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Tiny $45 Cubic Mini-PC Supports Android and Linux

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the market-saturation-approaching dept.

Android 197

DeviceGuru writes "SolidRun refreshed its line of tiny 2 x 2 x 2-inch mini-PCs with four new community-backed models based on 1.2GHz multi-core Freescale i.MX6 SoCs. The CuBox-i devices support Android 4.2.2 and Linux, offer HDMI, S/PDIF, IR, eSATA, GbE, USB, WiFi, and Bluetooth interfaces (depending on model). All the models offer 1.2GHz clock speeds, OpenGL/ES 2.0 3D support, and video acceleration for 1080p video, while the two higher-end ones supply more robust GPUs that add OpenCL 1.1 support."

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But can it run Crysis? (-1)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | about a year ago | (#44751891)


Re:But can it run Crysis? (2)

angelbar (1823238) | about a year ago | (#44752263)

Sorry, we need your cred's back... You confused subject with content.

How much RAM? (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | about a year ago | (#44751893)

How much RAM?

Re:How much RAM? (5, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year ago | (#44751917)

There are 4 models; 512MB, 1GB, 1GB, and 2GB of RAM.

Re:How much RAM? (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#44752115)

That's a tough choice between the 1GB and 1GB.

Re:How much RAM? (4, Informative)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about a year ago | (#44752201)

Those models differ in other ways (CPU/GPU speeds, RAM speed, etc).

Re:How much RAM? (-1, Offtopic)

oldhack (1037484) | about a year ago | (#44753497)

Mod this guy up for the sig.

Re:How much RAM? (0)

Score Whore (32328) | about a year ago | (#44751937)

1 GB.

But more importantly is what exactly is the use case for this device? It'd be nice if the people who are designing these all-in-ones would stop thinking of a piece of bric-a-brac that is sitting on a shelf and start thinking in terms of sitting inside a cabinet built into the wall of my home. I don't need a cutesy little cube. I need a remotely managed, ruggedized unit.

Re: How much RAM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44751971)

May I suggest finding someone with a 3D printer?

Re: How much RAM? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752133)

How would that help? As opposed to just knowing the dozens, if not hundreds, of companies that make all sorts of enclosures? Sometimes I wonder about the people here.

Re: How much RAM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752229)

Obviously, the suggestion is that they should build their own enclosure if the provided one doesn't live up to their requirements.

Re: How much RAM? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752311)

That makes little to no sense to me, but it's your time and money to waste,

Re: How much RAM? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752343)

There once was a time on slashdot (and in the rest of the world) where people would tinker and hack and put things together for the *fun* of it. We truly live in dark times. Go on, I'm sure netflix is waiting.

Re: How much RAM? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752497)

Yes but they tinkered new and interesting things. Making a project box in the most expensive and roundabout way to avoid buying a 5$ project box is neither new or interesting. It is merely stupid and trendy.

Re: How much RAM? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752705)

That's right, mod me down instead of coming up with a rebuttal. Coward. Go spend 50$ and a week to 3D print a 25 cent part, you retard.

Re:How much RAM? (4, Informative)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#44752009)

Media server - for this you need good video and audio processor power. RaspPi is not capable of it.
File server - You could use the cheaper variant (RaspPi), but nevertheless, this one could do the job too. Maybe it will be able to run some more advance NAS server!!! To be seen...
Router/Switch/Firewall - you name it. The nice touch is that you could make/build your own server, instead of praying that the nice little toy you bought from Wallmart does not have toooo many backdoors in it.

Re:How much RAM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752081)

It has SATA, Gigabit Ethernet,and enough RAM so it should make an interesting file server.
RPi on the other hand shares Ethernet with USB so the bandwidth really not there (assuming that buggy USB driver issues isn't the show stopper).

Re:How much RAM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752101)

Except that you don't need a separate computer for any of the tasks you listed. Media files can be stored on the computer you watch them on, and usually your internet router these days comes out of the box with all the networking functionality you could think of. Trust me, it's only an unnecessary hassle to babysit an extra server machine at home.

Re:How much RAM? (1)

blackiner (2787381) | about a year ago | (#44752161)

Certainly, the initial setup of a linux based router is a bit of work, but once you have it all configured, there is literally 0 babysitting aside from periodically installing distro updates if you want. I run fedora on mine, just type in sudo yum update once a week... couldn't be easier.

Re:How much RAM? (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about a year ago | (#44753329)

My router, provided by ISP and that I'm forced to use no matter what, does a lot of things already but not quite everything. What I want most is a ssh server with screen sessions. Eventually I'd hope to be able to wake the big PC up. Some "personal storage cloud" (bullshit for stuff that I can access from outside), even just some data on the computer's flash but 100% accessible, would be nice.

Re:How much RAM? (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#44753559)

You mean, your ISP is the good guy? LOL, man, get real. The best solution is to use this combination: Internet ISP router Your router Your home network.

Re:How much RAM? (2)

blackiner (2787381) | about a year ago | (#44752145)

I actually was really liking the prospect of using this as a router. I currently have an old PC doing this, but it is not the perfect solution (power hungry, for one). The ethernet driver looks like it can do BQL which is great for the fq_codel qdisc, and the wireless card seems capable of AP mode (not 100% sure on either of these... just did a cursory glance). The main issue is it only has one ethernet port, would be perfect if they added an optional second or something, as I'd rather not add one via usb.

Re:How much RAM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752367)

I actually was really liking the prospect of using this as a router. I currently have an old PC doing this, but it is not the perfect solution (power hungry, for one).

Power hungry for sure. I don't know what your "old PC" is but I'm guessing you probably spend more money on electricity to power it for six months than you would spend to buy a brand new, uh, router, that draws a fraction of the power upon which you could install dd-wrt or some variant if you require more customized tweaking. For what reason do you do this?

(I used to do this too years ago until I did the electricity use calculation--that made me ditch a bunch of old PCs...)

Re:How much RAM? (2)

IVI4573R (614125) | about a year ago | (#44752747)

Power calculations is exactly why my latest home-built router uses an low-power mother board with an Atom CPU rather than something more power hungry. Not as efficient as some other options like this SOC, but it's still x86 so I had more options on Linux distros. In the end it was personal preference, tho.

Re:How much RAM? (2)

blackiner (2787381) | about a year ago | (#44752761)

It is interesting and I like to be able to play around with new tech. The codel qdisc is only available in fairly new kernels... was introduced in 3.5 I think. Most custom firmwares use rather old kernels and you have little control over the actual software versions. I also use an ath9k adapter with hostapd, it is hard to find routers with 450Mbs support in linux. Also, I can use it as a samba host, torrent host, plus the fedora builds use hardening techniques and it has selinux enabled by default. Plenty of other stuff I could do too if I wanted, like set it up as a RDP server, and it wouldn't bog the computer down too bad since it has an actual processor.

Its basically just an interesting expiriment I wanted to try, and it works rather well.

Re:How much RAM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44753353)

Its basically just an interesting expiriment I wanted to try, and it works rather well.

Totally understood, one old PC's power draw isn't going to break the bank and tinkering is fun as hell :)

(kids are what break the bank...)

Re:How much RAM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752177)

My problem with RaspberryPi for file server is the 10/100 ethernet. Gigabit is cheap and prevalent. I understand the keeping costs down aspect though.

Re:How much RAM? (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44752539)

My problem with RaspberryPi for file server is the 10/100 ethernet. Gigabit is cheap and prevalent. I understand the keeping costs down aspect though.

The rPi has enough ethernet issues that Gigabit wouldn't make much difference (there are people who will sell you a 'gigabit' USB 2.0 NIC; but that's because there are bad people, not because it works all that well). The ethernet, and both accessible USB ports, are provided by a combo NIC/USB hub switch dangling from a single USB2 root port on the SoC. Since SD cards top out at fairly low capacities, that typically implies that the USB bus will be dealing with mass-storage chatter between the rPi and your external HDD enclosure and ethernet traffic for whatever file serving protocol you are using. Not Fast.

Re:How much RAM? (1)

guruevi (827432) | about a year ago | (#44753261)

Same problem as this model. The Gigabit is limited to 480Mbps (USB 2.0 bus speed). Actually this Cubic isn't all that different from an RPi, they run the same family chips, the same type of RAM, the same type of I/O.

Re:How much RAM? (2)

adolf (21054) | about a year ago | (#44753453)

there are people who will sell you a 'gigabit' USB 2.0 NIC; but that's because there are bad people, not because it works all that well

If I get ~9 megabytes per second in the real world from 100Mbps Ethernet on actual file transfers over the on-board Ethernet on my laptop, and ~30 megabytes-per-second on actual file transfers the USB 2.0 Ethernet adapter on that same laptop, then: Gigabit Ethernet over USB 2.0 should be a boon.

Not because performance is improved by a factor of 10 (as going from 100 to 1000Mbps Ethernet might theoretically be in an ideal situation), but because it's more than three times faster than what I could do before, and I spend 1/3 the time waiting for stuff to move from A to B.

And if I can plug in a cheap widget that gets me 3x the speed, no matter what the platform or the problem: As long as speed is an issue, I'm sold: 3x is always better than 1x, even if 10x is ideal and 3x is less than 10x.

Why do you proclaim that the people who would sell me such an adapter are "bad people"?

(Let me guess: You're an engineer. You probably even have the ring to prove it.)

Re:How much RAM? (-1, Offtopic)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#44753573)

The DOT, it is the DOT that makes the difference LOL
And are you living in a cave? Did not you hear the whole story revealed by Snowden? Is your head buried in the sand?

Re:How much RAM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752553)

Then buy one. There are a bunch like that. They won't show up on slashdot because it's not news and they hardly matters.

Re:How much RAM? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44752959)

You aren't looking for a rugged unit. You are looking for a mentalist.

Re:How much RAM? (1)

PNutts (199112) | about a year ago | (#44753133)

If you can't see it does it matter? And if it's tucked away in a cabinet why does it need to be ruggedized?

Re:How much RAM? (1)

Score Whore (32328) | about a year ago | (#44753463)

Not a cabinet like a kitchen cabinet, a cabinet like circuit breaker box mounted in the garage. It needs to be ruggedized so that it can deal with high dust, high humidity, occasional bumps, not ruggedized such that I can throw it off the rim of the Grand Canyon to be found in perfect working order by whoever comes next after humans are extinct.

I want people who are building small, moderate power computers to be thinking that I want a cloud in my home. I want to walk over to it periodically and replace some kind of failed storage device. But other than that I'd like the damned thing to be mostly hands off and not something I have to fit into the decor of my house.

Re:How much RAM? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44751941)

Up to 2GB, apparently. (In a 32-bit address space, you won't use much more of it anyway.)

Re:How much RAM? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44752323)

I can't wait for the 64-bit ARMs. If they can do ECC RAM, I'll be a happy camper.

Pre-Order... :( (2)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year ago | (#44751905)

I'll be more impressed when I can actually buy a sub $100 PC... Too many broken promises.

If you're looking at arms: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44751989)

I was going to give specific examples, but I think THIS says it all:
Anywhere from 35 to 150 dollars with a mean price of around 80 for a quad core RK3188 with a mali 400MP(2 or 4), 1 or 2 gigs of DDR3, and either wifi/bluetooth, or wifi/bluetooth/ethernet options. Some models MIGHT even support ethernet over HDMI (there was one with a dock a month or two back that had an ethernet port on it and a passthrough for hdmi out to a monitor/tv.

Re:If you're looking at arms: (2)

alvarogmj (1679584) | about a year ago | (#44752785)

yes, only problem is that android on these systems is absolutely horrible for anything but media center work. If you want a PC, then don't go for any of those. I have a mk802 II and its capabilities as a general purpose machine are pathetic

Re:Pre-Order... :( (4, Informative)

KiloByte (825081) | about a year ago | (#44752061)

I'll be more impressed when I can actually buy a sub $100 PC

Here, for $89. [hardkernel.com] Helluva better CPU than these: 4*2.0 instead of 1*1.0 ($45) or 4*1.0 ($120).

Sadly, it has no eSATA (just some extra-fast eMMC), and 100Mb ethernet instead of 470Mb you get in the $95 and $120 CuBox models.

Other competition seems to be several times as expensive and have terrible specs.

Re:Pre-Order... :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752219)

470Mb you get in the $95 and $120 CuBox models

Some people [solid-run.com] get over 800Mb/s. But YMMV.

Re:Pre-Order... :( (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#44752437)

My biggest problem with these mini computers is the interface. Sure you can get a tiny computer for cheap now, but touch screens (the only interface that would remotely work and be supported at the same time) are still $200 minimum. Size of the screen has little effect on the price and there are very few choices so you have to adjust your application to fit the part rather than the other way around.

What we need is a smart-phone that's not a phone, runs on 12volt DC and has a back brimming with I/O ports.

Re:Pre-Order... :( (2)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44753067)

You can get any one of dozens of quad core ARM tablet PCs in 7" with 10-point capacitive touch that run Ubuntu or Android for under $100 delivered. SDHC and HDMI out at 1080p for the second screen, usb if you must have wired network, keyboard and mouse or whatever. For $200 you can get 10". Admit it: your complaint has an unstated "with Windows". That, you can't have.

Re:Pre-Order... :( (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about a year ago | (#44752143)

check out Cubieboard [cubieboard.org] because it has lots of great features including a SATAII port but it doesnt have wireless. you can get the newest model for $60.

Re:Pre-Order... :( (1)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#44752635)

There are millions of them on the market.

Oh wait... did you mean a *new* sub $100 PC? Good luck with that!

Re:Pre-Order... :( (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about a year ago | (#44753391)

Here's a $88 PC, it's an old model (still has a compact flash slot) but it is a small, self-contained IBM compatible PC that uses a handful watts.
http://www.norhtec.com/products/mcjrsx/index.html [norhtec.com]

A $120 one which is much better (has a FPU for a start), a lot more RAM.. 512MB, and is bundled in a keyboard like an 8bit or 16bit computer.
http://www.norhtec.com/products/surfboard/index.html [norhtec.com]
Looks fun! But doesn't look powerful enough to play youtube videos (it will run any x86 stuff too, as long as it's not i686)
Shipping cost is hell, though.

Will buy it... (4, Insightful)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#44751987)

Will buy it, but will not preorder it. I have a bad experience with such a business strategy. And lets face it, preorder is like giving away a lot of money with the hope that the seller will fulfill his promise, to deliver....i hope you got the picture.

Re:Will buy it... (3, Funny)

RatBastard (949) | about a year ago | (#44752141)

Held on to that Duke Nukem Forever pre-order receipt for how many years?

Re:Will buy it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752517)

I don't know if you heard, but that did actually come out. Gamestop even honored receipts for pre orders.

Re:Will buy it... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752179)

i hope you got the picture.

I pre-ordered the picture, but it hasn't shipped yet.

Re:Will buy it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752845)

I would have gladly pre-ordered if it was available in a Borg cube design. "We are the Android. You Will be Assimilated. Resistance is Futile."

Re:Will buy it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44753287)

pre-order should always come at a discount

Will get one or two (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752077)

Will definitely buy a few ones if they happen to deliver what's advertised.

We now need "open hardware" more than ever.

smaller isnt always better (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about a year ago | (#44752083)

1) it's a small PC which is cool but there is something to be said for mechanical stability, which is why all those android sticks plug directly into an HDMI port. i'm not saying they should do that but they need to do something.
2) eSATA enclosures are costly (nearly the same price as the CuBox) so why not just have SATA port and offer larger cases that incorporate everything you need, like a power system so that you you can run this using your 2.5" or 3.5" drive? it would even solve the mechanical stability issue.

Re:smaller isnt always better (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#44752277)

Smaller is ALWAYS better. Period. I can think of so many uses for these cubes my mind is racing.

Re:smaller isnt always better (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752535)

Smaller is ALWAYS better. Period. I can think of so many uses for these cubes my mind is racing.

Why? Did it shrink?

Re:smaller isnt always better (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44753223)

I can think of several more if they changed the form factor so it would fit in my pocket. 2"x2"x2" is about the most inconvenient possible form factor for a device of this overall size.

Re:smaller isnt always better (1)

kesuki (321456) | about a year ago | (#44752393)

imagine a beowulf cluster of those... with hdmi dongle there is a problem of needing an hdmi connection for every node in your cluster. usb and ethernet are both better. at least PoE is great for small clusters. i do not know which devices support PoE but it is great at reducing cable clutter for a beowulf cluster

Android is Linux dumbasses! (0)

the_humeister (922869) | about a year ago | (#44752147)

Idiots! Gosh...

Re:Android is Linux dumbasses! (5, Informative)

dido (9125) | about a year ago | (#44752227)

True. However, does Richard Stallman now seem so stupid for asking that everyone call "Linux" systems "GNU/Linux" systems? We now have Android/Linux as well as GNU/Linux, so the distinction actually turns out to be a rather important one to make. Everyone likes to joke about how RMS is a crackpot with bad hygeine, but it seems he's been right more often than not.

Re:Android is Linux dumbasses! (4, Insightful)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about a year ago | (#44752335)

At this point, Android/Linux is usually just "Android", and GNU/Linux is just "Linux". The only times that I hear a different use in my life is when someone's trying to sound smart on the internet. So far, it seems like disambiguation has kind of taken care of itself.

Except its clear (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44752313)

Idiots! Gosh...

Far too much debate on the internet goes into arguing about what words really mean. It is true that Android could be argued that it is simply another distribution based on a Linux kernel, and I would agree...and then call that version of Linux Android, but confusingly Linux is really a reference to GNU/Linux or Desktop Linux, shortened intentionally because Linus is awesome, or more likely out of "common usage" which has come about because its kind of catchy, even if you deep down think that GNU/Linux was probably a more deserving title.

...But then I suspect you probably knew that. Even if you didn't, there is nothing wrong with the English.

Re:Android is Linux (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44753121)

The proper way to say this is "Android is a Linux." It is neither definitive of what Linux is nor a representative member of what a Linix has come to be understood to be. But it is A Linux.

Semi-official support for desktop Linux (1)

kLimePie (3031053) | about a year ago | (#44752217)

The only thing that's really news here is that the mini-PC comes with semi-official Linux support, basically a community forum that's linked off the home page. Otherwise there are dozens of other thumb to palm-size computers out there, starting from the most famous Raspberry Pi's to generic HDMI dongles. Except for the cheapest ones which run some chip-specific OS, all of the HDMI dongles run Android. Installing desktop Linux on them should, at worst, be a matter of rooting the device and bootstrapping a bare-bones ARM distro like Debian or Arch on top of the Android kernel.

Re:Semi-official support for desktop Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752523)

Sheevaplug has shipped with Debian / Ubuntu for a few years now. So that's not even new.

Custom router applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752225)

You think this would work well for a custom router solution?
This crappy router I have is due for dying (by my hands snapping it in half) and I don't think I want to bother going with someone else and would like more control over it, especially for security reasons.

I've already made a basic AP before using USB Wi-Fi stick, which is extremely useful when the family goes on holiday since we can share the one connection from the USB wireless internet dongle I have which presently gets connected to my netbook. (which will be happening in a couple weeks in fact, oh wait no the hotel has free Wi-Fi, oh well one less thing!)
This usually ends up handling my mothers laptop, her boyfriends laptop, sisters laptop sometimes, my netbook and tablet, maybe some cousins if they are there.
Works fairly well, but I would rather not have an entire netbook on just for that, even if it does use very little power, not to mention the size is the main issue.

I basically want something that is very small, can easily be tucked away, could handle some generic modem and a couple USB connections.
This seems to have 3 USB (one being micro, I have adapters flying out my ears), so that fits the bill.
Linux more or less supports USB things okay these days, correct? I haven't used it directly since 2004-ish on Slax at that, and it was fairly fine then, so I assume it has gotten better since?
If so, USB modem and Wi-Fi sticks should be fairly good to go?
Ideally I would want to have a firewall and stuff like that straight on it with some basic security features, some blocks to abusive sites (especially abusive advertisers like the ones that have annoying flashy crap, spy or resell data to anyone ever and fund human trafficking terrorist pedo dictatorships probably)
Maybe some privoxy action and some stuff like that to keep stuff tidy.

But I also want it to still, in the end, be useful as an actual computer too. (my tablet would be getting used as the main screen eventually using VNC.)
So I can do some basic stuff on it that I couldn't, say, do on a tablet, and it would be replacing my netbook for the most part.
Hell, this thing probably has more power than my netbook, and more connectivity!
I do love my netbook, very useful for on holiday to do some coding, modelling and the like in the wee hours on holiday or out and about.
So to be able to replicate the usefulness of that would be absolutely needed.
Doesn't need keyboard, can use my bluetooth six-axis keyboard from PS3, works very well, has mouse on it too. Admittedly that mouse works terribly on my Samsung tablet, not sure how it would work on generic Android install, still, the stylus exists, and it is easy enough to script a key combination to switch to key2mouse input too.

I've looked at so many different kinds of hardware over the years but I can never really settle on anything.
This was one of the first I had looked at, the Fit PC [tinygreenpc.com] .
And looking again, daaamn, they have a bunch of new stuff there.
See, here it begins again, aahajas why?!

Anyone have any experience with custom routing solutions that are also useful for a computer?
Or even people with experience in custom routing solutions and small computers that could suggest models that would be better suited to the task?
Or should I just give in and buy NSA-backdoor-approved routers from 'murrica? Or from China? Then I can install custom firmware and get added to a watchlist.

Re:Custom router applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752391)

You think this would work well for a custom router solution?

Probably. It sounds like it'll take some effort to set up to do what you want, but it shouldn't be too bad.

Linux more or less supports USB things okay these days, correct?

Generally, it should have very good support. I'm sure there's unsupported hardware out there, and hardware that you'd have to rip the firmware blob out of the Windows driver though, so I'm not going to try to make a blanket claim that whatever devices you have on hand will absolutely work out of the box.

Calm down, though. Seriously. It would make your post easier to read if you didn't ramble so much.

Check those numbers (5, Informative)

frovingslosh (582462) | about a year ago | (#44752261)

I'm underwhelmed. The top end quad core device is $130, and they want another $38 for "shipping" (Stated as "$18 to $38). Clearly a 2x2x2 device, even well packed, should cost a lot less to ship. And on top of that, the Android microSd card is "optional". In that price range I can buy a damn nice quad core tablet with HDMI output. Might not have eSATA support, but will have USB support and will have a color touch screen, battery, accelerometers and position sensor (and maybe a Gyro or even GPS) and a lot more utility. Or if you want to go completely low end you can still get low end tablets for close to the base price of this device.

You would be much better off buying a Pi, or hacking a ChromeCast or ever a hackable Linux based router. This looks to me like another "me too" device to profit off the community funding model.

Re:Check those numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752651)

holy shit, which quad core tablet can you get for $130?

Re:Check those numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752719)

How about a HiSense 7" from of all places, WalMart:


Technical Specifications:

                1.3GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 Quad-Core processor
                1GB DDR2 of system memory and 8GB on-board storage memory
                7.0" touchscreen, 1280 x 800 resolution
                Bluetooth, WiFi
                Back 5MP webcam and front 2MP webcam with flash and auto-focus
                USB 2.0 port, mini HDMI port
                8GB on-board storage memory, additional memory via SD card slot
                Android 4.2 OS (Jelly Bean)
                Built-in NFC (Near Field Communications)

Re:Check those numbers (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#44752715)

I agree. It seems they just want to push their profit margins while forgetting the early adopters (us) have a pretty good understanding of what we're [thinking of] buying. Build your market and following and THEN focus on profits when you've got a market. Here's what will happen, especially in Linux/Android based devices. Someone will ALWAYS be cheaper and they will use some of your ideas in the process. May as well accept it now. You will not own or dominate your section of the market without fans and followers as your 'edge' over others. This means acting more like Samsung than like Apple.

Re:Check those numbers (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about a year ago | (#44753447)

But that tablet lacks wired ethernet and eSATA and all that shit (display, battery, acceleromter, GPS) is useless if you use it as a desktop or server.

Cheaper, smaller Android alternative with I/O (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752283)


obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752293)

Can I make a beowulf cluster of these?

How much VRAM? GPU specs? (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a year ago | (#44752359)

The picture shows it supports OpenGL ES 2.0 but how much video RAM do the various models have?
http://files.linuxgizmos.com/freescale-imx6q.jpg [linuxgizmos.com]

Anyone have any specs on the GPU such as texture fill rate, bandwidth, etc?

Aside, while the Arduino has a RTC (Real-Time Clock) the Raspberry Pi doesn't. At least this i.MX does.

Re:How much VRAM? GPU specs? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#44752481)

No Arduino boards I'm aware of come with an RTC.

HEVC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752477)

I wouldn't mind buying one for a media center PC for the house depending on how it compared to my Western Digital TV Live, my question is does it have what it takes to run the new HEVC spec due out within the next year as I plan to rerip and reencode my old content to the newer format for the space savings eventually if I can find a media player that supports it. I plan on reripping eventually anyways to mkv format to preserve the chapter splits and subtitles and all in a single file anyways.

Re:HEVC (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44753155)

I know /. is a nerd site and all, and you might get a bite from one of the contributors to weigh in, but a guarantee is asking a bit much.

Am I the only one who wants what I want? (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#44752681)

I want a car-puter that's worth a damn and I'm flexible about what I would find acceptable in that regard.

1. I want it in a car (obviously) but that means it requires some things other computing devices will not but among these are power/heat management and tolerance most might begin to realize is completely hostile to computer devices.
2. I want it to meet current expectations in software and in hardware. (For example, 1280x800 minimum display, not 800x480 and Android 4.x, not Android 2.x! I am looking at YOU Parrot! You insult us all with your specs.)
3. I want it to be flexible and more general purpose even if it is limited by its use in a car. This means having a wide range of peripheral inputs and outputs and the ability to use a variety of displays and display types. It also means keeping it open and not restricted. (Parrot, could you explain to me your parrot store or whatever you call it? I get that things *can* be side-loaded, but I think that was more of a concession than anything else.)
4. I want it to be open as Android was intended. This means we will buy your hardware, but don't try to tell us what we can do with it. We KNOW what's on your mind and we don't approve. It's not so much about "quality control" as much as it is consumer control. Parrot, once again, I'm looking at you. There are competitors coming hard and fast and you don't want to be forgotten simply because you thought being among the first means you can take advantage of the lacking consumer choice. Some consumers have a short memory while others like me do not. I will NEVER buy Sony again, for example. Sony doesn't respect consumers. I won't buy into that ever.

I can't believe there isn't a market for what I want.

Re:Am I the only one who wants what I want? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752897)


Re:Am I the only one who wants what I want? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44753255)

Maybe you should look at the road once in a while.

Re:Am I the only one who wants what I want? (1)

njahnke (757694) | about a year ago | (#44753629)

how about you start your own business and find out?

Underwhelmed. How about a good Sub $100PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752701)

Aside from some embedded type uses, I am not so sure this is all that useful. We already have a couple of existing options.

OTOH, a "smallish" sun $100 system, running Linux around the size of a cable box (so I can stick an HD inside) would be somewhat useful as something that can be configured as a piece of office equipment - think FAX receiver, print server, or any number of dedicated machines in a doctor's or lawyer's office.

good for headless usage? (1)

markjhood2003 (779923) | about a year ago | (#44752711)

Why do these newer small computers always seem to lack a serial port? Do you have to connect a physical keyboard and monitor to configure sshd before you can get in through the ethernet or wireless interfaces and run it headless? Or can you get console IO through the USB ports?

Related question: is GPU acceleration available without connecting a physical monitor? Some systems seem to require a dongle to fool the computer into thinking a monitor is attached before loading the drivers that provide access to the GPU.

Re:good for headless usage? (2)

markjhood2003 (779923) | about a year ago | (#44752853)

Dang, replying to my own post here... just a little research revealed that you can get console IO through the USB ports: http://www.solid-run.com/mw/index.php?title=CuBox_serial_port [solid-run.com]

Still haven't found anything about GPU acceleration in a headless setup.

no pci (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about a year ago | (#44752731)

Why didn't they break out the PCIe port on the imx6? I understand that cost is an issue but how much extra could a mini PCI port cost to add?

MythTV / Multimedia Frontend (1)

tji (74570) | about a year ago | (#44752951)

This looks like it would make a great DVR frontend device IF it has usable video acceleration. The summary says that it does, but there is a huge difference between hardware capable of a feature and functioning Linux support for it.

What video formats does it support? Only H.264, like most recent devices? Or, will it do MPEG2 (the U.S. broadcast HDTV standard)?
Does it have Linux drivers for the video acceleration? VDPAU API support?

There are tons of devices out there that look great on paper, but very few that are usable in reality. If this turns out to work, I'll buy a few of them. But, I'll wait for that to be proven before jumping in.

comparison to other soc? (1)

Leninix (740791) | about a year ago | (#44753041)

This seems very promising, especially as a small media centre. I wonder however how it compares to cubieboard2 and other dual core arm processors based soc. Also, community support is important for that kind of device and it may take some time before documentation is good enough. But all cubox versions seems fair-priced. Even Intel new Haswell Nuc is very similar to those board, albeit with much faster specs and slightly bigger case, but same 1.3 ghz and more and more integration inside cpu chip. Desktops computers may very soon turn into a battle between small soc and nuc, who both support Gnu/ Linux and Android, as windows seems a bit irrelevant now for that kind of device and to most people who prefer to use a phone or tablet. This is interesting to look upon too as it may be the sign of a second golden age of computing.

Server oriented (1)

JanneM (7445) | about a year ago | (#44753047)

What I'd really want is a small ARM-based board that's good for a low-power server; something that can run a simple web site, Tiny Tiny RSS and keep a few git repositories.

The boards we're seeing now are getting close; they have 1-2GB memory, networking and SATA interfaces. What's really missing is the software support over time. Unlike an embedded system you do want security updates and OS updates over time, so you really want a platform that is a regular target for a major distro, whether Red Hat, Ubuntu or someone else.

Re:Server oriented (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44753317)

The Beagle Boards are attracting solid distro support. I just got a BeagleBone Black because the Beagle lineup has gained an official OpenBSD port. I won't be using OpenBSD on it yet, but I point that out to show that this particular platform is drawing considerable open source support. Instead, I'll be running stock Ubuntu/ARM.

Also, logic supply has sweet metal cases: http://www.logicsupply.com/categories/beaglebone. I'll install a regular development environment (GCC, etc) on this guy and make sure all my projects work properly on ARM, plus maybe use one to replace my hidden VPN terminator at work--currently an ALIX 3D. (The IT guys dick around with the Cisco boxes too much, causing too many headaches, so I took matters into my own hands Thank goodness OpenBSD makes setting up IPSec tunnels so effortless.)

High end a bit too much (2)

echusarcana (832151) | about a year ago | (#44753101)

I like the idea, but at the high end with shipping you are almost up into the Celeron price range. This would be for a 14W motherboard/cpu combo which should outperform this and would be a much more flexible system.

HTPC? (1)

eriks (31863) | about a year ago | (#44753107)

Something like this might be just the thing I'm looking for -- There are other tiny android boxes I've been looking at to replace my (aging) htpc. I want to be able to use my nexus 7 as a remote -- to control *everything* on the TV -- that's local video, netflix & random web stuff. Also I'd like to have a single audio output to my sound system for everything, but not have to have the TV on to listen to music. I've yet to find anything truly ideal. Even this probably won't be perfect, but at least it would be inexpensive and tiny: my current htpc is in a large case. I've been thinking Raspberry PI, which would be almost perfect, except no netflix...

low ram only 512 in base and max out at 2GB? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44753145)

low ram only 512 in base and max out at 2GB?

Re:low ram only 512 in base and max out at 2GB? (1)

njahnke (757694) | about a year ago | (#44753641)

What are you planning on doing that you need that much RAM?

Beowolf Cluster! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44753307)

Imagine a Beowolf Cluster of these 2x2 boxes!

Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44753313)

yeah, I know, on /., that's asking for abuse, but realistically, there's lots and lots of applications for embedded windows (just about every piece of lab test equipment these days runs Windows in some form), and while mini-ITX mobos are fine, something 1/4 the size would be attractive, or at least give more packaging options.

better off with something else.. (1)

sky770 (2731643) | about a year ago | (#44753471)

its always the tag "shipping cost" which makes the final cost pretty damn high. You might be better off with Parallella board(go figure) or..with the weed my neighbour dude gets me..
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