Oval Elephant has been selling MK802 mini PC devices and accessories for a few weeks (and apparently using a photograph I snapped to do so). Now the company is preparing to launch its own Mini PC called the Oval Elephant.
The Oval Elephant Mini PC will have the same basic hardware as an MK802 including an Allwinner A10 processor, Mali 400 graphics, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of storage, and 802.11b/g/n WiFi.
But the Oval Elephant has a few things that set it apart including a full-sized HDMI port that lets you plug the PC straight into an HDTV or monitor, a built-in mic, and a mic port.
The company also offers a choice of accessories including a wireless air mouse or a wireless remote with a built-in QWERTY keyboard.
Oval Elephant expects the first shipment of the devices to come July 3rd with more on the way a few weeks later. Right now they’re available for pre-order for $71.49, but if more than a thousand people place orders the price will fall to $68 per unit.
The folks behind Oval Elephant seem to be interested in enabling support for a range of software and operating systems. Out of the box the Oval Elephant Mini PC will run Google Android 4.0, but the company selling the device plans to port Linaro, XBMC, and other software to work with the Mini PC.
The Oval Elephant Mini PC appears to be based on the same design as the Smallart Uhost, a tiny, hackable PC. But the Uhost is more expensive, running about $99 at AliExpress.
Right now I’m not aware of any Allwinner A10 devices that can run XBMC, but some of the developers behind the popular media center software are working on porting it to run on devices such as the Oval Elephant Mini PC — and the founder of OvalElephant seems to be working to ensure the mini computer is compatible with the software.
Update: Some early customers are complaining that the included power supply doesn’t provide enough energy for the Mini PC. Oval Elephant’s current response is to stop shipping the power supply, instead including just a USB cable.
But since the Mini PC needs 10W of power, you may not get enough power by plugging the device into a USB 2.0 port on a PC. You’ll probably need a USB 3.0 port, or you may need to buy a USB iPad power adapter or similar device 5v 2A device.
I’m having a difficult time keeping track of all these sticks and their features. I hope someone is making a database of these.
If you read more into it, you will find that the actual selling point of these Oval Elephant sticks are the addition of AXP209 Power Supply Chip as well as the 3xRClamp 0502B for HDMI ESD protection.
Somebody brought it up in the XBMC forums that the MK802s don’t have the necessary HDMI ESD (Electriostatic Discharge) protection mandated in the SoC’s spec, which could, theoretically, “pop” (burnout/short-circuit) the HDMI port on the stick.
Now, there haven’t been ANY report that such thing happened, and it could be that the risk is low enough to be insignificant – esp. if you’re aware of it and is careful about it. But there’s enough concern for it that Oval Elephant deemed it something that could be offered as a major selling point. The HDMI male plug, mic and mic port is something that came with the Smallart UHOST stick, which they used as a base to customize upon – rather than features people are demanding to have.
The housing of the Oval Elephant seem to be rubberized though, I’m not really sure it’s best choice for cooling. Esp. if the chip is stressed in HD playback situations for extended period of time.
If they keep working on these “Android sticks” for the next year or so, we should get some really nice product. All that seems to be missing is a second USB host port and some type of integrated heat sink.
I would say what missing too is SATA ports and USB 3.0
These sticks will have a hard time competing with the new GoogleTV boxes.
Especially, the Vizio offering is very powerful, since it runs a dual-core Marvell Armada 1500, gives you a remote with qwerty keyboard for only $99.
If the Vizio has an unlocked boot loader, I may very well buy one for smartening up our TV.
But the point is, just how likely it will come with an unlocked boot loader? Just how likely is it that the community won’t fight tooth and nail to load custom firmware on these boxes after every update?
If you’ve been following the WDTV community you would seen how Western Digital profit off the works of custom firmware community, and then cripples the GPL source code in their newest version of the product.
You can’t depend on vendors of media boxes to always be benevolent.
Allwinner A10 is functional, open and fast enough for our needs right now. It utilizes Mali 400MP GPU which is getting it’s very own open source driver, it’s pretty much the perfect storm of the right hardware and software coming together.
No, I’d say Allwinner A10 platform is doing pretty damn alright right now.
Comments are closed.