DreamPlug: A Linux PC That Looks Like a Phone Charger

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.