It's really sad how "you can actually use the 3D functionality in the chip" is a selling point that differentiates these small ARM boards. OpenGL ES 2.0 will be 10 years old next year. There's no excuse to not have a working implementation of it accessible.
Imagine if you had to shop around to find a PC where the GPU actually worked without crashing (ODROID XU4 fails, Google "black screen bug"). Or if being able to play high-definition video was something you couldn't rely on, despite the hardware being there (again, ODROID XU4 fails). Or if the 64-bit mode fully implemented in silicon was inaccessible in practice without losing other hardware functionality (Raspberry Pi 3). This is sadly the situation we're in with these ARM boards, and I don't see it improving unless we demand working drivers.
I totally get a 2D accelerator being standard but 3D is complex enough and has such a steep curve for building content/using it correctly that I don't see why you'd include it by default.
There's also a only a few ways to do 3D reasonably on embedded at low power and you're probably going to run afoul of all the patents in the space if you try to build your own IP.
The IP is locked out because there's an extra cost to the business to use it.
Also embedded/mobile GPUs haven't been around nearly as long as OpenGL ES. Heck the Adreno 2xx which was one of the first real-ish GPUs was released in 2009 and even then you'd be lucky to get any sort of reasonable fill rate out of it. These type of GPUs really haven't come into their own until the last 3-4 years.
> Heck the Adreno 2xx which was one of the first real-ish GPUs was released in 2009 and even then you'd be lucky to get any sort of reasonable fill rate out of it.
Adreno 200 is one of the worst offenders! There was no excuse for not being able to call glTexSubImage2D() without crashing the driver (for example). Qualcomm had the money to create a working driver; they just didn't.
Sure, tape-out may be cheaper with one chip line, but we aren't talking about chips where the feature is there in silicon but intentionally disabled (say, for the other more expensive variant). We're talking about a feature that the chips and systems are advertised as having, which doesn't work as it is intended to because the driver stack is broken. Where the vendor specifically says '....supports OpenGL ES x.x', but then you find it sort of does but not really and it's broken and won't ever be fixed.
It's even more frustrating because there's a whole open-source community that would be willing to do the work of writing the drivers even, but then of course the vendors won't give them the data they need because of IP concerns. It just really sucks.
Each vendor has their share of driver/hw problems, some are just more widely published than others :). That bug was gnarly on the 200, but it was fixed. If the GL feature wasn't included in Android's HWUI renderer all of the major vendors had at least one thing wrong.
That's a problem, if so! We wouldn't accept "we won't give you working drivers for the hardware you bought unless you pay us" in the PC world; we shouldn't accept it in the embedded world either.
> We’ve also added a new driver for MLC NAND support, so once you flash your PocketC.H.I.P., you’ll have 8GB of storage!
edit: Wow, glad I checked my spam folder. I had to confirm my mailing address to get my pre-order to ship!
I've been waiting 5 months for my order to ship and despite confirming my order 4 or 5 times, it's still not shipped, despite repeated emails from them stating it would ship in July, then August, the September.
Utterly incompetent company from my perspective and anyone who orders from them should be aware that they're little different from a scamming company. I they do ever ship, I'll be utterly shocked - as far as I can tell, they've taken the money and run.
Wouldn't be surprised to see them go bust before shipping anything.
This sort of announcement where they say they'll ship new orders quickly before actually shipping the ones they can't be bothered to deliver - and can't be bothered to update people when their orders will ship adds insult to injury.
They've come across as I say to me totally and utterly incompetent. Buyer beware.
Bear in mind that modesetting is handled by the display controller, which is a separate unit not supplied by ARM with its own driver (in this case, an open-source one that's now part of the mainline Linux kernel). This is why the lack of open source Mali drivers is less of an issue than PC users might assume; it doesn't affect the availability of unaccelerated 2D at all. The display controller is even mostly documented in this case.
Great device, amazing price, and finally: the year of Linux on the desktop! :P