If you're all about the small-and-light, how does a fully-fledged PC crammed into a power brick grab you?
That's the concept from technology manufacturer Marvell, which it showcased last Tuesday according to PC Mag
. The device – which is called SheevaPlug – is a PC with a 1.2GHz custom CPU based on the ARM architecture, 512MB of solid-state storage, and 512MB of RAM. The spec sheet is completed with a built-in gigabit Ethernet connection and a USB 2.0 bus for peripherals. The development platform
also features an additional debug board with a mini-USB port alongside an SDIO connector, which can be used to add additional storage or even a WiFi connection.
Drawing less than a tenth of the power of a standard PC, and taking up near-zero footprint, the SheevaPlug certainly has a lot to recommend it. While the ARM-based architecture of the processor precludes the use of Windows, Marvell is working with several Linux distributions to ensure that the device will co-operate well with the open-source operating system.
Already there are customers working on devices based around the SheevaPlug: neat concepts currently in the works include a plug-in device to turn a humble USB mass storage device into a fully-fledged network-attached storage system along with a device to allow the iPhone to connect to external USB devices. While the lack of a second Ethernet port precludes using the device as a router or firewall, there's certainly nothing stopping it taking the place of a range of network attached hardware.
Simon Milner, the vice president and general manager of Marvell's enterprise group believes that the gadget will help make home networks “more intelligent,
” and is keen to point out the “open platform
” offered by the Linux-friendly device. The company is also providing an open-source API framework it has developed – called RainDrop – to help developers get to grips with the device.
Can you think of an exciting use for a PC built in to a plug, or is the lack of video output a deal-breaker? Share your thoughts over in the forums