China's Libre Computer has hit Kickstarter for an alternative to the Raspberry Pi Zero called La Frite. Essentially a smaller version of the company's Le Potato computer board, which also launched on Kickstarter last year, the 2.5 x 2.2 inch (6.4 x 5.5 cm) development board is aimed squarely at makers on a tight budget.
There are projects which simply don't need the kind of hexa-core brains found in Libre's Renegade Elite, especially if you're trying to keep costs down. The company describes La Frite – or AML-S805X-AC to use its less catchy name – as a "smaller, less-featured, and more cost-optimized version" of its first computer board, Le Potato (itself a more powerful and more capable alternative to Pi 3 Model B).
The new mini board rocks an Amlogic S805X system-on-chip, which includes an quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 1.2 GHz 64-bit processor and Mali-450 GPU, and comes with up to 1 GB of DDR4 SDRAM. It supports 1080p video output and H.265/H.264/VP9 decoding, can run Linux distros like Ubuntu, and Android 8 (Oreo).
It also packs built-in SPI ROM to hold boot firmware instead of writing a bootloader at the beginning of a software image. Elsewhere, there's a 40-pin expansion header, two USB 2 ports, a single HDMI 2.0 port, 100 Mb Ethernet and an IR receiver. The board is powered via microUSB connection.
Libre has launched La Frite on Kickstarter, where pledges start at US$5 for a board with 512 MB of RAM. Doubling the pledge also doubles the RAM. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in November.
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