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The Ben NanoNote and open hardware

Update: I got a nice email from Wolfgang at sharism about running Debian on the NanoNote. See here for more. It seems that OpenWRT is still the platform of choice but you can opt for Debian when trying out new ideas.

Qi Hardware have an interesting new product called the
Ben NanoNote. While the specifications (366 MHz Ingenic MIPS clone, 32 MB RAM, 2 GB flash, 3″ screen) aren’t special, the price is interesting ($99 US + ~$17 for shipping to NZ), and the whole concept of open hardware that you could potentially enhance and reproduce is very good. With this chip and software stack you also stand a chance of modifying everything from the bootloader up.

It’s great to have the schematics but I don’t think it would be feasible to build a one off version. The Arduino succeeds with a open hardware design as the ATMEGA already has everything you need – hook up some power and you’re almost done.

There’s quite a few commercially available projects out there these days that publish schematics:

This is nice from a hardware engineer point of view as it shows what others consider good style and good design. We software people have it easy regarding freely available examples of both the good and bad was of writing software.

I don’t think I’ll get a NanoNote though. The price is great but the lack of Wifi and the minimalistic software is a problem.

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