Well, we have what looks like an electronics Ryder Cup brewing here. Representing Europe we have RS Components and Farnell element 14. Waving the United States flag are Mouser Electronics and Digi-Key. The prize is the lucrative hobbyist, educational and professional engineering desire to buy a low cost computer. The contenders are the UK’s Raspberry Pi and the BeagleBone Black from Texas Instruments.

The cudgels have been well and truly taken up today as Digi-Key and Mouser Electronics have announced that they are now taking orders for the $45 BeagleBone Black based around a 1GHz AM Cortex A-8 processor. While $20 more expensive than the Raspberry Pi, it offers a powerful alternative.

The sleeker, more powerful, BeagleBone Black, features numerous improvements over the previous iteration including ARM Cortex-A8 processor, 512 MB DDR3 system memory, reduced power consumption, and the addition of HDMI connectivity.

The original BeagleBone is a credit-card-sized, open-source, hardware expandable Linux computer that connects with the Internet and runs software such as Android 4.0 and Ubuntu. It allows developers to evaluate TI’s Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 processors with a single cable and under 10-second Linux boot, enabling development in less than five minutes.

“During our years of collaboration, Digi-Key has demonstrated a distinctive ability to swiftly and efficiently market and distribute the BeagleBoard line to their extensive customer base,” said Jason Kridner, co-founder, BeagleBoard.org. “Their support has been a vital component in the success of the BeagleBoard line, and we are excited to continue this relationship with BeagleBone Black.”

Digi-Key jumped in with both feet when the BeagleBone was launched in 2008, leveraging its marketing and distribution capabilities to support the technology.

“Four years ago, Digi-Key saw exceptional potential in the Beagle Board line of product,” said Mark Zack, Vice President, Global Semiconductor Product at Digi-Key. “TI’s innovative single-board computing solutions offer outstanding value to our product line and we are excited to strengthen this partnership with the BeagleBone Black.”


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