Why the Asus Tinker Board is Not Much of a Threat to the Raspberry Pi…Yet

When one of my friends threw me a link to the Asus tinkerboard while I was nerding out about my recent purchase of some pretty cool RPi 3 gadgets, he was thinking the same thing that I think Asus and a lot of us who cover, use, or otherwise engage in tech think: that this is the new Raspberry Pi.

Thing is, it’s not.

When you think about what the Asus Tinkerboard has to offer compared to the Pi 3b, you can see immediately that the Asus board is supposedly “better;” I mean, the thing’s got 4k, right?! Awesome, bro! Well, sure, that’s great…if you’re looking to build a budget machine for your multi-thousand dollar 4k screen.

See the cognitive dissonance inherent in this assumption?

The problem goes further: the Pi is in its 3rd generation, and with each iteration the community has grown, the DIY guides have multiplied like digital rabbits or a 90’s movie graphic of what a “virus” “looks” like, and the secondary market (that is, products built around the Pi, like everything Cannakit makes for instance) has grown up a lot since the first board was released.

And here we come to the price: yes, for the specs, the Asus Tinkerboard is very, very cool. But it still isn’t low enough, and the whole “4k thing” is still not incentive enough, for the kind of person who is looking to buy these. Why? Simply because $30 for a board and $5–$10 more for the power supply are much more appealing prices for almost every single project that the Pi/Tinkerboard would be competing for. This in addition to the fact that the average tinkerer at the moment is not willing to spend money for features they don’t need, and the fact that the people who are willing to spend money for 4K despite the lack of actual 4K content are not the kind of people who tinker.

The Venn diagram I’m seeing in my head of the people who want/need 4K and the people who want/use the Raspberry Pi just barely overlaps, and its not until that middle section becomes bigger that the Tinkerboard will be any kind of real competitor.


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