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Linux-based plug computer sold with USB touchscreen monitors
Jun. 13, 2011

MimoMonitors.com announced a Debian Linux-based, Marvell SheevaPlug mini-PC bundled with its USB touchscreen displays for desktop-PC use. The compact, 1.2GHz MimoPlug features SD storage, gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0, and optional eSATA ports, and is available with 7-10-inch touchscreens in bundling deals ranging from $380 to $500.

Most of the early devices based on Marvell's open source Linux SheevaPlug Plug Computer mini-PC design are focused principally on network attached storage (NAS) and remote access features. These include the popular Cloud Engines PogoPlug, which has inspired its own spinoffs. Yet now, with the MimoPlug as well as Globalscale Technologies' DreamPlug, we're seeing Plug Computers that have a broader focus. While the DreamPlug is billed as a jack of all trades, MimoMonitors.com's MimoPlug is aimed primarily at the consumer market as a modest touch-based cloud computing device.


MimoPlug

The MimoPlug is sold only with MimoMonitors' line of seven to 10 inch USB touchscreen monitors. The 4.33 x 2.74 x 1.9-inch device is said to be "specially configured" with Linux touchscreen drivers to work with the monitors.

The MimoPlug is "arguably the smallest, most portable, and most energy efficient Linux computer system available anywhere," claims the company. In addition to home desktop and kitchen computer scenarios, MimoPlug applications may include retail kiosks, hotel guest services, multi-site network monitoring, on-site employment application stations, manufacturing control panels, and video-conference room controls, says MimoMonitors.


MimoPlug with 10.1-inch Monster (left) and eye 9 monitors

The MimoPlug closely resembles the original plug-in Plug Compuer design, and offers an ARM-derived, 1.2GHz Sheeva Kirkwood CPU with 512MB of DDR2 and 512MB internal flash memory. There's a choice of 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB of flash memory provided on SDHC cards. The cards offer 30MB/s throughput, thanks to the MimoPlug's high-speed, long-endurance Single Layer Cell (SLC) chipset, says MimoMonitors.


MimoPlug with the portrait/landscape-switchable Touch2 (left) and the VESA-mountable 720F

The device is further equipped with a gigabit Ethernet port and USB 2.0 port. The latter plugs into one of MimoMonitors' seven- or nine-inch inch touchscreen monitors via a separately available USB hub or directly into the multi-USB port 10-inch "Monster" model.

A separately available model called the Mimo eSata Plug adds an eSATA type II port for storage for an extra $10, says the company. Both devices are said to operate at temperatures ranging from -13 to 185 deg. F (-25 to 85 deg. C). They also feature low, 5V/3.0A media consumption, and ship with a power adapter, says the company.


Mimo eSata Plug

The MimoPlug is configured to boot the latest Debian Linux 6.0 ("Squeeze") distribution, along with the GNOME Desktop, from either the internal NAND or an SD card. When booting from a UBIFS file system on the internal NAND, boot time is around 25 seconds, claims the company.

The pre-installed software supports peer-to-peer connectivity over the Internet, as well as Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) for device discovery and media sharing, says MimoMonitors. JTAG access to the device is said to be available via USB, says the company.

The monitor bundles all incorporate resistive, USB-connected touchscreen monitors. The bundles are said to include the following:
  • Plug + 10" Monster ($460 to $500) -- 10.1-inch, 1024 x 600 display with three USB 2.0 ports
  • Plug + eye9 ($430 to $470) -- nine-inch, 1024 x 600 display with support for landscape and portrait modes, plus a detachable 1.3-megapixel rotating webcam, stylus, and optional flex-arm mount
  • Plug + Touch2 ($430 to $470) -- seven-inch, 800 x 480 display with removable, dual-hinged folding stand and support for landscape and portrait modes.
  • Plug + 720S ($400 to $440) -- seven-inch, 800 x 480 display, under one pound, with a foldable slide-down design for portability, and support for landscape and portrait modes (pictured above, right)
  • Plug + 720F ($400 to $440) -- seven-inch, 800 x 480 display with VESA mounting
Availability

The MimoPlug is available now in the bundles listed directly above, says MimoMonitors.com. The MiMo eSata Plug is available with the same bundles, but at $10 more per bundle. More information may be found at MimoMonitors.com.



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