By Joe Levi | August 22, 2012 10:34 AM
I know, you can’t easily put a computer in your pocket, but Android is slowly making its way to your desktop. The big question is, are you interested?
What do I mean by “Android on your desktop computer?” Perhaps it could be said better this way: Android IS your desktop computer. What’s more, it’s really, really inexpensive. I’m not talking about running Android on your full-sized x86 PC, I’m talking about specialized hardware that you plug in to your monitor (or even your TV) that has all the components you need — plus Android pre-installed.
Imagine a computer that costs around $75 and is about the size of an Altoids tin. You plug in power, Ethernet, a monitor, and your keyboard and mouse, and you’re off! Boot times are very fast, power consumption is very low. The cost of the device is very attractive, and you can run all the same apps that you can on your Android-powered phone or tablet. That’s exactly that you can do with Raspberry Pi.
AllWinner A10 and others
For those of you looking for a more integrated and less “bring-your-own-Altoids-tin” solution, the AllWinner A10 may be more to your liking. It’s basically a stick that you plug into your TV or monitor.
The AllWinner isn’t alone. There are other “stick” type Android PCs that are designed to simply plug into your HDMI port and go.
What’s so cool about that? Imagine you show up somewhere (school, a friend’s house, work), you can plop your own Android computer into any monitor with an HDMI port, and that’s it! Controlling the computer can be done through a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, networking can come via Wi-Fi, and even power can be supplied via an MHL-compliant HDMI port. What more could you ask for?
Oh, that’s right, the price! Most of these solutions are under US$100, but some reach as high as $250. Even still, for a “regular” Android experience (not Google TV), that’s pretty impressive — and best of all, it’s portable!
For the most part these Android computers feature gigahertz processors, a fair amount of RAM, and a GPU capable of 1080P video. Not too shabby — especially for around a hundred bucks!
I’ve got both a Google TV and a Nexus Q. I like both, but in all honesty, I’d be happy to replace them both with one Android-stick. Wouldn’t you?