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Can you afford not to use Linux in your product?

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.