On Thursday, BeagleBoard unveiled PocketBeagle, a tiny, open source, USB key fob computer that works as a development board for both beginners and professionals.

PocketBeagle–which, at 35 x 56 x 5 mm, is smaller than a credit card–features a simple, open source hardware design, and a catalog-available, well-documented processor, according to a press release. This board can replace some costly hardware, and also offers a solution for rapid prototyping without slowing the path to production, which can lower risk as well.

This low-cost Linux computer offers “tremendous expansibility,” according to the release. The company also offers the chance to learn programming from online educators.

For hobbyists, “PocketBeagle is small and flexible enough to fit in gaming, 3D printing, robotics or other electronics projects; and affordable enough to dedicate one to live permanently in each of those different projects,” according to the release.

“PocketBeagle not only includes a 1-GHz processor, but also industrial-oriented peripherals and microcontrollers optimized for interfacing to the physical world,” the release stated. This could also make it a good option for Internet of Things (IoT) experiments, especially in businesses.

SEE: Hiring kit: IoT developer (Tech Pro Research)

The board does not require any installation to get started; instead, you can use it to develop directly to your web browser.

The board is based on the new Octavo Systems OSD3358-SM 21mm x 21mm system-in-package that includes 512MB DDR3 RAM, 1-GHz ARM Cortex-A8 CPU, 2x 200-MHz PRUs, ARM Cortex-M3, 3D accelerator, power/battery management and EEPROM, the release stated. It also includes 72 expansion pin headers with power and battery I/Os, high-speed USB, eight analog inputs, 44 digital I/Os, and several digital interface peripherals. Finally, PocketBeagle includes a microUSB host/client and microSD connectors.

Further, BeagleBoard offers a community of serious developers, which allows for sharing resources and projects.

BeagleBoard may compete with the inexpensive Raspberry Pi and NonoPi Duo. However, it will be difficult to surpass the popularity and community Raspberry Pi has in this space.

PocketBeagle is available today from Arrow, DigiKey and Mouser.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

1. PocketBeagle is a tiny, open source, USB key fob computer from BeagleBoard that works as a development board for both beginners and professionals.

2. PocketBeagle, which measures only 35 x 56 x 5 mm, features a simple, open source hardware design, and a catalog-available processor.

3. The board can help businesses avoid consuming hardware resources, and more rapidly prototype designs.