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Summary:

As chips for smartphones and tablets improve, there’s a growing market for small computers running on this silicon. Take a look at the $89 Odroid 2 and what it can do.

ODroid X2 in hand

Computing devices are getting cheaper by the day. I’m not talking about the phones, tablets, laptops and desktops you’ll find at your local electronics retailer. Think of the Raspberry Pi, the small $25 bare-bones computer that debuted a year ago.

Now, a higher-powered computer announced in November, the Odroid U2, is available and will set you back $89. Although Odroid is aimed at developers, anyone with a little technical know-how can use it for a full desktop experience.

The Odroid U2 is leaps and bounds more capable than the Raspberry Pi, which explains the higher cost. A quad-core 1.7 GHz Samsung chip powers the device, which is smaller than a credit card. A full 2 GB of memory, two USB ports, integrated Ethernet and a Mali-400 Quad Core 440MHz graphics chip are all on board. Essentially, Odroid U2 has the guts and computational capability of a high-end smartphone from about a year ago for $89.

ODroid X2

What could you do with this mini-computer? On his Tao of Mac blog, Rui Carmo shares some of his recent experiences with the Odroid U2, which include installing a customized version of Android, adding Python for Android, a remote desktop client and later installing Linux. All of this runs on the 1920 x 1080 monitor Carmo attached to the Odroid U2. His thoughts?

“Most people would probably look at using this as a media centre (for which it is eminently suitable), to run arcade emulators (which I did, but mostly to be amazed at the speed of the thing), and, of course, for testing apps.

Me, I set up Evernote, Facebook Messenger and Flipboard on it (besides a number of Google Apps and a couple of terminal emulators), and soon had a couple of Android apps of my own running on it — one of them compiled locally using AIDE.”

Android on Odroid

Would I recommend running out and buying an Odroid as your next primary computer? Not at all. But for those who like to tinker, want to run Android or use a flavor of Linux for ARM on the desktop as a secondary, low-cost device, this is worth a look.

  1. Avneesh Übermensch Balyan Monday, February 11, 2013

    Now Google opens its “Chrome OS” for these hardware….. :)

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  2. Odroid U2… They desperately need to get their marketing department working on decent names! One of the reasons the Raspberry Pi is so popular is because it has a good name which is easy to use and change for blogs!

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  3. g2-019f93f6dbeb3d3b0be553d044a951a0 Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    There’s a large family of MiniPCs that run Android 4.1+, have better packaging and cost less than the U2. An example is CozySwan’s UG007 at US$56.99 (with free shipping) that has a 1080p HDMI and two USB ports. Even Dell is threatening to enter the MiniPC market with their US$50.00 “Project Ophelia.”

    For a detailed UG007 specs and media-center screen captures, as well as a comparison with the projected Project Ophelia device, see http://oakleafblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/first-look-at-cozyswan-ug007-android-41.html.

    Cheers,

    –rj

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    1. The preceding message was from Roger Jennings of OakLeaf Systems, a GigaOm registered analyst. Something strange occurred with my login.

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    2. The UG007 is dual core, not quad, additionally those cores are also 1.6Ghz vs 1.7Ghz. Also it has 1GB of RAM rather than 2.

      But the main killer problem with those RK based boards (from memory) is that it’s not easy to get Linux on them (a normal Linux install, not Android) which is a blocker for most people who want these for tinkering about.

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