Small (and cheap) Computers

Many of the devices listed here are self-described as "Android TV", "Android Mini PC", "PC on a stick", or "Android on a stick" etc. Start with all the hardware for a smart phone running Android ICS or Jellybean. Remove the touch screen, battery, buttons, GPS, radio hardware, etc. Add useful connectors like HDMI, real USB, etc. Transform into a memory-stick form factor and voila' you have many of the computers listed here. Initially most ran Android ICS, in mid September Jellybean has started to appear. A few have announced Linux support and can run either.

Update 10/24/2012: Raspberry Pi graphics driver source
Update 10/23/2012: UHost2
Update 10/19/2012: Hiapad Hi-802
Update 10/11/2012: MK802 III (Jellybean)
Update 9/29/2012: Favi SmartStick, G-Box Dyno, and Cotton Candy shipping
Update 9/23/2012: Droid Stick T10 (Jellybean)
Update 9/22/2012: added references to wifi issues with the UG802
Update 9/16/2012: Added references to Zero Devices' products


- Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi model A (256 Mb RAM, one USB port, no ethernet) sells for $25. Model B (256 Mb RAM, two USB ports, an ethernet port) sells for $35. A few Linux distributions are available. This system is very well supported. From the FAQ (literally - I could not figure out how to link to the FAQ): The SoC is a Broadcom BCM2835. This contains an ARM1176JZFS, with floating point, running at 700Mhz, and a Videocore 4 GPU. The GPU is capable of BluRay quality playback, using H.264 at 40MBits/s. It has a fast 3D core accessed using the supplied OpenGL ES2.0 and OpenVG libraries. An English university created a Raspberry Pi super computer, gluing them together using Leggos.

The complete source for the VideoCore driver, directly from Broadcom, is now (10/24/2012) available on GitHub. According to the announcement, "...everything running on the ARM is now open source."

- MK802 II

MK802 II -- $64.99 (free shipping). Recent upgrade of the MK802: more RAM, HDMI Port, new ESD circuitry (read this for background on ESD). Allwinner A10 ARM, 1GB RAM, 4GB storage, microSDHC card slot, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, 1 full size USB port, 2 micro USB ports, 1 full size HDMI connector. Android is native, but you can boot Ubuntu from the SD card. $62.99 (free shipping) from w2comp. See also the Rikomagic MK802 II announcement. In his Sep. 12, 2012 review of the Rikomagic 802 II, Paul O'Brian at MoDaCo concludes "at present, the device is more of an enthusiasts tool than anything else...".

Here is an interesting post mentioning the MK802+ ($39.99), UG802 ($59.99), and MK808 ($72.99). The article has links to sites with the prices shown. There are also links to information on Fedora and Ubuntu ports on the MK802 and other software.
- Cubieboard
Cubieboard -- $49. As of Sep 9, 2012 the Cubieboard is announced but not yet available (see comments). Built around the Allwinner A10, Mali 400 graphics, 1GB RAM, 4 GB flash storage, 2 SD card slots, HDMI connector, 2 USB host ports, 1 USB OTG port, an IR sensor, and an ethernet port.
See also this article.
- UG 802
UG 802 - $89 ($69 w/ free shipping, $65 directly from Ugoos (9/19 - 10/2), but payment terms are sketch). Based on the 1.2 GHz Rockchip RK3066 ARM Cortex-A9 dual core processor, 1GB RAM, 4GB of flash, a microSD slot, full USB and micro USB slots, Mali 400 graphics, HDMI connector, and WiFi support. Here is a detailed article on UG 802 unboxing and review.
As of Sep 9, 2012, it appears to be shipping, see also here. This article claims this under $90 computer on a stick is more powerful than the MK802 II, runs Android 4.0 ICS and includes access to the Google Play Store. See the full specs in the comment under this video.

Caution: This Oval Elephant forum describes some significant wifi issues with the UG802. See also this UG802 review and the comments at the end of this CNX-Software article. Here is a new UG802 customer claiming Unstable firmware. There are hints in these forums of a UG802 redesign in the works...

The Google Play Situation From what I have read, the Google Play app that ships on the UG802 will not let you download apps. A very resourceful individual, deadhp1, figured out a way to perform surgery on the UG802's Android, replacing the country and network codes for China Mobile with the codes for T-Mobile so that Google Play would work. Paul O'Brian's Rikomagic 802 II review said, "Out of the box the software included is fairly minimal, you get the standard Android base software with a (certainly unofficial) Play Store." Based on this "evidence", I think the Android on these devices (MK802 II, UG802) is not quite as official as what you would get on an Android phone from Verizon, for example. Buyer beware.
- Droid Stick T10 (Jellybean)
Droid Stick T10 - $72 (from Aliexpress), is the first Android on a Stick to ship with Jelly Bean. Based on the Rockchip RK3066 processor at a claimed 1.6GHz, Mali400 GPU, 1GB of DDR3 RAM, 8GB of flash, WiFi 802.11b/g/n, micro-SD up to 32GB, hard disc up to 2TB. See announcement articles from Liliputing and TG Daily.

There are two other devices that appear to be identical to the Droid Stick T10, the MK808 and the GV-20. Here is a quick review of the MK808 - deadhp1 claims that the video seems "stretched" and that WiFi mode N doesn't work.

- Rikomagic MK802 III
MK802 III - $72 (from w2comp.com. Note it is not shipping until Oct 30, 2012). It's like the MK802 II, but with the Rockchip 30666 dual processor and running Android 4.1, jelly bean. There is no Linux port for the Rockchip 30666 like there was for the Allwinner A10, the microprocessor on the MK802 II. The MK802 III' specs are identical to the Kimdecent T10. See the articles in Liliputing and Geeky-Gadgets.

- G-Box Dyno
The humorous G-box Dyno announcement ($69) says, "This is our response to the many different unworthy Mk802 devices out there." It has the Amlogic Cortex A9 Neon CPU and runs the XMBC media center out of the box. Here is Liliputing's Brad Linder's unboxing video. The G-Box Dyno is notable because it runs the Android XBMC media center supporting full 1080p HD with hardware decode. The G-Box Dyno is confirmed by XBMC.org to be running the latest XBMC build.

The Favi SmartStick ($49 for 4GB flash, $79 for 8GB, shipping in October). "The SmartStick processor is a ARM Cortex-A9 @ 1GHz with 1GB of DDR3 RAM", according to Favi Entertainment's comment on Brad Linder's Liliputing article on the SmartStick. Brad's article says the SmartStick runs the ICS version of Android, but Brad Chacos's article in Laptop claims Jellybean.

- Hiapad Hi-802
Hiapad Hi-802 - $89 (when available in November, 2012). Built around the Freescale i.MX6 quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 chip with 1GB of RAM. See articles from Liliputing, CNXSoft, etc. Google for Hiapad Hi-802.

- Geniatech ATV120
Geniatech ATV120 - $99 (soon). Based on the AmLogic AML8726-MX Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 SOC. The press release claims 1.5 Ghz, but the guy in this video claimed 1.2 Ghz. 1 GB RAM, 4GB flash. Runs JellyBean.

Uhost2 - no price yet (10/23/2012). Memory stick form factor. Rockchip RK3066, Mali-400MP4 GPU, 1GB RAM, 4GB or 8GB flash. "...delivering Samsung Galaxy S2 class performance." Unlike many other Rockchip-based devices, the Uhost2 claims to run the CPU at the full 1.6 GHz. The Uhost2 only has a female HDMI socket, but supplies an HDMI cable in the package. Here is a review of the Uhost2.

Zero Devices - manufactures the Z902, $75, which is similiar to the MK802 II (with the Allwinner A10). Also the Z2c ($82) with 8GB of flash, which is similiar to the UG 802 (with the Rockchip RK3066) but with 2X the flash (8GB vs 4GB for the UG 802). Although announced, the Z2c is not available yet. See this Liliputing article. There is some speculation on forums that the Z2c is just a rebadged mk808 (search for "z2c"). Zero Devices also has other Andoid device form factors that are worth a look. An interesting site is http://www.mk802.net/. With that name, you would think the web page was created by an MK 802 support group. But it compares the MK802 to the Zero Devices Z802 (apparently a predecessor of the Z902) and gives a list of problems in the MK802 and describes how great the Z802 is. It is an interesting read.

- MK802

MK802 (aka AK-212MiniPC) - $59 for 512 MB RAM, $71 fpr 1GB. Aliexpress for $68 and free shipping. See review by Endgadget or Tom's Hardware.

Caution: Android on PC, a site apparently dedicated to these Android PCs, reports there is a heat dissipation issue with the first generation Android mini pc parts. The also recommend checking frequently for fimware upgrades to these new parts.

Article comparing Cotton Candy and MK802.

- Neo-ITX

Neo-ITX $49 Android PC ($59 from Newegg $ $5.99 shipping). See also this Via announcement. It's a small board with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) pre-loaded. Specs: VIA 800MHz Processor (Wondermedia WM8750); Memory: 512MB DDR3 RAM, 2GB NAND Flash; Graphics: Built-in 2D/3D, resolution up to 720p; Ports: HDMI, VGA, 4x USB 2.0, 3.5mm Mic In, 3.5mm Audio Out, microSD slot, 10/100 Ethernet; Power: 15W AC Adapter; Size: 170mm x 85mm (Neo-ITX form factor).

- Cotton Candy

Cotton Candy - $200 USB memory-stick sized compute device. From FXI Tech. Powerful, but expensive. Runs Android or Ubuntu. 1080p video, wi-fi. USB and HDMI connectors. Not shipping yet (as of 8/12/2012). FXI isn't clear when it will be shipping.

(29-Sep-2012) The Cotton has started shipping for $199. When the Cotton Candy was announced at CES in January it was one of the computer on a stick pioneers. But now, at $199, with all the existing competition, it is not receiving a warm welcome. If FXI deliver's Ubuntu on the Cotton Candy as promised and drives the price down, then it may be a different story. One reason the Cotton Candy is being slammed is it does not have Google Play yet. Is it possible FXI is getting a legit license for Google Play? Read over deadhp1's fix to Google Play on the UG802, where T-Mobile's id is swapped for China Mobile's id. Do you think Google and T-Mobile are sanctioning this?

- Oval Elephant
Oval Elephant - $72.49. AllWinner A10, 1GB RAM, WiFi, MALI400 graphics processing chip, 1080p HDMI video output. Android/Linux(Linaro) mini PC. Similiar to MK802. Full HDMI port (not mini). Built-in MIC. Powered by miniUSB. Read info at Liliputing.com. This device is apparently also known as the Smallart UHOST. Here's a weird video showing the Uhost and the UMouse.

Round Rhino - similiar to MK802 II, Oval Elephant, etc. Includes an I/R port and UART port. On the drawing boards.
- Odroid
Odroid - $129 Android development platform. Quadcore 1.4 Ghz, 1GB RAM. Ethernet jack, USB, HDMI, ..., no wi-fi.
droidmote - remote control of Android, Linux, and Windows stuff from your Android device. Open source app.

- Mele 1000

Mele 1000 - is a $70 arm-based system with a 1 GHz Allwinner ARM Cortex-A8 with HDMI, VGA, USB, ethernet ports and support for an external SATA hard drive. A port of Ubuntu may be under way. Also check out the Mele 2000.

Crowd Funding Android TV Projects

A more powerful unit, but with the same form factor as the units above, is attempting to get crowd-funding. See this article, make sure and read the comments. Note, Sorrel Miller-Dixon, the originator of this crowd funding campaign also goes by the alias deadhp1 (his blog). I've read a lot of comments, forum entries, etc. about these Android-on-a-stick parts and deadhp1 speaks with authority as he is very actively buying, testing, and benchmarking the ug802, the mk808, and others.

The Equiso Smart TV crowd-funded project ($241,557!) consists of two components: (1) Android-on-a-stick-with-HDMI and (2) a remote controller. You plug the stick into your TV and control it with the remote. It looks to me like they received $241K to package one of the shipping computers above (e.g., mk802 II, ug802, Zero Devices Z902) with the droidmote, I guess their contribution is building the remote controller to run droidmote and pre-packaging the Android-on-a-stick to have all the content apps they can find, netflix, YouTube, Crackle, etc.

Miscellaneous

Ouya, open Android game console for the TV. Raised over $8.5M on Kickstarter. Pre-order one console and one controller $109. Product available March 2013.

Comparison of 39 "under $300" (many under $200) linux devices. See this reference from the CNXSoft archive.

android-transporter (software) - beams the contents of your smartphone or tablet onto other devices. Wifi. Supports Rasberry Pi. Soon to be open source.

Miracast - Certification program for WiFi devices to support display applications. Devices make use of a wi-fi connection to deliver audio and video content from one device to another, without cables or a connection to an existing wi-fi network.

Rhombus Tech - a Chinese software company(?) to "bridge between Free Software Developers and factories with low-cost design skills, but no software expertise". One focus is on being GPL-compliant. The writeup on the web page seems to imply that some previous Chinese efforts at building SoC's have shipped GPL software was not compliant with the GPL license.

CNXSoft nightly builds for AllWinner A10 U-boot, Linux Kernel...