The Zealz GK802 is a small device that you can plug into a TV to run Android apps on a big screen. It’s a $94 device that features a Freescale i.MX6 quad-core processor and Android 4.0 software.
But for nearly as long as the GK802 has been available, folks have been trying to run Linux on it, turning the Android TV stick into a full-fledged computer. Early attempts were a little rough around the edges, but now there’s a build of Ubuntu 11.10 available which supports most of the device’s basic hardware.
Jas-Hacks has posted an Ubuntu 11.10 pre-built image which you can load on a microSD card. Then you can just insert that card into the GK802, boot it up, and you should be running Ubuntu Linux instead of Android.
The GK802 is hardly the only Android TV stick that can run Linux. But since Freescale offers significantly more documentation and developer support than most other ARM-based chip makers, developers have been able to take advantage of more of the chip’s features than you can with some similar boxes.
The Jas-Hacks image includes working WiFi (although wireless performance leaves a bit to be desired), as well as hardware-accelerated graphics and video support.
That means you can plug this $94 box into a TV or monitor, hook up a keyboard, mouse, or other accessories to the USB port, and basically treat it like a low-power Ubuntu computer.
Jas-Hacks has instructions for preparing a microSD card with the image — but those instructions assume you’re working with a computer that’s already running Linux.
If you’re using a Windows machine, you should also be able to use Win32 Disk Imager or another tool for wiriting disk images to a flash drive or SD card. Then just follow the instructions from Jas-Hacks, but every time you’re supposed to use dd, use the Win32 Disk Imager utility instead.