Intel is set to release a computer-on-a-stick device designed to hang off the back of a monitor or television and run Windows 8.1 or Linux.
The diminutive device is intended to offer the compute power of a desktop computer in a form factor that fits in the palm of your hand, Intel said.
Announced at CES 2015 in Las Vegas, the Intel Compute Stick resembles an oversized USB memory stick, but is designed to plug into the HDMI input on a monitor or flat-screen TV rather than a USB port.
Expected to be available in March, the Compute Stick is based on a quad-core Atom processor and is capable of running a full-blown PC operating system such as Windows or Linux.
This could make the device suitable for applications such as digital kiosks or as the endpoint for accessing hosted virtual desktop sessions.
The processor inside the Compute Stick is said to be the Atom Z3735F, which powers several devices launched at CES, such as Toshiba's Satellite Click Mini.
This means that the Compute Stick could also be used as a portable computer in its own right, which can be easily carried from site to site and plugged into a screen for use.
A Windows 8.1 version of the Compute Stick with 2GB of memory and 32GB of storage is set to cost about $149 (£98), while a Linux version will have 1GB of memory and 8GB of storage for $89 (£59).
The Intel Compute Stick is similar in design to the Dell Wyse Cloud Connect device, which likewise plugs into the HDMI port of a display and is designed to serve as an access point for virtual desktops, although it is based on an ARM processor and runs Android.
Like Dell's Wyse product, the Intel Compute Stick comes with Bluetooth to connect with input devices such as a keyboard and mouse, with network connectivity via WiFi, plus a micro SD card slot for storage expansion.
The Dell Wyse was designed to be powered through the HDMI port if possible, but in practice needed to draw power through a cable connected to a USB port or a phone charger, and this is likely to be the case for the Intel Compute Stick.
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