Olimex A13-OLinuXino Could Become a Proper Raspberry Pi Alternative

Olimex recently announced they produced the first 10 prototypes of iMX233-OLinuXino Development Board, a low-end Linux development board that will cost 30 Euros, with specifications inferior to the Raspberry Pi. They have now announced their plan to design A13-OLinuxXino development board based on the new AllWinner A13 chipset, a strip down version of AllWinner A10 without HDMI nor SATA.

Thanks to the low cost of AllWinner A13 (5 USD for very large orders / 10 USD in smaller quantities), Olimex plans to sell the new A13-OLinuxXino board for the same price as the iMX233-OLinuXino but with a faster 1GHz Cortex A8 processor and 256 or 512 MB RAM. I assume their will be 2 versions as well, the MINI for 29,95 Euros and the MAXI version with 2 more USB 2.0 host ports and 10/100Mbit Ethernet for 44.95 Euros.

This board could be a very interesting alternative to the Raspberry Pi, as you would be able to run Ubuntu and Android 4.0 (if there is 512 MB RAM). Another advantage is that the AllWinner A13 comes in TQFP package which can be soldered by hand.

However there are some drawbacks with this board. The lack of HDMI output might be problematic for some people, especially if composite output is the only video output available, although an external TFT Touchscreen module should also be available. Although AllWinner A10 datasheet is available, there is no official documentation for AllWinner A13 (at least not yet). This situation is somewhat similar to the Broadcom BCM2835 used in Raspberry Pi, even though they eventually released a shortened version of datasheet to be able to configure peripherals. Finally, contrary to Freescale i.MX233, Allwinner A13 is not in industrial temperature range, which limits it use to 0-60 degree Celsius applications.

Olimex plans to release Android 4.0 and Debian Linux for the devkit. Development will start in May, and based in iMX233-OLinuXino development cycle, the first working prototypes could be available in June.

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mac me
mac me
8 years ago

if i recall correctly the biggest issue with the A10->A13 are not just the chopping of HDMI but critically SATA gets the chop and i’m told the GPU is cut down as well (T.B.C.) .. i presume also they will be chopping out the NAND as well ? .. can only be a few bucks diff (incl connector and incremental labour cost). I can understand that (olimex) they been burned badly by the pi and now they appear to be thinking of a decent A10/A13 hardware spec (for the pi target home users) and they want to get as close… Read more »

Morgaine
Morgaine
8 years ago

IMO, the suggestion that Raspberry Pi was damaging to Olimex is mostly incorrect, since Olimex was not in the business of supplying Linux boards. It is possible to argue that since Rpi can be used for very simple hardware control, it eats into Olimex’s sale of microcontroller boards. However, that is offset by the fact that Rpi’s hardware interfaces are very restricted, so anyone requiring a non-trivial hardware interface would need to attach a microcontroller to the Rpi, and Olimex’s microcontroller boards are very competitive indeed. For example, combine the Rpi with the Olimexino-STM32 — http://www.olimex.com/dev/olimexino-stm32.html — which costs only… Read more »

mac me
mac me
8 years ago

@Morgaine W.R.T. Olimex and Rpi … theres no ambiguity that their previous device was “designed” to be a low cost mass market “home” device like the pi .. and if you still had any doubt about this then their press release for the Allwinner SOC device proposed goes even further to conclude the point … Pre the Pi (and as an analogue to Olimex) i was watching a really interesting little fast single core $50 board for the home market from Genesi (of Efika fame) which was due to be launched Q3/4 last year … they pulled this VERY QUIETLY… Read more »

Morgaine
Morgaine
8 years ago

@mac_me: I agree with everything you wrote except the part about Olimex.

They didn’t create the OLinuXino before the Pi niche appeared and hence cannot have been impacted by it. Quite the opposite. They created the OLinuXino as a result of Raspberry Pi opening up the bottom end market niche, and now Olimex is trying to find a small niche of its own within this new segment by making their hardware totally open, which the Pi is not.

They’re riding the Pi wave, reacting quickly and quite effectively, not being crushed by it.

mac me
mac me
8 years ago

i spoke too soon ….. A10 based board for US$32 .. looks from the traces that there are SATA connectors on the rear of the board as well .. IF its $32 MOQ1000 thats a hell of a price for a board

http://micdigi.com/2012/04/hyston-will-release-the-google-tv-box-based-on-a10-solution/

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