NVIDIA Jetson Nano brings big AI muscles to a palm-sized dev kit

Artificial intelligence and machine learning is the buzzword not only in tech but even in the enterprise. Even for some developers, however, AI remains an almost esoteric field accessible only to those with beefy computers that can handle the workload. NVIDIA says that shouldn't be the case and to prove its point, it's launching the newest and smallest member of its Jetson family. While no Raspberry Pi, the Jetson Nano developer kit and Nano module put NVIDIA's CUDA-X AI chops in a compact and power efficient form that anyone can afford.

In case you haven't been keeping up with the latest AI news, NVIDIA has become one of the big names in the market. Better known for its computer graphics technology, it has employed its parallel computing and silicon expertise in producing a variety of CUDA-powered hardware for AI researchers, enthusiasts, and professionals. Of course, those products, like the Jetson AGX and the Jetson TX2, are aimed at enterprises and big companies and have prices to match.

In contrast, the Jetson Nano is for the masses. At 100 mm x 80 mm x 29 mm, the developer kit is larger than a Raspberry Pi but also packs more power than that single-board computer. The CUDA-X GPU delivers 472 GFLOPS of performance but manages to keep TDP to 5 to 10 watts. With NVIDIA's JetPack SDK, AI developers and hobbyists have access to a wide range of software and frameworks, including a full Linux desktop environment, Google's TensorFlow, PyTorch, and more.

All of that you can get for $99. The NVIDIA Jetson Nano dev kit includes 4 GB of RAM, a microSD card slot, HDMI 2.0 and eDP 1.4 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, and more.

While the Jetson Nano dev kit is designed for tinkerers, NVIDIA also has something companies ready to embed AI in their products. The Jetson Nano module is a thin, card-sized SBC that includes everything that's needed to cram a powerful AI computer in small spaces. The module will arrive in June for $129 but will be available only to enterprise customers and in bulk quantities of 1,000 or more.