Home>Posts>Technology>VIA’s New ARM-based Digital Signage System – Does it Pass?

VIA’s New ARM-based Digital Signage System – Does it Pass?

By ·Categories: Technology·Published On: June 27th, 2012·1.5 min read·
Raspberry Pi - ARM-Based

Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi board has been getting a lot of interest from the enthusiast community, and even from some of our larger project customers. The educational intent and super-low price open up a lot of possibilities, both for people that wouldn’t normally have access to such devices and for tinkerers and enthusiasts who will no doubt find some remarkable ways to leverage this platform.

For a lot of people, though, the Raspberry Pi might be just a bit too minimalist, even in $35 guise. That means taking a pretty big step up in price to a PandaBoard, BeagleBoard, Snowball, or other dev kits. Here at Logic Supply, we’ve been looking for a Cortex-A8 or A9-based board with standard I/O, decent software support, and a price tag that makes the up-front software porting costs make sense for our customers for a few years, and it looks like VIA may be offering a suitable solution, the “VIA ARM DS System.”

While targeted at digital signage and lacking some of the industrial I/O we’ve been hoping for (mainly RS-232), it ticks several important boxes: Cortex-A9, up to 2GB of RAM, and up to 64GB of flash storage. And, it has an enclosure, so it can be deployed easily on its own. Based on the specs, they should be able to produce a base version with 512MB RAM and 2GB storage for around $100 in high enough volume. Hopefully, the fact that it’s an easy-to-deploy complete system with Android support will drive enough adoption so they can hit those lower price points.

What do you think? Is this a legitimate contender that could offer Atom/x86 some serious competition in the low-cost segment?


About the Author: Tony Fiset

Tony Fiset is a previous Product Manager at Logic Supply. Tony specialized in mainboards, processors, and barebones and has application oversight in the mobile and industrial automation verticals. Tony has a degree in mechanical engineering. He has a personal passion for HTPC projects and fine scotch.
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  1. Jeff Black July 23, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    If they can actually hit the price points they are planning on, I think it could be a great solution, but it will have to be widely requested and adopted in order to be at that cost.

  2. Tony July 23, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    @Jeff Black: After speaking with VIA last week, I’m afraid I may have been a bit optimistic. I still think that $100 is the price that needs to be hit for customers to justify the up-front porting costs, but I don’t think this will be the product to do that.

    On the plus side, VIA is working on two other ARM-based boards. The VAB-800 will likely be in line with current dev kit boards ($170-$200?), but the other should retail for around $130.

  3. Jeffrey Gandionco July 25, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    @ Tony: On the contrary, I believe the ALTA DS is perfectly priced. If it were only $100, I think the value of the device, being an all in one DS Solution, would be severely understated. The return on investment is pretty high because of saved energy costs going with the ARM architecture. The specifications are just right – not too high to consider it to be overdone, and with a few characteristics under the mark, it wouldn’t really support that great of 1080p content. I think VIA’s product may capture a healthy chunk of this market.

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