Like the idea of a TV box that runs Android and has access to thousands of apps including Netflix, Hulu Plus, and XBMC, but don’t want to buy one unless it can also handle desktop apps like Office or LibreOffice?

No problem: there are a handful of dual-boot devices on the market that let you run Android and another operating system.

Two of them popped up recently at online retailer Geekbuying. The Wintel W8 is a $127 dual-bootini PC with Windows and Android, while the Ugoos UT3S is an Ubuntu + Android system that sells for $179.

wintel w8

The Wintel W8 features an Intel Atom Z3735F processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, HDMI and 10/100 Ethernet jacks, a micro USB port, two full-sized USB ports, and a microSD card slot.

It supports 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 and ships with Windows 8.1 with Bing and Android 4.4 software.

Note that this system also appears to be available from other sells as the CX-W8.

Wondering why the model with Ubuntu Linux costs more? There are a few reasons. First, Windows licenses and Intel Atom chips are pretty cheap these days, so the price difference between a device with those chips and one with an ARM processor and free and open source software isn’t necessarily very big.


Second, the Ugoos UT3S arguably has better specs than the Wintel W8.

The system features a Rockchip RK3288 ARM Cortex-A17 processor with Mali-T764 graphics, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and Gigabit Ethernet. It also comes with a wireless remote control.

While the processor can’t run Windows 8.1 and Linux graphics drivers for this chipset are a work in progress, the CPU is pretty speedy and this model has more RAM and support for faster wired and wireless networks than the Wintel W8.

Other features for the UT3S include four USB ports, HDMI and SPDIF ports, a microSd card slot, and support for (some) 4K video output.



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22 replies on “New dual-boot TV boxes run Android + Ubuntu or Windows”

  1. Releasing gadgets with Ubuntu 14.10 is just stupid. It has only three more months of support left, thus making that UGOOS thing obsolete by the time it gets to customers.

      1. Do you know if the new nvidia shield console requires a 4k tv or can you turn down the graphics in the settings so you dont have to use a 4k tv

  2. Is there any info whether hw video decoding on the Ugoos works under Ubuntu as well, or only on Android?

  3. The Ugoos would be better to come with Ubuntu 14.04 instead of 14.10 since the former is an LTS release and OS updates for ARM hw is fairly hard to come by.

  4. This is actually terrible value considering the NVidia Shield is just 20 dollars more but leagues ahead

    1. Not if you actually want something that can boot more than one OS… Ever!

      There’s optimized products that do one thing very well but then there’s flexible products that don’t do anything in particular very well but can do a lot more different things as the trade off…

      So what’s better depends on what you want out of the product but there’s more than one way of looking at it…

      1. I really think Nvidia should release an Ubuntu image for their upcoming Shield. The new Shield can be a very interesting little computer.

        1. Agreed, the X1 is one of the best ARM options you could get right now… Even exceeds the Apple’s A8X… but doesn’t look like Nvidia is going to be pushing for that kind of support… but maybe some 3rd party will manage it later…

      2. Developer community XD DO NOT underestimate em.. besides, it looks like Microsoft’s got an ARM version that’s seemingly compatible with the apps this time.

        We’ll know soon

      3. Nvidia usually provides an Ubuntu developer image for its hardware even if the Shield itself only comes with Android.

        From the dev image, it is fairly easy to create a full, working Ubuntu distro if there is enough demand for it (so the device in question needs to ship in big volumes)

        1. Well, I haven’t seen Nvidia update that image for awhile now… The last update used Kernel version 3.10.40… and was for the Jetson K1…

          So nothing really up to date and nothing has popped up to directly support the X1 SoC yet…

          While there’s a little more required than just big volumes… Especially when involving the Shield as then you’re dealing with either a tablet or semi-mobile Console type product that makes it difficult to use the traditional desktop and alternatives like Ubuntu Touch are still very much a separate project and don’t really replace the desktop OS…

          Besides, lots of people like distro’s other than just Ubuntu and there’s definitely a lack of options there… and without Nvidia directly supporting the option then the user will have to worry about getting proper driver support for the GPU and power efficiency could be badly effected with a unoptimized distro…

          It would be more likely to happen with a set top box, Media PC, etc. type product…

          The X1 is powerful enough that it has a pretty good chance of that happening, but we’ll see what options will be available once it does…

  5. “Wondering why the model with Ubuntu Linux costs less?” , no I’m wondering why you wrote this sentence…

    1. Typically, products with pre-installed desktop Linux tend to be priced higher for various reasons…

      Like OEM expects lower sales figures, which causes lower production runs making the hardware cost more per unit sold, add less alternative revenue options like not being able to load bloatware tend to remove the usual cost cutting measures for OEMs (they usually get paid to load bloatware), they have to provide all the support for the OS themselves (especially, if they have to customize the distro and essentially release their own version), etc.

      But, since this is also offered with other OS options it has a greater sales potential… OEM probably ran a larger production run accordingly to help reduce hardware costs per unit sold, they probably managed to install a unaltered version of Ubuntu that they wouldn’t need to provide extra support for, etc. and that leaves just the cost of the OS for which Ubuntu is then obviously cheaper…

      Also, keep in mind that the hardware crosses over into the mobile range and most mobile hardware is supported by Intel’s subsidizing and MS options for either free or $15 discounted Windows license but it doesn’t apply to set top boxes, etc. and not everyone knows that…

      1. Ugoos (Ubuntu) is the more expensive system, not Wintel (Windows). That’s why I’m not wondering why it’s cheaper!

        1. Well… My misunderstanding of the confusion notwithstanding… Here are the differences for the Ubuntu model… Double the RAM, WiFi adds AC support with external WiFi antenna and both 2.4/5GHz, H.265 hardware decoding support is clearly indicated, 100/1000 Ethernet instead of just 10/100, HDMI2.0 with 4Kx2K output vs Standard HDMI 1.4b, 4 full size USB ports vs 2 full and 2 micro, and a IR Remote Control that the Windows model clearly doesn’t get…

          Mobile hardware tends to charge a premium for more storage and more RAM and there are enough spec advantages that the higher price is understandable…

          But it was probably a type-o, leaving out “doesn’t”… but given the above differences it isn’t so bad…

          1. Now that wording is correct I can only wonder if I should get the Ugoos 🙂

      2. I am not sure you can find an unaltered version of Ubuntu for any ARM hardware even today. It is said to be quite a bit of work to have proper Linux running on them.

        That said, the RK3288 is a very popular SOC, so I wouldn’t be surprised if sufficiently good-quality ports of Ubuntu have already been created for it. Now, you would only have to worry about future OS updates.

    1. It’s definitely a good box, particularly now that they added the fan to keep the RK3288 in check :p

      UGOOS have released bootable SD card images for Linux so I’m planning on testing it soon. Keep posted!

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