Cherry Pal PC has just enough oomph for web browsing

cherrypal-computer-d001.jpg

The "Cherry Pal" would once have been called a "thin client," a computer just powerful enough to connect you to a larger mainframe server on which your real computing work would be done. Nowadays that server is a little something we call "internet" and the Cherry's anemic 400MHz Freescale processor is sufficient to run Linux (Debian) and a web browser — and that's good enough.

It's got all the standard hardware trimmings, including Wi-Fi, USB, and audio out.

The clincher, of course, will be price: the manufacturer is claiming it will be "dramatically cheaper" than Asus's upcoming desktop Eee computer, but if they're not under $100 (give or take) then the only drama they'll be seeing will be in the board room as their executives wail that their customer base has chosen to go with more fully featured, similarly priced machines.

It's a cute little thing, but their window for success is closing. This class of device is about to reach a commodity status that will relegate it into a bullet point on a display or monitor's feature list. I bet in five years it'll be difficult to buy a television or monitor that doesn't include an embedded Linux computer and browser, a la Splashtop.

I would also like to note that many of you have smartphones more powerful than this machine. (That's not a ding on the Cherry Pal as long as it doesn't cost more than a cheap smartphone.)

CherryPal: A 2-Watt Computer the Size of a Paperback [Treehugger]

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9 Responses to Cherry Pal PC has just enough oomph for web browsing

  1. Rob Beschizza says:

    This will be almost identical to a HP thin client, which all come with with Firefox or IE built in. Models with client-side browsers run $300 and up.

    http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF04a/12454-12454-321959-338927-89307.html

    I don’t think HP’s thin clients have WiFi, however.

  2. Rob Beschizza says:

    HP’s thin clients also have a lot more oomph than this. HP’s lower-end $200 model still has better hardware than this, but doesn’t have XP embedded on linux. I’ll bet you could hack one into a neat little “cloud computer.”

  3. Thaddeus Smith says:

    that logo/name/general underperformance reminds me of CherryOS back in the day that promised to deliver native speed mac virtualization in windows.

  4. hilbertastronaut says:

    Uh, maybe the “2 Watt” thing (i.e., extremely low power consumption for a desktop ‘puter) is just as important as the “thin client” thing? though I do agree that this genre will be going away soon.

    What is it with you BoingBoing folks trying to replace Slashdot? Give me more steampunk Pac-Man unicorn-chaser graffiti ;-P

  5. Rob Beschizza says:

    “Gadgets”

  6. Charles Merriam says:

    Logic is a little bird that twitters in the forest.

    Seriously, you believe that you know markets better than people putting their money on the line? And that people will care about the full features when the target market is likely to be computer illiterate? And that if the market does exist, it will be built into monitors?

    Seriously. The annoying guy at parties that tries to convince everyone that punch cards will be hot makes a better argument.

  7. TJ Lambert says:

    My new Phillips 42″ HDTV runs embedded Linux, and has a USB port for uploading updates. The day I set it up I went online and found an OS update, pushed it to the thumbdrive, plugged it into the TV, and presto! New OS, and enhanced features.

    Cool!

  8. Antinous says:

    Charles Merriam,

    Seriously. Huh?

  9. Joel Johnson says:

    Yeah, I feel like there might be an argument in Charles’ post, but I’m not sure I have the energy to pick it out. I’ve got too many other people at this party to talk to.

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