When I first came across Gumstix, my jaw dropped. Gumstix are fully functional computer motherboards, the size of a gumstick or smaller, that run Linux. The latest in the Gumstix line, the Overo Earth, pushes the boundaries of ultra small computers -- and kicks some serious butt doing it.
The Overo is based on the Texas Instruments OMAP3503 ARM-based processor, similar to that used in the beagle board. It runs at an impressive 600MHz, and while this version does not yet have 3D acceleration, it's on the product roadmap for first Quarter of 2009.
When Jeff (one of my co-workers) and I began working the latest project, he picked one up for our prototype. I knew it was small, but I was amazed at how minuscule (and amazing) this device really is.
Grab a stick of gum, and you get an idea of the real size of this thing. The left side is the Overo Earth Motherboard, the right side is the Summit expansion board.
To keep the Overo small, it doesn't have many ways to connect to it. The standard way is by purchasing the Summit board, an add-on that includes audio, power, USB, and, of all things, an HDMI (DVI-D) connector for High Definition Video!!!
The Overo runs a custom Linux distribution, and comes with the Elightenment Window Manager installed on the default image. Since it uses USB On-the-go, it doesn't have much power -- we added a USB hub to it in this picture so we could connect a keyboard and mouse.
The Overo and Summit board, connected via HDMI to my television, and to a powered USB hub (left).
Booting into Linux on an HDTV
The Overo USplash screen.
The Overo comes with the Enlightenment Window Manager. Attach a mouse, and you now have a Linux box for your TV.
Thanks to Jeff Potter for letting me borrow the Overo this week, and giving me a chance to play around with it.
The overo booting in real-time (~1 min.)