Will the CherryPal C100 desktop be a success?
The CherryPal C100 desktop . . .
Here are the technical specifications of the C100:
Processor: Freescale’s MPC5121e mobileGT processor, 800 MIPS (400 MHz) of processing
Memory: 256 MB of DDR2 DRAM
Storage: 4GB NAND Flash-based solid state drive
Wireless connectivity: WiFi 802.11b/g
Ports: Two USB 2.0 ports
One 10/100 Ethernet with RJ-45 jack
One VGA DB-15 display out jack
Headphone level stereo audio out 3.5 mm jack
9vDC 2.5 mm 10 watt AC-DC adapter power supply
Weight: 283.5 g
Dimensions: 3.3 cm x 14.7 cm x 10.7 cm
According to the company, it uses 80 percent fewer components than a traditional PC, and because it has no moving parts, it operates without making a sound and will last 10 years or more. The company also claims that it uses just 2 W of power compared to the average desktop’s 114 W but will perform most of the functions of a normal desktop. The company does not offer a monitor, mouse or keyboard. The C100 comes with 50 GB online storage space and costs 249 USD.
The CherryPal C100 differs from other desktops because it uses the concept of “cloud computing”. To put it in simple terms, only basic applications like the OpenOffice.org productivity suite, iTunes, a media player and an instant messenger are stored on the device while everything else is on central servers that are maintained, secured and updated by a dedicated team. The user just switches on the device, waits for 20 seconds and accesses everything through a Firefox-based browser. To make full use of the CherryPal, one needs to have a broadband connection. Since everything is maintained on central servers, the user need not worry about things like securing his/her computer from viruses or upgrading his/her software.
Cloud computing is not a new concept. But CherryPal wants to be the first desktop manufacturer to take cloud computing in a big way to the consumer. Will the efforts of the company founded by the German-born technopreneur Max Seybold succeed?
It would be a tough task for CherryPal to achieve success with the C100 desktop in its present form. The C100 has just two USB ports and they would be taken up by the keyboard and the mouse forcing one to use a USB hub to connect other devices. The 4 GB storage space on the device may not be enough. Though the company has promised to include support for as many peripherals as possible in the cloud, it remains to be seen whether they can deliver. And more importantly, the concept of cloud computing itself is not a great idea for a desktop computer. Users would be more comfortable if the applications and data are stored on the device itself instead of having to rely on the cloud for everything.
The C100 is not without competition. There are quite a few manufacturers who are gearing up to launch “nettops” or net-focussed desktops or low-cost desktops and not all of them use cloud computing. The Koolu W.E. Appliance and the ASUS Eee Box are definitely more functional, giving them a big advantage.
However, it is not other nettops that CherryPal should be worried about. “Netbooks“, the term given for low-cost notebook computers or net-focussed notebooks or subnotebooks, are the future of low-cost computing. Netbooks are small notebook computers that perform most of the functions of normal notebooks/laptops but are optimised for internet access, wireless communication and to perform the core-computing functions. They are small, light, energy-efficient, rugged and are becoming very popular around the world. No PC manufacturer wants to be left out of the netbook market as it offers huge volumes. Netbooks are ideal for students and others who want a low-cost, rugged and ultramobile laptop. Women would love them as the average netbook is compact enough to be carried in a small bag.
The ASUS Eee PC 900 . . .
Looks like the CherryPal C100 has a tough job on its hands!