The Compute Stick from Intel is officially available. Although Intel missed its goal of a March release, the chipmaker is now offering its much-hyped micro-PC to the masses. Intel announced its pocket-sized computer at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Intel is positioning the Compute Stick as a “powerful PC packed into a package the length of a
Here’s how it works: When you plug the Compute Stick into an HDMI port (and add a mouse and keyboard) it essentially turns your TV or monitor into a computer. Compute Stick comes installed with Windows 8.1 with the Bing search engine, has 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage.
Based on the quad-core Intel Atom processor, the Compute Stick can work with productivity apps. That makes it a potential option for enterprise users who don’t want to carry around laptops or even tablets.
Intel is calling it “business-ready” and declared it paves the way for thin-client solutions for small and midsize businesses that need ultra portability and plug-and-play simplicity.
Compute Stick connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi. It will support Wireless 802.11 b/g/n and has USB and micro USB ports, plus a micro SD slot for additional storage. Intel also built in Bluetooth 4.0 so a user can work with a wireless keyboard and mouse.
Do You Need This?
Intel is priming the pump with the Windows version, which is available at Intel authorized dealers in many countries at a suggested retail price of $149. A Linux version with Ubuntu will roll out this summer for a suggested retail price of $110.
Of course, there are various competing devices already on the market. Dell offers the Wyse Cloud Connect stick for both Windows and Linux. ASUS and Google are both in the market with the Chromebit, which is preloaded with the Chrome OS.
“While the Intel Compute Stick doesn't boast top of the line specs, the innards do add up to what is a perfectly capable real deal computer, one you can get for just $150,” according to USA Today reviewer Edward Baig. “Keep in mind if you buy the Intel Compute Stick, you'll need that spare monitor or TV and you must also supply your own keyboard and mouse.”
So the big question, Baig said, is this: Do you really need an Intel Compute Stick? The answer is: it depends.
“I suppose some folks will want to surf the Web and otherwise bring the computing experience to the large screen television in the living room, though I can't imagine you'll want to routinely edit an Excel spreadsheet on the big TV,” he concluded.