This is a preliminary look, based just on the web site and some tweets with the developer, of the imp (all lower case), a small computer somewhere in technology and power, perhaps, between a Raspberry pi (which is mainly a hobbiest toy) and the Intel Nuk (which is sort of a non-Mac Mac Mini). It is called by its makers “The Open Source Computer: Made for consumers.” It is a Linux-installed device, as is your smart phone and, well, the entire Internet. So the technology is well tested at that level.
The imp team describes it this way:
imp is a small, yet powerful computer designed for the post-PC era. It’s your desktop, your wireless media center, and your mobile content hub. imp brings the single-board PC concept from geeks to consumers, and is 100% open source.
It does not exist yet, but launch is imminent, probably November, according to the makers. Here are the hardware specs:
Powered by Odroid U3 by HardKernel
1.7 GHz, ARM V9, Quad Core
3X USB 2.0 + Micro USB
8GB on-device storage
(Optional) Wireless Keyboard & Trackpad
(Optional) Wireless HDMI (DLNA, Airplay and Miracast)
Height: 1.22 inch (31 mm)
Width: 3.82 inches (97 mm)
Depth: 3.82 inches (97 mm)
An Odroid U3 HardKernel is a hardware development platform for Linux/Android with these specs:
* 1.7GHz Quad-Core processor and 2GByte RAM
* 10/100Mbps Ethernet with RJ-45 LAN Jack
* 3 x High speed USB2.0 Host ports
* Audio codec with headphone jack on board
* GPIO/UART/I2C ports
* XUbuntu 13.10 or Android 4.x Operating System
* Size : 83 x 48 mm, Weight : 48g including heat sink
* Package includes the main board and the heat sink
The software specs for imp are:
Powered by Ubuntu 14.04 & Cinnamon
Browsers: Chrome, Firefox
Mail: Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo
Office: Word, Excel, Powerpoint Online, Google Docs, Apple iCloud
Media: Picasa, Last.FM, Spotify, Grooveshark, Pandora, Netflix, Hulu
Social: Facebook, Twitter
Storage: Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, SkyDrive, Sugarsync
Supports media casting (Chromecast; Miracast or any DLNA device)
The Microsoft software is optional. Perhaps other aspects of the installed software are also optional as well. I assume you can install your own system or modify the software at will.
The box, with no monitor, keyboard, or mouse, will be about $150, subject to revision (could be less for early adopters). The Nuk costs about $350.
The imp is designed to interact with your other devices, including other computers, phones (both iPhones and Android), and your TV. It can serve media via wireless HDMI. According to the designers, you can “manage all your family mobile content wirelessly from your desktop. No more USB cables or installation of unnecessary apps; imp supports full continuity. Now you can pick up any task you were doing, or the movie you’re watching on mobile, and continue it from your desktop or TV.” And, it is a desktop computer, if you add a screen, keyboard, mouse, etc.
I would probably use this as a headless file and media server. Just in time, perhaps. I was just trying to decide if I should use my Raspberry Pie to make a cli-only gaming center for 4-year-old Huxley, or to make a low energy demand cloud server, which would really mainly be for file sharing and printing. This looks like it would be a step up and already comes in a box.
I am doing to do a more detailed review later on. Feel free to shoot me questions and I’ll see if I can run them down. Stay tuned.
The imp web site is here.