Here Are 5 Hot Raspberry Pi Alternatives!The $25 Raspberry Pi is not alone in the marketplace. Check out these five alternatives...
Raspberry Pi is surely making waves across the globe, attracting considerable interest both from Linux hobbyists and embedded computing enthusiasts. The credit-card sized computer, that can run Linux, Fedora and Arch Linux, was developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to get the youth of today to try their hand at engineering. Raspberry Pi has a low price so enthusiasts can afford it, founder Eben Upton recently told TechRadar. There is no denying the fact that the $25 device has helped raise awareness of the possibilities for not only small but also inexpensive computers. But it is pertinent to note here that it's not the only option in single-board computing. Check out these five alternatives to Raspberry Pi, which offer power well beyond their size.
Jumping on the low-cost computer bandwagon, Taiwanese chip designer VIA Technologies recently announced its Android PC (APC) System. The low-priced system board is based on its Wondermedia ARM chip. The $49 device, running Android 2.3 operating system, is aimed at opening up exciting new markets and applications. The APC is said to compare well against the Raspberry Pi, with VGA and HDMI video outputs, four USB2 ports, one microSD slot, one 100Mb/sec Ethernet port, audio out and microphone in.
The 700MHz ARM 11 chip is supported by 512MB of DDR3 RAM and there is 2GB of flash memory on-board. The APC is said to consume 13.5W at full load with idle power consumption of 4W, which is comparable to the Raspberry Pi. The company said that this Android-powered PC will be up for pre-order soon. It will be shipped in early July this year.
FXI Cotton Candy
Norway's FXI Technologies unveiled at CES 2012 its new USB stick dubbed as 'Cotton Candy'. The size of an old keychain USB stick, it has an HDMI plug on one end and a USB on the other. It comes equipped with an ARM Cortex-A9 (1GHz) CPU from Samsung, an ARM Mali-400 MP (Quad-core, 1.2GHz) GPU, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, HDMI output and the Android operating system. The power-packed stick decodes MPEG-4, H.264 and other video formats and displays HD graphics on any HDMI-equipped screen. Users can control content via smartphones, keyboards, mice and other USB peripherals.
Other than the Ice Cream Sandwich and Ubuntu 2.3 offerings, the device is reportedly technically capable of running Windows 8 since ARM is a supported architecture. It allows users a single, secure point of access to all personal cloud services and apps through their favourite operating system, while delivering a consistent experience on any screen. While the Cotton Candy is pretty amazing, it is priced at $200 and should go on sale later this year.
The Raspberry Pi computer also faces competition from another Asian micro-PC rival, the MK802. The Android-based mini system comes with an amazing form factor. The computer was recently made available for sale at $74 and it got sold out pretty fast. For all those who missed this opportunity, will have to wait till 10 June 2012, as the next batch of the computers are likely to be available then.
Named MK802, it is quite similar to the $199 Cotton Candy computer-in-a-stick and weighs only 200gm. Powered by ARM processor, the MK802 comes with a Mali 400 GPU, which helps in an output of 1080p videos through HDMI. Despite the small size, the MK802 has a microSD card slot along with built-in 4GB flash storage, all this together with a full-sized USB port and a micro-USB version. The mini computer is also Wi-Fi supported. It requires an HDMI cable to be plugged in, unlike Cotton Candy.
Beagle Board is an ultra low-cost, high-performance, low-power embedded platform based on Texas Instruments (TI)s' OMAP3530 technology. The board was named after the medium-sized dog, beagle, as it was designed to be one of the shortest pocket-sized OMAP3530 boards and TI wanted the open community to treat this as a pet, easy to carry. It can be USB powered so development is made easy, can perform high-end applications at very less power. Though the open-source BeagleBoard provides students and hobbyists with a highly flexible development platform, at $150 it's a lot more expensive than the Raspberry Pi.
The Mele A1000 is another ARM-based Android single-board device. At $70 (and above), it features a number of components that the Raspberry Pi computer lacks. Powered by a 1 GHz Allwinner A10 ARM Cortex-A8 processor, the Mele A1000 should be faster than the Raspberry Pi, which packs a 700 MHz ARM11 chip.
Described as a TV box, the Mele A1000 also features HDMI, VGA, USB, and Ethernet ports, as well as support for an external SATA hard drive. With some work, the Mele 1000 can definitely be turned into a $100 desktop PC running Ubuntu or another Linux distribution.--Monika Bhati