Gooseberry developer boards: £40 alternative to the Raspberry Pi

The Gooseberry is a tiny computer board with an Allwinner A10 ARM Cortex-A8 processor, Mali 400 graphics, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, a microSD card slot, mini HDMI and mini USB ports, as well as a headphone jack.

A small number of Gooseberry boards will go on sale this week for £40, or about $63 US.

Gooseberry

The device comes with Google Android 2.3 preloaded, but it can also handle a number of other operating systems including Android 4.0, Ubuntu, or Puppy Linux.

In fact, since the Gooseberry has an Allwinner A10 chip, anything that runs on the Mele A1000 or MK802 should run on these tiny computer system.

But unlike the MK802 or Mele A1000, the Gooseberry is targeted at developers and tinkerers. Like the popular Raspberry Pi, this little computer doesn’t even have a protective case. It’s just an exposed system board.

The Gooseberry project was started by a guy who was tired of waiting to get his hands on a Raspberry Pi — and contacted a Chinese manufacturer that makes Allwinner-A10 devices to negotiate inexpensive prices for a developer board that can be used as a low power desktop computer.

The device has the same basic guts as dozens of inexpensive Android tablets. But it doesn’t include a touchscreen, battery, or case — which makes it cheaper and easier to hack.

While the Gooseberry sells for nearly twice the cost of a Raspberry Pi device, it also has a faster processor based on newer architecture. The Allwinner A10 can run at speeds up to 1.5 GHz. The Gooseberry also has built-in WiFi — something that you don’t get with the Pi.

And unlike the MK802, the Gooseberry has a power button, which should allow you to turn the thing off without physically unplugging it. But while the MK802 ships with a few cables for connecting to a monitor or other device, the Gooseberry doesn’t ship with HDMI or USB cables. You’ll need to bring your own. It only includes a power cable.

This is a really small scale endeavor right now. While the founder of the Gooseberry Project hopes to start selling boards on a first come, first served basis when the first units arrive this week, he’s only expecting 10 units in the first shipment.

You can check out a few shaky videos below.

thanks Michael!

  • linton

    I wonder if these kinds of boards will become popular with the build your own PC crowd. Buy an ARM based motherboard (maybe in the future with replaceable ARM chips, memory, storage, expansion slots, etc.), some sort of standardized case and slap them together.

    Has anyone used Ubuntu for ARM? Are there driver and stability issues? I know WiFi drivers are still not so great with any Linux distro when connected specifically to 802.11n networks (disconnects, packet loss, extremely slow, etc.). How about power consumption and performance when compared to the Intel Atom?

    • http://www.facebook.com/MrWareWolf Ware Wolf

      I use a debian release on my atom netbook, wifi works fine on linux..

  • http://soltesza.wordpress.com/ sola

    $63 is not that good of price. The Mele A1000 costs ~100 and it gives you so much more.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lorne.hammond Lorne Hammond

    This is pretty cool considering its closest competitor is the Pandaboard ES?

  • Zobeid

    How does the Mali 400 GPU compare with the Pi’s VideoCore 4, I wonder?

  • Fred

    So unlike the R-Pi, which is limited availablity and a months-long delay to get, this will have almost zero availability, and maybe a years-long delay. Yeah, that helps a lot.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/IMKZUY3WNZRSUCWGXUAQQDBUCE First

    The MK802 costs about $10 more and comes with a proper case. Shucks – is it that expensive to make such a product. How do the tablet manufacturers manage to make tablets for $100 or less? Is it just because of the smaller form factor?

    • simon1tan

      Economies of scale

  • Hagman11

    The critical thing with these boards is having ethernet .. The mele is great as it does and Sata as well .. This gooseberry looks like its just a generic $US 30 a10 tablet board without the Ethernet … Note also with the pi as well as Ethernet you have good linux GPU support .. With an a10 board like this you will just about get it to display on a monitor .. Proper support will take some time … So 48 quid incl vat for this tablet board or 70-80 quid for an a10 tablet lock stock and barrel. …. Olimex are doing a cheap a13 board for about 30 quid and a bit later on a spiffy a10 board with Ethernet and Sata and hopefully 1gb ram etc for 60 quid

  • ghost

    my mate did this!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/choppman Chris Hoppman

    a10 can only run at 1ghz. The extra is them adding the GPU clock speed.

    • bob

      Incorrect; it is indeed overclockable.

  • harry kirshna

    what i don’t understand is why this stuff is going through the uk. i can buy a chinese tablet directly, why not a mama board?

  • Arcest

    It’s bigger as hell, something smaller to use it as a NAS