98 responses

  1. Sander
    May 17, 2012

    As it is delivered without remote control, is it meant as a HTPC, or is it meant as a mini PC?

    BTW: a lot of possibly nice Android STB devices on DX: http://dx.com/android-full-hd-1080p-media-player-w-usb-sd-hdmi-rj45-ports-black-2-x-aaa-102992 and http://dx.com/jesurun-itv04-1080p-full-hd-android-2-2-network-media-player-w-wifi-dual-usb-sd-lan-hdmi-112761
    What is going on? Do people buy this, and can you really usefully use it to browse the web on your TV, or to watch movies? Or is this just DX stuff that’s there just because it can be produced (without too much thinking about usage)?

  2. cnxsoft
    May 17, 2012

    @ Sander
    They sell it as a mini PC so it’s probably what it is. I’m assuming they use AllWinner A10 Android release, so you’d also have video hardware decoding and use it as a set-top box.

    Yes, you can use this kind of device both to browse the web and watch movies. However, there are some limitations. First using Android with a remote is a pain, although you could always use a wireless keyboard mouse. Products with “magic” remotes a la Wii are probably better.
    Then Adobe Flash support is not perfect. You can watch Youtube video in the Web browser and many Facebook games won’t work. However, for Youtube you can use the Youtube App which is actually relatively nice to use even with a remote.
    Finally, you can’t expect those stb to match the level of a Sigma Designs based STB in terms of video playback as quite a few files won’t play as well as possibly some minor issues with video quality.

    At least that’s my experience with Mele A1000 running Android.

    One of the STB above is based on AMLogic Cortex A9 Processor (used in many low cost STB) and the other is said to be based on “UC V6″, never heard of that.

  3. Efcis
    May 17, 2012

    Hi

    I have a silly (slightly off-topic) question…

    I see lot of descriptions with “2.4G wireless keyboard”.

    Is it actually Bluetooth ? Or is it another standard ? If so, in a general manner, I guess hosts require a specific hardware and driver to work with these keyboards ?

  4. cnxsoft
    May 17, 2012

    @ Efcis
    I’m not 100% sure, but i would say it depends. You could get a Bluetooth USB keyboard / mouse and connect the BT dongle to one of the USB port and it would work.

    When they say 2.4GHz I guess they want to be as generic as possible.

    For example with http://www.dealextreme.com/p/mele-f10-fly-mouse-3-in-1-2-4ghz-wireless-air-mouse-keyboard-remote-control-black-128312 you get a 3-in-1 keyboard/mouse/remote via a 2.4GHz link that does not appear to be BlueTooth.

    I don’t have one, but I know some readers (well at least one or 2) have bought this.

  5. What Haveyou
    May 18, 2012

    @ Efcis
    They’re not Bluetooth. They’re just 2.4 GHz radio, foolishly placed on that band along with most wireless networks and cordless phones.

  6. Lucas
    May 18, 2012
  7. cnxsoft
    May 18, 2012

    @ Lucas
    Thanks. It looks exactly the same device (hardware and casing).
    But I’m not sure which one can be considered as the original version, the ZERO Devices Z802 and the device above appear to have just been released at about the same time.

  8. Paul
    May 18, 2012

    @ cnxsoft Well if you install XBMC you could use a USB Media Center remote that just sends the same signals as a wireless keyboard.

  9. cnxsoft
    May 18, 2012

    @ Paul
    Yes, you are right you could always use some wireless remote, and if you already own such type of remote, then it’s all good. But if you need to buy the remote, then the price of this device becomes less attractive, since you can get a small STB including SATA + remote for 90 USD.

  10. mrpete
    May 20, 2012

    CNX, you have an excellent blog here. Thanks much for this good info!

    The Mele A1000 looks “more complete/more options,” but the MK802 is nice and small …

    I got here from a link at the pcworld.com article by K Noyes.

  11. cnxsoft
    May 20, 2012

    @ mrpete
    Mr Pete, glad to hear you like my blog, you can subscribe to my RSS feed or follow me on Twitter or Facebook to stay updated :)

    I have to say I’m quite surprised by the popularity of this little device, it seems to be everywhere on the Internet and they sold out in a few days.

  12. ElectroNick
    May 20, 2012

    Given the size and the cost of a device, I think it will just become a standard part of any monitor in a year or two. In other words, we will be plugging a USB mouse and a USB keyboard straight into a monitor and use some cloud-based OS to do what we now need a PC for. Shame, I have just finally gotten used to the hum of the dust-clogged fan on my PC tower under the desk…

  13. cnxsoft
    May 20, 2012

    @ ElectroNick
    If it’s a module that can be easily replaced in the monitor why not. Otherwise, i don’t really like to have to change monitor each time I change PC. You would not even need to plug the keyboard and mouse since they could be wireless.

  14. Frank Bouwens
    May 21, 2012

    It sold out

  15. cnxsoft
    May 21, 2012

    @ Frank Bouwens
    Yes, they probably did not think it would go viral on the Internet, and it looks like they just had around 500 to 1,000 pieces for sale.

  16. Karl
    May 22, 2012
  17. cnxsoft
    May 22, 2012

    @ Karl
    Thanks for the tip off. I wrote another post on KVD-13 http://www.cnx-software.com/2012/05/22/droid-stick-kvd-13-another-low-cost-android-mini-pc/ since it seems interesting as well.

  18. doggy
    May 23, 2012

    @ cnxsoft

    …maybe ppl should stop being lazy and use their brains to search for alternative suppliers. Do you guys really thing this guy is the only one selling them? :)

  19. Joel
    May 23, 2012

    Anyone seen any smiliar device with a RJ45 option? The size is great, and with an RJ45 connector you can just stick it on the back of ur TV with an infrared reciver somewhere and soon be running XBMC

  20. cnxsoft
    May 24, 2012

    @ Joel
    I haven’t seen it. An RJ45 connector is not really small, so I suppose the board size would be more like a business card.

    Having said that, you are not the first one who have asked me this, so there is definitely interest for such a device.

  21. Zaatour36
    May 25, 2012

    Some YouTube Videos for the MK802

    MK802: the $74 Android PC-on-a-stick Walkthrough/Review:

    youtu.be/ZDyBs6Wuu1o

    MK802: the $74 Android PC-on-a-stick Product Unboxing:

    youtu.be/bxvzDqp0Wvk

    @Zaatour36

  22. Karl
    May 27, 2012

    @ Joel
    I prefer the Raspberry Pi.

  23. Joel
    May 28, 2012

    Karl :@ Joel I prefer the Raspberry Pi.

    Yeah, but RPI has a slower CPU/GPU and less ram + with an external netcard problem solved :-)

  24. cnxsoft
    May 28, 2012

    @ Karl
    You can also run Debian, Ubuntu and other Linux distributions on it. It will become a better XBMC player.
    The Raspberry Pi is better in the way that it’s cheaper and you can access expansions (GPIO, CSI…).
    The MK802 can not really be used by hardware hackers.

  25. Emoryy
    May 30, 2012

    I am wondering what’s the output resolution of these on HDMI. Is it fixed, or can be changed automatically or by an option? One of the selling sites claimed in the specs, that the resolution is 1024×768. That would be quite underwhelming. Can anybody confirm that it is really HD? And what resolutions does it support, if more?

  26. cnxsoft
    May 30, 2012

    @ Emoryy
    I may be wrong here, but I guess Android UI could use 1024×768 resolution, but full screen video playback would be able to output up to 1080p. This device may not be able to handle a Android UI with 1920×1080 resolution smoothly, so that’s probably why they have opted for a lower resolution.

  27. Emoryy
    May 30, 2012

    @ cnxsoft
    You may be right. I didn’t consider that it can have different resolutions for apps & UI, and video playing.
    But I guess we won’t know it sure, unless somebody who has the device tries it out.

  28. Trest
    May 31, 2012

    I have seen that Exduct.com now lists the 1GB Ram version of this product, which is a huge step up from the most competitors. Especially for Ram consuming Apps on Android or when a full distro is used.
    http://www.exduct.com/Electronic-Products/MK802-Android-Mini-PC.html
    86.16-10(discount)+5.34(slowest shipping option)=$81.50 shipped…. not bad
    I think I am going to order one.

  29. aliosa27
    June 1, 2012

    @cnxsoft I have been playing with mine for a few days now..The android ui itself is more like 1024×480 to 1152×720….so…yeh…as far as video playback goes, It does an awesome job of spitting out hd movies. I tested it with a 720 blueray mkv of batman, and a 1080p blueray rip of Mister nobody and I was actually pretty happy with that, seeing as it was streaming all 14 gig of this movie via wifi…Crappy points go to some issues in the external keyboard department..I have crashed it 2 times. One in splashtop hd, alt ctl delete does it every time… It also seems to hate xvid’s..but that seems to be the only problem codec…The built in player works well. Xvids work with the software renderer in mxplayer…

    I used splashtop to play some diablo3 and it worked great….minus the right click getting hijacked by the android ui..

    onlive/amazon vod/youtube/netflix/spotify/etc seem to work great….

    it can be powered by the otg port as well as the power port..

    Negative points to the sellers..They should mention that the gpu eats up 128 meg of that 512meg/1gig of ram…

    Does not seem to output dts/dolby over hdmi..Im hoping thats fixable.
    Video seems to drop out at random….

    all in all…its pretty useful..

  30. cnxsoft
    June 1, 2012

    @ aliosa27
    Thanks for the detailed feedback.
    For the memory, it’s normal that the GPU uses memory in kind of system, and the total memory is always mentioned in product descriptions.

    The DTS/Dolby issues also happens in the Mele A1000, It could be that they did not pay the Dolby license fees to reduce costs.

    I’m also seen that they did not solder some protection ICs for HDMI (to save on board cost) http://lists.phcomp.co.uk/pipermail/arm-netbook/2012-May/004052.html, so I wonder if it could be the reason the video drops out at random.

  31. cnxsoft
    June 1, 2012

    The MK802 is now also available on Deal Extreme for 78 USD including shipping
    http://dx.com/p/android-4-0-mini-pc-google-tv-player-w-wifi-allwinner-a10-cortex-a8-tf-hdmi-white-4gb-137012

  32. Emoryy
    June 2, 2012

    @ aliosa27
    Hi! I would have a few questions, if you don’t mind.
    Do you have the 512MB or 1GB version? How smooth does the UI feel?
    About the video dropouts: how frequently does it happen? Does this happen only during video playback? Is it very disturbing?
    Regarding the keyboard issue: Try External Keyboard Helper from the Play Store. It’s a demo/paid app, but maybe it solves your problem. (I tried the demo on my Android x86 Virtual Machine, to change the keyboard layout to my language.)
    And could you maybe install Elixir2 (a quite thorough system information app, in the case you don’t know it. It can be found on the Play Store. It’s free.), and generate a report with it?
    Thanks!

  33. Trest
    June 2, 2012

    I think he means that the video dropouts only happens on DTS material (correct me if I’m wrong).
    I wonder if pass-through to a DTS capable receiver would work, or if the signal can be down-mixed to stereo in real time via hardware/software. I ordered the 1 Gig Ram version from Exduct.com … It may take several weeks to arrive, but I will report back as soon as it arrives. The seller informed me that the factory manager of this device said that the 1GB is considerably faster… I don’t know why this should be the case… can the Allwinner double the ram speed by having 2 banks (burst mode)? Apparently ED has the American plug in stock, but it’s also available with a EU plug which should be available in a few days. (2-5 days) I think I wait for the 1GB version with EU plug.

  34. cnxsoft
    June 2, 2012

    @ Trest
    About the speed between 512 MB and 1GB RAM, it’s not about the memory speed, but if you have 1 GB RAM there will be less I/O activity on the flash because everything can be loaded in memory. Android ICS consumes a lot of memory compared to gingerbread.

  35. Trest
    June 2, 2012

    @ cnxsoft
    OK, thanks. I was under the impression that 4.0 was a lot faster than 2.3 with the same ram equipped (e.g. 512MB… might be more of an issue with less ram), at least that’s what it feels like. I already own an Allwinner A10 tablet…. the Odys Xelio. I am pretty happy with it, but I noticed serious slowdowns when multi-tab browsing complex web pages, or when the integrated flash engine is loaded. So you are probably right that the flash/ram swapping is the main factor here, but until the memory limit is reached the devices should have the same speed, right?
    There are very few choices in the sub $100 range with 1GB besides the MK802…. I kind of wish they upgraded the A1000 to 1GB…which is the max ram the A10 can handle. The DTS issues might turn off some potential buyers, I hope they purchase the licenses from Dolby on future upgrades.
    Thanks for the excellent site cnxsoft. A lot of useful information here. BTW is there a list on the net of all the Mini PC devices that are based on Android? Every time I google, some new devices keep popping up. A Google docs table would be nice, where the users could enter upcoming new devices so that one could filter the entries… min. 512MB, min. Android 4.0, etc., min clock speed…etc.
    Also thanks to Aliosa27 for the first impressions… it looks like a neat device.

  36. Alexander
    June 2, 2012

    Hi,

    Does an alternative Linux package exist for MK802? Regular Linux, not Android. And in general, are there any resources available online about this device? Tweaks, internals, howto’s etc.

    Thanks,
    Alexander

  37. cnxsoft
    June 2, 2012

    @ Alexander
    Sort of. Somebody has released Ubuntu 10.04 image, but based on this image can can also get a more recent Ubuntu version, Debian or another distribution your are familiar with. See http://www.cnx-software.com/2012/04/28/how-to-create-your-own-debian-ubuntu-image-for-mele-a1000-allwinner-a10-based-stb/ for the Ubuntu 10.04 image and details.

    You can also join arm-netbook mailing for details and check Rhombus-tech website.

    Later there should be better images, as I’m working with some people on the list to have a build server and generate Ubuntu and Debian images.

  38. Alexander
    June 2, 2012

    @cnxsoft Thanks. One more thing — are there any instructions how to the original firmware back? Just in case.

  39. cnxsoft
    June 2, 2012

    @ Alexander
    Linux will boot from the microSD, so you won’t even touch the old firmware. If you want to run the old firmware simply, remove the bootable microSD.

    PS: Those images are not really for end users, and you may have tinker with Linux config files, for example to make networking work.

  40. cnxsoft
    June 2, 2012

    @ Trest
    Yes if Odys Xelio and MK802 have similar specs (A10, 512 MB RAM) and both run Android 4.0, the performance should just feel the same.

    A mini PC list is an interesting proposition, but I don’t know any. It might be difficult to maintain (and we need to define mini pc), although sometimes such lists appear in Wikipedia.

    Somebody put up a A10/A13 device lists http://www.j1nx.nl/arm/list-allwinner-a1x-devices/, but this is mainly composed of tablets.

  41. cnxsoft
    June 3, 2012

    For those who don’t like to purchase from Chinese websites, you can buy MK802 on Amazon

  42. Trest
    June 3, 2012

    @ cnxsoft
    That’s a nice price… too bad, that they don’t offer shipping to the EU, or the EU power plug version. Regarding the list or table for Android based Mini-PC… I would call Mini-PCs what is called as Set-top boxes in list you posted.
    Mele A1000/A2000, MK802/Z820, artwaytech FVD-11, Always Innovating HDMI Dongle, Meteorit MMB-22, Meteorit MMB-422.HDTV, PineRiver H24/MINI-X, … and probably a few others… It’s hard to get an overview what’s on market. I would focus on machines with at least 512 MB RAM (better 1GB), at least Android 2.3 (better 4.0 either stock or flashable) and some sort of Cortex A8/A9 SoC. Maybe I will do a Google Docs table with public access next week and post the link here that others can contribute too.

  43. cnxsoft
    June 3, 2012

    @ Trest
    Yes, the Google docs ideas is a good one, you can post it here.

    FYR, Wikipedia actually already have some kind of list of mini-PCs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini_PC, but they are different beasts…

  44. Jordy Kroeze
    June 3, 2012

    @Trest, so i cant use it in the netherlands?
    Because i want it really bad.

  45. David
    June 4, 2012

    Yes I second the spreadsheet idea there, bookmarked.

  46. Trest
    June 4, 2012

    @Jordy :
    According to the Exduct.com seller, he will have the EU plug version back in stock in 5 days, which should work fine for you. Be prepared that shipping might take long… usually something between 2-4 weeks.
    http://www.exduct.com/Electronic-Products/MK802-Android-Mini-PC.html
    86.16-10(discount)+5.34(slowest shipping option)=$81.50 shipped…

  47. Trest
    June 4, 2012

    Aliosa made a cool video with the device in action:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BE3Q45ohjPo
    Charbax shows us the internals of the device and the seller that sells it over Amazon.com:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiYK1Hfy8X4

  48. Trest
    June 4, 2012

    The video from Charbax shows, that the device can be powered by the included external power plug and also via the USB OTG port. You “loose” a USB-host port this way, but there is still 1 USB-host port left.

  49. max
    June 13, 2012
  50. cnxsoft
    June 13, 2012

    @ max
    I prefer this form factor because it can be directly plugged into the TV.
    Concerning the performance I think it should be similar, but I haven’t seen cortex A5 (or Telechips TCC 8925) benchmarks yet.

    You also need to buy 5 in your link, which may be a problem for customs in some countries.

  51. Trest
    June 14, 2012

    Would some of you be willing to help gathering informations for an overview in a Google Docs Table of the most interesting Mini-PC/Set-Top-Boxes based on Android (2.3/4.0) with min. 512 MB Ram and A8/A9 Socs or better?
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhUSb66Hj8PodEFzV0Y4TVNlbVVKOHZOOHkxUU9Bcnc

  52. cnxsoft
    June 14, 2012

    @ Trest
    Thanks for that.

    I did not know Android 4.0 was already available for Mele A1000/A2000, and I can’t find a firmware update.

  53. radioactive
    June 14, 2012

    @ Trest
    why only android devices?

    i think we should write a list with all interesting mini pc (raspberry pi, cubox, …)

  54. Trest
    June 14, 2012

    @CNX-Soft: I can’t find the update either, but several vendors state they sell the box with a stock-rom that includes 4.0… also a German user posted pics/vids which clearly show 4.03 on the A2000.
    http://www.android-hilfe.de/sonstige-android-geraete/250327-review-mele-a2000-android-ics-4-0-mediaplayer-allwinner-a10-cpu.html
    @radioactive: I want to start with the set-top-boxes for android… you can use my table as a template and start listing everthing else on arm (developer boards) … but I had to limit the table somewhere… to many device out there already. Android 4.0 also is quiet demanding… so the PI would automatically drop out of the minimum specs… but you are right that this is based on my personal preference… which mostly focusses on bang-for-the-buck

  55. radioactive
    June 15, 2012
  56. cnxsoft
    June 15, 2012

    @ radioactive
    This A10 board is 40 GBP, or about 60 USD. That’s OK. But I’ve just bought a Cortex A9 tablet for 76 USD.
    I’ve also seen the CX-01 mini PC with cortex A5 selling for 55 USD, so we should see pretty good boards below 50 USD.

    I’m also not sure he would get the board before the R-Pi, because of the leadtime to manufacture the board (a few weeks).

  57. michael
    June 17, 2012

    Hi, I’m the owner of gooseberry! Just here to say that lead time to manufacture is not an issue. Boards are already mass produced and so the only delay to you guys getting a board is the time it takes to get from China to our doors. We are currently ordering all boards via express delivery meaning they will come within a week. This means we can get the boards out there as quickly as possible! Of course, for some, a tablet will be best option due to similarity’s in price. The CX-01 mini pc is similarly priced, however, it does not have a micro sd card which could potentially limit the amount of software you can install. Please register your interest on the site, so we can order more boards. You should in theory be getting boards within two weeks if we can get the numbers up! Finally, we do allow bulk orders so if anyone is interested please contact [email protected].

  58. cnxsoft
    June 25, 2012

    Togetho.ru organizes a group buy for Rikomagic MK802 with 1GB RAM that will sell for $69.99 including HK Post shipping via Aliexpress. You can register to get a coupon @ http://www.togetho.ru/rikomk802eng.html

  59. Trest
    June 27, 2012

    Exduct has lowered their price also. For the 1GB model with US/EU power plug it is now $73.16-10+5.34= 68.50 . I guess the Russian group buy has put some pressure on the market.
    http://www.exduct.com/android-4-0-mini-pc-mk802/1GB-hdmi-stick/worlds-smallest-pc

  60. Leo
    June 27, 2012

    @ Trest
    You are not quite correct.
    Let’s calculate price with HK post shipping on exduct – $73.16 – $10 + $9.81 = $72.97
    Let’s check price on Aliexpress with HKPost – $69.99 – $5 (discount coupon) = $64.99
    Feel the difference?
    If you want China post, price on Aliexpress will be even lower then $64.99.

  61. nic
    June 27, 2012

    Is HDMI 1.4 or 1.3?

  62. Trest
    June 28, 2012

    @Leo: OK, you are right about the diference in shipping methods. Is there a PP payment option available on Aliexpress and can we order European power plugs?

  63. Leo
    June 28, 2012

    @ Trest
    The is no PayPal on Aliexpress. Aliexpress has Escrow protection system for orders: seller will receive money only after you confirm receipt of goods.
    All orders by default will have EU plug adapter for free (if you need US plug adapter, add comment for order)

    Good news! You can buy Riko MK802 1GB with special price right now! (valid till 30 of June) Also, surprise! You can buy Mele F10 Flying Mouse for your Riko MK802 with best price.
    Check this page how to place order and get Riko MK80 1Gb or Bundle with Mele F10 Flying Mouse – http://togetho.ru/rikomk802eng.html

  64. Different
    July 5, 2012

    The second generation of MK802, called MK802 II, will appear in September.

  65. Stan
    July 12, 2012

    Is it possible to attache usb hub and wireless keyboard and web cam to it?I want to use skype on my tv.

  66. cnxsoft
    July 12, 2012

    @ Stan
    I think the current firmware does not support it (Webcam), but an update is in the work.
    Skype works on the Mele A1000 (based on the same platform), so it should definitely work once they update the firmware.

  67. Stan
    July 12, 2012

    @ cnxsoft
    Do you know the estimated date for this new firmware?I found that new hardware version of this device will be available in september this year.May be it will include the driver for usb cam?

  68. cnxsoft
    July 13, 2012
  69. beboom
    August 1, 2012

    @ Stan
    If you install Linux on it and recompile the kernel to match your hardware (keyboard, webcam, etc), works like a charm.
    I have 2 MK802, 1 for skype/emulators/surfing on the internet and the another one I use as a server (runnning Apache + PHP).
    Android OS works just to see youtube :P
    If you want to make more with your MK802, be sure to install Linux on it.

  70. Gabe
    November 16, 2012

    MK803 based on Amlogic single-core A9 chip, interesting because it has AV port in addition to HDMI & AUX:
    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Brand-New-MK803-Android4-0-Mini-PC-Cortex-A9-1GHz-WIFI-HD-Google-TV-Box-Dongle/688287521.html

  71. Green
    February 26, 2013

    This gadget update so fast, now the MK802 IIIS with soft turn-off and bluetooth and XBMC support is only 57 or so.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_Mini_PC_MK802

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