Following the Commodore 64, this company is releasing a PC-in-a-keyboard device sporting a modified Android OS.
Earlier this month, FocusWill Information Technology introduced a device that takes the HDMI-based PC-on-a-stick concept to the next level. Even more, it seems to take note of Commodore's achievements, cramming PC components into a keyboard to create an all-in-one device that connects directly to an HDTV or VGA-based panel. It's called the CoolShip, and it's based on Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" and a Rockchip dual-core SoC.
"In the past years, we have seen a growing demand for All-in-one PC," the company said. "Now the Android OS and its numerous applications have been able to meet the needs of most home computer users, so why not make an android desktop computer for home users? Elderly or children do not necessarily need to be equipped with high-end PC -- the main point is to have their own computer with free software that can be used indefinitely."
According to the spec list, the Android keyboard PC features a Rockchip RK3066 SoC packed with two ARM Cortex-A9 cores clocked at 1.5 GHz and four Mali 400 GPU cores clocked at 250 MHz. The device also has 1 GB of DDR3 RAM, 4 GB of internal storage (8 GB is optional), Wireless N connectivity, Ethernet, two 7-watt speakers, and a touchpad.
The CoolShip keyboard PC also sports several I/O ports including two USB 2.0 ports, VGA, HDMI output, an SD card slot, and an earphone jack. There's also a built-in 300mAh Li-battery to protect the Android OS in case of power failure or outage. The OS itself is actually a customized (possibly forked) version of Android called CoolShip OS that mimics the Windows platform.
The keyboard itself is a 104 standard QWERTY ergonomic form factor with number keys and customized OS functional "chocolate" keys. Even more, the socket-type motherboard design allows users to easily upgrade or repair the keyboard computer on their own using a simple screwdriver.
"The CoolShip comes from a low-carbon environmental design philosophy," the company said. "It is a hard/software upgradable, energy-saving desktop computer. We opened a small hatch at the back of the casing. With the next generation core board from us, users can easily upgrade the computer by themselves only with a screwdriver in 2 minutes. It will only require a replacement of a palm-sized core board without generating other additional e-waste. The CoolShip is one of the most power efficient computers with a power consumption of less than 10.5 Watts, which is one fifteenth of a traditional desktop PC."
Given the device uses a customized Android OS, users will still have access to Google services like Google Play, Google Docs, Google Chrome and more. That probably means Android may have been decorated with a custom home screen launcher to keep Google in the picture (unlike Amazon).
FocusWill currently has the gadget listed over on Indiegogo, looking to raise $10,000 USD in the next 24 days. Backers contributing $89 get the Starter Package which only includes the base keyboard PC itself. The $100 package consists of the keyboard PC plus a 16 GB SD card, whereas the $199 package also cranks up the internal storage to 8 GB. The $139 "Luxury" package throws in a USB mouse in addition to everything offered in the previous packages.
Consumers looking for something low-dollar to connect to an HDTV as a makeshift HTPC may want to keep an eye on this gadget. So far there is nearly $4000 pledged towards the $10,000 goal, and the company is looking to ship the product in April.