Enterprise Linux Log

Jun 25 2007   11:55AM GMT

Now that’s tiny — Linux computer on a USB thumb drive



Posted by: ITKE
Tags:
Hardware issues
Linux basics

Linux USB thumb driveLinux has been known to run on some pretty scaled down hardware over the years, and today’s quirky news item is no exception. Calao, a start-up located in the French Alps near Grenoble is readying a tiny ARM-based Linux single-board computer (SBC) in a USB key form-factor. That Star Trek-type schematic over there on the right is what this puppy will look like when it “launches soon.”

It is based on an Atmel AT91SAM9260 processor, an SoC (system-on-chip) powered by an ARM926EJ-S core clocked at 190MHz. The tiny USB key SBC has 64MB of SDRAM and 256MB of NAND flash. I/O includes a USB 2.0 device port (obviously), a 10/100 Ethernet port, and a pair of USB 2.0 host ports. The device also has a 50-pin expansion interface, although the company has not published the pinout, nor announced any specific daughterboards. Calao says the USB-9260 can be debugged over USB via JTAG and DBGU (“debug unit”). Alternatively an SBC35-A9260 development board (shown below) appears to exist, and to offer a wide variety of I/O, expansion, and debugging interfaces.

Now, what to use this little ditty for? Secret agent stuff? Hiding documents from the public? I dunno. I’ll call up Dick Cheney, see what he’s got cooking for this cute little USB key computer. For now though, here’s what Calao is targeting: “advanced applications such as GPS application processors.”

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