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XScale dev module sprouts add-ons

Aug 7, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

E-con Systems has announced nine different add-ons, all with Linux drivers, for its Marvell PXA270-based reference platform. The new “Sirius” modules offer a two megapixel camera, quad UARTs, GSM/GPRS/GPS, thermal printer, fingerprint scanner, 802.11b, Bluetooth, smart-card reader, and 1D/2D barcode reader, says… E-con.

(Click here for a larger view of E-Con's Sirius)

E-con's Sirius, pictured above, is a Marvell PXA270-based platform that first shipped in 2006. Clocked at 520MHz, the device offers from 32MB to 128MB of RAM, 512MB or 1GB of flash storage, and support for both SD and Compact Flash memory cards. It also integrates a range of I/O, including two USB host ports, a USB client port, two serial ports, 10/100 Ethernet, Bluetooth, and audio in/out.

E-con's Sirius module now sports a wealth of add-ons
(Click to enlarge)

From the start, according to E-con, the Sirius reference design was intended to help create prototypes of devices such as navigation handhelds, multimedia players, industrial handhelds, and retail transaction terminals. Now, the company says its new add-on modules (pictured, above) will further shorten time-to-market. For example, a prototype handheld battery-powered point-of-sale terminal — with peripherals such as WiFi, Ethernet, thermal printer, and a barcode reader — would take fewer than 12 weeks of design effort, the company claims.

The newly touted e-CAM camera module, seen at right, has two megapixel resolution, autofocus, and is usable with flash. Like a 1.3-megapixel, fixed-focus version released for the Sirius in 2007, it taps into the “quick capture interface” that is an integral part of the PXA270 processor.

The quad-UART module (pictured below, left) is also designed to plug directly into the Sirius platform's expansion slot, providing four TTL-level serial ports. Powered by the main board, it uses a Texas Instruments TI16C754B UART, and offers full modem control signals, according to E-con.

E-con's quad-UART (left) and GSM/GPRS/GPS

The e-COMM module (pictured, above right) uses an undisclosed chipset to support both GPS for satellite navigation and GSM/GPRS for data communications. Using an advanced multiplex (MUX) driver supplied by E-con, customers will be able to perform operations such as measuring signal strength, using a phone book, sending/receiving SMS messages, and sending/receiving data simultaneously, the company says. (For more details, see an article written by E-con's Ashok Babu and R. Vinoth, here.)

Other Sirius modules, not detailed separately by the company, but pictured in the group shot above, are:

  • Thermal printer
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • 802.11b module
  • Bluetooth
  • Smart card reader
  • 1D/2D barcode reader

Further information

All of E-con's add-on modules for the Sirius are said to include drivers, supporting use with Linux, Windows CE 6.0, and Windows CE 5.0. They are apparently available now, except for the fingerprint scanner and smart-card reader, which are listed as “coming soon.”

More information on the Sirius and its add-ons may be found on the E-con Systems website, here.

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