Qualcomm, best known for its low-power chips for mobile devices, is adding to its lineup of boards that are aimed to encourage software and hardware development based on its silicon.
The chip maker later this year will release the DragonBoard 410c, a platform based on Qualcomm's 64-bit Snapdragon 410 system-on-a-chip (SoC) that officials hope will fuel the development of hardware prototypes and software for such solutions as embedded systems—such as robotics, cameras and set-top boxes—and Internet of things (IoT) devices, including wearable technology.
The DragonBoard 410 will join two other larger development boards from Qualcomm, the DragonBoards 800 and 810.
"The DragonBoard 410c is a powerful, low-cost platform engineered to allow the rapid development of commercial solutions to address the expanding embedded compute and [Internet of everything] industries across multiple operating systems," Jason Bremner, senior vice president of product management for Qualcomm, said in a statement. "The DragonBoard 410c will play a critical role in helping drive the innovation of embedded computing products on a global basis."
Qualcomm and other tech vendors, such as Intel and Broadcom, have been active in bringing hardware and software makers to their products and architectures through the use of development boards. Such platforms are designed to make it easier for developers and do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiasts to more quickly create prototypes and software by giving them a foundation and the tools they need.
For example, Intel has created the Edison, Galileo and Curie development platforms for its small, low-power Quark family of SoCs, while Broadcom offers its WICED Sense development kit and MediaTek rolled out its LinkIt Development Platform. The Raspberry Pi Foundation also offers a range of development boards.
Much of the focus has been around the embedded and IoT spaces, which isn't surprising, given the expected growth in the number of small, connected devices over the next several years. Cisco Systems officials are forecasting that the number of connected devices—from smartphones and tablets to cars, home appliances, industrial systems, security platforms and sensors—will grow from 25 billion last year to more than 50 billion by 2020.
Qualcomm officials expect the DragonBoard 410, which supports Linux and Google's Android operating systems, to be used for a broad array of systems, from medical devices and vending machines to building automation, industrial control, digital signage and casino gaming consoles.
It will become available this summer, according to Qualcomm, which is the world's top chip maker for smartphones and other mobile devices. The company did not say what the board will cost.
The DragonBoard 410 is about the size of a credit card, and includes a quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 CPU that runs up to 1.2GHz per core and Qualcomm's own Adreno 306 GPU. It also offers 1080p high-definition video playback and capture capabilities that support H.264 encoding, support for a 13-megapixel camera, LPDDR2/3 533MHz single-channel 32-bit (4.2GBps) non-POP memory and eMMC 4.51 SD 3.0 (UHS-I) flash storage.
Integrated connectivity includes 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi, Bluetooth and FM, and GPS capabilities. I/O interfaces include High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI), two USB ports and a micro SD card slot, and expansion possibilities through a 40-pin Low Speed connector and 60-pin High Speed connector, as well as an analog connector.