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Cortex-A8 modules gain development kits

Dec 15, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Gumstix announced four product packs for its Texas Instruments OMAP3530-based Overo computer-on-modules (COMs). The packages, which include EVM, Wireless, Network, and Breakout packs, combine different versions of the Linux-ready Overo COM with various expansion boards, cables, and other peripherals to meet a wide range of design requirements, says the company.

Gumstix, which introduced its Overo COM family last year, initially offered –- and still sells — an Overo Summit pack for its OMAP3503-based Overo Earth. The new packs support either the Overo Fire, which supports OpenGL, WiFi, and Bluetooth, or the Overo Water (OpenGL only), both of which incorporate the multimedia-enhanced OMAP3530 version of the Texas Instruments (TI) OMAP35x system-on-chip (see farther below for more background on the Overo COMs and expansion boards.)

Gumstix Overo EVM pack (left) and Overo Wireless pack (right)

The new Overo packs are configured as follows, with packs listed in order of descending price:

  • Overo EVM pack — The Overo EVM pack combines the top-of-the-line Fire module with a new "Chestnut43" expansion board, and targets "smart device development and prototyping," says Gumstix. Features are said to include 8GB of storage, Bluetooth, Ethernet, high speed USB Host and USB OTG, and a 40-pin header with PWM, I2C, SPI and A/D lines. Bundled peripherals and accessories include a 4.3-inch touchscreen, USB cables, an Ethernet cable, and a 5V US power adapter, says the company.
  • Overo Wireless pack — The Overo Wireless pack combines the Fire COM with a Palo35 expansion board and targets the development of low-cost, wireless-enabled products such as a smart handheld device, power management meter, or robot, says Gumstix. The Wireless pack offers 8GB of storage, Bluetooth, 802.11b/g WiFi, high speed USB Host and OTG, and a 40-pin header with PWM, I2C, SPI and A/D lines. Bundled peripherals are said to include a 3.5-inch touchscreen, USB cables, and a 5V US power adapter.
  • Overo Network pack — The Network pack integrates an Overo Water module with a Tobi expansion board, and is designed for producing a network-connected information appliance or data communication device that can make use of OpenGL graphics. The Network pack provides 8GB of storage, Ethernet, high speed USB Host and USB OTG, and the same 40-pin header used in the above packs. The pack also includes USB cables, an Ethernet cable, an HDMI/DVI cable, and a 5V US power adapter, says the company.
  • Overo Breakout pack — The low-cost Overo Breakout pack combines an Overo Water module with a new "Pinto-TH" expansion board, and is designed for the student lab or OMAP design workshop. The pack ships with a DIP breadboard set-up for OMAP3530 programming, and offers 8GB of storage, high speed USB OTG, and a non-populated 60-pin header with PWM, I2C, SPI and A/D lines. Extras include USB cables and a 5V US power adapter.

Overo background

The Overo Earth family of COMs was billed as the next generation successor to the popular 3.2 x 0.8 x 3.2-inch Gumstix Verdex modules. The Overo Earth is 40 percent smaller than the Verdex, and swaps out the Marvell PXA270 processor for the more powerful Texas Instruments (TI) OMAP35xx SoC. Although clocked similarly at 600MHz, the OMAP35xx offers faster performance, thanks to its ARM Cortex-A8 superscalar core, which enables instruction-level parallelism within a single processor. All the modules offer Linux development support.

Overo Earth module

(Click to enlarge)

In April, the Overo family was expanded with similarly sized modules including the WiFi-enabled Overo Air, which, like the Overo Earth, incorporates the basic OMAP3503 model from the OMAP35xx line. Gumstix also added the Overo Water and Overo Fire modules, which incorporate the high-end OMAP3530.

All four Overo modules are equipped with 256MB of low-power DDR RAM and 256MB of NAND flash, says Gumstix. The company offers a variety of development boards for the Overo modules, including the basic Summit board, the Ethernet-enabled Tobi board, and two LCD touchscreen-ready modules including the 3.5-inch display Palo35 and the 4.3-inch display Palo43.

Chestnut43 expansion board

Since then, Gumstix has introduced a Chestnut43 expansion board (pictured above) that offers support for a 4.3-inch touchscreen, and provides additional features compared to the Palo43, including Ethernet and Bluetooth. Like the Palo43, it also offers full USB support, as well as stereo in and out.

The low-cost Pinto-TH board, meanwhile, is a DIP-style breakout board, with two configurable LEDs and push buttons, says Gumstix.


The new Overo packs are available now, with pricing as follows, says Gumstix: Overo EVM ($442), Overo Wireless ($389), Overo Network ($327), and the Overo Breakout ($242). Gumstix cautions that customers outside the U.S. and Canada should "purchase the products of their desired pack individually, selecting the appropriate power supply for their region."

More information on the packs may be found here. More on the Chestnut43 board, available for $79 separately, may be found here. More on the Pinto-TH ($27.50) should be here.

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