Yesterday, CherryPal introduced a low cost cloud computer called CherryPal, powered by open-source Debian Linux. The unit sells for $249 available at the end of July. The unit is about the size of a paperback and only weighs 10.5 ounces. It’s perfect for people who just want to browse the web, check for email or perform some light document work. The coolest thing it is green to the environment. It only consumes 2 watts of power compared to 114 watts on average for an traditional PC.
The main reason for the low power consumption is the unit contains no moving parts. It comes with 256MB of RAM, 4GB of solid state storage and runs on a 400-MHz Freescale MPC5121e processor. It’s the same processor Apple used before switching over to Intel. CherryPal expects the unit to survive in 10 years or more. The unit can power up in about 20 seconds or less.
In addition, the Cherrypal has two USB ports where you can attach a keyboard, a mouse or an external hard drive. A VGA port is also available where you can easily attach an LCD monitor for external viewing. The screen resolution is set to 1024 x 768. The unit also comes with an ethernet jack and has built-in wifi support, a cool feature giving you the ability to drag it anywhere around the house. Printing is also possible. See cloud computing below.
- Freescaleâ€™s MPC5121e mobileGT processor, 800 MIPS (400 MHz) of processing
- 256 MB of DDR2 DRAM
- 4GB NAND Flash-based solid state drive
- WiFi 802.11b/g Wi-Fi
- Two USB 2.0 ports
- One 10/100 Ethernet with RJ-45 jack
- One VGA DB-15 display out jack
- Headphone level stereo audio out 3.5mm jack
- 9vDC 2.5mm 10 watt AC-DC adapter power supply
- Weighs 10 ounces
- 1.3â€ high, 5.8â€ x 4.2â€ wide
In terms of software, the unit comes with Firefox web browser, and OpenOffice productivity suite, so you should be able to create and save word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents. The unit also comes with iTunes for music playback and music management. In addition, CherryPal comes with its own CherryPal-branded media player giving you the ability to play popular media formats. It also has a messaging client. However, there is no webcam support. CherryPal is still working on webcam support at the moment. Since the unit does not come with a DVD drive, you will not be able to watch movies, but you can still watch streaming videos from an external source such as a media center, USB hard drive or from the internet. You can even edit pictures using a photo editor called Picnik which fully integrates with your online photo galleries on Flickr, Picasa, Facebook, Photobucket, MySpace, and Webshots. For more questions, visit CherryPal’s FAQ.
Cherrypal has an added feature called the Cloud computing where an additional 50GB of online storage is available for free. Cloud Computing also means applications are kept on the Internet and managed by CherryPal. They take care of all the technical details, like upgrading or installing software, virus checking, operating system maintenance and upgrades. Turning on a CherryPal computer is an experience likened to turning on your TV, you can control all of the functions and applications of the CherryPal through the browser. There is no need to go into the operating system to fix settings, configure your system or locate files. CherryPal’s online administrators do all of the system maintenance. Data backups happen automatically, so youâ€™ll never lose a file.
Overall, CherryPal is a promising unit. It has its own limitations, but powerful in its own right. You have to constantly remind yourself it’s not a full fledge PC since this pint size unit can do so many things. If you do some light work on the computer like browsing, email, etc, this unit might be the one for you. For a measly $249, it’s actually a bargain. Think of all the power savings. Not only that, it’s good for the environment.