It is not difficult to find cheap ARM boxes but they are usually glorified TV dongles.
However, Compulab will be selling a fully integrated ARM / Ubuntu PC for less than $100 from next month.
Compulab, which makes the MintBox, Fit-PC, and Tegra-based Trim Slice claims that the box can deliver “rich multimedia and PC-like user experience”.
Utilite will be available in single, dual, and quad core versions starting at $99.
The chip is pretty slow. In fact it is about half the speed of what is popular amongst x86 users. It is built around a Freescale i.MX6 single / dual / quad core Cortex-A9 MPCore. As you might expect that can only managed 1.2GHz on a good day.
The spec has up to 4GB DDR3-1066, mSATA SSD, up to 512GB, Micro-SD SDXC, up to 128GB and supports OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0, OpenVG 1.1 and OpenCL EP.
It can also manage a multi-stream 1080p H.264, VC1, RV10, DivX HW decoding, HDMI 1.4 up to 1920 x 1200 @ 60Hz and DVI-D up to 1920 x 1200 @ 60Hz.
It also only needs 3W – 8W power consumption.
Utilite will be available through CompuLab’s worldwide distribution channel and through direct sales. CompuLab expects to start accepting orders for Utilite in August 2013.
While we do not know what the final price tag for business ready Utilites will be, this sort of device threatens to be a problem for Intel and AMD.
Both these companies had been praying that when Microsoft kills off Windows XP support that companies would be forced to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8 machines, which would require a better hardware spec.
But if a company can move their desktops to Linux they can keep them running at a spec just as fast as their current set up for about a third of the price. 1.2GHz is slow but is probably all the processing power that companies have been getting out of their elderly XP machines.