It’s been 8 months since we launched PandaBoard in ELC-E 2010. The response and acceptance to the platform has been simply great. We have now shipped several thousands PandaBoard and over 7 world-wide distributors sell the platform.
OMAP processors have been leading the openess movement on Mobile ARM SoC space with Open TRM & datasheets. However developers had to buy expensive, closed platforms to develop on the cutting edge mobile ARM SoC. PandaBoard was intended to solve this problem – provide a open, low cost development platform with leading OMAP application processor.
When we first launched the platform we made a lot of effort to emphasize the fact that it has mobile roots (based on OMAP4 a mobile applications processor) and clarified certain key differences with other existing platforms & projects. However, developers have been using the PandaBoard for various project which I personally am very excited about.
In this post I will attempt to clarify how the PandaBoard is different and why you should be aware of these differences to best leverage the platform for your projects.
- OMAP4 is a mobile application processor. The impact of using OMAP4 SoC show up as the following constraints & benefits :
- You will get the latest and greatest ARM SoC technology that is relevant to Mobile applications & end products. This explains why there is no gigabit ethernet support, no SATA connector etc – simply because they are not relevant in a mobile environment ‘today’. As new generations of OMAP bring cutting edge technologies into the SoC – you can most likely expect it to show up in the PandaBoard.
- OMAP SoC (except for OMAP3530) are NOT sold via distributors in small quantities. They are typically available to high volume OEMs.
- It’s low cost: This means we have made certain tradeoffs interms of features and out of box contents to enable the low cost of access to the platform.
- It’s open : All the parts have a open TRM and datasheet. This is intended to enable open-innovation and freedom.
- It’s not an industrial board: When we developed the platform we realized it’s very important to have a solid design with all the core features working before we ship. Though it’s low cost we cant expect developers to update the board every quarter – that would be a expensive hobby :). However, the board is not qualified or rated to be industrial.
- It’s development platform: