VIA Technologies, ostensibly in an attempt to compete with the Raspberry Pi (if you can believe all those bloggers out there), is releasing a tiny single board computer called the APC Android PC. The VIA website for the APC is down, so just search Google News for all the details.
The specs are somewhat similar to the Raspberry Pi – HDMI out, Ethernet, SD card, and a few USB ports – but that’s about where the similarities end. The APC runs a version of Android 2.3 customized for mouse and keyboard input where the RasPi runs Linux. The APC can only display 720p video (compared to the RasPi’s 1080p), and doesn’t have GPIO pins that can be used with Arduino shields.
We’re pretty sure VIA is going after the media center PC market here with a low-power board that can easily stream movies or a season of TV shows over a network. At $50, we’re sure the APC will find a home in a few homebrew devices, MAME machines, and carputers.
If anything, this only portends a whole bunch of single-board ARM/Linux computers riding on the coat tails of the RasPi. That’s awesome no matter how you look at it.
If a $50 Android board doesn’t whet your whistle, VIA also released a Mini-ITX board with 12 hardware serial ports. Hardware serial ports are getting rare nowadays despite how useful they are for embedded applications. 12 (with riser cards, natch) serial ports seems overkill, but we’re sure some Hackaday reader has been looking for this board for a while now.