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HDMI stick PC runs Picuntu on Cortex-A9 SoC

Jul 31, 2013  |  Eric Brown
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Rikomagic UK announced two new versions of its MK802 HDMI stick computers pre-installed with Linux instead of Android, starting at 65 UK Pounds (about $100). The Cloudsto MK802III LE and MK802IV LE mini-PCs run on dual- and quad-core Rockchip processors and run a lightweight Ubuntu derivative called Picuntu.

For years, we’ve seen mini-PCs migrating from Linux to the Linux-based Android. With the new MK802 LE stick computers, we’re finally seeing a reverse migration. Rikomagic’s tiny MK802 ARM/Android computers, which plug directly into a monitor or TV via the HDMI port, have been a hit in recent years, inspiring numerous imitators. In addition to no-name knock-offs, Roku is now shipping a similarly out-of-sight, out-of-mind HDMI Streaming Stick, Plair debuted one that offers a universal AirPlay-like capability, and Google just rolled out its Chromecast HDMI stick — all of which run LInux variants.



MK802III LE HDMI stick computer, outside and inside
(click image to enlarge)

 

The new Linux-based Cloudsto MK802III LE and MK802IV LE devices, which were developed by popular demand, according to the company, can be used as low-power ARM desktops, as well as local file servers, webservers, media players, and digital signage devices. The devices run Picuntu, a lightweight version of Ubuntu designed specifically to run on Rockchip processors.




MK802III LE Picuntu screenshots
(click image to enlarge)

 

Both LE models are based on the existing Android-powered MK802III and MK802IV models respectively. Detailed specs, however, were released only for the MK802III LE, which is now on preorder for 65 UK Pounds (about $100), compared to 63 Pounds for the similar 8GB Android model. These models can also be hacked to support Ubuntu or Picuntu, but the new LE models are said to offer an optimized pre-installed version.

The Cloudsto MK802III LE is built around a dual-core, Cortex-A9-based Rockchip RK3066 system-on-chip clocked to 1.6GHz and packed with a Mali-400 MP GPU and support for 1080p video. The mini-PC ships with 1GB of RAM, 8GB of NAND flash, and a 16GB removable microSD card loaded with Picuntu Linux.

The devices have built-in WiFi, and provide an HDMI port that supports up to 1920 x 1080 resolution. The MK802III LE is further equipped with a full-sized USB port for connecting to peripherals such as a wireless mouse and keyboard, and a micro-USB port for 5V (< 1 Amp) power. A power management unit supports full software shutdown, and there’s a recovery switch. HDMI and USB power cables are also supplied.

Rikomagic had no details on the quad-core MK802IV LE model, but it is likely based on the MK802IV, featuring the new, Ubuntu-ready Rockchip RK3188 SoC, which is clockable to 1.8GHz or 1.9GHz, according to various reports. (Rockchip does not yet list the SoC, and Rikomagic does not list the clock speed.) The RK3188 SoC also fuels a similar, $82 Tronsmart T428 Android stick computer.

Priced at 75 Pounds, the Android-based MK802IV is further equipped with 2GB of DDR3 RAM, 8GB of flash, and a microSD slot. Other features are similar to the MK802III except that it adds Bluetooth to the mix.

More information about the Cloudsto MK802III LE is available at the MK802III LE announcement page, and it can be pre-ordered for 65 UK Pounds at the MK802III LE product page. Shipments are expected to begin Aug. 10. No pricing or availability information was provided for the quad-core MK802IV LE model.
 

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