Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Green Netbooks With Good Battery Backup

CherryPal announced an Atom-based "Bing" netbook that runs Linux or Windows XP, and offers a claimed five hours of battery life. The company also announced an upgraded version of its Linux-based nettop, the CherryPal C114, and launched a "Green Maraschino" open-source Linux distribution supporting the Bing.

Like the original CherryPal C100 nettop that shipped last year, the Bing netbook and the C114 nettop offer managed "cloud" computing paid for by advertising rather than a monthly fee. The free, Web-based CherryPalCloud provides storage, virus control, application upgrades, and installation. CherryPal's new "Green Maraschino" distribution addresses low-power operation, cloud computing interfaces, and larger issues surrounding green computing, says the company.

Except for its extended battery life, the Bing appears to be a fairly standard issue netbook, offering an Intel Atom N270 clocked at 1.6GHz, plus 1GB DDRII RAM. For storage, CherryPal offers a 160GB hard disk drive (HDD), plus an SD/MMC/MS card socket, and the netbook's 10.2-inch TFT display boasts 1024 x 600 resolution. For connectivity, the Bing provides 802.11b/g WiFi and three USB 2.0 ports, but no Ethernet port. There is also a microphone, earphone connection, dual speakers, and a 1.3Mpixel camera, says CherryPal. Weighing just three pounds, the netbook is claimed to yield five hours of battery life.

Applications on the Green Maraschino Linux version of the Bing include the Firefox Browser, OpenOffice, and video and music players. There is also a Skype VoIP client, and an Instant Messenger app that supports Yahoo, AOL, Google, and MSN, says the company.

ARM-based CherryPal C114

While the Bing won't ship until March, the upgraded C114 version of the CherryPal nettop is shipping now, says the company. The only apparent difference compared to the original CherryPal C100 ultra-mini PC is that the NAND Flash solid state drive (SSD) has been boosted from 4GB to 8GB.

Green Maraschino drops from the cloud

The new "Green Maraschino" open source project appears to go far beyond merely offering an optimized Linux distribution. The project aims to "provide an open platform for ultra-low power computing, from silicon to super-cloud architecture," says CherryPal.

Green Maraschino is divided into 10 sub-projects. says CherryPal:

* Embedded-Linux
* Multi-core/multi-processor load balancing and utilization optimization
* Device drivers
* Browser and plug-ins
* Local applications
* Connectivity to Internet and cloud
* Cloud infrastructure
* Cloud applications and services
* Grid and cluster engine
* Super-cloud infrastructure (cloud-to-cloud)

It is unclear whether Green Maraschino is based on the same Debian implementation used by the CherryPal nettops. With this distribution, Debian is unexposed, and all applications and functions are said to be managed via a Firefox-based browser. For its nettops, CherryPal uses a "patent-pending" technology that combines hardware and software encryption, says the company. It also collapses the operating system and browser into a single software layer, a design that CherryPal claims improves performance, and "virtually eliminates any risk of bugs or viruses."


The CherryPal C114 is shipping now for a price of $250, and the Bing will ship in March at an undisclosed price. CherryPal launched the Bing, oddly enough, at the Sundance Film Festival, and it is offering a special two-for-one deal, ending Jan. 25th. This week only, buyers can purchase both the Bing and the C114 for $400.

The purpose of the campaign is to encourage buyers to sign on as early-adopter "Brand Angels" who are willing to testify for the product and sell it for a small commission. Current C100 Brand Angels will receive a Bing for free. In addition any C114 customers who must wait more than a week for either delivery or refund, will receive a free Bing, says the company.