A new Windows 10 mobile desktop, Kangaroo, has just hopped into the market with what it is billing as the smallest form factor on the PC market. The cost: $99.
Manufactured by InFocus Corp., Kangaroo literally fits in your hand like a smartphone and works with any screen. You can connect a mouse, keyboard and monitor and get to work. Or you can connect it to an iPad and access all Windows 10 desktop programs and files.
"Consumers own many different devices including tablets, laptops and desktop PCs,” said Lawrence Yen, director of Kangaroo product marketing. “Each device is used in different locations for different purposes. Kangaroo is the first product to allow you to use the same PC for all applications, in any environment.”
No Need for Wi-Fi
In terms of performance, you can expect a similar experience to a light-use desktop. The mobile form factor taps an Intel Cherrytrail (Atom Z8500) SOC (system on chip) and has an on-board battery paired and a standalone Kangaroo Dock with port access for HDMI and USB. Users connect a Kangaroo Dock to existing screens and devices -- such as PC monitors, big screen TVs, projectors and iPads -- for access to Windows 10, Microsoft Office and personal files.
Kangaroo has 32 GB of storage and can be upgraded for additional storage with a large-capacity microSD card. The on-board battery can provide up to four hours of casual use, making it more energy efficient than a stick PC. Kangaroo also provides remote access via a hardware Action Switch even without Wi-Fi. That’s a major boon for road warriors.
InFocus is also billing Kangaroo as a work and play form factor, connecting to a workstation during the day and transforming into an entertainment streaming media PC via an HDMI connection on any TV. With Windows Hello integration, the embedded fingerprint reader provides login and personal security without passwords.
Remember the Antelope?
We caught up with Roger Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, to get his take on Kangaroo. He told us this reminds him of Antelope Technology's portable PC from 2003, except the price back then was $4,000.
“Of course, the technology inside has improved dramatically and it's more than a promise now,” Kay said. “In fact, the iPhone introduced in 2007 was the first mobile computer with all its parts in one little package.”
Kay noted that the Kangaroo requires peripherals. With that, he’s not quite sure how popular it will be because people are less do-it-yourself these days -- they just want to buy something that works.
“If they're technologically savvy, they want a less compromised form factor -- like gamers wanting to put in more memory, their own graphics cards, et cetera,” Kay said. “The Atom processor is not Intel's most powerful, but $99 is a nice price point for what amounts to a really small desktop PC.”