Home > Android, Hardware, Linux, ST Ericsson NovaThor, Ubuntu > Snowball Board Phased Out, and Offered at a Discount

Snowball Board Phased Out, and Offered at a Discount

Snowball is a mobile development board based on ST Ericsson Nova A9500 dual core ARM Cortex A9 SoC , which was officially supported by Linaro (they still released Android and Ubuntu images), and designed by Calao Systems, but since ST-Ericsson venture fell apart, support for the board has been discontinued, and the developer’s community (igloocommunity) has recently been closed down.

ST Ericsson Nova A9500 Development Board

Snowball PDK Lite

The last message of the mailing list (now not accessible) reads as follows:

A small team of passionate ST-Ericsson people have dreamed about Snowball and they makes it possible. Since December 2011 after a management change, it has been difficult to maintain the program, but with your support, we succeed until this time. Nevertheless, you have been able to demonstrate the pertinence of this program, and its great potential with impressive realizations.

In December 2012, STMicroelectronics announced a new strategic plan, where STM takes the decision to exit ST-Ericsson. Then both companies Ericsson and STM agreed to split-up the joint venture(JV) ST-Ericsson. Despite our effort, Snowball failed to be transferred to ST and therefore decision has been taken to discontinue it.

It‘s a big sadness for me to lose an European platform that was aiming to catalyze and boot innovation projects in an open way. I would like to thank all of you that have shared our vision, believed and contributed to this program. Two special recognitions, for Calao-System that invested deeply their company in Snowball and Movial that made the IGLOO community a living reality. Thank to them, the website will still stay open several weeks… Then we still have the opportunity to continue to share our open source spirit in other places.


Calao Systems has decided to maintain a stock and to continue the distribution of the Snowball board, at least until a new platform is developed. They currently have 1500 boards in stock offered at a steep discount. The cheapest option is SKY-S9500-ULP-C22 board (aka SNOWBALL-SDK-LITE) selling for 89 Euros (exc. VAT) instead of the original 155.73 Euros (exc. VAT).  It has several sensors not found in most low cost boards, but by today’s standard the price is not that attractive, so I suppose it’s only really interesting if you already have project(s) based on the platform and you need some extra boards. You can find the discounted price for the different versions of the Snowball board on Calao Systems, and the company also provides links to development resources such as the schematics and a wiki.

  1. June 28th, 2013 at 17:46 | #1

    The link ‘links to development resources’ is broken, the link is pointing to


  2. June 28th, 2013 at 22:27 | #2

    Sorry about that. I’ve fixed the link.

  3. July 10th, 2013 at 09:21 | #3

    They slashed it more, and you can now get the cheapest version for 50 Euros.

  4. Adi
    July 19th, 2013 at 19:01 | #4

    I would say it’s a great deal for the SDK version (50euros)! It’s somewhat similar to Beaglebone Black but has way more features included … I mean, for only 20$ more you get the WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, accelerometer, magnetometer, gyrometer, pressure sensor and double the RAM size (1GB) and double the FLASH size (4GB)! So, I would say more than worth it 🙂 Only thing that is bugging me is that I cannot find the documentation for the Nova A9500 chip. Do you guys have any insight on this?

  5. Adi
    July 19th, 2013 at 19:47 | #5

    I’ve found it! All of the documents can be found at http://www.calao-systems.com/repository/EMBEDDED%20COMPUTERS/SKY-S9500-ULP-XXX/

    And processor reference manual can be found at: http://www.calao-systems.com/repository/pub/EMBEDDED%20COMPUTERS/SKY-S9500-ULP-XXX/DATASHEETS/AP9500_reference_manual_rev1.pdf

    So pretty tempting offer if I may say 🙂

    P.S. Great blog!

  6. July 19th, 2013 at 21:32 | #6

    The price is really nice now, but if you buy this type of board, you’re now on your own, nobody can help you…

  7. Gabe
    July 19th, 2013 at 21:34 | #7

    It’s 50 euros+VAT+shipping( shipping to Romania is 30 euros) so it isn’t 50 euros exactly.
    I think it lacks support to, because the IGLOO community closed down recently.
    You can find documentation here:

  8. Adi
    July 20th, 2013 at 01:02 | #8

    Yes indeed, shipping is very expensive (32 euros for Austria!). But what I had in mind is to order multiple boards (some of my friends are also interested) and in such way cut the shipping expenses. It seems that shipping is the same no matter what number of boards are ordered. Anyhow, I wasn’t aware of VAT. Somehow I missed it. That could spoil the fun 🙂

    Also, I am aware that it lacks support. But somehow it’s a positive thing for me because it leaves more space to do my own development/customization 😀 It is a good platform to upgrade the skills.

  9. Adi
    July 20th, 2013 at 02:02 | #9

    Of course, but that means more fun for me 😀

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