Applications developers looking for a low power, small form factor computing solution that won't break the bank will no doubt appreciate the DreamPlug from Globalscale Technologies. Expanding on the company's GuruPlug system, the new low-profile plug computer is powered by a Marvell processor, has half a gigabyte of DDR2 RAM and a generous helping of onboard micro-SD flash memory to store the Linux kernel and root system files. Physical connectivity and expansion options include USB, eSATA, JTAG and UART and the unit also has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless capabilities.

Unlike the similarly compact Jack PC, the 4.3 x 2.73 x 1.9-inch (110 x 69.5 x 48.5mm) DreamPlug doesn't offer onboard graphics. This always-on computing solution would therefore most likely find itself being used for such things as high-end audio systems or media servers, home and industrial automation, network storage and monitoring and security/surveillance systems.

A Marvell Sheeva single-core 1.2GHz CPU should provide ample processing power for such applications and an optional JTAG unit gives developers the debugging and programming access they need. Connectivity takes the form of a couple of Gigabit Ethernet ports, an eSATA port, a couple of USB 2.0 ports, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR.

Both analog and digital audio output are on offer, with S/PDIF audio out with a fiber optic interface taking care of the digital and analog being provided by stereo headphone and mic jacks. There's a 16-bit digital-to-analog converter and the audio playback and recording enjoys a sampling rate of 48K/44.1KHz.

The DreamPlug is far from power hungry, having a draw of under 5W – which is not quite as energy efficient as the Plug PC or the Trim-Slice but it's still pretty impressive.

The DreamPlug Development Kit is priced at US$149, or US$178 with the Guru JTAG unit included.

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