Marvell Semiconductor is shipping a hardware/software development kit suitable for always-on home automation devices and service gateways. Resembling a “wall-wart” power adapter, the SheevaPlug draws 5 Watts, comes with Linux, and boasts completely open hardware and software designs, Marvell says.
In typical use, the SheevaPlug draws about as much power as a night-light. Yet, with 512MB each of RAM and Flash, and a 1.2GHz CPU, the unobtrusive device approaches the computing power found in the servers of only a decade ago.
Furthermore, the platform is available in single quantities, and is priced within reach of students, hobbyists, and tinkerers. Its hardware design is completely open — everything from schematics to Gerber files will be available on a website, Marvell said. For those that do wish to build products on the platform, volume pricing could fall to $50, Marvell expects.
On the software side, the company says ARM ports of several popular Linux distributions are already running, and included. More importantly, Marvell has committed to do everything it can to ensure the best Linux support for SheevaPlug going forward. Raja Mukhopadhyay, product marketing manager, commented, “Whatever the community needs to facilitate development, we will provide the critical resources needed to facilitate that.”
Mukhopadhyay calls the SheevaPlug an “ideal platform for in-home service delivery,” and adds that he is looking forward to seeing what kinds of products and services are built on top of the device. He said, “We believe that for the consumer and the service provider in the home, it’s the right time for some disruptive application delivery. We believe that having a completely open hardware platform will be key in letting people productize it however they want.”
Several products based on Marvell’s SheevaPlug Plug Computer design have already been announced.
The SheevaPlug development kit is available now for $100, says Marvell. More information may be found here.
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