The Raspberry Pi launched the single board computer revolution single-handedly nearly eight years ago, with nearly 20 million boards sold. More importantly, as with any popular product, it spawned a generation of rivals, aiming at a variety of price ranges and audiences.
Perhaps the cheapest - and the smallest - of them all has just landed. The Rock Pi S has gone on preorder at Seeed Studio for a mere $9.90 with more expensive models adding more features.
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A nano computer
The base model consists of a PCB that contains a Rockchip RK3308 system-on-chip with four Cortex A35 cores, 256MB RAM, two USB ports, an Ethernet connector, a 26-pin GPIO header plus a 26-pin voice/audio header including I2C, PCM, TDM, PDM, SPDIF, and HDMI ARC.
All this is packed onto a surface area of just 38 x 38mm, which should fit comfortably in anyone’s pocket. But this isn't a personal computer, in the sense that it lacks all the mod cons you’d expect from a traditional PC.
There’s no onboard storage, no display output (HDMI) and most importantly, no power supply units and no wireless connectivity (Wi-Fi or Bluetooth). You will likely need to be a seasoned veteran in order to make full use of it.
Debian and Buildroot have been successfully tested on this headless platform and there’s a growing community of makers backing the Radxa ecosystem.