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Low-cost Wandboard runs Linux, Android

Mar 1, 2013  |  Rick Lehrbaum
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[Updated Mar 28] — The not-for-profit Wandboard community project has begun shipping its compact, low-power, board-level embedded computer, which is released under open hardware and software licenses. Based on 1GHz Freescale i.MX6 Cortex-A9 processors, Wandboard comes in single- and dual-core versions (priced at $79 and $99) and runs community-supported embedded Linux and Android operating systems.

As seen in the photo below, the Wandboard is actually a two-board sandwich. An SODIMM-like COM (computer-on-module), containing all of the core embedded computer components (CPU, chipset, flash and DRAM memory, etc.), plugs into a 314-pin connector on a 95mm x 95mm baseboard. The EDM standard, which was developed for use in embedded and industrial applications, is released under a Creative Commons ShareAlike license.



Wandboard is a COM + baseboard “sandwich”
(click image to enlarge)

Both versions of the Wandboard offer a rich set of A/V functions and connectivity features, but some features are only included on the dual-core version, as indicated in the table below.

Summary of Wandboard features

Wandboard Solo Wandboard Dual
Processor Freescale i.MX6
Solo
Freescale i.MX6
Duallite
Cores Cortex-A9 Single core Cortex-A9 Dual core
Memory 512 MB DDR3 1 GB DDR3
Audio Yes
Optical S/PDIF Yes
HDMI Yes
Camera interface Yes
micro SD cardslot 2
Serial port Yes
Expansion Header Yes
USB Yes
USB OTG Yes
SATA connector Not populated
Gigabit LAN Yes
WIFI (802.11n) No Yes
Bluetooth No Yes

 

The block diagram below shows the Wandboard’s system partitioning, including the set of signals that pass between the COM and its baseboard via the EDM’s SODIMM-like MXM3 connector.



Block diagram of Wandboard’s COM and baseboard
(click image to enlarge)

 

The photos below are labeled to show the various connectors and components of interest.



Wandboard top and bottom details
(click images to enlarge)

 

About the Wandboard project

According to the Wandboard project’s website, the boardset was created on a volunteer, not-for-profit basis by a group of engineers whose “day job” involves working with ARM architecture-based hardware/software solutions. The team soon grew to about 20 developers spread over Taiwan, the US, and Europe.

“The spirit that drove the development was the fact that many of the development boards we see today are fun to play with but there is no flexibility in place to design a product beyond the initial stage,” according to the project. “With the Wandboard we try to overcome this by choosing a system-on-module that works with an easy-to-design, few-layer baseboard that everyone can design and make with beginning engineering knowledge.”



Wandboard in its optional enclosure

The project’s hardware and software are being supported by the volunteer Wandboard community. The Wandboard’s hardware and software are both released under open licenses — the software under GPL, and the hardware under Creative Commons ShareAlike.

The Wandboard’s user manual, which includes schematics of both the EDM CPU board and 95mm x 95mm carrier board, is currently available in the Wandboard User Guide, which can be downloaded here (PDF file). The project also plans to post high-resolution photos and 2D/3D files for the boards and the enclosure on its website, enabling people to “print” custom enclosures on 3D printers.

March 28, 2013 update

The Wandboard project has just informed LinuxGizmos that…

  • Full schematics are now available
  • 2D and 3D files are now available of the Wandboard and its enclosure (feel free to print your own on your 3D printer)
  • Linux sources and SDK are now available, and the gitserver is online

  • Android Jelly Bean sources and runtime images now available
  • Ubuntu runtime images are now available
  • Wandboard is now mainline in u-boot and we are progressing on getting it into yocto and linux kernel mainline

 

Availability

According to the Wandboard project, hundreds Wandboards are in stock now at various regional distributors. Additionally, a “few thousand” additional Wandboards are currently in production and should be finished within a few weeks.

The Wandboard boardsets are currently priced at $79 and $99, respectively, for the single- and dual-core versions. Further details, including a list of distributors, may be found on the Wandboard website.
 

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PLEASE COMMENT BELOW

3 Responses to “Low-cost Wandboard runs Linux, Android”

  1. Abe says:

    Does any one know what are the physical size/dimensions of this board? I can’t find them any where on their web site.

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