Texas Instruments has launched its ARM-based BeagleBone Black PC today, and it's certainly going to raise some eyebrows in the DIY crowd. The board is a mix of two famous and loved devices. It has the microcontroller capabilities of the Arduino board, while being able to perform many of the same tasks as a Raspberry PI. The board is of course open-source and will be running a pre-installed Angstrom Linux OS. The specifications are a single-core Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 processor at 1GHz, 512MB DDR3 RAM, and 2GB of eMMC memory that holds the OS. It also has two Programmable Real Time Units, which are responsible for the microcontroller tasks.
The board is shipped with a single DC power barrel connector, two USB 2.0 ports, a micro SD card reader, a micro HDMI port for video output, and a 10/100 Ethernet jack. On top of that, the BeagleBone Black has two 46-pin connectors located on either side of the board, which accept cape expansion cards. These improve the functionality of the board by adding sensors, serial ports, batteries, LCD displays, and FPGAs.
According to Texas Instruments, the BeagleBone Black is capable of driving a 3D printer due to the improved ARM processor and the pre-installed OS. The BeagleBone Black also has potential in robotics, since a powerful processor and microcontrollers on the same small board opens up for many possibilities, such as machine vision, which is the new craze amongst developers.
That Texas Instruments are able to cram so much hardware on a tiny PCB and maintain a price of only $45 is truly remarkable.
Source: Extreme Tech