Intel has just unveiled a PC-on-a-stick that’s basically a desktop Windows computer small enough to slide into your pocket. The Intel Compute Stick looks a bit like a Google Chromecast, but it features an Intel Atom Bay Trail processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and Windows 8.1 with Bing software.
Plug it into the HDMI port on your TV or monitor, connect a power source with a micro USB cable, and you can transform just about any display into a PC.
Update: Check out the Liliputing review of the Intel Compute Stick for more details!
Intel’s not the first company to have this idea. Android (and Linux) TV sticks have been around for a few years, but up until recently most models have been powered by ARM-based processors.
Chinese company MeegoPad launched one for the first Intel/Windows-powered models in late 2014. But if you’d prefer to buy a product from Intel than a company called MeegoPad, I wouldn’t blame you.
Intel’s Compute Stick features 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth, a microSD card slot, and an HDMI connector.
Not a Windows fan? Intel also has an $89 Linux model in the works. That version is expected to have just 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage though.
Intel plans to begin shipping the Compute Stick during the first quarter of 2015. The company is positioning the tiny computer as a device that you can use to stream internet video from YouTube, Hulu, or Netflix to a TV, or as a business-ready device that supports remote desktop and other applications that would let you turn any display into a sort of thin client.
The Atom Bay Trail processor family offers enough power to handle basic computing tasks including Microsoft Office, so I could also 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. Worried you’ll lose the little PC? That’s what OneDrive (or Google Drive) cloud backup is for.