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VIA's $49 Android-Based Mini-PC is No Bigger Than a Banana

By - Source: VIA Technologies Email | B 59 comments

It's almost like hooking up an Android smartphone to your HDTV, only with mouse and keyboard support.


VIA Technologies is seemingly riding the coattails of the Raspberry Pi craze by offering its own miniature PC around the size of a small banana (Ed. note: at least it appears so in terms of volume). But unlike the current Pi, this APC Android PC system comes ready to roll right out of the box and packs extra features like 2 GB of on-board storage and VGA output.

On Tuesday VIA Tech said that its new APC 8750 is based on the new Neo-ITX form factor measuring just 17-cm x 8.5-cm, and can be housed in any standard Mini-ITX or microATX chassis. It idles at 4 watts of power, but jumps up to 13.5 watts during maximum load.

"APC brings the familiarity and convenience of Android to the PC at a US$49 price point that will open up exciting new markets and applications," said Richard Brown, VP of Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. "Like a bicycle for your mind, APC will enable more people than ever before to explore the vast online universe."

Pre-installed is a custom (forked) build of Google's Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" OS that has been optimized for keyboard and mouse input. It comes with a stock browser (doesn't look 3rd party) and a number of apps including Adobe Reader, Angry Birds and YouTube.

On the hardware side, the APC packs a 800 MHz VIA WonderMedia ARM 11 SoC with a built-in 2D/3D GPU core capable of video output up to 720p. Also included is 512 MB of DDR3 RAM, 2 GB of on-board storage (NAND Flash), HDMI, VGA, 4 USB 2.0 ports, audio out / mic in, a microSD card slot, a 10/100 Ethernet port and a 15W power adapter.

"APC was not built like an ordinary PC," the company said. "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. Expensive, overpowered CPUs and bloated software are no longer relevant."

Priced at just $49 USD, APC will ship in July 2012. For more details, head over to www.apc.io.


 

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Top Comments
  • 31 Hide
    Murissokah , May 22, 2012 7:47 PM
    Still, the banana has more potassium.
  • 28 Hide
    skaz , May 22, 2012 7:30 PM
    Article says it has an output of 720p. That's a bummer. Wish it was 1080p
  • 24 Hide
    ddan49 , May 22, 2012 7:41 PM
    Does anyone else want a roundup of different ultra-portable/budget computers? I want to see how this benchmarks vs other similar computers like the Raspberry Pi
Other Comments
    Display all 59 comments.
  • 13 Hide
    PhilFrisbie , May 22, 2012 7:10 PM
    I need to add this to my Christmas list ;) 
  • 4 Hide
    asnorton44 , May 22, 2012 7:10 PM
    Might give it a try.
  • 28 Hide
    skaz , May 22, 2012 7:30 PM
    Article says it has an output of 720p. That's a bummer. Wish it was 1080p
  • 9 Hide
    chomlee , May 22, 2012 7:31 PM
    This would be a pretty good HTPC. If you loaded this with an SD card with movies, you could use mizuu to serve as your player/organizer (awesome program by the way with a scrubber that gets the movie info and poster art automatically for you). You could then download the Playon App and run Hulu, HBOGO etc. Unfortunately, it is only 720P but at least it is a start.
  • 3 Hide
    chomlee , May 22, 2012 7:33 PM
    Oh also, someone would have to come up with a remote app that could be used to control the device or maybe even an ir dongle that you could use to program your harmony remote.
  • 6 Hide
    joebob2000 , May 22, 2012 7:38 PM
    chomleeThis would be a pretty good HTPC. If you loaded this with an SD card with movies, you could use mizuu to serve as your player/organizer (awesome program by the way with a scrubber that gets the movie info and poster art automatically for you). You could then download the Playon App and run Hulu, HBOGO etc. Unfortunately, it is only 720P but at least it is a start.


    If you have a 1080p display the size of which allows you to glean an actual advantage from having 1080p on vs 720p, you can probably afford to upgrade to one of the many 1080p media players that are out there for like $100. The really cool thing about this isnt movies or even HTPC necessarily, it's internet and interactivity at a superbly cheap price point, like low enough that for $100 you could get a cheap used display, keyboard, and mouse plus one of these boards (hopefully they will sell a
  • 24 Hide
    ddan49 , May 22, 2012 7:41 PM
    Does anyone else want a roundup of different ultra-portable/budget computers? I want to see how this benchmarks vs other similar computers like the Raspberry Pi
  • 31 Hide
    Murissokah , May 22, 2012 7:47 PM
    Still, the banana has more potassium.
  • -5 Hide
    gsacks , May 22, 2012 7:52 PM
    So, they are copying Raspberry Pi. And they are stating outright that over powered CPUs are irrelevant. I guess that makes sense for them, since VIA has never been able to produce a competitive 'over powered' CPU. I have tried two VIA cpu's (motherboards actually) of different generations and was disappointed both times. Never again.
  • 12 Hide
    artk2219 , May 22, 2012 7:53 PM
    ddan49Does anyone else want a roundup of different ultra-portable/budget computers? I want to see how this benchmarks vs other similar computers like the Raspberry Pi



    I agree, with all of the small computing options at varying price points that have been announced or released recently it would make an interesting read to have them all thrown into an article with all of them tested and compared.
  • 17 Hide
    JasonAkkerman , May 22, 2012 7:58 PM
    If someone would just make a similar Tegra 3 based system capable of 1080p for below $100 I would buy one per TV in my house.
  • 8 Hide
    lpedraja2002 , May 22, 2012 8:10 PM
    JasonAkkermanIf someone would just make a similar Tegra 3 based system capable of 1080p for below $100 I would buy one per TV in my house.



    Very True! Its pretty exciting to see these micro PC's, maybe they'll get good enough to replace a common HTPC , the size alone is worth the change even if its less powerful.
  • 6 Hide
    kronos_cornelius , May 22, 2012 8:10 PM
    JasonAkkermanIf someone would just make a similar Tegra 3 based system capable of 1080p for below $100 I would buy one per TV in my house.

    I would Soooo make a cluster out of those ! Although I may best wait for ARM64
  • 6 Hide
    Ohmybad , May 22, 2012 8:14 PM
    my rasPI should be showing up this month, can't wait! it was $43 ($35+$8S/h)
  • 7 Hide
    Ohmybad , May 22, 2012 8:17 PM
    P.S the rasPI has 1080p playback http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry_Pi
  • -8 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , May 22, 2012 8:25 PM
    Quote:
    Expensive, overpowered CPUs and bloated software are no longer relevant.


    In other words, VIA admits that it's nothing compared to Intel and can't afford to power real PCs.
  • 3 Hide
    blazorthon , May 22, 2012 8:48 PM
    amk-aka-PhantomIn other words, VIA admits that it's nothing compared to Intel and can't afford to power real PCs.


    Not really. Who knows if Via could compete with Intel and AMD if they really wanted to.
  • -2 Hide
    Stardude82 , May 22, 2012 9:19 PM
    That thing has got to be S.L.O.W. slow. Check out the reviews for any wm8650 powered device. You get what you pay for for 50 bucks. Also 13.5Watts! Dual-core Atom systems run much less than that at load.
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