How to package that device idea?

Published Mar 4, 2009 — 1247 views

DeviceGuru recently was asked to recommend a platform for prototyping a consumer electronics device idea. Below are a few possibilities we came up with — readers are encouraged to add to the list.

Naturally, platform characteristics differ according to the needs of the application. For the request that inspired this writeup, the minimum requirements included two Ethernet ports, a processor that could run Linux, compact size, low cost, and not much else.

Below are some interesting possibilities…

(Click each image for a larger view)

Top: e-Way, DMP, and PicoPC mini-PCs
Middle: Myka and AppleTV STBs
Bottom: Asus EeeBox PC; Via Artigo

(Click each image for a larger view)

More about the above…

  • Various mini-PCs are available from e-Way, DMP, PicoPC, and others. These are typically based on small-format motherboards such as mini-ITX, pico-ITX, etc.
  • Another possibility is Myka’s set-top box, a platform meant for bringing Internet-based A/V content to TV sets, but which potentially could be repurposed for use in various other applications.
  • The Asus EeeBox PC, a sleek-looking mini-PC that’s readily available from (for about $300 with Linux as its OS), is also worth considering.
  • Finally, Via’s Artigo, a storage-oriented “barebone PC,” could be useful for prototyping a variety of device applications. It accommodates two internal 3.5-inch SATA HDDs.

DeviceGuru invites readers to post additional suggestions in the comments section below.

7 responses to “How to package that device idea?”

  1. Fred says:


    You can also use an IMS from Splitted-Desktop Systems. More info at


  2. Arnold L. Johnson says:


    Interesting collection, but give me a laptop without the LCD display. We will call it the new desktop PC, it’s all under the keyboard.

  3. Mark says:

    Have you seen the new plug computer option?

    Less than 4″ on a side, and $100 in low volume (predicted $50 for high volume).

  4. deviceguru says:

    @Mark: Thanks for the note about Marvell’s “plug computer” — that’s totally cool! Check it out, folks…

  5. Jeff says:

    I was also going to suggest the Marvell plug-in. It has only one ethernet port, but you should be able to add another via USB.

    Also, don’t neglect the Beagle Board. For about $250 total you should be able to set it up with two ethernet ports, and it runs several flavor of Linux.

    Let us know what you decide & why!

  6. Lee says:

    What about the Neuros Technology Link?

    A purpose built box for putting Internet content on your television. (I think you reviewed it, if my memory is not failing me!).

    Has a purpose built browser interface, and just works.

    More information can be had at .

    Just so you know, I am affiliated with Neuros Technology at all. I am just a customer.

  7. deviceguru says:

    @Lee: Yes the Neuros Link is a great value, and could be used in a wide range of applications. DeviceGuru recently reviewed it here.