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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 thrillseeker (518224) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:14PM (#24292495)
    so buying a throw-away brick is now considered green?
    • by 4D6963 (933028) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:17PM (#24292551)

      so buying a throw-away brick is now considered green?

      Yeah, because the parts you replace when upgrading are notoriously biodegradable!

    • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:17PM (#24292567) Homepage Journal
      And why exactly would you throw it away?
      • by ePhil_One (634771) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:21PM (#24292635) Journal

        And why exactly would you throw it away?

        Its just a matter of time until the release the CherryPal2...

        • 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.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            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.

            You must be new to capitalism...

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Bishop Rook (1281208)
              You must be new to subscription-based services. Charging $5 a month in perpetuity for subscription access to a software tool that lives server-side is a lot more money than charging $50 one-shot for software that you install on your own hard drive. It's especially a lot more money than the $0 they'd get when (not if) you pirate it.
        • by Arccot (1115809) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @03:13PM (#24293377)

          And why exactly would you throw it away?

          Its just a matter of time until the release the CherryPal2...

          I'm really, really hoping the next version is the Cherry 2000 [wikipedia.org] instead. I'd buy one of those.

    • by pschmied (5648) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:26PM (#24292727) Homepage

      I've never thrown a PC away. I've been upgrading my trusty Radio Shack TRS-80 CoCo2 all this time. . . component by component. I've even kept the circuit boards.

      Seriously, the ecologically worst parts of the computer are the circuit boards and the LCDs if I recall correctly. I don't see how swapping a big-ass motherboard in and out of your relatively benign metal case is that green.

      This, on the other hand, is small and does consume very little power. I bet its footprint isn't much bigger than the average video card. If you want to be green it probably means not buying a computer, or making due with old / slow shit.

      Reduce, reuse, recycle. IN THAT ORDER! How many geeks here follow the first and most ecologically beneficial part of that triad?

      • by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @03:05PM (#24293263) Journal

        I didn't go quite that far back... well, maybe I did. My third computer was an IBM XT I bought used in 1987. It was the last whole computer I bought. At one time my "IBM XT" sported a forty meg hard drive, 386 processor, joystick, mouse, and SVGA graphics. Alas, the next upgrade replaced the last remaining origional parts, the case and power supply, as the new motherboard wouldn't fit in the XT case.

        I put back together with its original parts, but its monochrome hercules card had died. I left it in the house the bank foreclosed on in 2005, along with a bunch of other computers, all built with spare parts.

        I met a rich man once, who told the that the secret to wealth was to never throw anything away! When the great depression hit he'd bought a Model T Ford from a friend as a favor to the friend, who needed fifteen bucks to buy mules and a wagon to move to California. He had no use for it and stored it in his barn.

        In 1951 a collector spied it and bought it from the old guy for $100,000. He invested the $100k and will never want for anything again.

        I met this gentleman long before the bank took the house, but I had been overcome by insanity; I'd not gotten over my divorce, they were taking my house away, the doctor took me off Paxil and the only thing that kept me from killing myself was knowing what it would do to my children.

        As lomg as you never throw its parts away, all computers are green; at least, as green as they ever were. So maybe this "green" computer isn't so green after all; at least, not in the hands of a nerd like me.

        • "all computers are green; at least, as green as they ever were."

          Reminds me of the recent articles about how 'green' the new hybrids really are. Turns out, it's greener to buy a used car, even if it's a guzzler.
        • by zappepcs (820751)

          Damn dude, I was going to offer you a Hercules card for free... sorry about the house!

    • 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 Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:14PM (#24292505)
    So who is going to be the first to pop that cherry?

    Sorry, couldn't help it.
  • by mattMad (1271832) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:15PM (#24292513)
    How? The article is more confusing than informative on this aspect...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by snl2587 (1177409)

      Same thing I was thinking. And I seriously doubt a PC like this would run it with Wine.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Billhead (842510)
        Not only that, but Open Office as well!
        And no virii! With only 20 per cent of the innards!
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by smilindog2000 (907665)

          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: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Hordeking (1237940)

        Same thing I was thinking. And I seriously doubt a PC like this would run it with Wine.

        But I bet it would barf on wine.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sm62704 (957197)

      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 en

  • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:18PM (#24292571) Journal

    Sounds cool.

  • While I grant that it is somewhat difficult to nail down the definition of "cloud computing", what does this have to do with it? I see nothing here about distributed computing and I don't see how this computer could be used for any kind of cloud computing...
  • by Kohath (38547) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:19PM (#24292589)

    Green Cloud? Can we have a Brown Hornet computer? How about a Black Canary monitor?

    The Black Canary can tell us whether we can safely breathe in the Green Cloud.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      All I have to say is to thank the gods it's not a Brown Cloud! Phew!

    • by Minwee (522556)

      The Black Canary can tell us whether we can safely breathe in the Green Cloud.

      Actually all that the canary can do is tell you that you can safely breath in the cloud. It's when the canary stops telling you that that you need to worry.

    • by dsginter (104154) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @03:01PM (#24293223)

      From the submission:

      It uses a Freescale processor that runs Linux and has no moving parts

      The processor has NO MOVING PARTS!!! You bet your sweet bippie that this is more better circuitry. Finally - a solid-state microprocessor!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Tumbleweed (3706) *

        The processor has NO MOVING PARTS!!! You bet your sweet bippie that this is more better circuitry. Finally - a solid-state microprocessor!

        What a load of BS - there are quite a few electrons moving around in there. That will wear it out eventually, I'm sure.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Darinbob (1142669)

        Better yet, Freescale means it's probably a PowerPC, which means there's absolutely no danger of Microsoft trying to jam some version of Windows onto it.

  • Digital Cameras? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:21PM (#24292623)

    If this works with digital cameras and has even basic photo support I may have found a computer for mom. Every time I come home there's a camera that hasn't been offloaded since last time I was home.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      I told my mom to just forgo the whole computer when using her digital camera. Just take the card into the local photo shop, get the pictures printed that you want, and delete everything you don't want. Using a computer just complicates everything. My wife does pretty much the same. Leave everything on the camera until you print it and then delete it. Mind you, she also does daily transfers to the computer so that we can back them up, and upload them to the web, but it's basically a bunch of numbered fi
  • Why wouldn't they give access to the OS instead of running everything through FireFox. If everything ran in Firefox, you could still get a virus through a security hole in Firefox. For the same price you could easily build the identical machine with a real OS. If you only want to view the stuff in the web browser, just flip it to full screen mode.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sm62704 (957197)

      For the same price you could easily build the identical machine with a real OS

      I think you might want to clarify what you said, as many here will take that as a cheap shot at Linux, which is a far better OS than XP. I have no experience with OSX and can't judge between it and Linux, but Linux is indeed a real OS and far, far superior to anything Microsoft produces.

      Linux will run on anything from a wristwatch to a supercomputer. In fact, the world's third fastest computer runs Linux.

      I think what you meant was

  • by bestinshow (985111) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:22PM (#24292649)

    The problem with this device is that it isn't that much cheaper than a full budget PC that will whack this into the ground.

    $250 for what is essentially a DTV receiver (my ex had a £25 Sagem Freeview receiver that had an integrated 250MHz PowerPC) with 4GB flash... sure it comes with 50GB of online storage, but they haven't reduced the affordability.

    • by mlts (1038732) * on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:41PM (#24292969)

      I agree that it has a nice size.

      However, for $50 more at Wal-Mart, I can pick up an el cheapo Compaq sporting basic sound, 512MB of RAM, and a hard disk good enough to put a modern distro of Linux on it and have it work as a decent box. No, it won't boot in 5 seconds, but it will do a lot more for not that much more outlay.

      If Cherry Pal could kick the price down to $100 or so, that would be an alternative, but right now, unless one wants a highly portable cheap computer (which for $50-$100 more, an EeePC can do the job with a monitor), this computer has a hard market to crack into.

    • 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)

  • What's missing: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hoplite3 (671379) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:23PM (#24292657)

    Strange what small things they left off:
    * no microphone jack, so no voip
    * no extra usb jack, so no uploading pictures, printing, scanning, using a thumb drive, or loading your ipod

    Those things would have hardly added to the size or cost and would greatly increase the usability of this thing.

    Oh yeah, it'll be a pain to replace the "all firefox" interface with a more familiar linux desktop as you'll have to do the installation over the wire.

    But I think the small size and pared down power are not so bad. It could be cool ... one day.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      * no extra usb jack, so no uploading pictures, printing, scanning, using a thumb drive, or loading your ipod

      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.

      • 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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by shaitand (626655)

          While having it included would be nice, you are pretending that bus powered hubs are the only usb hubs there aren't. USB hubs with an outside power source aren't even more expensive than the bus powered hubs and can run pretty much any usb device without the complications that arise from using passive hubs.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ksheff (2406)
      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.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      USB Hub + USB Microphone. Done.

    • USB does it all (Score:2, Insightful)

      by davidwr (791652)

      With a powered USB hub and a USB sound port, and custom firmware, you should be good to go for VoIP and the rest.

      Let's hope they left open some way to flash the kernel.

  • 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.
    • Re:2 watts? (Score:5, Funny)

      by snl2587 (1177409) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:31PM (#24292791)
      It's ok. The rest of the PC uses magic and fireflies to run. I'd say that's somewhere around 8 watts.
    • 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.

    • by intx13 (808988)
      Basic electronics to the rescue! Power usage depends on the load (the CherryPal) not the source (the power supply)*. The source can supply up to 10 W... the load will draw up to 2 W so there shouldn't be any problem.

      *This is because P = I * V (power equals current times voltage) and current draw is a function of the load. The voltage is constant, therefore the power is also a function of the load. All power supplies work like this; having a PSU that can supply 1000 W does not mean it is supplying 100
  • iTunes? (Score:5, Funny)

    by MMC Monster (602931) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:24PM (#24292673)

    They have a version of iTunes for a Debian system that never needs to be updated?

    I don't even think Apple has that yet!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by TroubleMagnet (529417)
      I'll bet they run iTunes on their server and stream it. You will want to keep your music on the 50GB of network storage anyhow.
  • by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:24PM (#24292687)

    According to CEO Max Seybold, beginning in the fourth quarter the company will be ready to roll out its real business model. Folks running Ad-Block may want to sit down for this: advertisements will run when the computer is loading an application. Now the company says most applications will load in only a handful of seconds, and Seybold promises never to artificially delay a load for the benefit of ad screen time. But we'd say its a pretty big omission in the literature.

    This is especially glaring when the company says its guided by the values: Green, Fair, and Open. Those last two bits mean CherryPal vows to keep things honest and open-source with its customers. Seybold told us that the company will soon be describing in detail how the advertising works.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/21/cherrypal_launches_cherrypal_with_cherrypalcloud_and_cherrypal_etc/ [theregister.co.uk]

    While I have no objection to this sort of arrangement, I think a bit more information is forthcoming. Then again, they haven't actually released the device yet, so I'm going to assume that they will make it clear what is going on.

    • by King_TJ (85913)

      Nah.... this won't fly. That's just my unsubstantiated opinion - but let's see if I'm right.

      For starters, "green" isn't really all that big a selling point/attraction for computer users. It may be a big "buzzword" in the media right now, but buying habits aren't really being driven by it in this sector.

      Why? Well, for starters, no matter what the power draw is of a given PC, it draws pretty much nothing when it's powered off (or in a "hibernation" type mode, which is very similar). The typical PC *workst

  • OT: Asus B202 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drgould (24404) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:25PM (#24292697)

    Isn't Asus suppose to be releasing their Asus Box B202 [hothardware.com] about now?

    • Intel Atom 1.6GHz processor
    • 1GB or 2GB of memory
    • 80-160GB hard drive
    • WiFi
    • Bluetooth
    • SD/MMC/MS memory card reader.
    • $269-$299
    • mid-July release date

    What's up with that?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816)
      Looks great, I sure hope they sell it barebones. I want to netboot them for LTSP clients. Still seems a little overpriced given what the Wii will do for the same price; if Wii Linux were better-supported (if Nintendo at least didn't fight it) then there would be absolutely zero reason to buy that thing. And I mean zero.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      What's up with that?

      Intel doesn't want Atom to succeed. Rumor has it that Intel is purposely shipping a low volume of the Atom chips to drive consumers to higher power and higher margin chips. What would happen to the Home PC user when they find they can browse the net on a cheap, low power, Atom chip?

  • WTF? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:25PM (#24292707)

    CherryPal!?

    Was "My Little Computer" fraught with trademark peril? Or could they not get Hello Kitty to return their calls?

    There's a "popping cherry" joke here somewhere, but damned if I can find it.

    Oh, wait... *snicker*

  • Nice try. (Score:5, Funny)

    by oahazmatt (868057) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:25PM (#24292709) Journal
    No way I'm using my work PC to visit cherrypal.com, even if it is tech related and I can get away with it.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:29PM (#24292765) Homepage Journal

    They've buried Linux so that the end user doesn't see it; the entire UI is presented through Firefox.

    Is there a Javascript interface to Linux that can use the URL line as a commandline to an embedded shell? Something like "javascript: alert(cmd('ls -l ~'))"? Or even better, a javascript option that can direct output to the main Firefox window (tabs for file descriptors). Of course, with security settings to lock untrustworthy javascript (eg. in downloaded HTML pages) in a crippled/chrooted sandbox, but allowing typed commandlines just like in a bash shell.

    That way, Firefox can wrap the OS out of sight, except that skilled users could still get to the OS and a commandline. But without a whole extra terminal app, or any other apps for that matter.

    • by Rob Kaper (5960)

      They could easily do that with a small webserver component. Most firewalls do so and I bet it's the same here, it works. You wouldn't have to worry as much about client-side security either, the server only binds to ::1.

  • I assume by "iTunes" they mean "music player".

    I didn't know iTunes had been kleenexed.

  • half an inch thick with an XGA touchscreen? [techcrunch.com]
  • by EriktheGreen (660160) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:38PM (#24292911) Journal
    Questions:
    1. Is the $250 the real price, or a loss leader?
    2. Put another way, can the company make money selling just the hardware, or do they make money by selling "cloud" services that people may not want?
    3. Will the device be open enough to be hackable, or will it go the way of i-opener, punishing those who open the hood?
    4. Will the company likewise open the "cloud" for development? Can ordinary non-corporate hacker types write and sell software for it?
    5. Is the company hoping to sell the devices, lock in users to their cloud long term, and control the market that way, ala Microsoft?

    Erik

  • "Cloud" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tgd (2822) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:43PM (#24292993)

    Put the word "cloud" in your business plan and the VCs will definitely listen to you these days.

    I won't say its a bubble, but its definitely the hot trend of the last few months. A ton of companies have been funded this year dealing with "cloud computing" and we'll be seeing a lot of product and marketing announcements over the next 12 months about it... and most of them will make no sense (like this...)

    (And yes, I talk regularly to VCs...)

  • I've always wanted to hook a PC to a 8" USB Touchscreen and use it as a multimedia center for the car. Audio, navigation, video (when appropriate), maybe even wifi here and there...

    Slap a 16-32 gig thumb drive for media storage, and it sounds perfect.

  • In this case, is a "cloud" a "company you hope doesn't go out of business?"

  • marketplace chaos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:13PM (#24294401) Homepage

    I think we're currently in a period of marketplace chaos, and when the dust settles we'll find that a $1000 PC in a tower case seems about as archaic as a radio in a wooden case the size of a washing machine.

    The biggest computer manufacturers are still selling machines in the $1000 price range. If you look inside, you'll see that these machines are typically mostly air inside. They could have been put in a package the size of a hardcover book, but consumers associate the big case with a powerful machine. Part of the reason these machines cost so much is profit-taking by the manufacturers, and part of it is the artificial impetus to get insanely powerful hardware, because software like Vista and OOo is coded so inefficiently. This whole setup is a house of cards, though. People don't need the equivalent of a 1990 supercomputer in order to send email and do their word-processing.

    The trouble is that although a lot of small manufacturers have been testing the waters with lower-priced machines, the big ones haven't been interested. This is partly analogous to compact cars versus SUVs -- the profit margin on an SUV can be as much as $15,000, whereas the profit margin on a Ford Focus might be under $1000. Even if there's demand for the Focus, Ford has been more interested in pushing the SUV, because that's where the profit was. Then you have Apple selling a tightly integrated package of hardware and software, which people are willing to pay big premiums for. There's also the Windows tax, which hides the vast differences in hardware cost between a bleeding edge machine and something with lower specs.

    For a long time, the only low-cost PCs I was ever able to find in retail outlets were the Great Quality PCs sold at Fry's, which came with Linux preinstalled. They were wonderful machines, and I still have a bunch of them in a lab at school, working great. They sold for about $200. However, Fry's stopped carrying them about a year ago. Apparently the high rate of returns was eliminating their profit margin. A lot of users were buying them to put pirated copies of Windows on, and then if they had a problem with the install, they'd return the machine.

    There's also the Everex gPC. I own one, and reviewed it [lightandmatter.com]. Perfectly reasonable hardware, although the linux distro they put on it was junk. Judging from the customer feedback on WalMart's site, they've been some of the same problems as Great Quality with keeping their gPC customers satisfied -- a lot of people buying them apparently don't understand that the machine they're buying doesn't do Microsoft.

    It's great to see something like the CherryPal come out. One interesting thing about it is that they're exploring the low end of the hardware specs that are necessary to run a web browser. This is conceivably a way for them to get around the low profit margins that have so far crippled investment in this end of the market. Here's a comparison of the specs of three cheap consumer linux boxes:

    Linksys WRT54G 4.0 router -- 200 MHz, 16 MB ram, 4 MB SSD
    CherryPal -- 400 MHz, 256 MB ram, 4 GB SSD
    gPC -- 1500 MHz, 512 MB ram, 80 GB HD

    The Linksys v. 4 router cost something like $50 when it was available. (Later versions downgraded the specs and used a different OS instead of Linux.) Let's estimate what it would have cost today to upgrade its specs to something more like a desktop system (assuming it had been an upgradable system, which it wasn't). Paying retail today it would cost me $45 for a 1.8 GHz celeron cpu, $23 for 512 MB of ram, and $15 for a 4 GB keychain drive. Adding that on to the $50 retail price of the router, you get $133. Of course a computer manufacturer wouldn't be paying anything like these retail prices for the parts, so this is really a vast overestimate of what it would cost to manufacture a system like the CherryPal. I suspect their manufacturing price is more like $50.

  • 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 StefanJ (88986) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:03PM (#24295255) Homepage Journal

    Ultima II and "Hunt the Wumpus" SCREAM on this thing!

  • Same old, same old (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Coward Anonymous (110649) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @09:11PM (#24297871)

    This same old tired idea keeps popping up over and over again with a change of buzzwords. Now it's the cloud, before it was the network (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_computer) and there was the Audrey in between.
    However, the latency is always there and _your_ data is always elsewhere. Two very problematic issues that will always doom these efforts.

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