Punk This – Swap your hard-drive for ARM / X86 Flexibility

Posted on 30 May 2011 by



JKKMobile has been quiet lately but if you’ve been listening to the MeetMobility podcasts you’ll know he’s been working on something with Cupp Computing in the background. He’s just made the fruits of his work public and it’s a stormingly disruptive device. Yes, we just created a new word for this product!

Remember the HTC Shift and its ability to switch between X86 and ARM CPUs? It was a fantastic idea let down by a rather basic implementation. Punk This goes one stage further and not only enables a way to switch between two operating systems but it integrates hardware in a flexible way as a retro-fit to an existing X86 PC.

You get your mobile operating system on an ARM-based computer and the ability to switch between it and the existing X86 based PC that hosts it. In simple terms its a keyboard, mouse, screen, USB port, audio port sharing device with self contained CPU, WiFi, RAM, USB and memory. The on-bard PCI-E Mini slot allows you to add the lost storage in via an SSD module.

How?

View the video below and take a look at how the board would slot in place of a 2.5” HDD and provide the single-board-computer (SBC) connectivity and piggyback storage to replace the lost drive. You’ll see JKK switch instantly between Windows and Android. Obviously, if the Windows part is put into standby, you get the ability to run your mobile operating system as a kind of smartbook with  all the battery life advantages. 10hrs is possible according to JKK. It’s not limited to Android. Ubuntu and other builds are in the mix too!

Apparently this is planned to be available in 8 weeks for a price of under $200. Add the SSD storage and you’ve got a very interesting package. Congratulations to our friend, JKKMobile and Cupp Computing for pulling this together. We’ll be talking this over in detail soon and I’m sure we’ll be getting a sample! Anyone else interested?

Specs:

* TI DM3730 1.0Ghz A8 processor
* 512 MB RAM
* Micro SD System Memory
* Mini PCIe SSD for PC C: Drive
* Micro SD for Shared Drive
* WiFi
* USB ToGo
* USB Host
* Keyboard Controller (User Reprogrammable Keyboard Controller)
* Audio I/O

OS Development
* Ubuntu
* Android 2.3 (to be updated as new releases become available)
* Open Platform

IN addition, CUPP are working on a enclosure for this as a kind of Nettop device.

Source: JKKMobile

Categorized | News

5 Comments For This Post

  1. turn_self_off says:

    so the desktop version will act as a computer with a built in KVM switch?

  2. Clio says:

    It may be a interesting mod for my Kohjinsha SX… swap out my internal DVD drive (which was likely PATA drive with a USB bridge), and put in a HDD Caddy with this inside… But there are so many questions…

    1.) When the host Netbook is off, where does this module draw power from?

    2.) I assume that is a SATA connector sticking out the edge of the board… Is its sole purpose to connect the PCIe-mini SSD with host system? Any other communication goes through that?

    3.) Will there be a PATA version since some people may want to use this with HDD caddies?

    4.) Will this module serve as display card for the Host system? If yes, how does its performance compare with netbook integrated display chip? Any problem with Flash/Youtube?

    5.) And I don’t understand how display signal from host system gets rerouted to this module?

    6.) As I understand, the display connector on the motherboard is different for each netbook, am I correct? If so, there will be little hope a version would be available for my SX…

    Clio Reply:

    7.) How does the keyboard/Trackpad route to the module?

    8.) Display Out/ Webcams/ card-readers/ Anything installed on host PCIe-mini is not shared?

    9.) Existing USB ports/ Webcams/ Bluetooth/ Audio Jacks/ etc… will need to be desoldered from Motherboard, and re-wired to this module?

    10.) Is the WiFi on the PunkThis shared to Host? Via USB? PCIe?

    zeo Reply:

    According to the patent summary the host system goes into power saving mode, like Standby. So not quite completely off and the board looks like it will draw power from the SATA power, since it has connector for both the SATA DATA and POWER. Though that doesn’t mean it can’t be powered by another source.

    Doubtful they can get more than SATA communication over the SATA connector but the switch function is likely through it.

    Also doubtful they will have a PATA version, but in a larger system you could probably use an adapter.

    There is also the question of what type of Mini PCIe SSD it will be using, since there are three popular types. Asus for example uses a proprietary version called Flash_Con (contains both SATA and PATA pins), while some newer systems are going by the mSATA (SATA only) standard, and there are PCI Bus version like Super Talent’s CoreStore series that would work in a regular Mini PCIe slot.

    But with jkkmobile involved and given the size of the board I’m guessing Flash_Con as they’re the only ones which are up to 70mm in length and the other two are offered in 50mm length or equivalent to full size mini pcie cards.

    There are two LVDS cable connector points on the board that I can see and other pairs of connectors. So likely the board will act like a simple pass through for the main system and when you switch it just takes over those connections.

    The board is suppose to come with an installation kit, so I’m assuming most things will be solderless but that will depend on the system you are installing it in and whether there are ways to tap those resources without soldering.

    We’ll have to wait for jkkmobile to give his user review of how well the board performs and whether it has any specific limitations and additional details of how the board is configured.

  3. RedRaider says:

    If it’s put into a netvertible, will the touchscreen be functional by the ARM processor under Android?

  4. Chippy says:

    Lots of questions. I’ll get a session with JKK lined up in the next Meetmobility podcast.

  5. loki says:

    I’m interested in the Ubuntu option. Android is just too severely lacking to be used on anything other than a smartphone. I never used Ubuntu on ARM before. What kind of battery life and performance (office suites, online/local video playback, general internet browsing, etc.) can be expected when running Ubuntu?

    I see that it has USB and audio header pins. How would one connect those to a laptop’s motherboard (in particular when used in a Lenovo Thinkpad’s secondary HDD/SSD drive bay)? I didn’t see how the video will be sent to the laptop’s monitor either.

    It also doesn’t have WWAN capabilities and an HSPA mini PCIe card won’t work since there’s no SIM card slot.

    Seems like a nice first step.

    loki Reply:

    Reading JKKMobile’s article, this thing seems to only work on an Asus netbook otherwise people will have to have soldering skills if they want to use it on other laptops. Oh well, I guess I won’t be buying one for my Thinkpad.

    kevin Reply:

    I just got a Thinkpad T420s and like the previous Thinkpads, I can swap out the CD/DVD drive for any 2.5″ HDD/SSD. This would have been perfect if it could be placed in my notebook’s Ultrabay but seeing how there are other connectors besides the SATA one, I doubt it’ll ever work without doing some surgery to my notebook.

    The Punk This board seems to be more for developers and enthusiasts than for general consumers.