CUPP's original prototype wasn't exactly gorgeous, but the premise was sound -- couple an ARM platform with an x86 CPU in order to give consumers the ability to run a desktop OS and a low-power OS such as Chrome OS or Android. It's a tactic that has far-reaching potential. Imagine this: you're on a flight attempting to finish up a document, but you only have ten percent of your battery remaining. On a standard desktop OS (like Window 7 or OS X), that'll get you around 15 to 20 minutes of life; if you were instantly able to sleep that OS after saving your most recent copy on the hard drive, boot up Chrome OS and finish it there, you'd magically have at least an hour of usage time remaining. The fact is that ARM platforms require a fraction of the power that standard x86 systems do, with a demo unit here at MWC proving that a sleeping Windows 7 machine actually consumed more power than a typical ARM system that's running. The company has shown off a beast of a machine before in order to prove that it's concept was legit, but here at Barcelona's mobile extravaganza, it brought something special: a modified MacBook Pro with a TI OMAP-based daughter-board module sitting in place of the optical drive. In theory, a battery similar to that found in the machine above could power an instance of Chrome OS or Android for 20 to 30 hours, just to give you some numbers to nibble on. Care to see how it all panned out? Hop on past the break for a few impressions along with a video.
Gallery: CUPP's modified MacBook Pro does Android, Ubuntu at MWC 2011 | 26 Photos
Before we dive too deep into impressions, it's important to note that CUPP will actually have a shipping product in Q2 and Q4 of this year. We're getting vibes that one of them may be a daughter-board solution such as the one shown here in the video, where adventurous hackers can purchase a turn-key ARM solution to slap into their existing laptop in order to create something similar. We can't promise it, and we can't even toss a guess out at the price, but we can say that these guys will be going to great lengths to keep it reasonable. The other product is apt to be something in the medical or enterprise field -- a market that's less price sensitive and more demanding, not to mention one that could certainly use something with better battery life. Beyond that, the company's hoping to get its technology into products crafted by other names. In our talks with the CEO, he wouldn't go so far as confirm the names of companies that he's been talking to, but it's not hard to imagine how much more attractive a touchscreen netvertible would be with a more powerful CPU on one side, and an energy-sipping ARM setup on the other.
The company also has a vision to create a modular, portable system that could be your one and only rig. It'd be roughly UMPC-sized, but with a full-on keyboard that could rival that of a netbook. Good for mobile use, and then when you get it home, slap it into a recessed slot on a tower for use as a desktop. It would definitely make system syncing a thing of the past, and it could very well be an ideal solution for non-power users who simply need a machine that's highly flexible and highly portable. Hit the link below to see just how rapidly the system was able to switch on the hacked-up MacBook Pro, and just imagine something similar coming to your existing laptop. It may only be a dream for a few more months.