Somehow I missed the introduction of the BeagleBone! I don't know how that could be!

The BeagleBone looks like a really exciting little ARM board. It's a single core 720 MHz Cortex-A8 with 256 MB of RAM, gigabit Ethernet MAC built into the SoC with 10/100 PHY external, some very nifty USB on-the-go capabilities, and headers for expansion similar to Arduino (but not pin compatible). All for $89!

Hopefully the BeagleBone will be available for purchase later this month or, at the latest, early in December.

TI seems to be targeting a very wide audience with the BeagleBone this time. The expansion connectors pit it against some higher end applications for hobbyists where an Arduino may not have had enough power but where the expansion provided by Arduino is really handy.

The AM335x ARM SoC, however, throws the BeagleBone right up the alley of quite a few companies who are producing single board computers for various markets. The AM335x was also announced just over a week ago and TI already has high quality datasheets and reference manuals up online for free. [Side note, TI, you're awesome about this! Thanks!] The AM335x also has a reasonable 0.8mm ball pitch BGA package and is fairly low in pin count (around 300 pins depending on version). This makes designing systems with the SoC very easy for those with access to professional level schematic and layout tools (and even doable for those using Eagle, GEDA, or KiCad!).

I should be receiving at least one BeagleBone in the not-too-distant future. It's an exciting time!



12 November 2011