100 Allwinner A20 EOMA68 CPU cards manufactured for testing

EOMA68 CPU Card

Last week, and technically last year, we wrote Dragonbox Pyra open-source hardware handheld Linux PC was ready to ship after 6 years in the making, and 4 years after initial pre-orders, highlighting that such projects can take a long time. But it’s not the only project to have suffered from long delays, but still slowly getting things done. Rhombus Tech started working on earth-friendly EOMA68 (Embedded Open Modular Architecture Standard) computing cards based on the 68-pin PCMCIA form factor in 2012, before launching Allwinner A20 based EOMA68 cards on Crowd Supply in 2016 together with laptop and micro PC shells. The project had regular updates over the year, mostly to discuss the progress of the project, and unexpected challenges encountered. But there may light in the tunnel,  as in the latest December 30th update, Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton (LKCL) announced the company had managed to manufacture 100 OEMA68 cards based on Allwinner A20 dual-core Cortex-A7 processor with the help of […]

Intel Compute Card is a Business Card Sized Platform for Modular & Upgradeable Computers & Devices

Intel has just introduced their Compute Card, the name likely originating from their Compute Stick & Module series, integrating all main components you’d find in a computer such as a processor, memory, storage, and wireless connectivity into an standardized ultra thin business card sized module that can be used in compatible devices from smart kiosks to security cameras and IoT gateways, as well as computers and laptops. Intel has some demos at CES 2017, but has not announced any specific models yet. We still have some of the key features for the Compute Cards: Processor up to 7th Gen Intel Core, memory, storage and wireless connectivity are all included in the card Intel Compute Card-based device will provide the power, cooling and the optimized user I/O for that particularly solution Connection to devices will be done via an Intel Compute Card slot with a new standard connector (USB-C plus extension) USB-C plus extension connector will provide USB, PCIe, HDMI, DP […]

Open Source, Modular and Upgradeable EOMA68 CPU Card, Laptop and Micro Desktop Launched (Crowdfunding)

Rhombus Tech has been working on EOMA68 standard for CPU modules based on PCMCIA at least since 2012, and after previous difficulties, they showcased a laptop prototype taking OEMA68 CPU cards at the beginning of the year, and they’ve now launched a CrowdSupply campaign selling an EOMA68 CPU card based on Allwinner A20 processor, as well as corresponding laptop and micro desktop housings that are both open source, and upgradeable with faster EOMA68 CPU card once/if they become available. Current EOMA68 CPU card specifications:   SoC –  Allwinner A20 dual core ARM Cortex A7 processor @ 1.2 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU System Memory – 2GB RAM Storage – 8GB NAND flash + micro SD slot Video Output – micro HDMI Interface (for 2nd monitor) USB – micro USB OTG port Compliant with EOMA68 standard Two versions of the CPU card are offered with different pre-installed firmware: “Libre Tea Computer Card” with Parabola GNU/Linux-libre Operating System and a Respects Your Freedom […]

Rhombus Tech 15.6″ Libre Laptop is User-Upgradeable with EOMA68 CPU Cards

When the first Raspberry Pi model launched, there was just not enough boards to fill the demand, and as people kept waiting they were also investigating alternatives, and a growing community worked on Allwinner based platforms. At the time (2012), the main hardware project  was EOMA68 CPU card using a PCMCIA connector, with ended up inside Improv development board, and aimed at providing user replaceable and upgradeable CPU cards. Sadly the initiative got some issues, and things did not quite work out as expected, but the person who launched the whole project, Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton (LKCL), did not give up on the idea, and has kept on working on EOMA68 standard with CPU cards from Allwinner and other SoC vendors. Recently, he’s been working on a Libre Laptop based on an Allwinner A20 EOMA68 CPU module, and will showcase the prototype at FOSDEM 2016 in Brussels this coming week-end. Key (preliminary) hardware features of the laptop: User-upgradeable EOMA68 CPU […]

Overview and List of System-on-Module and Computer-on-Module Standards – Q7, SMARC, EDM, and More

A System-on-Module (SoM), also known as a Computer-on-Module (CoM), is a small board with the key components of a computer such as SoC, memory, and possibly others components such as PMIC (Power Managment IC), and Ethernet PHY, as well as one or more connectors used to connected to a baseboard, also called carrier board, which features standard ports such as Ethernet (RJ45), USB ports, SATA, power jack and so on. The advantages of using of baseboard + SoM design compared to a single board are at least two fold: Most of the PCB design complexity is often around the CPU/SoC and high speed buses connected to the CPU/SoC. So you could buy a SoM, design your own baseboard and get a complete design relatively in a short amount of time, with reduced development resources and costs. The design is modular, so you could easily upgrade from one SoM to another one. For example, in order to provide a product with […]

AllWinner Linux-sunxi Community Presentation and Status Report – FOSDEM 2014

Oliver Schinagl, a member of linux-sunxi community working on open source kernel and bootloader for AllWinner SoCs, has given a presentation of the community at FOSDEM 2014 to give an overview, and show what progress has been made to date. I’ll write a summary in this post, but if you want to watch the video and/or access the slides scroll down at the bottom of the post. After explaining what sunxi is, and introducing himself, he gave some information about AllWinner and their SoCs: Founded in 2007 in Zhuhai, Chiang now with 550 employees including 450+ engineers 15% market share in 2013 for tablet SoCs, only behind Apple. Products: F-series SoC (2010), A10 (2011), A13, A10s (2012), and A20 (2013). (cnsoft He skipped A31(s) and A80 here as they are not really supported by the community). They list “Open Source Source” and “GPLv3” in their marketing materials although they clearly violate GPL in some part of the code. Progress is […]

Improv Open Hardware Platform Features EOMA68-A20 CPU Card Powered by AllWinner A20 SoC

After seeing a countdown clock on makeplaylive.com a few days ago, I was expecting the Plasma Active, Linux based  Vivaldi Tablet to come up, but instead Improv, an open hardware platform, has just been launched. It features the long awaited EOMA68 CPU card with AllWinner A20 dual core ARM Cortex A7 processor, together with a “feature board”, and is now available for pre-order for $75, with shipping expecting in January. It’s only available in North America and Europe for now. Improv specifications: EOMA68-A20 CPU board: SoC – AllWinner A20 dual core ARM Cortex-A7 @ 1 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU System Memory – 1GB DDR2 Storage – 4GB NAND flash Video – micro HDMI (video + audio), RGB/TTL pins USB – Micro USB OTG + USB 2.0 host pins Networking – 10/100M Ethernet Other buses – I2C, 8 GPIO, UART0 Weight – Under 40 grams Feature board: Storage – 32K EEPROM, SATA II interface USB – USB 2.0 host port Connectivity  […]

Rhombus Tech EOMA-68 CPU Card Prototype

Do you remember Rhombus Tech AllWinner A10 EOMA-PCMCIA CPU card that targets a BOM cost of $15 US, that was announced at the end of last year? Well, after much wait, the first prototype is now available. This CPU module is based on AllWinner A10 Cortex A8 processor, with 1GB RAM, a NAND Flash, one USB OTG port, microSD slot, HDMI, PMIC, an Ethernet PHY (at the back), an expansion header, and the EOMA-68 connector giving access to peripherals signals (SATA, Ethernet, RGB/TTL, I2C etc…). It can act as a Linux/Android stand-alone computer or be connected to a baseboard. One of the first project will be a laptop for the Chinese market. AllWinner A10 SoC may be a little underpowered to be used in laptop compared to the latest ARM processors, but since EOMA-PCMCIA is a standard, pin-to-pin compatible modules will eventually be designed and manufactured with different/faster (ARM) processors. New modules are expected to be designed much faster than […]