Over the past few years a number of companies have released tiny sticks that you can plug into a TV to run Android or Linux on a big screen. Thanks to low-power ARM processors, these little sticks are often barely bigger than a USB flash drive, but they basically have the guts of a smartphone or tablet.

But there’s only so much you can fit into a thumb drive-sized stick, so if you’ve wanted extra connectors you’ve had to opt for a larger Android TV box or some sort of ARM-based developer board.

Now PQ Labs is offering a stick-shaped, pocket-sized computer that has 3 USB ports, WiFi, and an optional mSATA port for connecting a solid state drive.

PQ iStick A350-SSD

The PQ iStick A300 is basically a computer in a 3.9″ x 2.2.” x 0.6″ package. It features a Rockhip ARM Cortex-A9 processor, up to 2GB of RAM, 4GB of built-in storage, a microSD card slot, micro HDMI port, 3 USB host ports, Ethernet, and select models have dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and an mSATA port.

Prices start at $89 for the A300LT, which features an RK3168 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and passive cooling. If you want all the bells and whistles, the $169 iStick A350-SSD model has an RK3188 quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi, Bluetooth, a power button, battery, and a fan for active cooling.

There’s also a $109 A300 model with the same CPU and memory as the higher-priced version, but it only supports 2.4 GHz WiFi and lacks the mSATA connector.

PA Labs positions these devices as products that you can use to power digital signage or kiosk systems. But you could also use it as a home media servier, a portable Android computer, or thin client system for logging into remote PCs. And thanks to the mSATA support, you could add hundreds of gigabytes of extra storage to carry around your media collection in your pocket.

The systems runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, although I suspect it wouldn’t be hard to get custom ROMs or other Linux-based operating systems such as PicUntu to run on the PQ iStick A300.

via CNX Software and +Ian Morrison

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17 replies on “iStick A300 is a tiny PC with optional mSATA SSD support”

  1. Very innovative of PQ labs, however $169 for the RK3188 CPU is too expensive.

    I have a RK3188 and that can easily get maxed out with multiple processes in parallel.

    The nVidia Tegra K-1 is the CPU I want to get at the moment

    1. I agree, but still the RK3188 is the better choice due to the amount of development being done for it.

      1. Tegras have proper – although binary – X drivers released by Nvidia, while RK* has nothing on this front.

        So if you want to use it with Linux, Nvidia has a much-much better proposition.

    1. There are Cubie* with Allwinner chip from Cubietech, that does that since at least two years.

  2. I would like to see one of these, but with an *Intel* CPU and running *Windows 8.1*!!! 😀

    I hope there’s not too long until some company remembers doing something like that! 😛

  3. This is absolutely what I’ve been waiting for. Are there pre-built Ubuntu/Xubuntu builds ready to go? Or are we being left to our own devices here?

    1. I guess I read the article too quickly. I thought it was going to be delivered with Linux. I read their website, and it looks like Android is the only OS they are talking about. And apparently it’s designed to imitate Windows 8’s Metro look. They even admit theyre ripping it off 🙁

      Sell a model with Xubuntu pre-installed, and I will buy one.

      1. I have made a request to them under the GPL for their Android Linux kernel source. Once I have this I will put together a Linux image. Their default Android install comes with Go Launcher HD (v1.19) although there is an app called ‘Metro demo’ which runs a Windows 8 style UI but only some tiles are configured to work.

        1. Thats great to hear! Ive been reading alot of your posts on other sites, and ive been itching to get an rk3188 device with Xubuntu. How do you feel about support for the Msata slot?

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