Cherrypal

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Picture of Cherrypal Asia large version running Android, on table, with lidless sugar dish

Cherrypal is a California, USA-based marketer of Chinese-manufactured[1] consumer-oriented computers. It markets a range of models with a diversity of CPU-types, structures, features, and operating systems. Commentators have observed that Cherrypal arguably beat the heralded and much-better financed e Laptop per Child (OLPC) project to its goal of a $100 "laptop" [2][3][4] (such units are physically small: a Cherrypal unit for general purchase at $99 plus shipping has a 7" screen, an OLPC provided to a child in developing world at $199 has a 7.5").[5]

The company's business practices have generated controversy and antipathy from some vocally dissatisfied customers, while others are marginally satisfied.[6][7] Its practices pertaining to merchandise returns and communication have been repeatedly faulted.[8] The USA's Better Business Bureau rating for Cherrypal is an "F", indicating that the BBB strongly questions the company’s reliability.[9]

Cherrypal claims a commitment to environmental concerns and the needs of impoverished countries[10] and in particular key sponsorship of a learning center in Ghana. It supports a "One Laptop per Teacher" pilot program in Nigeria.[11]

In order, the company has marketed the "C114" PPC-processor-based nettop, the "Cherrypal Bing" x86-based netbook, the "Cherrypal Africa" XBurst-CPU-based netbook, the "Cherrypal Asia" ARM-processor-based netbooks, and the "CherryPad America" ARM-processor-based tablet computer.

C114[edit]

Picture of Cherrypal C114, 110 V power adapter, coffee cup, and plant

The Cherrypal C114 is a small, light nettop computer using a PowerPC-processor, the Freescale 5121e system-on-a-chip (SoC) integrated main-board, and Xubuntu as its operating system. The device launches Firefox Minefield web-browser, AbiWord word-processor,[12] and other apps via icon double-click. An article in The Register noted that Cherrypal's producers asserted that the computer will consume only 2 watts of power.[13] Independent, informal testing has shown a wattage consumption of still low 6.9 watts while booting.[14][15]

The CherryPal C114 was a rebadged version of the LimePC D1 mini-desktop computer developed as part of a broader Freescale PowerPC chip-based product line by THTF's Shenzhen R&D center and shown to the public at the 2008 CES in Las Vegas in January 2008.[16][17]

Bing[edit]

The "Cherrypal Bing" is a slim x86-based netbook that ships with Windows XP.

Africa[edit]

Cherrypal's $99 netbook, the Africa, is aimed primarily at the developing world but also available for sale to consumers. According to a blog post by Max Seybold, the device's specs in Cherrypal's web store are kept intentionally vague, because the Africa is not built to a set design. Instead, Cherrypal either purchases pre-made netbook systems or buys odd lots of whatever inexpensive components are available and builds netbooks out of these. It then rebrands these netbooks as Africas. The $99 computer was named Africa in honor of PAAJAF, a humanitarian services group based in Ghana, West-Africa.[18]

Seybold states that the resulting device will at a minimum meet the specs listed on the website, but could also exceed them. It could also end up having an ARM, MIPS, or x86-based CPU architecture depending on what chips are available.[19]

In an interview, Seybold stated that the Africa is not meant to be sold as a "computer" in the traditional sense, but as an "appliance" to provide Internet access to people who could not afford to buy a traditional computer. He said that with the number of government services (such as unemployment or disability) that are encouraging access by Internet, lack of such access is becoming more and more of a disability. The only thing Cherrypal promises for $99 is the ability to access the Internet.[20]

Asia[edit]

The "Cherrypal Asia" is a low cost ARM-based netbook that uses Android OS version 1.7.[21]

America[edit]

The "Cherrypal America" also known as Cherrypad is an Android tablet based upon Telechips TCC89xx ARM11 processors. Cherrypal initially sold the tablet with the promise of an upgrade to Android 2.2 by November and support for Android market. The market support has been officially removed because the tablet does not conform to the market requirements by Google. Also the Android 2.2 upgrade has been canceled, instead Cherrypal now promises an update to Android 2.3.[22] The hardware of the Cherrypal America as listed by Cherrypal comprises an 800 MHz ARM11 CPU by Telechips, 256 MB DDR2 RAM, 2 GB Flash Memory and an 800x480 resistive touchscreen.[23] However there is a user report arguing some less powerful specifications according to the boot-log dumped via dmesg.[24]

According to various Android news magazines Cherrypal has announced a successor for their current Cherrypad.[25]

History[edit]

Cherrypal was founded by Max Seybold based in Palo Alto.[26] The C114 (and following C120) desktop computers were originally developed by Tsinghua Tongfang (THTF) in its Shenzhen R&D center by an engineering team led by American electronics industry veterans Jack Campbell and Ryan Quinn. An extended line of handheld, desktop, and TV-based PCs using the Freescale MPC5121e PowerPC microprocessor was shown at CES 2008 by THTF, with the desktop product picked up thereafter as an OEM purchase by CherryPal.[27][28]

Cloud computing plans[edit]

Cherrypal's marketers planned to use Firefox not only as its web-browser but also as its user interface to launch other applications such as OpenOffice.org.[29] They planned that the Cherrypal would make use of cloud computing in which applications and storage would be wholly or in part Internet-based. These plans have not yet been implemented. The company's president asserted the cloud (Green Maraschino) would be launched in February 2010, however it is not known to have occurred.

Timeline[edit]

  • Jan. 2008: C114 model originally shown at CES by its manufacturer THTF.[30]
  • Jul. 2008: Cherrypal was originally scheduled to ship in late July, 2008.
  • 4 Nov. 2008: Rescheduled the ship date for 4 November 2008.[31]
  • 3 Dec. 2008: The first end-user report of actually receiving a boxed Cherrypal was posted.[32] Cherrypal stated they had earlier shipped some multiple-unit orders to organizational customers.[33] More users began receiving their Cherrypals, and real-life test reports were released, with mixed responses.[34]
  • 20 Jun. 2009: A competitor's blog claimed Cherrypal went out of business in the UK in June 2009 and that "We are not quite sure what has happened with Cherrypal Inc. in the USA." [35]
  • Dec. 2009: An upgraded version of the Cherrypal is offered for sale on the company website.[36] Also released were an update for its "Bing" notebook, and a $99 mini-notebook called "Africa."
  • 6 Jan. 2010: A Teleread.org editor claimed caution was needed before dealing with Cherrypal. In response to that, and comments to the article from persons accusing Cherrypal of engaging in a scam, Max Seybold sent a "Cease and Desist" email to the website. The site owners then decided to delete all the Cherrypal articles and comments.[37]
  • 11 Jan. 2010: A German blogger stated online-tracking showed a shipment of his unit on its way, but that this has never arrived because of a wrong tracking-number sent by Cherrypal. He later stated that he received a unit with specifications less than advertised, and OS other than advertised.[38][39]
  • 18 Jan. 2010: A Mobileread.com editor authored an article accusing Cherrypal of "lies, ignored emails, and technical incompetence,"[40] which Mobileread.com ran. The website formerly ran another attack article, "Cherrypal is a SCAM."[41]
  • 20 Mar. 2010: An end-user reported that he received a $99 CherryPal Africa Linux version, providing pictures. "As some of the negative internet posters seemed more strident than the situation demanded, I decided to take a chance," his blog reads.[42] A week later another end-user reported Cherrypal Africa receipt, criticizing the shipping delay and software features, though saying "it works." [43]
  • 11 May 2010: News forums reported the launch of "Cherrypal Asia," a netbook with ARM processor, Android OS.
  • 30 Jun, 2010: A user comment at an Android forum indicates receipt of an Asia.[44]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Comp. Systems Colloqium (EE380) (June 2, 2010). "M. Seybold Lecture to Stanford Univ. group (video)". Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  2. ^ Christopher Segot (Dec 19, 2009). "Cherrypal beats OLPC to...". Retrieved 2010-06-03. 
  3. ^ Devin Coldewey (May 11, 2010). "Cherrypal to ship $99 Android-based...". Retrieved 2010-06-03. 
  4. ^ N. Norbrook (July 26, 2010). "Consumer test: netbooks for less". Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  5. ^ Amazon.com donation page. "Give a laptop". Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  6. ^ Talk Software (March 28, 2010). "Cherrypal underdelivers". Retrieved 2010-03-28. 
  7. ^ atari (February 9, 2010). "Cherrypal Africa: ARM-VT8500/128MB RAM/WinCE". hep-cat.de. Retrieved 2010-02-10. 
  8. ^ Rick (May 14, 2010). "Cherrypal... the Rest of the Story". Retrieved 2011-01-07. 
  9. ^ The Better Business Bureau (January 24, 2010). "BBB Reliability Report for Cherrypal". sanjose.bbb.org. Retrieved 2010-07-11. 
  10. ^ The Windsor Star (October 21, 2010). "Retailers to Push Tablets". Retrieved 2010-10-21. 
  11. ^ Teachers without Borders. "Cherrypal Pilot Project in Nigeria". Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  12. ^ Green Tech Girl (Dec 5, 2008). "Green Tech Girl Blog: My Cherrypal Has Arrived". Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  13. ^ Austin Modine (July 21, 2008). "Cherrypal launches $249 mini PC into ad-backed cloud". The Register. Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  14. ^ http://www.morphzone.org/modules/newbb_plus/viewtopic.php?topic_id=6196&forum=11
  15. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmF20N9HPGo
  16. ^ http://www.crunchgear.com/2008/01/09/limepc-little-linux-big-possibilities/
  17. ^ http://greentechgirl.com/green-computing/cherrypal-limepc-architecture/
  18. ^ Max Seybold (Dec 14, 2009). "Why does the world need a $99 laptop?". Retrieved 2010-01-13. 
  19. ^ Max Seybold (December 19, 2009). "The open secret behind the Cherrypal Africa, or, A brand is a promise, or Understatement by design". GreenOpenFair. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  20. ^ Chris Meadows (December 24, 2009). "Cherrypal’s Max Seybold talks ‘Africa’: $99 netbook no Kindle—but can run e-book software like FBReader". TeleRead.org. Retrieved 2009-12-26. [dead link]
  21. ^ JF (June 30, 2010). "Just go a Cherrypal Asia". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  22. ^ "Upgrade to Gingerbread (2.3)". Retrieved 2010-12-11. 
  23. ^ "CherryPad America 7-inch Android 2.1 tablet computer". Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  24. ^ "Clarification on Hardware needed". Retrieved 2010-12-11. 
  25. ^ "CherryPad 2 7-inch Android Tablet to have Capacitive Touch, GSM, Under $400". Retrieved 2010-12-11. 
  26. ^ Hachman, Mark (2009-12-15). "Cherrypal Launches $99 Computer". PC Magazine. 
  27. ^ http://greentechgirl.com/green-computing/cherrypal-limepc-architecture/
  28. ^ http://www.aboutjack.com/limepc.shtml
  29. ^ Maureen O'Gara (July 28, 2008). "Cloud computing start-Up creates PowerPC-based cloud desktop". JDJ. Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  30. ^ http://www.ubergizmo.com/2008/01/variety-of-limepc-devices-on-parade/
  31. ^ http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10068111-1.html
  32. ^ Solmn (Dec 3, 2008). "Cherrypal at my Front Door". Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  33. ^ http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/40187/135/
  34. ^ engadget takes cherrypal for a first spin
  35. ^ Cherrypal Folds
  36. ^ Cherrypal Products
  37. ^ Chris Meadows (January 6, 2010). "Caution may be advisable: That’s my advice after talking to Cherrypal chairman Max Seybold". TeleRead.org. Retrieved 2010-01-11. [dead link]
  38. ^ atari (January 11, 2010). "Cherrypal – Online Tracking". blog.hep-cat.de. Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  39. ^ atari (February 9, 2010). "Cherrypal Africa: ARM-VT8500/128MB RAM/WinCE". hep-cat.de. Retrieved 2010-02-10. 
  40. ^ Nate (January 18, 2010). "Cherrypal customer service: lies, ignored emails, and technical incompetence". mobileread.com. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  41. ^ Nate (January 15, 2010). "SCAM". mobileread.com. Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  42. ^ gurdonark (March 20, 2010). "My 99 dollar netbook computer". Retrieved 2010-03-20. 
  43. ^ Talk Software (March 28, 2010). "Cherrypal underdelivers". Retrieved 2010-03-28. 
  44. ^ JF (June 30, 2010). "Just go a Cherrypal Asia". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 

External links[edit]