The new version of the BeagleBone stripped-down embedded Linux development board should be available in a few weeks, if not days. An April launch date has been promised and some ‘special people’ have already had a chance to play with them.
We know a few things about the board. It will have a micro-HDMI connector, and on-board flash memory, so you can boot from the board and the Micro-SD card slot is freed up. However, a couple of important specifics – the price and the processor – are still only just becoming clear.
Price has become a big deal in this sector, given the pretty amazing $25 tag on the Raspberry Pi. Although basic, the BeagleBone is looking to go a notch or two above the educational/hobbyist market that the Pi has tapped, though the focus is on promoting open-source hardware/software development at college level. The existing BeagleBone is $89 and this number will drop.
Processor-wise, a preview presentation at the SXSW festival in Austin showed a BeagleBone with a Texas Instruments Sitara AM 3358 microprocessor, running at up to 720MHz with on-board 3D graphics (the slide also featured the HDMI slot). However, word is that the new version will have a higher powered chip and that’s the same MPU as is in the existing board. Curiouser and curiouser.
The BeagleBone was originally designed by TI and distributor DigiKey to promote the OMAP processor family.
What you can do is the join the line to get one. History suggests that all these boards shift quickly. A host of distributors is waiting to take something less than $89 from you now at the official BeagleBoard site.