Marvell's SMILE Plug Computer Is As Cute As A Button

What if you had a mini, power-efficient computer that smiled at your when it was functioning properly, and frowned when something needed a tweak? It'd sure be better than your current troubleshooting setup, we're certain. Marvell announced today at CES their new "Classroom 3.0" technology, featuring an ARMADA-powered SMILE Plug and a partnership with One Laptop Per Child. The SMILE Plug computer is the starlet of the show, listed as the first plug development kit designed to turn a traditional classroom into a highly interactive learning environment. Designed to engage students in critical reasoning and problem solving, the SMILE Plug creates a "micro cloud" within a classroom that is completely controlled by the teacher. Marvell also announced that it has extended its relationship with the One Laptop per Child Association (OPLC) on a number of new products, including the upcoming OLPC X0 3.0, a low cost, low power tablet designed for education.

The Marvell SMILE Plug, powered by Marvell's high-performance, low power ARMADA 300 series SoC and Marvell Avastar 88W8764 Wi-Fi, creates a micro-cloud, eliminating the problem of inconsistent Internet access within a classroom and creating a safe and secure connectivity for up to 60 students. The SMILE plug also securely delivers digital content to a range of devices, including personal computers and handheld devices. Teachers and students can now tap into an unprecedented amount of open or premium digital content. The SMILE plug also allows teaches to control and run interactive classrooms with real-time feedback and analytics, deepening the learning experience.

In tandem with the Stanford Mobile Inquiry Based Learning Environment program , Marvell has developed an easy-to-manage access point for a wide array of SMILE learning applications and has created an administration API and user interface, Plugmin, which provides access to many additional SMILE programs. These tools provide teachers total control of the devices and content used within their classroom for better lesson planning and student evaluation.

Additionally, the SMILE Plug Computer features an open platform based on Arch Linux for ARM, the Plugmin administration app and the Stanford SMILE Junction Server. The SMILE Plug includes a 5V Lithium-Ion polymer battery for back-up power, making it ideal for learning environments where electrical power can be inconsistent. Also at CES, Marvell and OLPC showcased the first prototype of the X0 3.0, a low cost, low power rugged tablet computer designed for education in emerging markets. Built on the Marvell ARMADA 618 processor and its Avastar 88W8686 wireless chip, the XO 3.0 tablet will feature unique capabilities that allow it to be charged by solar panels, hand cranks and other alternative power sources. Marvell and OLPC also announced that the XO 1.75 laptop will begin shipping in February, with initial orders benefiting education programs in Rwanda and Uruguay. For additional information on the XO 3.0 prototype or the XO 1.75 laptop, please see the related release, "Marvell and One Laptop per Child Unveil the Eagerly Anticipated XO 3.0 Tablet at CES."

The SMILE Plug will be available in spring 2012, but the fronwy face appears due to this: no known price.