Not a customer yet, but looking hard. I was attracted by the power and
form factor of the gumstix module, and disappointed that add-ons are not
very well supported.
>These ideas like having a specific battery and charger, I don't think they
>belong on the core module.
I agree here. I'd like to see things like this on a stackable add-on
board, as the PC104 people do.
>Regarding the next generation gumstix, I too have concerns with stability,
>but I think that could be simply resolved by having two connectors on a
>side of the module rather than one, or by going with a card edge type of
>connector (as was already mentioned, like kontron xboard). The biggest
>problems I have with the current design is lack of ability to add more
>storage without giving up something else.
A stackable bus/connector arrangement would help here, too.
>I appreciate the current strategy of keeping the base gumstix generic
>and cheap. Being able to add features as needed with daughter cards
>works well I think. I would rather see a better way to stack/combine/
>mount expansion boards than to have more stuff on the gumstix.
Yes. Having more available as technology advances makes it possible to
expand basic resources like RAM, flash, a RTC, and _basic_ I/O expansion.
>would be nice too to have a connector option for the expansion boards
>that doesn't require an extortionately expensive crimp tool! The idea
>of reducing the gumstix's size is attractive, but only if there's a
>way to improve the stability of the gumstix<->expansion connections
>from the current design.
>One could in theory make battery management an expansion board, but each =
>expansion board causes a significant size increase. For example, =
>audiostix adds very few components with a board that is much bigger than =
>gumstix itself. The small size of the original gumstix becomes somewhat =
>meaningless if key features, such as battery management, are not =
>integrated into the main computer.
Here I disagree in part. I like the basic form factor, and would like
it to stay, or at least not change much. Adding expansion boards
_in_the_identical_form would be much less painful than tacking on
umpteen different size boards; and having them connected by a bus,
rather than by randomly arranged and reassigned I/O lines makes
expansion easy -- even if you do lose some space to interface
circuitry. We don't need a PCI-style bus, but something like the old
ISA (not, however, tied to the 8088) would be wonderful.
Another system I'm looking at is the dimm-PC, although I really dislike
its 8x86 orientation.
-small form factor (present form is very nice)
-STABLE assembly, as several others have requested
-bus-style stackable connector
-minimal complete computer on the basic board (flash, ram, RTC, bus I/O)
-if there's enough room, dedicated micro-connectors for the on-chip I/O,
maybe coming off one side of the basic module.