Like the idea of using a small ARM-based device as a low-power desktop or media center computer, but don’t want to rely on the 4GB to 16GB of storage that usually comes with an Android TV box?

The JW-11 is a box with an low-power processor, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of built-in storage, and a 2.5 inch drive bay which you can use to add a hard drive or solid state drive.

It’s available from AliExpress for about $68.


The JW-11 features an Amlogic AML8726-M3 ARM Cortex-A9 single-core processor and ships with Google Android.

While it officially support Android 4.0 or Android 4.1 software, folks have been porting other Linux-based operating systems to run on devices with AML8276 chips. There are versions of the XBMC media center application available for both Android and Linux, which could make the JW-11 a decent little addition to your living room.

You’ll still probably get better performance from an XBMC box with a more powerful x86 chip, but Amlogic’s little chip can handle 1080p HD video playback.

You can hook it up to a TV using the HDMI port, connect to the internet using the built-in WiFi or Ethernet, and connect a mouse, keyboard, or remote control using one of the 4 USB 2.0 ports.

There’s also an SDHC card reader and audio and video jacks.


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13 replies on “JW-11 is a cheap, Linux-friendly ARM PC with a 2.5″ drive bay”

  1. Seems like a waste of money for a small target market. What’s the chances of getting OS updates? The people who are able to update the OS themselves are better off going with one of the many desktop Linux distros but then they’ll get blocked by the typical closed drivers that rarely get updated which is common to all ARM devices.

    Seems like the people who get these Android boxes and sticks are for bragging rights.

    1. I don’t think these have matured enough to appeal to a broad consumer market yet either, though expecting to get software updates may be unrealistic at best. These are probably meant as throwaway products primarily targeted at the domestic Chinese market. Their day may come though, once some big player comes onboard and does some better engineering design. Google TV has sort of stunted the Android TV box market by its presence, so what these things represent is at least some attempt at innovation.

  2. Does it support the upstream Linux kernel or are we stuck with whatever propriety drivers the company provides that often are stuck on a specific kernel version like most of the ARM based consumer products?

    1. It doesn’t support Linux at all, it’s a consumer appliance based on Android. It happens to use a processor some people have lashed up Linux-based OSs for and gotten to run at some level of functionality. I think Brad is just speculating that somebody with enough time on his hands might get a Linux OS running on it well enough to run XBMC that way instead of under Android.

    2. The downside of anything with ARM is end user OS installation. You’re better off just building or buying some small x86 box. It may not be as small unless you don’t mind paying more for a small x86 SBC and building your own case for it.

      Intel Bay Trail Atoms can’t come out soon enough. They’ll have Windows AND Linux drivers. The Linux drivers are open source for those who care about that but more importantly they get updated regularly as part of the Intel video Linux drivers. Intel probably puts the most resources into these drivers compared to other chip makers. Also, compilers are already getting optimization flags the Silvermont Atom core. Many ARM vendors stop driver support pretty quickly and they’re closed so no one can really try to update them for newer kernels.

      I really hope Atom mini boxes make a come back with Bay Trail. I’m tired of Android. It’s not that useful beyond a smartphone.

  3. The right idea but… let’s put in a Rockchip quad-core, 2GB RAM and at least 8GB internal flash, go with a plain rectangular box, make the box metal and use the case as a heatsink (some fins?), add an external WiFi antenna (that actually does something), Bluetooth, … you get the picture.

    I had the same idea about a 2.5″ drive bay in this sort of device just yesterday. But I’d want something a little more powerful even if it cost $100 instead of $70. At least somebody isn’t married to the USB Stick form factor though.

    1. “The right idea but… let’s put in a Rockchip quad-core, 2GB RAM and at
      least 8GB internal flash, go with a plain rectangular box, make the box
      metal and use the case as a heatsink (some fins?), add an external WiFi
      antenna (that actually does something), Bluetooth, … you get the

      you should look at wandboard… it has what you said and it comes with sata conector (the quad version). The price is pretty low, but it’s going up when you add shipping (for EU aprox 50% of the board price… which is pretty lame and expensive)

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