In the house of the near-future, everything from the lights, TV, vacuum cleaner, fridge, and even clothes pegs could be hooked into the Internet of Things (IoT). Many of these devices have different hardware setups that achieve similar ends, so Intel is aiming to streamline things for manufacturers with the Compute Card, a self-contained, customizable computer the size of a credit card, that can power various IoT devices.
Rather than find somewhere to squeeze in the individual components, hardware developers would need to build their devices with a special slot to house the Compute Card. Measuring just 94.5 x 55 x 5 mm (3.7 x 2.2 x 0.2 in), it won't take up much room, and it connects to the device through a new type of connector built around USB-C.
The Compute Cards contain the brains needed to run these smart devices, including Intel's System-on-a-chip, power, cooling, memory, storage and various wireless connections. Depending on what they need it to do and how much they want to spend, IoT device makers can choose from a range of Compute Cards with different processors, right up to the 7th Gen Kaby Lake chips.
In the end, the cards are designed to be easy for hardware developers to work with, for users to upgrade, and for service people to repair or replace faults. Already, companies like Dell, Lenovo, HP and Sharp are developing products that use the Compute Cards.
Intel has said that more details on the Compute Card, including pricing, will be released in Quarter 2, and the cards should be available around the middle of the year.