Intel takes wraps off new pygmy computer, Compute Stick

8 Jan 2015

Intel's Compute Stick

The size of a chocolate bar, Intel’s Compute Stick can “transform any HDMI display” into a computer, competing directly with Dell, Google and Amazon.

To be honest it’s about time we did away with clunky PC hard drives, although computer desk sellers will no doubt fret at the thought!

The Compute Stick is setting tongues wagging at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, with the device’s potential for improvement being a welcome entry into the ever-reducing (in size) computer industry.

The Compute Stick’s capabilities are impressive. At just US$149.99, it’s small enough to fit in your pocket. It’s a solid computer, too, with 32GB storage, 2GB ram, a Quad Core Atom processor and Windows 8.1 already installed. That’s a step up from Amazon’s Fire TV Stick – the most recent release in this area – which has a dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and dual-band and dual-antenna Wi-Fi.

Similar to that of the Chromecast, Fire TV Stick, Wyse Cloud Connect or the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter, Intel’s creation does have a couple of snags, however.

As Arstechnica reports, the biggest problem is it “cannot be powered over HDMI – you’ll need a powered USB port or a USB power adapter if you want to be able to turn the thing on.”

To be honest, it’s not going to blow away your desktop monster just yet, but with a microSD slot, as well as modern Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, there’s always room to improve.

What’s important to consider, too, is the future of these creations. If today Intel, Dell, Amazon or Google can put relatively modest computers in our pockets, what’s to come in the future?

Gigabytes of storage didn’t always fit on tiny USB sticks …

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic