The substantial crowd out there that is endlessly looking for gear that drives capital costs out of digital signage projects will undoubtedly be intrigued by a planned Kickstarter campaign to develop a tiny x86 microcomputer that would run Windows, Linux OR Android 5.0.
The units would cost roughly $100 USD in volume. That’s substantially more than a Raspberry Pi, but for that users get the latest Intel Cherry Trail processor, and therefore a lot of horsepower to drive things like digital signs.
It’s not totally clear what the roots are of this project, other than it is based in Europe (possibly Italy, but the phone number country code is the Netherlands). The backers have ties to Taiwan’s Asus through a subsidiary called AAEON.
Here’s the rationale behind what’s called UP.
We haven’t seen anything like that on the market. We saw plenty of cost effective boards, often powered by RISC technology, and industrial solutions with a wide range of standard form factors, performance and technology but with high prices and poor or absent community support. We tried to merge the best of the two worlds, makers and industrial market. Maybe we were asking for too much. Or maybe not. We put the best x86 low power consumption and high performance technology available today in the market into a credit card size board and created a community to support it.
The answer is UP.
UP is a credit card size board which merges the benefits of Raspberry Pi2, the standard “de facto” of makers with the high performance and low power consumption of latest tablet technology : the Intel Cherry Trail Atom Quad Core x5-Z8300 64 bits up to 1.84GHz (http://ark.intel.com/products/87383/Intel-Atom-x5-Z8300-Processor-2M-Cache-up-to-1_84-GHz ). Thanks to the 14nm technology, the CPU is rated at only 2W SDP.
Propeller-heads can geek out out on the specs on the Kickstarter page. I am told the on-board storage is kinda skimpy for running an OS and native signage player software, but would be fine for more web-driven applications just running HTML5 and video.
The truly interesting thing here is that just about any Android signage player on the market now uses ARM-based microprocessors. This is x86 (PC-based), and could be used by companies that work in Android, Windows or Linux.
The company hopes to start shipping product in Q1 of next year, so think Q2 because a lot of these things seem to drift.
Hat tip to Jason Cremins at Signagelive for pointing me to this …