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?