...and the Rest
If you're a Linux type and you can't get a Rπ, need more CPU performance or a more current version of Ubuntu, then a Beagleboard-xM is a much better deal than an ARMini. You could build your own Beagleboard system for around £200-£250 and it will be a far more capable than an Rπ – albeit at about ten times the price.
The CuBox is claimed by its makers to be the world's smallest desktop PC: it's a 2in cube, weighing under 100g and running on less than 3W. Available since the start of 2012, it has a single-core 800MHz ARM v7 core, 1GB of RAM, GigE, SPDIF and eSata ports – less powerful than the Thin-Slice, but well-spec'd for a tiny media player with local storage. It comes with a 2GB microSD card preloaded with Ubuntu, but can also dual-boot with Android.
FXI Technology CottonCandy
Even smaller is the CottonCandy from Norwegian outfit FXI. The form-factor of a USB thumbdrive, the machine can also plug directly into an HDMI port. It has few connections – a microUSB connector and a microSD slot and the two host ports – but it packs in a 1.2GHz Cortex-A9 CPU, quad-core Mali 400 GPU, 1GB of RAM and both 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR. It's currently only on pre-order, though.
Next page: Pandaboard ES
So much possibility so far till payday :(
Re: *I think I paid around £27 with vat and shipping.
"When I give up smoking I'm guna buy Raspberries instead!"
IF you live that long !
> "It’s not entirely clear to me why the Beagleboard is so expensive ... "
We are told the Pi took 6 years to develop. I'm guessing that during the time the developers had proper jobs and regarded the Pi as a sort of altruistic hobby. It definitely wasn't going to be a source of income during those years.
Consequently all the time and resources used for the development process are a sunk cost and don't have to be recouped from the unit-price of the eventual product. That's what makes the Pi different from commercial offerings. In these cases the years (or more likely: months, for time is money) of developer time has to be paid for - in salaries, equipment and facilities.
We also know that given a large enough production run (say for a mobile phone) these costs don't add a great deal to each board when you're producing a million of them. Even less if all you have to do is add new features/power to an existing design. However for a low-sales, niche market that only produces one-hundreth the number of units, those same costs will contribute 100 times as much to the price of each board made.
Maybe the longest lasting legacy of the Pi won't be introducing children to little motherboards, but will be the creation of a low-cost, open sourced basis for future embedded hardware.
My RasPi should arrive this week...
Looking forward to it - at the very least, the Pi will make a decent cheap Linux machine to experiment with, and hopefully more. (I'm holding out for a "TV PC", though I realise this is basically a development board, often with alpha-level drivers to match, so I'm managing my expectations.)
Just wanted to mention another distro for the Pi: Arch Linux/ARM, which I understand is pretty mature as ARM Linuxes go - it's been running on machines like the SheevaPlug for some time now. I'm planning to use Arch with the Pi, as I have some experience from running Arch/x86 on my Eee 701SD netbook.
That said, I wouldn't mind giving the open RISC OS a spin :-)
>The ARMini is considerably quicker than the Raspberry Pi, which despite a powerful GPU has >only 256MB of Ram and a 700MHz ARMv6 core
Which is only a problem if you run today's software where everything has to be portable, virtualised or abstracted.
There's people doing amazing things with 20Mhz ATMega chips with 64kb flash.