A new developer board with an ARM Cortex-A9 processor is due to hit the streets in November. It’s called the Wandboard, and it features a Freescale i.MX6 processor and a starting price of $69.
At that price, you get a version with a single core CPU and 512MB of RAM. If you need a little more power, you can opt for the Wandboard Dual which features a dual core version of Freescale’s processor and 1GB of RAM.
Both models feature microSD card slots, HDMI and audio jacks, and serial, USB, and Ethernet ports. But only the Wandboard Dual includes 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth. You’ll need to plug in your own wireless dongles if you want WiFi or Bluetooth on the cheaper model.
Since this is a dev board, there are also GPIO pins which you can use to hook up additional hardware. The device also has an EDM connector, which should make it compatible with products that use the upcoming Embedded Design Module standard.
If you’ve noticed I haven’t mentioned anything about internal storage, that’s because there isn’t any. Like the Raspberry Pi, you use an SD card as the Wandboard’s primary storage. With two microSD card slots though, you can install the operating system on one card and leave it plugged in all the time, while using the other slot for removable storage.
As an ARM-based board, the Wandboard should be able to support Linux, Android, or other operating systems that can run on ARM chips. But the Wandboard developers say the software for this device won’t be available until mid-November when Freescale lifts the non-disclosure agreement on its i.MX6 software.
That’s also the time when the Wandboard will start shipping, but you can reserve one today at the Wandboard website.
I’m kind of fascinated how Raspberry Pi has transformed developer boards from $500 test systems you had to sign NDAs to get into $70 near consumer products… It’s a fascinating change from 2 years ago.
2 years ago, you did have the $149 Beagleboard on TI OMAP3 ARM Cortex-A8, thus more powerful than Raspberry Pi already. The Raspberry Pi is o the old ARM11 system on chip so it’s normal they can make it for cheaper, and they subsidize it for trying to get developers interested.
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