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Pocket-sized mobile touchscreen web server runs Tizen

Oct 8, 2014 — by Eric Brown — 2,050 views

A mobile personal web server called “The Egg” runs Tizen on an Intel Atom and features a 12-hour battery, a 2.4-inch touchscreen, and up to 256GB of storage.

Arizona-based startup Eggcyte has taken to Kickstarter to push a more private alternative to public cloud storage and social networking sites. The Egg is available in packages starting at $199 with 64GB through Nov. 6, with devices shipping in July 2015. The Egg is billed as a personal web server, and a way to cut the cord on social networking sites that sell information based on your data.

The Egg
(click image to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

We’ve seen a wave of Linux-based devices over the last year that take a similar tack, although in many cases it’s the NSA, rather than Facebook or Google+, that plays the role of the villain. Other personal web servers that offer somewhat similar features, although without The Egg’s built-in touchscreen, include the Sherlybox, the OPI, and the Lima. (Last month, the Lima team announced that its much delayed personal cloud storage device will now ship to Kickstarter backers over a year after it was promised, sometime in early 2015.)

Eggcyte’s Egg, which was developed by former engineers from Intel, DivX, and elsewhere, is notable for more than its 2.4-inch, 320 x 240-pixel, capacitive touchscreen. It is also one of the few battery powered personal web servers, and one of the few non-Samsung products we’ve seen that run Tizen Linux. It also features a uniquely curvy, somewhat ovoid shape, designed by Atlanta-based design shop Big Bang. The sleek device is available in dark stone, egg shell, robin blue solid, and robin robin speckle coloring.

The Egg’s color options
(click image to enlarge)

Cracking open The Egg

The Egg runs Tizen on an unspecified, 2GHz Intel Atom system-on-chip, which is presumably one of the latest, 22nm “Bay Trail” generation. The device ships with 1GB of RAM, as well as either 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of eMMC storage. The Egg offers smartphone-like features such as 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and an accelerometer, compass, and ambient light sensor. The device is further equipped with a speaker and a haptic vibrator for notifications.

The 910mAh, 4.35V Li-Ion battery is charged via micro-USB 2.0, and is said to last 10 to 12 hours. You can also use the micro-USB port for data transfer. The Eggcyte website notes that you can “attach The Egg to your phone, camera, tablet or PC and import your photos, videos, music and files directly onto your Egg.”

The Egg interface
(click image to enlarge)

The WiFi radio can work as a client or as an access point, letting you use a smartphone or other WiFi-enabled device to view content stored within The Egg. Like other personal file sharing devices, The Egg also lets you set up your own website and share content with selected users over the Internet. You can choose to designate content as public and private, although it’s unclear whether more specific filters can be applied to different groups of users.

The Egg

Eggcyte makes a very eloquent case for disentangling our lives from social networking sites where our data is analyzed, packaged, and resold to others. However, the company offers few details about The Egg’s software and services.

Indeed, it appears that while a hardware prototype has been completed, there’s not much so far on the software side. The company is calling on developers to help it create web apps using the Tizen Web Runtime. Apps can be designed using HTML, Javascript, PHP, SQLite, and similar programs, says Eggcyte. When The Egg ships next July, it will be preloaded with “10 of the most promising services/capabilities from the Developer community,” says the company.

Adding $50 to your Kickstarter pledge gives you the developer package. A $999 pledge gives you a developer prototype to play with starting in December.

After trashing social networking sites for stealing our data, The Egg’s Kickstarter page asks users to “Like” them on Facebook, write a post on Google+, or post a tweet on Twitter. Freeing ourselves from our social masters may be harder than we think.

The Egg on YouTube

Further information

The Egg is available in Kickstarter funding packages through Nov. 6, at $199 with 64GB, $299 with 128GB, or $399 with 256GB. Devices ship in July 2015. More information may be found at the The Egg Kickstarter page and at the Eggcyte website.

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0 responses to “Pocket-sized mobile touchscreen web server runs Tizen”

  1. jezra says:

    Curious that they chose Tizen instead of any of the other available distros that actually have working software repositories. Was the decision based solely on utilizing the Tizen Web Runtime?

  2. Thomas says:

    Thanks for the great article on The Egg. The team from Eggcyte wanted you to know that this is one of the better written articles on The Egg. In response to your highlighting the optics of hypocrisy in our using Facebook to promote our message, we appreciate your taking the time to egg-zamine this important question. We’re using Facebook, Twitter, etc. after fully evaluating the tradeoffs (in contrast with most consumers) of accepting the myriad one-sided and non-negotiable stipulations presented in their online agreements. That being said, we do, in fact, think that there is a place for these services, but not under the take-it-or-leave-it constraints that these companies are currently able to dictate. Our goal is to provide an alternative that will swing the pendulum back in the favor of consumers in the long term.

    • jezra says:

      Hi Thomas,
      If you have the time, I was hoping you could answer a few questions about this device.
      1. Why was Tizen chosen as the OS to power this device?
      2. Will it be possible for device owners to install other, more robust, Linux distros on the device?

      • Thomas says:

        1. There were a lot of reasons, but I’ll mention the main ones. (a) ease of integration of our IP; (b) the Web runtime that Tizen provides which you mentioned; and (c) Tizen legacy or lack of one which results in Tizen not having an “identity” yet as a Smartphone OS or a PC OS or something else. As such, it affords a fair amount of flexibility when it comes to us molding it to meet our requirements.

        2. Technically, it is possible, although it is not our intent. We built The Egg for consumers that don’t have the knowledge or skill (e.g. know what a Linux distro is) to build a product that gives them the ability to do all the things that, heretofore, only the cloud companies and developers that know servers/domains/LAMP have been able to do.

        As a follow-on, I would turn around and ask you what you would do with The Egg if we allow/show you how to put an alternate Linux distro on it.

        • jezra says:

          If I had an egg, and it wasn’t locked down to prevent the owner from installing the OS of their choosing, I would install Debian or any of the other distros that has access to a massive software repository. This way, I wouldn’t be limited to the pre-installed software on Tizen and I would be able to use the device in the way that I choose.

          For example:
          I could write software for the device in the language of my choosing, and the GUI toolkit of my choosing. I could utilize the copious amounts of software that is already available in the Debian (or other distro) repositories.
          I could set up the device as a wireless repeater, a caching proxy, a custom alarm clock, a text-to-speech processor, a personal backup repo for git or mercurial or bazaar.

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