is a technology company that sells a computing platform which combines a web-centric service, a small form factor PC
, and an open source
based software architecture.
The Zonbu hardware, called the Zonbu Mini, is a miniature desktop computer measuring 6 ¾” × 4 ¾” × 2 ¼”. It is flash based, fanless, and thus effectively silent. The official specifications for the device are as follows:
- 1.2 GHz Via Eden CPU (C7 Esther core)
- 512 MB RAM
- Ethernet 10/100 Mbit/s
- PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, VGA display port and 6 USB 2.0 ports
- 4 GB CompactFlash local storage
- Graphics up to 2048 x 1536 with 16 million colors – hardware graphics and MPEG2 acceleration
Disassembly by Zonbu owners has shown that the Zonbu includes significant options for internal expansion:
The first-generation Zonbox hardware is identical to the eBox-4854 sold by DMP Electronics of Taiwan.
The Zonbu subscription plans include online storage (using Amazon S3
), automatic upgrades, online support and remote file access. The subscription service is promoted as reducing the hassle of typical computer maintenance tasks, such as hardware repair, software installation, updates and upgrades, and malicious software removal.
The Zonbu OS is a customized version of Linux based on the Gentoo distribution using the Xfce desktop environment. It is geared towards non-technical users, and the user interface focuses more on simplicity than advanced features.
The filesystem architecture combines a transparent overlay filesystem (pioneered by Linux Live Distributions) with an on-line backup service. User data is locally cached on Compact Flash Card, then transparently encrypted with 128-bit encryption and transferred to remote storage servers at Amazon S3.
Zonbu comes pre-loaded with a number of software applications, including 30 casual games. These include the Firefox web browser
productivity suite and Skype
IP phone service.
With the default OS, the user is not allowed to install any third-party software. The default set of applications is supposed to fit the needs of non-technical users or of a second home PC. However, Zonbu provides instructions to unlock the operating system and install additional software The procedure is highly technical and intended for a minority of users.
Zonbu consumes less than 10 watts on average and 15 watts under full load, compared to 175 watts for a typical desktop PC. It is a carbon emission neutral computer thanks to this low power design and regulatory grade carbon offset
purchased by Zonbu from Climate Trust, a carbon offset provider. These offsets take into account the energy used by the manufacturing process and by the device over its expected lifespan, but not the remote storage service.
The Zonbu manufacturing process complies with the standard of the European RoHS Directive.
The company also offers a free take-back program to minimize environmental e-waste.