Watch Out Raspberry Pi, You've Got Some Stiff Competition

By Sam Gibbs on at

At under £30 all in, including delivery, you'd be hard pressed to find anything that competes on price and sheer awesomeness with the Raspberry Pi, but that hasn't stopped Via trying. Meet the Via APC, an ARM-based board that runs Android for just £32.

The APC is based around an 800MHz ARM chip, but is a tad bigger than the Pi at 17 by 8.5cm. It does, however, pack more ports and on-board memory. You'll have 512MB of RAM to play with, backed up by 2GB of flash storage and a microSD slot. The APC has four USB ports too, with Ethernet; audio in and out; VGA, and HDMI to boot -- lots of easy connectivity for your non-hacker, average consumer.

The APC doesn't come equipped with any additional I/O ports on the board for expansion like the Pi though, and isn't really geared up at the educational market. It lacks the kinds of  programming tools and other bits and bobs that make the Pi perfect for the classroom. Via's clearly aiming this at the people who wanted a Pi for a media centre or something like that, but who don't have the skills or the inclination to program or hack the device to suit their needs. I don't know about you, but that pretty much sums me up.

Out of the box the Via will run a customised variant of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which although isn't a slice of Ice Cream Sandwich, is optimised for mouse and keyboard input. You'll also get some bundled applications with it, including a browser, but whether you'll have access to the Play Store, who knows.

It'll be out in July for $49, which works out at about £32 in real money. If you haven't got yourself a Raspberry Pi just yet, this might be worth holding out for if you're just after a cheap, Android-packing computer to play with. [APC via V3]

Thanks Ashicle!