The Mele A1000 is a little box that’s positioned as a media device running Google Android. Plug in a display, power it up, and stream video or run apps on your TV. There’s also an SD card slot and USB ports for external storage.

But you can also boot software from the SD card, which is why the Mele A1000 is generating some excitement from hackers looking for a cheap ARM-based computer. One of those folks shot a video of Ubuntu Linux running on the device.

We’d already seen that it’s possible to boot Ubuntu on the A1000 – but the person that wrote the first guide reported that the system got stuck at the login screen. As the video above shows, it’s possible to go further than the start screen and boot into a fully usable Ubuntu Linux desktop environment.

Performance looks passable, but not stellar. It takes a little while for some of the menus to respond, for instance. But it’s possible that software tweaks could improve the experience.

The Mele A1000 has a 1 GHz Allwinner A10 ARM Cortex-A8 processor, 512MB of RAM, 2GB of storage, and 802.11b/g/n WiFi.

It’s available for as little as $70. While that’s twice the price of a Raspberry Pi computer, the Mele A1000 includes a case, a faster processor, more RAM, and more audio and video connection options.

The Allwinner A10 chip also uses Mali 400 graphics — and there’s currently a project underway to develop open source drivers for that graphics processor, which could make development for this platform easier than for the Raspberry Pi which has closed graphics drivers.

via CNXSoft


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6 replies on “This is what Ubuntu looks like on the $70 Mele A1000 (video)”

  1. specs of mele a1000 sounds good for xubuntu or lubuntu,  not ubuntu due to requirements too high by now. Question is: what about app on arm? They will work all? I think the most buyers would install a mediacenter distro on it and I would too!

  2. Yea, you pay twice as much but you get a usable computer instead of a bare board with half the RAM and no way to upgrade it.  Anyway, put a case and power supply on a Pi and you will almost certainly cross the $50 barrier so might as well go on to $70 and get a lot more bang for the buck.

    If you want a computer, buy this as soon as there is a stable boot image to download.  If you are wanting a project, i.e. a really advanced embedded controller, buy a Pi.  Which is kinda what the intention was with the Pi anyway.

    1. A lot of it might come down to community involvement, which the Pi now has in spades. I agree that the hardware on the Mele looks better, but  I don’t think either of them will be really usable as a general-purpose computer anyway.

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