Android-powered HDMI dongles are a cheap and easy way to add smart TV features to an otherwise “dumb” screen – but did you know that many of these devices are capable of running a fully-fledged desktop like Ubuntu?
The ‘Rikomagic MK802 IV LE’ - the first model in the Rikomagic mini-PC line to offer an Ubuntu-based OS pre-installed – has begun shipping worldwide.
The small ARM-based device is commonly sold with Android 4.2 pre-loaded. This gives users access to a world of Android apps, games and media content but on a larger screen and without the bulk or cost of needing a tablet.
But entertainment is only one side. Exposing the versatility of such a portable device, Rikomagic has started offering an Ubuntu-based option. By adding a monitor, keyboard and mouse users can access a full PC-like experience for office productivity, creative endeavours and development.
The MK802 IV Linux Edition runs a custom version of Ubuntu 13.04 that, depending on which official screenshots you take notice of, is either xfce-based or running the GNOME 2 fork ‘Mate’.
Potentially the biggest drawback for anyone looking at the Rikomagic and seeing a small, discreet media-centre solution is that, on Linux (but not on Android), hardware-accelerated video decoding is not supported. Standard definition video do, reportedly, play fine using software decoding, but HD content will likely struggle.
Specifications & Pricing
Packed into a case no bigger than an old-school USB thumb drive are the following features:
- Rockchip RK3188 ARM Cortex-A9 @ 1.6Ghz (quad-core)
- Mali 400 Graphics
- 8GB NAND Flash Storage (16GB version also available)
- 2GB RAM
- Built-in WiFi
- 2x Micro USB
- 1x USB 2.0
- MicroSD slot
Connectivity is provided by a HDMI-out port that is capable of powering resolutions up to 1920 x 1080p.
The 8GB model is currently priced at £79.99 and the 16GB model at £84.99 – both clocking in at £5 more than their respective Android versions offering the same specs and added bluetooth.
The company bundle a USB power adapter, 16GB Class 10 MicroSD card and short HDMI extension cable with each dongle (both Linux and Android versions).
If you’re interested in learning more (or buying) one of these little HDMI wonders, skip on over to the official seller website at the link below.