Russian electronic device maker AK-Systems has started production of compact ‘plug computers’ on three different sites in Russia. Plug computers are a class of miniature computer hardware that plugs directly into alternate current (AC) outlets and offers basic computing functions. The news was announced by AK-Systems’ General Manager Arkady Karzhitsky to CNews.ru, a Russian website specializing in IT and telecom issues.
The new device, named IP-Plug, uses a Marvel ARM 1GHz processor. It can carry either 512MB or 1GB of operating memory and offers a solid state NAND storage capacity of 512MB, 1GB or 4GB. The Ubuntu Linux-supported devices are equipped with two Ethernet ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and support for both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth interfaces. The IP-Plug measures 11.8 x 7.6 x 4.3 cm. Depending on which features are selected, the price of IP-Plugs will vary between $100 and $150.
AK-Systems claims it has the capacity to manufacture up to 100,000 of these devices a year.
The company plans to address only corporate customers at first, but intends to start selling IP-Plugs on the consumer market by the end of August. Currently the company is in negotiations with several large Russian computer retailers. AK-Systems expects to sell some 10 thousand IP-Plugs each quarter to end users.
The company also plans to target Internet providers who could start selling IP-Plugs to their subscribers as Wi-Fi routers and HTTP accelerators. Russian ISP Synterra – a property of leading mobile operator MegaFon – plans to use IP-Plugs as probes to control the quality of network services, a Synterra representative told CNews. AK-Systems is also holding talks with major Western European ISPs, according to Karzhitsky.
AK-Systems’ production of plug computers is the first of its kind in Russia, the firm claims. But others are to follow. Sirius, a subsidiary of Russian Technologies, expects to start the production of its own plug computers by November 2011. But Sirius does not exclude the possibility of a joint venture with AK-Systems in this field.
Photo credit: AK Systems