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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