Meet Remix Mini, the $30 Android PC made by 3 ex-Googlers

Three ex-Google employees have launched a $30 PC that runs on Google’s mobile operating system, Android, after raising more than $1.6 million in a crowdfunding campaign to get the project going.

JIDE, a company founded by them has launched a mini PC “Remix ” in the market that is meant to provide users basic functionalities of a PC at an affordable cost. The Remix Mini which fits in palm of hand is being billed as the first truly Android PC ever.

“The idea is that we want to make sure it’s affordable and accessible,” David Ko, one of Jide’s co-founders and an ex-Googler, told CNBC by phone.

“A lot of people are using the PCs mainly for email, surfing the web, watching videos, all these can be done with mobile tech and you don’t really need a big tall PC. A traditional big tall PC can cost you a few hundred dollars. In a mobile lifestyle, people are looking for flexibility.”

This PC runs on Remix OS, developed by Jide, based on Android, that means the OS is Android’s extension to carry out normal PC functions.

Users have the ability to have multiple screens as well as run all the apps that are available through the Google Play app store. Ko said developers do not need to re-write apps for Remix OS. The founder also said that the PC could be used as full productivity device, especially since Microsoft opened its Office suite of apps to Android.

It has got basic connectivity features of a PC like WiFi, Bluetooth and a USB slot. Two models of Remix are available one with 1GB RAM and internal memory of 8GB and the other with 2GB of RAM and 16GB internal memory.

While the $30 price tag is cheap, customers will still need to have a TV or monitor to plug the Remix Mini into as well as a keyboard and mouse.

The Remix Mini received over $1.6 million from a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign which came from nearly 22,000 backers.

Jide is trying to offer something different in a PC market that is set to decline this year. But it is direct competition with smartphones and tablets. The iPad Pro launched by Apple on Wednesday as well as Microsoft’s Surface tablets and other 2-in-1 devices are a bid to get people to use mobile devices for productivity cases. The attached keyboard and touchscreen allows them to be both a notebook and tablet.

Analysts said this could be a challenge for Jide’s Remix Mini.

“There is no question that as processors get more powerful and software gets more capable, this kind of solution is more suitable. Where it fits in a world where everyone has a smartphone is unclear though,” Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, told CNBC by phone.

At the same, Microsoft launched a feature called Continuum this year that allows any smartphone running Windows 10 to be turned into a PC when connected to a larger screen, removing the need for a box like Remix Mini.

But Jide said it can also compete in this space after it launched a $399 Android tablet of its own earlier this year with a detachable keyboard, aimed at productivity uses.

An affordable PC is the demand of the time, at least for those who don’t need to play heavy games or do complex computing tasks and also don’t want to spend exorbitant money on currently available choices. Seems like Jide has got the right plan to serve such users to provide them value for money, portability and hence to gain grip in the market with an accelerated pace.

The company expects to hope shipping the Remix Mini from mid-to-late October.

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