Great Uses for Single Board Computers
There are many applications and usefulness when it comes to Single Board Computers because computers that run arm processors are capable of running Linux, and Linux has a lot of packages that can be installed to run on these small computers. There are many advantages to using Single Board Computers because they consume very little amount of electricity, so users can leave them on all the time without having to worry about their electricity bill going up. Since these computers also run Linux they can act as servers for both personal and business, these servers include applications, media center, files, web, database, cloud and many more.
The most popular server for personal use on an embedded computer would probably be the media servers because a user can connect the computer to their TV via an HDMI cable and leave it on all the time while hiding the computer behind the TV, this makes the computer very useful by turning the TV into a smart TV. There are many media center server applications out there but one of the most famous ones that stick out to many people is the Kodi (also known as XBMC) platform where people can turn a small computer like the single board into an entertainment system that allows them to stream movies and TV shows. Since most Linux distribution came with Python installed out of the box, the user does not have to worry about installing Python to run Kodi, they just have to install Kodi, configure it and they should be all set to go.
As for business the web or the file server would be very useful for sharing internal web pages or transferring files between workstations. If one wants to build a web server, all they have to do is install a Linux distribution of their choice and install Apache, PHP, and MySQL and they will be able to create and share a dynamic content web page. If the business does not use PHP and only want to share static content they do not have to install the PHP package and just upload an HTML document to the webserver and they will be able to share within their organization via the server IP Address.
With the popularity of Single Board Computers on the rise, even Microsoft is building their computer that is capable of running Windows. According to Wind systems, one of the computers that can run both Microsoft Windows and Linux is the ITX-P-3800. The reason it can run Microsoft Windows is that it runs an Intel Atom processor which is an x86 processor which Windows uses to run on, so users do not have to stick to only Linux system if they do not want to. Since Microsoft Windows can now run on embedded devices, the possibilities for embedded devices has expanded a lot more, meaning people can now install Windows application on their computer and run almost any executable files that are made for Windows. Windows developers can now develop applications for Windows and run on their embedded system.
Although embedded computers are capable of running Windows, user should understand that only some Windows application can be installed and run properly on the system because these embedded computers do not carry a large amount of RAM or Random Access Memory and the process is not designed to process large applications like Microsoft Office Suite or the Adobe Suite, so even if Microsoft Windows has opened new doors of opportunities for tinkers and developers that does not mean they can run anything they want on these small computers.