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armStoneA8: 49 Euros ARM Cortex-A8 Single Board Computer

February 13th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

F&S Elektronik Systeme GmbH, a German company,  has announced the armStoneA8 , a Single Board Computer (SBC) based on an ARM Cortex A8 that will be available by the first day of the Embedded World 2012 Conference.  The great part is that for a limited period (27 February 2012 to 4 March 2012) you’ll be able to buy the board for 49 Euros on their (yet to be launched) online shop.
Beta Version armStoneA8
The board, that comes in PicoITX form factor (100 x 72mm), is powered by a Cortex A8 CPU running at 1GHz and the company provides support for Linux, WinCE 6.0 and Windows Embedded Compact 7.

The company says the bootloader, SDK, BSP and kernels are already available with support for DirectX, OpenGL and hardware accelerated GStreamer.

The company plans to release the detailed specifications before Embedded World 2012, but in the meantime, I found some PDF about the board showing the followings technical specifications:

  • ARM Cortex A8 800 Mhz (But in Embedded World they say 1GHz)
  • 256 / 512 MB DDR2 RAM
  • 128 MB Flash
  • LVDS/DVI (HDMI)/LCD Interface-bis XGA / 1080p
  • Ethernet 10/100 MB
  • 3x UART
  • USB 2.0 Host
  • USB 2.0 Device
  • I2C Interface
  • SD Card slot
  • Audio In/Out
  • Touch Panel interface
  • I/O Ports

This PDF also shows the regular price (119 Euros) you’d have to pay after the 4th of March.

The company says the board can control two independent displays. The (undisclosed) CPU also embed a GPU with 2D/3D, 5 Window Layer and MPEG4/ H264 Decoder up to 1080@30fps.

That makes it somewhat similar to the Raspberry Pi Model B. However, the board size is bigger and it’s twice as expensive, but comes with a faster processor and some extra ports.

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  1. Sander
    February 13th, 2012 at 18:50 | #1

    Very interesting!

    Other differences of this board with the RasPi:

    – Cortex A8 (so ARMv7), so possible to run Ubuntu; the RasPi has an ARMv6.
    – Unclear if they provide a downloadable, ready-to-run Linux distro (RasPi does)
    – probably a smaller community, so you’re more on your own to develop stuff than with RasPi

  2. February 13th, 2012 at 18:58 | #2

    @ Sander
    Your points are correct. We’ll have to see which processor they use as well. If it’s an OMAP 3 processor, then it might be possible to get support via the Beagleboard community.

    They also support dual display, and I’ve seen a few people in Raspberry Pi Forum wishing they could use 2 screens at the same time.

  3. February 15th, 2012 at 17:12 | #3

    BTW:

    I wonder if there will be a *mainstream* market for CAD = Cheap ARM Devices ;-)

    If CADs like the Raspi and armStoneA8 really work for browsing the web (so far I’ve not yet seen that working), if they are put in a nice box, and if they are easily available, will mainstream people buy them? Will my neighbor buy one, or will he prefer a 400 Euro laptop?

  4. February 15th, 2012 at 18:31 | #4

    @ Sander
    I would expect the browsing experience to be similar to the one in low-end smartphones as the processors in those “CADs” are similar. It would be useable but not match the experience you’ve got with an Atom netbook for example. Once systems based on dual-core processors and more RAM (e.g. 1 GB RAM) become cheap enough, it may be another story.

  5. Ricardo Cunha
    July 6th, 2012 at 09:05 | #5

    I didn´t see anything about android on this board, this is a good hardware can be used for android.

  6. July 6th, 2012 at 09:27 | #6

    @ Ricardo Cunha
    You’d have to contact the company to know more about that.
    Btw, now the price should be around 119 Euros, and when I tried to buy, I found out the company does not sell to individuals.

  1. February 22nd, 2012 at 17:38 | #1