of the PiTop, albeit sans-Pi, for $209; and a full, non-Super Early Bird version for $249. Information on the project and all of the information about the campaign are available on the project’s Indiegogo campaign page.

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Your Tech, Nutshelled – USB

Just as a quick foreword, this is a new series I’m planning on trying out. It’s aimed at beginners in the world of technology, computers, and hacking, but hopefully will teach everyone something new! Leave a comment down below of what you thought about this new type of post, if you have any questions about a term, and if you have any things you want explained!


USB – What is it?

usb 3.0 - a & b male

USB 3.0 – A and B male connectors

Everyone uses USB. I mean everyone. It is the standard communication port for basically any type of data transfer.

The History of USB:

Originally released in January of 1996, USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. This is hearkening back to the days when basically every peripheral (anything that doesn’t come installed inside the PC’s case – printers, mice, keyboards, etc.) connected via Serial Ports. These weren’t very standard things, so one product from one company might have a different connector than one from another company. So, USB was developed as a high-speed, everyone-use-this connector.

Co-invented by and developed by a team including Ajay Bhatt, USB was backed in 1994 by seven big-name corporations, including Compaq, DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and Nortel. Ajay Bhatt was an engineer at Intel and it was Intel who created the first USB circuit boards in 1995.

USB went through several pre-release versions: USB 0.7 was released in November of 1994, 0.8 in December of 1994, 0.9 in April of 1995, then 0.99 in August of 1996, with the USB 1.0 Release Candidate in November of 1995.

USB Standard Type A Plug - What most people think of USB as

USB Standard Type A Plug – What most people think of USB as

The original USB 1.0 specification, released in January of 1996, stated that USB 1.0 had data transfer rates (how fast the data would move) of 1.5 Mbit/s at “Low Speed” and 12 Mbit/s at “Full Speed”. Use of USB wasn’t wide-spread until a later release of USB, USB 1.1, which came out in September 1998. The “Full Speed” data rate was meant for devices like disk drives that were transferring lots of data, while the “Low Speed” for  devices like joysticks, mice, and keyboards.

Joint-leading the spearhead for the development of the higher speed transfer rate, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Lucent Technologies (which is now known as Alcatel-Lucent), NEC and Philips brought to bear the USB 2.0 specification. USB 2.0 was released in April of 2000 and increased performance exponentially, achieving speeds 40 times that which USB 1.0 could reach. The new specification could reach speeds of up to 480 Mbit/s and was given the okay by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) at the end of 2001.

USB 3.0 is the current generation of USB, the specification for which was published on the 12th of November, 2008. The new specification was meant to increase data transfer rates (now capable to reaching up to 5Gbit/s – over 10 times as fast as USB 2.0,) increase power output (make charging and powering devices easier,) but still remain backwards-compatible with USB 2.0.

Part of what makes USB 3.0 so much faster is that unlike the change from USB 1.1 to USB 2.0, the change from USB 2.0 to USB 3.0 changes the port a bit. USB 3.0 ports now incorporate extra pins, but in such a way that USB 3.0 cords can be used with USB 2.0 devices and vice-versa, albeit with decreased speeds. This new, higher speed bus is called SuperSpeed and the first USB 3.0 equipped devices were first available in January 2010.

Plenty more things have happened over the course of USB’s development, but they are more complicated than a Nutshell posts needs to include. If you want to learn more about the changes in the history of USB, the Wikipedia article on the topic of USB has a good list.


How does it work?

USB is actually a very complicated beast, with the current USB 3.1 specification being stored in a zip file 42 MB in size and the USB 2.0 specification at 650 pages at around the same file size. However, I’m going to try and explain how USB works in a basic sense.

The actual way that USB works is actually quite complicated, having to do with pipes, tokens, packets, hosts and slaves, and interfaces. Obviously, this is too complicated to go into length on here, but if you really want to learn the ins and outs of USB, you can read the USB in a NutShell series by BeyondLogic. Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can attempt to read the USB 2.0 and USB 3.1 specifications from the USB Implementers Forum. However, I only suggest attempting the latter feat if you are laid up in bed and are exceptionally bored.

Basically put, USB has a host device, which is where the data transfer is being controlled from; down-steam USB ports, which are what allow you to connect the Host device and the peripheral device; and a peripheral device, the device that is being used by the host device. Here’s an illustration showing that in a simplified form:

USB
USB – Basic Illustration

Pipes are how the devices communicate;  data is sent through pipes between the host device and the peripheral. A pipe is what a connection from the host controller to a logical entity transfers data through. The aforementioned logical entity is found on a device/peripheral and named as an endpoint, which is actually somewhat confusing, as the term endpoint is also sometimes used to refer to the entire pipe.

Pipes come in two forms, stream and message. Message pipes are bi-directional and are used for short, control transfers. These short messages are commands for the device and responses from the device as a result of those commands. A stream pipe is a one-way connection that connects to a one-way endpoint and is used for transferring large amounts of data. Within the stream type pipe there are three forms of transfer: isochronous, interrupt, or bulk.

  • Isochronous: This is the type of transfer you use if you needs lots of data at a guaranteed, stable speed but exact duplicity isn’t a big deal and isn’t assured, such as is the case with music or video.
  • Interrupt: This is used for devices that need guaranteed response times, such as a keyboard or a mouse, where you need to see the response as soon as possible.
  • Bulk: This is used for large, sporadic transfers of data that are going to use up all of the available bandwidth and need to keep the data exactly intact.

Beyond this point it devolves into low-level routing of packages, endpoints, TOKEN packets, and much more complicated concepts which we won’t talk about.


Types of USB connectors

USB comes in many forms. There are two types in the original USB specification, Standard-A and Standard-B, both with plugs and receptacles. The Standard-B type was needed so you could plug the cable in to two separate devices, but still kept you from connecting two host devices.

Nothing really changed engineering-wise until the USB 2.0 specification, when the Mini-B plugs and receptacles were added. Then, the Mini-A and Micro-A plugs and receptacles were added, created and used most commonly for connecting to portable devices like cell phones and cameras.

usb 3.0 - a & b male

USB 3.0 – A and B male connectors

Of course, now that USB 3.0 has been released, there are new connectors. The form-factors of the Standard-A and Standard-B have been retained, so USB 3.0 is backwards-compatible with USB 2.0. However, on USB 3.0 receptacles and cords, extra pins have been added, which is part of what allows the increased speed that USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 offer over USB 2.0.

Image: Rainer Knäpper, Free Art License

Image: Rainer Knäpper, Free Art License

The USB 3.0 Micro-B plug has the standard USB 2.0 Micro-B plug which allows the other end (Standard-B) to be backwards-compatible with a USB 2.0 port. However, it also has an extra 5 pin extension that, like the USB 3.0 Standard-B, allow for the increased speeds.


Now, there are plenty more details we could go into about USB: power standards, colors, cabling, proprietary connectors, Sleep-and-Charge ports; there are plenty of topics that we haven’t covered. However, this is supposed to be a nutshell series, and I think we’ve covered the basics well enough.

If you’ve made it this far and understand everything, very nice job! If you’ve managed to just read this far and only understand part of it, again, nice job! USB is a complicated beast, but since that means that devices usually just work, then that’s a good thing.

I hope you’ve learned something, I know I have while researching this topic. Again, make sure to leave a comment about thing you want explained and any questions you have!

 

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CamJam EduKit – beginning electronics for under $10

camjam edukit

CamJam EduKit – Introduction materials for electronics hacking

Say hello to the CamJam EduKit, a new product from The PiHut. Basically put, it’s a can that includes some of the basic parts that every aspiring/beginning hacker/maker needs to get started on breadboarding. From The PiHut’s site:

The CamJam EduKit features the following components all neatly packaged in a tin:
•A 400pt breadboard
•3 LEDs (Red, Yellow and Green)
•A button
•A buzzer
•Resistors and jumper cables
For under $10 ($8.58 to be exact), you get all that? That’s a pretty good deal, I have to say.
The idea was actually thought up by Michael Horn of the Raspberry Jams (which the USA, by the way, needs a couple of) and about the same time Jamie Mann of The PiHut had the same idea. So, they ended up collaborating, Jamie Mann procuring the parts and assembling the kits, Michael Horn writing the worksheets and testing them.
The worksheets I’m talking about are simple projects that you can do with the JamCam’s contents, a good starting point for parents and teachers wanting to get their children/students involved in electronics, with minimal effort.
I linked above to the CamJam, but in case you missed it, here’s another link to the CamJam EduKit on PiHut. Even if you haven’t purchased the EduKit you can still access the worksheets for free, and they don’t explicitly require the EduKit to work, just the components.
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Dell’s New Hybrid Laptop will have the option of shipping with Ubuntu

Dell is going to be offering Ubuntu on its newest release of the hybrid ‘2-in-1’ Inspiron systems, the first Ubuntu has been shipped on a mainstream Hybrid.

Dell seems to be a gateway into the public eye for Ubuntu, with their XPS 13 laptop that has the option of having Ubuntu pre-installed, as opposed to Windows. This device has been very well reviewed, earning a 4.8 star review on OMG! Ubuntu!.

Dell has brought another Ubuntu-pre-installed device onto the market. This time, convertibles.

Dell Inspiron 11 3000 convertible

Dell Inspiron 11 3000 – Ubuntu pre-installed convertible

The 11-inch Inspiron 11 3000 and the 13-inch 7000 notebooks were formally released at Computex on Monday, June 2. Both of the models featured a rotating display that can be folded backwards to form ‘tablet, easel, tent and laptop’ modes, not unlike Lenovo’s Yoga line.

Both devices will feature 10-finger capacitive touch displays (can use up to 10 fingers at once,) three USB ports (one of which is USB 3.0), HDMI out, an integrated webcam, and a SD card reader.


The Specs:

The 11.6-inch model will have an Intel Bay Trail CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 500GB HDD. It has a supposed 8 hours of battery life under Windows 8, though this will be different for Ubuntu. This device will have a base price of $499 when it goes on sale in June. Ubuntu won’t be available as an option worldwide until September.

The 13.3-inch version will have the choice of 4th generation Intel Core processors, up to 8GB of RAM, and a whole caboodle of available premium features. You can add on a backlit keyboard, edge-to-edge Corning Gorilla Glass display with a 1920×1080 resolution, plus an included passive stylus and 20GB of free Dropbox storage. The price for this high end device is yet to be announced, but, if compared to similar products from the company, the price is expected to over $800.

 

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