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$250 Freescale-Based "Green" "Cloud" Computer 371

Posted by kdawson
from the fully-buzzword-compliant dept.
An anonymous reader sends word of the CherryPal, a tiny desktop computer that its maker says will consume just 2 watts. It uses a Freescale processor that runs Linux and has no moving parts. The CherryPal has integrated software and an embedded Linux (based on Debian) that has been stripped down to support Open Office, Firefox, iTunes, instant messaging, and multimedia access locally. More applications are available in the cloud, and 50 GB of cloud storage is included. It comes without keyboard or mouse but with ports for VGA, USB, Ethernet, and built-in Wi-Fi. It's claimed that the CherryPal will boot up in 20 seconds from 4 GB of flash. They've buried Linux so that the end user doesn't see it; the entire UI is presented through Firefox. The CherryPal site says: "There's no software or upgrades to install, no risk of viruses, and no operating system to deal with and free 24/7 support."
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$250 Freescale-Based "Green" "Cloud" Computer

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  • by Bishop Rook (1281208) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:24PM (#24292681)
    I'd imagine most of the "upgrades" to your computer-using experience are going to be on the server-side, since the computer itself is basically a thin client.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:37PM (#24292893)

    without all the "cloud" mumbo jumbo. http://www.fit-pc.com./ [www.fit-pc.com]

  • by name_already_taken (540581) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:41PM (#24292959)

    From their (weird) web site [72.51.37.17]: 9vDC 2.5mm 10 watt AC-DC adapter power supply So the box is not eating 2 watts, but 10, unless you can pump in it 9VDC in a more efficient way.

    The 10 Watt rating is the maximum output of the the power supply - that means the computer itself has to draw less than 10W. It was probably cheaper to buy an off-the-shelf 10W power supply than have a custom 2W PSU built. It does not mean that the computer itself draws 10W.

  • Re:What's missing: (Score:2, Informative)

    by ksheff (2406) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:43PM (#24292989) Homepage
    I guess they're intending for people to plug their USB mouse into the keyboard or invest in a USB hub and a USB audio device if they want to do all of those things.
  • by smilindog2000 (907665) <bill@billrocks.org> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:49PM (#24293075) Homepage

    I'm all for this new era of ultra-cheap PCs with small flash memory, but for $50 less, I can get a gOS PC [walmart.com]. Also, barring users from accessing the Linux running on the hardware just pisses me off. I read the article on EETimes about this new PC, but I didn't see the value proposition.

  • Re:What's missing: (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:51PM (#24293101)

    USB Hub + USB Microphone. Done.

  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:53PM (#24293127) Homepage Journal

    You should try to compare apples to apples instead of to Cherries. Where can you get a low power x86 for $250-300? Show me a 2W x86 that lets you browse the net, write documents, view porn, etc. The closest thing I can think of is a VIA Artigo and those are more like $500. (after you buy the RAM and HDD/Flash for them)

  • by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @03:12PM (#24293361) Journal

    Mouse over the link in the summary. If it says "the register" like this one did, you can be pretty sure that the summary is as informative, if less humorous (oops, sorry, that's "humourous").

    I googled and found two other sites with news of this: Wired Blogs [wired.com] and Clean Technica [cleantechnica.com]

    On a more green note, the CherryPal is supposed to sell for under $400 (monitor, keyboard, etc. not included). It should hit the market on August 4th, 2008. For that price and low energy use, it will appeal to wallets as well as the environmentally conscious. Though there is some understandable skepticism, I'll praise any manufacturer that lowers the bar on PC environmental impact.

  • Re:What's missing: (Score:4, Informative)

    by intx13 (808988) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @03:26PM (#24293603) Homepage

    Or you could spend the extra couple of dollars and buy a decent USB keyboard with a couple of ports built in and use those ports. USB is chainable.

    Actually USB is not "chainable" in the sense of daisy-chaining (a la SCSI). Those USB keyboard with additional ports are just bus-powered USB hubs with USB keyboards permanently attached to one of the hub inputs.

    You're still right, of course, this is one way around the problem of only two USB ports, if not particularly desirable. Bus-powered hubs can't support the same power needs as the original hub for obvious reasons. The point is that for a "cloud" (ugh) device, a second USB host to provide two more ports would make this thing great for webcam/microphone use - a cheap connectivity device for Skype, MSN, etc.

  • by the_humeister (922869) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @03:35PM (#24293767)
    It's not 2W, but the new Intel Atom boards [newegg.com] let you do that in about 30W (4W for the processor itself).
  • by Bishop Rook (1281208) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:10PM (#24294339)

    And $5 a month plus $250 every year or two to support the "latest software" that "You're already paying for" is even more.

    The company claims that their system will last ten years, and I was going on the (probably generous) assumption that that's an honest claim. It is at least plausible, since the system is designed to be little more than a thin client for server-side applications, which (depending on the app) offloads a lot of the computation work onto the server. Hell, if all you're running is Firefox and all you have to do is make sure AJAX applications are relatively snappy, you don't need particularly hefty hardware.

    In this case, the business model will probably be based on cheap and durable hardware (as promised) but a costly subscription model. But IANABusinessAnalyst.

  • by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:22PM (#24294527) Homepage Journal

    No, using less power is considered green. If this machine really uses 2 watts (yeah, I'm skeptical too), then it's saving about 100 watts. Assume that the computer is turned on about 40 hours a week, then it uses 4 kilowatt hours a week.

    A little random googling and I came up with it taking a ton of coal to produce 2,460 kilowatt hours of electricity. So if 615 people using a 4-watt computer instead of a 100+ watt computer save a ton of coal a week. Not exactly a major impact, but not trivial either.

    (Cue the green-bashing snipers with their "stupid environmentalist cliches". Sorry, not interested.)

    Anyway, how does lack of upgradability make a computer a "throwaway brick"? If a computer does what you need it to, why do you need to upgrade it? Most users, especially business users, never install a PCI card. If you buy a computer that already has enough RAM (most are sold undersupplied, to keep the list price down) and a big enough disk (except this thing doesn't need a disk), you probably won't upgrade. Unless you need a fancy video adapter to play Halo. And if you do, you won't buy this kind of computer in the first place.

  • by TheDarkener (198348) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:33PM (#24294727)

    First of all...2 watts.... *with* wifi? Puh. lease. I'll dub this vaporware until they prove me wrong.

    Secondly.. LTSP and thin-client computing in general are on their way in (fast) as the eco-friendly alternatives to traditional workstation/server model. The educational sector is one example that are jumping on the bandwagon - not only for power savings, but for central administration (and if Linux is used, which many schools I have been contracted from are excited about) and the nice "not-paying-M$-for-Vista" aspect.

    "Cloud computing" is just another buzzword with no merit behind it. Thin-clients are solid, functional and are proven - and are improving every day to provide the functionality they weren't able to provide yesterday (such as synced sound/video output, storage facilities, peripheral support). In the future I'm sure LTSP & related projects will improve in the "retail" sector for at-home thin-client computing.

  • by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:35PM (#24294775) Journal

    Obviously he didn't invest that $100k in Enron

    This was some time in the early 1980s, Enron didn't exixt. However, if you had bought Enron early and fled before it crumbled you would have made a killing. That's the way of riches; you have to have it to get it. The insiders got rich while California had brownouts and small investors and employees lost everything.

    If you want to be scared shitless, read Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s [virginia.edu] by Frederick Lewis Allen [wikipedia.org]. It was required reading in a required undergrad history class I took in the late 1970s, the University of Virginia has placed the entire text online (darn, back in the old days we had to BUY books!)

    The 1920s had many eerie similarities to now, especially finance. Their ultra-rich were as sociopathis as today's. We mey be heading for another depression.

  • by kesuki (321456) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:38PM (#24294839) Journal

    yes, steel is terrible, but at least point out what's wrong with it.

    Taconite is the primary source of iron ore, that is used to make steel, the debris remains of taconite are highly toxic, and there were companies dumping taconite debris in the great lakes, all the way into the early 90's now in the US it all has to be stored on land, but it's Toxic, and leaches into water! i guess nobody cares what happens in northern Minnesota though, so who cares if making iron released tons of toxic waste.

    secondly, steel can only be produces with a very hot flame, coal needs to be modified to even achieve such a hot temperature, and a load of ozone is produced by steel production, ozone is good though right? not in the lower atmosphere, it makes allergy sufferers suffer worse allergies, and there are days when in steel country they issue advisories 'not to go outside' due to the high ozone levels, usually a stagnant pressure system that keeps the ozone locked in one place for several days is the cause for such 'advisories.'

    oh and remember how i mentioned iron production creates tons of pollution? Guess what! Steel does too! http://www.sprol.com/?p=373 [sprol.com] and US steel was caught doing it in 2005, dumping toxic slag into waterways.

    Aluminum also produces toxic waste, but compared to steel, it's trivial for one thing most soil world wide already has a small percentage (around 1%) of aluminum oxides already...

    although the carbon factor with aluminum is greater than with steel, it's also one of the better recycled metals. steel and iron sadly, do not get recycled nearly enough.

  • by Bonobo_Unknown (925651) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @09:08PM (#24297823)
    Biodegradable implies biological action in the degradation process. So yes, everything degrades over time, but no, not everything is biodegradable.

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