PandaBoard, open-source TI OMAP 4 dual-core ARM Cortex A9 offered to select developers

Inexpensive open-source hardware can be hard to come by, but with the increasing popularity of DIY hardware development manufacturers have begun offering more low-cost solutions for hardware enthusiasts. Following in the footsteps of the BeagleBoard comes the PandaBoard — a complete development platform outfitted with Texas Instruments’ latest OMAP 4 processor that will be available to select developers mid-October.

Whereas the BeagleBoard is based off TI’s OMAP 3530 featuring a single-core ARM Cortex A8 running at 600MHz, the PandaBoard will have the brand new OMAP 4430 at its heart — a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 clocked at 1GHz. The board itself measures just 4″ x 4.5″ and comes loaded with 1GB of RAM as well as a treasure trove of connectivity options. WiFi, Bluetooth, and HDMI out capable of full 1080p HD are all there, as are 10/100 Ethernet, three USB 2.0 ports (2 Host, 1 OTG), and an RS-232 serial port. Rounding out the PandaBoard’s features are stereo in and out, a camera connector, and a SD/MMC card slot.

The PandaBoard early adopter program is currently available to any developer that can propose and implement a project showcasing the merits of the hardware. A pledge to release the code as open source is also required. This is a great opportunity for qualified developers to dabble with the bleeding edge of mobile technology that will come standard in the smartphones, tablets, and netbooks of the year to come. No word on price or general availability, but I’d love to start my first forays as a hardware hobbyist with one of these.

Sources: PandaBoard, OMAPpedia via ARMDevices, SlashGear