SolidRun HummingBoard is a Raspberry Pi Compatible Board Powered by Freescale i.MX6

Yesterday, I wrote about Banana Pi, an AllWinner A20 powered development board that’s mechanically and electrically compatible with the Raspberry Pi so that you can keep using your existing R-Pi accessories. It turns out another company is working on a similar concept. Solidrun who has brought us Cubox and Cubox-i in the past, will soon launch HummingBoard, a Raspberry Pi compatible board powered by Freescale i.MX6 solo/dual/quad SoC, bring even more power than the AllWinner A20 dual core Cortex A7 SoC found in the Banana Pi.

HummingBoardThe HummingBoard, previously known as Carrier One, is composed of a baseboard and SolidRun microSOM (micro System-on-Module) have comes with the followings specifications:

  • SoC = Freescale i.MX6 Quad @ 1 GHz with Vivante GC2000 3D GPU. The microSoM also comes in solo and dual flavors, and although it’s likely the HummingBoard will be sold with these variants too, it’s not 100% confirmed
  • System Memory – 2 GB RAM
  • Storage – micro SD card slot, mSATA connector, and optional eSATA (shared with USB?)
  • Video output – HDMI, and LVDS
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, 3.5mm stereo jack, and Coax S/PDIF output
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet + Wi-Fi and Bluetooth module (BCM4329)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x micro USB for power
  • Expansions
    • Raspberry Pi compatible headers (26-pin P1 header only), Camera connector (CSI), LCD connector (DSI)
    • 8-pin header for FlexCAN
    • mini PCIe connector
  • Misc – RTC, IR receiver, LEDs
  • Dimensions – Not explicitly specific, but they should be the same as the Raspberry Pi.

The microSOM features i.MX 6Q SoC, 2GB RAM, Gigabit Ethernet PHY and BCM4329 Wi-Fi + BT module, and there may be different microSOM configurations, so these may end up being optional. You’ll lose one feature from the Raspberry Pi: composite video output, which has been replaced with coaxial S/PDIF. All other hardware features appear to be present with faster hardware. You’ll gain a much faster CPU, 2GB RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth,SPDIF, an IR receiver, and a RTC. As with the Banana Pi, not all Raspberry Pi accessories, such as the camera, will work out of the box, as there’s some serious work to make them compatible. But enclosures should be re-usable, and most boards that simply connect via the 26-pin connector should work with just a little bit of work.

The good news is that software made for the Cubox-i will be compatible with HummingBoard, so various Linux distributions (Arch Linux ARM, Debian, Ubuntu, etc..), Android, and XBMC (Linux) should pretty much work out of the box. You can find some details about the hardware on the Wiki.

The board are not available yet, and pricing has not been announced either.  However, I’d expect the launch to take place some time in May, as the company is launching a competition to give away HummingBoards to the 30 best projects using the Cubox (or Cubox-i). You’ll need a 90-minutes (max) video demonstrating your project, and submit it before the 25th of April to get a chance to win. Winners will be notified on May 10.

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12 Replies to “SolidRun HummingBoard is a Raspberry Pi Compatible Board Powered by Freescale i.MX6”

  1. it’s interesting, I checked its website and after 10 minutes I still could not find out where this company is? where is it? why is this a secret.

  2. It used to mention they were Israeli – maybe that attracted hackers? (Kind of ironic because it looks like some of the senior people are Arab-Israeli…)

    Anyway I’ve seen a lot of comments criticising their customer service…

  3. It is an Israeli company, they have never made a secret of it.

    Their Cubox-i product is good hardware, I have one, but the company is relying heavily on the “community” (online forum members) for support. The company does not update its blog or wiki frequently. It is not obvious how and where to get OS images that work well with the Cubox-i. I think they are still just trying to get out from under the large crush of orders.

  4. as the hardware is very similar to the cubox-i4Pro, it would be a good guess to think it will cost around $130.

  5. First-generation CuBox that used an ARM SoC from Marvell had very poor support from SolidRun as a company and instead practically only relied on community, which was very small for that first-generation, but CuBox-i does have a little better support but that is still mostly due to community since it is based on the Freescale i.MX6 platform which have great support by other.

    I would say that SolidRun as a company have at least in the past been just as horrible as most Chinese fly-by companies who make Android media players based on Allwinner and Rockchip ARM SoCs, so while the hardware platform might be great it still leaves very big lacking gaps in firmware and software support.

    Root cause for these symptoms is that these companies almost only employees hardware engineers and no software developers who can help maintain the firmware images and can help support software running on-top of the hardware.

    I normally advice all people I know to stay away from companies like SolidRun, however with them now using Freescale i.MX6 platform in CuBox-i at least it should have much greater support from the community since Freescale i.MX6 platform is very popular and used is many other different products.

    Though now that CuBox-i with Freescale i.MX6 is out SolidRun is practically pretending that the first-generation CuBox never existing, leaving all those who bought it without post-sale support and software updates from SolidRun, which is sad and shows that SolidRun still need to mature as a company.

  6. They allready have a nice product (cubox-i – I don’t own it) “2x2x2 inch cube” so what is going on with this RPI like format? Are they going to discontinue the cubox-i line?
    The folks at wandboard are advancing slowly ….
    Hope to see in the near future more stable and more features on linux arm boards.(Still waiting for hw accelerated 1080p video decoding on LinuxARM (RPI not included))

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