Copycat Banana Pi rides high on rival's popularity
Something original and sacred remain only as such so for long. Whereas an abundance of single-board computers are available on the market, not many are as popular as the Raspberry Pi. So how does a company compete against the fruity computer company with a cornerstone on the market? Simple really, create an exact copy. Developers, meet Banana Pi.
Banana Pi is an exact replica of Raspberry Pi, except that it offers more memory and a faster processor—all for $57. Banana Pi features a 1GHz Allwinner A20 dual-core ARM Cortex A7 processor and 1GB of RAM. The card is said to enable the development of wireless servers, computers, games, HD video, speakers, and more, since it is open-source.
Banana Pi also features HDMI and composite video inputs, a 3.5mm audio input, SD card slot, built-in microphone, 2 USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, an IR receiver, SATA port, Micro USB port for power, and Raspberry Pi-compatible headers, including camera connector and 26 pin header.
Figure 1: Banana Pi. Source: RasPi.TV
Figure 2: Raspberry Pi. Source: RasPi.TV
On the surface, Banana Pi seems to give the $35 Raspberry Pi a run for its money, as it seems to be the same product. Depending on the intended use and the developer's level of skill, some might prefer Banana to Raspberry. For one developer, however, Banana Pi leaves much to be desired.
The ribbon connectors on Banana Pi feature a different width and pitch, making it incompatible with Raspberry Pi accessories. With this, the GPIO and composite ports are positioned at a larger distance from one another on the Banana Pi, meaning not all Raspberry Pi add-ons will work with the card.
- Cabe Atwell
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