Launches the "Adaptable, Open Source" BeaglePlay and Low-Cost BeagleConnect Freedom

Aiming to make development more fun, the BeaglePlay boasts the broadest array of connectivity options yet seen on a design.

Open hardware specialist has announced the launch of two new boards, the compact Beagle Connect Freedom and the rapid prototyping BeaglePlay — the latter offering what it claims is "the most adaptable open source performance platform available."

"BeaglePlay is an exciting addition to the family and will enable thousands of applications to be prototyped faster than ever before," claims Foundation chief executive Christine Long of the company's latest creation. "At this extremely competitive price point and ease of use, more developers' work becomes like play!"

The BeaglePlay board is based around a Texas Instruments AM625 system-on-chip, which includes four Arm Cortex-A53 cores running at up to 1.5GHz, a Cortex-M4F microcontroller core running at up to 400MHz, and a Cortex-R5F real-time core, a 3D-capable graphics processor supporting resolutions up to 2048×1080 at 60 frames per second (FPU) with OpenGL ES 3.1 and Vulkan 1.2 support, 2GB of DDR4 RAM, and of 16GB eMMC storage.

Alongside these primary processors is a programmable real-time unit subsystem (PRUSS), offering two cores running at 333MHz with tight integration to the board's general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins — allowing for low-latency hardware control operating independently of any of the main processing cores. Those GPIO pins, meanwhile, are brought out to a range of user-friendly connectors — including Qwiic, Grove, and mikroBus Click. For storage expansion, there's a microSD slot.

While that's already an impressive array of features, the BeaglePlay isn't done there. There's on-board gigabit Ethernet, 10Mb single-pair Ethernet (SPE), a Texas Instruments WiLink 8 WL1807 module offering dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity, a CC1352P7 module for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and sub-gigahertz connectivity pre-loaded with the BeagleConnect firmware, and support for Power over Data Line (PoDL) on a RJ11 connector. There's a full-size HDMI port, an OLDI display connector, four-lane MIPI Camera Serial Interface (CSI), and a real-time clock with coin-cell battery backup.

Alongside the BeaglePlay, has launched the BeagleConnect Freedom. Designed specifically for the Internet of Things, the BeagleConnect Freedom is a compact box powered by a Texas Instruments Simplelink CC1352P7 chip with an Arm Cortex-M4F processor, 2.4GHz and sub-gigahertz radios, 144kB of static RAM (SRAM), 704kB of flash memory, 2MB of SPI flash, plus 256kB of ROM for protocols and library functions, and a "programmable radio" function which offers support for a range of protocols and standards including Bluetooth 5.2 Low Energy (BLE). For expansion there's a pair of mikroBUS sockets while the unit also includes a light sensor, humidity and temperature sensor, four user-addressable LEDs, and a user-programmable button.

Its biggest selling point, though, is BeagleConnect — the same firmware as comes running on the BeaglePlay's CC1352P7 module. Described as a "revolutionary technology" for rapid development, BeagleConnect aims to do away with low-level software development drudgery for the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial IoT (IIoT) — instead leveraging the Linux kernel to avoid the need for juggling hardware and communication libraries during development.

Both development boards are available to order from Newark now, with the BeaglePlay priced at $99 with immediate delivery and the BeagleConnect at $28.50 with shipping expected to begin later this month. More information on both boards can be found on the website.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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