The folks at VolksPC started showing off a software solution that lets you run Android and Debian Linux simultaneously on an ARM-based computer. This lets you use the same machine to run full desktop Linux apps like LibreOffice or Firefox as well as Android apps including Netflix, Hulu Plus, and any number of video games.

Now VolksPC wants to deliver an actual mini-PC that runs its software, and it’s turned to crowdfunding site Indiegogo to raise money to manufacturer and distribute the first VolksPC computer.

You can reserve one of the first VolksPC units for a pledge of $119 or more.


The computer’s hardware isn’t exactly state of the art. It’s the software that makes the VolksPC device special. But early reports suggest both Android and Linux run reasonably well on a hardware with similar specs.

The VolksPC computer features a 1.4 GHz Rockchip RK3066 ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of built-in storage, an 8GB microSD card, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 micro USB OTG port, 10/100 Ethernet, HDMI, 802.11n WiFi, and 10/100 Ethernet.

While you can probably find similar hardware for about half the price, VolksPC’s MicroXwin software lets you boot Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and Debian 7.0 Wheezy at the same time, using the same kernel and the same file system. This lets you run both Android and Linux apps at the same time, although you’ll have to toggle between Android and Debian desktop environments to switch between apps.

You can also kill the Android environment and just run Linux or kill the Debian environment and just run Android.

In order to deliver the first VolksPC devices the developers need to place a manufacturing order for at lest 1000 units — so they need to raise $80,000 through the Indiegogo campaign. If they meet that goal, units should begin shipping to backers in October.

This is a fixed funding campaign, so if the team doesn’t meet the $80,000 goal, it won’t be funded and backers won’t be charged.

The VolksPC website has recently been updated to include a mock-up of a future device: a 2-in-1 tablet/notebook which could run the same MicroXwin Android/Debian software. It’s likely that it could be VolksPC’s next device is the effort to build an ARM-based desktop succeeds.

via CNX-Software

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19 replies on “VolksPC wants to crowdfund an Android/Debian Linux PC”

  1. This sounds like a great idea but the 3066 is way too weak for being used as a mini-PC (see that 8sec cold start for Chromium in the video?, that should be 2sec tops). Something in the performance range of the Nvidia K1 would be much more suitable.

    Running the two OSes in parallel is a killer feature, I wish there would be more Android boxes featuring something like this.

    1. The Odroid is much more powerful but there is no official support for running the two OS-es in parallel (or at least for running Android apps in the desktop). With the Odroid you can use either this or that but not both at the same time (which, for me, is the big deal of the VolksPC).

  2. If the box runs on wall-power, I will not settle for anything less than an Intel core CPU or AMD trinity. Chromebox has shown that a small-form-factor box can be made well and inexpensively. A dual-core A9 is a interesting, but ultimately a waste of time.

    1. It would be much more difficult to run all the most wanted Android apps on an x86 processor. Too much of the performance tuned code in Android apps is targeted at ARM processors. If you don’t care about running Android and Linux apps together, then the project isn’t aimed at you in the first place.

    2. True, that this particular SOC is weak but I don’t think you need to go x86 for appropriate performance in this form factor.
      Dual core, 64bit ARM SOCs are coming in 2014. This device would run the desktop perfectly on two Cortex-A57 cores @2Ghz. Even current quad-A15s could serve well if clocked highand given proper, passive cooling.

  3. VolksPC computer features a 1.4 GHz Rockchip RK3066 ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processor,

    A dual core RK3066 for $119, thats a hard , hard sell. Even with the Linux/Android initiative . RK3066 Boxes with the same feature set (minus their OS SW) sell for $60 delivered and include a remote. There are boxes with remotes and a RK3288 that are about to go on sale for $100.

    Might have been better if they concentrated on getting there OS SW on one of those rk3288 boxes. ie don’t offer any HW , but get funding for the distro development for a chosen HW platform that exists and is being made by someone else – you could probably manage to get some funding from them also.. It would make way more sense and would give the awesome SW they are developing a better chance for adoption.

  4. VolksPC can be a real threat to Linutop and other more expensive linux pc:s!

  5. Why not get a Minix Neo X7? It can run Ubuntu, and Android. Plus it has a much faster (more recent) CPU. And it is also $119.

  6. One of literally dozens upon dozens of devices that try to bring a mobile touch OS to a non touch Desktop Device, who then also go “but we also totally support that desktop OS to give the device any kind of actual value” on hardware that is powerful enough for the mobile OS, but is at best passable for the desktop OS.

    If you want to crowdfund a convergence device i would actually sink money into:
    Develop an x86 based Smartphone with 2-4 GB of RAM, with a Desktop Dock running something like Ubuntu.

    1. Or, at least, they should choose a way stronger ARM SOC and 4Gigs of RAM. Something like a K1 or similar.

  7. I’d fund it if it was a 7″ dockable tablet. Never really had a use for Android on a desktop computer.

      1. I’d fund that instead. I don’t want to fund the desktop device and just hope it might go towards the tablet. ai want 100% to go to the tablet.

  8. Hard not to wish this project well. Go for it folks, er…volks!

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