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Android mini-PC taps quad-core Rockchip, cools itself

May 20, 2014  |  Eric Brown
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PQ Labs announced a tiny, signage-oriented, $109 “iStick A300″ mini-PC that runs Android 4.2 on a quad-core RK3188 SoC and supports up to 55°C environments.

The signage-oriented, 3.9 x 2.2 x 0.6-inch iStick A300 is the heir to the dual-core iStick A200, now available for $79, and is claimed to be four times faster, with half the power consumption. Like the Ugoos UT2 mini-PC, it features the Cortex-A9 based Rockchip RK3188 system-on-chip clocked to 1.6GHz. PQ Labs touts the SoC for its 1080p video and support for 32-bit True Color.



iStick A300
(click image to enlarge)

The $109 iStick A300 and its souped-up sibling, the $169 iStick A350-SSD, both use the quad-core RK3188, while a stripped-down, $89 iStick A300LT model instead uses Rockchip’s 1.6GHz, dual-core RK3168.

The iStick A300 is designed for digital signage, but can also be used as a media player, portable presentation device, or general purpose mini-PC. PQ Labs hides Android 4.2 under a Windows 8 Metro style UI, and offer various apps for signage, including a Kiosk Mode that can run a demo app upon boot-up. An AirScreen app displays content on large screens, and lets other users running Windows-based devices take turns running the presentation. A variety of PQ Labs G4 Series touchscreens ranging up to 84 inches are available as options.



AirScreen in action (left) and iStick A300 cooling system
(click images to enlarge)

The iStick A300 devices ship with 2GB of DDR3 RAM, except for the A300LT model, which offers 1GB. You get 4GB of NAND flash, as well as an SD slot. The A350-SSD gets its name for also integrating an mSATA slot for an optional SSD up to 512GB.

All three models ship with Ethernet and HDMI ports, an audio jack, three USB host ports, and a micro-USB port. PQ Labs also notes the presence of a USB transfer capability designated as “USB to RS232, UVC Camera.” The iStick computers provide 2.4GHz WiFi, and the A350-SSD also adds 5GHz WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. A wireless keyboard and mouse appears to be standard issue.



iStick A300 port detail
(click image to enlarge)

The A350-SSD is the only model that can run on a battery and offers a power switch. Along with the A300 model, it offers a “zero noise” active cooling system, the better to keep those four cores humming in environments of up to 55°.

Specifications listed for the various iStick A300 and A350 mini-PCs include:

  • Processor — Rockchip RK3188 with 4x Cortex-A9 cores @ 1.6GHz (2x A9 core, 1.6GHz RK3168 for A300LT); Mali-400MP GPU (A300LT has Imagination PowerVR SGX540 GPU)
  • Memory/storage:
    • 2GB DDR3 RAM (1GB on A300LT)
    • 4GB onboard NAND flash
    • TF Card (SD 2.0) slot
    • mSATA connector with optional SSD up to 512GB (A350-SSD only)
  • Wireless — WiFi 2.4GHz (A350-SSD has WiFi 5GHz); Bluetooth 4.0 (A350-SSD only)
  • Networking — Ethernet port
  • Other I/O:
    • HDMI port
    • 3x USB host ports
    • Micro-USB port
    • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Other features — wireless keyboard and mouse; optional G4 series touchscreen
  • Software — Kiosk Mode (demo runs on boot); other signage apps; AirScreen (wireless meetings)
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 55° active cooling system (A300 and A350-SSD only)
  • Power — DC 5V/2A; battery and power switch (A350-SSD only)
  • Dimensions — 3.9 x 2.2 x 0.6 in. (100 x 56 x 15mm)
  • Operating system — Android 4.2

 
Further information

The $109 iStick A300, $169 iStick A350-SSD, and $89 iStick A300LT, are available now. More information may be found at the iStick A300 product page and shopping page.
 

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PLEASE COMMENT BELOW

One Response to “Android mini-PC taps quad-core Rockchip, cools itself”

  1. Linuxium says:

    I posted some pictures of how it looks inside and of size comparison with a typical Android dongle here (https://plus.google.com/109451178006683865932/posts/SWaxmn9J3Dv) and there is some additional information on the fan in this article (http://www.cnx-software.com/2014/05/20/pq-labs-istick-a350-ssd-is-a-quad-core-hdmi-tv-stick-with-an-msata-connector-and-a-battery/).

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