Intel has come up with a compute-on-a-stick device which is pre-installed with Windows 8.1 or with Linux. The stick is four inches long and it carries a quad-core Intel Atom processor. Call it by its name, Compute Stick, or think of it as a neat way to do your work in a pocket-sized form factor. The stick has an HDMI output, a USB port and a microSD card slot.
Intel described the Compute Stick as having "built-in wireless connectivity, on-board storage, and a micro SD card slot for additional storage." The Intel Compute Stick launches later this year and the Intel Compute Stick site said to bookmark the page for details, product specs and availability information. What is already clear is that benefits include economy and convenience, as Intel said it offered "everything you love about your desktop computer in a device that fits in the palm of your hand." This is to be a low-cost plug-and-play transforming any large display into a functional computer. The mere fact that the stick has a Linux version for some is news in and of itself.
Lee Mathews in Geek.com ran through the differences between the stick's Windows 8.1 and Linux versions. With Ubuntu pre-installed, this Linux Compute Stick is to cost less. The stick will have just 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. Mathews said that was still plenty of power for basic computing tasks. The Windows with Bing version has 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage, and is priced at $149. Mathews said, "The Compute Stick could be a great way for schools, public libraries and other budget-constrained organizations to stretch their technology dollars." As for mobile workers, Nate Swanner in SlashGear noted that "If you were holed up in a hotel room, the dongle would be great for productivity so long as you had a keyboard and mouse with you." As Swanner suggested, with Compute Stick "you are essentially taking the PC mobile, with an operating system "in the form of an HDMI dongle."
Brad Linder of Liliputing said he could envision "a situation where companies would provide workers with Compute Sticks that they could use at home, at the office, or when working at remote locations while carrying all of their settings and programs with them."
Intel defines its Intel Compute Stick as a new generation of computing that transforms any HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) display into a fully functional computer. Intel has a benefit message for developers too. Intel said this could be a reliable low-power solution for developers creating light digital kiosks "with no-effort installation and delivering streaming or static HD content on displays located anywhere."
Intel plans to begin shipping the Compute Stick during the first quarter of 2015.