back to article VIA outs $49 Raspberry Pi-alike

El Reg hasn't written about VIA for yonks, but it's one of the original x86 CPU makers, thanks to its purchase of processor design firm Centaur in 1999. VIA has long pitched low-cost, low-power CPUs, and now it's trying to do so again, this time with ARM technology, in a bid to take a bite out of Raspberry Pi. VIA APC Banana …

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  1. spencer

    gpu

    does it have one?

    1. Antony Riley
      FAIL

      Re: gpu

      Knowing Via is has some awful non standard homegrown chipset which has little or no support.

      Dear Via, if you'd ever shipped the nano cpu with anything resembling a working & supported graphics chipset I'd have considered buying one.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: gpu

      Wondermedia.

      If memory serves me right older Wondermedia did MPEG accel and sucked bricks sidewize through a thin straw on most other stuff (just the way Via GPUs of old used to do on PCs). The library support was horrible too and refused to work with a lot of android apps.

      On the positive side this being VIA it probably does crypto accel so it may be a good VPN gateway if there is support for its crypto in openssl and/or kernel.

      I have no idea how bad will this one be. I am definitely not holding my breath here.

      It may be worth it for a firewall or CCTV/telemetry server if it is possible to boot Debian on it. In fact, I may buy it (to add to the stack of Via MBs which I have and still use from time to time).

      1. Neil 7
        FAIL

        Re: gpu

        That's the thing about the Raspberry Pi, the VideoCore IV GPU is an absolute beast. This VIA board seems to just be cashing in on the Raspberry Pi fuss, it's got approximately the same puny CPU, a much punier GPU (can't do 1080p), double the RAM (which is the only thing it has in its favour), needs a special PSU rather than any common or garden mobile phone power supply, doesn't boot from an SD card so is potentially brickable, and it's a fair bit more expensive. Plus, it will have fark all community behind it, and good luck finding documentation for the hardware.

        So mostly negatives and only one small positive - this VIA is so easy to pass up.

        Now, if it had been x86 at that price, that might have been a little more interesting but again the lack of any community to speak of and no doubt the unsupported/undocumented drivers would have combined to put a major dampener on that enthusiasm also.

  2. JDX Gold badge

    Does the banana come with it?

    1. Code Monkey
      Trollface

      If it does I hope they ship em quicker than Rasberry Pi - otherwise it'll just be a black smear of banana-smelling goo.

  3. Chris Wilson
    FAIL

    720p

    It'll only do 720p? It's obsolete before it's launched.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 720p

      Not everyone wants a media player (there are platforms far better for that than this or the Pi).

      The 512MB RAM is very welcome.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: 720p

        Even as a media player it could be okay. Not everyone has 1080p content. It might also be capable of downscaling 1080p to 720p. Really depends on what GPU is in there, the size of the VRAM and how much hardware acceleration it offers.

      2. Captain Scarlet

        Re: 720p

        A Ram slot would be nice to replace the memory with some more of what I want.

  4. DrXym Silver badge

    Looks more useful in some ways

    More memory, onboard flash, more USB ports. I'd be worried about the 720p output though. What's that mean for the GPU / hardware decoding capability of the device.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Looks more useful in some ways

      For normal programming you don't need a GPU. By the time you start doing 3D graphics you're pretty advanced.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: Looks more useful in some ways

        You don't need to program to a GPU to benefit from a GPU. If your desktop windows are rendered into surfaces they don't need to be repainted every time some other window is dragged over them. This reduces the amount of repainting and context switches which results in a more responsive desktop.

  5. Aaron Em
    Trollface

    Well at least

    there's somebody with some manufacturing capability behind this one --

    1. Mikel
      Devil

      Re: Well at least

      This being Via you can expect shipments in sample quantities by the end of 2015.

  6. Tom7
    Meh

    Compared to Raspberry Pi

    Things to like:

    * Extra CPU cycles

    * Extra RAM

    Things not to like:

    * Soldered-on flash - makes it brickable

    * No 1080 graphics / OpenGL ES 2

    * No GPIO - at least none mentioned

    Who really needs a VGA connector these days?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Compared to Raspberry Pi

      > Who really needs a VGA connector these days?

      Loads and loads of schools with older monitors?

      Actually seems a more appropriate platform to learn programming than the Pi - you don't need 1080p video playback for that, but extra memory is nice.

    2. Jess

      Re: Compared to Raspberry Pi

      I also like the form factor. Should go in normal cases.

      A shame they didn't just make it a clone of the Pi.

      1. Neil 7

        Re: Compared to Raspberry Pi

        Amazingly it looks a far more complicated (and thus expensive) design than the Pi, with separate RAM ICs (has VIA not heard of Package on Package?), the ARM SoC and of course the Flash IC that permits bricking, plus a bunch of other discrete ICs (I counted at least 5, not including the socketed BIOS chip) that aren't considered necessary at all on the R-Pi which is basically built around three ICs in the case of the Model B - LAN IC, Broadcom SoC and a single RAM IC (no LAN IC at all in the Model A).

        It really doesn't look like a lot of thought has gone into this design, and in fact it looks like VIA have used all of their PC motherboard design skills to create it, which probably wasn't a good idea.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Compared to Raspberry Pi

      This also has mounting holes. Sadly missing from the Pi making casing it a bit tricky.

      1. Irongut

        Re: mounting holes (Re: Compared to Raspberry Pi)

        "This also has mounting holes. Sadly missing from the Pi making casing it a bit tricky."

        You sir need to buy new glasses! The Pi clearly has mounting holes in the picture published earlier today by this very organ. I can see at least 4 holes and another may be hidden by the ethernet socket.

        1. Luke McCarthy

          Re: mounting holes (Compared to Raspberry Pi)

          That's the alpha board. The final board does not have mounting holes.

    4. Eponymous Cowherd

      Re: Compared to Raspberry Pi

      Also, it appears to be pre-flashed with Android 2.3 (a phone OS), with no indication of other options. Its still an ARM11 (ARMv6) device.

      Given the clock speed is only 800MHz compared to the Pi's 700MHz and they are running the same cores, the only real benefit in this over the Pi is the extra RAM.

      On balance, I'd say the Pi's GPIO ports, 1080p hdmi, multiple OS options and brick-proofing make it the better bet.

      1. Gordan

        Re: Compared to Raspberry Pi

        If it'll run Android, it'll run any Linux (you DO know Android is based on the Linux kernel, right?).

        And the chances are that it'll be able to boot from USB, which makes it just as unbrickable.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          brickable?

          If it tries to boot from the soldered-on flash before it tries to boot from USB, and it is possible to change the contents of the soldered-on flash, then it is probably brickable.

          When I am emperor it will be illegal to sell brickable devices and it will be a requirement to provide instructions for restoring a device to a usable state. This isn't just imperial beneficence. It would be a matter of national security if a virus or worm could permanently damage components of widely used hardware.

      2. Alain

        Re: Compared to Raspberry Pi

        Hmmm... I have an ARMv6-based tablet clocked at 800 Mhz running Gingerbread and it's a real dog.

        It can't run a significant amount of software for Android too (e.g. Skype video) because of the CPU's generation. I don't know how better than the Telechips TCC8902 in my tablet this VIA CPU could be, but I wouldn't expect it to be a performer compared to more recent (and very cheap too) SOCs like e.g. the Allwinner A10.

    5. Gordan

      Re: Compared to Raspberry Pi

      Soldered on flash doesn't mean you have to use it. The chances are it'll run uboot, which means you can boot off a USB disk.

    6. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Compared to Raspberry Pi

      I studied the screenshot and it's powered by a WM8750. According to the spec sheet for that it supports OpenGL ES 2.0 *and* 1080p.

      http://www.wondermedia.com.tw/en/products/platform/soc/wm8750/

      Why this Via says 720p only is a mystery. Maybe it hasn't the VRAM for any higher.

    7. Luke McCarthy

      Re: Compared to Raspberry Pi

      Actually one of the biggest complaints/wishes about the Raspberry Pi is the lack of VGA, it's possible that it might appear in a future revision.

    8. Anonymous Coward 15

      Soldered-on flash

      And a socketed BIOS. So only as brickable as, say, a Joggler.

      1. Neil 7

        Re: Soldered-on flash

        But still brickable, unless you have a spare BIOS IC. And most people won't have spares. So for those without a spare BIOS, it remains brickable.

        Whereas the Raspberry Pi is impossible to brick - if you make a mistake all you need to do is reformat your SD card.

        Despite years of messing with BIOSes and embedded systems, I know which system I prefer and yes, it's actually the SD card method - perfect for tinkering and repeated tweaking, far more forgiving for novice users, and cheaper too.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Soldered-on flash

          "it's actually the SD card method - perfect for tinkering and repeated tweaking"

          Not to mention, you aren't tied to picking your OS of choice. Some devices (Beagleboard xM) have a button so u-boot can load different operating systems (RISC OS & Angstrom Linux, for example). In the absence of a button, it's still not a problem, just swap the card and power up. Android, RISC OS, regular Linux, etc etc - the SD card method makes it stupidly easy to choose what you want when you want, with zero risk of bricking the hardware. Now that this stuff is available, and boot times are pretty fast (remember, the OS is probably copied into RAM, not executed directly from Flash, so there's little Flash can do that an SD card can't), I don't see why anybody who wants to use their device would stick with Flash. Maybe an embedded industrial application, it makes sense. A device like this? No. Flash is so last-decade..

    9. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Compared to Raspberry Pi

      Who really needs a VGA connector these days?

      How about anybody who does not have an HDMI monitor and would like something a little better than composite video? Hell, even S-video is a step up!

  7. Flatpackhamster

    NiC location seems odd.

    Putting the network connector on top of the USBs almost doubles the height of the board, which means the case has to be much larger.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NiC location seems odd.

      Looks like standard PC mboard connector ... given they are calling it a "Neo ITX" board then I'd assume its designed to fit in (mini)ITX cases. Placement of fixing holes near connectors looks to be same as mini-ITX and connectors would fit in the standard ITX/ATX port template.

  8. Matthew Smith

    New unit of measure

    The Reg occasionally looks at strange units of measure, especially comparing countries to be multiple times the size of Wales. Well, I like the introduction of the banana. 3/4 banans in size looks good to me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hmm.

      If the banana gets added to the list of standard measures and we use it to measure ARM boards like the Raspberry Pi does that make a smoothie?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm.

        only if it appears on will it blend....

  9. Gordan

    So, a bit like...

    ... the R-Pi only it's likely to become available in volume before the R-Pi, then?

    Plus double the RAM, similar price, _AND_ *TX form factor! Sounds pretty awesome!

  10. Gordon861

    Size?

    quote "1708 x 85mm"

    Is this thing really nearly 2m long?

    1. Luke McCarthy

      Re: Size?

      It's actually 170x85mm.

    2. Matt Piechota
      Facepalm

      Re: Size?

      "quote "1708 x 85mm"

      Is this thing really nearly 2m long?"

      That's a big banana.

  11. Code Monkey

    Banana or Raspberry. Which is best?

    1. DuncanL
      Joke

      Only one way to find out...

      TRIFLE!

  12. Cosmo
    Thumb Up

    Hobbyist Wars

    Is this the start of a war behind rival manufacturers trying to cash in on the coding enthusiast? Bring it on I say!

  13. Luke McCarthy
    Thumb Up

    Yay

    I for one welcome the new era of cheap ARM development boards!

  14. Pete 2 Silver badge

    I like!

    That 2GB of flash sounds handy - instantaneous bootage (well, close) and having all the ports along one edge is definitely a good move.

    This is exactly the sort of competitive reaction that benefits consumers and users. Anyone want to buy my Pi?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I like!

      Competition is great, but are VIA contributing to the Raspberry Pi Foundation to improve computer education for kids, or just profit taking?

      I can see this VIA board as benefiting consumers/hackers (although not really, as the Pi IMHO is better in almost all areas other than RAM) but selling to consumers/hackers is not the reason Raspberry Pi's are being produced.

  15. Paul 185
    Coat

    sounds like they'd like..

    a piece of the pi

  16. Joe 3
    Thumb Up

    Assembled in...

    I can see "Assem: GB" on the board - does that mean it was actually made in Britain? There's actually a factory somewhere, making physical goods? How marvellous!

    1. ChrisC Silver badge

      Re: Assembled in...

      There are lots of factories in the UK making lots of stuff. We might not have (m)any of the traditional heavy industry/thousands of workers/spanning acres of land type factories any more, but there are a hell of a lot of smaller concerns dotted all around the place making stuff that is quite often regarded very highly by the rest of the world. Shame the UK media seems overly keen to make people think that UK manufacturing is dead and buried, or at least something we really shouldn't be very proud of any more...

      Not sure that GB sticker indicates this particular board was made over here though - it looks more like the stickers my current and previous employers have used to identify which production facility/line was used, or who in the manufacturing team was responsible for final assembly/testing.

      1. LinkOfHyrule
        Joke

        who in the manufacturing team was responsible for final assembly/testing.

        So that's what Gordon Brown is up to these days - he's got a job on the production lines at Foxconn!

        1. TeeCee Gold badge
          Joke

          Re: who in the manufacturing team was responsible for final assembly/testing.

          Noooooooo!!!!!

          He'll piss loads of money up the wall and all the Apple products will become hideously overpriced.

          Ah........hang on.........

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Assembled in...

      UK makes lots of stuff, we tended to get out of the stuff that's easier left to other people due to cost and deadly smog.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    shame they've gone this way.

    With their history it would have been more interesting if they had managed to come up with something like a 500mhz x86 SOC based device.

  18. Gordon861

    Just the form factor of this makes it so much more useful than the Pi. All the ports on one side means that you can mount it almost any bix you like and still reach them all, with the Pi you must have a box designed for it to be able to reach the connectors.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not just that ... it adheres to an existing standard so there are cases already out there thay it will just drop into. Only slight difference is that posibly only 2 of the holes line up with the standard mini-ITX mounting points ... but given the minimal size/weight and the fact that the two present are slightly offset then I'd expect those two on their own will be sufficient to fix the board to a case.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Maybe someone will come up with a PCB-based adapter for the Raspberry Pi to convert the credit-card sized Pi board into a standard nano-IT... just needs a bunch of flexible connectors to secure the PI, and the appropriate ports along the single edge.

      Less than a fiver in parts to produce - would only require a PCB, short cables and the IO ports. I'm sure they'd sell dozens.

  19. gaz 7
    Thumb Up

    May have to get one

    I love the Pi and the concept and everything around it... Having the GPIO ports means that stuff like one-wire sensors and other stuff should be easily hookable to it.

    Has to be said though that this is a decent looking device, and with a suitably sized case may be good running as a low power web server or running something like freenas.

    Competition is good.

    1. Synonymous Howard

      indeedy

      The Pi has the GPIO which is very useful and consumes less than 4 watts in use (the APC is said to run at 13.5 watts) but competition is indeed great.

      The APC looks like the guts of a GoogleTV STB hence Android makes sense ... I've been considering a 7inch tablet to play with Android .. this looks a better bet ... (I'm still using my 2-year old 1st gen iPad so dont really need another tablet form factor).

      I now have a Pi and its great as an embedded system platform .. I might get an APC as a Thin Client / Media Centre .. need to see how close to $49 they actual get it out the door for .. I'm betting on £49 for the UK when VAT and delivery is added on.

      1. Robredz

        Re: indeedy

        Yes I reckon it will be £1 per dollar when we get them in the UK. My pi is on it's way so when this one is out will have to get one to see it it is as good.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: May have to get one

      > Having the GPIO ports means that stuff like one-wire sensors and other stuff should be easily hookable to it.

      While that's true, the Pi 's GPIO pins are 3.3v and NOT 5v tolerant - this is a big problem for many, if not most, sensors and gadgets which output 5v signals.

      It's better to simply use one of the cheap Arduino clones connected via USB to handle GPIO and connections.

      Having this setup also lets you do I2C, I2S and implement many bit-bang protocols more easily (and efficiently as you offload driving the pins to the ATMEL processor and free up the main CPU).

      Actually the Raspberry's upcoming Gerboard also comes with an Arduino-like micro controller to do this.

      1. Anonymous Coward 15

        Not 5V tolerant

        Expand using SPI and get your hands on a couple of MAX6957's then.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not 5V tolerant @AC 15

          Would've been better to make the Pi 5V compatible rather than necessitate adding extra hardware and board space.

  20. The Unexpected Bill
    Happy

    I'd like to get my hands on this...

    ...same as the Raspberry Pi (when it becomes available). VIA's design looks a little more interesting to me. I like their inclusion of more RAM and positioning of the ports so that it could be fitted into a conventional computer case.

    What I'd really like to see, though, is a socket for installing your own RAM, just to keep the device viable as programs get larger.

    The WonderMedia CPUs have been used in some cheap (and mostly nasty, though that's a question of the operating system) "netbooks" running Windows CE.

  21. Tim Walker
    Linux

    Other Linuxes?

    Well, I've already landed my RasPi, so it's rather of "academic interest" to me now, but if I were still waiting for it, this board might turn my head.

    So, if I ended up with this VIA board: assuming it's possible/easy, I'd ditch that prehistoric version of Android like a shot. If the board is packing an ARM6 CPU, it would be Arch Linux ARM for me (which my Pi is running).

    (Noting that the USB and Ethernet ports are together: is it the same as the Pi, where the two are running off the same bus?)

    In the end, I'm glad to see ARM-based machines finally starting to gain some traction. Obviously I'm in the RasPi camp, so am not really interested in another for now, but as long as you're not forced to use the OS they've stuck on the thing, I'm all in favour of some competition - especially if it improves the specs of the next version...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Would seem to be 1080p output, not 720p...

    Key Features

    800Mhz ARM1176JZF processor

    OpenGL-ES 2.0 compliant graphics processor

    Multi-standard 1080p video decoding engine

    H.264 video encoding

    DDR2/DDR3 DRAM interface

    Multiple video interface including HDMI, LVDS, TV-out, DVO and VGA

    Flexible networking and peripheral interface

    Advanced hardware security engine

    1. Synonymous Howard

      1080p?

      Where do you get that from? http://apc.io clearly states...

      "Built-in 2D/3D Graphic Resolution up to 720p"

      maybe it can decode 1080p but downscale to 720p sure.

  23. Bronek Kozicki
    Thumb Up

    Loving it

    I might not buy this one (yet), but it seems like little Raspberry Pi is pushing the PC market in the most desirable direction. With a little luck, we are going to see more PCs with "smarphone-like" power and capabilities.

  24. Pat 11

    Minecraft server

    Anyone think this would run Minecraft server? It can just run on an EC2 micro instance, which has 613MB, but more CPU horsepower (hard to know how much). So I suspect not, but as these devices ramp up, I expect a lot of hosting to move in-home. A solid state appliance under your complete control is a lot better than a VM run by someone else.

    1. Cave Dweller
      Boffin

      Re: Minecraft server

      Are you getting capped at all when playing Minecraft? I quite like the ‘burst’ capabilities of the Micro instance, but prefer to avoid using it very often. I heard that if you cap your instance too often Jeff comes around your house and kicks your head in.

  25. NightFox
    Stop

    Spec Creep

    If this trend of producing a barebones device with just a *little* more umph at just a *little* more cost than the competitors' continues I predict the invention of the desktop PC within the next 12 months.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Spec Creep

      That's *re*-invention within the next 12 months. But by that stage or soon thereafter, massive sales of ARM-based kit running an OS other than Windows will mean that people will have realised there is a world without Windows. Whoops.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Spec Creep

        Ever heard of RISC OS?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Spec Creep

        " massive sales of ARM-based kit running an OS other than Windows will mean that people will have realised there is a world without Windows. "

        How would a board aimed at developers make any more difference than Linux and Macs (and RISC OS, etc.?) Massive sales to the kind of person who reads the Register won't make any difference as I see it. It's a market that already prides itself on being more canny (yawn) than normal people. And little Johnny learning how to use one at school isn't going to persuade Mum and Dad to ditch Windows.

        1. heyrick Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Spec Creep

          isn't going to persuade Mum and Dad to ditch Windows

          It happens in increments. Take my place of work, for instance. Most of their Windows boxes have been chucked, replaced by Ubuntu. For what it is worth to the end user, there are a few niggling differences, but basically OpenOffice is a lot like Microsoft Office (so long as you understand what you are doing and didn't learn it like "Format menu, third option down").

          They have just installed a fancy (Ubuntu-again) touchscreen based thing for stock control in a production area. It looks to be a basic point-and-squeeze style barcode reader. Not sure if it is USB or serial. The computer? A micro ATX Dell jobby. Placed into a small sealed metal box. I had a chance to peek inside at this stuff when it was being switched off at the end of the day. My God, you could feel the heat blasting off of it. There's a fan in the enclosure to circulate air, but there's no actual "cooling". I would be surprised if it hasn't cooked itself in a month.

          Which leads me to recall this article. It's a UI, it's a touchscreen, it's Ubuntu, it's a barcode reader, it jacks in to the LAN to talk to the central stock computer. You can't need that much processing power to make that work, surely it would work just fine on today's Beagleboards, IGEPv2s, and - if the necessary connectors are there - the RPis and VIA boards. It would require an enclosure half the size, heat and cooling would be negligible, and power consumption likewise.

          In short - the business world is starting to realise that there are options other than Windows. Maybe, in some circumstances (as outlined above) they might soon start to realise that there are options other than big chunky power hungry x86 boxes.

          And then, then the little ARM boards will be ready with their - frankly ridiculous - levels of processing in a bit of plastic smaller than a beer cap and no heatsink in sight. There are applications where quad cores at multi-GHz is necessary. But there are also plenty of applications where some delays are acceptable as the machine will spend a lot of time doing practically nothing so it doesn't need to be OTT spec-wise. Welcome to the world of the ARM SoC.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "persuade Mum and Dad to ditch Windows."

          "And little Johnny learning how to use one at school isn't going to persuade Mum and Dad to ditch Windows."

          The more that Mum and Dad see other folks, especially other ordinary folks, doing their email and other simple stuff without a Window box, the more Mum and Dad will realise that they have little reason to ever buy another overpowered overpriced Window box.

          The IT people may eventually catch on too, maybe starting with those where "thin clients" have allegedly been appropriate (maybe call centre end users, for example). And maybe starting also with the "embedded" end of things where "industrial PCs" and the like have historically been used.

          It may not be the end, but it increasingly starts to look like it may be the beginning of the end.

          All things must pass.

  26. Wile E. Veteran
    Thumb Up

    Looks like fun

    Sill, (Net | Free} BSD si! Android, No!

    Don't much care about media capability, especially video, but ability to make a tiny NAS or some amateur-radio-related projects is rather intriguing

  27. Jan 0 Silver badge
    Devil

    Watch out VIA, Apple's lawyers will be after you!

    Have VIA forgotten the Apple "Wheels for the Mind" campaign in the '80s?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Watch out VIA, Apple's lawyers will be after you!

      And you think VIA got the idea where?

      It's in SJ's biography and videos ffs. All these people know is to copy copy copy.

      However they're probably in luck since it doesn't appear to be trademarked. Probably the reason why they used it.

  28. h3

    If I wanted something to use seriously i.e as a desktop running Linux I would use a Pandaboard ES (£145 I think RRP) but really decent. (OMAP4460)

    Either this or the PI are good as Toys.

    I will buy both if I can get them within a few days of ordering.

    (Or an Allwinner / Rockchip one at a similar price).

    I like playing with this sort of stuff.

  29. sueme2
    Linux

    1080 onboard

    That looks like a HDMI connector right next to the VGA. That should mean 1080P. I hope we are going to have a some Linux support for Via video from Via or Wondermedia. Look at lks, everybody but Via has got that.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: 1080 onboard

      Why should an HDMI socket imply 1080p? HDMI is also the standard cable for 720p/1080i.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reading all the comments I wonder,

    Is anybody, anywhere, using these things for their original purpose? That of schools teaching students the basic joys of making a thing do what you tell it to?

    Kind of reminds me of those Japanese concerts for kids where all the rabid old men buy all the merchandise for handshakes and leave the kids with nout.

    1. Neil 7

      Is anybody, anywhere, using these things for their original purpose? That of schools teaching students the basic joys of making a thing do what you tell it to?

      In the case of the Raspberry Pi, no - not yet. The Raspberry Pi educational package is due November-ish, once any kinks have been worked out of the hardware (which is currently in it's "hacker" and community-building phase), cases for the Pi designed, and the educational software and coursework written and developed.

      1. Anonymous Coward 15

        Isn't that the wrong time of the year to launch?

        New academic year has not long started, so it won't appear in the curriculum for another year. Halfway through the tax year, so this year's budget is already set and next year's is a long way away.

  31. P. Lee

    mpeg accelleration?

    Yay!

    Here in Oz all FTA TV is mpeg2. I tend to go with recording SD channels as they are faster to transcode for my tablet and if the story is good, it doesn't matter.

    VGA is also good as many monitors have DVI & VGA ports which means there's a spare connection for your hobby board.

    I'd like something with slightly more oomph and a couple of sata ports. Will it network boot?

    I too welcome our cheap ARM-hugging overlords.

  32. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Flame

    An actual Andoid phone

    An actual Android phone, even a last gen one, has a better processor, video capabilities, a ton of networking choices, and almost the same I/O in a more compact package. Can't someone come up with a viable device with similar capabilities in this form factor?

  33. PaulM 1
    Linux

    I want an ARM based £80 netbook

    When netbooks first came out they only cost £150 and ran Linux. Then Microsoft said "you can have Windows 7 (virtually) for free". Netbook manufacturers then dumped Linux for Windows. Unfortunately although the first batch of netbook ran Linux quickly they could not run Windows 7 at an acceptable speed. This meant that netbooks were given faster processors and more memory. Netbooks now cost £300.

    What I am hoping is that manufacturers will produce a new batch of compact netbooks which run Linux on ARM processors and only cost £80. The demand for the Pi has proven that there is a market for very low cost compact Linux only netbooks.

    1. Tim Walker
      Linux

      Re: I want an ARM based £80 netbook

      I wouldn't mind one myself, especially if they could come in under £100 and still be usable.

      The Hercules eCafé (http://www.ecafe.hercules.com/uk/) looks interesting, though I understand they come in at over double the price you mentioned. It runs Ubuntu/ARM, though if I had one I'd want to replace it with Arch/ARM (it's running on my Raspberry Pi, and my Eee 701 runs Arch/x86).

      Hopefully, now we have all these companies wanting to jump on the bandwagon, a £100 ARM netbook will only be a matter of time... well, I can dream, can't I?

  34. a_mu

    user friendly

    And whats more,

    it has mounting holes, and all the connectors on one side

    so end users can fit it easily in a box with their own add ons,

    unlike the Rpi ,

  35. Neil 7
    FAIL

    $49? Errr no, not really...

    According to this tweet from RS Components, the VIA APC is $49 when ordered in quantities of 10,000. Gawd knows what they'll cost in units of 1, but certainly not $49.

  36. PaulM 1
    Linux

    You have to buy 10000 to benefit from this price.

    RS Components tweeted:

    RS Components ‏@RSElectronics

    Relax @Raspberry_Pi The Androids are not coming yet. Most VIA staff unaware of APC. $49 price applies to 10000 units. Interest expressed :-)

    Retweeted by Raspberry Pi

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