CoolShip $89 PC-in-a-keyboard is an upgradeable Android computer

Computers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes these days. And we’re not just talking about desktop, notebook, and tablet. That smartphone in your pocket is basically a mini-PC with a processor, storage, memory, and a few other goodies like a touchscreen.

So it’s not surprising that we’ve seen many companies take the guts of a smartphone and stick them into a tiny stick-shaped device that you can use to turn a TV into a PC.

Now a company called FocusWill wants to take the same basic approach — but instead of hiding the guts of a low power PC in a stick, they’re packing them into a keyboard.

CoolShip

The CoolShip is basically a PC-in-a-keyboard. It has everything you need for a basic computing experience, except a monitor.

There are speakers built into the case and even a touchpad built into the space below the number pad. Around the back you’ll find ports for VGA, HDMI, USB, Ethernet, and other functions, and under the hood you’ve got WiFi.

What’s particularly interesting about the CoolShip is that it’s designed to be upgradeable. While it’s expected to ship initially with a Rockchip RK3066 processor, 1GB of RAM, and 4GB to 8GB of storage, the developer plans to offer upgrade modules in the future that will let you pop out a card and replace it with a faster processor, additional memory, and other improvements.

In other words, you shouldn’t have to replace the whole kit just because you want to improve performance. This could make the CoolShip cheaper for customers than some other mini PC options in the long run, and it helps cut down on e-Waste.

FocusWill has a working prototype which runs a customized version of Android 4.0 called CoolShip OS. But the company is hoping to raise money in order to ramp up production and keep the device affordable.

The company is running an Indiegogo fundraising campaign with a goal of making $10,000 in 25 days. You can reserve a CoolShip device for a pledge of $89 or more. The first units have an estimated delivery date of April, 2013.

coolship2

Overall the CoolShip seems like an intriguing concept — and it’s possible you could get Ubuntu or other Linux-based software to run on the device. The developers of PicUntu already offer a custom version of Ubuntu designed to play well with the Rockchip RK3066 ARM Cortex-A9 dual core processor.

But there are a few reasons to be a bit concerned about this product. For instance, the FocusWill website says the computer has “chocolate keys,” which I assume is supposed to mean “chiclet-style” keys.

Or maybe the idea is just that it’s a tasty PC-in-a-keyboard.

via CNX Software

  • jimrin

    Looks nice… I especially like the part about “chocolate” keys. Or perhaps he meant “chiclet” keys? Nahhhhhhhhhhhhhh…….

  • Joel

    There’s a Windows button?

    • uh

      Even if it’s a ARM processor there is no way it runs Windows 8, so that would be useless.

      • DangerD D

        You can probably run Windows RT instead.

      • Abdelaziz Elrashed

        Boys, we are talking about production environment not entertainment.
        FORGET WINDOWS ^_^

    • me

      That’s actually called Super-key.

  • http://profiles.google.com/merlino37 m w

    It needs to run existing android and a working Linux. It might be better if it could accept any existing ARM stick.

  • strider_mt2k

    Well it LOOKS pretty cool. I’ll give it that.
    The upgradability thing is intriguing too.
    My usual Wifi performance concerns would apply here just as they would to a stick, but I’m a modder, so that’s just more…um…fodder…I guess.

  • kenwshmt

    I like the idea of it, but I don’t need an additional keyboard, I want to put it in place of an existing keyboard. As a second computer on the desk with usb pass through for the keyboard and maybe mouse.

    • Nathan Hubbard

      Just buy a regular rk3066 device then, like the MK802IIIs

  • Guest

    “Chocolate keys” looks like the work of a hyperactive spell checker, like the one on my iPhone notes, which puts ludicrous stuff on my grocery list.

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

    It looks good but a proper full-size keyboard would have been much better.

    I don’t like the Home-End-PgUp-PgDn array put vertically.

  • birdog

    If you could install Sugar OS, this would be a great kids computer too.

    wonder if Google Paly is an updated version of Google Play :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Kay/100000559247894 David Kay

    MK802 II or III + usb keyboard seems better deal, and already exists. Upgrade would be moving your micro-sd card to a newer usb computer later.

  • http://blog.mamalibre.com.ar/ mama21mama

    Commodore!. Retro design

    • Daniel

      Reminds me of my old Tandy TRS-80 from RadioShack.