Arduinos are awesome for what they have introduced to the world. They have allowed young and old people to easily learn and adapt to working with microcontrollers. They have made computing and digital control available to everyone and have kept everything open sourced along the way. As a result, they now have one of the largest communities in the world of DIY. However, Arduinos have their limitations, and with the “internet of things” slowly working its way into our lives, Arduino does not want to be one step behind.
With that said; two new boards are on the way from Arduino. They are the Arduino Tre and the Galileo. These boards will feature processors capable of handling Linux applications which will throw the Arduino right into the competition with single board computers (SBCs).
Arduino Tre... I suspect this board may be on element14 some day soon. (via Arduino)
To start with the Tre, it is going to feature a 1–GHz Texas Instruments Sitara AM355x processor (ARM Cortex A-8). If this processor sounds familiar that's because it may be to a lot of people. This is the same processor which the Beagle Bone Black features. Indeed, the Arduino Tre is the result of a close collaboration with the BeagleBoard.org foundation. As a result, the board will also have tons of support and help already available for working with the A-8 processor.
“By choosing TI's Sitara AM355x processor to power the Arduino Tre, We're enabling customers to leverage the capabilities of an exponentially faster processor running full Linux. Our customers now have a scalable portfolio at their fingertips, from the microcontroller – based Uno to the Tre Linux computer,” commented Massimo Banzi, co-founder of Arduino.
The board will come in an architecture which will look like a normal Uno board in the middle, with expanded pins and connectivity around the outside. This design will allow all of the current and previous shields to be compatible with the Tre as well as expand upon previous projects one may have worked on. In addition, it looks like the board is going to feature pins for Zigbee compatibility in the middle.
The board will feature lots of GPIO pins along with 1080P HDMI support and high definition input/output audio. An Ethernet 10/100 port will be available along with connection for LCD expansion. Furthermore, as with many other SBCs, a SD card slot will be available for storage which usually holds the system image. One interesting note is that this will be the first and only -Arduino board so far which will be manufactured in the United States.
Arduino Galileo, Intel joins the fray... (via Arduino)
Moving on to the Galileo, this will be a board made in collaboration with Intel and Arduino. It will feature an Intel Quark SoC X1000 application processor. This is one of the first Intel chips designed for SBCs which will be aimed at a market previously dominated by ARM chips.
“Intel Galileo features the Intel Quark SoC X1000, the first product from the Intel Quark technology family of low-power, small core products,” an Intel representative said. “Intel Quark technology will extend Intel architecture into rapidly growing areas-from the Internet of Things to wearable computing in the future.”
The Galileo board, like the Tre version, will feature a pin out which resembles the Uno version of the Arduino board. However, all of the pins will operate at 3.3V and will have a jumper available which will make all the voltages at the pins 5V if needed. Since the previous and current Arduino shields will be compatible, this feature will be needed if using with a shield. In addition to the Uno's features, the Galileo will have a mini – PCI Express slot, 100Mb Ethernet port, Micro-SD slot, RS-232 serial port, and 8MB of NAND flash memory.
Arduino will now be a major player in the SBC market. The Arduino has already made a prominent name foritself in the microcontroller world, and that huge community will likely be passed on to their SBC boards. One major advantage the Intel based board will bring to the market is support for x86 architecture. In addition, Intel CEO, Brian Krzanich has announced they will be donating 50,000 boards to over 1,000 universities worldwide. This will definitely kick things off on the right direction. The Galileo is set to be released in November and sell for under $60. The Arduino Tre is going to be released in Spring of 2014 sometime and a price has not yet been announced. Nevertheless, makers and the DIY communities now have a plethora of boards to choose from and experiment with. Which one will you choose?
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