Intel announces Compute Card, offers brain power for smart gadgets, kiosks

(Tech Xplore)—Tech blog MSPoweruser said on Thursday that "At CES 2017 today, Intel announced a new modular compute platform called the Compute Card."

So what is this about, and does it suggest a brand new age of computing? Where have you heard that before. Oh, right, at every major trade show in the last decade. But this time the talk has merit. BBC News said we may be about to enter a brand new age of tiny computing.

The BBC presenter points in the video to a "fully functional Windows 10 PC. "And when I say this, I actually mean this." He reaches for a small slab, and tells viewers that it is a complete computer.

Processer, storage, memory, Wi-fi, there. "It is about as powerful as an ultra-thin laptop," he said.

He was talking about this Intel Compute Card, which can operate as a PC or act as the brains of other electronics, said BBC News on Thursday.

There is one thing, he said, the card does not seem to have—anywhere to plug anything in. That is where you will need a dock, but you would first be likely to see these things elsewhere than in a PC, he added.

Intel's Bruce Patterson filled in the blanks. Digital signage, intelligent vending machines, kiosks were listed by Patterson in the BBC report. In the home, he added, you are going to see it in smart televisions, home hubs, intelligent refrigerators, in other appliances.

This modular compute platform was compared in several sites to the size of a credit card—well, slightly longer than a credit card at 95mm x 55mm x 5mm, said MSPoweruser.

What does this card mean for our computing behavior?

Reflecting on all this, the presenter at the BBC said, so one day, we carry our computers around, we pop it out of the screen and home and pop it in the car, on our way to the office, and then pop it out of the car and pop it into the screen at work.

That is only one way to imagine its use. Popular Mechanics ran the headline on Thursday that "Intel's Card-Sized PC Is Like a Replaceable Brain for Smart Gadgets." And part of its subhead read, "Intel's trying to make IoT obsolescence a thing of the past." Darren Orf, senior editor, called the card a "novel approach to trying to make live beyond their computational expiration dates."

MSPoweruser said "Intel is working with a range of partners who can optimize Compute Card for their particular solutions – from interactive refrigerators and smart kiosks to security cameras and IoT gateways."

MSPoweruser also noted that with this card, hardware replacement could be as simple as swapping a card for a new one. "Device makers simply design a standard Intel Compute Card slot into their device and then utilize the best Intel Compute Card for their performance and price needs."

Patterson in BBC News also spoke of a key benefit being an easy ability to upgrade one's device.

What's next? "The Intel Compute Card will be available in mid-2017 and will come with a range of processors options," said MSPoweruser. Ars Technica similarly reported that the cards will be available in mid-2017.

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