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Tiny SBC runs Android and Linux on Snapdragon 410

Mar 16, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 11,051 views

[Updated May 20, 2015] — Qualcomm’s Raspberry Pi-sized DragonBoard 410c SBC runs Android or Linux on the quad-core Cortex-A53 based Snapdragon 410 SoC, and offers WiFi, BT, and GPS.

Qualcomm Inc. subsidiary Qualcomm Technologies has unveiled the second single board computer to comply with 96Boards Consumer Edition hardware specification from Linaro’s new community project and standards organization. The DragonBoard 410c follows’s flagship, CircuitCo-built HiKey board. The HiKey, which similarly supports Android and Linux, was the world’s first 64-bit, ARMv8 hacker board. The DragonBoard 410c won’t ship until summer, so it’s unlikely to be the second. At 85 x 54mm, both SBCs are nearly identical in size to the 85 x 56mm Raspberry Pi.

DragonBoard 410c, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The 96Boards Consumer Edition (CE) defines a spec with 85 x 54mm and 85 x 100mm footprint options. Like the HiKey, the DragonBoard 410c uses the smaller footprint, and similarly provides the specified 40- and 60-pin expansion connectors for stackable boards. An Enterprise Edition (EE) version of the spec will follow from in the second quarter.

96Boards CE form-factor specs for standard (left) and extended versions
(click images to enlarge)

HiKey board
(click to enlarge)

Launched by Linaro, the not-for-profit engineering organization backed by ARM and many of its top system-on-chip licensees, will offer a series of specs for small-footprint 32- and 64-bit Cortex-A boards based on a number of different ARM SoCs. Each spec defines a fixed set of minimum functions including USB, SD, HDMI, and standardized low speed and high speed peripheral connectors. Standardized expansion buses for peripheral I/O, display, and cameras “allow the hardware ecosystem to develop a range of compatible add-on products that will work on any 96Boards product over the lifetime of the platform,” stated Linaro when it launched in early February.

DragonBoard 410c details

The DragonBoard 410c is designed for a variety of embedded and IoT categories. These include robotics, cameras, set-top-boxes, wearables, medical devices, vending machines, building automation, industrial control, digital signage, and casino gaming, says Qualcomm.

While the HiKey featured an octa-core Kirin 620 SoC with 1.2GHz Cortex-A53 cores, a Mali-450MP4 GPU, and an LTE module, the DragonBoard 410c uses the better known quad-core, Cortex-A53 Snapdragon 410, clocked at 1.2GHz per core. The SoC also features a 400MHz Adreno 306 GPU.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The DragonBoard 410c SBC supports the Snapdragon 410 SoC with 1GB LPDDR3 and 8GB eMMC memories, as well as a microSD slot. It includes Qualcomm VIVE WiFi, Bluetooth, and Qualcomm IZat GPS positioning modules. No Ethernet port is available.

The DragonBoard 410c is further equipped with an HDMI port, a 13-megapixel camera interface, two USB 2.0 host ports and a micro-USB 2.0 device port. The dual 96Boards expansion connectors offer additional I/O, as detailed below.

DragonBoard 410c coastline

Although Arduino compatibility is not required by the 96Boards spec, the SBC is said to support Arduino boards via a mezzanine board. Perhaps this is the Arduino Uno compatible shield interface CircuitCo promised to develop when 96Boards launched.

Like the earlier 96Boards-style Hikey board, the DragonBoard 410c is positioned as a fully-integrated single board computer. However, a close inspection of both of these boards’ photos reveals that each is constructed from multiple PCB layers, soldered together.

Preliminary specs for the DragonBoard 410c include:

  • Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 (4x Cortex-A53 cores @ up to 1.2GHz); Qualcomm Adreno 306 GPU @ 400MHz
  • Memory/storage:
    • LPDDR2/3 533MHz single-channel 32-bit (4.2GBps) non-POP (amount unspecified)
    • eMMC 4.51 (amount unspecified)
    • MicroSD 3.0 (UHS-I) slot
  • Multimedia I/O:
    • Supports 1080p HD playback and capture with H.264 (AVC)
    • HDMI port
    • Support for 13-megapixel camera, with Wavelet Noise Reduction, JPEG decoder, and other post-processing techniques done in hardware
  • Wireless:
    • Qualcomm VIVE 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
    • Bluetooth
    • Qualcomm/Atheros IZat Gen8C GPS location positioning module
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 2.0 host ports
    • Micro-USB 2.0 device port
    • 40-pin Low-Speed connector (UART, SPI, I2S, 2x I2C, 12x GPIO, DC power)
    • 60-pin High-Speed connector (4L-MIPI DSI, USB, 2x I2C, 2L+4LMIPI CSI)
    • Footprint for one optional 16 pin analog expansion connector
    • Arduino expansion available via add-on mezzanine board
  • Other features — USB and SD boot switches
  • Dimensions — 85 x 54mm (96Boards CE Standard spec)
  • Operating system — Android; Linux; Windows 10

Qualcomm’s announcement of the DragonBoard 410c said Lineo and its group are handling the software integration side of the product, but made no mention of the board’s hardware manufacturer.

DragonBoard 810
(click to enlarge)

Previous DragonBoards we’ve seen, such as the DragonBoard 8074 development kit for the 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 and the more recent DragonBoard for Snapdragon 810, have come from Qualcomm partner Intrinsyc. Unlike the DragonBoard 410c, Intrinsyc’s DragonBoard kits have consisted of a computer-on-module (COM) plugged into a carrier board. In an email to LinuxGizmos, Intrinsyc CEO Tracy Rees confirmed that Intrinsyc is not the manufacturer of the DragonBoard 410c, but instead is preparing a SnapDragon 410-based development kit that again takes the form of a “production ready” COM combined with a carrier board.

“The feature-rich functionality of the DragonBoard 410c will enable developers, makers and OEMs to utilize ARM technology to accelerate the rate of inventions and products reaching the embedded industry,” stated Noel Hurley, general manager, CPU group, ARM.

“We look forward to assisting the DragonBoard 410c development community, makers, universities and embedded product developers through the community site,” stated George Grey, CEO, Linaro Ltd.

Further information

The DragonBoard 410c will be available this summer at an unstated price. More information may be found at Qualcomm’s DragonBoard 410c product page, as well as at the web-page for the SBC.

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