The market of miniature computers seems to be growing at a fast pace. If you still can’t wrap your head around the Raspberry Pi or the Arduino, know that there is now a more powerful and slightly more expensive mini-computer board out there: the BeagleBone Black.

The original BeagleBone’s successor brings faster hardware and lower power requirements. Available for only $45, the Black is a credit card-sized board that has multiple pin headers, peripheral ports and network interfaces. This piece of open-source hardware has a powerful 1GHz ARM Cortex-AB processor able to run both Linux and Android. It is also equipped with 512 MB DDR3 RAM and 2GB of on-board storage.

BeagleBone Black: A Faster Raspberry Pi Alternative

The two 46 pin connectors make the board compatible with many devices, such as LCD touchscreens, printers and so on. Just like the Raspberry Pi, the BeagleBone Black is also provided with USB, Ethernet and HDMI interface, albeit the maximum resolution for the latter is 1280×1024, smaller than the Pi’s.

What is interesting is that even if it has additional hardware compared to its predecessor, the BeagleBone Black has increased power efficiency: manufacturers say the board can run all day using a USB recharging battery pack for smartphones. The miniature computer also comes with an USB cable for power and can be connected to an external DC supply of 5 volts.

The fact that it has significantly faster hardware and a pre-installed operating system which boots in 10 seconds allows developers to get the Black ready for use in as little as three minutes. Users can also visit the BeagleBoard.org website to join an active online community and get free access to sample code, documentation and kernel support for Linux Fedora and Ubuntu but also for Android.

BeagleBone Black: A Faster Raspberry Pi Alternative

Developers and programming fans should know that the BeagleBone Black is yet available in a limited supply and only from a list of selected distributors. BeagleBoard expects however to begin volume shipping by the end of May.

[Images via Gizmag]