The Raspberry Pi Foundation showed that there’s a market for low-cost, low-power computers aimed at developers and tinkerers when it began offering tiny ARM-based computers for $35 or less.
Two years later, the folks at Imagination Technologies have decided it’s time to offer a similar device, but this time with a MIPS-based processor.
The MIPS Creator CI20 is a small developer board that sells for $65 and which should begin shipping in late January.
Imagination’s little computer costs a bit more than a Raspberry Pi, but this little guy is also more powerful. It has a 1.2 GHz Ingenic JZ4780 MIPS32-based dual-core processor with PowerVR SG540 graphics, support for hardware-accelerated 1080p video decoding, and OpenGL ES 2.0 and OpenGL 2.1.
The system has 1GB of RAM, 4GB of flash storage, and an SD card slot for additional storage. It also has HDMI output, a USB host port and USB OTG port, a 10/100 Ethernet jack, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.0 as well as developer-friendly GPIO, UART, and other connectors.
The MIPS Creator CI20 comes with Debian 7 Linux pre-installed, but it also supports Android 4.4, Yocto Linux, and Gentoo, among other operating systems.
In other words, it’s a Linux and Android-friendly device that has twice the RAM of a Raspberry Pi, comes with built-in storage and a pre-loaded operating system, and features wireless capabilities. So it’s not surprising that it costs nearly twice as much as a Raspberry Pi.
While that might make it a little less attractive for some projects, a $65 computer that can run desktop Linux operating systems is still pretty cool.
Imagination is positioning the device as a development platform rather than a desktop PC though. It supports the company’s FlowCloud Internet-of-Things development platform.
The company first unveiled the MIPS Creator CI20 in August, but at the time the company wasn’t selling the device to the public yet. Instead it was giving away a limited quantity. Now it’s available for purchase in the US and Europe.