Lifehacker.com has a great discussion going on today... "Can you build your own laptop?" The answer is a resounding "Yes!" and from where I'm sitting it's disappointing that someone technically apt enough to consider this even needs to ask. Barebones Laptop kits used to be far more common place than they are today. Call it another casualty of the $199 discounted laptop era (Yes, $199 laptops ARE out there), but right now a DIY laptop IS buying a cheap off-the-shelf model and upgrading the parts.
Still looking for something a bit more DIY? How's $49.99 with free shipping sound? You're thinking a $50 laptop is either the best or perhaps the worst idea you've heard all day, but what we're talking about is the Un-Laptop. It starts with the case. You can just toss out your ideas about limited screen sizes, inflexible hinges, overheating chassis, and more because our miracle laptop doesn't have a case. Keyboard palm-rest giving you carpal tunnel? No problem, the Lotito Technical Services DIY laptop doesn't have a built in keyboard or a trackpad (thank goodness on that last!).
So what IS the $50 laptop? Take a peek for yourself. With this device (no, we don't get a commission), you can turn any monitor, wireless keyboard, and mouse into a Starbucks or airport-ready mobile office/command-center/gaming-machine: https://dx.com/p/mk808-dual-core-android-4-1-1-google-tv-player-w-1gb-ram-8gb-rom-wi-fi-tf-hdmi-160535
Gimmicks? No gimmicks, at 109 reviews of 4.5 stars, the MK808 is the computing swiss army knife you've been looking for. The USB drive sized device plugs into the HDMI port of any monitor, television, projector, and yes, even other laptops (with video-in) to provide an ultra-low-energy Android computing environment with built in WiFi, Mouse and Keyboard support, and access to Google Play Store, Android Store, Google Chrome App Store, and of course Android app side-loading.
A quick search shows that this is not a new idea. Others have successfully put together their own mobile computing platforms with nothing more than a spare monitor, an MK808, a few cable ties, and a mouse.
Of course you're thinking that a monitor is hardly portable... correct? That might be true in 2005, but now a wide variety of battery powered HD televisions, DVD players, and other portable screen devices so in the unlikely event that you can't find a power-source you're still fine for this project. The bottom line is, well, the bottom line is about $49.99 for a great portable computer solution (plus the spare parts you've been hoarding all this time) and it's a set-up that's sure to impress at meetings, the coffee house, and parties (does anyone have LAN parties anymore?).
Screenshots from what a $50 laptop computing experience looks like here: https://dx.com/p/mk808-dual-core-android-4-1-1-google-tv-player-w-1gb-ram-8gb-rom-wi-fi-tf-hdmi-160535
Have you built your own PC or used an Android / Raspberry Pi / Google Chrome / Apple TV dongle? Lets us know in the comments!