The SMILE Plug is a development kit, designed jointly by Marvell and Standford University, that brings Wi-Fi connectivity to a classroom, and allows up to 60 pupils / students to interact with their teacher via their phones’ or tablets’ web browser. Other possible applications include cloud computing, wireless AP, industrial control, medical instrumentation, office automation, as well as mesh and grid computing.
The SMILE Plug is now available with the following updated specifications:
- SoC – Marvell ARMv7 compliant Marvell ARMADA 370 CPU
- System Memory – 512 MB DDR3
- Storage – 1 GB NAND Flash + microSD slot
- WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n via Marvell Avastar 88W8764 4×4 WiFi for up to 60 nodes
- 2x Gigabit Ethernet
- USB – 2x USB 3.0
- External backup battery for hours of reserve power* (optional accessory)
- Power on button and restart
- Power Supply – 12V/2amp external power supply
- JTAG and UART port for programming and debugging
- Dimensions – 138 mm x 109 mm x 42 mm
The device runs on Arch Linux ARM, and high level software features SMILE server Inquiry Learning Based Environment application, Node.js and NPM (node packet manager).
The following SMILE software components will eventually be open sourced and available for download:
- Global SMILE for iOS
- SMILE for Android
- SMILE Server for Node.js
- SMILE Teacher Edition for Android
- SMILE Teacher Edition for Java
The SMILE Plug can be purchased for $199 (US model), or part of a combo with a JTAG debugger for $228. Shipping costs are reasonable to the US (~$11), but overseas it may cost you over $50 (Fedex International Economy). If you want a similar box, but you don’t need to provide Wi-Fi to lots of people / nodes, you can also check out the $149 Mirabox Devkit based on the same platform, but comes with 1GB Memory, and runs Debian 6.
Thanks to Bennett for the news.
[Update: An interesting piece of information is that the SMILE Plug costs $30 to produce in quantities according to a Charbax video]
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.
Mele has the new S3 (western name is MNS01 – http://en.mele.cn/products/show/23.htm )
It’s based on Realtek 8196C (Datasheet: http://www.datasheet4u.net/datasheet/R/T/L/RTL8196C-GR_Realtek.pdf.html ). CPU is a MIPS, RLX4181. And clock is slower!
No USB3, but only one USB 2, but has an integrated battery.
Of course, no linux source provided, but google seems to indicate there are bit and pieces around.
Still, I wonder if the Smile stuff would work on that.
Cost (without shipping) is $60 on official Mele shop: http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/First-Release-MeLE-S3-Wireless-AP-and-Network-Storage-with-2600mAh-Lithuim-Battery-of-Power-Bank/715968_732847752.html
The hardware is quite different:
* No 2x Gigabit Ethernet
* No USB 3.0 Ports
* No 4×4 MIMO Wi-Fi to connect up to 60 nodes
I guess the SMILE sw could run on it, but not deliver the service to a full classroom.
The SMILE Plug is quite expensive right now, but I’ve heard in another Charbax video (in November I think) that if volumes pick up they could sell it for about $100 retail.