Horsepower wars in the market for sub-$100 Linux machines is heating up, which means prices are getting downright — I mean downright — cheap. The DIY and Maker crowd are all abuzz about Raspberry Pi. It’s running a version of Ubuntu, has some programmable input/output pins and wired Ethernet. That’s quite a bit of computing power for $35.
Now, I’ve run across the Rikomagic MK802 USB stick computer online for $55.
In stock form, the little MK runs Android 4.0. It has a full-sized USB port for the keyboard/mouse combination and a full-sized male HDMI jack for video. A microUSB port serves as the power input, but you’ll have to provide your own power brick, probably of at least 800 mA output. Oh, did I mention it has WiFi built in?
The folks at Liliputing have a post about installing and running Ubuntu 10.4 on the MK. Basically, you load Ubuntu on a microSD card and boot from there.
The MK802 probably is a little underpowered for some people seeing as it only has a 1 GHz All Winner A10 processor, a Mali 400 gpu and 1 GB of memory. But it’s still an impressive piece of hardware for $55. Especially, with on-board WiFi.
Imagine what you could do with one of these things. How about hooking up an MK802 to an Arduino? Or maybe an MK802 could be loaded with a LAMP stack and hooked up to some batteries? What if you ran the MK in AP mode and then accessed it from your Android phone? What kind of useful applications could be built from that combination?
My point is that there are lots of possibilities, lots of Linux power and the prices keep dropping. Interesting trends indeed.