If you're into mini PCs and gadgets that can fit in the palm of your hand, you have to be stoked at the growing number of options to choose from. The latest such device is the BeagleBone Black, a next-generation open-source mini PC from BeagleBoard.org that's the size of a credit card and costs just $45. Driving the BeagleBone is a 1GHz SitaraT AM335x ARM CortexT-A8 processor from Texas Instruments.
This upgraded version of the original also sports twice as much RAM as before (512MB versus 256MB), has 2GB of onboard flash storage to run pre-loaded Linux software (you can also install Android), and boasts a micro-HDMI port, a new addition to the Black model. Other features include USB and Ethernet ports. All this comes packed into a tiny slice of silicon with a reduced price tag (the previous model ran $89).
"The ticket to maximizing the full potential of BeagleBone Black is to tap into the wealth of information available in one of the most active communities in the industry, BeagleBoard.org. Interact with other developers to learn, answer questions, share ideas or just watch for inspiration. By utilizing the brilliant minds and contributions of open-source developers, BeagleBoard.org members can solve their development challenges quickly," BeagleBoard says.
There are more than 30 plug-in boards called "capes" available throughout the community that are compatible with the BeagleBone Black, and more are on the way. These capes allow you to use the BeagleBone Black as a 3D printer, DMX lighting controller, Geiger counter, telerobotic submarine, LCD touch screen, and more.