From OMAP3 in 2009 to OMAP4 in 2010 and OMAP5 in 2011. What would we like to do on a OMAP4 PandaBoard in 2011?
Run a Linux stack on one core, have a dynamic real-time kernel on the second and also get the DSP going.
The BeagleBoard was advertised for US$149 plus shipping in 2009. We bought two and shared development, which is documented in Beagle Board Development Environment (774 kB). The idea was to record our steps so that we could easily retrace them, however, the BeagleBoard community produced so many ports and Wiki’s that it became difficult to track. We were not adding much but as always, the choices and efforts to get a toolchain that could compile the kernel and move from the “Hello World” moment were not as straight forward as the developers would claim. Keil, QNX and a host of other companies offered development environments, but we got our US$149 worth of fun. Anything this complex requires commercial tools and a JTAG probe that works after the TLB has been enabled. The graphics are also interesting, but you will need to be resourceful to get decent documentation for the Imagination graphics accelerator. It also requires a project. In 2011, we would recommend the PandaBoard website or Freescale’s iMX53, but these devices are beyond satisfying curiosity; they need your undivided attention just to get through the thousands of pages of manuals, and finally, the dual cores will hopefully work via a single JTAG or trace port.
By the way, this will take more than one person a year full-time. We would happily be one of those people—give us a call if you have spare money, believe in commercial tools and are a few thousand hours short!