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Pico-ITX SBC runs Android on TI Sitara SoC

Sep 19, 2013 — by Eric Brown 7,078 views

Kontron announced a Linux- and Android-ready Pico-ITX single board computer with extended temperature support, built around a Texas Instruments Sitara AM3874 system-on-chip. The KTAM3874/pITX provides up to 2GB RAM and 16GB flash, supports HDMI/LVDS dual displays, runs on less than 5 Watts, and offers I/O including Ethernet, USB 2.0, serial, CAN, and SATA, plus mini-PCIe and microSD expansion.

The KTAM3874/pITX is the first Kontron Pico-ITX SBC designed to operate from -40 to 85°C, says the company. Available with a minimum of seven years long-term availability, the 100 x 72mm board supports a wide range of applications ranging from industrial use to digital signage. Targeted applications are said to include autonomous battery- or solar-powered outdoor systems, or mobile or stationary dual-display computers including Box PCs, HMIs, and thin clients.

Kontron KTAM3874/pITX SBC, with/without heat spreader
(click images to enlarge)


The board’s Texas Instruments Sitara AM3874 SoC is equipped with a single ARM Cortex-A8 core clocked at up to 800MHz. It’s the only 3D-accelerated model of the three Sitara AM387x SoCs TI introduced in 2011. Video acceleration is available, but it lacks the TI C64x+ DSP supplied by the pin-compatible, HD-video ready DM8148/8168 SOCs.


KTAM3874/pITX connectors, top and bottom
(click images to enlarge)


In April, Kontron announced a SMARC form-factor computer-on-module called the SMARC-sA3874i, which is based on the same AM3874 SoC and provides a similar feature set to the KTAM3874/pITX.

KTAM3874/pITX block diagram
(click image to enlarge)


The KTAM3874/pITX is equipped with 1GB of DDR3, with an option for 2GB, and it ships with 4GB of eMMC NAND flash, with an option for 16GB. A microSD slot is available, along with a SATA interface. There’s also an mSATA interface on a mini-PCI-Express connector, and a separate Mini-PCIe-based SIM card slot.

The board supports up to two independent displays via 24-bit dual channel LVDS and HDMI 1.3a interfaces, with the latter capable of supporting 1080p HD video, says Kontron. Analog audio I/O is available, along with a separate, 1W loudspeaker port “for making acoustic acknowledgement or for speech output,” says the company.

Dual 10/100 Ethernet ports are supported with an optional switch. Along with the HDMI port and two of the five available USB 2.0 ports, these are the only real-world coastline ports on the board. Of the three other USB ports, one is a client port, and another is available on a mini-PCIe connector. Other I/O includes dual CAN bus interfaces, dual RS232, and a single RS435, as well as 26x GPIOs, I2C, UART, and SP outputs.

The KTAM3874/pITX ships with a Linux BSP, but is also said to support Android and Windows WEC7. Kontron’s in-house services include individual driver implementations and configuration-specific images.

Specifications listed for the KTAM3874/pITX include:

  • Processor — Sitara AM3874 (1x Cortex-A8 core @ up to 800MHz) plus 3D acceleration
  • RAM — 1GB DDR3 (800MHz) via 2x 32-bit slots, with option for 2GB
  • Flash — 4GB eMMC NAND flash with option for 16GB; microSD slot
  • Display:
    • HDMI 1.3 (external) with support for 1080p
    • LVDS (dual-channel 24-bit)
    • Dual display support
  • Networking — 2x 10/100 Ethernet ports (external) with optional switch
  • Other I/O:
    • 4x USB 2.0 host ports (2x external, 1x via mini-PCIe)
    • USB 2.0 client
    • 2x RS232
    • RS232/485
    • 2x CAN bus
    • SATA 2.0
    • mSATA (via mini-PCIe slot)
    • 26x GPIOs,
    • I2C
    • UART
    • SPI (shared with GPIOs)
    • Audio line-in, line-out, mic-in
    • 1W speaker interface
  • Expansion — 1x Mini-PCIe slot with mSATA and SIM card support
  • Power — 5V DC; sub-5W consumption
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 85°C
  • Dimensions — 100 x 72mm (Pico-ITX)
  • Operating system — Linux BSP with U-Boot; also supports Android and Windows WEC7

The Kontron KTAM3874/pITX is available now at an unstated price. More information may be found at Kontron’s KTAM3874/pITX product page.

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One response to “Pico-ITX SBC runs Android on TI Sitara SoC”

  1. Vitara says:

    It all depends on not price but Linux kernel support. Similar to RaspberryPi but killing it with its addons – speaker, usb, mpcie, battery, sim.
    Once its supported by mainline kernel – it’s the winner of mini ARM computers.

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