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Top Raspberry Pi news of the week: Magic mirror; Micro:Bit gets real; more on Android

This week for our Raspberry Pi roundup, we check out a little bit of magic, check in on the competition and follow up on some exciting Android-related buzz.

Magic mirror – from Microsoft?

Raspberry Pi Foundation official blog

The magic mirror is a popular Raspberry Pi project, combining relative ease of construction with a pretty eye-catching result – who wouldn’t want a mirror that shows you the weather, your appointments and maybe the news when you look into it in the morning?

Now Microsoft is getting in on the act, using its own software to make a version that shows off the company’s Hosted Web Apps platform and Cognitive Services APIs – the code behind it is all open-source, of course, and it’s available on GitHub. Essentially, the unique parts of Microsoft’s mirror are facial recognition, allowing the device to only activate for a given user, and the web app used to control it, which runs on a stripped-down IoT version of Windows 10.

Pretty cool, no doubt, though most of the functionality is already out there. The ability to tinker with it via a snazzy web app, rather than a Linux command line, is attractive, however.

Micro:Bit goes on sale

And just like that, we’re off the Raspberry Pi entirely. While there are a lot of small hobbyist computers out there – everything from the Arduino to the BananaBoard – the BBC Micro:Bit is the closest to the Raspberry Pi in terms of pricing and feature sets, and it’s finally available for pre-orders in the U.K. as of this week. (The project went through months of delays, having been originally slated for late 2015.)

The Micro:Bit isn’t identical to the Pi, of course – it’s battery-operated, for one thing, and it’s designed with more of an emphasis on sensor peripherals instead of pure single-board computing. Moreover, you program the Bit via a web and Bluetooth interface, instead of directly by connecting a keyboard.

The first shipments will go out in July, according to a report from the Inquirer.

Android Pi buzz continues

There’s no shortage of operating systems officially available for the Raspberry Pi – and with a little ingenuity, you can probably crowbar a number of unofficial ones on there as well – but the news that Android is coming to the Pi has a lot of people pretty excited.

Taylor Martin over at CNET has a laundry list of reasons to get pumped for official Android support on Raspberry Pi, many of which were echoed by commenters on Reddit, with particular enthusiasm for the idea that a Raspberry Pi could soon serve as an Android TV box.

A dedicated OS for RasPi display

Informational or advertising displays are among the more common non-hobbyist uses for the Raspberry Pi, so it’s probably past time for someone to have created an operating system designed solely for this purpose.

FullPageOS, the brainchild of developer Guy Sheffer, is a stripped-down operating system based on the open-source Chromium browser that lets users set up Pis as the drivers of display boards without having to manually configure a browser for the task. Handy.

(H/T: Lifehacker)

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