CUPP's PunkThis board allows netbook owners to add a low-power ARM chip to their system with ease.
Multi-mode computing specialist CUPP Computing has confirmed that it is continuing development of its PunkThis board following a funding hiccough late last year, giving hope that the ARM-based add-on will one day see a commercial release.
Based on the company's patented multi-mode computing technology, the PunkThis offers a Texas Instruments DM3730 ARM Cortex-A8 processor running at 1GHz and 512MB of RAM on a plug-in mini-PCIe module for insertion into existing computers.
The idea, the company explains, is twofold: developers gain an easy way to switch between an ARM and an x86 environment, while end-users get a near-instant boot environment for simple tasks and the promise of massively boosted battery life.
According to CUPP's own figures, a netbook equipped with a PunkThis module will run for over 20 hours with a standard screen or around 40 hours with a PixelQi-based display.
In addition to the processor and memory, the PunkThis module includes two microSD slots for system storage and shared storage, a mini-PCIe connector and compatible SSD for use as the x86 host's boot drive, Wi-Fi, USB host and USB On-The-Go connectivity, a reprogrammable keyboard controller and audio connections.
Currently implemented in an Asus 1015PN netbook, the idea is to simply remove the existing mini-PCIe SSD and replace it with a PunkThis module with no soldering required. Other netbooks are expected to be supported in due time.
The company has also confirmed plans to release a desktop enclosure which turns the PunkThis module into standalone low-power PC. This case is set to feature external connectors for audio, dual DVI video, audio, an SD card, and a total of five USB ports.
On the software front, CUPP has confirmed that ARM builds of Ubuntu Linux and Android will be supported. While the system currently runs on Android 2.3 'Gingerbread,' CUPP confirms that work is ongoing to port the latest Android 4.0 'Ice Cream Sandwich' to the platform.
As an open platform, however, users are free to port whatever operating system they see fit to the PunkThis module. Sadly, while Windows 8 will support the ARM instruction set architecture, the module's 512MB of memory likely precludes its use.
Development of the module was put on hold as the company missed a planned round of funding. Thankfully, 50 per cent of that funding has been found, with discussions ongoing to raise the rest. 'We hope to have the PunkThis Module back on track in the next weeks,
' the company confirmed in a statement.
More information is available on the company's site
Fancy a 20-hour netbook, or do you have a more exciting plan in mind for the PunkThis? Share your thoughts over in the forums