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2014: The Year of Free Hardware

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Hardware

Usually, I avoid making predictions. However, increasingly, I believe that the sleeper trend of 2014 will be free-licensed hardware -- and that its availability could transform free and open source software (FOSS) as well as hardware manufacturing.

As 2013 closes, the trend is already well-advanced. Ubuntu Edge's crowdfunding might have failed, but Ubuntu Touch is supposed to have a still-unnamed vendor, while the first Firefox OS phone was released in July, and Jolla released its first phone based on Sailfish OS.

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World’s smallest i.MX6 module has onboard WiFi, eMMC

Variscite unveiled a 50 x 20mm “DART-MX6″ module that runs Linux or Android on the Freescale i.MX6, with up to 64GB eMMC flash and -40 to 85°C support. Variscite’s claim that the 50 x 20mm DART-MX6 is the world’s smallest computer-on-module based on Freescale’s i.MX6 system-on-chip appears to be a valid one. It beats the smallest ones we’ve seen to date: TechNexion’s 40 x 36mm PICO-IMX6, and Solid-Run’s 47 x 30mm microSOM i4. It’s also just a hair larger than Variscite’s own 52 x 17mm DART-4460, which is based on a dual-core TI OMAP4460 SoC, and Gumstix’s slightly larger 58 x 17mm Overo modules, which use TI Sitara AM37xx SoCs. Read more