Developers always require a close integration with the hardware so that they can maximize the performance, take advantage of new features, and more. To do those, they need a device containing the hardware they are looking to make tests. For example, AOSP ROMs developers, who usually work with the hardware inside of a device, they always have to ensure that all components function properly. Developers only use the boards, which contain the hardware of smartphones and other things such as display, battery are useless to them. Therefore, the HiKey 960 96boards development platform has recently been introduced by Huawei so that it can help developer access to the newest ARM tech of a reference board.
The new board is based on the Huawei Kirin 960 octa-core ARM chipset, with four ARM Cortex-A73 and four Cortex-A53 cores, accompanying with 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM, 32GB of UFS 2.0 flash memory, and the Mali-G71 MP8 GPU.
Huawei has also announced that the processor initially only supports of Linux 4.4 kernel. However, it’s not the last mainline kernel version supported, as Linux 4.9 is already compatible. It is great news for developers because the latest Linux kernel version currently is 4.10. Moreover, the device will be pre-installed the AOSP out of box, but developers are able to port any Unix-based OS to the board as Android is not the only compatible OS.
The CPU embedded will also be able to support 4K videos, but the HDMI port just allows streaming videos with the 1080p resolution. Although, that is not a perfect solution, it is enough for most users. The board also allows users to attach other hardware such as cameras, and the PCIe M.2 M Key connector in order to connect fast SSD for expanding the 32GB of inbuilt storage.