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Everyone wants a piece of the Pi.
OK, these are different products, which can probably all co-exist happily, but NARRATIVES! RIVALRIES! We’re the media, after all. Here, then are seven, um, FEROCIOUS RIVALS to the Raspberry Pi. Whose micro-computer is the micro-est?
Intel Compute Stick
Intel introduced this at CES this week, and it’s creating a lot of buzz – the Compute Stick provides basic PC functionality by plugging into an HDMI port on essentially any display. It’s more expensive than a Pi, but if a quick-and-dirty desktop is what you’re after, it’s probably more convenient.
Hummingboard is marketed more as a pure Internet-of-Things machine than a general hobbyist item like the Raspberry Pi, but the similarities are obvious. It’s pricier than a Pi, but also has more muscle.
BeagleBone was there before Raspberry Pi, and its Black board reflects its experience of the market. Like the Hummingboard, it’s more expensive than a Pi (though less so than the Hummingboard), with marginally more powerful hardware.
Based on the Rockchip RK3188 SoC, the Radxa Rock is another Raspberry Pi rival distinguished by more impressive specs and a higher price tag. Notable on the Rock are the up to 8GB of onboard storage and built-in b/g/n Wi-Fi.
That’s what open-source principles get you – Banana Pi is a fork of the Raspberry Pi project, which fits into what we’re finding is the very crowded category of “like a Pi, but a bit more expensive and with some additional horsepower.” The Banana Pi’s roots in the original project, however, do mean that it boasts compatibility with accessories made for the Raspberry Pi.
Talking about Arduino in general is sort of tricky, because the open-source project has a more diverse product lineup than any we’ve covered so far. There’s a version with onboard Wi-Fi, one based on this or that different chipset, all of which can be programmed via the Arduino IDE.
FXI Cotton Candy
FXI’s Cotton Candy is another stick computer, designed, like the Intel Compute Stick that it predates, to plug into a display via HDMI and provide basic computing capabilities. But the Cotton Candy also works via USB, meaning you can use it to run Android or Linux on a Mac or Windows computer.