Is it possible to automatically power on the device once the charger is connected given that the device is initially turned off?
For some Samsung devices, this can be accomplished through NoMoarPowah!:
You need root and you probably don't want to do it unless you really know what you're doing, since I would expect this to modify important system files.
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Kernel is loaded at a later stage in the boot-up process, so any modifications to it would not have any effect for when the device is powered off.
This functionality really depends on each device's hardware, most likely in the bootloader (more knowledgeable editors feel free to correct me.) For example, my Motorola Atrix 4G phone begins booting up when I connect a charger, while my Samsung Galaxy Tab does not - it displays the "Battery Charging" graphic and requires being powered on manually.