Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Raspberry Pi vs. Cheap Android Dongle: Embarrassment of (Cheap) Riches

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the fight-fight-fight dept.

Android 233

New submitter Copper Nikus writes "The price of Android Mini PCs have recently dropped to the point they are starting to make the Raspberry Pi look overpriced. This article compares the Raspberry Pi model B against the similarly priced MK802 II single core Android mini PC. IMO it can be argued that the mini PC wins that fight. It's worth noting that several new quad-core Chinese ARM SoCs have been recently released to the world, and it can be expected to see Android mini PCs start using them in the very near future. This should translate into even lower prices for the now 'obsolete' generations of single and dual core Andoid mini PCs out there." The target markets and base OS vary, but there's enough overlap for this comparison to make some sense — both have ARM chips, both can (to varying degrees) run either Android or a more conventional Linux distro, and both can fit in a small pocket.

cancel ×

233 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

My god (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42403849)

who cares... Everything that needed a computer now has one, this is just toys for toys' sake.

hardware vs software (5, Insightful)

DECula (6113) | about a year and a half ago | (#42403885)

    you are missing a critical point. break out the IO on the USB dongle. Make it turn lights on
    and off. sure, you can slave it to other USB devices, but there is a nice IO header on the
    PI for those who wish to play with it. it's comparing apples to oranges.
    The PI was made with hardware tinkering in mind, the USB dongles - not so much.

Re:hardware vs software (2)

Skapare (16644) | about a year and a half ago | (#42403913)

You mean it takes a Pi (as breakout box) to make the mini PC do useful stuff?

Re:hardware vs software (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42403941)

You are on Slashdot; insightful comments should show up only after hundreds of lame jokes, stupid ideas and other typical garbage specific to Slashdot readers. Case in point, this comment.

Re:hardware vs software (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404013)

In Soviet Russia USB dongles you.

Re:hardware vs software (5, Funny)

OakDragon (885217) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404321)

Cheap Android dongle?

Isn't that what Tasha Yar said when the intoxicant finally wore off?

Re:hardware vs software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404703)

I for one welcome our Android overlords?

Re:hardware vs software (4, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | about a year and a half ago | (#42403977)

indeed... from the comparison:

Expansion Headers
MK802: N/A
RPi: Yes. Provide access to GPIO, I2C, SPI, etc DSI (for LCD display) and CSI-2 (for camera) interfaces are also available

In addition, the MK802 runs the "source available, but developed in secret" Android OS, while the RPi runs the truly open source Debian by default and a zillion other true open source Linux distros with easy download.

The RPi is for the tinkerer. The MK802 is for someone who wants pre-packaged plastic to do one of a limited number of preordained things.

Re:hardware vs software (3, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404153)

limited number of preordained things.

What ever are you babbling on about? Android is a general purpose OS built on a Linux foundation that can run any code you want to run on it (I run Debian in a chroot environment on my Android phone as just one example). Now I agree that the RPi has a more hardware-hacker friendly design, but that in no way makes the Android device limited to only certain things.

Re:hardware vs software (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404389)

That you run Debian in a chroot to get at its power is evidence enough of Android's inherently crippled nature. It runs on the Linux kernel, but shares virtually nothing with the common Linux environment encountered everywhere else. Not surprising, given that Android was proprietary to start then opened to the world. An entirely custom stack that continues to be developed behind closed doors and just results in a duplication of effort.

But it puts Google entirely in the driver's seat, which is where they want to be.

Re:hardware vs software (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404689)

actually, the opposite is true. He just enabled everything he wanted *from* android.

So no, this is not android being crippled.

Re:hardware vs software (4, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404817)

indeed... from the comparison:

Expansion Headers
MK802: N/A
RPi: Yes. Provide access to GPIO, I2C, SPI, etc DSI (for LCD display) and CSI-2 (for camera) interfaces are also available

In addition, the MK802 runs the "source available, but developed in secret" Android OS, while the RPi runs the truly open source Debian by default and a zillion other true open source Linux distros with easy download.

The RPi is for the tinkerer. The MK802 is for someone who wants pre-packaged plastic to do one of a limited number of preordained things.

Let's be honest though; unless you are talented and/or have a lot of time on your hands, Debian and other Linuxes are filled with nothing but "preordained things" on them as well. If you are indeed talented or are so inclined, you probably are going for the Pi or a similar setup (since you don't really "need" something small to play around with) and GPIO is the only other dividing line here; if you need it then the raspberry pi is clearly for you. If you don't, then it is a toss up with vastly more powerful "toys" (a quick search reveals dual core 1.6ghz with 1g ram, gpu accel, etc) on the Android side. If you are interested in the Pi for it's media or more desktop-like functionality, you are well off to investigate the Android options instead as they are VERY capable and packaged very nicely (the units often come in a small chassis with enough cables to hide completely out of sight behind a TV.)

Re:hardware vs software (4, Informative)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42403985)

You're right. The words "cheap" and "Chinese" are sort of red flags that maybe you won't find such nice USB headers and will have power distribution problems or noise on the audio ports or heat issues or bad liquid capacitors or any variety of cheap hardware problems.

SOMETIMES cheap and chinese are bad words ... (3, Interesting)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404027)

You're right. The words "cheap" and "Chinese" are sort of red flags that maybe you won't find such nice USB headers and will have power distribution problems or noise on the audio ports or heat issues or bad liquid capacitors or any variety of cheap hardware problems.

While you're technically correct today - on the other hand, a $50 dual core computer on a stick isn't a bad value proposition. Would you really want to put a $200 usb-sized computer through the wash by accident? Or take it travelling and have it filled with sand?

Also, I'm old enough to remember when "made in japan" was synonymous with the same sorts of quality issues that "made in china" represents today. Now, half my tech items are over-priced and underpowered sony products.

Re:SOMETIMES cheap and chinese are bad words ... (3, Informative)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404297)

You're right. The words "cheap" and "Chinese" are sort of red flags that maybe you won't find such nice USB headers and will have power distribution problems or noise on the audio ports or heat issues or bad liquid capacitors or any variety of cheap hardware problems.

While you're technically correct today - on the other hand, a $50 dual core computer on a stick isn't a bad value proposition. Would you really want to put a $200 usb-sized computer through the wash by accident? Or take it travelling and have it filled with sand?

Also, I'm old enough to remember when "made in japan" was synonymous with the same sorts of quality issues that "made in china" represents today. Now, half my tech items are over-priced and underpowered sony products.

He's being sarcastic. Raspberry Pi had all the hardware problems he referred to.

Re:SOMETIMES cheap and chinese are bad words ... (3, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404547)

Now, half my tech items are over-priced and underpowered sony products.

Sony? SONY??? You would buy computer equipment from a company with a history of rooting its paying customers' computers, removing features you already paid for, and storing sensitive customer information in a plain-text internet-facing database?

There's no fool like an old fool, I guess.

Re:SOMETIMES cheap and chinese are bad words ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404879)

Also, I'm old enough to remember when "made in japan" was synonymous with the same sorts of quality issues that "made in china" represents today. Now, half my tech items are over-priced and underpowered sony products.

Apparently you missed the tech booms in South Korea and Taiwan, now home to many quality companies. If you are still buying Sony products, you have been asleep for the past 20 years.

Re:hardware vs software (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404047)

So you're saying it's no coincidence the Chinese flag is red?

Expensive and Chinese (0)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404107)

You're right. The words "cheap" and "Chinese" are sort of red flags that maybe you won't find such nice USB headers and will have power distribution problems or noise on the audio ports or heat issues or bad liquid capacitors or any variety of cheap hardware problems.

This topic is about good value Android/GNU products not Apple products.

Re:hardware vs software (1)

citizenr (871508) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404901)

You're right. The words "cheap" and "Chinese" are sort of red flags that maybe you won't find such nice USB headers and will have power distribution problems or noise on the audio ports or heat issues or bad liquid capacitors or any variety of cheap hardware problems.

You just described Rpi problems. Another common one is bad solder joints. All from Farnells Chinese factory.

Re:hardware vs software (2)

EGenius007 (1125395) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404019)

I hope the Pi is the Apple in this comparison. Orange Pi sounds disgusting.

Re:hardware vs software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404049)

Maybe because the Pi introduced itself, with full flagged OS notion, as mini PC, vs. micro controller.
Like Arduino has always been, and still is, IMO, the best platform the that kind of work.

Re:hardware vs software (4, Informative)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404063)

pi should have been 5v tolerant and not stuck in 3.3v-only i/o mode. yes, condition the lines. oh, the shock and horror! junior hardware *learners* that will probably blow up their pi when they over-volt the gpios.

also, no mounting screw holes? sheesh. miss the obvious, why don't you.

I own a set of pi's and the latest update did seem to help fix the elephant usb bug. I think (need to bang on it some more).

the pi is a good start, but there are things they really missed on. I'd like to see a real effort with all the things they've learned. and I'd like it standard enough so that we can all use it as our new 'engines' in the embedded world.

Re:hardware vs software (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404179)

There is no good technical reason to design something to 5V logic in the first place especially not like the Arduino _HAD_ to worry about backward compatibility with 5V logic in the first place. They made a bad engineering decision and forgot about forward compatibility.

Most of the chips especially the interesting ones are 3.3V. When you are squeezing down the geometries, the amount of voltages the transistors can handle scales linearly. The whole industry had moved on lower I/O voltage for more than 20 years now.

Re:hardware vs software (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404353)

When you're ordering parts from Digi-Key, maybe they are all 3.3V. I have about a zillion unused perfectly good 5V TTL chips (think 74xx series) sitting around in my garage that would be handy to use in conjunction with a Pi, but with the 3.3V logic, I'd have to get a buffer to hook them up.

Re:hardware vs software (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404531)

There are more than 20 74XX families these days and the MAJORITY of them are 3.3V or lower.

There is NO GOOD technical reason to support only YOU and your 74XX part from the 1970's. That's how old the technology is. I got 3 part drawers full of that too, but I won't miss any of that. New parts are lower power and so much faster too. They have even stop making 5V CPLD in the last while.

I looked around and not everyone uses TTL (or even add their own parts) for their Arduino projects either. The Arduino crowd are mostly BUY BUY BUY crowd that like to BUY their pre-made solutions anyways.

Re:hardware vs software (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404611)

1960s actually. What I find interesting is that 3.6V was also a standard in the 1960s.

Re:hardware vs software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404681)

You probably best buffer the IOs of the Pi anyway. The lines are straight from the SoC and quite fragile compared to IOs on common microcontrollers like the ATMega and PICs. And quite a bit more expensive to replace.

Also, 74HC runs quite happily on 3.3V.

Re:hardware vs software (3, Informative)

capedgirardeau (531367) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404343)

Early models did not have mounting holes, all the recent models do have mounting holes.

USB issues have been improved greatly.

What seems not to be possible is pumping video larger than 640x480 over the USB ports, otherwise, it is apparently working fine.

Re:hardware vs software (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404523)

There's a couple big things missing with the Pi. Firstly, as you mention, no mounting holes. But also no case. I guess this is fine for some people but I want a case that doesn't cost $15-$20. There are finally some cases that are coming out in the under $10 range, but it took a long time for them to come around. It doesn't come with an SD card, or a power supply. Which is fine, many people have them already, and you probably don't need one. But the Android computer on a stick comes with a power supply, and some onboard memory, and a case. Which if you decided to buy them for the Raspberry Pi, would come out to $20 or more. Which makes the Raspberry Pi seem like it's overpriced.

Re:hardware vs software (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404637)

there are LOTS of cases. I have 2 styles and they are mostly fine (not designed for 'shields' that would plug into the gpio header, though).

but there is no mounting holes on the orig pi's and the whole point of an embedded system is to be embedded IN some other chassis. in my case, some audio controller chassis, where I want to glue in an ip-stack (webserver mostly) and have that be part of my audio system. it would be nice to simply add an rj45 to my rear chassis and then have the pi be inside my box, where its safe and no one knows or cares what is inside. but with no holes to mount onto standoffs, they missed their mark.

adafruit has some nylon standoffs that can edge-hold or corner hold things and that's quite clever. I'll also need that on the open-logic-sniffer board ($50 from seeed studio) and those guys ALSO forgot about mounting holes. it seems you can be a board level designer (pretty smart) but still miss some obvious usability points.

Re:hardware vs software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404883)

Farnell has the cases for £5 (Or maybe $5 I don't remember).

Good thing about the pi is a reasonable amount of clueful users have one.

With any random piece of Chinese junk it is quite random as to whether there is a decent source drop and whether a clueful dev has one.

The fact that the H264 on the pi is licensed likely adds some money to the final cost.

Re:hardware vs software (3, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404193)

I never understood the point. Splice a parallel port to a bread board and hook it to any beige box PC that folks are literally giving (or throwing) away. They're better than the Raspberry Pi in every way except size. You can hook a LED (maybe w/ resistor) directly to many of the pins of the parallel port and they light up representing the individual bits. IO doesn't have to be serialized and deserialized, so you don't have to use a RS232 or any other integrated circuit chips. The beige box also supports Serial and Universal Serial Bus (USB), not to mention a 56k Modem. Old beige box has more RAM, more peripherals, EASIER to work with parallel interface for hardware. Man, I swear. If I spray painted them brown and called them "Chocolate Quaternion" people would be buying them just as fast as the Raspberry Pi were it to get the same level of press. I mean, it's like the folks buying these don't even search around for ways to do hardware projects with the machines they've got or even look for other single board computers before buying one due to all the damn press the Raspberry Pi gets. I mean, $25 is great, but there's other options with various speeds and features at other prices. It's not the only $100 computer with a nice IO header, damn. Seriously. [digikey.com]

Re:hardware vs software (4, Insightful)

Lluc (703772) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404435)

Are you serious? The biggest advantages of the Raspberry Pi are the community, size, and power consumption. With your 10-year-old beige box you get none of these -- I'm imagining your beige box is probably a 10 year old Pentium3 or Pentium4 Dell that you pulled out of the dumpster for free. It probably needs a new hard drive, the ~300 Watt power supply might be going out, and it's full of dust. It would run a mainstream (GUI) linux distribution at barely-acceptable levels of performance, and no one in the linux distribution forums would reply to your questions about how to debug problems on ancient hardware.

Sounds like a great idea to me!

Re:hardware vs software (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404459)

The $25 price point is the whole point. The other examples you refer to from digikey are at least 5 times that expensive, and some 20 times that. Even $100 puts things out of the range of a kid who wants to experiment and who doesn't have a full time job.

Your point about experimenting with a beige box is well taken, but what a hassle it is to drag one around to where you need it, and it makes having a high voltage main pretty mandatory. What if I want to build something into a go-cart? Do I need to drag around 50 pounds of additional crap and an extension cord? To top that off, just adding an SD card adapter to the PC will incur half the cost of a Pi.

The Pi is awesome, not because of the brand, but because of the low cost, light weight, small size, and availability of system software and interfaces.

Re:hardware vs software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404505)

That idea is absolutely retarded.

Re:hardware vs software (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404573)

The point is I don't want to put this giant 10+ year old computer with whirring drives, fans, huge power supplies, and consuming hundreds of watts of power in my living room to simply control the blinds, or play video to my TV from my share drive, or act as a burglar alarm.

Having a unobtrusive device with no moving parts that'll last 10+ years without maintenance is huge, and makes this thing into an appliance rather than a big ugly brick that'll break down in a couple years from HD failure, PS failure, etc.

Plus it's actually a standard platform that other people can build for, rather than a big unknown about what the memory/processing/graphics/etc capabilities are. When there's knowns in those areas, people can actually co-operate rather than writing for an environment totally different than the one you might happen to have.

Re:hardware vs software (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404811)

I have done my share of "beige box" PC hardware interface projects, but power consumption, size and noise is pretty important. Also, having a consistent supply of the exact same old PC model is difficult. Differences might not be big, and for simple one-off projects it works, but it's not very elegant.

I recently connected the door-bell of a store to a Pi using a simple opto-isolation circuit. The Pi is screwed to the wall right next to the old ding-dong door-bell and logs everything. Every five minutes the log is transmitted to a web server and stored in a DB. An administrative interface lets you see nice graphs of how many customers arrive and when, broken down hour by hour or day by day.

I could have done it with an old PC, but I didn't feel like screwing such a heavy item to the wall. Also, even if the old box only needs 40W, even 40W continuously add up in the long run.

Of course, I could also have used an "arduino" or compatible with the Ethernet-shield. I might also need to add a real time clock since it gets annoying to get NTP-time and count it on the AVR-CPU. However, those two together is almost the same cost as the Pi, and then the logging, time-stamping and sending to the internet would be a lot more complex.

Now I just have a Python-script that logs everything to a file. A cron-job uploads the entire file to the webserver every five minutes. Another cron-job rotates the logs at midnight. Even if the internet goes down for an extended period of time or the server is unreachable everything will still be logged and sent when it works again.

I used to work with the Biffer-board (which was quite similar in some ways to the Pi, except that it was x86 compatible, only 100MHz and lacked any video) and modified routers before, but the Pi has such a big community and sees a lot more active development that it's just much nicer to base your project on it. Also, having a full Debian instead of running OpenWRT is nice. (Yes, the Bifferboard could run full Debian if you used had a USB-flash drive for storage (since internal Flash was only 8MB), but Debian in 32MB RAM is still no fun)

Re:hardware vs software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404957)

Try running it on a couple of AA batteries.

Re:hardware vs software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404305)

Pretty sure there is probably a USB adapter for such a thing. Remember, there is USB for anything. Even cooking.

Re:hardware vs software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404639)

You cannot run risc os on some GPL violating Android mini dongle.

You always get the best results with an OS designed for the architecture you are using.

I don't want Android I hate it. (Have a Xoom and I think the OS is terrible. I want to get Tizen on it one day).

Re:hardware vs software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404871)

The hardware breakout is of limited utility, one of the first boards for the pi was essentially an arduino to provide better i/o. If thats the recommended route for the pi you mayas well do the same for the dongle.

With newer dongles using the RK3066 dual core rather than the pretty slow and clunky allwinner A10
at the same price point the comparison becomes even less favourable for the pi. The fact that the ethernet on the pi is routed through the usb also means this hardly stands out as an advantage.

This point remains that the community momentum built around the pi is what gives it traction. Arduinos were never the most advanded of platforms in either hardware or dev environment but still it changed the nature and extent of the hobbiest world.

The impact of the pi on education and hobby projects will probably be just as great.

It sparked a revolution (5, Insightful)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about a year and a half ago | (#42403905)

RPI served a purpose one way or the other. The faster these things get while staying at a similar price point just means there will be much cooler garage made gadgets and hacks to play with. Until apple buys all the patents up and sues everyone that is.

Re:It sparked a revolution (3, Interesting)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404535)

Not sure why this is marked flamebait other then he named Apple, who is pretty good at patent trolling. Stick the name of any of the 100's of patent trolling companies that are out there these days and it is true. Computers are getting faster and cheaper and the biggest issue with making one of your own is fighting established trivial patents.

Apples, oranges, raspberries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42403917)

Android is nice if I want to play angry birds, use facebook or twitter, or watch a movie on netflix. The "mini pc" is really just an entertainment device. It's like telling me that I can throw out my desktop computer and replace it with a Roku or a smart tv.

I'm more interested in learning things and keep my it skills fresh, so I would rather build a tiny little server with a Raspberry Pi (or stick a nice distro on it to use when I travel) than play with whatever the android device of the week is.

Re:Apples, oranges, raspberries (3, Informative)

SilenceBE (1439827) | about a year and a half ago | (#42403981)

The A10 machines runs ubuntu/linux for a while you know... The accelerated x11 drivers suck, but rpi as a desktop isn't partically a party also.

Mini-Cluster (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year and a half ago | (#42403921)

So, when can we cluster a bunch of these nodes together to form a tiny cloud platform? Possible yet?

Re:Mini-Cluster (1)

dmesg0 (1342071) | about a year and a half ago | (#42403961)

Yes, you can run a Beowulf cluster of them!

Re:Mini-Cluster (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404183)

No! I have to imagine it first!

Re:Mini-Cluster (3, Informative)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404083)

WHY?

these aren't compute nodes. not even close. they're not fast on i/o either.

they're embedded systems. why can't people GET that?

there are a class of problems that need ip-connectivity (ethernet) and a small footprint and low power, low/no noise. this fits that bill. for code that is larger than controller-size (arduino mega, say) you'd use one of these. for much smaller tasks, the arduino controller class of chips is the better choice.

embedded, people. not generic host. this is not some compute node. never will be and isn't meant for such things.

Re:Mini-Cluster (2)

james_van (2241758) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404205)

why? because we can. not because its a good idea, or because there's some potential great end to it, but simply because we can. there is a certain thrill in the accomplishment that transcends any need for a good reason why. and sometimes, just sometimes, "because we can" is the best damn reason ever. other times its utterly f*cking stupid, YMMV.

Re:Mini-Cluster (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404651)

if you enjoy clustering really underpowered nodes, hey, whatever floats your integer....

Re:Mini-Cluster (1)

capedgirardeau (531367) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404365)

Yes, it has been done with the Raspberry Pis.

Beowulf clusters in the Raspberry Pi world are called "Brambles"

Visit the RPi forums and search for that for real world feedback on how to do it.

Call me old-fashioned... (-1, Flamebait)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about a year and a half ago | (#42403925)

...but I'm willing to pay more for an ARM-based board made right here in the good ole' US of A (BeagleBone).
No virus-laden Chinese crap for me.

Re:Call me old-fashioned... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404087)

...but I'm willing to pay more for an ARM-based board made right here in the good ole' US of A (BeagleBone).

No virus-laden Chinese crap for me.

If by "old fashioned" you mean "racist", then yes - you're old fashioned.

Re:Call me old-fashioned... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404175)

Poe's law.

Re:Call me old-fashioned... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404201)

AC does not understand the difference between racism and xenophobia....

Re:Call me old-fashioned... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404209)

His adjective was describing a "thing", not people.

He said "Chinese crap". Is it racist to say french wine is better? how 'bout their cheese? Are spices better from the middle east? Am I racist because I prefer Greek cuisine over others? German Cars are better, right?

Re:Call me old-fashioned... (1)

RevDisk (740008) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404927)

Wanting to buy locally is racist? Crud. Here I've been buying produce and food from local growers and farmers. The Amish around here have a good reputation when it comes to quality food. PRC food products, not so much. I wasn't aware I was being racist, considering quality was my sole concern and not genetic superiority or inferiority. I'm just not fond of melamine in my milk. On the other hand, I'd don't buy electronics from the Amish and do buy Made in PRC electronics.

I like buying locally when I can because I've had better success at contacting and communicating with the the folks that made the product. One theoretically could prefer to buy American, because there is less statistical chance of an ethnically Chinese person would be making or assembling the product. That would be oddly specifically racist, but indeed racist.

Re:Call me old-fashioned... (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404099)

I was just thinking that. How do we know they haven't modified the ARM design to include stuff like backdoor decryption or tracking capabilities?

Re:Call me old-fashioned... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404341)

Come on, you started thinking, keep going... imagine they have backdoor decryption on their chip, what are they going to do with it? Send their evil Chinese spies to your house and steal the strategically valuable data that you just happen to have stored on your tiny usb-computer?

Re:Call me old-fashioned... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404485)

Well that whole facebook privacy stuff is right out the window if they are just sending it straight home anyway now isn't it?

Re:Call me old-fashioned... (1)

Thiez (1281866) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404537)

Okay, that changes things. Not only has the device a secret backdoor decryption thingy (whatever that might be), the CPU will also send (easily detected) packets over your network, but nobody has detected these packets yet because of... reasons. And the Chinese are *so* interested in you that they would risk getting caught performing something as bizarre as this scheme of yours just to get a glimpse at your facebook friends.

This conspiracy theory of yours sounds rather far-fetched.

Re:Call me old-fashioned... (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404629)

There is no evidence that the Chinese have done this... although it is likely. There is, however, concrete proof that the US government is definitely doing it. In the Windows environment and Cisco equipment at least... probably a lot of others. All Chinas government can do to you is spy... the US government can arrest you, put you in jail, send you to secret prisons in other countries to be tortured or even put you to death.

I'll take my Chinese backdoor over your US government backdoor any day.

Compare to RK3066 (1)

dmesg0 (1342071) | about a year and a half ago | (#42403943)

I would rather compare to RK3066-based miniPCs. It's a dual-core platform with very good performance and has a number of mini-PCs based on it (MK808, UG808, iMITO etc). Android is a joy to use on this platform, and linux is under development.
The price is 50-60$ including shipping, which is not a lot more than 35$+shipping

Re:Compare to RK3066 (1)

amorsen (7485) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404461)

The price is 50-60$ including shipping, which is not a lot more than 35$+shipping

Except in the EU where you get raped by the shipping company having to handle import duties. The duties themselves are practically nothing, but the handling fees are nasty.

Re:Compare to RK3066 (1)

dmesg0 (1342071) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404673)

Even if you ship by regular registered mail (e.g. by HK post) and not by private companies like DHL/Fedex/UPS?

I prefer Pi (1)

mandark1967 (630856) | about a year and a half ago | (#42403947)

I admit I'm biased but I prefer the Pi over the Android dongles.

It just seems like there's more of a fun factor in making a Pi-based system than just plugging in a dongle-type system.

At least with the Pi I get to play with legos

My Pi system based on the 28 port Manhatten usb adapter
http://imageshack.us/g/1/9907766/ [imageshack.us]

If it doesn't run XBMC... (1)

Jonah Hex (651948) | about a year and a half ago | (#42403965)

Seriously, all I want is mini computers smaller than a hearing aid battery that can run XBMC with enough power to watch any format/compression from YouTube to BluRay. Is that too much to ask? Of course it's coming, and these systems are a great step towards that (yes I know XMBC runs on rPi), but for now I'm sticking to my hand built full size PC system running XBMC. - HEX

Re:If it doesn't run XBMC... (2)

Kadagan AU (638260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42403987)

There are alpha (and maybe beta) versions of XBMC for Android as well. I'm not sure if they run on this MK802 II or not, but I'm sure that's coming.

Re:If it doesn't run XBMC... (1)

Kadagan AU (638260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404009)

And now with linkage [xbmc.org] !

Re:If it doesn't run XBMC... (2)

kroyd (29866) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404119)

XBMC runs very badly on Allwinner A10 and A13 CPUs found in the MK802, since the stock Android they come with don't support the regular hardware accelration in Android. (I imagine this has something to do with licensing and patents.)

There has been some work in making XBMC work better, but that requires flashing your own ROM file, and that can be a really big pain with the extremely cheap but really unsupported systems.. (See http://www.cnx-software.com/2012/11/12/xbmc-for-linux-on-allwinner-a10-devices-it-works-sort-of/ [cnx-software.com] for an example of how to make it work.)

The devices usually come with a custom video player which works really well (the MALI GPU is quite powerfull), and I believe the youtube app has also been optimized. Hopefully the producers of the cheap Android sticks and tablets can work together with the XBMC team - the market must be enormous.

Re:If it doesn't run XBMC... (4, Informative)

mandark1967 (630856) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404031)

My Pi runs XBMC fine and plays my BluRay Rips without stutter with 5.1 Audio. I believe it's limited to 5.1 though...

Re:If it doesn't run XBMC... (1)

rikkards (98006) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404723)

Good to hear since coincidently I ordered one and Brown Santa should be dropping it off today (total cost with Shipping from Newark with case, power plug and SD Card was $58).
Any tips?

Re:If it doesn't run XBMC... (2)

Albanach (527650) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404069)

And this seems to be the problem with the USB sticks. When I was searching it looked like you don't get hardware assisted playback with XBMC on them.

So the article seems to say they're better for media centers, yet the primary media center software wouldn't work well? The reviewer doesn't seem to say they're actually running XBMC or similar on one of the devices. If someone is running it successfully, with workable HD playback over wifi, I'd love to hear about it.

Most the reviews I saw also mentioned the wifi support was woeful, with frequent freezes. WiFi is nice, but only if it's reliable and a reliable network connection is essential for a media player.

I was really keen to buy one of these cheap sticks, and the initial specs did look good. But as I read the reviews from folk who actually own them I saw a lot of disappointment. It looks like, for now at least, the price is too cheap to deliver a reliable product.

Pi in deployment (careful with max OC) (5, Informative)

Richard_J_N (631241) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404001)

We just deployed 3x Pi in a warehouse. I have to say, I'm really impressed with them. They are small, robust, and best of all, fanless (our last Mini-Itx died from dust-inhalation). System upgrades are easy - just swap over the SD card.

Just a couple of gotchas:
* Overclocking isn't just about heat (I added a heatsink and the CPU runs cool). The jump from 950MHz to 1Ghz is a very steep one (it suddenly bumps up all the other system clocks by a large amount) and this can make it unstable, corrupting the filesystem. 950 seems to be reliable.

* Power for USB (especially WiFi) is dodgy. Hotplugging a dongle will make the Pi reboot from brownout. It seems to be worse because the "5V" supplies aren't actually 5V. I tested several; surprisingly, the branded Nokia/HTC ones put out about 4.7V, whereas the unbranded ones are nearer 4.9. I suspect that in a USB supply that is really designed to charge a 3.7V LiPo cell, the more energy efficient ones may aim to come in slightly under 5V to reduce waste. Even with the newest model B rev 2, there is still one polyfuse on the input: I shorted this to gain another 10mV.

Anyway, I really want a Model C, perhaps with a 1.5GHz CPU, 2GB of RAM, 4 USB ports, embedded Wifi/bluetooth, and a better power supply.

Re:Pi in deployment (careful with max OC) (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404123)

ladyada had some modified 5.1v psu's that she sold for the pi.

good idea, too. losses in just the cable, alone, can be enough to drop the voltage low enough to cause problems. add a little up front and you fix that problem. really good idea.

I've seen the usb hotplug reboots. I don't even try anymore. if I need to change usb config, I shut down (like old win95, sheesh) and then change usb connections. not sure if this was psu related or just 'bad usb stack' related.

Re:Pi in deployment (careful with max OC) (4, Interesting)

KiloByte (825081) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404137)

So try this one [hardkernel.com] . More than order of magnitude faster than RasPi (4*1.7Ghz overclockable to 2.0 A9 instead of 1*0.7Ghz OCable to 1.0, ancient ARM11). Obviously, $69 for the 1GB 4*1.4Ghz model or $89 for 2GB 4*1.7Ghz is more than RasPi's $35+accessories.

Re:Pi in deployment (careful with max OC) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404219)

Get the LadyAda 5.25v USB supply, and use a very short USB cable (1ft or less). If that's too short, use an AC extension on the USB supply. Lastly, power the wifi using a USB hub if you can. A good USB hub is $50 not $12, and some will even support hungry 1A and 2A devices so you know the power is good.

Don't hot plug mouse and kb... Access remotely.

Re:Pi in deployment (careful with max OC) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404241)

Minimum operating voltage of a device is 4.4 V in USB 2.0, and 4 V in USB 3.0 as written in the specs. If they didn't design the Pi to run off USB power with that in mind, they have no one to blame but themselves.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Serial_Bus#Powered_USB

Cubieboard for IO Breakout (3, Interesting)

jonsmirl (114798) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404079)

If you need IO breakout get a $49 Cubieboard, http://cubieboard.org/ [cubieboard.org]

Same ARM Cortex CPU/RAM/flash/HDMI as the Android sticks plus a 96 pin header including I2C, SPI, SATA, RGB/LVDS, CSI/TS, FM-IN, ADC, CVBS, VGA, SPDIF-OUT, R-TP..

It doesn't exist yet. Stop spamming... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404229)

...all these crowd sourced projects. What you make them look like when you do this is a product hawked by billie mays hays...in fact its worse. Its vaporware. If they don't have a R&D budget and products on hand, don't refer to them as a 'solution'.

...but could exist (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404499)

...all these crowd sourced projects. What you make them look like when you do this is a product hawked by billie mays hays...in fact its worse. Its vaporware. If they don't have a R&D budget and products on hand, don't refer to them as a 'solution'.

I'ts moving off topic to discuss crowd funding, but lets be honest. Small hardware projects fit crowd funding like a glove, The cost accounting (patent problems aside) are built into the strategy, and you instantly get real feedback on whether there is a market for your project, better than any expensive research could do, with [potential] customers getting involved early with the product to help shape it. Its better than banks/venture capitalists who take cut, of your borrowing...and potential future business.

Directly related to your comment. It is perfectly acceptable to propose *any* crowd sourced product as a potential 'solution', as long as you are aware of the risks inherent in this.

The RasPI is all about... (3, Insightful)

djsmiley (752149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404115)

Connectivity.

The GPIO pins and everything else. It was never about a super low cost computing platform, its simply shown the manufacturers that such an item would sell like hotcakes, if produced for the low enough price.

moD down (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404177)

Gave The BSD

Which one can you actually purchase? (0)

MeBadMagic (619592) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404273)

I signed up to buy a Pi when I first heard about them. After several releases, I got an email that said they were in stock. I gave my CC# and placed an order. Got an email saying they were back ordered and I would be notified when sent. Never got sent. Got lots and lots of their advertising emails. Shit loads. Then another 'available' email. Tried to order again. Nada. Called customer service. The guy reminded me of Ocean Marketing. Like I was pestering them to take my money. WTF?

I hope maybe I can finally buy one of the other available options.

B-(

Re:Which one can you actually purchase? (1)

capedgirardeau (531367) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404397)

Raspberry Pi supply problems are long over. You can get one overnight now if you want.
I still wouldn't order one from RS though, their performance during the supply shortage was terrible, no more of my business for them ever.

Re:Which one can you actually purchase? (1)

Microlith (54737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404405)

The Pi is available, in fits and starts. I got mine many months ago. A co-worker just ordered one and got it in short order.

Whereas many of these silly cheap boards from other sources I have yet to actually see, and I suspect I never will.

Re:Which one can you actually purchase? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404939)

Just stop this already.

I ordered two (more) Pis a month ago. I ordered on late thursday evening. Monday at lunch I had them in my hand.

Also, there is a store just 1.5 hours drive away where I can buy them over the counter. And I live in Sweden.

If you actually ordered them (and not just trolling), it sounds like you did not order from any of the two distributors that where available at the start when they first begun taking ordered, and instead ordered from some other (scam or otherwise) place. To the best of my knowledge, every single initial order with RS and Farnell was completed ages ago.

Other Low Cost ARM Boards to Consider ... (4, Interesting)

LuxuryYacht (229372) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404317)

$49 Cubieboard Allwinner A10 + 512M/1GB DDR3 , 4Gb Nand Flash, 10/100M Ethernet, HDMI, 2 USB Host, 1 micro SD slot, 1 SATA, 1 ir, 96 GPIO pins ncluding I2C, SPI, RGB/LVDS, CSI/TS, FM-IN, ADC, CVBS, VGA, SPDIF-OUT, R-TP
http://cubieboard.org/ [cubieboard.org]

£40 Allwinner A10 + 1GB RAM, 4Gb NAND, Wifi: 802.11 b/g/n, 3.5mm Earphone Jack, 1x Mini Usb, 1x Hdmi Out, Micro Sd slot,
http://gooseberry.atspace.co.uk/ [atspace.co.uk]

$65.00 Allwinner A10 1GB RAM, 4GB NAND, 3.5mm microphone jack, 3.3v TTL 4-pin header, 2 x USB A 2.0, 10/100 Ethernet, Realtek 802.11n WiFi, HDMI up to 1080p, 3.5mm composite AV, 3.5mm component Y/Pb/Pr, SDHC card slot
https://www.miniand.com/products/Hackberry%20A10%20Developer%20Board [miniand.com]

$89 Freescale i.MX6 Duallite, 1 GB DDR3, Audio, Optical S/PDI, HDMI, Camera interface, SD Slot, Serial, Expanison header GPIO, USB, USB OTG, GB-LAN, WiFi 802.11n, Bluetooth
http://wandboard.org/ [wandboard.org]

$89 Exynos4412 1.7Ghz ARM Cortex-A9 Quad Core, 10/100Mbps Ethernet, 2 x High speed USB2.0 Host,HDMI, SD Slot, Headphone jack
http://www.hardkernel.com/renewal_2011/products/prdt_info.php [hardkernel.com]

Re:Other Low Cost ARM Boards to Consider ... (1)

leeac (2729729) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404795)

I got an rpi, an mk802, and can't wait for the exynoses to come in. All pretty cool projects for slightly different markets. the mk802 is an easy choice for smartin' up my projector. the rpi is an easy choice for robotics tinkering and some home automation. while the exynos may serve a decent desktop thin client. ^ forgot about the 2gigs of ram woot!

Re:Other Low Cost ARM Boards to Consider ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404827)

People buy the Raspberry Pi for a lot of reasons. It's not (just) the price. Active development community, I/O, HDMI output, USB/Ethernet availability, etc.

I make enough money to afford any combination of the above devices. The developer community is what's important to me. Knowing that even if the people making this device go under, knowing that the people using the device will be available for me to ask questions is huge.

I bought 2 RPi model B units so far. One runs XBMC for the kids' TV. The other runs a NAS (with better performance than the one I got from Netgear, no less). Through questions asked through the forums, I am comfortable installing debian and managing a headless debian system.

Do these other boards have vibrant developer community forums? If so, maybe they're worth another look for when I want to buy another headless system.

It has to be said: "Beowulf Cluster!" (1)

garyebickford (222422) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404407)

I know, shades of the past and all that. I haven't seen a Beowulf comment for what seems like years.

But in this case it could actually be interesting! :)

So, take one big-a$$ USB hub, plug a whole bunch of the Android dongles into it. Use a Raspberry Pi as the USB router and another one or two Pi as I/O and scheduling processors. Run Beowulf.

Let me just say IANA HW guy... :P I may have some details missing or wrong... But if I get thing correctly, you can have 127 dongles on one controller. I don't know (didn't do any research) about whether the cited dongles can be used as controllers (hence using the Pi). You can have, on one small board, one Pi and 127 dongles (handle power to the dongles directly rather than through the controller's USB connection). Use ethernet between boards - this also helps with the problem of USB bandwidth. Stack boards as 'high' as might be interesting, useful and feasible.

Who knows? With enough of these processing boards combined, one might achieve the same performance as a high-end Intel chip! :P

Android's multitasking sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42404685)

Androids lack of windowed multitasking really sucks. You can b e more productive on a Dos box running Desqview. Android's requirements are also becoming ridiculous.

The MK802 apparently has problems (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404699)

At least from the Amazon reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Rikomagic-Generation-Android-Google-Player/dp/B0091UHMHO [amazon.com]

* Not happy at all with the product and returning it back to HongKong is not worth the time and effort.
* The only form of support you cant turn to is the forum community, trust me they are frustrated.
* The only way to turn it on again is by unplugging the usb power cord and connect it again, or turn off/on the tv.
*Had to return it because it stopped working after two attempts. I think this is a nice concept but the hardware needs to mature a bit.

raspberry pi is to ARM SoCs as Arduino is to AVR (1)

leeac (2729729) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404741)

raspberry pi isnt a cheap computer. it never was supposed to be, that was the goal of OLPC. Raspberry Pi is a development platform. From the ground up people can hack it at any level, get copious documentation at almost any level, versus the arguably cool, but completely closed allwinner based systems.

Is it for your TV or other Project? (1)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404759)

If you're looking for something to connect to a TV, the MK802 or MK808 is clearly the winner. If you're looking to make a toy, or run some lights, than Pi is the choice. I have the UG802 and it's very small/powerful for all that it does, but XBMC doesn't support HW decoding yet. Raspberry Pi looks cool, but the specs are lousy compared to the alternative. Another obvious choice that no-one mentioned are used Android Phones. I just upgraded my phone and have a Galaxy S phone no longer being used. Still looking for a good project to make use of it.

Community Support, and Expansion Possibilities (3, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404803)

There are a lot of reasons to pick a slower Raspberry Pi rather than one of the dozens of other cheap ARM boards and systems that have become available.

The primary one is the community that has built up around the device. This means the device is well supported.
Also the lack of case means you can access the headers - and there are headers to interface to.
And you can then add your own case, rather than put up with cheap-ass plastic.

I am sure that there will be a Mk2 RasPi within a year that will fix the CPU performance issue - it's a natural next step.

We also have to consider that the RasPi is now entirely assembled in the UK, and it's worth supporting local industry (or using it as an example to encourage local assembly of electronics in your own country).

Re:Community Support, and Expansion Possibilities (1)

LiENUS (207736) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404919)

The cpu itself isn't that big a deal. It's the available bus bandwidth that really holds it up.

Render Farm? (1)

koan (80826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404963)

USB hub with ~20 ports, 20 MK802 III's running Ubuntu and your preference of rendering software, now I know it isn't going to be powerful but at the price point, it's scalable, cheap, low power consumption.

Has anyone tried this? What do you think?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>