The next revolution in personal computing could very well come from the northern Israeli town of Yokne’am, where SolidRun, a start-up headed by two Israeli Arabs, has developed a $45 PC that can do almost anything a “big boy” computer can do – with all design and manufacturing done in Israel.
“Our goal is to supply anyone anywhere who needs one with a low-cost, high-capability computer that has a low carbon footprint and can do just about anything the average person would need,” said Kossay Omary, CEO of SolidRun. “That’s been our dream for a long time, and with our new CuBox-I computer, that dream is becoming a reality.”
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For Omary, who started the company with CTO Rabeeh Khoury in 2010, SolidRun isn’t just a business — it’s a calling. “We have certain principles that we subscribe to and that are part of the DNA of our company and products,” said Omary. “First of all, we are very environment-friendly. Our CuBox series takes up very little power (the CuBox-I processor requires a miniscule 3 watts of power), and lets organizations save on the energy costs associated with full-size PCs.”
Can’t do everything, but can do enough
“For some advanced applications, like high-level computer aided design or intensive Photoshop work, you would want a full-size PC,” said Omary. “But if you are using a PC as a media server or a cloud client, connecting to apps in the cloud, you don’t need the processing power of an advanced Sandy Bridge or Haswell processor. It’s like using a huge hammer to break a little nut — a huge waste of resources. We hate to see wasteful things.”
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Besides being eco-friendly, the CuBox-I is user-friendly, too.
“We try to include as many rich features as we can, and support all open source platforms, like Android, various flavors of Linux, and so on,” said Omary.
“Our SDK (software development kit) is completely open to developers, to whom we give free rein to do whatever they want and can do with our computers. Given the open source SDK and tons of available software packages, our computers can be used in a huge range of scenarios limited only by your imagination; ranging from embedded, multimedia, education, cloud client, HMI and many other fields, as well as all the fun projects you always dreamed of,” said SolidRun CTO Khoury. “Everyone can take these computers to their own playground and build their special projects with it. It can be an excellent learning experience too.”
The CuBox-I, which SolidRun just introduced, is the second iteration of its CuBox series. The first computer, which has been in use since 2011, is being used in a wide variety of scenarios.