Huawei has partnered with Linaro to release its own answer to the Raspberry Pi called the HiKey 960, which gets its name from the powerful Kirin 960 processor that it houses. Having all of the same computing muscle inside as the recently released Huawei P10 and P10 Plus flagship smartphone doesn’t come cheap as this dev board will set you back $239. The board features 3GB of RAM, along with 32GB of UFS 2.0 flash storage, which can be supplemented with a MicroSD card. Dual-band 802.11b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi adapter is built into the board that also supports Bluetooth 4.1. A 4-lane MIPI CSI slot ensures camera connectivity of the HiKey 960 that also features 40 and 60 pin GPIO connectors, an HDMI port that can power up to 1,920 by 1,080 pixels of output, and two USB Type A slots that conform to the USB 3.0 standard, flanked by a single USB 2.0-compliant Type C slot.
On the software side, this board runs pure AOSP Android with a few customizations that make everything work. Potential buyers may take issue with the fact that the board ships with the Android 4.4 (KitKat) kernel inside, but as this is a development board, that can likely be changed pretty easily. Between Huawei’s powerful silicon, a bevy of ports and connectors, and built-in WiFi and Bluetooth adapters, the HiKey 960 is ready for action as soon as you take it out of the box. You can add in hardware to customize it to your liking, or even use the HDMI and USB ports to turn it into a tiny desktop computer or a TV box before you modify a single thing on it.
In order to get the project off the ground, Huawei came to Linaro, one of the leading open-source collaboration houses in the Linux world. Responsible for numerous community kernel tweaks for Android that often end up in custom ROMs, as well as the QEMU x86 emulation layer, Linaro also has several ARM dev boards under their belt that are built similarly to the HiKey 960, but with different processors. Their prowess in building development boards and tweaking Android under the hood made them the perfect partner for Huawei to build this board with, especially since they already had a similar board based on Huawei’s earlier Kirin 620 silicon, along with Qualcomm’s competing Snapdragon 410 SoC, and MediaTek’s Helio X20 processor. The HiKey 960 can be purchased from Amazon by following the link below.