96Boards is an initiative from Linaro, an engineering organization focusing on ARM development, to define some hardware and software specifications for development boards. But since 96Boards specifications are open, Gumstix decided to create the first x86 board compliant with 96Boards CE hardware specifications with Nodana 96BCE baseboard powered by Intel Joule Module. For obvious reasons, this will never be an officially supported 96Boards.org platform.
Nodana 96BCE board specifications:
- SoM – Intel Joule Module based on Intel Atom T5700 or T5500 processor with up to 16GB storage, 4GB RAM.
- External Storage – 1x micro SD card
- Video Output – 1x HDMI port
- USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB 3.0 type C port
- Expansion Headers
- 96Boards Low Speed connector with I2C, SPI and UART
- 96Board High Speed connector with MIPI DSI and USB 2.0
- Power Supply – 8 to 18 V (if it follows 96Boards CE specs)
- Dimensions – 85 x 54 mm
Gumstix has not provided details about software support yet, but Intel Joule modules support Ostro OS, Ubuntu/Ubuntu Core (Snappy), and Microsoft Windows 10 IoT Core.
Nodana 96BCE board will sell for $89 without Intel Joule module, for which the price has not been officially released, but for reference Intel Joule development kit sells for $370. Gumstix is also working on Radium 96BIE 96Boards IoT Edition board for Intel Curie module, that will go on sale for $75 again without Intel’s module. It’s unclear to me how x86 boards may really benefit from 96Boards form factor, since they can’t leverage software work made by Linaro, and the only advantage would be support for the few Mezzanine expansion boards available right now. We’ll have to see how this will all evolve.