$99 (and up) Compulab Utilite ARM based Computer Runs Ubuntu or Android

If you’re ready to tinker it’s possible to run Linux in one of the low cost ARM based set-top boxes or mini PCs currently available, although if you need Linux with 3D acceleration and video playback, your only realistic option is to go with solutions based on Freescale i.MX6. Compulab has been developing a mini desktop computer based on Freescale i.MX6 Solo, Dual or Quad that will run either Ubuntu or Android, so you don’t need to mess around to run Ubuntu on cheap ARM hardware. The device is expected to sell for $99 and up starting in August according to Fanlesstech.


Compulab Utilite will have the following specifications:

  • SoC – Freescale i.MX6 single / dual / quad core Cortex-A9 up to 1.2GHz, with Vivante GPU, and Video Processing Unit supporting multi-stream 1080p H.264, VC1, RV10, DivX HW decoding
  • System Memory – Up to 4GB DDR3-1066
  • Storage – 1MB SPI flash, mSATA SSD (up to 512GB) + micro-SD SDXC slot (up to 128GB)
  • Video Output:
    • Primary Display – HDMI 1.4 up to 1920 x 1200 @ 60Hz
    • Secondary Display DVI-D up to 1920 x 1200 @ 60Hz
  • Audio I/O – Audio S/PDIF 5.1 (electrical through 3.5mm jack), Stereo line-out, Stereo line-in
  • Connectivity:
    • 2x 1000 BaseT Ethernet ports
    • WiFi 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, single antenna
    • Bluetooth Bluetooth 3.0 (88MW8787)
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG
  • Serial – Two RS232 serial ports, ultra mini serial connector
  • Dimensions – 135mm x 100mm x 21mm
  • Power Supply – Unregulated 10 to 16 volt input
  • Power 3W – 8W (depending on system configuration and load)
  • Operating Temperature – 0C – 45C


We’ve got dual Gigabit Ethernet, dual (independent?) displays, SATA support, up to 4GB memory… That looks like a very interesting product. Apart from 1MB internal flash, there’s no other storage with the device, so I assume it may be sold with an internal SSD or microSD card pre-loaded with Android or Ubuntu.

You can get an overview of the internals, including the name of some of the chips used, in the block diagram below. On a side note, the company also provides CM-FX6 computer-on-modules based on i.MX6 Solo/Dual/Quad, so they may or may not have used it inside the Utilite (TBC).

Utilite Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)
Utilite Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

Compulab is known for its Trim-slice (Tegra 2) and FitPC (x86) fanless Linux computers, and has provided hardware and software resources for both devices. For example, for the Trimslice, you can download the user and reference manuals,  mechanical and board drawing, as well as access OS binary images, and source code for the bootloader and the Linux kernel. So I’d expect them to do the same for Utilite via utilite-computer.com.

Provided it does feature all connectivity and video capabilities listed in the specs above, the $99 base version will truly be a unique product in the market. However, higher end versions (quad core, more memory) may be sold at a price that competes directly with x86 based solutions, and low power consumption will be the main advantage.

Via Liliputing

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Compulab Utilite2 is a Snapdragon 600 Powered mini PC Running Android 4.4 or Ubuntu 14.04Peter BauerRamonpingpongcnxsoft Recent comment authors
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If this device will have h/w acceleration, means that i will be able to run XBMC with h/w decode in Ubuntu? Or is there any other ARM device on the market that can use hw decode in XBMC for linux?


XBMC is indeed running with hardware acceleration. Take a look at this thread http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=161793&page=16. Haven’t tested this build myself (yet)


This looks a little better than the Wandboard, and cheaper too! Interesting that they added a second GigE interface using the PCIe bus. And I wonder why they went with mSATA for connecting an SSD. Size restrictions?


Yeah, I only realised that after I wrote that comment. Single-core for $99 is not so great after all 🙁
At least they’re not using the SoloLite and DualLite parts for the single and dual-core models like Wandboard, so they all have SATA and the more powerful GPU/VPU.


@Ian Tester
Solo and DualLite have the same graphics capabilities, as do Dual and Quad (high-end). Solo and DualLite do not have SATA, only Dual and Quad.

SoloLite is kind of a special case… not related to DualLite

Spiro Telegadis
Spiro Telegadis

I like the platform as a whole and it does seem to have an impressive spec beyond the base model. The ability to run dual heads and an in and out ethernet have me excited for implementation in a PBX platform. I’ve been looking for something to use as a gateway with 2600hz.com in a SOHO embedded application. Dual core would be perfect solution provided the audio processor is up to par.

That said, I’m a bit skeptical Compulab. Trimslice had a lot of promise but priced itself out of competition. Their target seems to be industrial computing but their designs have a stronger consumer appeal.


Maybe I missed it but surprised that it was not published here, read it on liliputing.


Looks like a thing that would at least suit my needs as a supernoob : Ubuntu and Android preinstalled, wow.


I use the Raspberry Pi for XBMC. It is true that the UI is a bit slow, but for a $35 computer it’s not that bad, if you have patience. @cnxsoft

Peter Bauer

Pre-order in UK is already possilble and you can win one Utilite:


[…] Compulab Utilite is a family of mini PC based on Freescale i.MX6 processors that can run either Android or Ubuntu, and was launched in 2013. The company has now introduced the second generation of Utilite computer with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad core Krait 300 processor, with 2GB RAM, eMMC and mSATA storage, and various network connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, and Cellular. Utilite2 will be 30% smaller than the original Utilite computer, and twice the performance of the Utilite Pro with I.MX6 quad. […]