Marvell's Plug Computer: A fully functional 5 watt Linux server
Marvell announced today a new type of computer. It's about the size of an AC to DC converting wall outlet plug, but is really a full SoC with a 1200 MHz CPU, built-in 512 MB Flash, 512 MB DRAM, Gigabit Ethernet and USB 2.0 support. It runs small versions of Linux, consumes about 5 watts max while allowing remote users (presumably those authorized by the owner) to access data stored on the device from remote locations including local intranets or over the Internet. The $49 device opens up a wide array of extremely low-power, low-volume, always on applications.
That's it, the entire computer is contained within the plug. When I first read about this new Plug Computer, I thought to myself "What a silly concept." I even started writing this article from that point of view. However, the more I wrote the more I began to realize what Marvell has done here. While there are other plug-like computers available on the market (traditionally costing up to $200 more), including dedicated x86 platforms in form factors that are literally the size of a pack of cigarettes, this relatively new concept is a device whose time has come.