Marvell's PC In A Plug - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Government // Enterprise Architecture
Commentary
2/25/2009
10:49 AM
Serdar Yegulalp
Serdar Yegulalp
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Marvell's PC In A Plug

It's $49, fits in a space the size of a "wall-wart" power converter, uses a meager five watts of power, and could easily replace any number of standalone machines in a small office or home environment. And I want one.

It's $49, fits in a space the size of a "wall-wart" power converter, uses a meager five watts of power, and could easily replace any number of standalone machines in a small office or home environment. And I want one.

I speak of Marvell's "plug computing" device, an incredibly small system-on-a-chip with Ethernet and USB connectivity -- and, as you might guess, it runs Linux as its OS of choice. The possibilities for such a device are pretty striking: a super-miniature print or file server, a Web gateway, and so on.

What's doubly striking is that this is not the endpoint, but a starting point. Marvell also is going to be marketing a development kit version of the product, which means it could easily become the basis for any number of hobby-kit or professional-grade products that use it as the core. It's a hacker's delight, although I'd also love to see folks put together kits that make its most hackable properties into things that even mere mortals can command.

Here's my vision for how this works for, say, a wired or even wireless print server. Plug it into a wall outlet, connect your printer via USB and the Ethernet cable, then run a small program that locates the device on the network and lets you do the printer setup and configuration through a Web browser. (Pet peeve: If possible, give us the option to have the printer seen by all devices as a generic PostScript printer, so that we don't have to fuss with drivers on the client side.)

Another possibility would be a development kit that allows you to emulate a version of the device on a PC, making it that much easier to develop and deploy customizations for it. This wouldn't just include software, but the whole Linux layer itself -- perhaps with the possibility for generating custom builds of the OS, too.

If you've got some ideas for what could be done with a device like this, share them; I'd love to hear.


Each year, InformationWeek honors the nation's 500 most innovative users of business technology. Companies with $250 million or more in revenue are invited to apply for the 2009 InformationWeek 500.


Follow me and the rest of InformationWeek on Twitter.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

News
Becoming a Self-Taught Cybersecurity Pro
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  6/9/2021
News
Ancestry's DevOps Strategy to Control Its CI/CD Pipeline
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  6/4/2021
Slideshows
IT Leadership: 10 Ways to Unleash Enterprise Innovation
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  6/8/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Slideshows
Flash Poll