Android Remix Mini PC can be yours for 50 bucks!

2d5d9c82e8e54453e35f2b654fef65dd_originalI have always loved the Mac Mini and though it has crossed my mind to buy that as a companion device to a HDTV, I never got round to it because it was expensive.

Having a connected device like the Mac Mini made sense, especially in the days when it came with a built in DVD player. These days, the new models are without that feature and thus less appealing.

Having a TV that is connected to the HDTV is probably the best option to save money on buying a separate computer if all you ever needed was to browse the Internet, send email and maybe some SOHO office apps. Chrome OS was suppose to be like that but over the years, I had my doubts over its ability to do the chores I want it to as any Android device would be able to surpass it.

Today, we hear that the Remix Mini PC has got funded on Kickstarter. So what’s this about?

How the Remix Mini is going to save you Money

First, there are two models, the first comes with a 1GB Ram while the other 2GB Ram. They have named it the 1G and 2G respectively and yes, it runs a custom hacked version of Android Lolipop called Remix OS.

The unit comes with built in WIFI, 2 USB ports, HDMI port and even a stereo jack for sound and music output. The extra Ethernet port lets you connect directly to the DSL router or modem without having to rely on WIFI. The included microSD slot helps you decide on how much additional storage to add to keep your stuff like movies or music which can be played back on TV. What’s more the Remix Mini PC supports 4K UHD, meaning you get the latest codec to process high quality movies. The only downside is that your media, or rather a UHD movie would take up to 16GB of storage if you ever decide to keep a copy on the SD storage.

Now playback for UHD is strictly BluRay player standards these days so if you ever had a 4K TV, you would have to pair that with a BluRay player. The Remix Mini will save you money on this if you happen to play UHD movies (illegally obtained or otherwise). UHD media unfortunately is not widespread as yet.

showbox-app-download-for-android-install-show-box-apk-on-androidThere are other exceptions. Hulu Plus via the Hola VPN will playback your subscriptions and yes, the movies uploaded onto VK.com will also playback via the app. For illegal APKs like Showbox, you can have that installed on the Remix without any problems. You can also stream movies to the Remix via Popcorn Time if you so wished.

spotify-android_660Music streaming, from Spotify to Deezer is also available for the price of a subscription and if I were you. Endless possibilities if you have an app on hand that can also be your local radio station or for that matter, any radio station in the world. Entertainment possibilities is a reality through your HDTV.

SOHO Workstation

Google Docs, Keep, Drive and even photo editing tools from Flickr can be accessed through your keyboard and mouse once you have the Remix Mini.

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Charts, graphics and everything else you wasted money on with a PC and accompanying software can be yours for free if you are online all the time. No need to ante up on Windows 10 either if you don’t want to spend the money. The idea of a home workstation, is a reality without the overhead cost as cloud computing will do all the heavy lifting without you having to fork out money on software purchases. I use to remember that every piece of software you wanted had to be purchased just 10 years ago. Now, I will sign up with Google to get these same functions on a computer all for free.

Remix is not for Heavy Lifting

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This is a problem which people tend to do themselves in when wanting a small PC footprint. It’s not for heavy workloads like vector graphic design, 3D modeling, music creation with Midi instruments and heavy duty video editing. Android apps which you can download from the Playstore has limited capabilities and can’t be compared to the PC/Mac versions that do way more.

You have to think of a Remix Mini PC as a computer from 10 years ago. Multitasking is possible and with limited RAM, there isn’t a lot you can do. It’s like buying a ticket to a cheap buffet, you won’t be getting a gourmet treat with it.

For me, I think the Remix Mini is an excellent tool for students and kids. For others, who are just in the market for more entertainment, the Remix won’t disappoint.

So remember that a 50 buck (for the 2G) computer has its limitations and if you are fine with that, it makes sense to order one.

Cyanogenmod: The begining of the End?

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Cyanogen Mod is a great little addition to a rooted device, but it never really worked well. You have to understand that Cyanogen Mod was never really intended to be commercial, at least until now.

Oppo, the branded Android gadget from China has made its debut in USA. That said it is a commercial grade release under the Cyanogen Mod brand name. Hardware wise, the Oppo rocks, but I really have no idea if the Cyanogen brand name will stand up to scrutiny.

Why do the Mod?

Speed, performance and removal of bloatware. What started out as a forum for would be geeks to tinker with Google Android code led to the development of Cyanogen ROMS, which has to be flashed onto your hardware device. What’s the advantage?

Pros

  • Remove unwanted programs (“bloatware”) installed by your carrier
  • Receive more frequent security updates (ie, get the latest fixes from Google in the newer OSes)
  • Having access to the most current version of Android available (including new features)
  • Better performance
  • Extra features

Cons

Common concerns include the following:

  • Some device manufacturers or mobile providers may offer a limited or voided warranty after modifying
  • It is possible that by installing a rooted operating system, you may be introducing new potential security issues (although this argument could be switched– older operating systems may be insecure as well…)
  • Non-stock firmware could contain malicious code – which is a good argument for making sure you download custom ROMs from a trusted source, or even better, learn to build it yourself!
  • Stability issues may arise when using an experimental operating system. However, for many people, CyanogenMod has proven to be more stable than most ‘official’ ROMs.

I would like to highlight the claim on the last line “CyanogenMod has proven to be more stable than most ‘official’ ROMs”.

This is not true. Any firmware modification will affect the performance of the hardware. Some of the most frequent complaints are that the device camera or Wifi connection doesn’t work. Still it hasn’t stop legions of followers from rooting their devices.

Rooting for Freedom

Android has many variations, those from Samsung and HTC are similar in operation but are different in design. Think for a moment about the Google stock standard camera app and you’d know what I mean. Google released its Photosphere feature with a 4.3 update but this was not featured in updates by Samsung for obvious reasons. If you are still keen to get a Mod, you can get it here.

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This app isn’t just for anyone so please read the following section before installing.

The Dark World of Rooting

In the iOS world, the art is known as Jailbreaking, but for Google Android it is known as rooting. Like Yin and Yang, they both co-exist in the app ecosphere. Android however has one advantage, you can choose to install apps outside of the appstore if you so dare whereas Apple absolutely forbids it.

Google recently removed the OneClick app for Cyanogen installs from the Playstore. As a competing operation system, it was expected that they get the thumbs down.

Not all devices have rooted ROMS. The OneClick app made it much easier to install and flash your ROM but it is your responsibility to find out the common issues (bugs) associated with the release. They do not guarantee you a glitch free buttery smooth operation even though there are certain advantages to removing the bloatware.

Telcos often include a host of stuff, sponsored none the less by conniving brands that occupy space in storage and RAM. Samsung on its own loads it up with WTF ? apps which you won’t bother using but can’t remove. This again occupies the limited internal storage space and there are no avenues to move it to external storage.

Older Devices to Benefit from Cyanogen Mod

This is true. Devices with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage with no access to external SD card are prime targets for rooting. Dealing with the bloatware will be a welcomed move and there is no two ways about it.

With newer devices, with between 2GB to 3GB of RAM, the attraction of rooting your device diminishes with the amount of internal storage you have. 16GB is probably quite ok as long as it is supplemented with external card storage.

So if you have an old device that needs a breath of fresh air, you can do no wrong by heading down to Cyanogen Mod and installing the OneClick app.

Cyanogen’s move to a more commercial platform like Oppo will ultimately mean one thing, a signal to an end for Cyanogen Mods for other devices. Software engineers who have tinkering with it for fun will have to be paid and resource will be focused on Oppo style Cynanogen Mods of commercial quality.

So this will be the End for Cyanogen Mod and the beginning of Oppo Cyanogen Mods.

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Galaxy Tab 7.7 updated to ICS 4.04

I hate to tell you this but if you are experiencing coma status on your tablet, please don’t fret. It’s just that ICS doing its rounds again.

This is the same type of problem I had with the Asus TF-300, which can drive you nuts. Even after the update to Jellybean, the tablet will go to sleep and will not wake no matter how much you shake it. Not fun I tell ya.

Getting to the root of the problem is relatively easy. Try removing all the apps that require network access and you’re done. Facebook fortunately is relatively safe but the rest of the apps, like games, news apps, and of course social apps that need feeds are the most annoying and problem causing as they have not been updated for ICS as yet.

I am reminded of the same problems when Apple updates its iOS firmware and you find that the apps you once had won’t run or will cause battery problems.

There is no quick fix for this. I wish there was one but every firmware upgrade is suspect. Even Google’s own Google Voice feature is rendered useless in Jellybean.

Such sloppy programming is causing a tonne of problems for users and I hope you don’t get upset over this because its part and parcel of growing up. The evolutionary cycle is often viewed with a different perspective from Google’s end.

ICS has been out for a year, but the roll out does not automatically mean easier access to the core features for many app developers. They need time to tinker with it once it hits the street and if the device doesn’t support it they will have to work on that further to ensure some kind of universal compatibility.

Since such pain is expected with every upgrade, my advice is to find those incompatible apps and have that deleted. You can always check back to see if they are up again for download.