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

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 snl2587 ( 1177409 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:16PM (#24292545)

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

  • 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.

  • 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. []

    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.

  • 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 [] 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:Cloud computer? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:29PM (#24292749)

    The point of this is that it connects to their cloud. Think of this as an X terminal that connects to a mainframe via the internet. The point isn't to build a cloud out of these things.

  • 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 cosinezero ( 833532 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:41PM (#24292965)
    Better to throw away a piece than the entire puzzle.
  • 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.

  • "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...)

  • 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.

  • Re:OT: Asus B202 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @03:33PM (#24293715) Homepage Journal
    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:OT: Asus B202 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stupidcomputers ( 852188 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:11PM (#24295359)

    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?

  • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:50PM (#24295867)

    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.

  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @06:31PM (#24296335) Homepage Journal
    But on the other hand, you can keep using steel pretty much forever. My old steel bike frames will outlive me. I can't say that for my aluminum ones.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito