How much does hardware capable of running Linux cost? Recently, I priced components for a fairly minimal system.
- CPU: Atmel AT91SAM9260 (< $10)
- 32MBytes of SDRAM ($6)
- 256MBytes of NAND flash ($6)
These are prices for relatively low volumes on the order of 1000 pieces. So, you can get a processor, RAM, and flash that is more than capable of running Linux for about $20. Think about the possibilities. The AT91SAM9260 is a rather impressive part and includes interfaces for about anything including USB, SD/MMC, Ethernet, and the list goes on. It also includes that capability to boot from NAND flash which eliminates a dedicated NOR boot flash and reduces cost. If you don’t want to do a full processor design, processor modules can be obtained for less than $100 .
So, at this price you have to ask: can I afford not to embed Linux in my product? Can I afford not to take advantage of standard interfaces like Ethernet and USB? Can I afford not to take advantage of 1000’s of high quality applications and drivers? Can I afford to not implement a system with virtually unlimited storage and capability for expansion? Think about this carefully because your competitors are. Have questions or need help getting started? Contact us — we can help.