Here’s yet another Android mini PC HDMI Stick. Equiso has started a KickStarter compaign to raise funds to complete development and manufacture the Equiso Smart TV, an Android mini PC based on Telechips TCC8925 Cortex A5 processor.
It looks very similar to CX-01 mini PC with Android 4.0 running on a TCC8925 processor, 512 MB RAM and the lack of a microSD card slot. The only hardware differences are that it includes 8GB internal storage (vs 4GB for CX-01), and it features an HDMI 1.4 port (vs 1.3 for others).
Here are the specs of the device:
- Telechips TCC8925 Arm Cortex A5 Processor @ 1GHz + Mali 400 3D Graphics Processor
- 512 MB DDR3 RAM
- 802.11 N wireless radio
- 8 GB Memory Internal (WiFi)
- 1.4 HDMI Plug n’ Play Interface, 3D, ESD protection, CEC
- USB 2.0 port
- microUSB 2.0 port to power the device
- Dimensions – 80mm x 30mm x 12mm
But the biggest difference is that it comes with a dual sided “magic” remote control with a “media player” side and qwerty keyboard side. The remote operates over a 2.4GHz wireless connection and features a 3-axis accelerometer and a 3-axis gyroscope. They mention that the remote uses a micro USB port for power, probably to recharge the remote battery, and we don’t actually need to connect it to some USB power source during use.
Software might also be better than the one that comes with Chinese versions, as the company claims that Softobiz, a software company with the same owner as Equiso, has worked thousands of hours to optimize the software for the platform. However, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to hack it, and run Linux on it as you can with AllWinner A10 devices such as MK802 mini PC, because Telechips usually makes it very difficult (NDA) to obtain GPL sources such as the Linux kernel, and the lack of microSD card slot makes it a pain for development. Having said that, the 3D model shows the internal storage might be a microSD card, which would make it more suitable for hacking (TBC). (By the way, if you have a Telechips device using one of the new TCC892X processors, you can try to request the GPL source code at [email protected]).
One interesting point is that they chose Cortex A5 over Cortex A9, because of overheating issues such as the ones many people complain about with Cortex A8 based mini PCs. No doubt price also came into play as well, as Telechips TCC8925 mini PCs are currently the cheapest on the market.
The package (Equiso Smart TV + Remote) is available for 69 USD on Kickstarter with free shipping in the US and $15 US for international destinations, and is expected to ship in August. If you don’t already have a wireless remote, that price is very competitive, and it would be difficult to purchase a mini PC + dual sided wireless remote for that price on Chinese sites, especially for US customers who get free shipping.
The company also offers an Equiso Smart TV Pro with 1GB RAM that requires a $99 pledge, and should be available in October 2012. They’ll also add features to the pro version if they meet some funding targets, starting with WiFi Direct ($250,000), then Bluetooth 4.0 ($400,000) and finally 16 GB storage ($750,000).