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EOMA-68 prototype board

December 16, 2012 — BarryK
Fascinating, there is now a first prototype of the EOMA-68 Allwinner-A10-based board. This is being developed by Rhombus-Tech:

Here is a photo of the prototype board:

The EOMA-68 specification is described here:

And here is a conceptual description of how the CPU card would plug into a laptop:

What sparked my interest in this is that Allwinner plan to release the A20 SoC, that will (apparently) be pin compatible with the A10:

Meaning that the EOMA-68 CPU card can be easily upgraded to the later SoC.

The prototype board is being discussed in the Arm-netbook mail-list:

But, I still don't "get" EOMA-68. 68 pins is not many pins, and there is a lot of stuff that is not brought out to those pins. The A10 news page shows extra connectors on the CPU card:

I understand that some of those on-board connectors are for stand-alone development phase, such as the power socket and reset switch (see picture above).
But, if any connections need to be made directly onto the CPU card at run-time, it would make the entire concept of "upgradeable CPU card" useless.

Also, I did have reservations about the choice of the PCMCIA plug/socket, given that PCMCIA is dead, but apparently the plug/sockets are still being mass-produced, for other uses.


EOMA-68 prototype board & others
Username: Sage
In the end it'll all come down to marketing, availability and support. ARM design philosophy is already embedded in more devices than the rest put together. That's not the issue here, as all these emerging concept projects have embraced ARM/RISC. [Indeed, the most amazing Corps. have taken licenses!]. At present, only RPi has worldwide support/documentation and marketing/availability with the necessary appeal (push, as well as pull). The Avatar is already out-of-stock/discontinued at NewEgg and other attempts to break in, including the VIA board have fallen down on one of the essential criteria. That is not to say that RPi necessarily has 'legs'. It's going to be very difficult to fulfill its originators prime aims, eg school/academic training module, especially in assembler, for which it is perfectly suited. Indeed it is difficult to find [i]any[/i] support, even amongst this community for the daunting challenges of assembler coding. I guess we'll have to leave it to the Russians who excel in this area? Perhaps, now that CPC is marketing the GPIO accessories for the RPi and documentation is extensive, HW gurus will take up the cudgels. Maybe I'll get it to sense the footfall up my driveway and ring the doorbell, switch the lights on, sing God Save the Queen... Oh yes, the message: maybe not waste intellectual effort casting around when there's already a workable, if imperfect, prospect already available? Especially when it's run through a charitable trust.

Username: BarryK
"My worry about shoe-horning everything into just 68 pins still nags at me. For example, SoCs have hardware-reset input and many/most have a separate battery input for a real-time clock. However, neither of those is specified in EOMA-68. There are other projects with more pins: ...that link argues against the other choices. ULP-COM is particularly interesting, with a 314-pin connector:

Pi store opens
Username: Sage
" The RTC issue is addressed along with other design criteria. At least they're honest - it all comes down to cost. As for the present RPi audience, I suspect Jones is a tad too optimistic, I'd say 60-somethings!

picture of first board
Username: don570
"Picture of first board that has been delivered from China (Dec 14) [IMG][/IMG]

picture of first board
Username: Sage
""delivered" - may we know the delivered cost in $ to US, to GB and eu to the EU, delivery times, availability, support and website/hard copy documentation? Any market projections around? What OS are available? Peripherals?

Re EOMA-68
Username: BarryK
"[i]My worry about shoe-horning everything into just 68 pins still nags at me.[/i] Maybe I am whinging too much. Within the limited range of intended applications, such as laptops and tablets, it might be OK.

f2fs integrated into kernel
Username: 01micko
"Well, should be an interesting development any way. Of course Samsung have an agenda but at least it's open source and available to everyone. [url=]Read more here. The f2fs-tools need more development though for it to be useful to us.

Tags: general