New embedded boards seem to be coming all the time. The newest in the news is from developers of Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi foundation has a solution for the odd layout of the normal, consumer Pi: The Raspberry Pi compute module, a Raspi and 4GB flash drive, sans connectors, on an industry standard DDR2 SODIMM module. A small(er) form factor pi with integrated memory looks like a nice path to many embedded Raspberry Pi applications. The Raspberry Pi foundation hopes to take the diminutive computer beyond “builder” projects and into actual industrial and embedded applications that drive up demand for Raspberry Pi hardware, helping the foundation to raise more money to support the open source projects and educational initiatives it funds. The compute module should cost about $30/piece in quantity 100, which is an attractive price point. The Raspberry Pi compute module should be available in June.
The compute module (left on the picture) contains the guts of a Raspberry Pi (the BCM2835 processor and 512Mbyte of RAM) as well as a 4Gbyte eMMC Flash device (which is the equivalent of the SD card in the Pi). This is all integrated on to a small 67.6x30mm board which fits into a standard DDR2 SODIMM connector. There are many more GPIOs and interfaces are available as compared to the Raspberry Pi. The Compute Module is primarily designed for those who are going to create their own PCB. However, there will also be a the Compute Module IO Board, that is a simple open-source breakout board that you can plug a Compute Module into and get easy access to the signals (part of Raspberry Pi Compute Module Development Kit). You get access to USB, HDMI, two camera interfaces etc. The board design will be open sourced so you can develop your own devices using the BCM2835 processor.
One note is that compute module and Compute Module IO Board provide no network connectivity as such. To get Ethernet connectivity, you will need to use a suitable USB-Ethernet adapter (same approach as original Raspberry Pi used integrated to motherboard). If you need wireless connectivity, you need to use other suitable communications module that connects to USB connector (WiFi, GPRS, 3G etc.)