VIA is launching Rock and Paper, two new ARM-based computers that are a further development from the $45 Android PC (APC) that was launched in May 2012 for $49. The new systems feature Android 4.0, a 800MHz VIA WonderMedia ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, 512MB DDR3 memory, 4GB flash memory, and a 1080p HD capable graphics chip (likely the ARM Mali-400 GPU). Connectivity includes HDMI, USB 2.0, micro-USB, VGA (only on Rock), 10/100Mbps Ethernet as well as a micro-SD memory card slot.
Besides the VGA port, the main difference between the two systems is that the Rock is a bare board whereas the Paper ships in a case that's made from aluminium and recycled cardboard. VIA's Rock is priced at $79 whereas the Paper will go for $99.
As for the actual spec of the new boards, they include the following:
800MHz VIA WonderMedia ARM Cortex-A9
512MB DDR3 RAM
4GB NAND flash
1080p-capable graphics (most likely an ARM Mali-400 GPU)
HDMI, USB 2.0, microUSB, microSD, with VGA available on APC Rock
The Rock and Paper offer a nice spec bump over the original APC, which shipped with Android 2.3, an ARM 11 processor, only 2GB RAM, and was only 720p capable in the graphics department. It’s just a shame the price had to increase, especially considering it’s been 7 months since the original APC launched.
Both new boards use the Neo-ITX form factor, which means they are compatible with Mini-ITX and MicroATX cases. Even so, that cardboard case does look nice and keeps the board very portable while remaining protected, so might be worth the extra $20.
If you want either an APC Rock or APC Paper they can be ordered through APC.io and are expected to ship in March.