Marvell announces Plug Computer 3.0

January 6, 2010 // 1:41 p.m.

Tags: #arm #armada-300 #embedded-computing #marvell #marvell-armada #marvell-plug-computer #plug-computer-30 #sheevaplug #x86

For those who were interested in the Marvell 'SheevaPlug' embedded computer revealed back in February, the next revision should get you salivating all over again.

As revealed on Engadget, Marvell's latest "Plug Computer" is a beast, offering vastly improved specifications over the original. While the SheevaPlug featured a 1.2GHz ARM-based CPU, the latest revision - dubbed the Plug Computer 3.0 - packs a 2GHz ARMADA 300 chip, although those looking for x86 goodness will be disappointed to hear it's still based around the ARM instruction set.

That little hiccup aside, the good news continues: gone is the limited 512MB NAND flash storage, replaced with a more capacious hard drive option. The networking options have been given an overhaul, too: alongside the Ethernet port the system includes integrated WiFI and Bluetooth, offering more ways to connect and control external devices.

While pricing has yet to be confirmed, the original SheevaPlug was firmly aimed at the hobbyist end of the market - as befits an early-release development platform. Whether this will continue with the latest revision remains to be seen - although the limited sales run of 10,000 devices so far indicates that the market is still somewhat unsure. Despite this, Marvell's Dr. Simon Milner is confident that "this will be a transformational year, where innovative concepts organically fuel a new generation of rich applications to go hand-in-hand with the always-on lifestyle," which presumably means he thinks the new Plug Computer will sell like hot cakes.

Can you think of a killer app for an always-on wirelessly connected computer the size of a power supply, or does the fact it's based around an ARM chip limit its usefulness? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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