Want a small, low-power desktop computer that runs Ubuntu Linux, but don’t want to go through the hassle of installing and configuring the operating system yourself?

A company called Imp wants to deliver a tiny desktop with an ARM-based CPU, 2GB of RAM, and open source software. They’re launching a crowdfunding campaign to fund the project soon, with prices expected to run about $150.

Update: The IMP campaign is now live at Indiegogo, where early backers can try to snag a system for as little as $129.


The Imp computer is based on HardKernel’s Odroid-U3 developer board, which you can pick up for $65. But the dev board doesn’t come with a case or storage and you’ll need to install an operating system yourself.

The Imp system comes with 8GB of storage and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS preloaded, along with the Cinnamon desktop environment and Firefox and Chrome web browsers, among other things.

The box measures 4.3″ x 4.3″ x 1.2″ and features 10/100 Ethernet, a mini HDMI port, 3 USB 2.0 ports, a micro USB port, 2GB of RAM, and a 1.7 GHz Samsung Exynos 4412 ARM Cortex-A9 quad-core processor.

While Imp isn’t ready to ship large numbers of its little computer yet, the Imp team gave away a developer-edition model last month, so it’s good to know there are working prototypes.

via @FanlessTech and Science Blogs

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19 replies on “Imp mini PC is a tiny, ARM-based Ubuntu computer”

  1. They should have chosen XU3 lite. It’s better… and 99$ also 🙁

  2. I have an Odroid U3 and, to be honest, if you are browsing the web, playing Youtube or running XBMC, you would be hard-pressed into believing the hardware was not a full-blown budget Intel PC. When I first installed Ubuntu, I was blown away at how slick it felt and how PC-like the little board ran.

    Much better than a Raspberry Pi and much more refined than going into developer mode on Chrome OS, pulling up a terminal and doing crouton to bring up your Linux. That said, for full software compatibility, I do prefer Intel over ARM when using Linux.

  3. whats the advantage of buying this over a used samsung chromebook and installing linux on it…

    1. The Chromebook has higher-power cores (Cortex-A15), though only two of them. Single(ish) threaded apps will run faster on the Chromebook.

      1. yeah and you get more bang for your buck purchasing an older Chromebook…(screen + keyboard

  4. This SOC is fairly weak for a desktop-targeted use case.

    It shoud minimally host Cortex-A15 or 17 level cores.

    1. Ideally: a K1 Denver 64bit at 2.2Ghz.

      Now that would be an interesting base for a desktop Linux mini-box.

  5. I don’t see the point of this project. It doesn’t offer better price, better perf, better perf/$, better perf/$/watt or any additional functionality or considerable convenience compared to a plethora of similar offering already on the market including computers-on-a-sticks, NUCs, chromeboxes, mini-PCs etc…

      1. But so do MANY other ARM powered devices. All of which are cheaper, and most of which are more portable.

        For $20 more than this thing, you could put 2gb ram in a NUC, and boot linux off a thumb drive.

  6. More screenshots? Also – “game of thrones” will not be amused.

    1. If GoT owns the word Imp, then Jurassic Park owns the word Dinosaur.

  7. Make it a dongle, and I’ll buy one. At this size, I will stick to something x86 powered.

    I have an RK3066 dongle running Xubuntu, and I would like to replace it with something more powerful.

Comments are closed.