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Olimex dives into Linux/Android modules

May 13, 2014  |  Eric Brown
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Olimex has entered the computer-on-module market with three Linux- and Android-ready COMs, based on Allwinner’s A13 and A20 SoCs, and on TI’s AM3352.

In addition to selling oLinuXino branded open source single board computers based on Allwinner SoCs, such as the Allwinner A20-based A20-OLinuXino-Micro SBC, Bulgaria-based Olimex is now getting into computer-on-modules. Its first three COMs include:

  • A13-SOM — The tiny Allwinner A13-based A13-SOM module builds upon the Cortex-A8-based Allwinner A13, and features an optional WiFi shield called the A13-SOM-WIFI. The latter supplies WiFi, flash storage, and USB-OTG and LCD connectivity.

    A20-SOM-EVB
  • A20-SOM — this module is built around the dual-core, Cortex-A7-based Allwinner A20 system-on-chip. The module is optionally available with 4GB of NAND flash, and can be extended with an A20-SOM-EVB evaluation board (pictured at right).
  • AM3352-SOM — This module adopts the Cortex-A8 based Sitara AM3352 SoC from Texas Instruments. It offers extended temperature support and optional 4GB of NAND flash. This module is supported with an AM3352-SOM-EVB evaluation board.

Further details on each of these new Olimex COMs appears below…

 

A13-SOM and A13-SOM-WIFI

Based on the 1GHz, Cortex-A8 based Allwinner A13 SoC, the 61 x 33mm A13-SOM is claimed to be the world’s smallest Allwinner-based COM. Unlike Allwinner’s similar, and newer, A10, the A13 has a TQFP package, said to make it easier for small manufacturers to spin off small runs.



A13-SOM (left) and A13-SOM-WIFI shield
(click images to enlarge)

Olimex has yet to post a product page on the A13-SOM, but has provided some basic specs:
  • Processor — Allwinner A13 (1x Cortex-A8 core @ 1GHz)
  • Memory — 256MB or 512MB DDR3 RAM; microSD slot
  • I/O — Console UART; 4x GPIO connectors for A13 signals (0.05-inch pitch)
  • Power — 3.3V/150mA power supply
  • Operating system — Debian Linux

The A13-SOM turns into something like an SBC with the addition of an A13-SOM-WIFI shield (pictured above). An A13-SOM-LTE shield with “4G LTE 100Mbit” is said to be under development.

In addition to providing a Realtek RTL8188CU WiFi module, the A13-SOM-WIFI shield includes a USB-OTG port, as well as an LCD connector that supports the company’s 4.3-, 7-, and 13-inch parallel RGB displays. Options include 4GB NAND flash and 8MB SPI flash.

 
A13-SOM and A13-SOM-WIFI availability

The A13-SOM-215MB is currently listed for 18 euros (about $25) in single quantities, ranging down to 12 euros for 1,000 pieces, while the A13-SOM-512MB ranges from 21 euros ($29) to 14 euros. In single quantities, the A13-SOM-WIFI shield costs 10 euros ($13.70), the A13-SOM-WIFI-4GB costs 17 euros, and the A13-SOM-WIFI-8MB costs 12 euros. More information may be found in the A13-SOM announcement.

 

A20-SOM and A20-SOM-EVB

The A20-SOM gives you the heart and soul of an A20-OLinuXino-Micro SBC, including the dual-core Cortex-A7 Allwinner A20 SoC, an AXP209 PMU (power management unit), 1GB DDR3 RAMj, and a microSD slot. The module is optionally available with 4GB of on-board NAND flash.



A20-SOM (left) and A20-SOM-EVB
(click images to enlarge)

Most of A20 SoC’s signals are expressed via six 40-pin connectors that can mate with an A20-SOM-EVB evaluation board, or with an application-baseboard.

The A20-SOM-EVB adds an SD-MMC slot, a SATA interface, and a gigabit Ethernet port. Display connectivity on the EVB board include HDMI and VGA ports, and an LCD interface. The A20-SOM-EVB is further equipped with audio I/O, a pair of UEXT connectors, and five 40-pin GPIO connectors (0.1-inch pitch). Additional features include LEDs, seven buttons that mimic Android functions, and a 2-megapixel camera that can record video at 30fps.

Like Olimex’s OLinuXino SBCs, the A20-SOM-EVB is said to be open source, with CAD files available. Development software will be available for Android and Debian Linux, but is still being fine-tuned over the next few weeks, according to Olimex. Linux-Sunxi developers have an opportunity to apply for a free A20-SOM-EVB, says the company.

 
A20-SOM and EVB availability

The A20-SOM is currently listed for 43 euros ($59) in single units or 30.10 euros ($41) at 1,000 pieces, the A20-SOM-4GB is listed for 50 euros ($69), or 35 euros ($48) in 1,000-piece quantities, with price variations in between, and the A20-SOM-EVB is available for 75 euros ($103), dropping to 60 euros for runs of 50 or more. More information may be found at the Olimex A20-SOM, A20-SOM-4GB, and A20-SOM-EVB product pages.

 

AM3352-SOM and AM3352-SOM-EVB

Finally, Olimex released preliminary specs on a previously tipped AM3352-SOM that steps outside of the Allwinner camp to feature a Texas Instruments Sitara AM3352. The modest, industrial-focused Cortex-A8 SoC is clocked at 1GHz and runs on less than 2 Watts. Other Sitara AM335x variants can also be ordered, says Olimex.



AM3352-SOM (left) and AM3352-SOM-EVB
(click images to enlarge)

The AM3352-SOM is notable for supporting an extended temperature range covering 0°C all the way up to a blistering 90°C. The module ships with 512MB of DDR3 RAM and has an option for 4GB of NAND flash. It also features a console UART, a microSD slot, a DCDC power supply, plus LEDs and a reset button.

Four 40-pin (0.05-inch pitch) connectors can be mated with an optional AM3352-SOM-EVB eval board that also features dual Fast Ethernet ports, four USB host port, and a USB-OTG port. Other I/O on the AM3352-SOM-EVB includes a VGA port, an LCD interface, and a CAN interface. You also get a pair of UEXT connectors, four 40-pin GPIO connectors (0.1-inch pitch), a JTAG port, and status LEDs.

Selected developers who work on TI Sitara Kernel support can apply for a free AM3352-SOM-EVB, which appears to ship with the AM3352-SOM. The AM3352-SOM module supports both Android and Debian Linux.

 
AM3352-SOM and EVB availability

The AM3352-SOM will soon be available for preorder at 37 euros ($51), ranging down to about 26 euros for orders of 1,000 or more, while the AM3352-SOM-EVB will be available for 60 euros ($82), ranging down to 48 euros for 1,000 pieces or more. More information may be found at the Olimex AM3352-SOM and AM3352-SOM-EVB product pages.
 

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