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Imagination Takes On Raspberry Pi

8/29/2014 11:00 AM EDT
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selinz
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Yes, we need another!
selinz   8/29/2014 1:14:25 PM
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Why? Cuz I like this direction and it gives the home electronics hobbiest something else to play with! Whereas once upon a time, the "techies" could amuse themselves with the latest PC. More recently, tablets and phones scratched the itch. But now, the difference between newest and 2 generation back products is so small that the curious "tinkerer" is ready to go more primitive and create low cost items that perform very specific functions.

Ok, I'm really talking about myself, but I assume that there are, well, 1.5 million others (I think that's the number in the article) who would also be interested. I have to agree with the final statement. Value is important. But more capability for a little more cash is compelling more the the hobbiest than to someone trying to design  something to sell.

DrFPGA
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Re: Yes, we need another!
DrFPGA   8/30/2014 6:54:22 PM
I wonder how many of these boards never get powered up by their purchaser. Too low a price and you never use it... I have several boards just waiting for the right project that never comes around...

Max The Magnificent
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Banana Pi
Max The Magnificent   8/29/2014 1:24:54 PM
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I just returned from ESC Brazil where I heard one of the keynote speakers -- Jon "MadDog" Hall -- talk about the Banana Pi, which he said was much faster and had greater capacity and performance as compared to the Raspberry Pi

Sanjib.A
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Re: Banana Pi
Sanjib.A   8/30/2014 10:26:52 AM
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@Max: I believe, some time back, there was an article about Banana Pi posted on EETimes or somebody posted a comment about Banana Pi and it looked to have more feature as compared to Raspberry Pi model B. Now the latest version of Raspberry Pi model B+ included most of those features.

I guess there is no end to it...we would see many more. And probably based on features, performance and availability of online resources, a couple of them would survive in long term.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Banana Pi
Max The Magnificent   8/30/2014 11:51:18 AM
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@Sanjib: Now the latest version of Raspberry Pi model B+ included most of those features.

I got the impression that the Banana Pi has a faster processor and more memory than the Raspberry Pi B+, but I haven;t looked into it (I'm more than happy with my Arduinos for the projects I'm working on).

betajet
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Most Raspberry Pis are US$35, not $25
betajet   8/29/2014 3:21:57 PM
A nit-pick: I believe most Raspberry Pis sold are the US$35 Model B (or new B+).  There is a $25 Model A available that has half the DRAM, no Ethernet, and a single USB port, but they don't sell as many of those since most users would prefer to spend the extra $10 on DRAM and Ethernet.  Model A is typically used in embedded applications that don't need Ethernet, especally battery-operated projects that can take advantage of the A's lower power consumption.

betajet
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CI20 is free, but...
betajet   8/29/2014 3:39:53 PM
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According the the CI20 article at LinuxGizmos (linuxgizmos.com/mips-tempts-hackers-with-raspbery-pi-like-dev-board):
The Creator CI20 is supplied free of charge to certain approved projects under Imagination's ecosystem.

They've been deluged with project propsals and are going to send boards to the most interesting ones.  Who knows when mere mortals will be able to get their hands on CI20s, and at what price.  There may be a dozen more competing boards by then :-)

IMO the most interesting thing about Raspberry Pi is the price, which at US$25 for the Model A was revolutionary.  The idea was to make it cheap enough that users -- especially children -- wouldn't have to worry about breaking an expensive piece of equipment.  This captured the imagination of many people, who realized that at $25 or $35 many RasPis would be sold so it would be worth developing hardware and software for it.  This in turn caused more RasPis to be sold, keeping the price low.

One factor with all these boards is the size and quality of the community that grows up around them.  Some of the boards out there have great technical specs, but there's very limited community support so if you're not a Linux system expert you are going to be in trouble if anything goes wrong.  RasPi has a very large community and have done a good job of making it as easy as possible to load operating systems.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: CI20 is free, but...
Max The Magnificent   8/30/2014 11:46:27 AM
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@betajet: IMO the most interesting thing about Raspberry Pi is the price, which at US$25 for the Model A was revolutionary.

I agree -- the sad thing I discovered in Brazil is that there's a 100% import tax on this sort of stuff. Also, their average household income is about 50% of the USA, which means the Raspberry Pi effectively costs 4X as much there as here...

nickflaherty
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Re: CI20 is free, but...
nickflaherty   9/1/2014 6:56:51 AM
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That's the interesting thing @betajet - a low price board creates not just the community of coders but a high volume market for embedded systems, keeping the price down and then becoming relevant to the ODM market Junko.

And while the initial demand is high (of course, it's free) the response from Imagination is they are looking at where to set the pricing. Don't forget there are even lower cost ARM  dev board out there - the Freescale Freedom M0+ board is $12 and open source (specifically to get around those problems in Brazil, @Max) but that's not a coder's board. Tying it up with the mbed development community was pushing exactly this area, but the lack of penertration in the consumer area is down to the lack of peripherals I think. That's why these board sit around @DrFPGA 

The other interesting thing is to look forwards. Imagination has pointed out that this first board doesn't use its Ensigma IP - what about a low cost Ingenic part with the Whisper WiFi IP and Warrior processor embedded as well? A low cost board with good WiFI out of the box running Android kitkat? That is a compelling coder/developer board at $25-$35 that would also make a huge difference to ODMs - and don't forget Imagination has a well established consumer electronics subsidiary (Pure) that already has volume board manufacturing deals. Add in Imagination's Flow cloud software on this to make it easily part of a home system with some aoutmatic discovery and it becomes compellingly easy to set up and use.

Those are the reasons I wouldn't be surprised if this goes head to head with the Pi, even with all those other board around.

junko.yoshida
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who is the target audience for this?
junko.yoshida   8/31/2014 8:20:43 PM
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I definitely like this direction. The world needs more of those boards. But then, I'd have to stop and ask. Who are the customers of this board? Who would need this board? Is Imagination targeting this board (which looks great!) at "tinkerers" or "makers" crowd, or professional ODMs of the world? Curious mind wants to know.

AZskibum
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Re: who is the target audience for this?
AZskibum   8/31/2014 9:45:31 PM
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My guess would be that it's targeted more at the maker community than at ODMs.

Daniel Payne
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No more free devices
Daniel Payne   9/4/2014 2:24:29 PM
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Just an FYI, Imagination has closed the free offer. 

nickflaherty
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Re: No more free devices
nickflaherty   9/8/2014 5:39:28 AM
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Indeed Daniel - I think the overwhelming (literally) response means we weill see som every interesting developments on the board side  

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