VIA Technologies on Tuesday unveiled a tiny, caseless desktop computer called the APC 8750 that runs Android and has a low, low price that comes within spitting distance of the celebrated Raspberry Pi.
The chip maker’s APC sports its own VIA WonderMedia ARM 11 System-on-a-Chip (SoC) and costs just $49, as PCMag’s sister site Geek.com reported earlier. That’s a few bucks more than the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s $35 barebones PC, but still miles cheaper than just about any other fully functioning PC on the market.
“APC brings the familiarity and convenience of Android to the PC at a $49 price point that will open up exciting new markets and applications. Like a bicycle for your mind, APC will enable more people than ever before to explore the vast online universe,” said Richard Brown, VIA’s vice president of marketing.
So what are you getting with the APC? Maybe it’s best to start with what you’re nota case. The APC’s chip, memory, storage, and I/O ports all exist on an open motherboard that’s based on the new 17 centimeter-by-8.5 centimeter Neo-ITX form factor. Users can simply plug the APC directly into a TV or monitor, or else stick it into a standard Mini-ITX or microATX chassis if they choose.
The little PC runs an optimized version of Google’s Android 2.3 that is built for mouse and keyboard input. VIA’s WonderMedia SoC sports an 800MHz clock and its go 512MB of DDR3 memory to play with, plus 2GB of built-in NAND Flash graphics with hardware acceleration that the chip maker claims can chew through “the most demanding video formats.”
The system consumes 4 watts at idle and 13.5 watts at maximum load, according to VIA.
You’re also getting VGA and HDMI display ports, HDTV support, four USB 2.0 ports, a microSD slot for adding more onboard storage, a 10/100 Ethernet port, audio and mic, and a 15W power adapter.
The goal was to create a super affordable, low power system that just gets users to the Internet where, just like those bedrooms you see on MTV Cribs, the “magic happens,” according to VIA.
“APC was not built like an ordinary PC. For openers, we started with an awareness that the purpose of a computer is to connect to the Internet. It is the Internet that now defines computing. When you begin here, magic happens,” the company said.
Interested parties will be able to pre-order the APC “soon,” according to VIA’s promotional site. The company expects to start shipping in early July.
For more from Damon, follow him on Twitter @dpoeter.
For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.
Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2404770,00.asp