Raspberry Pi

Seven notable Raspberry Pi rivals

Everyone wants a piece of the Pi.

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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?

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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.

Credit: YouTube.com

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.

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BeagleBone Black

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.

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Radxa Rock

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.

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Banana Pi

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.

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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.

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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.