Companies worldwide are in a race to develop small, fast and cheap computer devices that schools can utilize on tight budgets. Raspberry Pi, ODroid-X, FXI Cotton Candy and BeagleBone Black are examples of powerful, inexpensive devices, and CompuLab has entered the market with a new pocket-sized personal computer.
CompuLab, an Israel-based designer and manufacturer of embedded computing products, announced that it has introduced a miniature ARM-based desktop computer called Utilite — and the price weighs in at just $99.
The Utilite may be an ideal device for students for its size, performance and cost. This new small computer features a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, 4gb RAM and dual-head 1080p display.
The most appealing thing about the Utilite may be its price. Starting at just $99 and with sales expected to start in August of this year, school districts have purchasing options that go beyond the traditional computer lab.
The Utilite will be offered with desktop-grade Ubuntu Linux or fully-featured Android operating systems. The system is powered by Freescale i.MX6 system-on-chip and it is the next generation of CompuLab's Trim-Slice computer.
The Utilite is designed with a zero-screws housing and measuring 5.3 inches by 3.9 inches by 0.8 inches (135mm x 100mm x 21mm). This compact design of the computer also allows for travel.
A 12v DC (10V-16V tolerant) power supply consumes 3-8 watts depending on the device's use, operating system and the CPU/graphics load required by the application.
For internet access and networking, the Utilite offers two Gigabit Ethernet ports and a built-in 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth module. The system incorporates 4 USB2.0 ports – two on the back and two on the front. On the front panel there is a micro-USB connector for USB OTG and a mini connector for RS232.
For video, the Utilite features HDMI 1.4 and a 2nd DVI-D port. Both display outputs support resolutions up to 1920 x 1200 and can be operated in dual-head mode. 5.1 channel audio is available through High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) and through S/PDIF. There are also standard 3.5mm jacks for stereo line-out and line-in.
The Utilite features up-to 4 GB of DDR3-1066 RAM and offers both high-performance SATA SSD and micro-SD for storage. It can incorporate an internal mSATA SSD module of up-to 512gb ; The front-panel micro-SD socket supports SDXC up to 128gb.
CompuLab said it will start accepting orders for Utilite this coming month.
"In 2011 CompuLab's Trim-Slice has pioneered the market of ARM-based computers," said Igor Vaisbein, VP Business Development at CompuLab. "Utilite pushes the boundaries of ARM desktops even further by doubling the performance and providing more connectivity while maintaining the same tiny form-factor and drastically reducing cost."
CompuLab, based in Haifa in the north of Israel, is a manufacturer of industrial miniature computers and computer-on-modules. Established in 1992, the company has been manufacturing computer-on-modules of its own design since 1997.