This article was 1st published on our sister Site, Digital World Native.
By: Anxel Pineiro
Do you need to take a complete development environment & Linux with a Node.js Web server with you on the move & with the form factor & battery power of a smartphone? If the answer is yes then this new device may interest you.
Ocean is very versatile, especially for powering home Internet of Things (IoT) projects, & can function as a customized router. It can even be remotely controlled from an iPhone or Android App via low power Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, or simply via SSH like any other Linux server. A management dashboard is also available which can control multiple Ocean devices.
Some of the usage scenarios proposed in the Ocean Website are:
- Collect ambient data – together with a number of open source libraries for Bluetooth, Ocean detects Bluetooth sensors around the house or office
- Mobile USB interrogation tool – through its high powered USB port which can provide a full charge to an iPhone or Android device, Ocean can read data from devices attached to its port
- Prototype Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE) apps – Ocean can behave as an iBeacon, Eddystone & other types of BTLE devices
- Headless mobile Linux server – comes configured as a Linux webserver & you can deploy your own web apps based on Ruby-on-Rails & Node.js frameworks
If you do ask why I don’t just use an existing miniaturized Linux server like the Raspberry Pi, it may be worthwhile noting that the Pi lacks many of the features that make the Ocean unique & versatile. The Raspberry Pi doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth or Wi Fi, nor does it come with a battery. The cases that can be used with the Pi aren’t really focused on portability as they have exposed GPIO pins, which can easily bend in your pocket. You can easily carry an Ocean in your pocket, as it is virtually indistinguishable from a mobile phone.
Ocean is scheduled to start shipping in February of 2016, & although not as cheap as a Raspberry Pi, it is affordable @ $149 for the 16GB storage model, $179 for 32GB & $199 for 64GB. All 3 models come standard with Bluetooth & Wi Fi, a 1GHz dual core low power CPU, 1GB RAM, a USB 3.0 port, a programmable RGB color button & an internal wireless charging module. All this is enclosed in a solid, compact aluminum/plastic composite frame, with a rugged drop test design. The battery is rated @ 4200 mAh & will last a full 2 days under full server workload.
The device comes preinstalled with a Debian 8.1 (Jessie) Linux distro & is being developed & marketed by Redwood City, CA-based iCracked, a company which was previously known for fixing & reselling iPhones.