Linux has just done something super convenient by cramming itself, as well as an ARM CPU, into an $89 laptop. The company, called Pine64, gave us a sneak peek of its budgeting skills and style just last year, after debuting a 64-bit PC for less than a $20 bill.The only other hugely affordable microcomputer that comes to mind is, of course, the Raspberry Pi, which comes in plenty of models these days, but isn't exactly armed with power. The Pine A64, as it is called, proved to be something great, as it came with a quad-core ARM A53 64-bit CPU at 1.2 GHz, as well as a dual-core MALI-400 MP2 graphics card running at 500MHz. It raised 1.7 million dollars on Kickstarter last year with a 30,000 dollar goal. Now that is a promptly acclaimed product, perhaps because it’s undeniably faster than any flavor of Raspberry Pi currently being served. It’s also in full laptop form.
What we have today is another competitor for the Pi Foundation. It's something just as budget-friendly as its last, beating countless Chromebook price tags, also paralleling the support of the beloved Linux operating system. The niche that inhabits the Linux-lovers are always beaming with joy when new opportunities in computing are on their side (we all know the underdog can sometimes be your BFF).
Pine64’s latest Linux laptop is dubbed the Pinebook, which comes in two versions, either an 11.6-inch IPS display for $89, or a larger 14-inch IPS display for $99. Both sport a 1280 x 720 pixel display, Allwinner quad-core ARM Cortex A53 64-bit processors at 1.2GHz, and Mali-400MP2 GPUs (both the same hardware as the A64), supported by 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM, and 16GB of eMMC 5.0 flash storage (expandable up to 256GB additional storage). Ports and connectivity include 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 microSD card slot, and 1 mini HDMI port for an external display. Finally, the camera includes a simple 1.2 megapixels, and the brick is powered with a 10,000mAh lithium polymer battery.
Since the A64 was such a hit, able to run Ubuntu, Debian, or Android Lollipop 5.1, and the new systems are powered exactly the same, the Pinebooks also allow you to run any version of those operating systems (Lilliputing says a Chromium OS build is also in the works if anyone wants to wait for a pseudo DIY Chromebook Pinebook). The displays are standard, and this isn’t going to be a powerhouse machine, but for an 11.6-inch device, $89 means these could become some of the cheapest laptops available.
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