The new BeagleBone from Texas Instruments is here! Farnell sent me a review copy this week, and are taking orders. I've prepared a video intro about getting up and running with the new board which is really easy. A few of the highlights are in the review below.
This new BeagleBoard marks somewhat of a departure from the previous 2 version, there's no onboard audio or graphics on this one, it can still do it but they're not there unless you buy a "cape" (think Arduino Shield). The great thing about this board for electronics enthusiasts and hardware hackers is that it's taken more of a low-level approach to control. There are two big 0.1" pitch header blocks on the board that allow access to the 3.3V GPIO and serial peripherals (including I2C, loads of UARTS, PWM and GPIO).
The board I got came with a couple of micro-sd cards with various versions of Linux on. The one in the board had Angstrom which has become somewhat of a standard for the BeagleBoard and other small ARM platforms. Of course it's an ARM Cortex-A8 chip so it's compatible with all sorts of operating systems including Android and RISC OS amongst many others.
Plugging it into the PC it automatically pops up as a mass storage device offering a README file amongst other things. From here it tells you how to get into some of the local services already running via the ethernet emulator or a real network cable. I plugged it into my home network and it got an IP from DHCP and I was able to connect to it and see what it was serving. There's a web-based IDE which allows you to run a Java-script based language which appears very similar to Wiring for the Arduino (digitalWrite, delay etc.) There's an SSH server to let you into the console and it has GCC and Python pre-installed for some decent development.
The board also came with an Altoids Tin sized metal box with "Compliments of Texas Instruments" on the lid which appears to be a snug fit for the board itself so looks like a neat enclosure option.