There have been a number of PC-on-a-stick devices released in recent years, but most are powered by ARM processors and manufactured by companies you've never heard of. Not so the Intel Compute Stick, which is different in the sense that it's made by Intel and powered by an Atom Bay Trail processor. Both of which are definite positives.
The Intel Compute Stick is a four-inch-long (10-cm) dongle which transforms (almost) any HDMI display into a computer. It's powered by a quad-core Atom processor, and boasts a USB port, a mini-USB port, a MicroSD slot, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
Intel sees the Compute Stick appealing to both consumers – as a media streaming, web browsing, social networking device – and businesses, as a thin client with remote desktop and plug-and-play capabilities. While it's unlikely to be capable of replacing your main computer, it's certainly capable of handling everyday tasks with aplomb.
There are two versions of the Intel Compute Stick being released. The first comes with Windows 8.1 pre-installed, and boasts 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The second comes with Linux pre-installed (specifically Ubuntu) and offers 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. Both are due to be released in March, priced at US$149 and $89, respectively.
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