HiKey is now available and here's how to get started

An early access version of the first 96Boards compatible product, the HiKey board, is being used this week (9 - 13 February 2015) at Linaro Connect in Hong Kong. It is also available to pre-order from Arrow and Avnet Express.

More about the board can be found here and the HiKey Early Access Getting Started guide is available as a PDF here.

The 96boards.org website states “Open Hardware” in large text. Is HiKey board Open Hardware (e.g. Open Source Hardware)? If so, are the design files available for download including the schematics, PCB layout and bill-of-materials?

Here is the Open Source Hardware definition for reference: http://www.oshwa.org/definition/


will be hikey available in europe via farnell/element14/whatever?

Yes, we expect that additional distribution will be available in Europe and Asia over the coming weeks.

The 96Boards specifications and can be found from the About tab. For the HiKey board schematics are on the HiKey product page. The 96Boards initiative does not require manufacturers to publish board layout and manufacturing information.

Will the datasheet/userguides for the hisilicon kirin 620 processor be released at somepoint???

I certainly hope so; calling it “open hardware” without that would be a bit of a joke.

Is it possible to get confirmation that all SoC documentation (data sheets/TRMs etc) for HiKey and the rest of the platforms to follow will be made available?


@gcgrey The terms “open hardware” and “open source hardware” are widely accepted to mean the same very same thing, with the former simply being short form for the latter. For which there is, and has been for quite some time, a definition — as pointed out by Drew — and which was logically derived from the Open Source Definition, which has come to be very well understood by even more people.

To suggest that something is open hardware when only PDF schematics are available under a liberal licence is disingenuous. Furthermore, it does a disservice to all those who have published the BOM, editable design databases and Gerbers etc. for their designs.

That said, this looks like a great initiative, and I suspect that misuse of the term “open hardware” was simply a marketing oversight. However, it would be good to see this resolved.



Hi All,

When will be SoC documentation (data sheets/TRMs etc) available?

Is board available in india?

Bharat Gohil

The HiKey Processor reference guide is available on GitHub: https://github.com/96boards/documentation/tree/master/hikey

That processor manual doesn’t include some things - like the MIPI-CSI interfaces as far as I can tell. Is a more complete guide forthcoming?

This isn’t the first ‘open hardware’ project to issue schematics but not gerbers. Balloonboard (http://www.balloonboard.org/) did that too, and created a corresponding licence which made that clear ‘BOHL’ (Balloon Open Hardware Licence: balloonboard.org - This website is for sale! - balloonboard Resources and Information.). However that was 2003, and things have moved on since then, and people now expect anything called Open Hardware to also include layout info. Balloonboard remains an interesting, but largely unsuccessful, project hoping to do what Beagleboard did much better a few years later.

That does leave an interesting question of what one should call ‘schematic-only open hardware’. Schematics+pinouts all firmware is enough to make all the workings of a board available to the engineer, and for them to make their own equivalent later if need be, so it is ‘quite open’, but obviously the schematic is not the ‘preferred form of modification’ on which others would like to build, and there is a big pile of work in re-implementing the layout, especially in these days of high speeds and low voltages.

Maybe Hikey should use the BOHL?