Most official Arduino boards are based on Atmel AVR MCUs that allow hobbyists to control GPIOs, or low level interfaces, which is fine for applications that do not require much processing power. In the last couple of years however, the Arduino team has gone up the processor scale, first with Arduino Due with an ARM Cortex M3, then Arduino Yun with a MIPS processor running OpenWRT, and there latest board Arduino TRE features a Texas Instruments Sitara
AM3359 AM3358 processor capable of running any Linux distributions supporting ARM. The board was announced last year, and Arduino has now launched a beta program where developers can purchase one of the 50 “Arduino TRE Developer Edition” boards for 149 Euros + VAT.
- SoC – Texas Instrument Sitara
AM3359AZCZ100AM3358 (See comments) ARM Cortex A8 processor @ 1 GHz with PowerVR SGX530 GPU
- Microcontroller – Atmel ATmega32u4 @ 16 MHz with 32 KB flash memory, 2.5 KB SRAM, and 1KB EEPROM.
- System Memory – 512 MB DDR3L
- Storage – MicroSD card for booting Linux.
- Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet
- USB port – 1x USB 2.0 device port, 4x USB 2.0 host ports
- Video – HDMI (1920×1080), LCD expansion connector
- Audio – HDMI, stereo analog audio input and output
- Digital I/O Pins – 14x 5V logic, 23x 3.3V logic
- PWM Channels – 7x 5V logic, 4x 3.3V logic
- Analog Input Channels – 6 (plus 6 multiplexed on 6 digital pins)
You may feel the board looks like the offspring of an Arduino Board and a BeagleBone Black, and in some ways it is, especially since the project is partially the result of a close collaboration between Arduino and the BeagleBoard.org foundation.
Arduino TRE won’t be programmed using the standard Arduino IDE, but instead the TRE IDE is running in the board itself, which you can access with your web browser.
If you decide to go ahead and purchase the board, you’ll receive an invitation to join the beta-testing program, and will be able to contribute to the development of the board by signing up for tasks and projects. working in collaboration with Arduino and BeagleBoard.org teams. Completed tasks will be rewarded, and the 149 Euros board may even end-up being free of charge, as you may receive a coupon, if your project is featured on the Arduino blog.
Th beta-testing program will last for about three months. The final version of the board, and TRE IDE are scheduled by the end of the year, where it will become available to the general public, hopefully for a lower price. If you can’t wait that long with an Arduino Linux board, you could always consider one of the many Arduino compatible Linux boards on the market such as UDOO, Intel Galileo, or PCDuino3. Bear in mind that not all “Arduino compatible” board may support the Arduino IDE.