Back in 2007, I met Giuseppe Amato, then Technical Director of AMD for EMEA Region. He showed me some very impressive concepts powered by AMD CPUs - such as Israeli company built - wall-socket PC. This PC was actually built the size of regular power socket, with 2x USB, DVI, Ethernet and two audio input/output connectors.
Sadly, AMD never pushed this system to the general audience. But another player will do something… moveable. Marvell recently released SheevaPlug Development Kit, e.g. a Plug Computer. This project immediately formed a community around PlugComputer.org. This "PC" is built inside a small, AC Adapter-like casing, featuring Marvell's ARM-Compliant Sheeva processor, ticking at 1.2 GHz, 512MB DDR2 RAM memory and 512MB of Flash memory. Unlike AMD's concept, I/O is consisted solely out of USB 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet [DVI? D-SUB? HDMI? Hello?].
According to Marvell, this prototype is just the launch of a whole series of Plug Computers, trying to build on the whole virtualization segment that is currently a hot trend in the commercial industry. Marvell sees the opportunity in building thin clients that will connect to Virtual Machines, and radically reduce the cost of thin clients.
To show how serious the company is, the price of Development Kit is mere $99. The Development Kits are being manufactured by GlobalScale Technologies - a company that is definitely worth watching for. Our vision of the future of computer interaction is a little bit… different, but if Marvell and GlobalScale Technologies increase the amount of memory and local storage and develops the whole platform while keeping the platform cost low, those vast server machines running Virtual Machines just might get an ideal low-power companion.
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