But what I am interested in the near future is not something sweet or tasty, but rather in a very cheap, very cost effective, miniature credit card sized, ARM based Linux PC! Can you guess how much is the initial price? 25 USD!
So the project has began in 2006, when they first created the initial concept with an Atmel based chip, much like those used in Arduinos, but as technology advances in this rapid pace, so they opted on using an ARM based chip for their new prototype, which initially was smaller than the “alpha” board, but the latter has more features and it looks like its more robust.
Public release is scheduled for January 2012 and they ‘re going to release two models of these boards, type A & type B. Both models have a few differences; type B is the “premium” model and has the features bellow, plus an ethernet port, 256 MB of RAM and two usb 2.0 ports, at the price of 35 USD!:
ARM11 based chip from Broadcom. Clock frequency is 700MHz.
OpenGL 2.0 capable GPU
128 MB of RAM (type A, the one priced 25 USD)
HDMI output (also capable of playing HD, H.264 content)
RCA video output (for analog TVs)
Audio jack 3.5 mm
SD card slot for cards up to 32 GB
One usb 2.0 port (type A)
I am pretty amazed of this compact design of it and its very low price tag, even arduinos don’t cost this little.
And if you want some visual of this great mini PC, lets give the project’s director an opportunity of demonstrating this device to us:
It looks quite promising. Imagine all the kids who cannot afford on buying all those expensive computers, getting this cheap PC, develop software for it, play games, browse the internet, process documents and pretty much anything else an ordinary PC can do. Even wealthy countries can benefit from it.
Imagine its potential! I would really love to see a cluster made with these boards in the future!
And off course it will run Linux. Initially, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora and “ArchLinux ARM” will be supported out of the box, but probably others will join the party, because the Linux kernel has very strong ARM support, so don’t be surprised if you see distros popping out, like they do for x86 PCs.
How about gaming? OpenGL 2.0 capabilities come into play, having also optimized X drivers installed Quake 3 Arena can run:
Did I say I can’t wait for it? Yes I did, but I like to repeat myself, this particular time.