LeMaker Hikey 96Boards Development Board Comes with 1 to 2GB RAM, Sells for $75 and Up

Hikey was the first 64-bit ARM development board compliant with 96Boards specifications, and supported by Linaro. Availability always seemed to be an issue however, and pricing was set to $129. But Lemaker, the makers of Banana Pi boards, recently joined Linaro, and they’ve built a lower cost version of the Hikey board, still featuring Hisilicon Kirin 620 octa-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor, but with 1GB and 2GB RAM versions, priced respectively at $75 and $99.

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LeMaker Hikey board specifications:

  • SoC – HiSilicon Kirin 620 octa core Cortex A53 processor @ 1.2 GHz with ARM Mali-450MP4 GPU
  • System Memory – 1 or 2 GB LPDDR3 @ 800 MHz
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC + micro SD slot
  • Video Output / Display – HDMI up to 1080p, MIPI-DSI interface
  • Connectivity – 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 LE (WL1835MOD module)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG
  • Camera – MIPI CSI interface
  • Debugging – UART header), unpopulated 10-pin JTAG header (back)
  • Expansion headers
    • 40-pin LS (Low Speed) Expansion connector – UART, I2C, 12x GPIOs, SPI, PCM, PWM, SYS_DCIN, 1.8V, 5V, and GND,
    • 60-pin HS (High Speed) Expansion connector – SDIO, MIPI_DSI, MIPI_CSI, I2C, USB 2
  • Misc – Power button, jumper for power/boot/user, LEDs for Wi-Fi/Bt, and 4x User LED
  • Power Supply – 8-18V @ 3A as per 96Boards specs via 4.5/1.7mm power jack. Hi6553V100 PMU
  • Dimensions – 85 x 55 mm
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The new version of the board also increases the internal storage from 4GB to 8GB. The board supports Android 4.2 & Debian Linux, and you can find technical documentation, binary images, and source code on the Wiki.

Nicolas Charbonnier (Charbax) is at Linaro Connect SFO 2015, and he interviewed LeMaker co-founders about their Hikey board, but they also brought a suitcase with most of their board including Banana Pi, Banana Pro, LeMaker Guitar (Action Semi S500), and LeMaker Piano (Freescale i.MX6).

I also learned a few interesting facts about LeMaker company. They have over 60 employees, sold over 150,000 Banana Pi boards, and, unless I misunderstood, the two founders started the company right after graduation, without previous working experience…

They currently have a limited number of 1GB boards going for $75, but 2GB are currently out of stock, and listed for $99, and broad availability of both versions is scheduled for November 2015. The only difference between the two boards I could find is the amount of RAM, so you’d pay $24 for one 1GB extra RAM, which seems a bit stiff. Shipping and handling are not included in the price, and in my case would add $20 to the cost.

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