Cambridge-based ARM has announced the launch of an own-brand developer board dubbed Juno, based around a big.LITTLE implementation of the company's 64-bit Cortex-A57 and Cortex-A53 processor cores.
Designed primarily for engineers looking to build future devices based on the 64-bit Android port, the Juno board features the company's latest ARMv8 instruction set architecture - the first to feature true 64-bit support. Two Cortex-A57 cores provide the 'big' part of the system-on-chip processor, running at 1.1GHz, while four lower-power Cortex-A53 cores running at 850MHz provide the 'LITTLE.' Graphics is handled by a quad-core 600MHz Mali T624 GPU, while additional processing capability is available through an optional LogicTile Express field-programmable gate array (FPGA) daughterboard.
The board is certainly powerful, but it's the software support ARM is pushing most heavily. With manufacturers looking to move to the 64-bit ARMv8 architecture as soon as possible, the development board is designed to speed up the porting process. To help things go smoothly, ARM has partnered with embedded Linux giant Linaro to create board support packages and an out-of-the-box kernel boasting full support for the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) compiled for ARMv8.
Before anyone gets too excited, however, there's a catch: price. ARM rarely makes its own hardware, instead basing its business model around selling intellectual property rights to third-party manufacturers like Samsung, Qualcomm and Apple. That, coupled with the developer-heavy target audience for the board, means that the Juno won't be competing for the Raspberry Pi's market share any time soon. With price being strictly on application, only the well-heeled need apply.
The launch does, however, show the future direction for ARM-based single-board computers: a move from 32-bit to 64-bit, and from largely single- and dual-core models to more powerful quad-core and big.LITTLE multi-core implementations. When these will be available at a consumer level, however, remains to be seen.
More details are available on the ARM website