After completing our MVP demo last week, we started working on porting our work onto the actual product platform (the RockPro64). However, as we began doing so, we ran into some unexpected problems with our hardware that made us wish that we hadn't picked something this new on the market. Though the RockPro64 was officially released, a lot of its software still isn't stable or completed! As a result, their officially licensed CSI camera (which is vital to our product) and WiFi module are completely unusable!
Our first discovery into this dark secret occurred when we tried to move from using Ethernet to WiFi. After trying countless times to connect to our home network, then a few hours paging through support forums and developer mailing lists, we found out that the RockPro64 manufacturer had disabled WiFi support on ALL latest releases of their Linux kernel because of another bug they were trying to fix! And if that wasn't shocking enough, once we tried over and over to use their CSI camera, another Google search unveiled that no driver had been written yet for Linux and that the camera only worked on Android operating systems.
While we are kicking ourselves for not having been thorough enough to find these issues during component selection, at the same time, it is annoying that the manufacturer failed to issue any clear disclaimers regarding functionality on their officially licensed products. Luckily, we have a backup USB camera available - for situations just like this - and will be using that from now on in conjunction with Ethernet for a small but compensatable performance loss. The moral of the story? Technology is only cool when it works!