It took much longer than expected, but the first revision of the Parallella board has been sent off to the manufacturer and we will have the first 10 Parallella boards built up and ready for testing by April 15th!
At this point, I feel like we owe everyone an explanation why we are running late. The main reason is that we underestimated the challenges involved in reaching the $99 price point when we launched the Parallella project back in September. Producing a $99 single board computer may not be that difficult if you are shipping millions of units (you can buy a $50 Android smartphone today), but with only 6,300 Parallella boards shipping, it was a whole other story…
We spent close to two months optimizing the design for cost (ie reducing component counts and scouring the data-books for inexpensive high quality alternatives) in order to get within striking distance of the $99 price target. Unfortunately there wasn’t much that could be done about the complexity of the board layout due to the abundance of high speed differential routing, 0.8mm pitch BGAs, and tight component placement. The Parallella is now a 12 layer board with aggressive line and drill hole dimensions.
The schedule slippage is VERY painful for all of us but in terms of product features the Parallella project is coming together even better than we could have hoped. The thought of having actual Parallella boards in hand in a few weeks is very exciting!