CoolShip is a $89 Rockchip RK3066 Android Keyboard Desktop Computer

If you’re nostalgic and miss your Commodore C64, FocusWill Coolship could be right for you. It’s a keyboard desktop computer running Android 4.0 ICS (or a customized of Android version called CoolShip OS) powered by Rockchip RK3066 SoC with 1GB RAM, 4 to 8 NAND Flash, VGA and HDMI outputs and more.

WillFocus CoolShip

Here are the specifications of this device:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3066 Dual Cortex A9 @ 1.5Ghz + Mali-400MP4 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage – 4 to 8 GB NAND Flash +  SD Card slot
  • Connectivity:
    • 10/100Mbps Ethernet (via USB to Ethernet chip)
    • 802.11b/g/n
  • Keyboard – 104 Standard QWERTY keyboard with number keys + Touchpad
  • Video Outputs – VGA + HDMI with dual display support.
  • Video Codecs – MPEG-1/2/4, H.264, H.263, RMVB, WMV, VC-1, AVS, MVC, RV8/RV9/RV10, VP6/VP8
  • Audio I/O – Stereo Speakers (2×1Ω;0.7W), 1x MIC and 1x Earphone jack
  • USB – 2x USB2.0
  • Power Supply – Input: AC 100~240V/50~60Hz, Output: DC 5V 2A
  • Battery – Build in 300mAh Li-battery to protect the android OS in case of power failure or outage
  • Dimensions –  395 x 215 x 34 mm
  • Weight – 1.2kg

The CoolShip comes with a power adapter and a user manual. The device can run a stock version of Android 4.0, or CoolShip OS which is a customized Android version, specifically developed for the CoolShip computer, that allows users having an user experience close to that of Windows OS (But no screenshots are available..).

Since it’s based on Rockchip RK3066, and the developer community managed to release PicUntu, an Ubuntu based distribution for RK3066 mini PC, it’s likely you may also eventually be able run PicUntu on the CoolShip.

FocusWill also promotes the device as a “green” computer, because it can be upgraded easily by simply replacing the CPU module inside the keyboard.

You can watch the presentation video below for details.

The company claims to have already done a first successful production run, so the device development should already be complete, but they need some help to get a larger production run in order to decrease the cost of the device, which is why they launched an Indiegogo campaign, and aim to raise $10,000 US in total.

The cheapest pledge is the Starter Package ($89) that includes a CoolShip computer with 4GB Flash running Android 4.0 and international shipping, and goes up to $139 with 8GB Flash, and an extra 32 GB SD Card loaded with CoolShip OS tryout and a USB mouse. All pledges will be shipped in April 2013.

Beside the Indiegogo campaign, you can also find more information on FocusWill CoolShip page.

Thanks to Onebir for the tip!

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sky770
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sky770

erm..nobody would want to sit infront of his 40″ TV while his/her hands on this thing 😀
If we have to maintain the distance..then I suppose an extended HDMI cable only will do the trick.

But if wecan somehow mirror the content from this keyboard/mini pc combo onto our TV’s directly..that will be awesome! 😀

onebir
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onebir

@sky770
Focuswill’s website mentions that they’re working on a screen mirroring product…

I only wish they’d adopt a standard type of replaceable motherboard (like the Rhombus Tech EOMA-68). :s

onebir
Guest
onebir

Or is the Coolship using an EDM SOM, like the Wandboard? Which could be rather… cool 🙂

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steve
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wtf this is useless.. get an amiga instead… or put a real OS on it.

sky770
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sky770

AFAIK and from their picture gallery I would assume they have a SOM kind of design* though interesting part would be what other* SOM they will offer to public…as this config is pretty ‘ol and has already been in the market at a more competitive price point. Also, now that quad cores are ramping up too 😀

And yeahh I figured their “airpas” product (http://www.focuswill.com/html_info/AirPas-19.html) but am skeptical off its performance..say 1080p over air and no noticeable lag due to latency? O_o *interesting* because the catch is right there..”noticeable lag” 🙁 like when playing games (mostly*), using skype, netflix, youtube etc.

sky770
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sky770

All in all quite an interesting product and market gainer 😀

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Sander
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Sander

Cool! Tres cool!

A bit disappointing (to say the least) there is not even one screen of the system running Android at all.

BTW: did you notice all texts on the back of the keyboard are upside down? See at 0:25 in the YT-clip. It makes me think they clicked in an existing board, or something like that.

onebir
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onebir

@sky770
I’m hoping the SOM is standard in some way, so we can slot in something from another manufacturer (if they happen to produce it first). Apparently this is possible with the wandaboards.

Re price point, the form factor makes this kind of unique. I think they’ll be able to command a premium unless other manufacturers decide to jump on this bandwangon. I think this is quite likely – there’s a big market for ‘hotel computers’ in China; by using the TV these save the hotel the monitor – but it might take a while. I doubt they’ll ever get quite as common as TV sticks though.

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onebir
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onebir

I emailed them about the SOM. It’s not an EDM, but this seems to be the result of some careful design decisions. They said
1) EDM cards have built in WIFI module, and unnecessary expense because these don’t often need upgrading.
2) EDM uses ‘gold finger’* contacts – they use ‘inserted needles’* which they think are less prone to getting dislodged/poor contact due to vibration and easier to install.
3) EDMs supply is 5V only, but some components on the SOM . But CPU & RAM need different voltages, so this makes for an SOM with lots of DC converter chipsets, increasing heat dissipation load and PCB layout complexity. Where possible they’re trying to keep the DC conversion on the basedboard.

So it sounds like they have a technically better solution than EDM, which should allow their SOMs to be cheaper & more reliable. But they might be specific to Coolship products.

*I’m not up on Chinese electronics terms, so these are direct translations 🙂

sky770
Guest
sky770

Hey,
Thanks for posting it here 🙂

@cnxsoft
Now, that’s something you might want to add up in the article (better if the original email text is put up 😀 )

onebir
Guest
onebir

@sky770
Original text:
对,我们也是通过所谓的SOM更换来升级系统的。

但是我们没有采用EDM标准,主要是:
1. EDM标准定义的SOM一般带有wifi模块,而我们的wifi模块并不在module之上,这主要是由于用户并不需要频繁升级wifi网卡。
2. EDM所采用的连接方式是金手指,类似内存条方式,我们采用的方式则是插针式。主要是我们考虑到插针方式更可靠一些,一方面安装简单,另外一方面不容易因震动等问题脱落或者接触不良。
3. EDM 所采用的Module通常只有一路电压输入(比如5V),这样,cpu、内存等设备所需要的不同电压,都必须通过dc-dc转换得到。这就会在 module上增加很多DC转换芯片,他们带来的问题就是module的发热量增加,布局变得复杂。所以我们考虑把DC芯片尽可能放在 baseboard上,确保多路电压转换完成后再进入Module,减少module的复杂度,降低module的发热。

应该说,golden finger 接口和 socket 接口,其实只是接口形式不同,以及考虑问题的出发点不同,并无本质区别。

Gist above; I’m not quite sure how to translate the last sentence. Maybe: “I should say, gold finger contacts and sockets are really just two different forms/types of connectors, which take different considerations into account, but aren’t fundamentally different.”

Anyway, I was impressed to get such a prompt, detailed reply. Some Chinese companies are extremely unforthcoming about their products technical details. (I’m looking at you, TP-Link. I hope you’re feeling embarrassed now 🙂 )

Dmitry Zhadan
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Dmitry Zhadan

Android computer in keyboard: the idea is good, but the implementation is not very …
How about 2GB of RAM?
And what about the more powerful processor – for example, quad-core Freescale i.MX6 with SATA connectors on board? Agrees to pay even $300 for that mini-PC.

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Member

Interesting device. But for use with a TV, I think it’d be more practical to have a dongle-like device connected to the TV and use a wireless keyboard and/or mouse.

@Sander the text is upside-down because they’re assuming you’ll flip the device over when connecting cables.

onebir
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onebir

I just checked their indiegogo progress & it now looks like they might meet their 10k target – largely thanks to CNX-soft’s article 🙂

Being somewhat unhappy with most Chinese companies’ relationships with FOSS etc, I mailed them to encourage them to work together with the FOSS community. They say they do want to, but staff limitations are a constraint. They do have someone working on Linux 🙂 issues & realise some end-users would prefer it, but think Android is better suited to the broader user base. Also because (?) Linux wasn’t ported by the chip manufacturer stability (esp during startup) is more of an issue, and they think X-windows is trickier to develop for than the Android API.

Full text below (with permission from Steven):
我们也很希望能和世界范围内的广大科技爱好者有深入和广泛的交流和学习,只是目前人手不够,大家又很忙。因此,我认为等我们产品批量出货后,我们可以有更多的时间来交流,也请您多多谅解。

考虑到某些客户有关于linux os的需求,我们这边已经安排工程师去跟进有关linux的事情。
但我们目前主推的产品依然是android版本。这主要有以下几个原因:
1) 目前 android比较贴近消费类用户的使用,简单而且app较多,尤其是 net video 和 browser 这部分较为完善。
2)linux os并不是cpu原厂移植的,因此是否会遇到问题,需要评估与测试。尤其是,驱动部分的移植。因为即便使用相同的cpu,可能也会遇到不同的周边设备,这时候驱动的问题就凸显出来。
3)android设备的软件开发api完备,且标准统一。linux的 x-windows完全是自成一家的,可能会遇到较多麻烦。

因此,除非遇到特殊客户需求,否则linux版本不会是我们的标准出货版本。

onebir
Guest
onebir

@cnxsoft
onebir just happened to decide to browse the indiegogo tech section & the thing with the chocolate keyboard was 😉
I thought the $10k target was oddly low too – maybe because they were close to production anyway?

Dana
Guest
Dana

Chocolate keys? that’s going to be messy after a bit.

Steven
Guest

Hello,CNX guys,

I am Steven,the one who invented chocolate keyboard for girls some days ago.
Thank you for your press release for our CoolShip computer on indiegogo campaign,now it is moving in a fast track.
We do not only collect orders from indiegogo,most orders come from corporate clients.We talked with several foreign corporate clients many days ago,they showed much interest to be our exclusive agent of the CoolShip computer in their countries.That is why we made the target of only $10,000 on indiegogo.
Another reason is that we are a chinese company,we do not familiar with the rules of indiegogo,this is our first time campaign so we can not target high.
You guys are right,I should have done a demo video,I will do it today and upload on youtube which you can have a watch.
Thank you onebir.
Thank you to all you guys,I love to talk with all of you.

steven
Guest
steven

Hi guys,

I uploaded some screenshot on our indiegogo campaign page at http://igg.me/at/CoolShip/x/989539.You can see from the campaign home and the gallery,photos with android 4.0 and the CoolShip OS which is still in chinese version.
CoolShip OS was originally designed for the Chinese market.We use 2 sets of OS firmware to shift between android standard OS and CoolShip OS.

Ajith Kumar
Guest

It seems like there are some cheaper options, but require a bit of modification. Recently I bought an Allwinner A10S Dongle from WITS Technology http://www.wits-tech.com/pagesen/tablets.jsp (there is a video there). It costs US$20 in bulk. Booted into Android (Chinese),
Has iGB DDR, 4GB flash, WI-FI, HDMI & USB.
It is a matter of putting some effort to boot it into Linux from the SD card, connect a keyboard, mouse & HDMI monitor you have a complete machine.
The photographs of the PCB are at:

http://expeyes.in/sites/default/files/a10-board-top.JPG
http://expeyes.in/sites/default/files/a10-board-bottom.JPG

onebir
Guest
onebir

@Ajith Kumar
Bear in mind these are being shipped by DHL (~$30 vs ~$10 for a lighter device by airmail). Also I don’t think they’ve really scaled up production yet. I’m hoping they build an STB using their baseboard/SOM design, which would lend itself well to use with a wireless keyboard (perhaps rechargeable in a dock?) which would eliminate the lag etc that might occur with ‘airpas’.

Sean
Guest
Sean

@sky770
Look up the MK808.

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[…] has just sent me a picture of the internal boards of the CoolShip Android keyboard computer. It’s composed of a main board (Keyboard-V2.0) and a CPU module with RK3066, flash and SDRAM […]

Gabe
Guest
Gabe

So what happened to this product? Focuswill website doesn’t work.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Not sure what happened to the website/product/people but I’m putting my money on them going bankrupt and stealing a lot of peoples money…..including 240$ from myself. Indigogo isn’t able to do anything but remove the funding post (I guess that makes them look good since you can’t find it anymore) but they can do nothing if you got screwed. It’s the last time I use indigogo to fund anything…..I’ve learnt my lesson!

onebir
Guest
onebir

That’s terrible. I had an email address for one of them; also bounced 🙁

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[…] Coolship keyboard computer was announced in 2013, it caught the attention of some people, but unfortunately the crowdfunding […]