CompuLab, an Israeli maker of embedded computing products, has announced a tiny, bare-bones computer called the Utilite that will sell for $99 and up.
It’s just 5.3 inches by 3.9 inches by 0.8 inches, which means it is just slightly larger than a pack of 100 index cards. Yet inside it has a powerful Freescale i.MX6 system-on-a-chip, with an ARM Cortex A9 processor at its heart, with one, two, or four cores. The device will have up to 4GB of RAM and can contain a hard drive with up to 512GB plus a microSD card with up to 128GB of storage.
Now the “up to” phrasing: That comes from the company’s spec sheet, which is vague on what the minimums will be, or what the device will cost at various configurations. All we know is that the (undefined) minimum configuration will cost about $100. It will run Linux or Android.
What’s not so vague: CompuLab has packed a lot of I/O capabilities into a tiny, elegant-looking box, including two Gigabit Ethernet ports, Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n, four USB 2.0 ports, stereo line-in and line-out, and HDMI and DVI-D ports for your display. Its draws just 3 watts to 8 watts of power. In short, this is pretty much everything you’d need in a desktop computer in a space about one third the size of its keyboard.
For the promised price, however, you could buy four Raspberry Pi computers — but remember that the Raspberry Pi is very bare-bones and doesn’t even include a case, so with the Utilite you’re paying for the packaging.