We've seen a profusion of relatively low-cost PCs and tablets over the last few years, but Taiwanese electronics company Via's APC is cheap even by these standards: it's a $49 low-power desktop computer running a modified version of Android 2.3. Announced today, the APC is meant as a simple way to connect to the internet, so you won't get a great deal of computing power. It contains an 800MHz processor, 512MB of DDR3 memory, 2GB of flash storage, and can connect to a monitor or TV to output a resolution of up to 720p. It also consumes a fraction of a standard desktop's power: 13.5 watts at maximum and only 4 watts when idle.
Unlike more luxurious nettops (a phrase we admit we never thought we'd use), the APC doesn't come with its own chassis. It's based on a new form factor, Neo-ITX, but will fit in any case designed for a Mini-ITX or microATX machine. The choice of Android here is interesting, especially since Via had to redesign it for optimized mouse and keyboard support. Given the work that went into that, we're surprised that it isn't using Ice Cream Sandwich, which supports hover events and better mouse interaction, or taking a cue from the Eee or OLPC notebook and simply using a lightweight PC Linux build. The APC should go on sale this July, and pre-orders will apparently be starting soon. You can also get a first look at it with the TweakTown hands-on below