One of the funniest lines in the 1992 animated Disney movie “Aladdin” is when the frenetic blue Genie, voiced by the incredible Robin Williams, describes his situation:
“PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWERS; Itty-bitty living space,”
referring to his life in a lamp.
The Gumstix Overo series of COM (computer-on-module) boards based on Texas Instruments’ OMAP Application Processors remind me a lot of the Genie’s situation and in fact, the one-liner product description of even evokes some of the same imagery (without the Williams flourish):
“The Overo series packs a lot of computing power in a tiny package.”
So what do you get on a board the size of a stick of chewing gum that costs $115 to $229?
A TI OMAP35x processor with POP (package-on-package) SDRAM and NAND Flash memory, a Bluetooth/WiFi module, an SD Card socket/slot, and power management. The TI OMAP35x Application Processors are based on a 600MHz or 720MHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor core and includes a huge number of integrated peripheral devices. Here’s a block diagram:
The TI OMAP35x Application Processor family is a good example of an SoC originally developed for the mobile phone handset market that has significant application in other sorts of embedded markets. The Gumstix Overo COM boards are one means of making that processing power available to system designers in an easy-to-try form that can be tucked away inside of nearly any product.
Phenomenal cosmic powers, indeed.