Ionics Plug Computer 3.0 (preview)

The first unit based on Marvell's Sheevaplug always-on microserver platform, the Plug Computer 3.0 looks bulky, but impressive.

Ionics EMS Plug Computer 3.0
  • Expert Rating

    Not yet rated

Pros

  • Intriguing form factor and concept

Cons

  • Little bit bulky

Bottom Line

An intriguing concept, the Ionics Plug Computer 3.0 is a worthy first model based on Marvell’s Sheevaplug always-on microserver platform. Of course, it remains to be seen whether the always-on, networkable PC that plugs in to the power socket is a goer.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    TBA (AUD)

A networkable computer built into a standard electrical outlet plug - we take a look at the Plug Computer 3.0. It's an intriguing idea - and not far-fetched given we have full computers in our pockets (we call them cell phones). Marvell introduced at CES 2010 its third-generation Sheevaplug, which is the basis for the Plug Computer 3.0. We got our hands on the first unit from one of Marvell's six contract manufacturing partners.

The Ionics Plug Computer 3.0 we saw was a bit bulky and boxy for an outlet. Plug it in and you won't be able to share that outlet with any other device. Other manufacturers may have different form factors.

But that observation aside, the lightweight Plug Computer 3.0 device appeared intriguing. The unit we saw wasn't plugged in, and wasn't running any software. Inside was a 120GB 1.8-inch SATA hard drive, plus both NAND flash and DDR2 RAM (512MB of each). The NAND flash is for storing the applications that will run on the Plug Computer.

The Plug Computer 3.0 runs Marvell's 2GHz Armada 300 processor; Marvell's design allows for up to 2GB of flash and 1GB of embedded NAND system memory.

The device communicates through your router to your home network and interfaces with hosted services in the cloud. You don't have to configure it -- it autosenses your network configuration thanks to DLNA certified chipsets (though, the device itself may not be DLNA certified; that depends upon the individual manufacturers). You can access the device via a web browser from a PC or another device, such as a connected TV or cell phone; from there, you can access content on the device, or even install new apps from an appstore.

The Plug Computer 3.0 is always on. Marvell says the power draw, not counting the hard drive, is 3 Watts when fully active; but 99 percent of the time it will be in standby mode, and in that state, it only draws tens of milliwatts.

Other specs of the Plug Computer 3.0: USB 2.0 port and gigabit ethernet port. The Ionics Plug Computer 3.0 was running Linux (Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope).

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?