I’m a big fan of the Beagleboard. In fact, when I was involved with the Embedded Systems Conference, we would run classes whereby every attendee would receive a Beagleboard and we’d teach a whole series of classes around it, showing people how to configure it specifically for their application.
Now, I’m in possession of the follow-in product, the PandaBoard. The biggest difference between the two products is the microprocessor that’s employed. Where Beagleboard is built with a 1-GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor, the PandaBoard upgrades to a dual-core A9. Simply speaking, that expands the number of applications the board can be used to develop toward.
My area of interest is now medical, and I could see a host of possibilities for the PandaBoard, including diagnostics, monitoring, etc. Hence, my excitement when I received a development kit in the mail recently. My kit comes courtesy of Kozio, maker of hardware validation and software testing tools. For the PandaBoard, Kozio has ported and made available its kDiagnostics Suite of tools. Best of all, the tools can be downloaded for free.
I’m sure you’re dying to know about my experience with the PandaBoard and the Kozio tools. I must admit being a year removed from hardcore embedded developers has softened by development skills. I couldn’t just dive in and start developing. I had to first go through the tutorial and re-learn some of the basics. I was able to boot the board and install a modem, which let me then launch the ValidsationAssistant to validate my device. This is where the real fun began.
I was able to install all the tools and get a good feel for how they work and the power they contain. I could see why a developer would want to take advantage of the kDiagnostics Suite (even if it wasn’t free). I suggest you take the tools for a spin on your own.