These days, low cost boards seem to pop-up a bit everywhere… Featuring the same processor as Olimex OLinuXino, the Locux board will be powered by a Freescale i.MX233 with 64 MB and boot from a microSD card (no NAND on the board).
This project is quite different from other low cost board projects, since it is a system on module (SoM) and will require a carrier board to access peripherals such as Ethernet, USB Host and video output, although the developers managed to boot it with a simple breadboard.
The developers also explain that this board stands apart as it does not feature any BGA parts and can be hand soldered, which could be an advantage when sourcing the boards and some hobbyist may also like to do the soldering themselves. The Raspberry Pi is still hard to get and the some other low cost boards such as the Beaglebone and Beagleboard are not always in stock. The other ideas behind this project is that since this is a CPU module it could also be integrated into real products.
The target price of the Locux board is 20 USD initially, but should it gain traction, the price could be lower to 15 USD. The hardware and software will be open source, although the exact license has not been decided yet.
This type of board could be very interesting, if low cost carrier boards can be manufactured and other modules following the same “standard” are made available. Currently, the CPU module features through holes on the edges to connect to the carrier board, which requires soldering, it could be advantageous to use other types of connectors to plug it in a carrier board without having to solder it.
The project appears to have made good progress with the first hardware prototype ready and Linux booting into Busybox. If you want to learn more or even join the team as a developer, you can visit NGCoders Locux Page.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.