Different computing tasks can prompt us to open our laptops or reach for the tablet, while there are some that leave us somewhere in between. But what if you had a pocket-size device that could turn its hat to all of them? ICE Computer has been developing its xPC modular computer with this flexibility in mind. With the device's ability to transform into a laptop, tablet, desktop PC and gaming device, ICE believes it may have zeroed in on a one-size-fits-all solution.
The xPC weighs in at less than 4 oz (100 g) and measures 4.87 x 2.31 x 0.35 in (123.8 x 58.6 x 8.8 mm). While from the outside this wouldn't look out of place alongside your smartphone, it packs enough computing power to serve a variety of purposes, and converts quicker than you can say, "Where's my charger?".
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With an Intel quad-core processor running Windows OS, it contains a custom-built motherboard, a gyroscope and accelerometer, with the option of 2 GB or 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB to 128 GB of storage. It's also Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth-enabled, and comes a with a 720p built-in camera.
The xPC puts these specs to use by combining with ICE peripherals to form a variety of computing devices. The ICE xAdapter is a small docking unit that will house the xPC and convert it into a desktop mini-PC, set-top box or gaming device with a RJ45 connection for internet streaming.
Showcasing the versatility of the xPC even further is the 10.1-inch xPad portable display unit which measures 14 mm in thickness. The xPC can be slotted into the backside, turning it into an HD 10-point touch display tablet, or combined with the specially-designed xKeyboard to form a laptop computer.
Central to the design of the xPC and its peripherals is sustainability and the notion of waste minimization. The company emphasizes the simplicity of upgrading the system and champions the benefits of customization, along with the money saved by not having to replace redundant hardware with entirely new devices.
"The ICE xPC is a green computer designed with the future and sustainability in mind," the company says on its Indiegogo page. "To upgrade, you just simply plug-and-play a new ICE xPC into existing peripherals and reuse them, which creates minimal electronic waste. This novel modular computer can save you a considerable amount of money as well as help save the environment."
ICE says it has been developing the xPC and peripherals for over two years and has produced fully functioning prototypes of the devices. It has now turned to Indiegogo to get the products into commercial production. If the funding goal of US$300,000 is achieved and all else goes to plan, shipping is planned for July 2014. Pledges of $259 are available which include an xPC (without OS installed) and an xAdapter.
You can hear more from Vice President of ICE Computer, Scott Ma, in the video below.