It looks like it may be time to stop calling tiny ARM-based devices like the MK802 Android TV sticks and go back to calling them mini PCs. Rikomagic UK has announced it will start shipping Linux Editions of two of its most recent ARM-powered stick-sized computers.
Both devices are already available with Google Android preloaded and typically sell for between $50 and $100.
Folks interested in running Picuntu can already install it on either the MK802 III or MK802 IV themselves. Most devices with Rockchip RK3066 or RK3188 processors should be able to run a version of Picuntu, and there are even remixes designed to offer more out-of-the-box features.
But installing Ubuntu or other GNU/Linux operating systems can be a bit complicated and time consuming. Since there seems to be demand for a device of this type that runs desktop software like Ubuntu rather than a mobile operating system like Ubuntu, it looks like the UK branch of Rikomagic plans to offer models that come pre-loaded with Picuntu.
In other words, for under $100 you’ll be able to buy a tiny, low power computer that runs Ubuntu Linux. Plug it into the HDMI port on your TV or monitor and hook up a keyboard and mouse and you’ve basically got yourself a cheap, efficient desktop computer.
It may not be able to run every desktop app you’d like, and it won’t be a speed demon. But it’ll offer access to real desktop apps like LibreOffice, GIMP, Thunderbird, VLC, XBMC, and desktop versions of the Firefox and Chromium web browsers, just to name a few.
The current MK802 III features a 1.6 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, a microSD card slot, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, and full-sized and micro USB ports.
Rikomagic’s MK802 IV offers similar specs, but it has a faster Rockchip RK3188 ARM Cortex-A9 quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM.
The company hasn’t said if the Linux Edition versions of these mini PCs will have the exact same hardware as the Android versions which are currently available. The dual-core model should be available first.