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New $74 Android mini computer is slightly larger than a thumb drive


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Chinese retailers have started selling a miniature Linux computer that is housed in a 3.5-inch plastic case slightly larger than a USB thumb drive. Individual units are available online for $74.

The small computer has an AllWinner A10 single-core 1.5GHz ARM CPU, a Mali 400 GPU, and 512MB of RAM. An HDMI port on the exterior allows users to plug the computer into a television. It outputs at 1080p and is said to be capable of playing high-definition video.

The device also has a full-sized USB port with host support for input devices, a conventional micro-USB port, a microSD slot, and an internal 802.11 b/g WiFi antenna. The computer can boot from a microSD card and is capable of running Android 4.0 and other ARM-compatible Linux platforms.

Earlier this year, we reported on the FXI Cotton Candy, a thumb drive computer that can plug directly into the HDMI port on a television. The system, which became available for preorder in February, sells for $199.

The $74 AllWinner system seems like an intriguing, low-cost alternative to the Cotton Candy. Both computers have the same GPU, but the Cotton Candy has a faster dual-core processor and twice as much RAM. Another key difference is that the Cotton Candy has an actual HDMI male plug built in (whereas the AllWinner computer has a socket) and consequently doesn’t require the use of an HDMI cable.

Much like the recently launched $35 Raspberry Pi, these relatively small and inexpensive Linux systems offer enthusiasts a compelling platform for embedded computing projects.

CPUAllWinner A10 @ 1.5GHz + Mali 400 GPU
Memory512MB RAM
Storage4GB Flash
microSD slot (Up to 32GB)
ConnectivityWiFi 802.11b/g
USBmicro USB 2.0/OTG port
USB 2.0 Host port
KeyboardAndroid virtual keyboard or 2.4G wireless keyboard + fly mouse
Video outputHDMI (1080p)
Video CodecsWMV/ASF/MP4/3GP/3G2M4V/AVI/MJPEG/RV10/DivX/VC-1/MPEG-2/
MPEG-4/H.263/H.264/1280*720P HD 30 fps, 1080P/720*480 D1 30fps
Audio CodecsAAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, QCP, MP3, WMA, WAV, MIDI, M4A
Operating SystemAndroid 4.0 (ICS)
Power Input5V/2A
Size8.8*3.5*1.2cm
Weight200g


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