The CherryPal “cloud computer” was announced today. The $249 pc uses only 2 watts of power at maximum usage, but the specs seem to be on the lower end of usability.
Priced at US$249, the system includes a Freescale processor running at 400MHz, 256M bytes of RAM and 4G bytes of internal flash storage. It comes with the OpenOffice suite and the Firefox Web browser. By comparison, Asus Eee PC mini-notebooks have at least an 800GHz Intel Celeron processor, 512M bytes of RAM and 2G bytes of flash storage for about $300.
Users have the option to store data online, a concept known as “cloud” storage, and access it from any device, including mobile phones. Online storage capacity of 50G bytes will be provided at no extra cost, according to the company.
The 400MHz processor sounds absurdly slow, but it’s a more efficient multi-core design that gets more work done in each clock cycle than other low-end processors. The Freescale processor isn’t likely to run Windows anytime soon, though — it isn’t an Intel-compatible design. And Linux programs will need to be ported — or at least recompiled — to run on the CherryPal.
It’s true that web browsing doesn’t require high end gear, but there is a minimum level of hardware necessary for comfortably using video sites like YouTube and Hulu, and playing even basic Java and Flash games online, and this might be pushing it. We won’t know for sure until someone gets to do some testing and benchmarking.
The CherryPal is an intriguing idea — it would be very cool if a new hardware platform took off. But for most people there are better options out there. For example, the Everex gPC2 available from WalMart.com for $199 uses a little more electricity, but it has a 1.5 ghz Via C7-D energy efficient processor, 512 mb RAM, 80 gb hard drive, and a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive. The gOS flavor of Linux and the OpenOffice.org 2.3 office suite come pre-installed, and Windows can be installed if that’s how you roll.
For you greenies out there, Via even claims the the C7-D processor is the world’s first Carbon Free computer component.
If you’re still interested in the CherryPal, you can get more information and place your order here: www.CherryPal.com