Home > Android, Hardware, Linux, WonderMedia WM8XXX > VIA Announces $79 APC Rock & $99 APC Paper Cortex A9 Board and PC

VIA Announces $79 APC Rock & $99 APC Paper Cortex A9 Board and PC

Following the launch of the $49 APC ARM11 board as a Raspberry Pi alternative last year, VIA has just announced two new APC products based on a WonderMedia WM8950 Cortex A9 processor:

  • APC Rock – $79 Android board
  • APC Paper – $99 Android PC with a case made of recycled cardboard
APC Rock

APC Rock

Both products run Android 4.0 (ICS) and mostly share the same specifications:

  • SoC – VIA WonderMedia WM8950 ARM Cortex-A9 @800Mhz + Mali-400 GPU
  • System Memory – 512 DDR3 SDRAM
  • Storage – 4GB NAND Flash + microUSB slot
  • Video Output – HMDI (Rock & Paper) and VGA (Rock only)
  • Audio I/O – Audio out / Mic in combo
  • Ethernet – 10/100 Mbps
  • USB – USB 2.0 (x2) and microUSB (OTG)
  • 20-pin ARM-JTAG header
  • Extra GPIO, SPI and I2C busses on a header
  • Dimensions (Board) – 170 x 85mm (W x H), Neo-ITX Standard.
APC Paper

APC Paper

APC Paper is basically the same as APC Rock, except it lacks VGA, but comes with a cardboard casing. $20 for a piece of cardboard seems expensive to me…

Documentation, mechanical files, firmware, as well as bootloader, and kernel source codes are available at http://apc.io/library. The ARM11 to Cortex A9 means it will be able to run Ubuntu and other variants (ALIP, lubuntu…), although performance will be limited by the lowly 512 MB of system memory.

APC Rock can be purchased now for US$79, and APC Paper is expected to begin shipping in March of 2013 for US$99. You’ll also have to add between $16 to $25 for shipping depending where you live.

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  1. onebir
    January 17th, 2013 at 19:46 | #1

    +shipping fees (ave $20) = $100 or $120 (Rock/Paper) for a single core 512mb Android board

    Perhaps I’m missing something, but there doesn’t seem to be anything compelling about this offering?

  2. January 17th, 2013 at 19:56 | #2

    @onebir
    I forgot about shipping. I’ve just added that.
    You’re right, the price is not very competitive. Maybe some people will take advantage of the neo-ITX form factor. VIA claims it’s compatible with Mini-ITX and MicroATX, so I suppose this means it can easily be fitted into standard enclosures.

  3. Marius
    January 17th, 2013 at 20:16 | #3

    Too expensive. For $79 I can get a mini laptop based on the same VIA SOC or even a tablet. It’s also possible to get that with 1 GB of RAM.
    If these at least had 1 GB of RAM I’d consider them.

  4. January 17th, 2013 at 20:58 | #4

    512 MB of RAM, seriously VIA?…

  5. Marius
    January 17th, 2013 at 22:47 | #5

    For $10 more you can actually get this one:

    http://www.hardkernel.com/renewal_2011/products/prdt_info.php?g_code=G135341370451

    And well … there’s really no comparing the 2 in terms of performance. The only benefit I do indeed see with this one is the form factor.
    Anyway I do remember Via as the company that always delivered the weak performing stuff and this is no exception unfortunately. Not saying their products are bad in term of quality, they just don’t have good performance compared to the rival products.

  6. Gabe
    January 18th, 2013 at 02:17 | #6

    They should have used the dual core wm8980 with 1GB RAM:
    http://www.pcper.com/news/General-Tech/CES-2013-WonderMedia-Dualcore-PRIZM-SoC

  7. Ian Tester
    January 19th, 2013 at 19:34 | #7

    Good to see they’re using a Cortex-A9 core now, but the 512MB of RAM is keeping this from being useful for a general-purpose Linux desktop.

  1. January 6th, 2014 at 19:20 | #1