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Creditcard-sized XScale SBC boasts extensive embedded Linux support

Aug 18, 2003 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 12 views

InHand Electronics Inc. announced immediate availability of the third generation of its tiny “Fingertip” single-board computer family. The credit card sized Fingertip3 is InHand's first SBC to be based on an Intel XScale microprocessor, and also provides substantially enhanced power management capabilities and an SD Card slot. The board supports embedded Linux as its target operating system.

According to InHand CEO Andrew Girson, the new SBC provides a range of power management capabilities, including enhancements to measure and adjust the CPU's core operating voltage on-the-fly and optional support for an ultra-low-power mobile memory architecture. Additionally, the board supports InHand's “BatterySmart” system software suite, which leverages the XScale processor's dynamic performance monitoring capabilities and includes features such as an improved real-time dynamic clock-scaling algorithm, reduced power peripheral software drivers, and additional measurement and analysis tools, Girson said. Combining the BatterySmart software with low-voltage memory, Fingertip3's idle-mode power consumption is 50 percent lower than the previous StrongARM-based Fingertip SBC, he added.

Fingertip3 front (left) and back (right) view

Summary of hardware specifications . . .

  • CPU — Intel XScale, PXA255, up to 400MHz
  • Flash Memory — 16-32 MB, Intel Strata flash with bootloader and on-board programming (JTAG)
  • SDRAM — 32-64 MB with self-refresh
  • Display controller — 1/8 VGA / QVGA / HVGA LCD controller with touchscreen and backlight support
  • Serial Ports — 1 RS232, 1 CMOS (logic level), 1 RS232/CMOS
  • USB Slave port
  • Other interfaces: synchronous serial interface (SSP and SPI); I²C; Network Synchronous Serial Port (NSSP)
  • Digital I/O — 12 general purpose pins, interrupt capable
  • Audio — 20-bit stereo audio codec with direct connection to microphone and speaker, Full AC97 compliant
  • Two onboard expansion slots: CompactFlash slot; Secure Digital (SD) slot
  • Bluetooth option, via add-on module
  • GPS option, via add-on module
  • Dimensions — 2.4 x 3.4 in.
  • Power consumption — as low as 350mW

InHand's embedded Linux support for the SBC includes . . .

  • Linux Kernel version 2.4.19
  • UI/GUI options: terminal console; Microwindows GUI; Trolltech Qtopia
  • Filesytems supported: JFFS2, Ramdisk
  • Other utilities include: BusyBox, TinyLogin, Linux Loader PXA, pcmcia-cs, bash, dhcpcd, net-tools, wireless_tools, troll-ftpd, utelnetd, madplay, sox, flnx, Microwindows, Viewml, w3c-libwww, and more.
  • InHand Linux PXA v0306 BSP CD includes binaries, development tools (detailed in next item), and sources for the Linux kernel, InHand hardware-related drivers, and supplied open source utilities.
  • Embedded Linux development tools and other related support includes:
    • ARM Cross Compiler (v2.95.3) for Kernel and Apps
    • User Friendly GUI BSP Installer
    • Documentation
    • Minicom Scripts Examples
    • Configurable JFFS2 file system
    • Configurable Ramdisk file system


A Fingertip3 reference platform which includes the SBC along with a development platform, software, and documentation is priced at $2,995. The SBC by itself is available for volume purchase, and the complete Fingertip3 reference platform is also available for licensing, InHand said.

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