VIA Announces $99 Springboard Platform for Android and Linux Development

Back in May 2013, VIA unveiled VAB-600 Pico-ITX board powered by WonderMedia WM8950 with an ARM Cortex A9 processor @ 800 MHz and a Mali-400 GPU. At the time they provided a starter kit with a 7″ display. The company has now announced the VIA Springboard Platform based on VAB-600 that is available without Wi-Fi for $99 or with Wi-Fi for $129.

VIA_Springboard_Platform
VIA Springboard Platform Wi-Fi Kit (Click to Enlarge)

Here are the items included in the kits:

  • VAB-600 Pico-ITX board with WM8950, 1GB DDR3 SDRAM, 4GB eMMC Flash memory and microSD slot. See VAB-600 post for detailed specifications.
  • VIA VAB-600-A I/O extender card:
    • 1 x Line-Out jack
    • 1 x Mic-In jack
    • 2 x USB 2.0 A-type ports
    • 1 x Suspend LED power indicator
    • 1 x Power On/Off button
    • 3 x board-to-board connectors
    • 1 x USB board-to-board connector
  • VIA VNT9271 Springboard USB WiFi module (Wi-Fi Kit only) – Supports IEEE 802.11b/g/n standards and 802.11e WiFi Multimedia (WMM). Based on Atheros AR9271 controller chip
  • A/C power adapter
  • 1 x COM cable
  • 1 x USB 2.0 cable
  • 3 year longevity
  • 6 month warrantee

The VAB-600 board supports Android and Linux Software Development Packages which can be downloaded from VIA Springboard website. The Springboard Android Software Development Package features Android version 4.0.3, and includes the kernel and bootloader source codes as well as a Smart ETK comprising a number of APIs, including Watchdog Timer (WDT), GPIO access, COM port access, RTC for auto-power on, and a sample app. The Springboard Linux Software Development Package has a pre-built Debian image, including the kernel and bootloader source codes, as well as a toolchain.

The kits are available now at www.viaspringboard.com for $99 for the base version and $129 for the Wi-Fi kit, plus shipping that seems to be between $25 and $30 to the few countries I’ve tried. That’s not exactly the best performance / price ratio we can get today, but it could be an option if you need at least 3-years guaranteed longevity, or/and some particular features available on the board such as SIM card slot, pico-ITX form factor, etc…

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Roger Jenings
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It’s surprising that VIA’s Android v4.0.3 package is so far behind the technology curve with v4.4 just announced. Doesn’t bode well for future technical support.

I’m curious as to why the warranty on the WiFi Extension board isn’t longer than 6 months when its longevity is three years. Does longevity = MTBF or does it have a battery that dies in three years?

–rj

Paul
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Paul

Come on CNX, Android 4.4 was released, ARM Techcon happened, tell us about that, don’t pretend Android 4.0.3 on some board is the only news…