DreamPlug: A Linux PC That Looks Like a Phone Charger

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News Posted: Fri, Feb 4 2011 8:27 PM

Take a look at your power outlet. If you saw a DreamPlug PC there, you could mistake it for nothing more than your mobile phone charger. Yet Globalscale Technologies' newest Linux PC offers enough zing to make the "plug computing" concept a serious one.

The DreamPlug is built with a Marvell Sheeva 1.2GHz CPU coupled with 512MB of DDR2 RAM. It runs on Linux and offers an astounding number of must-have PC features for a device that fits in the palm of your hand: 2MB of Flash, an integrated 1GB microSD card, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, two USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA port, an SD card slot, audio in/out, optical out, WiFi, and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR. All this in a 110mm x 69.5mm x 48.5 mm package.

So what's a PC like this good for? A remote client to provide audio/video streaming for surveillance cameras, a PC to run home automation apps, an IP PBX/VoIP server, network monitoring, or any task where a PC would be asked to keep running, non-stop. That's because it sips under 5 watts of power, compared to 175 watts of power used by the typical desktop, Globalscale says.

True, 1.2Ghz with 512M won't outperform that watt-hog desktop PC, but it's not designed for your shooter games. The whole unit can live permanently in the wall socket or the top can be detached and a cable run to its power supply.

Globalscale is currently taking pre-orders and plans to start filling them worldwide by the end of February, says Henry Chiu, vice president of sales and marketing. "All of our products, and that includes the DreamPlug, have a power supply which can accept 100-240 volts AC. Therefore, as long as you have the correct plug (or plug adapter) it can be used in most countries around the world," he explains.

The DreamPlug costs $149, plus shipping and handling.

If that's not enough PC for your power outlet, Globalscale also offers its GuruPlug Server Plus. It's got a similar hardware profile to the DreamPlug, but adds some baked in security features. It supports AES, DES and 3DES encryption and SHA1 and MD5 authentication. Pricing for the  GuruPlug starts at $99.

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CDeeter replied on Sat, Feb 5 2011 12:01 PM

Absolutely amazing how small a computer can be today and still be powerful enough to be useful.

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coolice replied on Sat, Feb 5 2011 12:12 PM

woah man... this thing looks awesome.. the price feels just on the dot too... $150 for a plug in desktop. Talk about portability!

I can totally imagine using this to help diagnose/ fix other pc's. Based on the manufactures website...the thing draws only 5 watts.

Very cool, very innovative. I can imagine using this as a strict music-streaming device throughout my house... .and i can use it wirelessly through my laptop where ever i am...

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Inspector replied on Sat, Feb 5 2011 12:51 PM

Wait, a server one is less them the normal one? So something with more stuff is less :D

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RMedley replied on Sat, Feb 5 2011 1:40 PM

That seems even better to me Inspector. The main thing it seems to me that is useful about this device is as a location server.

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It doesn't take much to run Linux and still have good performance either.

One thing I didn't see was a video connector. (unless it's the optical plug) EDIT: It Is.

 

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coolice replied on Sat, Feb 5 2011 2:34 PM

What? the optical plug is the the video out? how is that possible??

I honestly though that this was a network based pc... as in the gui is controlled via another computer... like remote address.

That negates my comment from above.

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lipe123 replied on Sat, Feb 5 2011 7:10 PM

Too bad there is no hdmi, would have been a nice little TV Box.

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AKwyn replied on Sat, Feb 5 2011 10:00 PM

Now that you mention it, how are we supposed to plug in our monitors to this little baby? I don't see any display connectors on that thing, or am I missing some?

 

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coolice replied on Sun, Feb 6 2011 1:12 AM

Reil neil says its the optical cable... I dont know how... am googling to figure out.

I think it might be a remote access kind of thing... Being able to control it via another computer...

Perhaps both might be true.

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coolice replied on Sun, Feb 6 2011 1:13 AM

I dont think its that powerful enough for a TV device... i might be wrong though, but i think its lacking some juice... especially for HD content.

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CDeeter replied on Sun, Feb 6 2011 12:55 PM

I think your on the right track Coolice. Given the stated uses for this device, remote access makes sense instead of being setup with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

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digitaldd replied on Mon, Feb 7 2011 11:27 AM

TaylorKarras:

Now that you mention it, how are we supposed to plug in our monitors to this little baby? I don't see any display connectors on that thing, or am I missing some?

There is no video on the device you would ssh in to the device or manage it via a web interface depending upon what you install on it.  Most likely an embedded version of Linux. You could turn it into a NAS box by attaching drives to the USB/eSATA ports and installing something live OpeNAS, or you could install ipcop and make it a router/firewall as it does have 2 Ethernet ports, or you could attach USB cameras and make a security system out of it. To name a few project ideas.

 

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