The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is home to many concepts which will never truly affect the average consumer, but the Intel Compute Stick is different.
The $149 product is essentially Windows on a stick, also packing in 2GB RAM and 32GB of storage into its 4-inch package. The stick can connect to any HDTV to turn the screen into a convenient computer, and can be likened to a more powerful version of the Google Chromecast.
Intel will also be offering a Linux version for $89.
Intel computer stick’s capabilities
Although you should not expect the Compute Stick to be capable of undertaking taxing tasks like serious gaming, it is more than capable of the same word-processing or internet browsing as a cheap laptop or tablet. To further improve the user experience, why not pair your Compute Stick with a wireless keyboard and touchpad to build a highly-portable Windows computer for around $200.
According to Intel, the Compute Stick is best suited to “light productivity, social networking, web browsing, streaming media, and games.” The Stick is a fully-functioning computer, which sets it apart from the somewhat similar Amazon Fire Stick or Google Chromecast.
Indeed, the Compute Stick currently represents the cheapest option for taking computing to any HDMI monitor that you come across. Other technical specifications include Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, as well as 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. As well as the full-sized USB port, the stick is charged via a mini-USB connection.
The Compute Stick could sell well to travelling professionals, who could connect their pocket PC to TV screens in hotel rooms and conference centers. Another potential market is the education sector, which does not traditionally require huge amounts of processing power from its computer systems.
Products like the Compute Stick go to show that mingled in with the flashy, big-ticket technology advances showcased at CES, there does exist a selection of low-key items that could end up having far-reaching effects.