Compulab plans to launch a mini-computer with an ARM Cortex-A9 processor and support for both Ubuntu Linux and Google Android. It’s called the Utilite, and the computer’s expected to go on sale in August for $99 and up.
The base model will feature a Freescale i.M6 single-core processor, but dual and quad-core versions will also be available. The system will also support up to 4GB of RAM, up to 512GB of built-in storage thanks to an mSATA solid state drive slot, and up to 128GB of removable storage via the SDXC card slot.
This little desktop PC also features 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports, HDMI and DVI ports, S/PDIF and stereo audio jacks, 802.11b/g/n WiFi/ Bluetooth 3.0, and 4 USB 2.0 ports as well as two RS232 serial ports.
The Utilite isn’t the first tiny desktop computer from Compulab. The company also offers the Fit PC and Trim Slice line of little desktops, and Compulab is the manufacturer of the MintBox, a little desktop PC designed to run the Linux Mint operating system.
But the Utilite is the first ARM-based model from the company to feature Freescale’s i.MX6 processor family. While they’re hardly the most power chips around, Freescale offers far more documentation about its processors than most companies that make chips based on ARM designs. And that makes it much easier to run Ubuntu and other GNU/Linux operating systems on devices like the Utilite.
The $99 starting price is one of the things that could make this system more attractive than a higher-end computer with a more powerful x86 processor. Another advantage is the low power consumption. Compulab says the Utilite will use just 3 to 8 watts of power.