Kickstarter campaign for Marvell ESPRESSObin board by Globalscale was launched in October 2016 aiming to fund the development of a Marvell ARM 64-bit SoC: the Armada 3700. The ESPRESSObin Board is a low-cost, high-performance 64-bit dual core networking computing platform aimed at a variety of use cases and applications, the focus being placed on networking, storage and connectivity space.
More precisely, the project launched on October 2nd and reached its set goal of $15,000 in just four days on October 6th. The campaign was completed at November 11th, collecting around $53,339 (356% more than the set funding goal) and with 536 backers. Average pledge size revolved around $99 and the project ended with an average of 13 daily backers. The first stretch goal announced at October 28th including an upgraded Wi-Fi & Bluetooth card for all backers pledging more than $69 was also met, so these backers received an upgrade from the standard Realtek-based 802.11N radio to a modern 802.11ac/a/b/g/n Wi-Fi with 4.x Bluetooth. The second stretch goal required over 100K in pledges and would include an enclosure for an ESPRESSObin case, but that goal was not met.
Along with volume discounts, the ESPRESSObin package price ranged from $39, $49, $69 and $79 where $39 early bird packages start with delivery in January 2017. The $79 Super ESPRESSObin board package was the most wanted package receiving over 133 backers.
The campaign was a continuation on past successful collaborations between Marvell and Globalscale, including products such as the Armada 370-based GT1MiraBox, Kirkwood-based SheevaPlug, DreamPlug and others.
Since the ESPRESSObin marked the first Armada 3700 based SoC marketed under $50, the board ignited a lot of interest from the community both due to price and specifications. With the lack of software support after shipment often being an issue with Kickstarter projects of such nature, most pledgers were also happy to see ESPRESSObin offering open source Linux software with mainline Kernel support. The board ships with Buildroot as default root file system, although support has been added for OpenWrt, and further plans include adding support for ArchLinux ARM and Debian. All documentation regarding the board is open with software soon to be available on GitHub (find out more here).
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