17 May 2017


Author: Russell Fretenburg, Senior Project Engineer/Project Manager

May 17 2017

I am the program manager Open-Q™ 212 Single Board Computer that we just announced. I wanted to give our developer community a few insights into our new product.

This product is intended to be used in many situations as-is – a production ready SBC so keeping cost in-line is important to this products success. To that end, with this product one of our major design challenges was to use a modest PCB stack-up of 8 layers (1-6-1). More PCB layers equals more cost; as do the more blind via layers we use – so we imposed this on ourselves as a design constraint to keep the costs down. With this constraint, the routing of the board was challenging! You may not expect that when you see the board since the board has a lot of blank space, but where it matters is around the fine-pitched BGAs where it is very dense. Density means more effort in the layout task. Enough said, it was a challenge.


This is our first implementation of the Snapdragon 212 (APQ8009). We did have the benefit of having recently designed the Open-Q 2100 SOM and Development Kit (APQ8009W), a similar chipset, but as with any first design there is a learning curve. We believe we’ve done a really good job on this one and are sure it will be well received by our Clients.

2100 SOM

As for the feature set of the 212 SBC, we’ve put a lot in a very small space. This SBC is really targeted at connected speakers with voice recognition (Google Home, Amazon Echo variants) designs. We have experience in these platforms through customer engagements so we took everything we learned and packed it into the design. We hope our Clients appreciate the feature set that includes four analog microphones and stereo amplified speaker outputs. It’s really a turn-key platform for OEMs to build their software stack upon.

As you will note, there are a ton of peripherals supported. We are still working on the accessory mix for this SBC but we will definitely be launching an LCD/touchscreen, based on our standard LCD adapter board, and a camera board based on our IMX214 camera module. Additionally, we are looking at a four analog microphone accessory that will have the appropriate spatial separation so it can be used out of the box for noise cancellation/voice recognition scenarios.

On the battery management circuitry, we included the ability to charge the single-cell Li-on battery from USB and from the 12V adapter. The board can be powered by the Li-on cell in non-mains powered situations.

On connectivity, we provide the kitchen sink of connectivity – Ethernet, USB host/client, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth/BT LE. Who could want anything more?  We even have analog FM receiver support on the board so you could quickly build a very, very full featured connected FM radio … we’re not sure who would do that but it’s possible.

We expect our Clients to use the board first as a development kit and then subsequently as an embedded SBC in their final product. It’s also likely that some Clients would want to de-feature or de-populate the SBC to lower the cost or to fit in a particular enclosure.Our team has the experience in hardware, software and mechanical engineering, we can quickly take the SBC’s core technology as is, and adjust the peripheral set. It’s our Client’s choice on how to proceed.

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