updated 11:45 am EST, Tue February 24, 2009
Marvell Plug Computing
Marvell on Tuesday announced the introduction of Plug Computing, a concept which involves a tiny computer module that plugs into a wall socket and hooks up to a home network via a gigabit Ethernet cable to run network-based services while saving energy compared to traditional PCs. The small PC will let users access services such as social networks, multimedia sites or personal libraries via their wireless networks on their personal electronics devices without the need for a server or PC to be up and running.
The Marvell SheevaPlug platform is based on the company's Kirkwood embedded processor rated at 1.2GHz, along with 512MB of flash memory and 512MB of RAM. Marvell chose to use an open-source operating system based on Linux 2.6 kernels to help encourage developers to create new software and services. Mass storage and other devices can attach thanks to a USB 2.0 jack.
Marvell says the SheevaPlug draws between 5 and 10 times less energy than typical PCs that are being used as home servers.
The SheevaPlug let companies create partner devices that let users access digital media content in the home or remotely via the Internet, share the content of connected drives on the Internet, convert USB drives into network-attached devices with offsite backup as well as manage content from the Internet, a DVR, PC or storage devices via most any mobile device with Internet access.
The SheevaPlug development kit is now available online for $99, with all design details and the software needed to develop applications for it on Marvell's website.