In the 21st century, changes appear very frequently, sometimes very steep under a revolution. The cost of 1 GHz processing power decreased from hundreds of dollars to tens of dollars in no more than 10 years, which gives us a chance to take advantage of all of these changes and encourage the innovative ideas.
An Israel-based company called SolidRun design a low-cost single board computer platform aiming at giving customers features they want. The open-source credit-card sized boards part of HummingBoard series comes with a design closer to become preferred by those who choose to take on the DIY route and are comfortable with the Raspberry Pi.
With capabilities to run a full version of Linux or Android operating system, the HummingBoard series is broken in three single board computers with differences in features such as processors or connectors.
The HummingBoard board packs into the same size and shape as the well-known Raspberry Pi a large amount of power and connectivity. Filling the same niche as Raspberry Pi, the new single board platform brings a more processing power, more RAM, and more USB connections than Pi. More than that, theoretically you can upgrade the processor and memory on all the three versions of HummingBoard boards.
i1, i2 and i2eX: Differences and Specifications
From solo to quad core, a maximal flexibility with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, from Ubuntu, Debian, Arch, to Android and XBMC, the HummingBoard is available in three models with a starting price of $45 and a maximum price of $100.
The three versions are available under the name of i1, i2, and i2eX. The i1 board is the entry level version with a price of $45, while the i2 version doubles both the processing power and the memory for the price of $75. As you can guess, the i2eX is a mix of them both with all the connectivity options and the price of $100.
Differences and Specifications
|i.MX6 Dual Lite
|Memory||32 bit, 512MB||64 bit, 1GB||64 bit, 1GB|
|3D GPU Type||OpenGL ES1.1,2.0||OpenGL ES1.1,2.0||OpenGL ES1.1,2.0 Quad Shader|
|Video||HDMI 1080p||HDMI 1080p||HDMI 1080p|
|LVDS Display Out||No||No||Yes|
|MIPI CSI 2.0 Camera||2 Lane CSI-2||2 Lane CSI-2||2 Lane CSI-2|
|PCI-Express Gen 2||No||No||Yes|
|Powered USB 2.0||2||2||2|
|Powered Internal USB 2.0||No||No||2|
|UHS-1 Micro SD interface||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|RTC with backup battery||No||No||Yes|
|Coax SPDIF audio out||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Audio Out||PWM Mono output||PWM Mono output||Analog Stereo out and MIC In|
|Infra Red Remote Control Receive||No||No||Yes|
|GPIO header||UART, 8 GPIO, SPI with 2 CS, I2C **||UART, 8 GPIO, SPI with 2 CS, I2C **||UART, 8 GPIO, SPI with 2 CS, I2C **|
(**)Other functions are available via i.MX6 pin muxing.
An overview of HummingBoard
All the three models are designed for flexibility with support for a wide operating systems including Android, Ubuntu or Debian, and definitely are engineered to meet the ‘Internet of Things’ applications and the upcoming generation of DIY robots.
If you plan to use i1, i2 or i2eX, share your thoughts with a comment and let us known why one of these single board computers are good enough for your project.