It's a straight up cage fight for the title of World's Mini-est Computer. First, we showed you the Raspberry Pi. Then came the Android MK802 Mini PC. Now, measuring in at 2" x 2" x 2"--about the size of an Everlasting Gobstopper--design and development firm SolidRun brings us the CuBox, allegedly the smallest desktop in existence and a neat Little Computer That Can. It's kind of cute. I may even go so far as to call the CuBox adorable.
At just $35, Raspberry Pi and Android still corner the competitive pricing component of mini PC awesomeness, but the CuBox is...so tiny! A child could choke on it! It weighs a mere 3.2 ounces and runs on less than 3W of power, even while accessing its full-screen 1080p video streaming and decoding capabilities. Available as an open source development platform, CuBox is based on Marvell Armada 510 SoC. Possible uses include as a thin client, network attached storage, digital signage solution, set top box, Android TV, home security device, or media player. More specifically:
- Thin Client: Combine a powerful processor and fast networking with a keyboard and mouse, and install RDP, VNC, or another remote desktop application to easily connect to other PCs in the home, or a server in the office.
- NAS (Network Attached Storage): A built-in eSata port allows the connection of 3-1/2" external drives for a Tera-byte+ class storage system. Used in conjunction with the built-in Gigabit Ethernet port, fortified by hardware TCP, offload engine sustained high-speed bandwidth is also possible. Install standard open source packages, such as Samba, rTorrent, Transmission, or glusterfs to assemble classical home NAS systems.
- Digital Signage: Easily hidden behind a flat TV, with processing power equating to rich multiple layer graphics and video scenes.
- DVB-S/T/C Set-Top-Box: Connect USB DVB-S/T/C TV-tuner the CuBox to enable free to air content delivered via satellite, terrestrial, or cables.
- Android TV: A port of Android for set-top-box. The CuBox can utilize the original Android GUI (typically optimized for smartphones) or skinned for the set-top-box look/feel.
- Home Automation Control: May include centralized control of lighting, HVAC, appliances, and other systems for improved convenience, comfort, energy efficiency and security.
- Linux Media Player: Incorporates a multiple format full HD video engine for media decoding. Combined with its 3D engine, users can develop a media player that has rich and smooth GUI, and decode content. Control is via an infrared controller, smartphone, or RF keyboard and mouse.
The CuBox comes with Linux based distributions (Ubuntu, Debian, etc.) and an 800 MHz dual issue ARM PJ4 processor, VFPv3, wmmx SIMD, and 512KB L2 cache. It requires no JTAG, making it unbrickable for developers. Its network runs from one 10/100/1000 Ethernet port, 2 high-speed USB ports, 1 HDMI output port, and 1 optical SPDIF output port. A MicroSD card--the device ships with 4GB--supplies storage of up to 64GB.