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morphy_richards
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Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Wed May 23, 2012 7:09 am

A lot of people have started noticing a steadily increasing flow of low cost pi type devices appearing.
http://www.aliexpress.com/product-fm/56 ... alers.html

http://www.reghardware.com/2012/05/22/c ... _pi_alike/

I am wondering if, given the foundation's aims, a part of this community / forum could be put over to experimenting, developing teaching and learning applications to use on these other devices. Additionally the number of kids with smartphones (and with bb phones I've noticed on the decline and Android on the increase) many kids have a computer in their pocket and either just don't realise or don't know how to program / develop on them.

Would it be an idea to dedicate a forum on here to something like 'other devices' ?

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Forrrge
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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Wed May 23, 2012 8:11 am

That one by VIA sounds interesting, but they are shipping it with Android, if Linux was to appear on it I'd be interested. I think the really beauty of the RPi though is the huge community that has grown up around it which will surely lead to continued development and inovation.

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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Wed May 23, 2012 9:05 am

The VIA looked like the thing it had going for it was the VGA port, (but only 720p video capability).

I couldn't see any extra connections for cameras etc either. It looks like a more expensive inferior product to me and twice the size (if that matters?). But maybe it will appeal to some who don't want to make their own OS on an SD card? :D
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hzrnbgy
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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Wed May 23, 2012 9:29 am

I assume you made your own OS...

If the VIA can run a flavor of Debian/Ubuntu, i'll cancel my RPi order and go with it.

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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Wed May 23, 2012 9:42 am

If they are reacting to the RaspPi, I can't help but think they are missing the point by shipping Android.

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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Wed May 23, 2012 10:28 am

See also the discussions in this thread http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewt ... =63&t=6068

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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Wed May 23, 2012 10:28 am

hzrnbgy wrote:I assume you made your own OS...
Well I copied a Debian Squeeze OS image file onto an SD card using win32diskimager. It took me nearly ten minutes. :lol:

Also put OpenElec on another card - which was the first time I'd ever compiled anything in my life. Was quite good fun - took my old Pentium 4 Ubuntu box about 6 hours :o
hzrnbgy wrote:If the VIA can run a flavor of Debian/Ubuntu, i'll cancel my RPi order and go with it.
Doubtful they'll be shipping before existing Pi orders are completed. But each to their own.
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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Wed May 23, 2012 2:25 pm

Also a link to BBC News coverage of this topic just popped up on the RSElectronics Twitter feed:

"Raspberry Pi faces challenge from Android-based rivals"
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18163419

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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Wed May 23, 2012 4:49 pm

rurwin wrote:If they are reacting to the RaspPi, I can't help but think they are missing the point by shipping Android.

Indeed, most Android phones are smaller, more powerful and have more connectivity but Android doesn't lend itself to the kind of applications that the RPi is intended for.
I'm not sure Android can work well with a mouse, if not a touch screen will be an extra expense for those people who buy into the via idea.

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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Wed May 23, 2012 6:51 pm

It's not just Android, it's only Android 2.3 ... blech. So, it won't be able to run anything that requires Android 3.x or 4.x. The only software more interesting than typical cell phone apps are Angry Birds and a few other games, as the rest of the apps consist mostly of just menus to other menus.

One of the headers is labeled "F_PANEL", which probably means "flat panel", as in a display, and that would be a useful feature for mobile configurations, although there's no GPS built-in. With the four USB ports, though, a mobile configuration would be a challenge, battery weight-wise, if most of those ports are used.

The HDMI is limited to only 720p, so, the Pi has a significant advantage there with 1080p. VGA is a marginal feature as you can easily pick up an older LCD monitor with a DVI port for nothing at any recycling center. Businesses and even many individuals continue to upgrade to more advanced models (many businesses have more recent models stacking up near their loading docks awaiting removal).

It doesn't say that an SD card comes with it, so, we have to assume that Android will need to be downloaded and installed on a user-supplied card, like the Pi.

While the board is about twice the size of the Pi, it does have four mounting holes :)

If the VIA APC won't even start shipping until July, and RS/Farnell are accurate in their production estimates, most of the current Pi backlog will have already been filled by then (we can only hope).
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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Wed May 23, 2012 7:23 pm

I see it as a good sign that these devices are appearing. That VIA will probably hacked to Linux in a matter of weeks after it hits the market. It has good potential to be a programming tool if it is worked up as a Linux box. The foundations goal was to get the tools into the schools. They have been pretty open with the thought that RasPi is the start not the end of this goal. The are hoping that others will jump into the market with low cost devices. And it is happening!
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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Wed May 23, 2012 8:35 pm

Jim Manley wrote:It doesn't say that an SD card comes with it, so, we have to assume that Android will need to be downloaded and installed on a user-supplied card, like the Pi.
More likely, it'll be pre-installed in the 2GB of on-board flash memory.

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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Wed May 23, 2012 11:24 pm

Jim Manley wrote:One of the headers is labeled "F_PANEL", which probably means "flat panel", as in a display
From the images I've seen of it boxed that seems to be "front panel" connector with familiar coloured-pair wires running to the front, presumably to LED's and push buttons.

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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Thu May 24, 2012 12:09 am

http://apc.io/ is broken already - doh :!:

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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Thu May 24, 2012 12:21 am

Wow, I hope nobody ordered an APC.

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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Thu May 24, 2012 1:45 am

apc.io is working for me...

Personally I wouldn't mind getting one of these.
It can supposedly run Debian, has 6 USB ports (2 of them are on the headers), built in 2 GB flash which means that I wouldn't need to get a SD card to use it.

The Pi cost me around Aus $40 but I still need a SD card, which will add on another Aus $10ish, which puts it into the same price range as the VIA APC.

Plus, I can use the VIA APC straight away with an old 15" LCD monitor that I have...I don't need to buy anything extra for the APC at all.

Android (3+, not sure about 2.3) can be used easily with a keyboard and mouse as the Asus Transformer series has demonstrated.

I can see the appeal in the APC, it's not a hacker's toy, it's an actual computer. You plug, and play. Don't have to mess about with SD cards and whatnot, unless you want to.
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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Thu May 24, 2012 6:26 am

After reading several counteracting comments regarding your use of the word “Rival” on your earlier thread on this forum, (The Pi's Chinese Rival Has Arrived), and now seeing the BBC article entitled Raspberry Pi Faces Challenge From Android-Based Rivals, I couldn’t help but hear the words of Detective Del Spooner in the movie iRobot:

Detective Del Spooner: [to Susan, after the robots have started a revolution] You know, somehow, "I told you so" just doesn't quite say it. :)
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”
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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Thu May 24, 2012 6:28 am

morphy_richards wrote: Would it be an idea to dedicate a forum on here to something like 'other devices' ?
I think that would be an excellent idea!
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”
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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Thu May 24, 2012 4:09 pm

I think the RasPi will remain the lowest cost of the bunch, for the board. If any of these companies are reading these forums they will probably try to target the request area. VGA was a very requested item.
The VIA has several things going for it, but having android embedded in the flash is not one of them. J3 is in question on that board, might be a USB header. The front panel header is switch and lights. There is another four pin header there also. Two different power options on the board, looks like 5.5mm barrel connector and a P4 style connector. You are going to need a pretty hefty PSU if it starts out at 13.5 watts for the board alone. If it does have 6 USB that is a potential draw of 3 amps plus the 13.5 watts at another 1.2 amps or so. I would guess you would want at least a 2.5 amp PSU for normal use.
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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Thu May 24, 2012 4:52 pm

Lob0426 wrote:The VIA has several things going for it, but having android embedded in the flash is not one of them.
That's only a reflash away, though.
If it does have 6 USB that is a potential draw of 3 amps plus the 13.5 watts at another 1.2 amps or so. I would guess you would want at least a 2.5 amp PSU for normal use.
According to the coverage thus far, psu is supposedly included in the price. Yeah, 2.5A is pretty hefty, but at least you can reasonably expect it to drive a keyboard and a mouse ;)

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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Thu May 24, 2012 11:26 pm

hippy wrote:From the images I've seen of it boxed "F_PANEL" seems to be "front panel" connector with familiar coloured-pair wires running to the front, presumably to LED's and push buttons.
Ah, that makes more sense, given the location of the header and small number of traces in its vicinity. Programming in binary via front panel switches, anyone? :lol:

Where are the fifth and sixth USB ports, on the header marked "UART_PH"? I've never seen that terminology used to describe USB, and the location of that header is nowhere near the USB controller over by the USB and Ethernet connectors.
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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Fri May 25, 2012 12:48 am

Jim Manley wrote:
hippy wrote:From the images I've seen of it boxed "F_PANEL" seems to be "front panel" connector with familiar coloured-pair wires running to the front, presumably to LED's and push buttons.
Ah, that makes more sense, given the location of the header and small number of traces in its vicinity. Programming in binary via front panel switches, anyone? :lol:

Where are the fifth and sixth USB ports, on the header marked "UART_PH"? I've never seen that terminology used to describe USB, and the location of that header is nowhere near the USB controller over by the USB and Ethernet connectors.
I would say the J3 headers are for the USB ports 5 and 6, they look like the Standard USB port pin arrangement.
I see VIA aiming this more at the semi-embedded market.
I could see Net Cafes using the APC for very low power Web Browsing terminals.
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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Fri May 25, 2012 10:57 am

Lob0426 wrote:You are going to need a pretty hefty PSU if it starts out at 13.5 watts for the board alone. If it does have 6 USB that is a potential draw of 3 amps plus the 13.5 watts at another 1.2 amps or so. I would guess you would want at least a 2.5 amp PSU for normal use.
But such supplies are pretty common in mini-ITX and similar worlds. I have a Belkin powered hub that has a switch mode 5V 4A (20W) wallwart.

10W and upwards supplies are pretty easy to come by for routers, laptops and the like which is why some regretted the R-Pi having on-board regulation replaced by a micro-USB input which could never support the SoC, LAN, plus two 500mA USB devices directly connected.

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Re: Raspberry pi-esqe. The new breed of computers

Fri May 25, 2012 11:26 am

hippy wrote:10W and upwards supplies are pretty easy to come by for routers, laptops and the like which is why some regretted the R-Pi having on-board regulation replaced by a micro-USB input which could never support the SoC, LAN, plus two 500mA USB devices directly connected.
This. Plus the additional power draw caused by moving to cheaper regulators, plus the fragility of micro-usb, plus the variability of usb cables, plus the fact that a usb charger, even if it is supposedly in spec, is not necessarily viable as a psu. And that's ignoring the ouright danger posed by many low-price no-name usb chargers.

Simon

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