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Summary:

Marvell wants to join other semiconductor firms in connecting with hardware developers with a platform launch on Indiegogo. It created a mini computer called Kinoma that runs a customer version of Javascript for connected devices.

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photo: S. Higginbotham

Marvell is joining the rush of chip firms with their own hardware platform aimed at helping developers with its Kinoma products. The Kinoma products include a set of tools, a Javascript runtime that is designed for the needs of connected devices and a piece of hardware that functions as a mobile Raspberry Pi-like device that also contains a touchscreen, microphone and a speaker.

The chip firm is known for providing the silicon for devices made by Google, Blackberry, Sony and other big brands, but it wants to make sure it can reach the people building the next generation of connected consumer devices that people are prototyping in their garages and then throwing up on crowdfunding sites. The hardware platform costs $99 as part of an Indiegogo campaign that was launched at South by Southwest this weekend and is now fully funded.

The Kinoma Create will retail for $149, which is kind of steep compared to a Pi, but might be better compared to something a bit more robust like TI’s Beagle boards. But the key here is that it’s not a raw board (although you could access that if you wanted). The goal, according to Peter Hoddie (pictured above), VP of the Kinoma platform, is to build something a little higher level so people who found the Pi a bit intimidating could start building products and playing with connected hardware too.

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The hardware runs a custom version of JavaScript that has been stripped down to run on low-power devices that might not have a lot of memory available. It’s called the KPR and will eventually be available as open-source code. There is also an IDE and simulation kit called Kinoma Studio where developers can build virtual versions of their hardware and test it out before hooking up the actual wires.

One of the big goals of the product is to offer web developers a platform to start playing with the physical world. In that way it is similar to projects like Skynet.im, Tessel and Node red from IBM. The goal is to take care of the underlying hardware and the esoteric programming required to pull hardware products together, so web developers can build services. Hoddie credits web developers with a sense of design and the ability to build in the cloud that will help connected devices transcend the limits of the physical device to become actual services.

That will be essential in making the connected home more than just a collection of devices you can turn on and off from an app. It’s also the same thinking that is behind the Berg video I posted a few days ago and my own excitement around the connected world — where connectivity combined with data enables new services.

With Kinoma, Marvell is making a credible offering to get more people playing with hardware. I watched a few demos at the booth and was impressed at what people were doing. That’s a nice differentiator for Marvell amid the cluster of boards and other devices aimed at community that’s being wooed from all sides.

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  1. rtoolstechnology Sunday, March 9, 2014

    great. We’ll definitely check it out.

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