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Banana Pi project forks, as competing gen-2 SBCs emerge

Dec 24, 2014 — by Eric Brown — 16,380 views

[Updated Jan 31, 2015] — SinoVoip is prepping a “Banana Pi M2” update built with a quad-core Allwinner A31 SoC, while LeMaker has begun shipping a competing A20-based “Banana Pro.”

It appears that the Banana Pi project has forked into two rival groups that are now pushing their own Banana Pi updates: SinoVoip’s “Banana Pi M2,” which is announced but not yet shipping, and LeMaker’s recently released “Banana Pro.”

When the Banana Pi project launched the Banana Pi Raspberry Pi clone earlier this year, the key backer appeared to be However, a fellow Shenzhen company called SinoVoip was also involved, and actually predated LeMaker’s involvement, according to the’s history page.

Let the Banana games begin!
Left to right: Original Banana Pi, Banana Pi M2, Banana Pro

(click images to enlarge)

Since the release of the $50 Banana Pi, which was ranked fifth out of 32 boards in our open hacker SBC survey in May, there has been a dispute between the two partners, as referenced by competing statements from SinoVoip and LeMaker, both of which make claims of superior adherence to open source and other higher virtues. SinoVoip’s missive is the more pointed, claiming LeMaker “violated the agent agreement signed by SinoVoip.” Lawyers have been sent to “deal with it.” says SinoVoip.

The Banana Pi community project, meanwhile, appears to be supporting only the SinoVoip product line, sold under the “BPi” moniker. SinoVoip’s list of products has expanded in recent months. The Banana Pi M2 follow-on will join an already shipping, BPI-D1 camera SBC that runs Linux on an ARM9 processor. There’s also an Android-on-Allwinner A20 BPi-R1 router board.

Below are details on the Banana Pi M2, Banana Pro, BPi-D1, and BPi-R1 SBCs.


SinoVoip’s Banana Pi M2

In recent weeks, SinoVoip’s “BPi” site has floated specs for an upcoming M2 heir to the Banana Pi that runs on an Allwinner A31. This quad-core SoC is also featured on a new Orange Pi Plus model, one of three Raspberry Pi and Banana Pi clones in Shenzhen Xunlong Software’s Orange Pi line of Linux/Android hacker SBCs.

Banana Pi M2
(click image to enlarge)

Just as the Banana Pi M1 was the first close clone of the Raspberry Pi Model B, the M2 version closely resembles the Model B+. It features almost identical dimensions and port positions, as well as a compatible 40-pin connector.

Like the Orange Pi Plus, the Banana Pi M2 runs on an Allwinner A31 SoC with a PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU, and ships with 1GB of RAM and a microSD slot. Open source developers hoping to optimize for the GPU will find a more opaque design with the PowerVR compared the more open Mali 400 GPUs found on A20-based SBCs, but they’ll also find a more advanced GPU.

Banana Pi M2 board details, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

One key difference with the Orange Pi boards is the lack of a SATA port on the M2 model. Otherwise the I/O is very similar to that of the two pricier Orange Pi boards, including gigabit Ethernet. CSI, HDMI, AV, LVDS, and audio ports.

Like the Orange Pi Plus, the M2 offers four USB ports, a micro-USB port, and onboard WiFi. The 40-pin expansion connector is backward compatible with the 26-pin Banana Pi M1, and is also compatible with the 40-pin Raspberry Pi Model B+, claims BPI.

Preliminary specifications listed for the Banana Pi M2 include:

  • Processor — Allwinner A31 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz); PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU
  • RAM — 1GB DDR3 (shared with GPU)
  • Storage — microSD slot for up to 64GB
  • Wireless — 802.11b/g/n WiFi onboard
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet port
  • Multimedia I/O:
    • HDMI 1.4 out with audio
    • Composite CVBS A/V out
    • LVDS LCD interface
    • CSI camera interface
    • 3.5mm audio jack
  • USB ports:
    • 4x USB host ports
    • Micro-USB port (supports power)
  • Expansion header — 40-pin with GPIO, UART, I2C, SPI (2x chip selects), PWM, CAN, ADC, +3.3V/+5V, ground
  • Other features — LEDs; optional IR; reset and power buttons; Debug UART
  • Power — 5V via micro-USB (DC-In only) and/or micro-USB OTG
  • operating temperature — -15 to 75℃
  • Weight — 48 g
  • Dimensions — 92 x 60mm
  • Operating system — Debian, Ubuntu, Raspbian Linux; Android 4.4

More details on SinoVoip’s BPI-M2 SBC are available at the BPI-M2 product page. The board is currently being sold for $58.50 at


LeMaker’s Banana Pro

LeMaker’s own Pro update to the Banana Pi began shipping last week for $62. The Banana Pro is a more modest upgrade than the M2. The Pro retains the Allwinner A20 SoC of the original Banana Pi design, but adds WiFi and a micro-USB OTG port.

Banana Pro
(click image to enlarge)

Like the M2, the Banana Pro expands to a Raspberry Pi Model B+-like 40-pin connector. It would appear to carry on the Pi compatibility tradition of the original Banana Pi, although we could see no claims on that score.

Banana Pro board details, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Aside from the processor, the Pro specs are very similar to those of the Banana Pi M2. The identically sized (92 x 60mm) board ships with 1GB of DDR3 RAM, and switches from the earlier SD slot to a microSD. Unlike the M2, it supports SATA, via a coastline SATA 2.0 port, but it has only two USB host ports instead of four. For camera inputs, it offers a Parallel interface compared to the M2’s digital CSI interface.

Otherwise, the Pro is much the same as the M2, with GbE, HDMI, Composite, LVDS, and audio interfaces, among other features. A wide range of open source Linux images are available, along with Android 4.2.

Specifications listed for LeMaker’s Banana Pro include:

  • Processor — Allwinner A20 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • RAM — 1GB DDR3 (shared with GPU)
  • Storage — microSD slot; SATA 2.0 port
  • Wireless — 802.11b/g/n WiFi onboard; optional Bluetooth
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet port
  • Multimedia I/O:
    • HDMI 1.4 out with audio
    • Composite CVBS A/V out
    • LVDS LCD interface
    • Parallel 8-bit camera interface
    • 3.5mm audio jack (shared with Composite video)
  • USB ports:
    • 2x USB 2.0 host ports
    • 2x Micro-USB ports (1x OTG, 1x for power)
  • Expansion header — 40-pin with 28x GPIO, including UART, I2C, SPI, PWM, CAN, ADC, I2S, SPDIF, LRADC, line-in, FM-in, HP-in
  • Other features — Mic; LEDs; IR receiver; reset, power, and U-boot buttons; Debug UART
  • Power — 5V via micro-USB (DC-In only) and/or micro-USB OTG; AXP209 PMU
  • Weight — 45 g
  • Dimensions — 92 x 60mm
  • Operating system — Debian, Lubuntu, Bananian, Berryboot, OpenSuse, Scratch, Fedora, Gentoo, and OpenMediaVault Linux distros; Android 4.2; supports BSD

More information about the Banana Pro SBC are available The board is currently being sold for $55.10 at


SinoVoip’s BPi-D1

When you see a tiny ARM9 board these days, you immediately think Internet of Things. SinoVoip’s $40 BPi-D1 has a more specific focus, however, as a low-end camera board. Billed as “the smallest open-source development board around,” the SBC measures only 38 x 38mm and weighs a mere 10 grams. It features a built-in camera that supports 1280 x 720p still-photo capture or video at 30fps.


The BPi-D1 runs Linux on an unnamed 400MHz ARM9 core, and ships with 64MB of DDR2. It also features a full-sized SD slot with support for up to 32GB. The CMOS sensor supports infrared night vision and has a viewing angle of 60°.

The only real-world ports are a pair of micro-USB ports, one of which handles power while the other supports an optional WiFi module. There’s no HDMI or any other video ports.

Bpi-D1 board details, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

A GPIO expansion connector is provided along with a debug interface and a microphone. The board supports 3.7V Li-ion batteries, and has a PMIC and RTC. There’s also a 5V input, in addition to the micro-USB.

Specifications listed for the BPi-D1 include:

  • Processor — 400MHz ARM926EJ
  • Memory — 64MB DDR2; 16MB SPI flash
  • Storage — SD slot for up to 32GB (120 hours of video)
  • Wireless — Optional USB WiFi, switchable between AP and the SLAVE mode; supports WPS
  • Camera:
    • CMOS sensor [email protected]
    • Visible light with 940nm two-way IR lens filter and IR night vision]
    • M7*P0.35 EFL=3.0mm/F.NO=2.8/View Angle=60°
    • 24-pin CMOS connector
  • I/O:
    • 2x microUSB ports (1x power, 1x OTG)
    • Debug UART interface
    • GPIO interface — 1x UART/2x GPIO; 2X PWM/2x GPIO; I2C; audio in; HP audio in and out; SPI
  • Other features — Mic; RTC
  • Power:
    • 5V power input or via micro-USB
    • 3.7V Li-ion socket for battery
    • Li-ion Charging supported with AXP173 PMIC
    • Consumption — 5V-350mA (WiFi); 5V-200mA (recording); can record 24 hours at 720p when used with 10,000mAh battery
  • Weight — 10 g
  • Dimensions — 38 x 38mm
  • Operating system — Linux 3.4.35


SinoVoip’s BPi-R1

SinoVoip’s BPi-R1 is a 300Mbps Wireless N Router board with the same dual-core, Cortex-A7 Allwinner A20 found on the original Banana Pi SBC. Interestingly, the $75 SBC is primarily designed to run Android 4.2.2 rather than Linux, which is usually the go-to platform for routers. SinoVoip chose to do this so that the SBC could run a wide variety of mobile applications. With the open source BPi-R1, “you can develop, install apps, play media, and add storage to the router, just like you do on any other computer,” says SinoVoip.

(click image to enlarge)

The 148 mm × 100mm board ships with 1GB DDR3 RAM and a microSD slot. You get five gigabit Ethernet ports, with one output WAN port and four input LAN ports. There’s also 802.11b/g/n WiFi with 2T2R MIMO technology, supported with two detachable antennas.

Bpi-R1 board details, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Other coastline ports include HDMI out, a USB 2.0 host port, and two micro-USB ports, one of them OTG. Additional features include 26-pin GPIO expansion, CSI and DSI interfaces, and onboard SATA (See the diagram above, as well as the product link below, which reveals a full spec list.)


Further Information

Preliminary specs and photos of SinoVoip’s Banana Pi M2 may be found at the Banana Pi M2 product page. Pricing and ship date were not announced.

SinoVoip’s tiny BPi-D1 SBC and BPi-R1 router board are shipping now at $40 and $75, respectively. More information may be found at the SinoVoip/BPi BPi-D1 and BPi-R1 product pages.

LeMaker’s Banana Pro SBC is shipping now for $62 at AliExpress. More information may be found at LeMaker’s Banana Pro product page.

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0 responses to “Banana Pi project forks, as competing gen-2 SBCs emerge”

  1. Jacob Ritzema says:

    You also can call it Single Board Computer Wars! The SinoVoip and Lemaker hammer will push others out of the market. You get more for less.

  2. Sigmoid says:

    WTFLOL. 😀

    Well, I prefer the LeMaker team. They speak much better English, and are really responsive on their forum. 😛

  3. Gerkins says:

    The problem with the SinoVoip stuff is poor software support.
    They have no linux drivers for the BPiM2 at all.

    At least lemaker have youtube howtos in English.

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