26
Mar
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In an age where kids want to be digitally connected just like the rest of us, there are things every parent has to deal with. On one hand there are content and privacy concerns, and on the other it's the constant fighting and bickering about who's turn it is to use the computer.

With those things in mind, the founder of eMachines set out to create a small and affordable PC to relieve parents of these quandaries. And with that, the $99 MiiPC was born; a prototype was built, and the project was released on Kickstarter for funding. The box – which can be connected to an existing monitor, keyboard, and mouse – is powered by modern-day tablet innards, like a dual-core 1.2GHz Marvell SoC, 1GB of RAM, and 4GB of flash storage. Pushing the hardware, you'll find Android 4.2. Why? Because it's free, which keeps the cost down. However, the OS is said to be customized to provide a more desktop-like experience and support for multiple users. It's unclear if the latter feature is the same as stock Android 4.2, or if the company has built its own user support features.

Aside from the system itself, the company – which calls itself ZeroDesktop, Inc. – is also crafting companion apps for the parents. Available on both iOS and Android at launch, the MiiPC app will allow mummies and daddies to monitor what their precious little larvae are doing on the computer – be it playing in an Android app, surfing the web, or catching a flick with their besties.

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When the Kickstarter campaign launched just two days ago, Zero was hoping to get its $50k in funding within 45 days. However, given the media coverage of the Android-powered gizmo upon launch, the company has already blown past the original goal by $10k, and it appears to be just getting started. While the campaign has yet to be updated with possible stretch goals, Zero noted that the increased funding will allow the "hardware guys" to bring more features to the table, which could include anything from additional USB ports to increased memory and more flash storage. Considering this show is just getting underway, the potential for additional features is great, so we'll all just have to keep an eye on what these guys are working on behind the scenes.

For more information on the MiiPC, head over to the Kickstarter page.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrwphillips Jason Phillips

    It is also a miriacast player too

  • http://www.facebook.com/tanmoydb Tanmoy Db

    Probably gonna get a lot of hate for this.
    But the whole ad looks like a Apple (Mac Mini) rip off.

  • http://twitter.com/AndroidNinja4 TJ Hardin

    I like the Idea but so much of what they said was wrong. Android is not (anymore) a single user OS. Since Jelly Bean changed that. Also did anyone else notice they were using IPhones in the Video.... y? I do get the connectivity with the spying on kids though, and that makes sense. Honestly the rest are normal features you would find in a desktop. Personally I wouldn't go for this, but I do see how some people could use it.

    • Matthew Fry

      They used the iPhone, I imagine, because they want to highlight that it's Android but you can still monitor using your Apple device. The multi-user, again a guess, is probably their own system since this has probably been in development for a while now and they didn't have 4.2 when they started. Also, keep in mind that they are appealing to non-tech savvy parents. If they have an Android device, it is likely a single user OS.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

      And a MacBook Pro, more importantly. Couldn't we have a Nexus or a Samsung Galaxy phone in there?

      It's too limited for me and that's what sucks about it as I mentioned in another comment. I want x86 with Ubuntu and Windows with this software, not Android.

      Maybe if it was monitoring software for Android phones I wouldn't be as critical, but as it stands...

    • http://www.facebook.com/Zerounodos Manoleta Bocchia de Coussillan

      >but I do see how some people could use it.

      Especially with that price tag.

  • Tarun Pemmaraju

    Nothing in that really wowed me.
    Also, Android is single user? Did they completely ignore Android 4.2?

    • HellG

      Exactly, i was taking the video seriously until they said "we took the single user android and made it multiuser", Don't know how to trust a company like this that is already lying before even starting....

      • http://www.facebook.com/adam.robison.319 Adam Robison

        I think the nexus 10 has multi user. Do some looking

        • HellG

          Which is exactly what i'm saying?

  • Dinofan01

    According to the video it's running honeycomb. Da fuck?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

      How's it running Honeycomb in the video? It uses the Android 4.x Holo UI and more importantly Honeycomb source was never released and only merged with Gingerbread in ICS.

      • Dinofan01

        Watch the video and look at the status bar. It has a honeycomb tablet UI. It can't be Jelly bean because that's no longer there. That means it's either honeycomb or honeycomb themed ICS. I doubt they would theme it back to the tron style of honeycomb. And Holo ui isn't exclusive to 4.0+. That UI can work on any version of android.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

          Alright I have rewatched and paused at 1:24.

          The UI is definitely not Honeycomb, the buttons and the clock use Holo meaning it's running Android
          phone 4.x. I find unlikely that they would change it because it works and it's recognisable for current Android users.

          I have used Honeycomb in the past and I can assure you I can't see any traces of it. :-)

        • LiamBryant

          As evidenced in ParanoidAndroid ROMs, the UI for "tablet" mode is still within the system, it's just disabled by default in favor of Google's new unification-geared mentality. They devs here probably just accessed this mode, since on a desktop setting it makes no sense to have notifications accessible via a swipe (mouse drag?) from the top. Touch controls don't belong on a desktop, which interestingly enough a starter company has figured out, while Microsoft has yet to realize that...

        • http://www.facebook.com/Zerounodos Manoleta Bocchia de Coussillan

          In the description it says Android had been skinned to a better desktop experience, I think it's fair to say that the regular PC user is more used to having icons on the far left of the navigation bar rather than in the bare middle (for non touch controls, that's just weird)

  • Wilfredo Alarcon

    So an Ouya for non-game use?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

      With all the hackability the OUYA promises us, do we really need this?

      Also it's just an ARM-powered Android device. As much as love both, I wouldn't use it for my desktop when x86 Ubuntu/Windows is a much better choice for compatibility and sheer power. Couldn't the just make monitoring software for those platforms instead?

    • Zaatour36

      MiiPC will be slower than the Ouya

      Marvell Armada Dual Core vs Nvidia Tegra 3

      true Ouya is for gamers, but I bet we'll see a mod for running a regular Android launcher

      • primalxconvoy

        Not to mention a desktop skin, probably. Anyway, I welcome the competition. Something like this would be great at my school, where I teach.

  • Matthew Fry

    "...The Internet is supposed to make our lives better..."
    FALSE. The Internet is for Porn.

    • primalxconvoy

      I know a song about that...

    • fartmuncher

      Doesn't that make our lives better?

  • Ben Baranovsky

    These people need to stop sheltering their kids so much. Just let them use an actual computer, not some toy.

    • primalxconvoy

      I think it's a great idea. By getting the kids a cheap computer, it allows them to stop using their parents' one/s and the system is relatively cheap and easy to set up. What's not to like?

      It reminds me of the basic and cheap pcs we use at the international school that I work at. Once an office, media player, YouTube, file browser and Web browser app has been installed, it's golden.

      At 99 dollars, it's a steal.

  • Lu Bre

    he moment you need to install an app to monitor how much your son is using Facbook or Angrybirds... Is the moment you realize you're horrible at parenting.

  • Thomas Gladdines

    This pc is bad simply because they keep kids from watching adult videos, and if they don't watch those videos they won't know how to make kids themselves and humans cease to exist!

  • Peter Crees

    Why would you pay $99 for something that you can already get from amazon for $50?

    Search for android TV box / stick, basically the guts of a cheap dual-core tablet without the awful cheap display and touchscreen.

    http://www.amazon.com/Bluetooth-MK808B-Android-Rockchip-Cortex-A9/dp/B00ALSZNLW/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1364473825&sr=8-10&keywords=rk3066

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