Jide Tech won Kickstarter funding for a $30 mini-PC running its productivity oriented, Android 5.0 based “Remix OS” on Allwinner’s 64-bit quad-core H64 SoC.
The 4.9 x 3.5 x 1.0-inch “Remix Mini” mini-PC enjoyed a stratospheric debut on Kickstarter, where it quickly jumped way past its $50,000 goal to over $500,000 with 39 days remaining. Packages are available through Aug. 29 starting at $30 for the standard version with 1GB RAM and 8GB eMMC flash, and $40 for 2GB RAM and 16GB eMMC. The $20 early bird packages are all gone, but various discount bundles are available.
The Remix Mini, which is expected to ship in October, is Jide Tech’s second Android device launched on Kickstarter, following an 11.6-inch Remix Ultratablet running its Remix OS version of Android on an Nvidia Tegra 4. The China-based Jide Tech, which was started by three ex Google staffers, had some trouble with distribution, but it appears that the funders have finally received their tablets, according to Android Police. The story suggests that the higher new worldwide shipping fees, which now range from a $15 to $30, are designed to ensure that users can get their Minis in a more timely fashion.
Two views of the Remix Mini
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The Kickstarter success of the Remix Mini is not surprising given the combination of $30 to $40 pricing and its 64-bit Allwinner H64 system-on-chip. By comparison, Tronsmart’s recent Orion R28 Android mini-PC, which seemed to us to be a reasonably good deal considering its quad-core, Cortex-A17 Rockchip RK3288, costs $80 and up. While the Orion R28 and many other Android mini-PCs have more I/O ports and gigabit, rather than 10/100 Ethernet, the Mini moves up to a 64-bit, ARMv8 SoC.
Typical Remix Mini desktop setup
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The quad-core, Cortex-A53 Allwinner H64 was first revealed in October. It was intended to arrive in a Nobel64 development board built by the Allwinner-oriented SBC maker Merii Technologies. The board emerged at a trade show in April as an H64 OTT Box Development Board for set-top boxes, but is still not evident on the Merrii or Allwinner websites.
In fact, Allwinner still hasn’t posted a product page for the H64. Allwinner has since launched another quad-core, Cortex-A53 A64 SoC for tablets starting at only $5 a pop. No GPU was listed for the H64, but the A64 is equipped with a Mali-400 MP2. It could be that the more advanced H64 runs a PowerVR GPU, which has been used in some of its other high-end SoCs.
Despite the STB/media player focus of the Allwinner H64 SoC, which supports 4Kx2K video on the Remix Mini, Jide’s mini-PC is designed more as a productivity PC than as an Android media player. It runs Jide’s own desktop-like Remix OS spin, also found on the Remix Ultratablet. In fact, the device is hyped as “the world’s first true Android PC.”
Remix OS targets tablets, desktop monitors, and HDMI displays
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That label is somewhat off-kilter considering other Android mini-PCs have shipped with productivity apps, and also considering that Remix is not exactly Android, but a more extensive Android fork than, say, Cyanogen OS. Remix OS does, however, promise to run all Android apps while “taking full advantage of intuitive PC features such as a taskbar, multiple window multi-tasking, mouse and keyboard support,” according to Jide.
Version 1.5 is based on Android 5.0 (“Lollipop”), and is specifically designed to be run on large touchscreens. It is equally at home with keyboard and mouse control via shortcuts and hotkeys, and the taskbar and resizable windowing support enable better multitasking, according to the company. There’s also a file manager, email client, notes app, and other productivity apps.
Remix Mini details
The Remix Mini offers a relatively barebones I/O mix. In addition to the two SKUs of flash support, there’s a microSD slot, as well as WiFi, Bluetooth, and Fast Ethernet. You also get an HDMI port, dual USB 2.0 host ports, and audio jacks.
Remix Mini connections (left) and dimensions
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The Remix Mini has one hardware trick that stands out from the crowd. The top of the device is a capacitive touch based power control, so you don’t have to feel around for a button. The Remix Mini runs on only 10W to 15W of power.
Specifications listed for the Remix Mini include:
- Processor –Allwinner H64 (4x Cortex-A53 cores @ 1.2GHz)
- Memory (2x SKUs):
- 1GB RAM with 8GB eMMC flash
- 2GB RAM WITH 16GB eMMC flash
- Micro-SD slot
- Video support — H.265, 4K2K
- Wireless — 802.11b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0
- Networking — 10/100 Ethernet
- Other I/O:
- 2x USB 2.0 host
- HDMI out (with multichannel audio out)
- Audio line out, headphone in
- Other features – top-mounted capacitive power button
- Power — 100-240V AC 50-60Hz, single phase; 10W to 15W consumption
- Dimensions — 124 x 88 x 26 mm
- Operating system — Remix OS (based on Android 5.0)
The Remix Mini is available on Kickstarter in packages starting at $30 (1GB RAM, 8GB flash) and $40 (2GB RAM, 16GB flash), plus shipping ($15 to $30). Shipments are expected in October. More information may be found on the Remix Mini Kickstarter page and the Jide Tech website.