Slice is a new Kickstater project that promises to deliver a cheap, powerful, and cool-looking media player that uses the Raspberry Pi Compute Module and an operating system based on XBMC and OpenELEC.
It's a wonder that no one has made this kind of hardware until now, especially if we take into consideration the fact that the Raspberry Pi Compute Module has been out for a few months now.
But what is Slice and what is the Raspberry Pi Compute Module? Let’s start with the Raspberry Pi component. The makers of the module have explained that it contains the “guts” of a Raspberry Pi (the BCM2835 processor and 512Mbyte of RAM), as well as a 4Gbyte eMMC Flash device (which is the equivalent of the SD card in the Pi). All of these components are fitted together onto a small 67.6x30 mm board, which fits into a standard DDR2 SODIMM connector.
Basically, this is a Raspberry Pi without the connectivity and it's ready to be integrated into a custom PCB. This is what the guys from FiveNinjas project have done with Slice, which is a custom PCB that integrates the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, and everything is nicely wrapped in anodized aluminum shell, which is quite good-looking, even for modern standards.
“Mo, one of the founders of the project and avid XBMC user, wanted an easy to use, self contained media player that he could take with him on the road and that stored the data on-board rather than needing an Internet connection. Not finding anything suitable off the shelf, the idea for Slice was born.”
“Based on the newly released Raspberry Pi Compute Module, Slice can also run many of the other operating systems that also work on the Raspberry Pi. So if you don’t like the supplied software you can load your own and do whatever you like! Slice will ship with software installed and set up ready to use out of the box – just load your media on to Slice and go,” say the makers of Slice on Kickstarter.
There are quite a few Tiers that are available for backers. The cheapest one costs £114 ($190), but it has no drive. With a 1TB drive, the price jumps to £164 ($273), but this offer will also end pretty soon.
Slice will be able to do anything that a user might need and then some. Besides the obvious functions, it's also possible to install other operating systems, it can act as an Airplay receiver, it has third-party IR remote controls support, really low power requirement, and it's open source.