The trend of inexpensive credit-card-sized PCs continues with VIA’s launch of two new ARM PCs. Building on its original Android PC model from last year, VIA’s new computers are the APC Rock and APC Paper. According to Geek.com, the computers add new components to the board powered by an ARM processor. Both boards run Android 4.0 and an 800MHz VIA WonderMedia ARM Cortex A9 processor. They can run graphics up to 1080p and have 512MB DDR3 RAM.
The Rock model ships with a VGA port, and both models have HDMI, USB 2.0, microUSB, and microSD ports. The Paper version comes with a recycled cardboard case for extra protection and mobility, and to help keep dust out of the components. The APC Rock costs $79, and the APC Paper is $99. So, for $20 more, you’ll be getting a VGA port and the protective cardboard case.
Both are available for preorder on the APC website, with a projected ship date of March. The price point is higher than Raspberry Pi, which offers a similarly bare-bones machine for just $35, but the VIA options still have solid specs for the growing field of cheap ARM PCs.
In addition to being the workhorse driving many of the new bite-sized PCs, ARM processors climbed high enough on the ladder to be a concern for processor rival Intel. In fact, Intel is working on pushing into the system-on-a-chip field for smartphones, an area where ARM has excelled and dominated. In the computing world, rumors stirred in November of Apple planning to switch Macs from Intel chips to ARM. ARM chips have become popular for mobile devices because of their efficient power usage, but Intel still has the edge in terms of computing power. For this bite-sized PC, however, the ARM processors have proven a great fit.