The HiKey 960 is a high-end rival to the Pi
Thanks to continuous updates from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, emerging competitors have often fallen by the wayside, unable to compete with both the feature set and price point of what each Pi model can offer. However, a new board from two of the world’s biggest tech giants might turn that on its head.
Google and Huawei have teamed up to produce the HiKey 960, with further input coming from seasoned Linux developer Linaro (http://bit.ly/HiKey960). While support for Linux comes as standard, the HiKey also offers a high-end feature set for developing on the Android platform.
Huawei has developed many of the board’s core components, with its own octa-core Kirin 960 chip powering each unit. Alongside this, there’s a powerful 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM. tailored for use on ARM technology.
“If you’re simply looking at the specification sheet, Google’s HiKey certainly is an appealing piece of kit,” says freelance tech analyst Liam Triggs. “While the form factor is the same as what the Raspberry Pi offers, there are upgrades throughout and there’s enough power here to compare it to a high-end smartphone.”
Digging deeper into the HiKey 960. there’s plenty of room here for integrating the board into any number of projects. With both 40-pin and 60-pin connectors, there’s space for various customization. while an additional on-board PCIe M.2 slot gives scope for upgrading to 32GB of on-board storage. It doesn’t stop there either: there are built-in wireless and Bluetooth options and it includes both fastboot and recovery modes -a first for a single-board computer of its kind.
There’s a lot to love about what the HiKey brings to the table, especially when it comes to possible development opportunities, but it’s the fact that Google is directly involved with the project that’s arguably the most exciting element. “Whatever your personal opinion on Google may be. they’ve done wonders for the tech industry as a whole. They’re also making big strides in
The HiKey 960 includes the same processor as Huawei’s MATE smartphones
the open source industry, with their recent DIY Al assistant kits being just one of their ambitious projects,” says Liam Trigg. “What is important to remember, however, is that the Raspberry Pi has been the long-term king of single-board computers, and it’s a near impossible task for anything to overtake it. But if anyone can do it. Google (with Huawei’s help), must be a favorite.”
The HiKey 960 is available online in the US. Europe and Japan. Stock will be limited, so you’ll need to get in there early.