Marvell SheevaPlug crams Linux PC into a power adapter
Marvell yesterday debuted its Plug Computing initiative, which seeks to strip the always-on PC down to the smallest form possible while still retaining its functionality. The result is the SheevaPlug development platform, a 1.2GHz Sheeva CPU with 512MB of Flash memory and 512MB of DRAM jammed into an oversized Glade Plug-in. It's compatible with most Linux distributions running the 2.6 kernel.
The unit has a gigabit ethernet port and one USB port and is meant to be hooked up to the home's main router and network storage device. From there, Marvell says it consumes one tenth the power of a PC being used as a home media server.
It's the same idea we saw at CES with the PogoPlug. In fact, the PogoPlug is based on Marvell's reference model. You plug a regular external hard drive into the device, and it becomes an intelligent network drive that's also remotely accessible.
As someone who's employed various highly unsuccesful and far more expensive solutions for remote home server access, the $79 Pogoplug looks too good to be true. Ctera's Cloudplug is a similarly designed solution also utilizing Marvell's plug design.
These computers are akin to The Brain That Wouldn't Die -- there's no real way to interact directly with one of them, since the have no graphical output and no space for peripherals. But they can turn an otherwise dumb storage device into a network connected solution with a single plug.