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Linux mini-PC takes two Watts to tango

Jul 22, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

A Silicon Valley startup called CherryPal announced a two-Watt, $250 ultra-mini PC that runs Debian Linux. Based on a 400MHz PowerPC-based system-on-chip (SoC) from Freescale, the solid-state CherryPal C100 Desktop offers managed “cloud” computing paid for by advertising rather than a monthly fee.

(Click for larger view of CherryPal C100)

With its touted two-Watt power consumption and lack of moving parts, the 10-ounce, 1.3 x 5.8 x 4.2-inch CherryPal C100 uses 98 percent less energy and includes 80 percent fewer components than a typical PC, claims CherryPal. The CherryPal C100 is also said to boot in 20 seconds.

Like another fruit-flavored mini-PC, the mobile LimePC, the CherryPal is based on the Freescale MPC5121e. Positioned as an automotive telematics processor when it was announced in May 2007, the MPC5121e powers an automotive Linux PC reference design from Wind River and Freescale. Yet, the chip appears to have made itself at home on the desktop as well as the dashboard.

The MPC5121e is based on a 32-bit PowerPC e300 core. The SoC integrates a PowerVR MBX Lite 2D/3D graphics core claimed capable of playing video and displaying graphics on an external display at XGA (1024 x 768) resolution.

Besides the MPC5121e, CherryPal comes with 256 DDR2 DRAM, 4GB flash, two USB ports, an Ethernet port, and WiFi.

CherryPal (back)

The free, Web-based CherryPalCloud provides storage, virus control, application upgrades, and installation. Up to 50GB of online storage is offered, but that limit should increase in the future, says the company. External USB-based storage is also supported.

The Debian operating system (OS) is unexposed, and all applications and functions are said to be managed via a Firefox-based browser. CherryPal uses a “patent-pending” technology that combines hardware and software encryption, says the company. It also collapses the operating system and browser into a single software layer, a design that CherryPal claims improves performance, and “virtually eliminates any risk of bugs or viruses.” In addition, the system is said to be supported by free 24-hour tech support.

The following are the specifications listed for the CherryPal C100:

  • Processor — 400MHz Freescale MPC5121e mobileGT (PowerPC); (800 MIPS performance claimed)
  • Memory — 256MB DDR2 DRAM
  • Flash — 4GB NAND flash solid state drive
  • Web storage — 50GB limit on CherryPalCloud
  • Display — VGA DB-15 display out jack, supporting up to XGA 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Audio — headphone stereo audio out 3.5mm jack
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet with RJ-45 jack
  • WiFi — 802.11b/g
  • USB — 2 x USB 2.0
  • Power supply — 9v DC 2.5mm 10-Watt AC-DC power supply adapter; claimed 2-Watt consumption
  • Weight — 10 ounces
  • Dimensions — 1.3 x 5.8 x 4.2 inches
  • Software — Firefox,, iTunes support (via Banshee?), Adobe Flash 9, CherryPal media player, and IM apps
  • Operating system — Debian/GNU Linux

An advertising component will be rolled out later in the year, says CherryPal. The company has not provided details on the form or duration of the commercials, but it claims it will not share personal customer information with outside firms.

Stated CherryPal CEO, Max Seybold, “Today's typical PC is based on a computing model created 25 years ago, before the Internet, web browsers and global warming. We have developed a new computing model that makes CherryPal the easiest to use, greenest, most affordable computer available today.”


The CherryPal is available for pre-orders in the U.S., and will begin shipping at the end of July, says CherryPal. The price is $250, with free units available to “Brand Angels” willing to testify for the product and sell it for a small commission. Buyers who purchase from this informal sales force will receive a small discount.

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