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Google's Raspberry Pi-like Coral: AI board with TPU is ready for business

Google's Coral AI developer board moves out of beta.

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Google is now ready to release its Coral developer board globally after completing improvements throughout its six-month beta period. 

Google unveiled its Coral edge kit in March, offering developers a Raspberry Pi-like board with an attachable Google Edge TPU machine-learning accelerator. The kit is aimed at engineers and researchers who want to run TensorFlow models at the edge of a network, outside the data center. 

The Coral Dev Board itself costs $149, which includes a detachable Coral system-on-module (SoM) that can now be bought as a standalone product for $114. The SoM includes Google's Edge TPU with the NXP IMX8M SoC, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, memory, and storage.

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Google is selling its Coral line of products through Mouser "globally". However, it is also planning to expand distribution of the developer board and SoM to Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, India, Thailand, Singapore, Oman, Ghana, and the Philippines by the end of the year. 

Additionally, it will soon release a new version of Mendel OS, a lightweight 'derivative' of Debian Linux designed for Coral dev boards and the Coral Edge TPU. The new version of Mendel OS will be based on Debian Buster. 

Google is also offering three new accelerators for production workloads, each of which features the Edge TPU and connects to other devices via PCIe slots. These include the Mini PCIe, M.2 A+E key, and M.2 B+M key

Along with the global release, Google has updated the Coral website with new documentation, customer success stories, and pages for different industries that could use the kit, such as manufacturing, healthcare, automotive, and smart cities where these edge devices running AI models locally could be of use. 

Google highlights the startup Care.ai, which has used Coral and computer vision to detect falls by the elderly at places like nursing homes. Another company, Olea Edge, is using a Coral accelerator to accurately measure water usage at commercial buildings. 

The Coral developer board itself costs $149, which includes a detachable Coral system-on-module. 

Image: Google

Olea Edge is using a Coral board in a monitoring device to accurately measure water usage. 

Image: Google

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