Company Targets Raspberry Pi With $49 Android PC (APC)

Posted by · May 23, 2012 4:13 pm

The era of cheap, tiny computers is upon us. With the deluge of popularity that engulfed the Linux-based Raspberry Pi back in April, it should hardly come as a surprise that other companies are beginning to recognize the emergence of a highly lucrative market. In fact, this rapidly unfolding market has so much potential that the makers of the Raspberry Pi didn’t seem to realize what they were getting themselves into as they amassed a waiting list of more than 250,000 potential buyers after its first day on sale.

And only a month later, another company is looking to get its piece of the pi.

According to an announcement from Taiwanese hardware manufacturer VIA Technologies, the company will be the first join the Raspberry Pi in the compact computer market. Known as the Android PC System, or APC, this new computer is not all that different in appearance from the Raspberry Pi. Composed of a slightly larger, 7-inch ARM board and loaded with a unique version of the Android mobile OS, the APC marks a concerted effort by VIA to stimulate innovation in this developing market.

Nevertheless, a word of warning: VIA’s new machine does cost 40 percent more than its forerunner. Of course, that just means it will cost $49—hardly a deal breaker if you ask me.

“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,” suggests VIA Marketing Vice President Richard Brown, speaking with the New York Daily News. “Like a bicycle in your mind, APC will enable more people than ever before to explore the vast online universe.”

Like the Raspberry Pi, the APC comes completely ready for mouse and keyboard input, and it can hook directly up to either a television or a monitor. As revealed by Geek.com, the APC comes equipped with a VIA WonderMedia ARM 11 processor, 512MB DDR3 RAM, and 2GB of on-board flash storage. As far as inputs are concerned, the APC includes 4 USB 2.0 ports, a microSD slot, an Ethernet port, a VGA port, and even an HDMI port.

Also like the Raspberry Pi, the APC comes as a bare board, with cases eventually to be sold separately, I’m sure.

Commenting on the general usefulness that it will provide its users, Geek.com contributor Matthew Humphries believes that the APC is “probably going to function quite well as a cheap media playback machine or as a development board for testing Android apps.” That is, “if you can cope with using the included Android 2.3 OS,” he adds. However, Humphries remains confident that Android’s less desirable operating system is “sure to be upgradeable.”

And for those of you who place a high value on energy efficiency, VIA claims that its $49 computer only consumes 4 watts when it’s idle and 13.5 watts when it’s working at maximum capacity. That’s one-tenth the power that a normal PC consumes.

Are you sold? Well, so are a lot of other people. In fact, the APC website is currently down, likely due to the number of people trying to preorder the $49 Android PC. They don’t actually start shipping until July, though, so there’s still time. Just keep hitting refresh.

For more on the new $49 Android PC (APC)…

  • I would have thought that when you bring something new on the market you should disrupt the market in one way or the other. From your article I do not see a major advantage the APC brings on the market. The only thing that is possibly good in my eyes about the APC is that it will make the Raspberry Pi people not rest on their laurels. If they do they will be cornered and wiped out despite starting a cheap revolution focused on enthusiasts and children.

    There is a warning signal there. Get the Raspberry Pi on the market and around the world as quickly as possible or the competition is around the corner.