VIA, a PC component manufacturer, recently announced their Raspberry Pi competitor called the Android PC (APC) System. With a $49 price tag, it has caught the attention of the masses. Now, VIA has released extra documentation that will help developers get started with their projects. So far, the ROM image, the kernel, the boot-loader have been released. VIA has also released start up kits, data sheets and there is a dedicated forum on the website for crowdsourcing and brainstorming. Those wanting to download the ROM image, the kernel and the boot loader can do so here.

Not as compact as the Pi, but still small

Small: Android PC System by VIA

For those not in-the-know, VIA faces stiff competition from the Raspberry Pi, which is regarded as one of the cheapest integrated solutions for a computing board. Shipments are moving out fast, and customers are receiving the Pi. It has been a big boon for those carrying out DIY and hobby projects, and also for those who want to set up a cheap, compact PC. The Raspberry Pi is a popular product and there has been a lot of demand for it. Even though the VIA APC is slightly more expensive, there is an incredible amount of demand for it as well. In fact, all of its pre-order pieces seem to have been sold out.

The VIA APC’s technical model number is APC 8750 and it runs an 800 MHz processor. There’s also 512 MB of DDR3 memory as well as 2 GB of NAND Flash memory. A built-in 3D graphics accelerator in it can render videos upto 720p. HDMI connectivity as well as D-Sub output ports are present, along with a microSD card slot. Four USB ports are available, so you can connect external storage drives to it. There is no Wi-Fi support, but there is an 100 Mbps Ethernet card. The entire board is based on the Neo-ITX standard.

VIA’s APC is a bit larger than the Raspberry Pi, and it’s also a tad more expensive. However, it has a bit more power – a faster processor and more memory. The product should be based on the ARM architecture, which means it should be versatile. VIA also mentions the use of the Android 2.3 operating system. We’re assuming that Linux distribution developers will try and bring out Linux flavours, designed specifically for the VIA APC, just as they have for the Raspberry Pi, which already has Debian and Fedora being developed for it.

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