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OPLIN 4cast #435: Stick computers

Posted in 4cast

Intel Compute StickComputers-on-a-stick are not this year’s favorite cheap toy that you can win at the county fair, but real things made by some serious companies (Intel and Google most recently) that may, or may not, be the next big thing in computing. The basic concept is simple: Build a computer that will fit in your pocket with a protruding plug you can stick into the HDMI port of a standard display. Actually building a computer that small that people will actually want to use is the tricky bit, but some pundits claim these little devices will be big in education and business. It’s possible they might make their way into libraries, too, either in patrons’ pockets, or as something you just hand a patron when they ask to use a computer.

  • 3 things you need to know about Google Inc.’s tiny new Chromebit computers (The Motley Fool | Daniel B. Kline)  “‘By simply plugging this device into any display, you can turn it into a computer,’ Google engineer Katie Roberts-Hoffman wrote in a blog post. ‘It’s the perfect upgrade for an existing desktop and will be really useful for schools and businesses.’ The idea of a computer that slips into your pocket is not completely unique — Intel showed one at the Consumer Electronics show this year — but Google’s has the potential to establish the category as viable.”
  • Intel compute stick review (Digital Trends | Matt Smith)  “So-called Stick PCs running Android have been around as long as media streamers, but their inability to handle Windows severely limits their appeal. Now computers of the same size have become powerful enough to handle a full install of Windows 8.1. […] While a number of small manufacturers rushed to market first, Intel was the inspiration for the surge.”
  • Intel and Google sticks unlikely to revolutionize computing (Seeking Alpha | Daniel James)  “Users expecting a high-powered USB stick PC will be disappointed. Intel has suggested the stick be used for ‘light productivity, social networking, Web browsing, and streaming media or games.’ Also, it could provide a low-cost solution for business computing. However, there doesn’t seem to be a specific niche that the product is filling. The fact that it still needs a screen and a range of peripherals to operate means that it takes up roughly as much space as a small notebook. If you add up the price of all these components, it isn’t actually much cheaper than a small notebook.”
  • Your quick guide to stick computers and what they’re good for (ReadWrite | Brian P. Rubin)  “The good news is that there will probably be even more options before too long, since we’re only at the beginning of the stick computer movement—if it does turn out to be a movement, that is. It’s still entirely possible that these HDMI dongles will fail to catch on, and we’ll toss stick computers away in the same dustbin as the world’s discarded netbooks.”

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