These low cost microcomputers with ARM processors are becoming more and more popular every day. They aren’t any bigger than a credit card, and you can use them for an endless amount of tasks because, once you connect them to a monitor or other device, they are as versatile as a desktop computer. Although currently the Raspberry Pi is the most successful device in the field, there are many other alternatives popping up that are just as efficient, such as the Odroid–a mini PC capable of running both Ubuntu 12.10 and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with a price tag of less than $70.
Raspberry Pi is an inexpensive, silent, and efficient device on which you can run apps that don’t require a lot of resources, such as a private server, router, firewall, or text editor. Its lack of high-performing specs can be a setback when it comes to certain tasks, as it only has 512Mb of RAM, a 700Mhz ARM processor (if you have a recent model)–you really can’t expect much from it. Even still, it manages to play HD video thanks to its powerful GPU, but it continues to come up short on certain applications.
Recently, other manufacturers have been releasing high-performance alternatives that, although they don’t cost $35 like the Raspberry Pi, are still very economical if you compare the quality to the price. Hardkernel is one of these business which has become popular as of late, offering a line of microcontroller boards called ODROID.
The base model is called the ODROID-U, which has the same processor as the Samsung Galaxy S3 and comes with quad-core 1.4Ghz CPU, 1GB of RAM memory, two USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet 10/100 card, and a MicroSD slot. This is all on a 48×52 cm card, which costs only $69 and will be available starting January 16, 2013.
The mid-level line of devices includes the ODROID-U2, which is different from its little brother in that it has a much more powerful 1.7Ghz processor, in addition to 2GB of RAM. This model costs $89 and is available since December 21, 2012.
Lastly, the ODROID-X2 is the most powerful that the company offers. If what you’re looking for is versatility, perhaps this model will be of more interest to you than the others. Although it has the same basic hardware specs, it has 6 USB 2.0 device ports and an SD card slot. It is available today for $135.
All the ODROID microcontroller boards are compatible with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and Ubuntu 12.10. However, currently you can only find information about its compatibility with Android, which comes pre-installed on the device in an SD card.
Official website | http://www.hardkernel.com/