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£35 MK808 Dual-Core TV dongle: Make your television smarter in 2013

The arrival on the global semiconductor scene of a number of nimble Chinese players that use ARM technology and cheap fab capacity means the market has been flooded with very affordable yet powerful system-on-chips as the one found in the MK808.

This is a TV dongle sold by DealExtreme for just under $50 with free delivery to the UK (that’s around £35). It runs on a dual-core Cortex A9-based Rockchip RK3066 SoC clocked at 1.6GHz with quad-core Mali-400 GPU. That’s faster than the dual-core Exynos SoC found in the Samsung Galaxy S2.

Other features include 1GB of RAM, 8GB onboard storage, Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean, Wi-Fi, a microSD card slot, HDMI plug, two mini USB and one USB ports as well as Google Play compatibility.

Given that this is basically an Android tablet without a battery and a touchscreen, it should be compatible with a wide range of accessories and peripherals. Note that many have reported that you will not be able to switch it off and that it includes a number of quasi-useless Asian applications.

The price of these dongles is also falling fast. We've noted a few vendors on eBay that are selling similar devices for well under £30.

One has to wonder how Windows RT would run on this small device given enough processing power and system memory to play with.