It was announced this week at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that Intel is ready to ship its new device that is capable of turning an ordinary HDTV into a functional desktop computer. Intel’s Compute Stick plugs right into the HDMI port on your TV, instantly turning it into a system running Windows 8.1 for only $149. The Compute Stick is due to be released in March.
The Windows-based Compute Stick boasts a quad-core Atom Intel CPU, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of memory. There will also a less expensive, Linux-based version of the Compute Stick that will go for $89. This version isn’t quite as powerful, with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of memory. Both models are enabled to support wireless Internet and Bluetooth. The Bluetooth can be used to connect the keyboard and mouse you’ll need to operate the computer.
The device itself is about four inches long, roughly the same size as a Chromecast. Just like the Chromecast, it needs to be powered via its mini USB port, though future versions of the Compute Stick may provide power through the HDMI port. There is also a USB port as well as a slot for a microSD card capable of providing up to 128GB of extra storage.
This probably won’t be enough power for those who need a computer for gaming or photo editing, as it’s more on par with a tablet or netbook rather than a full laptop or desktop computer. This does make for a good secondary computer for ordinary daily activities such as word processing, checking social media, or streaming YouTube or Netflix (which has the added bonus of being on a much bigger monitor than the average desktop). Because the Compute Stick is easy to set up and carry around, it also makes a great option for individuals who frequently travel.
Beyond individual consumers, businesses can take advantage of the versatile Compute Stick as well. The device can function as an inexpensive thin-client, which could be advantageous for small or up-and-coming companies. Digital kiosks around the office or at trade shows can provide static or streaming content in HD resolution.
Matt Safford from Popular Science also points out that the Compute Stick could be a great solution for schools and impoverished areas around the globe who are forced to use outdated and slow computing equipment for economical reasons.
More details about the full capabilities of the Compute Stick will be available as the March release date draws closer.
[Hat tip: Popular Science]