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 PCs
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.