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Tiny Linux Plug PC Offers a Cloud Computing Alternative

Based on an embedded Marvell Sheeva 1.2 GHz CPU, the MimoPlug is a new, low-power contender.

Linux-based plug computers such as the Sheevaplug have been drawing fresh attention for some time already, but on Monday MimoMonitors launched the new MimoPlug, a tiny, cube-shaped contender that's designed as a desktop PC alternative for cloud computing applications.

Measuring just 4.33 by 2.74 by 1.9 inches, the diminutive MimoPlug is billed as an "always-on, always connected and highly energy-efficient 'deskless' computing system," in MimoMonitors' own words. With bundle pricing starting at $399.98, the device is a cost-effective, low-power and space-friendly way to replace many desktop PC systems, its maker says.

Potential applications include retail kiosks, hotel guest services, multi-site network monitoring, on-site employment application stations, manufacturing control panels and video conference room controls.

A Marvell Sheeva 1.2 GHZ CPU

The MimoPlug features a Kirkwood Series processor with an embedded Marvell Sheeva 1.2 GHz CPU along with a choice of 4GB, 8GB or 16GB of flash memory and 512 MB of DDR2. Network connectivity is delivered via Gigabit Ethernet, and peripheral devices can be connected using a single USB 2.0 port.

The MimoPlug's high-speed SLC card, meanwhile, provides transfer speeds of up to 30MB per second, and the device can also take advantage of peer-to-peer connectivity over the Internet as well as network protocols such as Universal Plug and Play.

Perhaps most notably, whereas many Web 2.0 hosted services use central servers on the Internet to store copies of data, the plug computing approach distributes computing power to each plug device. Also available with an eSata type II port, the MimoPlug is configured to work with any of several different MimoMonitors.

Debian Squeeze with the GNOME desktop is the Linux distribution that comes installed.

Is the desktop computer on its way out? That's not yet clear, but there are certainly numerous alternatives, particularly when you're working in the cloud. This new plug computer option from MimoMonitors could be a compelling one for business and home users alike.

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