You may have read Pine64’s April Fool’s Day parody on the PineBuds and PinePod earlier this month. It turns out these will be real, and the Pine64 PineSound development board will be used to market the PineBuds headphones and the PinePod digital audio player.
The PineSound board includes a Bestechnic BES2300 Bluetooth 5.0 audio chip, two coaxial and optical inputs and outputs, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, 4.4 mm and 2.5 mm balanced jacks, an SMA connector, a USB Type- C, as well as interfaces for a touch screen.
PineSound Preliminary Specs:
- WiSoC – Bestechnic BES2300-YP Dual Core Arm Cortex-M4F @ up to 300 MHz with HW DSP instruction, 992 KB SRAM, 4 MB flash memory, Dual mode Bluetooth 5.0. Supports Hybrid ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) and TWS (True Wireless Stereo). Note: The spec sheet has been made available in the comments section.
- Display – LCD (should be SPI) and touch screen connectors
- Coaxial and optical input (left)
- Coaxial and optical output (right)
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- Balanced 4.4mm and 2.5mm jacks
- 40-pin audio connector for up to 5 microphones, stereo speakers
- USB – 1x USB Type-C port
- Extension – 40-pin PI-2 GPIO extension connector
- Miscellaneous – Volume, reset and power buttons, SMA connector
I couldn’t find any public SDK, but Pine64 should release one soon, and Ben (Ralim) had a chance to play around with the development board and SDK, and here’s what he had to say about it:
[T]here are some binary blobs in the firmware around Bluetooth [and] some for voice assistants (but not sure if we’ll ship them). But it was in a compileable and executable state with fairly complete hardware drivers. I see it a bit like bl602, where we have a working SDK with some blobs, but the hardware is very good for hacking. So far, the main MCU is quite powerful and battery efficient. Flashing is easy via a UART serial port [too].
Ultimately, the goal is to deliver audio products like the PineBuds pictured below.
The PineBuds wireless Bluetooth headphones will come with six microphones in total, 3 on each bug, and touch input located on the side. They will support ambient and environmental noise cancellation, offer long battery life and could also be used as hearing aids. The cradle will be used to house and charge headphones, but has also been designed to facilitate firmware flashing with an integrated UART. It’s too early to talk about pricing since the PineBuds won’t be available for many, but for reference, the Bestechnic BES2300-based consumer TWS headphones retail for around $75.
Another important point is that PineSound, PineBuds and PinePod are community projects, and their success and pace of development will depend entirely on the interest of the developer community. Other such projects include the highly successful PineTime smartwatch and Pinecil soldering iron, and the open-source PineCube camera, which Pine64 says was a failure. So we’ll have to see how it goes. The next step is the launch of the PineSound development board which should take place in the next few months.
By the way, Pine64 will soon launch preorders for QuartzPro64 SBC powered by Rockchip RK3588 SoC, and the board will be subsidized, so qualified developers can buy it for $150 despite the BoM costing around $300. You can register your interest on the Pine64 website.
Via Pine64 April 2022 Update.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 on a part-time basis, before stepping down as Director of Software Engineering and starting writing daily news and reviews full-time later in 2011.