Microcomputing enthusiasts have been the beneficiaries of falling prices and companies like Raspberry Pi putting more resources into its products over the last year. This is due to increased interest from consumers and crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter that have added mainstream visibility.
A few weeks back Raspberry Pi Zero launched as a $5 alternative to its Model B microcomputer. Today, we’re seeing a new system launch on Kickstarter that is affordable and brings some standout features to the table. The Pine A64 has a quad-core processor and is capable of 4K video, amongst other things. At a fraction of the Model B’s price, it’s already turning heads amongst the microcomputing community.
Pine64 is the company behind the product that just launched on Kickstarter. In a short period of time, it has already amassed an impressive $119,000+ in pledges. This is particularly noteworthy given that a PINE A64 base system carries a price tag of just $15. By comparison, Raspberry Pi’s second generation model regularly retails around $40. There is no doubt that Pine64 is undercutting its competition in price for a reason as Raspberry Pi has established itself as the name in this product category. Whether or not the startup will be able to make a name for itself in the long run has yet to be seen. Regardless, it’s off to a solid start.
The base model from Pine64 is built around a 1.2GHz board and 512MB of RAM. It also has a built-in ethernet port, 3.5mm audio jack, a 4K-compatible HDMI output and two USB 2.0 ports. The standout feature here is the processing power, which is 25% faster than Raspberry Pi 2. The quad-core 64-bit Cortex CPU is said to provide “20-30% better performance” in comparison to its 32-bit open source competition.
Pine64 is focusing on its microcomputer’s ability to serve users in a variety of ways. It is capable of running Android 5.1 as a computer with access to Chrome and Microsoft Office applications. Because of the open-source nature of microcomputing, this system can also be turned into a media player or it can serve as the brains for a tablet. The Kickstarter page provides more examples of how this hardware can be used in a variety of ways.
The plan is to begin shipping units in March with worldwide availability coming later in the year. At just $15, Pine64 offers a world of possibilities without breaking the bank. It will be interesting to track its progress over the next year to see if it is capable of competing with Raspberry Pi. In the meantime, if you’re interested in getting into micrcomputing, we recommend this bundle that includes a clear case and everything needed to get started.
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