There's no doubt that the Raspberry Pi has become a runaway success after having the original launch of the Model A and Model B back in 2013 and, more recently, the Compute Model 3 billed as being 10 times more powerful than its original namesake. As such, it should come as no surprise that competitors are interested in carving out a slice of this market segment for themselves.
It appears that Asus have released their own Tinker board, to little fanfare, which bears a remarkable resemblance to the Raspberry Pi's form factor and backed up by some admirable specifications, which include:
ARM Cortex-A17 Quad-core 1.8GHz
|GPU||ARM Mali-T764 GPU supporting OpenGL ES1.1/2.0/3.0, OpenVG 1.1, OpenCL and DirectX 11|
|Display||1 x HDMI 2.0 output, 1 x 15-pin MIPI DSI output|
|Memory||2GB dual-channel LPDDR3|
|Storage||microSD card slot|
1Gbps Ethernet, wireless 802.11bgn, Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR, 4 x USB 2.0, 1 x 40-pin header, 1 x 3.5mm audio jack
Micro USB (5V/2A) - not included
|Body||3.37 x 2.125 inches|
With 2GB RAM, the Asus Tinker may provide a more appealing option for those that find themselves somewhat limited with just half that amount found on the current Raspberry Pi 3 Model B board. However, while Asus's offering comes at the expense of 64-bit support this may not be a deal breaker given that neither board includes more than 4GB RAM. Plus, with HDMI 2.0 and gigabit Ethernet, the Tinker could potentially become a desirable 4K media center solution.
Perhaps, most critically, is the subject of price. While the Raspberry Pi 3 comes in at $35, the Asus Tinker is going for around $68, which will leave potential tinkerers crunching the numbers in terms of purchase viability. However, given the seemingly deliberate board layout, Asus could be banking on the Tinker's physical compatibility with Raspberry Pi peripherals to kick start and drive prolonged interest in its board.