New from the fine people who have brought us the Beagle Board, we now have a smaller, lighter, but powerful single board linux computer, Beagle Bone! We like this move to a more compact and integrated SBC. For example, there is onboard Ethernet and USB host, as well as a USB client interface (a FTDI chip for shell access). It even comes preloaded with Angstrom Linux on the 4 GB microSD card!

The Beagle Bone is a great step up from microcontrollers (such as AVR, PIC, ARM Cortex M3, 8051, Propeller, etc) to microcomputers. Unlike a microcontroller, where the FLASH, EEPROM, RAM, etc is all in one chip, a microcomputer has them separated out, like a classic computer such as a desktop or laptop machine. The Beagle Bone has a main processor core running at 700MHz, a chunk of 256M DDR RAM, and permanent storage onto a microSD card. This makes for a powerful machine, that has no problems running Linux, a webserver, Python, FTP clients, SSH, etc.

The Bone also has great accessories built in, such as onboard Ethernet with 10/100M connectivity, mini USB port with TTL serial converter, JTAG debugger for advanced hacking, USB A host port for connecting a hub/WiFi/etc, power management IC that keeps the board safe from a misplugged adapter, and tons of 0.1" spaced breakouts

One of the powerful abilities of the Bone is that it has I2C, SPI, and GPIO at a hobbyist-friendly 3.3V level (instead of the more difficult to interface 1.8V) while also running complex applications such as a webserver. This allows for more complex projects that would tax an Arduino.

This guide was first published on Jul 29, 2012. It was last updated on Sep 19, 2018. This page (Overview) was last updated on May 04, 2015.