Three Google Inc alums have unveiled a $30 personal computer that runs on the Android operating system. The Remix Mini will fit into the palm of your hand, and is being billed as the “world’s first true Android PC” by Beijing-based Jide Technology, the tech firm behind the project. Jide was founded last year by three former Google Inc engineers, David Ko, Ben Luk and Jeremy Zhou, who managed to raise close to $1.6 million in crowd-funding to get the project started.
“The idea is that we want to make sure it’s affordable and accessible,” David Ko, an ex Google software developer, said on CNBC.
“A lot of people are using the PCs mainly for email, surfing the web, watching videos, all these can be done with mobile tech and you don’t really need a big tall PC. A traditional big tall PC can cost you a few hundred dollars. In a mobile lifestyle, people are looking for flexibility.”
Jide expects to start shipping the Remix Mini by the end of October.
PC Functionality on a Google Android Device
Keeping in mind the device’s specific needs, the Jide team developed the Remix OS, an operating system based on Android. The Google Inc operating system was until now seen on smart phones, tablets and also on smart watches. But Jide optimized the Android to perform normal PC functions.
Ko said the device has the ability to connect to Bluetooth and WiFi, and has a USB slot. Two versions will be currently available – one with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage and another with 2 GB RAM and 16 GB storage.
All apps available through the Google Play store will be available on the PC, and developers will not need to re-write them for Remix OS. And since Microsoft opened its Office suite of apps to Android, the device will have a whole range of productivity.
Apple, Microsoft Are Too Entrenched
The traditional PC market is declining, and Jide is trying to offer something different to customers. But its device will be in direct competition with tablets and smart phones. The Apple iPad Pro, launched on Wednesday, as well as Microsoft Corp’s Surface tablets, have been designed to lure the enterprise market into greater mobile use. The touch-screen and the attached keyboard allow these to be both a tablet and a notebook.
Analysts think this could pose a big challenge for the Remix Mini. But Jide is confident it can compete in this segment. Ko said their very own $399 Android tablet, released earlier this year, with a detachable keypad, should draw productivity users.