First off, thanks for your post. It’s always good to ask questions. I will try to answer them as good as I can.
I like the idea of a small module… but with the baseboard added, so it is equivalent to a BBB, the price is $110, 2X the price of a BBB. The two must be soldered together, so you don’t gain a pluggable/replaceable module. What is the benefit in that?
BeagleCore is made for business solutions though you could also use it for DIY projects. The benefit arises - like sa_Penugin states in his post - when you use it like the Pi Compute Module. If you are using BBB as a development board for a project and you are planning on going into mass production you might want to consider having your own baseboard but still rely on the core features of BeagleBone Black to accomplish your goal without reprogramming, porting and testing everything from scratch. This is why we created BeagleCore.
How can they promise availability for 7+ years unless they have a promise from TI to make the AM335x and other parts for that long?
Like RobertCNelson said: TI promised at least 10 years. This is the information we rely on.
How can they promise this new company will be in business for 7+ years?
We can not promise that. Nobody can - not even Apple or Google. But we are experienced in embedded systems and have a great network to rely on. Most people in our team have more than 15 years of experience in developing solutions such as the BeagleCore. Others have 10 years of experience in marketing and selling solutions. And Martin, the head of our team, is an experienced manager who knows how to run a business and make it a long term success. We promise to do our very best and strive for the longrun not a short win.
On the Beaglecore site FAQ they claim: For genuine embedded industrial applications the existing BeagleBoard hardware is not suitable due to several reasons. Currently professional embedded computer-on-module applications use 100% defined and well engineered standards from PICMG (such as COM Express) or SGET (such as Qseven and SMARC). How is their LGA module somehow compliant with these standards? Is their baseboard? How is my (required) custom baseboard any more compliant? I also question that these standards are really important to a lot of applications: if they are, go buy a COM Express board for way more than BBB: http://www.cotsjournalonline.com/articles/view/101717
Before we started off with the idea of bringing BeagleCore to Kickstarter we carefully researched the current market situation and discussed the topic with quite a few companies, developers and engineers. From the feedback we gathered we extracted the fact that there is possibly a market not yet seen by those who rely on COM Express and such. I wouldn’t go as far as calling COM Express “high end development” and BBB and alike “DIY development” but the difference in pricing is evident. There is a market for professional BBB solutions and we believe in the power of BeagleBone Black.
On the Beaglecore website it says the core must be carefully soldered to the baseboard: It also means that the soldering has to be executed by a professional EMS company or by an experienced soldering technician. This package is called Land Grid Array (LGA)
Like I said before: It’s more an industrial solution but if you know what you are doing you can do it all on your own. We are just trying to make our point clear about the target groups.
The magic software BeagleSuite promises a lot: Now you can create your own IoT project without programming! With BeagleSuite™ the Internet of Things is just a few clicks away. Attach any sensor to your BeagleCore™ powered board or simply use a BeagleBone Black, fire up BeagleSuite™ in your favourite webbrowser and with a few clicks you can set up your own dashboard, ruleset and actions according to your needs. Really? Without any programming? Attach “any sensor”? How does that work? It is web based meaning it runs somewhere on someone’s server… the part of the project promised to be open source is the hardware only, not the BS software. Yes, you can program it as you would a BBB and not use the BS, I’m just sayin’…
BeagleSuite is not the answer to everything - it’s a starting point. Simple solutins - and most of the IoT solutions I have seen so far - are very basic. You can build those with a few clicks. There will be ready to run scripts for standard solutions. If you want to dig deeper then you might need some programming but still rely on the simple Drag&Drop features to build dashboards or rule-based actions. We have seen many solutions out there but BeagleSuite is probably something you want to give a try. For 7€ it is worth giving it a try - even if you don’t use BeagleCore for it will run on any BBB.
If just the core module is $51 (the bulk pack of 50 is USD$2569) and I can’t do anything with it without a baseboard, how does this give me more freedom vs the BBB for $55 and I add shields if I need them?
Today I can get the mikroBUS cape http://beagleboard.org/project/mikrobus for only $9 (I should get some, just learned about this now) and then plug on a wide array of ‘click’ boards which are all around $20, alledgedly with C code available for all. I have not tried these nor am I in any way associated with MikroElektronika, I’m just pointing out an available (today) solution.
You are absolutely right. If you use our baseboard there is almost no advantage. It’s just one possible starting point for a commercial mass production project. Like I said before: BeagleCore addresses the needs of business use cases for BBB based products and solutions. The main benefit arises once you build your own baseboard which is narrowed down to your needs without using capes and add-ons. This is what we have taken from the feedback we received during our research and this is what backers have already told us. But your sceptical view on the projects is highly appreciated since we know that a lot of developers might ask themselves the same questions.
Thanks again for your feedback and I hope I could answer your questions.