Silicon specialist Marvell has announced the release of its SheevaPlug plug computing platform to developers across Europe.
Designed for regional electrical specifications, the platform is built using Marvell's Kirkwood series system-on-chip design, featuring a 1.2GHz Marvell Sheeva CPU processor, 512MB of Flash storage and 512MB of DRAM memory. The SheevaPlug also features a USB port to allow users to run applications that require a hard disk or other peripheral as well as a Gigabit LAN port for network connectivity.
Combined with the open Linux-based operating system and software development kits (SDKs), this template allows for creation of a wide range of different always-on back-end products, ranging from media servers to home automation and remote access, all in a form factor not much bigger than two decks of playing cards.
"The Plug Computer is one of the more amazing technologies that have come out this decade and it has the potential to change the world," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst for the Enderle Group.
"The open plug platform gives European developers the opportunity to create applications, services and solutions that are only limited by their imaginations."
As well as providing the physical architecture, Marvell has set up the PlugComputer Community, where already more than 1,000 developers share ideas and code for the platform.
"With the continuing move away from desktops PCs towards notebooks, and lately netbooks, a gap has been created for types of back-end services that need to be always on and always connected," explained Simon Milner, vice president and general manager of the enterprise business unit at Marvell
"The technology has finally evolved to the point where we can put enough processing power, storage and connectivity in a tiny form factor that draws minimal power, enabling companies to make any number of different devices to meet the varied needs of today's consumers."
According to Milner, Marvell is working with a number of retail vendors such as Buffalo, D-Link, LaCie and Seagate to bring a variety of plug computing products to the market.
European developers wishing to experiment with plug computing can purchase a SheevaPlug model from GlobalScale Technologies for £63 each excluding freight costs.
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