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The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Thu May 17, 2012 9:41 pm
by jmarcelino
Image

Main price is slightly more expensive at $74 BUT that includes shipping, case, built-in 802.1g WiFi, 4GB Flash and twice the RAM of the Pi (512MB). There's also a microSD for expansion. Also has HDMI and USB expansion like the Pi, the only thing missing is wired Ethernet but given the WiFi and USB it shouldn't be a big issue.

The GPU is the well known and very good Mali 400. The CPU is a ARM Cortex A8 at 1.5Ghz.
Android 4 is already supported out of the box, plus they say other ARM distributions are supported

Full specs and order page here: http://www.aliexpress.com/product-fm/56 ... alers.html

Seem very good. I've already placed an order and look forward to compare it with my Pi when it arrives. Not sure about GPIO pins or other internal connectivity yet.

Hat tip: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/05/ ... umb-drive/

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Thu May 17, 2012 9:50 pm
by thexman
not a rival in the real sense theres no educational program for it currently no explanation of removing android 4 and installing other operating systems and its a glorified TV player with APPS like a HTC ONE with out a screen or keys, only my opinion and 74 dollars converts to 46 pounds plus shipping and UK VAT when it arrives. remember customs and duty

nice find but not a contender for the Pi Boxer in the ring right now.

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Thu May 17, 2012 9:50 pm
by ArborealSeer
complete with none of the software support or community the pi has! ;)

and with the evil robot on it, is it completely open as far as picking and choosing distro's go?

there are similarly spec'd tablets around for under 200 quid now too..

the only one that really is to my knowledge is the vivaldi linux tablet (http://makeplaylive.com/) (previously known as spark.)

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Thu May 17, 2012 10:02 pm
by jmarcelino
ArborealSeer wrote:complete with none of the software support or community the pi has! ;)
Have you missed the community behind Android or Ubuntu for devices like this? ;)
and with the evil robot on it, is it completely open as far as picking and choosing distro's go?
I think it should run at least Ubuntu, since that already runs on the Cotton Candy which is very similar to this hardware. I'm eager to try.

Yes, it costs £46 before VAT so I may be charged an extra £17 (VAT+ Royal Mail handling), but seems a good price considering I've spent about the same on WiFi, SD card and case for my Pi.

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Thu May 17, 2012 10:05 pm
by DynaMight
Not really the same, but the A10 chipset is extremely good for the cash. Decent 1-1.2Ghz CPU with a very good 400MHz Mali400 GPU, capable of running Android 4 very smoothly, some places call it a 1.6Ghz which is basically the 1.2Ghz CPU + the 400Mhz GPU. All the current cheap Tablets run the same chipset (I bought one on Weds, £50 brand new delivered for a 7" tablet, exactly the same specs)

I doubt you'll ever see Linux on it, obviously Android has a shed load of Apps/Games so would be good in its own right, plus it does play 1080p video without any hassle apparently.

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Thu May 17, 2012 10:25 pm
by ArborealSeer
jmarcelino wrote:
ArborealSeer wrote:complete with none of the software support or community the pi has! ;)[/oquote]
Have you missed the community behind Android or Ubuntu for devices like this? ;)
missing the point completely, as all posts about all supposed raspi killers and rivals do.

the focus for the android and ubuntu communities is not specific to this device.

the raspi is the exact opposite of this, the community has a common device upon which to build and fine tune, rather than the compromise of what suits the masses.

show me the community for this specific device. (for example the vivaldi tablet i posted has a community here http://opentablets.org/)

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Thu May 17, 2012 10:37 pm
by jmarcelino
ArborealSeer wrote: missing the point completely, as all posts about all supposed raspi killers and rivals do.

the focus for the android and ubuntu communities is not specific to this device.

the raspi is the exact opposite of this, the community has a common device upon which to build and fine tune, rather than the compromise of what suits the masses.

show me the community for this specific device.
I don't get the negativity, surely we're all excited by new low cost, Linux running, computers? I've often read the foundation encouraging their development, so probably they can also carry educational goals to all of these. It's Linux, it's ARM, so are they really that different?

Given this device just came out, it would be quite a feat if it had a community already. However the similar (same Allwinner CPU/GPU/etc) Mele a1000 device for example has very dedicated individuals indeed. Check out the ARM-Netbook mailing list at http://lists.phcomp.co.uk/pipermail/arm-netbook/ for such an example.

Like the Mele a1000 I have no doubt this will be running Ubuntu shortly after dropping on my doorstep :)

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Thu May 17, 2012 11:10 pm
by SN
I like it. Essentially someone's gone "Ere? These Android phones are mini computers aren't they? So lets strip the phone bit out and sell them as 'mini computers'"
The "Internet of Things" is upon us ;)

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 1:07 am
by kenk
I don't see how this compares, I imagine Android is not all that good when you have to use a keyboard and mouse. I do believe we are seeing the beginning of the future where everyone carries their own computer on a key chain wherever they go. Just plug in to a dock anywhere and have access to all your stuff.

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 1:16 am
by AndrewS
kenk wrote:I do believe we are seeing the beginning of the future where everyone carries their own computer on a key chain wherever they go.
Isn't that kind of what smartphones already do? ;)
I'm not a fan of mobile phones myself, but I used to have one of these http://www.trustedreviews.com/OQO-Model ... top_review and used it regularly until the motherboard died, annoyingly after the manufacturer went bust :cry:

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 7:02 am
by 0rphu
Software support is always a problem with these chinese gadgets. There's no documentation, so you are on your own and you can try to reverse engineer the stuff. I've read the Mail 400 has already been reverse engineered, but the rest of the hardware - who knows? There's no real community for a specific chinese device, because there's too many of them, each a little bit different.

To sum it up: it's not worth it since we have the Pi.

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 7:06 am
by Jim Manley
Please be aware that this is essentially a Google TV set-top device, not a full Android ICS/4.0 phone-that-can't-do-calls. That means it cannot run most Android phone/tablet apps - there are only a limited number specifically developed for the Google TV platform. See how impressed Logitech was with Google's efforts to support Google TV: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/12 ... v-20111112 ("Logitech calls Google TV a 'mistake,' stops making set-top boxes" - not exactly a ringing endorsement, is it? ): ).

This has yet-another ARM CPU with yet-another GPU (only 27 million polygons/second compared with the Pi's 40 million) that I'm going to go out on a limb and predict has very little in the way of driver support, similar to the situation the Pi is in for similar reasons - no one is paying for software development needed that's unique to this platform. At least it's a Coretex processor, so, it's not quite as dead-end as the Pi ARM11v6, with respect to being able to run the current Ubuntu, for starters. Not sure how you would get Ubuntu fully running with typical peripherals beyond a keyboard and a mouse if the driver problem is as ubiquitous as it seems to be with most ARM-based devices. Then, there's the GPU - how are the APIs implemented and what higher-level libraries above GLES have been integrated, if any? I can tell you just from brief experience with the Pi that it takes a lot of work to port things from non-GLES 2.0 implementations to GLES 2.0, and I foresee the same for the AllWinner A10. Then there's the claim it supports 2160p - really? Just how would one disprove that with a typical 1080p display? It doesn't appear that you can get sound out of this without an HDMI display, which could become inconvenient in a portable setup.

The 1.2 GHz CPU is nice (adding the 400 MHz GPU clock speed to get to 1.5 GHz is outright deceptive, however), along with the 512 MB of RAM, micro-SD slot, 802.11g WiFi, and case-enclosed, thumb-drive-like form factor. I wouldn't toss it if someone accidentally stuffed my stocking with one. I do wonder how much power is available for the single USB port - will it require a powered hub for more than just a low-end keyboard?

What is it with Chinese sites that never have a native English speaker look at what must be a Google Translate direct conversion from Chinese? No, I take that back - Google Translate would do a much better job than whatever produced the awful vendor description of this product. At least we can understand what the Foundation is telling us about the Pi - but, maybe the Pi English product description is just as much of a mystery to the Chinese if an automatic translator is used ;)

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 7:44 am
by jamesh
DynaMight wrote:Not really the same, but the A10 chipset is extremely good for the cash. Decent 1-1.2Ghz CPU with a very good 400MHz Mali400 GPU, capable of running Android 4 very smoothly, some places call it a 1.6Ghz which is basically the 1.2Ghz CPU + the 400Mhz GPU. All the current cheap Tablets run the same chipset (I bought one on Weds, £50 brand new delivered for a 7" tablet, exactly the same specs)

I doubt you'll ever see Linux on it, obviously Android has a shed load of Apps/Games so would be good in its own right, plus it does play 1080p video without any hassle apparently.
That clock speed addition is very naughty. Of course, on the Pi , one could do this....

700Mhz Arm (can be overclocked to 1GHz with no badness). The GPU is a twin core 250 Mhz device, but each core has a 16 way vector processors, so you can multiply that 500Mhz by 16 to get 8GHz, add that to the 1GHz of the Arm, and you have a 9GHz device. And I haven't counted all the other cores used in the 3D blocks. Or any of the other hardware blocks.
So, this is probably a nice device, but don't believe the 1.6Ghz, unless you want to believe my 9Ghz Raspi.

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 8:09 am
by rurwin
kenk wrote:I imagine Android is not all that good when you have to use a keyboard and mouse.
I've got an Asus Trasformer, albeit not Android 4, and you are correct. It is not a netbook; it is a phone that can't do calls. There is no wordprocessor worth using and there is no forward-delete key. The mouse can be used like touch, but of course it's only single-button. But at least on the Trasformer you can still ditch the mouse and pinch-to-zoom etc.

I will not be considering one of these, whereas I am tempted by the Cotton Candy.

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 9:29 am
by brian_reiter
DynaMight wrote:Not really the same, but the A10 chipset is extremely good for the cash. Decent 1-1.2Ghz CPU with a very good 400MHz Mali400 GPU, capable of running Android 4 very smoothly, some places call it a 1.6Ghz which is basically the 1.2Ghz CPU + the 400Mhz GPU. All the current cheap Tablets run the same chipset (I bought one on Weds, £50 brand new delivered for a 7" tablet, exactly the same specs)

I doubt you'll ever see Linux on it, obviously Android has a shed load of Apps/Games so would be good in its own right, plus it does play 1080p video without any hassle apparently.
I'm curious, which tablet was that? More to the point, is it any good?

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 9:40 am
by Jongoleur
"The Pi's Chinese rival"

Ok, so basically its the guts of a cheap cellphone/tablet without a screen or any input devices and a standard Android setup, packaged to look cute. But there's been no development work on it to take it beyond that or provide it with other interfaces. Unlike the Pi, which has had significant work done on it, either in hardware or software, to provide something more than just a headless tablet. Lets see when its got a UK distributor.

But that thread title....

Some say its a cut down cell phone,
and that it can't run a power station!


All we know is that its called The Pi's Chinese Cousin!

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 9:51 am
by SquallStrife
This is probably more like Pi's Chinese rival:

http://www.aliexpress.com/product-fm/53 ... alers.html

It still has a lot of the issues listed in this thread, but the higher specs would be better suited to the Pi-as-a-cheap-media-player crowd (ignoring the fact that it IS a media player!)

The <$100 price tag delivered should appeal to that crowd too.

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 9:51 am
by jamesh
For all the complaints about the Raspi having connectors on all four sides, anyone notice that this device does too....!

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 10:07 am
by Jongoleur
jamesh wrote:For all the complaints about the Raspi having connectors on all four sides, anyone notice that this device does too....!
Its in a case too. Ohhhhhh SHINY!!!!

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 10:14 am
by jmarcelino
SquallStrife wrote:This is probably more like Pi's Chinese rival:

http://www.aliexpress.com/product-fm/53 ... alers.html
The Mele is a good bet if you don't mind the larger size and lack of built-in WiFi. In compensation it comes with a real SATA port, VGA and Optical Audio out. There's also the advantage that there's already an Ubuntu distro and community around for it.

But I'd go for the newer Mele A2000 instead:

http://www.aliexpress.com/product-fm/54 ... alers.html

Same price, same specs, nicer box.

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 12:50 pm
by 0rphu
Suddenly I realized I want a Mele A2000 :D

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 1:39 pm
by hippy
0rphu wrote:Software support is always a problem with these chinese gadgets. There's no documentation, so you are on your own and you can try to reverse engineer the stuff. I've read the Mail 400 has already been reverse engineered, but the rest of the hardware - who knows? There's no real community for a specific chinese device, because there's too many of them, each a little bit different.
Absolutely. There's a ton of kit out there which could serve some people better than an R-Pi but if there's little or no help in making it do what's wanted then it's pretty useless to most people.

Designer/Manufacturer openness plus official and community support are the key to usability and usefulness and the R-Pi wins hands down. There's a lot more to being a competitor to an R-Pi than faster, better or even cheaper hardware.

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 2:18 pm
by Ed Raket
The community makes or brakes a device. As has been mentioned above, the specs dont even really matter if a device will be "hot or not"
In my case a device is only interesting if there are enough people who want to develop it, and there are numerous programs being ported/written by entousiasts who are having fun!

The Pi's Chinese brother, (for me) is not even a verry distant cousin...
(Some say: that if you hit your HTC hard enough... it wil become just like it!) @=jongoleur ;)

No need for another phone clone, i want a peace of the real deal! Pi me up scotty :D

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 3:05 pm
by hzrnbgy
If it runs Android, then it has the Android community behind it.

With the advent of cloud applications (google docs, etc), I don't see any need for fancy word processors...

Re: The Pi's Chinese rival has arrived

Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 3:11 pm
by ArborealSeer
of course there is. the content is created outside those environments - its only digested within them.