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A $25 PC On a USB Stick

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the when-did-the-future-get-here dept.

Hardware Hacking 352

KPexEA writes with this excerpt from geek.com: "[Game developer David] Braben has developed a tiny USB stick PC that has an HDMI port on one end and a USB port on the other. You plug it into an HDMI socket and then connect a keyboard via the USB port, giving you a fully functioning machine running a version of Linux. The cost? $25. The hardware being offered is no slouch either. It uses a 700MHz ARM11 processor coupled with 128MB of RAM and runs OpenGL ES 2.0, allowing for decent graphics performance with 1080p output confirmed. ... We can expect it to run a range of Linux distributions, but it looks like Ubuntu may be the distro it ships with. That means it will handle web browsing, run office applications, and give the user a fully functional computer to play with as soon as it's plugged in. All that and it can be carried in your pocket or on a key chain."

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352 comments

First post? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046436)

I doubt it...

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those! (1, Redundant)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046440)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those! Hey, someone bemoaned this no longer being a popular Slashdotism, and I agree it should be brought back.

Re:Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those! (1)

Hynee (774168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046470)

I'm with you there.
I wonder how this little beastie connects to the internet. Through the HDMI enabled monitor, or through the keyboard and mouse!?! I guess you'd connect it to a USB hub.

Re:Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those! (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046576)

I was thinking WiFi, though through HDMI is probably possible.

Re:Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those! (1)

click2005 (921437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046832)

I'm thinking these would be great for home automation and would probably fit behind the PIR sensor from my alarm system.

Re:Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those! (1)

Kabloink (834009) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046500)

It would be the first Beowulf cluster to fit into a shoe box.

Re:Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those! (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046720)

Hooray for finally getting to read some some geeky good news (Year of Linux themed), as opposed to all the wins for the other side (Nokia/M$, DHS domain seizures, patent trolls, Sony, Apple/GPS)

Re:Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those! (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046734)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those!

You joke but that was ACTUALLY my first thought when I read the summary. If they had some mechanic to easily cluster these together I'd be curious how many you'd need before you'd have the equivalent power of a typical PC....

For $25 I'd be inclined to pick one up for every TV in my house to use for web-browsing.

Re:Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046982)

Screw that. Imagine it upgraded to have an ION video chipset and ethernet. XBMC client on a frigging HDMI plug hanging off the back of the set. that processor with an ion chipset will EASILY playback 720p streams from the internet.

OLPC Owned (5, Funny)

LordStormes (1749242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046446)

Eat your heart out, OLPC. This is 10 PC's per pocket.

Re:OLPC Owned (2)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046630)

Except it doesn't come with keyboard, screen or power supply. And I'm not sure a case is included either.

Re:OLPC Owned (0, Offtopic)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046896)

Exactly, this is little different than the liveCD versions of Linux that run off a USB stick currently. What's the point if you have to still connect all the separate things to it that make up a computer? It's like taking out the hard drive and processor of a PC and saying here's your computer!*

*you just need to connect power, display, input, wifi, etc.

Re:OLPC Owned (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046648)

Hmm.. I Care to disagree.

-Screen, HDMI screens need to be added to price. Price? hdmi screen are not free. And the screen needs to be powered as well.
-add price of 9Volt battery. (couple of doller)
-Add price of keyboard (couple of dollars)

And what is deerly missing is:
-Networking. (OLPC has wireless)

OLPC added (not required for learning, but still very usefule)
-VGA CAM
-sound Speakers

You might be able to beeft the development board up to OLPC specs. I will not look that nice.

And last but not least, Besides the hardware, OLPC has a organisation and distibution channel. You cannot simply take a Cobra_Mk.1 [alioth.net] and ship the development board to a rural area.

Power? (4, Interesting)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046452)

If the HDMI is on one end, and the USB is on the other, is this thing battery powered?

Re:Power? (2)

DamageLabs (980310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046532)

It runs on EM radiation from your panel.

Re:Power? (0)

Slackus (598508) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046552)

It is probably powered via HDMI which has a 5V pin

Re:Power? (3, Insightful)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046568)

I seems to have five extra wires, that could be the power supply connection. Also it looks like it goes to a hub, so that might be where it will get it's power in the production version.

Re:Power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046814)

The website says it has external IO ports (a la Arduino). Maybe that's it.

Re:Power? (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046588)

The photo on the website looks a little like it's rigged to a powered hub with a modified USB cable (it's technically possible, if supposedly forbidded, to power a host from USB's +5v wire).

Re:Power? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046696)

It might be that it is implementing something described in the "On-The-Go and Embedded Host Supplement to the USB 2.0 Specification", which includes the ability for devices to switch between master and slave roles(which would suit the use of a slave-device type connector on the board alongside the fact that the board is driving a hub loaded with slave devices...) My reading of that spec suggests that the OTG device shouldn't be using that particular plug(they are supposed to use microA/B sockets only); but the history of USB is loaded with mechanical abuses of the specs, so that wouldn't be a major surprise...

Re:Power? (4, Informative)

necro81 (917438) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046628)

Both USB and HDMI standards carry some power across. The HDMI port on a TV is likely (though not guaranteed) to have power, whereas most USB peripherals are unpowered. On the other hand, if you plug a powered USB port into the thing to be able to have multiple peripherals, then you could likely get power from the hub.

Supplied by HDMI (2, Informative)

Vario (120611) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046638)

The HDMI spec requires a 55mA supply at 5V. This seems to be enough to power this little computer.
It might not work with a lot of usb devices without a hub that has external power but a keyboard should be possible.

Re:Power? (0)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046652)

I assume it's powered by HDMI.

Re:Power? (2, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046688)

From the look of the picture in the article, you plug the device into a powered USB hub and it would draw power from there. The USB connector is male A type, so plugging a keyboard into it is out of the question.

It looks like there is a third connector from the "top" of the device (in the picture) which is at the end of 6 soldered wires in what looks like a ribbon arrangement... A second USB input? From the running shot it ends in a small black device. Either way the hub is necessary as it looks like the mouse, keyboard, and external DLink LAN device connect through it. Good tech example, though. I'd definitely get one.

Re:Power? (0)

tibbetts (7769) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046740)

It's powered by the owner's ego.

Re:Power? (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046810)

Look at the picture, see the wire leads on the top, that is the power. I assume this can be adjusted to a simple cable when it is finally out in production. Its still going to require a special wall wart.

Re:Power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36047036)

Um, both HDMI and USB ports are powered, dufus.

USB (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046456)

If the idea is to plug in a keyboard, then why does it have a male USB plug, and not a female ?

Re:USB (4, Informative)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046524)

If the idea is to plug in a keyboard, then why does it have a male USB plug, and not a female ?

Actually the article says something slightly different.

You plug it into a HDMI socket and then connect a keyboard via the USB port giving you a fully functioning machine running a version of Linux.

The writer specifically distinguishes between the HDMI port, which is plugged in, and the USB port, which is connected.
In the picture it looks like the device is connected to some sort of powered hub. The keyboard is also connected to the same hub. This is also likely where the device gets its power. What I can't tell from the picture is whether that is a simple powered hub or something more complex.

Re:USB (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046914)

It still is confusing. It seems to be plugged into the hub using some weird cable.

With a regular USB hub, the type A clients cannot talk to each other, so if you plug this in a hub directly (in a type A connector), it can't see the keyboard. And if it's meant to be plugged into the type B connector on the hub (which it looks like from the picture), then it should have a standard type A female connector on the device, so you could use a standard type-A/type-B cable.

Re:USB (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046560)

It appears to be plugged into a hub, from which you can add a mouse and keyboard. Networking may also come across the USB port. There are 5 extra wires that supply power I imagine.

Re:USB (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046592)

cheaper and lower profile?

The likely use case is to have a USB hub plugging into the thing, rather than a single peripheral. And while USB hubs are not found with Type-A female to Type-B male cables, you would only have to do one gender change to get many peripherals plugged in.

I agree, though, a female connector would have been more appropriate.

Ï Raspberry Pi Foundation (-1, Offtopic)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046462)

Raspberry. There's only one man who would dare give me the raspberry: Lone Star!

Neat idea but... (4, Interesting)

loftwyr (36717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046464)

I'd love one of these if it had networking as well. It would be a great thing to have a portable computer that could fill in for a emergency terminal, not just a dedicated machine with no connectivity, I guess I could carry a hub and such too but then the usefulness of having it on my keychain is gone.

Re:Neat idea but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046584)

With USB, I believe a thumb usb wifi adapter would probably work, so long as one could add the drivers (via usb thumb drive).

Re:Neat idea but... (1)

ThinkWeak (958195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046590)

Indeed. The summary mentioned "That means it will handle web browsing..." and the pic FTA showed Firefox on the screen. Unless it has a tiny wifi receiver in it, I don't know how it's connecting.

Re:Neat idea but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046748)

Has USB so.. add hub, plug usb wifi/ethernet into hub, you're connected.

Re:Neat idea but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046854)

USB WiFi dongle?

Re:Neat idea but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046594)

it's not a "neat idea" - it's a "neat trick". If I asked ten people what the one thing they would add to it is, and why, then you would get ten responses that are equally important as networking. The only reasonable response is to add them all, abandoning the trick.

Re:Neat idea but... (1)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047008)

That's right, that's the only possibly reasonable response. That must mean that the designers are unreasonable. So don't buy it.

Re:Neat idea but... (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046604)

The Trim-Slice [trimslice.com] has Ethernet and is small enough to carry around, but it's about as big as a smartphone.

Re:Neat idea but... (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046746)

This device is $25, the Trim-Slice device starts at $199. At $25, I'm willing to forgive a lot. At $200, I can get a fully functioning laptop (used).

Re:Neat idea but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046866)

This isn't supposed to go on your keychain, it's meant to inspire minds. Perhaps it might inspire someone to make a computer that goes on your keychain.

Re:Neat idea but... (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046994)

I'm already envisioning this for more complex robotics projects. Not the ones that just use Ardino but the ones that usually pack a laptop......

Media Center (0)

lloydsmart (962848) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046472)

XBMC, anyone? Seems perfect, if only it had either: a) A more powerful CPU b) Hardware video decoding

Re:Media Center (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046526)

Does "1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode" imply hardware decoding?

Re:Media Center (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046916)

I'm pretty sure a 700 MHz ARM can't remotely handle 1080p in software, so, yeah.

Re:Media Center (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046572)

Sound would also be nice. And networking.

Re:Media Center (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046674)

Audio would go over the audio pins of the HDMI jack.

Re:Media Center (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046802)

I totally forgot about that. Sweet!

Re:Media Center (1)

dragonjujotu (1395759) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046724)

Ya know, I always wondered how my computer output sound to my TV even though they're only connected by an HDMI cable, then I remembered, you can send audio signals across that same cable. Albeit, ups the price of the monitor.

Re:Media Center (1)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047054)

All this thing needs is a micro SD slot and a slightly more powerful processor and it would be fantastic. Tape it to the back of your tv and you're set.

web? (1)

zerobeat (628744) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046474)

HDMI one end, USB the other for keyboard. How is it going to connect to the web? Maybe you can chain a USB-ethernet connection through the keyboard.

Re:web? (1)

equex (747231) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046640)

Either has built in wifi or you could connect an USB hub to the thing and hook up 3-4 lightweight devices like mouse, wifi and keyboard. If you get one of those roll-it-up rubber keyboards you could have a functional computer whenever you are near a HD monitor. (wich is how often ?)

Re:web? (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046790)

The device connects via your TiSP wireless router [google.com] , of course!

Re:web? (1)

codegen (103601) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046812)

There is a general IO port on the board that you can attach a copule of devices. here [crunchgear.com] is another picture. I think that s the wireless module on top.

of Elite Staus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046480)

Sounds Grand But where does the OS sit, Can it access the internet, will it fit in my fer-de-lance??

The Important Stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046486)

Um, two questions:

1. How is it powered?
2. How is it to be connected up to a network??

I'm sure wireless could be used for networking but are they talking a power brick for power or can HDMI power it? I haven't personally looked in the HDMI specs for something like that but my gut tells me it wont work that way.

Re:The Important Stuff (1)

inflex (123318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046510)

2.5W should be ample to power it off a powered USB hub (though they have up to 5W from them). There could be wifi onboard, else a USB ethernet/wireless.

Cool stuff (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046490)

It looks freaking awesome :D
If you connect it to a PC's USB port, will the PC recognise it? If so, will it piggyback the network connection?
Or can just connect it to a USB phone charger or USB hub?

One little question. (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046496)

If it only has a HDMI and USB connection for keyboard/mouse, how do you power the thing?

Interesting. (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046506)

Not quite as capable, in certain respects, as the Gumstix [slashdot.org] line of similarly sized ARM boards; but, on the other hand, you'll be lucky to walk away with change from $200 after getting your main board and an I/O expander if needed if you go that route. I wonder where the cost delta comes from?

One minor nit, this system doesn't appear to have any onboard networking(aside from the USB port which, from the picture of it connected to the B port of a hub, would appear to be one of those 'OTG' master or slave jobbies, which could easily enough act as a USB CDC or RNDIS connection to a host PC(which is kind of a waste for a single user; but a basic cheapy desktop loaded with USB cards could easily act as a gateway/fileserver/host for CPU intensive or x86 only programs over an X tunnel for a classroom full of the things)). I have to wonder if a "Flash drive sized" computer that basically doesn't work unless connected to a powered USB hub and a USB network adapter or CDC host PC might be rather less useful than would be a "pack of playing cards sized" computer that actually has a NIC and at least enough USB ports to support a mouse and keyboard(and ideally one extra for miscellaneous purposes)...

Re:Interesting. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046538)

...sounds like a smart phone without all of the proprietary lock down nonsense.

Re:Interesting. (1)

codegen (103601) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046838)

It also has a general IO port in the middle, several other pictures [crunchgear.com] show a small wireless module plugged into the io port.

The future is here. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046514)

Now we just need to get Lego on board.

nerwork interface... (2)

polle404 (727386) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046522)

froody...
throw in a network interface, and I'll buy enough for a beowulf cluster.

Wireless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046530)

If this has wifi I'm in for one. It would probably be pretty good for streaming video, if the CPU can handle the decoding.

Server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046534)

Couple this puppy with some networking and I got myself a web server in me pants.

Damnit Braben (2)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046544)

Stop procrastinating and gives us our damn Elite 4 already.

Oolite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046784)

Here it is: Oolite [oolite.org] , you're welcome.

HDTV (0)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046556)

Really cool idea but I am curious how a child with not enough money to have a computer at home is going to have money for a tv with an HDMI port. I can only assume that they'd be using some communal tv at school or something, but at that point, why not just use the computer labs...

Re:HDTV (3, Interesting)

ThinkWeak (958195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046644)

Doesn't this have the possibility of replacing the computers in the computer lab? A PC for every kid that is their own person machine. All they do is plug it in when they go into the lab. Of course, troubleshooting problems on these things might be a nightmare, but you'll have that.

Re:HDTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046742)

Troubleshooting? Just issue them a new one, at that price. It might be cheaper than a technician's time to fix one.

Re:HDTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046834)

Working in Education, I can tell you that giving children a USB drive to keep track of is fairly unrealistic until High School (and even then. . .). At 25 dollars, it isn't much of a cost issue, but rather that any system designed to function on the basis that children will be able to keep track of -- and not break/damage -- these will not work.

Re:HDTV (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046900)

At the hardware level, it should be no more or less inscrutable-and-functionally-unfixable than essentially any modern board. At the software level, it probably depends on where the providing entity falls on the "Let them explore" vs. "Lock it down, we'll tell them what they need" spectrum: If you give the user full control over the device, in the spirit of hackerly independent exploration, you'll probably have them show up in fair variety of conditions. If you control more or less tightly, you probably won't.

Barring direct physical destruction of hardware, though, it wouldn't be total rocket surgery to have a rescue bootloader that, say, causes the device to expose its entire internal flash as a USB MSC volume if a particular sequence of inputs is given. Somebody fuck up their stick? Plug it into a computer, enter the rescue sequence, dd if=base_image.img of=/dev/SD_borked_stick Wait a minute or two, unplug, back in business.

Technologically, these should be no harder(and quite possibly easier) to deal with. Philosophically, the tradeoff between making a computer "theirs" vs. making sure that it is ready for class is only partially a technological problem, and much more a problem of educational philosophy(though the OLPC project did some interesting work on technology to reduce the sharpness of the tradeoff...)

Re:HDTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046662)

My first impression exactly.

Re:HDTV (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046776)

The spec list mentions composite output as well, though it doesn't seem to be broken out on the dev board(to a standard connector). All but the nastiest TVs can handle that. In the case of schools, I assume that the use case would be making the computer lab cheaper(even the cheapest nettops run ~$150 on a good day, and Thin client hardware, presumably because of its Big Serious Corporate provenance, can run rather more than that. Bottom end business-line PCs that can be more or less relied upon to have a standard hardware profile are ~$200 in off-lease refurb, ~$500 new). Even if you are using a bunch of Windows only or x86 only software, these little puppies would be substantially cheaper than most thin-client offerings(and linux-on-ARM is supported by Citrix and VMware, and has support for RDP and X, which pretty much covers all the bases). If you are doing things that are supported natively, you could skip the terminal server and go cheaper still.

Plus(somewhat sad to say), there probably are a reasonable number of families where a TV ranks higher than a computer. A basic nasty "HD" LCD setup will almost always come with HDMI now, and is pretty accessible(even if by rent-to-own or usurious credit card borrowing) for people pretty far down the totem pole. Kiddo might well have better luck sneaking in some computer time when the parents aren't watching soaps or sports than having access to a standard computer....

HDMI Ethernet anyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046562)

I like this idea, now if only it utilized the HDMI ethernet we'd be in business.

Take one of these to your hotel, and who gives a crap if you forget it when you check out. Given I don't think the hotel is going to put TV's with HDMI, let alone ethernet enabled. Most hotels go the cheap-ass method now and are wifi only.

Still, much less kit to carry around than a laptop if it's just a USB hub, keyboard/mouse,usb-wifi/usb-ethernet.

Y'all did notice the microphone and camera in the photo right? You all thought the same thing I did... spycam.

Wow ... (1)

applematt84 (1135009) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046586)

Definitely want one! I am curious about how the device is powered ... maybe it leeches power off the monitor?

Debugging Computer? (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046612)

Put OSX on it to debug when plugged into a Mac when OSX goes poof.

Re:Debugging Computer? (1)

ianare (1132971) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046650)

That would be illegal. That's the advantage of Open Source, and why it runs Linux.

Re:Debugging Computer? (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046708)

That would be illegal. That's the advantage of Open Source, and why it runs Linux.

Only if you believe EULA's are enforceable. I wouldn't try selling the thing with OSX but for personal use, why not.

Re:Debugging Computer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046796)

I doubt you could get OS X to boot with just 128MB of RAM. Of course, I haven't tried that myself, so YMMV...

Windows 7 will boot with 96MB (1)

kcbnac (854015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046940)

Windows 7 will boot with 96MB...(Install in a VM with the minimum-required 512MB; reduce VM down and down, once I hit 88MB it BSOD'd) - and no, it wasn't as slow as one would think...

This is what I don't get... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046634)

If the whole kit costs $25 or a bit more with its single-core 700MHz processor, then why am I paying so much for an Intel or AMD processor which have more than one core and speeds only 4 times greater?

Re:This is what I don't get... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046816)

Kind of like buying a 80 GB HD for $19. One upon a time, that was a ton of storage, now it's a few HD movies.

It's old tech.

tweet follows ... replace c for k for my twitterid (1)

cosmas_c (1079035) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046636)

#slashdot: A $25 PC On a USB Stick - The new danger in air travel comes with a $25 fee /.0 oh no "PC On a USB Stick" http://bit.ly/iqij2R [bit.ly] (PS: /.0 stands for -)

The platform for Elite 4? (2)

MROD (101561) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046642)

Maybe he developed this hardware so everyone can play Elite 4 when it comes out? (Elite 4 is proving to be the next Duke Nukem....)

bigger, vga jack, wi-fi, +ports, 50$, sold 1mm+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046660)

it would have to be a little bigger?

MAME-On-A-Stick? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046678)

This could be a godsend for MAME DIY builders... vastly cuts down the cost of the computer segment, and simplifies the video connection to HDMI. Plug one end into your controller and the other into the monitor. Boom, done. You could store a buttload of classic games on a fairly small SD card.

Not that special (1)

cf18 (943501) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046756)

Since 2 years ago you can already get those media player box like Patriot Box Office for around $50 that run Linux and can play many 1080p media, with network port, HDMI (cable included)+composite video, multiple USB port, IR remote and power brick.

Re:Not that special (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046928)

Except that looking at the specs [raspberrypi.org] It can decode h.264 high profile, something that most ultra-cheap players cannot handle. And as it runs linux, it can probably do so from a lot more container formats than vanilla .mp4 (finally, s standalone mkv player that can handle soft subtitles, ordered chapters and multiple audio tracks reasonably).

REAL cost (1)

diaz (816483) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046780)

It sounds to me like the $25 cost is the cost of the assembled unit. The likely retail cost will be something on the order of $100-$200.

128MB RAM is not enough for a modern distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046788)

I have an OLPC, which only has 256MB RAM, and it was constantly running out of memory. Coupled with the fact that it only came with 1GB NAND flash storage, which could not be used as swap space, and it was almost unusable. Most recently, I installed stock, unmodified Ubuntu Lucid 10.04 to an external SD card (not too difficult to do, see instructions here [laptop.org] ). The desktop would load fine, and gnome-terminal worked well, but running a modern web browser (e.g. Firefox or Chromium) was impossible. Even creating a swap file on the SD card did not help with this. I also tried stock Lubuntu, which uses the lightweight LXDE desktop, but the results were similar.

So, now imagine cutting that amount of memory in half, and there's no way I can see this working well with stock Ubuntu. Android might be a better target, or an extremely lightweight distro such as Puppy Linux. Or, just kill the requirements for a GUI, and let the kids play around with the CLI.

Cute, but still waiting for pico-ITX systems (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046794)

fully-featured computers would be a bit more useful to system integrators...

I'm /still/ waiting for someone to build an nVidia ION as small as their (not for sale) pico-ITX reference platform that came out years ago:
http://www.mini-itx.com/67219812 [mini-itx.com]

The fit PC2 is pretty neat, but they still need binary blob drivers for Intel's crappy PowerVR GPU, which severely limits Linux distribution... if they had that form factor with an ION chipset I'd be sticking those little buggers all over the place :-P

Thats almost credit card sized (2)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | more than 3 years ago | (#36046818)

Hopefully it will include a C64 emulator and Elite

Closed captioning - EPIC FAIL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36046936)

I turned on the closed captioning to watch it in the office but the, admittedly beta translation code, made some funny translations. Something about iran, and kids building missiles and using the Internet for sex and twitter. Hilarious!

Cool idea But... (1)

JohnRoss1968 (574825) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047006)

What kind of storage does it have?
How do you plug in a keyboard and a mouse?
How do you power it?
Can it play Crysis 2? (j/k)
But it does sound like a cool idea to use as the start of an even cooler idea.

USB? (1)

zmooc (33175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36047026)

The USB-port seems to be an USB A plug, not a USB A Receptacle (port). A keyboard cannot be directly connected to it. Either it uses rather odd off-spec USB cabling, or it is not an USB host but an USB client device.

It appears to have a third connector for power. In the picture this appears to be connected to another USB cable.

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