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PocketBeagle debuts to put Raspberry Pi Zero W aside

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PocketBeagle

Partnering with Octavo Systems, the BeagleBoard.org Foundation has expanded its affordable line of computing boards and launched the PocketBeagle as an advanced version of the original BeagleBone Black. The new board is designed to be a close alternative to the lately launched Raspberry Pi Zero W.

The credit card-sized PocketBeagle is powered by Octave Systems’ OSD3358 system-in-package (SiP) that has a Texas Instruments ARM Sitara AM3358 processor with a clock speed of 1GHz. The SiP also includes 512MB of DDR3 RAM and two programmable real-time units (PRUs). Notably, the PRUs are available as 200MHz microcontroller CPUs to help you run any of your customised software. You can leverage the advanced support to develop quadcopters, 3D printers or balancing robots through the new board.

While the existing ARM processor is fair enough for throughput, the addition of PRUs enables low-latency to deliver a quick response for a predefined task.

Unlike Raspberry Pi Zero W, the PocketBeagle has 72 expansion pin headers with support for power and battery operations and high-speed USB. There are also eight analogue inputs and 44 digital input/output headers.

The board has an SGX530 graphics accelerator and wireless connectivity options such as Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth. Besides, there is a microUSB port and a microSD card slot.

Open source soul

Similar to other boards by the BeagleBone.org Foundation, the PocketBeagle by default runs GNU/Linux and supports various high-level programming languages. You can utilise the open source hardware design that accompanies EAGLE and KiCAD files to start your own project with the latest development. Moreover, there is full-compatibility with Debian Linux images customised for existing BeagleBone boards.

The PocketBeagle is available with a price tag of US$25, which is significantly higher than the US$10 Raspberry Pi Zero W. However, the experience on the new board is comparably quite advanced and worth spending US$15 more.