Marvell's Plug Computer rethinks form factor of PCs and servers

One of the most unique things that I saw at CES 2010 was Marvell's Plug Computer, a new miniature PC form factor.

One of the most unique — and, frankly, puzzling — things that I saw at CES 2010 was Marvell's Plug Computer. The semiconductor company has taken the chips it makes for small devices and channeled them into launching a new miniature PC form factor.

The idea is that this plug, which is about the size of a power brick, is a mini PC that plugs into the wall and is always-on. It essentially becomes as a plug-and-play server. It consumes about one watt of electricity. It has a 2GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 2GB Flash storage, an Ethernet port, a USB port, and runs a version of Linux.

Marvell has opened this up to OEMs and developers and invited them to build on top of this concept, and the company has had more than 10,000 downloadeds of its development kit. For companies, developers, and startups that are interested, you get more info at

I talked to Marvell vice president Simon Milner at CES and he provided an introduction to the Plug Computing platform.

This is an interesting concept. I'm just having a hard time thinking of some really interesting uses for this, other than a really basic home server with a small Flash drive.

Am I missing something? Anyone else have ideas for what you could do with something like this?


Jason Hiner is Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.

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