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17 January 2012, 11:56

SMILE Plug: The cloud for the classroom

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Zoom The SMILE Plug uses a smiley to tell its operator when everything is working smoothly and if something's wrong, it lets you know with a sad face

At the recent CES trade show in Las Vegas, in tandem with its OLPC tablet announcements, Marvell presented its SMILE Plug single board computer, which has a Wi-Fi access point enabling it to create a classroom Wi-Fi network. The device runs mobile teaching and learning software developed by Stanford University as part of its Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment (SMILE) program. This enables teachers to generate a 'micro-cloud' for up to 60 students which runs the Stanford SMILE Junction Server software.

The SMILE Plug also offers JavaScript framework Node.js and runs a version of Arch Linux. The system will be controlled via an admin application called Plugmin which has been developed by Marvell; the server component runs on the SMILE Plug while a Plugmin client will run on Android-based devices. The company says that all software components of the SMILE plug will be open source.

The SMILE PlugPDF consists of an Armada 300 SoC on a CPU with a clock speed ranging from 1.6 to 2 GHz. I/O on the device includes two Gigabit Ethernet ports, two USB 2.0 ports and an SD card slot, while internally there is 512 MB of flash memory and 512 MB of DDR3 memory. It also has an Avastar 88W8764 Wi-Fi SoC, which offers IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n on 2.4 or 5 GHz. The SMILE Plug is also able to cope with power outages, thanks to an integrated lithium ion battery. Marvell is planning to launch the device in spring 2012. Pricing information is not yet available.


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