The BeagleBone Black is an inexpensive computer-on-a-module that’s kind of like a cross between a Raspberry Pi and a Arduino board. You can use it as the brains of a low-power computer, or as the heart of a robot, home automation system, or other hardware project.
The first version of the BeagleBone Black launched about a year ago, but the team has had a tough time producing enough new units to keep up with demand. Now the team has announced that production is ramping up, and there’s a new model which will feature twice as much built-in storage.
Like the Raspberry Pi and Arduino systems, the BeagleBone Black is aimed at educators, hobbyists, and others interested in DIY development boards. It features a Texas Instruments ARM Cortex-A8 single core processor, PowerVR SGX 530 graphics, 512MB of RAM, micro HDMI output, USB ports, and 10/100 Ethernet.
The system also has two microcontrollers, two 46-pin headers, and other I/O features that let you connect hardware for testing, prototyping, and other projects.
While the original model included 2GB of eMMC storage, the new BeagleBone Black Rev C will feature 4GB of built-in storage. Both models also have microSD card slots, but the eMMC storage is faster, and the move to double the amount of included storage will allow the developers to make another change: The Rev C board will ship with Debian Linux instead of Angstrom Linux.
Angstrom is reportedly easier for professional developers to customize, but Debian is more user-friendly, which should make the new systems a bit more attractive to less-experienced users.
The BeagleBone Black can also run Ubunu, Android, and other operating systems.
More than 147,000 BeagleBone Black units have been shipped since October, 2013 and the team says distributors currently have back-orders for about 150,000 more units. The goal is to fill user back-orders by for the older Rev B boards by May, ship units to distributors, and start delivering the new Rev C boards in mid-May.
Love all these ARM boards with Linux, Android, etc…
But I have to say, I’ll stick with my quad-core Odroid U3 from Hardkernel.
With a quad-core processor and 2GB RAM, adding a 16GB eMMC module makes it a very capable PC that is just a bit smaller than a Raspberry Pi. It runs a ton of Linux distros with XBMC, or you can install Android. The board is $59 US (with an extra $25 shipping from S. Korea). I bought the board, case, 16GB eMMC module and power supply for $132 shipped to the US. Nice little HTPC and Linux PC for the price!
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