This morning I was checking out Digg and saw a post about something called a CherryPal. Thinking maybe it had something to do with CherryOS, I decided to check it out. What I found had nothing to do with a PowerPC emulator for the PC. In fact, the CherryPal is a device used to connect users to a cloud (not "The" Cloud, since that doesn't exist).
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In the fifteen minutes since I first heard about CherryPal, here's what I've found out: The initial review that I read claims that the device is rather slow, but it appears there is room for improvement. The device runs a triple-core, 400MHz Freescale processor with 256MB of memory and an 8GB solid state drive. Also included in the 10oz, 1.3" high x 5.8" long x 4.2" wide box is 802.11b/g WiFi, 10/100 ethernet, audio out, VGA out, and (only) two USB ports.
Among the applications accessible from the device (whether or not they're local or in the cloud I'm not sure) are Firefox, OpenOffice, Music Player, MPlayer for CD's and DVD's, instant messenging, and Skype.
A large part of the marketing effort for CherryPal is focused on the device being very "green". The device has no moving parts and only consumes 2 watts of power, which is pretty impressive considering the 500 watt power supplies in the PC's these days, but nothing new to the thin client world. CherryPal also says the devices use 80% fewer parts and will last for "10 years or more" - another benefit that we've heard before.
At first the device seems pretty cool, even though its a new spin on the same old thin client, but there are some glaring shortcomings:
- It seems to me like they should include more USB ports, because there's no way to connect anything to the device after a keyboard and mouse--like a DVD player or an external hard drive.
- A Skype conversation wouldn't be that useful because there's no microphone jack on the device, so you'd need to have some sort of supported USB audio device.
That's all I know about the device for now. I suppose I'll keep an eye on it and see what happens. If any of you have seen one in action and can share the experience with us, please leave a comment.