VolksPC wants to crowdfund an Android/Debian Linux PC

The folks at VolksPC started showing off a software solution that lets you run Android and Debian Linux simultaneously on an ARM-based computer. This lets you use the same machine to run full desktop Linux apps like LibreOffice or Firefox as well as Android apps including Netflix, Hulu Plus, and any number of video games.

Now VolksPC wants to deliver an actual mini-PC that runs its software, and it’s turned to crowdfunding site Indiegogo to raise money to manufacturer and distribute the first VolksPC computer.

You can reserve one of the first VolksPC units for a pledge of $119 or more.

VolksPC

The computer’s hardware isn’t exactly state of the art. It’s the software that makes the VolksPC device special. But early reports suggest both Android and Linux run reasonably well on a hardware with similar specs.

The VolksPC computer features a 1.4 GHz Rockchip RK3066 ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of built-in storage, an 8GB microSD card, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 micro USB OTG port, 10/100 Ethernet, HDMI, 802.11n WiFi, and 10/100 Ethernet.

While you can probably find similar hardware for about half the price, VolksPC’s MicroXwin software lets you boot Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and Debian 7.0 Wheezy at the same time, using the same kernel and the same file system. This lets you run both Android and Linux apps at the same time, although you’ll have to toggle between Android and Debian desktop environments to switch between apps.

You can also kill the Android environment and just run Linux or kill the Debian environment and just run Android.

In order to deliver the first VolksPC devices the developers need to place a manufacturing order for at lest 1000 units — so they need to raise $80,000 through the Indiegogo campaign. If they meet that goal, units should begin shipping to backers in October.

This is a fixed funding campaign, so if the team doesn’t meet the $80,000 goal, it won’t be funded and backers won’t be charged.

The VolksPC website has recently been updated to include a mock-up of a future device: a 2-in-1 tablet/notebook which could run the same MicroXwin Android/Debian software. It’s likely that it could be VolksPC’s next device is the effort to build an ARM-based desktop succeeds.

via CNX-Software

  • Michael Thompson

    Hard not to wish this project well. Go for it folks, er…volks!

  • Mark

    I’d fund it if it was a 7″ dockable tablet. Never really had a use for Android on a desktop computer.

    • Walter Velishek

      http://www.volkspc.org/
      There is a mock-up of a future version of VolksPC that is both a notebook and a tablet on there website!

      • jus

        I’d fund that instead. I don’t want to fund the desktop device and just hope it might go towards the tablet. ai want 100% to go to the tablet.

  • optimismprime

    One of literally dozens upon dozens of devices that try to bring a mobile touch OS to a non touch Desktop Device, who then also go “but we also totally support that desktop OS to give the device any kind of actual value” on hardware that is powerful enough for the mobile OS, but is at best passable for the desktop OS.

    If you want to crowdfund a convergence device i would actually sink money into:
    Develop an x86 based Smartphone with a Desktop Dock running something like Ubuntu.

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

      Or, at least, they should choose a way stronger ARM SOC and 4Gigs of RAM. Something like a K1 or similar.

  • Grant Russell

    Why not get a Minix Neo X7? It can run Ubuntu, and Android. Plus it has a much faster (more recent) CPU. And it is also $119.

  • randomly selected

    Check out this free app that achieves the same thing on your existing rooted Android smartphone:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.dyndns.sven_ola.debian_kit&hl=en

  • Maventwo

    VolksPC can be a real threat to Linutop and other more expensive linux pc:s!

  • Vcoleiro1

    VolksPC computer features a 1.4 GHz Rockchip RK3066 ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processor,

    A dual core RK3066 for $119, thats a hard , hard sell. Even with the Linux initiative .

  • not_impressed

    If the box runs on wall-power, I will not settle for anything less than an Intel core CPU or AMD trinity. Chromebox has shown that a small-form-factor box can be made well and inexpensively. A dual-core A9 is a interesting, but ultimately a waste of time.

    • Charlie Whitman

      It would be much more difficult to run all the most wanted Android apps on an x86 processor. Too much of the performance tuned code in Android apps is targeted at ARM processors. If you don’t care about running Android and Linux apps together, then the project isn’t aimed at you in the first place.

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

      True, that this particular SOC is weak but I don’t think you need to go x86 for appropriate performance in this form factor.
      Dual core, 64bit ARM SOCs are coming in 2014. This device would run the desktop perfectly on two Cortex-A57 cores @2Ghz. Even current quad-A15s could serve well if clocked highand given proper, passive cooling.

  • http://opinadorcompulsivo.blogspot.com Miquel Mayol i Tur

    This is a MS WOS and Ubuntu phone killer but .Would’nt it be better at Intel SoCs?

    • http://rationaldreaming.com/ Mike

      How can a mini-PC be a phone killer?

  • PuzzledObserver

    For about the same price, you will get a much better bargain with the Odroid U3: http://www.hardkernel.com/main/products/prdt_info.php?g_code=G138745696275
    will all accessories (in particular a 32GB eMMC module) and shipping. It also runs Android and Linux and the hardware is more powerful in all aspect (power, storage, quick to boot)

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

      The Odroid is much more powerful but there is no official support for running the two OS-es in parallel (or at least for running Android apps in the desktop). With the Odroid you can use either this or that but not both at the same time (which, for me, is the big deal of the VolksPC).

  • Vasant

    VolksPC has $99/- version which runs Linux from internal Flash.

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

    This sounds like a great idea but the 3066 is way too weak for being used as a mini-PC (see that 8second cold start for Chromium in the video?). Something in the performance range of the Nvidia K1 would be much more suitable.

    Running the two OSes in parallel is a killer feature, I wish there would be more Android boxes featuring something like this.