The first 4 Balloon3 prototypes (p1) were produced in June 2006.
The first batch of 20 boards - designated build 'P2' was produced in September 2006.
The second prototypes - designated 'E1' were produced in October 2006.
The balloon3 hardware was all supported in the bootloader (bootldr) and the kernel (126.96.36.199) at this point.
P2 & E1 boards are being used in Engineering Department at Cambridge University as the controllers on a second year autonomous vehicle project.
Toby Churchill is using E1 CPLD boards in their Lightwriter product. Boards were being built in production quantities from Feb 2007. There have been some problems with build reliability due to mix of ROHS and non ROHS components making oven temp profiles tricky.
In March 2007, CPLD boards are coming off the production line OK, but the fpga (BGA package) on FPGA boards is not being reliably soldered, making backplane and CF IO unreliable. Test jig and code to fix this problem is being sorted. This means that E1 balloons are currently in short supply.
The BalloonzCompany (David Bisset and Wookey) is now (March 2007) functioning and working to get Balloon3 production properly organised.
We got to the bottom of hardware problems (in fact most of the board were OK, so CUED have ~100 to distribute).
May 2007. Lots of work has been done on the software and build systems. We now have: Kernel 2.6.21 port, allowing EABI use. Pluggin a balloon in can be made to 'just work' as either a serial device or an ethernet device, so the balloon just appears when you plug it in. buildroot-based initrd which allows rootfs to be loaded using USB or ethernet. Debian-arm root filesystem, with a few tweaks via the balloon3-config package. Unified build system for kernel, initrd, rootfs. This all released as test-v0.2 distribution