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Four Companies Team to Jumpstart x86 Developer Community for APUs

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With the introduction of a small development kit, a group of four companies has launched GizmoSphere to foster innovation and development for x86-based embedded accelerated processing units (APUs). APUs integrate a CPU and a graphics processing unit (GPU) on the same piece of silicon. GizmoSphere is an independent initiative created to meet the open source development needs of embedded developers around the globe. It serves as a resource center providing documentation, downloads, news and other information pertinent to the embedded development community. GizmoSphere offers the Gizmo Explorer Kit, which brings the powerful 52 GFLOP computing and the I/O capabilities of a microcontroller to the x86 open source embedded development community in one integrated, affordable package.

The collective goal of GizmoSphere—as constituted by Advanced Micro Devices, Sage Electronic Engineering, Texas Multicore Technologies and Viosoft—is to drive and enable technology projects of interest to independent developers with a focus on stimulating and encouraging innovation for existing and new applications that leverage APUs. At the heart of GizmoSphere is Gizmo, a 4-inch by 4-inch x86 development board available with coreboot that can run a variety of operating systems including Android, Linux, RTOSs and Windows. The Gizmo board is offered as part of a comprehensive development kit for only $199, a price that includes the development board, an I/O expansion board and development tools. 

Built upon the AMD Embedded G-series Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), the Gizmo board can deliver 52.8 gigaflops while operating at less than 10 watts. Development flexibility is achieved through two card edge connectors, one high speed and one low speed, which bring out additional I/O functionality. The high-speed connector includes two x1 PCIe links, LVDS, one SATA interface and one USB 2.0 interface. The low-speed connector offers GPIOs, one USB 2.0 connection, SPI along with A/D and D/A interfaces. These are in addition to standard Ethernet, VGA video and audio ports.

A companion board, the Explorer board, offers expansion opportunities with an LCD panel, a connector for an alphanumeric keypad and a prototyping area with holes for making custom circuit connections. A JTAG development tool provides access to all registers and memory via the included Sage SmartProbe and 20 hours of trial time use. In addition, the Sage EDK graphical interface is supplied with a 30-day trial license. This graphical IDE includes an editor, a cross-compile toolchain integration, symbolic software debug and more. The SageBIOS is preinstalled.

In beta since November, GizmoSphere has already succeeded in attracting embedded developers from around the world, linked through the community portal. The partners contribute to the GizmoSphere, creating a resource and knowledge center for the growing developer community. Developers ready to take advantage of a powerful x86-based development kit that comes with Android support in an open source environment can plug into GizmoSphere today.

Advanced Micro Devices, Sunnyvale, CA. (408) 749-4000. [www.amd.com].

Sage Electronic Engineering, Longmont, CO. (303) 495-5499. [www.se-eng.com].

Texas Multicore Technologies, Austin, TX. (512) 381-1100. [www.texasmulticoretechnologies.com].

Viosoft, San Jose, CA. (508) 881-4254. [www.viosoft.com].