$99 mini PC has Android 4.0, HDMI, USB


Android isn’t just for tablets and smartphones. The Google OS has made its way onto a headless mini PC with intriguing living-room potential. Miniand Tech’s Mini X runs Android 4.0, otherwise known as Ice Cream Sandwich, and is also compatible with Linux. The thing is tiny, measuring 2.4″ x 2.4″ x 0.5″, but it has most of the basics covered.

Inside the tiny case sits an Allwinner A10 SoC with a 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A8 CPU core and Mali-400 graphics. The SoC is capable of decoding all kinds of video formats at resolutions up to 1080p. It also powers dual USB ports and a Micro SD slot, although USB storage appears to be limited to just 8GB. The Mini X has 4GB of its own flash onboard in addition to 512MB of RAM.

Fortunately, you’re not limited to local storage. A Wi-Fi antenna pokes out the back, delivering 802.11n wireless connectivity. Bluetooth didn’t make the cut, but there appears to be an IR receiver up front for the included remote.

HDMI seems to be the Mini X’s only output port, and Miniand throws in a compatible cable. A power adapter is also included in the box. Total cost: $99, which seems pretty resonable for a basic media PC that’s small enough to take on the road. Thanks to FanlessTech for the tip.

Comments closed
    • TheMonkeyKing
    • 7 years ago

    It is interesting how the computer industry has moved forward from not-for-profit ideas.

    A few years ago, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) came out to serve the poorer children of third world countries and ended up being a massive selling point for Intel and Microsoft to sell “nettops” to those same countries. Microsoft thought the margins were not there for large scale orders and Intel was looking for newer ways to sell SoC. They took a look at the OLPC and created the nettop as a way to hone in on that market.

    Now we have Raspberry Pi, which is essentially a Android phone without the phone. I think we’ll see soon enough in the for-profit world add-on cards to TVs as a way of selling more TVs with either the company’s branding (e.g. Samsung) or introducing a “home non-computing” market (think Google TV, Apple TV, Microsoft TV?). The latter idea comes from people getting used to the idea purchasing remote accessed content, like watching Netflix, that keeps the content on the other side of the channel. No more “buying” or installing products in the home. Everything will be content that the home user will not own (have on their hard drive, if there are such things in the future) but will pay to use/see.

    • Namarrgon
    • 7 years ago

    Or for $129, you can get a [url=http://liliputing.com/2012/07/hardkernel-odroid-x-129-android-developer-board-with-quad-core-cpu.html<]quad-core 1.4GHz Exynos[/url<] board with more graphics, more RAM, more storage, more SDHC, more Ethernet, much more USB, and less case.

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      Dang it, I was excited by the article you linked but again, no sata and just 10/100 ethernet (although the linked article says 10/1000 ethernet.

      • Anarchist
      • 7 years ago

      … if it only had 2 gig-bit ports …

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    Same thing for $78: [url<]http://www.dealextreme.com/p/mini-android-2-3-hd-1080p-network-media-player-w-wi-fi-hdmi-usb-av-tf-134686[/url<] MiniX\and has a forum with links to software, so updating to Android 4.0 isn't hard for the technically inclined. There are also *tons* of Android powered media players on dealextreme with a wide range of hardware features.

    • Dposcorp
    • 7 years ago

    Here is a link where you can buy it.

    [url<]https://www.miniand.com/products/MiniX%20TV%20Box%20H24#buy[/url<] Comes in blue, red and black. Remote is pictured as well.

    • maxxcool
    • 7 years ago

    8 gig limit !?

    • NeelyCam
    • 7 years ago

    A8? Why? Is it supposed to run on batteries?

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      You could run it off battery if you wish, but you don’t need a sledgehammer to swat a fly. You could also power this via USB.

    • gerryg
    • 7 years ago

    Does it support attaching touch-screen displays? Are there any decent Android-compatible touch screens out there? I could see this being useful for building a larger sized touch computer into something or hanging it on the wall. A 20-inch touch screen running Android 4.x would be awesome.

      • gerryg
      • 7 years ago

      These type of screens are what I am talking about:

      [url<]http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&sku=320-1819&~ck=baynoteSearch&baynote_bnrank=8&baynote_irrank=0[/url<] [url<]http://www.ssidisplays.com/touch-screens[/url<] [url<]http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/TouchSystems/TouchScreen/Solutions/MultiTouch/[/url<] [url<]http://vimeo.com/2022960[/url<] (I would dedicate a wall in my house to this if I could afford it!) I would want to have a mega tablet, essentially.

    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 7 years ago

    Though some have mentioned XMBC, I’d like to see this as the BoxeeBox 2.0.

    • yogibbear
    • 7 years ago

    But the OUYA is $99 and comes with a controller and 1GB of ram…. and a Tegra 3 chip.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 7 years ago

      And hasn’t actually been released yet.

      • yokem55
      • 7 years ago

      And there are decent odds that it might end up being vapor ware.

        • yogibbear
        • 7 years ago

        3 million+ funding (*cough*prepurchases*cough*) in 1 day and a working prototype from the looks of their vids says otherwise…

          • yokem55
          • 7 years ago

          Ben Kuchera writes up a good Los of reasons to be skeptical of the project…
          [url<]http://penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/the-reality-of-the-ouya-console-doesnt-match-the-hype-why-you-should-be-ske[/url<]

    • Farting Bob
    • 7 years ago

    No ethernet is a real shame. Wi-fi just isnt as reliable and fast. Dont think the SOC has built in ethernet though as its designed for tablets primarily. If i was in the market for such a product id be willing to pay a few dollars more for a model with an ethernet port.

      • Madman
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, nothing beats a good old gigabit LAN.

      • Bensam123
      • 7 years ago

      USB dongle…

      You know the ethernet on the rPI is actually hanging off the USB ports?

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<] Android isn't just for tablets and smartphones. [/quote<] OUYA ?

    • chuckula
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]Android isn't just for tablets and smartphones.[/quote<] Sort of like how Tequila isn't just for breakfast! More seriously, this does look like a very cool piece of gadgetry. I'd be interested to see if the Android can be excised for replacement with an XBMC installation or putting on my own distro for router/hacking/other purposes.

      • d0g_p00p
      • 7 years ago

      I have Debian running on a RaspberryPi and i was watching a .x264 BluRay rip at 720p with no stuttering or frame rate drop. This box has way more horsepower so I think it would make a fine XBMC box. Would definitely make a fine headless Linux server.

        • chuckula
        • 7 years ago

        The hardware is certainly capable of it. I’m more interested in whether the boot loader can be setup to let me wipe out the installed Android and get a working image from other ARM distros running on it.

        P.S. –> When and if I get some free time I have the parts on hand for my first RasPi embedded project and I’ll post pictures in the forums once it is running.

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          The biggest problem with trying to use these as servers is that you are somewhat hampered by the lack of a highspeed I/O option for storage. Slap USB 3 or eSata on these and you would have a really nice option for a file server but USB 2 is a bit to slow for that.

            • yokem55
            • 7 years ago

            The Allwinner chip has Sata II support but this unit doesn’t make use of it. If you’re up for ordering from Ali Express, the Mele A1000 based on the A10 does have a 2.5″ disk dock on top of it.

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            Ya there are still a couple of problems with that, first I believe that the NIC is only 100 mbit. 10 MB/s transfers really don’t cut it for storage solutions, second of course that instead of providing an eSata port it has it’s own proprietary dock connector.

            • yokem55
            • 7 years ago

            Well the external dock allows a standard 2.5″ drive to be plugged right in or you can use the standard sata connectors internally, your choice.As for gigabit speeds, you can get a USB 2 gigabit adapter that gets better speed than 100mbit, not as good as real gigabit but if you really need that you’re probably better served by an NAS.

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            The idea however is to not have to have a bunch of dongles hanging from the unit.

            Just give me a low cost ARM board with true opensource support ( graphics drivers included ), with either USB 3 or eSata with FIS switching support and a gigabit Ethernet connection. PCI-e support would be nice as well (yes, arm and pci-e bus do exist together). Then the possibilities open right up as to what could be done with the device.

            (USB nic’s on arm typically peak out around 20 MB/s transfer rates, not a huge increase)

          • Flatland_Spider
          • 7 years ago

          From the other links I’ve read, Arch Linux, Debian, Ubuntu, and some others I can’t remember will work with it, and the forum indicate Ubuntu will run on it.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 7 years ago

      TR says it’s compatible with linux, so I would think so.

        • yokem55
        • 7 years ago

        There is ongoing work to get XBMC up and running on the Allwinner chip. The main hangups from what I understand are that the hardware video decoding and OpenGL ES don’t work yet under the traditional linux /X11 stack yet. Apparently the drivers and libraries exist, but may not be available outside of an nda.

      • moose17145
      • 7 years ago

      +1 for

      [quote<] Sort of like how Tequila isn't just for breakfast! [/quote<] It made me lol 🙂

      • Madman
      • 7 years ago

      As much as I like what Google does with Android, I would still prefer true Linux everywhere. Forking Linux has forked Linux into irrelevance, on desktop PCs…

        • Airmantharp
        • 7 years ago

        It would certainly be nice to see a Linux competitor to Windows 8 on a tablet!

        They still have a ways to go on the desktop for the common user- I assume that they always will.

          • Madman
          • 7 years ago

          It would be great to see Linux as a competitor in all consumer space. It’s really pretty decent nowadays, and it would only spark the innovations, and hopefully put some restraints on cowboy nature of Linux development, which would bring more standardization and more polish.

          Having more Linux penetration would mean most software would be cross platform (MacOS-Unix, Linux-Unix like, Windows-WinNT like) and that would mean we would have even more choice when buying a new hardware.

          And, if the software support would be there, I would be glad to have Linux PC/Notebook, maybe Linux/?Android? Tablet, and Linux/?Android? phone.

          Since I’m tech oriented, I would gladly use such setup everyday. Just get me the games and camera/camcoder software on Linux! Other small annoyances are really small nowadays, and thy also have some neat thing not available on Windows. And did I mentioned the price, and being able to view the source?

          • ermo
          • 7 years ago

          I think you will find that both Ubuntu with Unity and to some extent GNOME and KDE see themselves as competitors in the tablet and netbook space — why else would they have designed fullscreen focused UIs with touch friendly icon sizing?

          But yeah, just like the UI of Windows 8 is caught between catering to the professional workstation/content creation market and the more consumer/terminal oriented tablet market, so are the Unity and GNOME UIs. From what I have seen, Ubuntu is on the right track in terms of pushing their ecosystem to end users, though they have fallen behind on the low-level plumbing front in my opinion (systemd has a lot of potential, though I respect that opinions vary on this particular point).

          But yes, systems like this mini PC which supports Android instead of ‘traditional’ Linux underscores that a decent UI with proper HW acceleration support and an integrated App Store experience matters a lot more to people who actually want to use these things than abstract notions of Open Source and Free/Libre licensing.

          Will Canonical be able to compete with Apple and Google in the longer term? I’m not too optimistic, as Apple has the high-end laptop space covered, Chrome OS is coming, Windows is entrenched in the business world and has an awesome developer platform, and Android, iOS and Windows Phone are duking it out in the smartphone space.

          But it is not entirely inconceivable that cheap ARM-based Linux powered machines will begin to really replace intel x86-64 powered ones for HTPC, netbook/tablet and webserver duty in 2-3 years time. We’re basically just waiting for AMD to get involved in this space, since they would be able to re-use their radeon-based fusion GPUs, which already have decent if not spectacular Free/Libre graphics drivers available. A 1.5-2.0GHz quad-core dual issue (per core) ARM cpu would be plenty fine for a 10-13.3″ internet netbook/tablet or a small HTPC/console thingy for the vast majority of people. These 1080p capable mini PCs and the ASUS Transformer tablet/netbook line is just the beginning.

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