15 USD ARM Cortex A8 Linux Computer by Rhombus Tech

Orange Pi Development Boards

Many of you already probably know the Raspberry Pi Foundation 25 USD ARM Linux Computer. Rhombus Tech, another non-profit organization, is planning to design a 15 USD ARM Linux computer (excluding casing, power supply, shipping, VAT and custom duties) that the company claims would be at least 3 times faster that the Raspberry Pi.

This computer would be an EOMA-PCMCIA CPU card powered by an Allwinner A10 ARM Cortex A8 CPU clocked at 1.5ghz. Here are the (expected) specifications of this board:

  • Approximately Credit-card size format (56mm x 90mm)
  • An Allwinner A10, 1.5ghz ARM Cortex A8
  • 1GB of RAM
  • At least 1gb of NAND Flash (possibly up to 16gb)
  • Operation as a stand-alone computer (USB-OTG powered)
  • 2160p (double 1080p) Video playback
  • MALI 400MP 3D Graphics, OpenGL ES 2.0 compliant.
  • HDMI, Micro-SD, Headphones Socket,
  • EOMA-PCMCIA-compliant interfaces (RGB/TTL, I2C, USB2, SATA-II, 10/100 Eth)
  • Expansion Header (similar to Beagleboard, IMX53QSB, Origen etc.)

With this kind of specifications, it’s hard to believe they’ll achieve their 15 dollars goal (if they can manufacture 100,000 pieces or more) . Of course if the project completes in 2013, that may be more achievable.

Contrary to the Raspberry Pi which should hopefully ship next month, Rhombus Tech does not have a prototype yet, as it is currently developing the  schematics for the board. They have however done some Photoshop using Allwinner A18 Reference Board to show components could fit in a PCMCIA-sized board.

15 USD ARM Linux Computer
Rhombus Tech A10 PCMCIA Module Proposal

GPL source code for Allwinner A10 will be available in the Rhombus git repository soon. They have already provided instructions to build the kernel. Support for Android should also be available since the hardware can easily support it and some Android tablets based on Allwinner A10 – such as the Momo9C – are already available on the market.

There is no ETA, but I suppose they could have a working prototype at the end of Q1 or in Q2, and that the final product would be ready somewhere in Q3 or Q4 2012. If you are interested, Rhombus Tech already takes pre-order commitments for the Allwinner A10 CPU module.

Rhombus Tech also has a second idea under consideration, where they would adapt the beaglebone, which has all hardware files available to the PCMCIA format and use AM3357 processor instead of AM3358.

Further information is available on Rhombus Tech website.

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