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.
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.
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.