UDOO First Impression: Raspberry Pi meets Arduino!

Cyrus Tabrizi, 1/12/14
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      Hello! Today I’m starting a series on UDOO, a tiny computer that support both Android and Linux environments and is compatible with Arduino-oriented boards and programs. Thanks to my ongoing internship at Cortona Academy, I have the opportunity to explore this popular Kickstarter project for myself and share what I find with my readers!

      For now, I’m going to skip detailing UDOO’s background, purpose, and specifications. If you’re interested in finding out all of that for yourself, I recommend visiting their Kickstarter page or their website, where you can find a number of tutorials and projects that you can do with your own UDOO. Instead, I’m going to take you through the setup step-by-step, sharing my thoughts on the board along the way and comparing it my experience with the Raspberry Pi too. I will also go through some of the basics (comparison of Android and Linux environments, connecting to the Internet, setting up VNC so you can use your UDOO from your computer etc). As is always the case, if you have any questions, feel free to email me or the Kayrus team. Here we go!


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Part 1: What’s Inside

      Opening the UDOO-branded white and pink box, there is the UDOO computer enclosed in an electrostatic shielding bag (based on the box labels, it appears to be the quad-core version), two 8gb micro-SD cards labeled Android-Quad and Linux-Quad, and what appears to be a Bluetooth dongle (it was one of their stretch goals and the WiFi is built-in). I also got a white box with a black 12V, 2A power supply and a UDOO-branded HDMI cable (in the pictures accompanying this article, I’m using my own HDMI cable).


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Part 2: Beginning Start Up

      Setting up the UDOO is rather straightforward. Insert your choice of Linux or Android (micro-SD cards) into the side of the UDOO, plug in your HDMI cable and monitor, plug in your mouse and keyboard, and then connect the power supply. For any Raspberry-Pi users like myself, notice that the powered USB hub you might need on the Pi is not yet necessary on the UDOO because the UDOO has WiFi built-in (you could, of course, use Ethernet and the save the USB port and power). I currently use a 10-Port powered hub from plugable that I purchased on Amazon because I foresee using more USB devices with my micro-computers (is that a term yet?). You should see a green LED labeled PWL turn on.


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Part 3: Linux/Ubuntu Environment

      Once your UDOO has booted, you’ll go straight to a white desktop with the UDOO logo—no passwords are needed (yet) and no Matrix-like code is flying across your screen like there might be on the Pi. At the top and bottom, you’ll also see black bars with some icons and text. I’ve never used Ubuntu before, but I can see some similarities with the Raspbian environment I run on the Pi.

      Clicking on the top right on the icon with the two computers opens the equivalent of the Network Connections window on Windows or Mac. I went ahead and clicked on my home network. From there, you’ll be asked for the root password: Ubuntu. Next, enter your network password. If everything works the way it should, the network icon should turn into the connectivity bars that show you the strength of your internet connection. You can also check your connection by opening Chromium or Net Surf from the Applications window in the top left.

      At the top, there is also a calendar, volume control, and the Ubuntu icon, which lets you turn off your UDOO, switch users, or access system settings. At the bottom right, you can also switch desktops.

More to come soon! Let me know if there is something specific I should take a look at for my next updates!