single-board Linux PC in flash drive form factor for $29. What can he do?


Popcorn Computer has unveiled its new development – single-board PC PopStick. Its form factor is similar to a flash drive, and the device itself is completely open, including both software and hardware. Of course, it does not break performance records, but for certain tasks it is an excellent option. The cost of the device is only $29. Details are under the cut.

What is this device?

First, let’s look at its characteristics:

• SoC – Allwinner F1C200s ARM926EJ-S (ARMv5TE) processor @ 533 MHz with 64MB DDR1 RAM
• Memory: 128 MB SPI NAND Flash for OS, Micro SD Card Slot.
• USB: 1x USB Type-A connector with USB Gadget mode support. Accordingly, the board can be defined as USB Ethernet, Serial, Mass Storage, HID, etc. 1x micro USB connector
• Power supply: 5 V via USB Type-A port

As for the operating system, so far the device is not able to work with a full-fledged distribution. So it only has a very stripped-down Linux OS preinstalled that allows the user to choose how the device is detected.

However, in the Linux 6.4 kernel, which we wrote about earlier, there is a mention of this device. Perhaps this means that in the near future the device will be able to work with full-fledged distributions. On the other hand, its performance makes it highly doubtful.

As for the processor of the device, it is Allwinner F1C200s with ARMv5TE architecture, whose default frequency is 420 MHz. True, for a single-board card, the frequency is increased to 533 MHz, and experts say that it can be raised up to 700 MHz.

The base Linux environment is stored on only 128 MB of internal memory. As mentioned above, it is quite possible that in the near future the single-boarder will be able to work with light versions of full-fledged Linux distributions.

What about connectivity?

Power is supplied immediately when the device is connected to the device. The mini-OS that is installed in memory gives you the ability to choose how the PopStick will be detected. It can be a keyboard, mouse, network card, etc. So, if you plan to connect to the system via SSH, or use it as a web server, then in the settings you should select a network card.


Another important point is that the developers have made the project completely open. That is, if desired, any user will be able to develop something similar, and perhaps even better. True, for this you need to be a really good professional in the world of electronic devices.

And that’s not it


Developers of this device previously introduced the Pocket Popcorn Computer (Pocket PC) mini-PC. Funding for Pocket PC development comes from a successful Kickstarter fundraising campaign. A total of $83,966 was raised, although the organizers set a goal of $50,000.

The amount was enough to release the device on time. Pocket PC will be useful for programmers, system administrators, industrial equipment specialists. By the way, preliminary technical information, including drawings, sketches, boards, is already available for download on GitHub.

To simplify and reduce the cost of development, the creators of the Pocket PC have chosen the most popular chips and other elements. The manufacturer’s website has a free downloadable CAD model for 3D printing of the device case.


Device Specifications:

• Processor: 1.2GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A53.
• RAM: 2GB DDR3.
• Memory: 32GB eMMC.
• Display: 4.95″ Full HD 1920x1080px IPS.
• Card reader for microSD.
• Battery: 3200mAh.
• Wireless modules: 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi / Bluetooth 4.0.
• Security: Infineon OPTIGA TRUST M Secure Element chip.
• Keyboard: customizable with backlight (256 colors).
• Connectors: 4x USB-C, HDMI.


Particular attention is paid to working with data and protecting valuable information. For this, the Infineon OPTIGA TRUST M cryptographic chip is provided, with separate storage of private keys, isolated execution of cryptographic operations (ECC NIST P256/P384, SHA-256, RSA 1024/2048) and random number generation.

By the way, a few days ago the developers completely opened this project to the community. Download models, software, etc. you can follow this link. So now anyone with the appropriate experience and capabilities can do something similar.

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