Over the past few months there have been no fewer than three tiny, cheap Linux PCs making headlines, and now there's a fourth to add to the list.
First we saw the Raspberry Pi and the Cotton Candy devices emerge; then, almost exactly a month ago I wrote about the Mele A1000, a small ARM device that sells with Android but can be configured to run Ubuntu Linux as well.
The latest to appear? None other than the MK802 micro-PC, a USB-sized device priced at $74 that runs Android 4.0 and Linux.
This is turning into a veritable smorgasbord of choices, and I believe it's just the beginning of a real revolution in computing.
1080p HDMI Video Output
Featuring a single-core 1.5GHz AllWinner A10 Cortex A8 ARM processor, Android 4.0, 512MB of DDR3 high-capacity memory, and WiFi connectivity, the MK802 is now available on Aliexpress for $74 including free shipping to the United States via China Post.
With a MALI400 graphics processing unit, the device from Chinese brand rikomagic features 4GB Flash storage, a microSD slot, and two USB ports: one full-sized and one micro, according to CNXSoft. Video output is via 1080p HDMI -- an HDMI cable needs to be added separately -- and users can tap either an Android virtual keyboard or add a wireless mouse and keyboard.
A New Category of PC
It's true that this device is more expensive than the $35 Raspberry Pi, but it's also cheaper than the $199 Cotton Candy. It's very comparable to the $70 Mele 1000.
The bottom line, though, is that this is yet another choice for those seeking a low-cost computing option, and once again it's powered by ARM and Linux -- both the Android variety and more traditional forms, if so desired.
There will surely continue to be a place for the many high-priced computing options in this world, but it's endlessly exciting to imagine what new innovations these tiny, cheap, Linux PCs will enable.
This story, "A tiny PC that runs Linux and Android 4.0 -- and costs just $74" was originally published by PCWorld.