VIA announces $49 Android-based PC; coming in July

The small Raspberry Pi team may have created a $35 PC, but now a larger and more well known PC maker is launching a product that's slightly more expensive but could gain a lot of users. VIA has announced plans to release the APC, an Android-powered PC design it will sell for just $49.

The small PC (6.7 x 3.3 inches) uses the new Neo-ITX form factor but VIA says the APC can be put into any standard Mini-ITX or microATX chassis. It also is supposed to use very little power. VIA says that the APC generates just 4 watts when operating at idle power and 13.5 watts at its maximum load, which it claims is 10 times less power than the standard PC.

APC will run on Android 2.3 and have a VIA 800MHz processor inside. It will have 512 MB of DDR3 memory, along with 2 GB of on board Flash-based storage. It will also have a built-in 2D/3D graphics chip with a video resolution of up to 720p. It will have a number of ports, including an HDMI port, a VGA connection, four USB 2.0 ports, a 10/100 Ethernet port, audio and microphone ports and a microSD slot.

VIA will accept pre-orders for the APC soon and will begin shipments of the product sometime in July.

Images via VIA

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42 Comments

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"I'm gonna get an APC"

an Armored Personnel Carrier?
an American Power Conversion UPS?
an Adaptive Predictive Coding
an Android PC

so many APCs..... LOL

The age old, same old whining about wanting everything + kitchen sink at rock bottom prices LOL. What did you folks expect for $49? Obviously way more than $49 can get ya it seems LOL.

Raspberry Pi- $35, 256Mb, boot Linux and can do 1080p....

This VIA is $10 more, you get more RAM but only output 720p, and Android 2.3??....

Even Apple upgraded the ATV to 1080p....

I'm not sure who this product is intended for.


Seems like, we're building it because we can.

Neowinians have me believe that techies do not want smartphone OS as a desktop.
Why have smartphone hardware as a desktop?

sagum said,
If only they could hav put a sata controller, and or at the very least (so)dimm slot on board too.

SATA would require licensing and a sodimm slot would take up quite a bit of real estate and also require a lot of PCB rework.

BajiRav said,
Why not make it run Linux where it will be much more useful?
Linux and ARM are still coming together. I think ubuntu might have good support, and Fedora is pushing for ARM to become a primary architecture (along side x86 and x86_4) with F18. But ARM isn't mainstream enough yet unfortunatley, but RasPi and this might change a few things.

cybertimber2008 said,
Linux and ARM are still coming together. I think ubuntu might have good support, and Fedora is pushing for ARM to become a primary architecture (along side x86 and x86_4) with F18. But ARM isn't mainstream enough yet unfortunatley, but RasPi and this might change a few things.

Depends on what distro you're talking about. Debian has always supported arm, so has gentoo.

I just can't shake that chill up my spine when I hear the name VIA. Their old chipsets nearly turned my passion of computing into something that may have violated the laws of the land.

Kelxin said,
Considering most new phones have more power than this, no thanks....

Except phones cost 10x as much... What do you expect?

Kelxin said,
Considering most new phones have more power than this, no thanks....

It may be difficult to comprehend, but you probably aren't the target market for this type of device.

mikeyx12 said,

It may be difficult to comprehend, but you probably aren't the target market for this type of device.

Not sure even VIA knows what this market would be...

Partially pushing Online access, and partially pushing a video/media configuration.

However, neither are optimal with 720p hampering the use for media, and the Android locks making the online experience horribly slow.

(Put this in perspective, this is going to have lower performance and more power consumption and slower GPU features than a ZuneHD media player from 4 years ago.) -Which btw, can be unlocked and run WinCE 7.0 on it, having a far more functional OS than Android.

There are a lot of SoC products out there that are NOT locked to Android, and have more extensible feature sets, and can run Windows Embedded (CE & NT).

Additionally, if you are looking to promote these in developing areas of the world, there are $100 solutions with integrated screens, keyboard, and even tablet form factors that would be a more complete solution.

This isn't even 'hobbyist' when it can't do tiny, nor even baseline functional for any serious need.

Hobbyists can find a lot of x86 class SoC product that have the same power consumption, more expandability and run WinCE on them cheaper than Android.

If people are serious about 'devices' and micro-controller technologies that expand all the way into devices and computers, go look at stuff like the .NET Micro Framework, or Windows Embedded and hardware solutions that fit in the same price range as this Android encumbered gimmick.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/netmf/default.aspx


Kelxin said,
Considering most new phones have more power than this, no thanks....

You can buy a more powerful phone for $49, and it has all these ports? No? I didn't think so.

The Laughing Man said,
Defiantly not enough memory. Once bought you'll be stuck with gingerbread unless some heavy modifications are done.

I'm guessing you don't know what "defiantly" means...

I wouldn't mind one of these mini PC's to play with, hopefully other companies will get on board and step up competition and options in the sub $50 price range. Via and Raspberry Pi are showing it is possible and that there is a demand for it.

yowanvista said,
Gingerbread & only 512MB of RAM? No thanks, I'll pass.
The 512MB of RAM part probably isn't so bad. The Nexus S has 512MB of ram and runs well even with ICS.
Gingerbread... give it time and you will probably see ICS on it, either from Via or the community.

TruckWEB said,

$199 -VS- $49...

Thing is, even the Raspberry Pi, $35, is able to do 1080p ....


if you need better hardware you need to payup more...
for $49 thats the best you can get FOR NOW.

still1 said,

if you need better hardware you need to payup more...
for $49 thats the best you can get FOR NOW.

HELLO? The Pi is $35 and can even do 1080p!! Anyway, I don't know what's the market for something like that.

TruckWEB said,

HELLO? The Pi is $35 and can even do 1080p!! Anyway, I don't know what's the market for something like that.

XBMC for one. That's what I'm getting one for. Torrent server for another. Anything you want to have running all day and not consume much power.

And you get more USB ports, audio connectors, and more RAM with the VIA solution.