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Android Hardware Linux

Raspberry Pi vs. Cheap Android Dongle: Embarrassment of (Cheap) Riches 233

Posted by timothy
from the fight-fight-fight dept.
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.
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Raspberry Pi vs. Cheap Android Dongle: Embarrassment of (Cheap) Riches

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  • by SilenceBE (1439827) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @11:41AM (#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.
  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @11:42AM (#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.
  • by Richard_J_N (631241) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @11:44AM (#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.

  • by mandark1967 (630856) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @11:46AM (#42404031) Homepage Journal

    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...

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @11:50AM (#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:Mini-Cluster (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @11:53AM (#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.

  • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @12:27PM (#42404297) Journal

    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.

  • by capedgirardeau (531367) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @12:36PM (#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.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday December 27, 2012 @01:02PM (#42404547) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by afidel (530433) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @02:25PM (#42405207)

    Exactly, I wanted the GNU/Linux toolset which has only been ported to Android in chunks by people that want certain tools, it was easier to run Debian in chroot and apt-get install whatever I needed than it was to track down the combination of ports needed to get what I wanted (or port them myself). This is in no way an indictment of Android, just that my particular use case was kind of atypical and so the software I wanted hadn't been ported in one package and I was lazy.

  • by dindi (78034) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @02:30PM (#42405247) Homepage

    No, there is an exposed populated header (pins). You can buy a breadboard compatible breakout board that comes with a cable. One version is the cobbler kit http://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-pi-cobbler-kit/overview for 7.95.

    You CAN connect 3.3v electronics without this kit (e.g. you can connect an Arduino pro to i2c or serial and double your pins adding PWM, AD inputs and so on.

  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @03:30PM (#42405689)

    The raspberry pi is now made in the UK. Only the first batch was made in China.

  • by cgimusic (2788705) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @07:46PM (#42407435)
    Exactly. I bought the RPi for hardware projects. If all I wanted was a cheap PC I could have just got an old Intel machine off ebay.
  • by queazocotal (915608) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @10:40PM (#42408377)

    Then there is the elephant in the room.
    The Pi is deeply unexceptional, and rather boring hardware.
    Even the price isn't that special.
    The exceptional bit is that there are a sizeable slice of half a million of them.
    This means that even if 99% of them are sitting on a shelf, you have many thousands of people banging on the hardware, and bugs are at least likely to be found in many cases.

    With most of the alternative boards, you're going to be the only one of a relative few with them.

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