There’s no shortage of Raspberry Pi lookalikes these days. But the PICO-PI-IMX8M stands out as one of the only models I’m aware of to feature an NXP I.MX8M Quad processor.
One of the things I find interesting about that chip is that it’s the same ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core processor Purism is using for the Librem 5 smartphone.
Does that mean you can use this single board computer to build your own GNU/Linux smartphone? Maybe… if you also plan to add a screen, battery, cellular baseband, and other components. That could get pricey (and complicated).
But I suspect it does mean that most software designed for the Librem 5 should be able to run on the PICO-PI-IMX8M.
Measuring 85mm x 56mm, PICO-PI-IMX8M is the same size as a Raspberry Pi Model B, and thanks to a 40-pin connector, it should support most Raspberry PI HATs.
And like a Raspberry Pi, this device has just about everything you need from a computer including a processor, memory, HDMI, Ethernet, and USB ports. But unlike a Raspberry Pi, it also has (a little) built-in storage, so an microSD card is entirely option.
According to a data sheet posted online by Mouser Electronics, the board comes in multiple versions. The retailer sells four of those configurations:
- Lite – 1GB LPDDR4 RAM/8GB eMMC 5.1 storage
- Basic – 1GB RAM/8GB storage + 802.11ac WiFi & Bluetooth ($158.75)
- Pro – 2GB RAM/8GB storage + WiFi & Bluetooth ($178.75)
- Dev – 3GB RAM/16GB storage + WiFi & Bluetooth ($278.75)
- Dev Extreme – 4GB RAM/16GB storage + WiFi & Bluetooth ($298.75)
TechNexion also sells the PICO-PI-IMX8M as well as optional accessory bundles that include add-ons such as displays, cameras, speakers, and microphones for folks that want to build projects that require those components.
The system supports operating systems including Android, Ubuntu, and Yocto and features two MIPI camera connectors, Gigabit Ethernet, USB Type-C, USB Type-A, and micro USB ports and Vivante GC7000 graphics.
Update: Prices too steep? CNX-Software found a cheaper single-board computer with an i.MX8M processor. The MaaXBoard sells for $60 and features a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and supports microSD cards for storage.