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VIA reveals Rasberry Pi competitor running Android

by Rob Zwetsloot

VIA has announced a new ARM-based SoC board for $49 that seems to be aimed directly at the Raspberry Pi market

Chip maker VIA as unveiled a competitor to the Raspberry Pi, an ARM-based System-on-a-Chip running Android that will cost only $49 USD (£31 GBP). Similar to the RasPi, it’s built on ARM11 architecture, however the board itself I somewhat larger, with a Neo-ITX form factor that is about twice the size.

The APC has a bit more power – first of all it has double the RAM at 512 MB, and it has a CPU that clocks slightly better at 800 MHz. As the board is much bigger, it also allows it to have a lot more ports, adding more USBs, a VGA connector, and a microSD slot replacing the full SD slot on the RasPi. It also has onboard storage of 2 GB.

While this may sound exciting to some, it will be running Android 2.3. The current sweet spot for Android devices right now is 1 GB of RAM, and the processor may affect performance as well. At the very least it will good for some development and media playback, but for now it’s not a true competitor to the RasPi.

You can check the VIA website for more details.

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    • Jason

      “You can check the VIA website for more details.” is a Bad link….

    • ned flanders

      I think competitor is the wrong word.
      It is a similar form factor but the key difference is the goal.

      VIA is a for profit company that is doing this likely to increase their profit margin.
      R-Pi’s main goal isnt worldwide domination/sales, its about getting kids interested in computing to help stem the problem many universities will lower enrollment in computing.

      So while they are somewhat similar, they dont compete because their goals are totally different.

    • CFWhitman

      It doesn’t really seem to be a competitor in the areas that Raspberry Pi if focusing on.

      This device does not appear to have a freely changeable operating system. MicrosSD is nice for space savings, but it’s not as likely to be usable by any old card you might have lying around.

      This device seems to be targeted at quickly setting up a basic computer or smart TV through Android to run Android apps.

      The Raspberry Pi is targeted at learning how computers work, learning to program, using your imagination to do anything you can get the hardware to do.

      Don’t get me wrong. This is a very neat little device, but the directions you can take it have a much narrower scope than the Raspberry Pi.

    • Frank Earl

      Considering you don’t have either in hand, HOW do you know that the APC is “more powerful”?

      You don’t.

      Clock speeds mean nothing if you’re not comparing the same ARM core type with the same L1/L2 layout. 100MHz difference may be lost without the same apples-to-apples comparison there. As best as I can tell, it’s actually almost a push on that score.

      The only things that the APC, basically has clearly over the Raspberry Pi is RAM.

      2Gb onboard is meaningless in light of the fact that your SD makes for the Pi’s “onboard” and if you’ve got a 32Gb SD, you’ve got 32Gb of directly usable store.

      And, as Ned and CFWhitman said, the devices are targetted for differing things- and there’s things you can use the APC for in that space that the Pi does “okay” on and vice-versa.

      Honestly, I expect better from a Linux-centric magazine- even on their website.

    • ka_

      They are indeed competitors despite having different objectives. In marketing we learned that even a brick is a competing product to a hammer for getting nails in the wall, dont fool yourself to believe this is not a competing product!!!

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    • Brave Sir Robin

      Sheesh, people! Haven’t you ever heard of journalistic license (for headlines, not for phone hacking)?
      The article closes with the statement, “… it’s not a true competitor to the RasPi.” And that about sums it up. Whether it’s a “competitor” or not, the RasPi has set the (high) bar for other companies (for-profit or not) to aspire to. Bring ’em on!

      Also, for 1st poster Jason, I don’t know if they fixed the link but it works for me.

    • Pro Sentti

      You guys should be aware of this project:

      4x faster, 2x more memory with only slightly more expensive. Fully open source (h/w and s/w)