Compulab makes a line of tiny desktop computers that it sells under the Fit-PC brand, among others. But the company also offers a line of computer-on-modules including solutions with Intel and AMD chips, and tiny models with ARM-based chips from Freescale/NXP.
The company’s latest ARM-based module is called the UCM-iMX7 and it features a Cortex-A7 processor, up to 2GB of RAM, up to 32GB of storage, and integrated WiFi, Bluetooth, and Ethernet support.
It also measures just 30mm x 27mm (1.18″ x 1.06″) and weighs just 6 grams (0.2 ounces). How did Compulab fit so much on a such a tiny board? By using two boards and a flexible connector so the whole thing folds in half to fit into tight spaces.
For example, you could stuff the little computer into wearables including smartwatches or medical devices. Or it could be used in drones, virtual reality headsets, or tiny Internet-of-Things devices such as security cameras.
The system features a Freescale i.MX7 processor and supports 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1. It can be used with up to a 1080p display and/or a resistive touchscreen.
Other features include support for PCIe x1 Gen 2.1, Gigabit Ethernet and up to 112 GPIO pins. The system supports Linux-based software.
Keep in mind, this isn’t a product aimed at consumers. You won’t find standard HDMI or USB ports for plugging in a keyboard, mouse and display. Instead it’s a solution aimed at developers and system builders looking for a module to power their gadgets. So while prices start at $39, you’ll have to order a thousand units to get that price.
While a top-of-the-line model features a 1 GHz dual-core CPU, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage, entry-level versions have 800 MHz single-core chips, as little as 256MB of memory, and as little as 128MB of NAND storage.
While there are certainly more powerful ARM-based system-on-module options, the folding design of the UCM-iMX7 makes this little model unusual.