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Tiny PocketBeagle is the RPi Zero of the BeagleBone world

Sep 21, 2017 — by Eric Brown 7,432 views’s tiny $25 PocketBeagle is a BeagleBone SBC clone, based on Octavo’s OSD3358-SM SiP module and offering micro-USB, microSD, and 72 I/O pins. has released its smallest BeagleBone variant yet. The COM-like, 56 x 35 x 5mm PocketBeagle is a USB key-fob SBC built on the Octavo Systems OSD335x-SM System-In-Package (SiP) module that was announced earlier this week. Octavo’s 21 x 21mm SiP module, which packs a 1GHz Texas Instruments Sitara AM3358 SoC and nearly all the functions of a BeagleBone Black SBC into a BGA form factor, is 40 percent smaller than the original 27 x 27mm OSD335x.

(click image to enlarge)

The PocketBeagle’s SiP consolidation and absence of most of the real-world ports typically found on BeagleBones enables a significantly smaller footprint than the 86 x 53mm BeagleBone Black, BeagleBone Black Wireless, and BeagleBone Blue, as well as Seeed’s BeagleBone Green and BeagleBone Green Wireless variants. The PocketBeagle is well suited for applications like drones, CubeSATs, robots, and robotics industrial equipment such as 3D printers, CNC mills and laser cutters, says

Octavo’s OSD335x-SM (left) and detail view
(click images to enlarge)

The fully open source board, which ships with EAGLE and KiCAD files, is built around the same 1GHz AM3358 SoC found on other BeagleBones. The SoC similarly includes 3D-ready PowerVR SGX530 graphics, as well as dual 32-bit 200MHz Cortex-M3 based programmable real-time units (PRUs) for low-latency, real-time applications. These are combined in the Octavo SiP with 512MB RAM, power/battery management, and an EEPROM.

PocketBeagle front (left) and rear views
(click images to enlarge)

Outside the SiP module, has added a power-ready micro-USB host/client port and microSD slot, the inclusion of which makes the PocketBeagle more like a Raspberry Pi Zero than the more COM-like Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3. As with the 65 x 30mm RPi Zero, which is only 10 square millimeters smaller than the PocketBeagle at 1,950 instead of 1,960 sq. mm, there’s no onboard flash memory.

There’s no onboard wireless or RJ-45 Ethernet port, either, but you can plug it into a laptop as a USB key-fob. This lets you program the device using a web browser that provides access to the Linux command-line and text editor.


You can boot the board from the 4KB I2C EEPROM for greater security. In addition, “a Chrome plug-in or cross-platform Node.JS Electron app can boot your board to add a Linux distribution to an attached microSD card,” says The board supports Cloud9 IDE on Node.js with the BoneScript library.

PocketBeagle pinout
(click image to enlarge)

The PocketBeagle lacks the BeagleBone standard dual 46-pin expansion interface, and relies on 72 expansion pin headers instead of 92. As a result, it does not appear that Capes will work without modification. The board runs Debian GNU Linux, and will run “any BeagleBone Black software not needing access to unavailable expansion pins,” according to the Arrow shopping page.

The 72 pins provide access to features like power and battery interfaces, 8x analog inputs, 44x DIOs, and other peripherals. SPI, UART, and high-speed USB interfaces let you add Ethernet, Bluetooth, and WiFi, respectively, and you can also hook up an SPI-connected display. A power button and JTAG test points are also available.

Further information

The PocketBeagle is available for $25 from Arrow and Mouser, which has the most detailed datasheet.’s PocketBeagle page also links to Digi-Key, but at publication time their shopping page was unavailable. More details, including a FAQ, can be found at this PocketBeagle wiki on GitHub.

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2 responses to “Tiny PocketBeagle is the RPi Zero of the BeagleBone world”

  1. Robert S. says:

    Has anyone found an effective way to enclose these, and still have access to the ports? That makes the Pi zero more attractive; however this one seems more suited for a beginner from a UI standpoint. Thanks

  2. paul says:

    This seems nice as a powerful embedded control board but I’d like to know (other than the PRU’s) what major advantages it has over the $5 Pi Zero.

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