I’ve suggested several times that in the near future computers will penetrate nearly every aspect of your daily life: After all, netbooks are relatively new tech and they’re small enough to slip into a purse or (large) pocket in the case of the Vaio P. But with an invention from Toradex the computers-everywhere idea gets a huge boost: The company managed to squeeze most of the guts of a netbook down to a truly tiny credit card size.
Two tiny Toradex motherboards have just been unveiled: The Robin Z510 and Z530. As their name suggests each sports a different version of the Intel processor that’s largely driven the netbook revolution: The Atom. In this case a 1.1GHz Atom Z510 or 1.6GHz Z530 is married to a circuit board just 84mm by 55mm. The board supports up to seven USB 2.0 ports, has embedded gigabit ethernet, PCIe and SATA connections, 512MB of built-in RAM, has a microSD slot and outputs VGA video, TV-out and HD-audio.
Obviously you don’t need to connect all of these to form a full computer, and with the addition of a small battery pack (possible thanks to the Robin Z510’s tiny power-consumption of just 3.5W to 5W) a complete PC package could easily be fashioned into a smaller than palm-sized unit. Imagine a next-gen electronic book that’s much more capable than just a text-display system thanks to a tiny embedded Atom motherboard, or a digital photo frame with one inside that also lets you play games and download and watch movies.
Combined with equally small systems such as the plug computer and other tech like intelligent clothing truly ubiquitous computer power, far removed from the idea of a “PC in a box,” is now a whole step nearer. Just one important question remains: would you run Linux or Windows on your smart-system, Wi-Fi-embedded, digital color display ski jacket?