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Open source, IoT-ready Udoo hacker SBC starts at $49

Apr 22, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 2,939 views

The open source, IoT-focused Udoo Neo SBC has won Kickstarter funding. The Neo runs Android or Linux on an i.MX6 SoloX, and has WiFi, BT, and Arduino hooks.

Seco’s Udoo project unveiled the Udoo Neo single board computer in prototype form in early March. The project went to Kickstarter yesterday to formally launch the tiny Linux- and Android-ready hacker board and raised its modest $15,000 goal in just 80 minutes. We say modest because the Udoo project has already won a fair share of popularity in the community SBC world with open-spec SBCs like the Udoo Quad, and probably didn’t need a Kickstarter campaign to find success with the Neo. The campaign is now running in the $60,000+ range, with 43 days to go.

Udoo Neo, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Aimed at Internet of Things applications, the 85 x 59.3mm Udoo Neo is still available in some “basic” early bird funding packages selling for $35 (regularly $49), with 512MB DDR3L RAM and no Ethernet port or motion sensors. This and other kits include WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and Arduino expansion compatibility, among other features. Judging by the Kickstarter headline and marketing materials, one might think at first that the Neo may have also added Raspberry Pi compatibility, but this is not the case.

A fully-equipped $59 Kickstarter package gives you 1GB RAM, 10/100 Ethernet, and a trio of 3-axis motion sensors. Accessory packages that add an 8GB microSD card, a power adapter, and converter cables for the micro-sized HDMI and USB ports, go for $74 (basic) or $84 (full). Other packages include two-pack kits for $94 or $114, as well as a $199 Maker Kit that adds a 7-inch touchscreen and all accessories. All units ship in September.

Udoo Neo with favorite mascots (left) and simplified detail view
(click images to enlarge)

The Udoo Neo incorporates the i.MX6 SoloX, Freescale’s recent spin-off of its single-core, Cortex-A9 i.MX6 Solo SoC. The SoloX is notable for adding a Cortex-M4 microcontroller unit (MCU) for real-time processing. The SoloX also integrates a modest Vivante GPU with 3D acceleration, and features new security, GbE bridging, and core and power management features not found on the standard i.MX6.

The Udoo Neo uses the Cortex-M4 to run Freescale’s MQX RTOS, as well as mimic an Atmel Atmega MCU, enabling you to run Arduino sketches using the standard Arduino IDE. The board also offers full Arduino Uno pin compatibility for Arduino shields.

Udoo Neo detail view, front (left) and back
(click images to enlarge)

The specs do not appear to have changed since the Neo was announced. A full spec list may be found in LinuxGizmos’ initial coverage. Highlights include coastline micro-HDMI, USB 2.0 host, and micro-HDMI ports, in addition to the optional 10/100 Ethernet port. The 802.11b/g/n interface includes WiFi Direct Smart Config support, letting you directly connect to other WiFi Direct devices in peer-to-peer fashion.

Onboard interfaces include an LVDS display interface and an analog camera link, as well as variety of industrial and motor control I/O. These include UARTs, CANBus, I2C, SPI, SDIO, and eight PWM pins. In addition to the Arduino connector, you get 36 GPIOs, six analog inputs, and six “multiplexable signals.” The Udoo Neo runs on 5V DC power via the micro-USB port, and also provides a 6-15V DC power jack. Battery power is also supported.

Udoo Neo

As always with Udoo, the Linux 3.10-based Neo is open source in both hardware and software. The Kickstarter page describes a variety of Internet of Things applications as suitable matches for the low power board, including robots and drones.

Users can quickly switch between Linux and a vanilla Android 4.4.3 build by switching microSD cards, says the Udoo project. The Neo is initially supported with the project’s existing Ubuntu-based Udoobuntu distribution. By the September ship date, however, the board should support some of the other planned Linux distros, including XBMC, Linaro Ubuntu, ArchLinux, Debian, Yocto Project, Volumio, OpenMediaVault, Debian Wheezy armHF, and Open Elec.

The Udoo Neo was developed with the help of embedded design firm AidiLab, a spin-off from the Interaction Design Lab of Siena University. AidiLab is not only a design partner, but appears to be principally responsible for running the Udoo community project, as Seco say it “manages the communication and the relation with the user base.”

Udoo Neo Kickstarter video

Further information

The Udoo Neo is available on Kickstarter through June 4 starting at $35 (early bird) or $49 for the basic version, or $59 for the full package, with shipments due in September. More information may be found on the Udoo Neo Kicktarter page and the Udoo Neo product page.

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