Intel officially announced the Compute stick for Malaysia. The 4-inch long dongle turns any display with a HDMI port into a computer, complete with WiFi and BlueTooth connectivity. Multiple applications for the device have been envisioned by the company, including modernising digital signage and education.
Powered by an Intel Atom Z3735F processor, the compute stick comes in two variants: a Windows 8.1 powered version, and a slightly less capable Ubuntu stick. Intel had experimented with the idea of an Android powered Compute Stick, but decided against it as it deems both Windows and Linux the more appropriate target users for this sort of device.
The Windows version of the Compute Stick ships with 2GB of single channel RAM, Intel HD Graphics, and 32GB eMMC memory. On the other hand, the Ubuntu stick halves the amount of RAM, while dropping the onboard memory to a mere 8GB. Fortunately, both versions of the Compute Stick have microSD card expansion options.
On the outside, there is a USB 2.0 port for general use and a micro-USB charging port. Intel was quick to point out that the Compute Stick draws so little power that it is possible to run it off a power bank for several hours. However, that being said, the Stick still has an internal fan for cooling; a feature Intel says is not necessary, but helps when the stick is put under a heavy load.
Intel envisions the Compute Stick as an answer to mobile computing, as well as a way to replace heavy backpacks for school children. The idea is that schools would instead set up a classroom with displays and interface peripherals, while the students are able to carry their computers to and from home. Ideally, this would cut the cost of having to buy multiple desktop computers or laptops to cater to a large number of students.
During the presentation, Intel had also emphasised the amount of Malaysian talent that went into building the Compute Stick. The every step of the design and development process was conducted at its R&D facility in Bayan Lepas, Penang; a fact that was brought up several times.
There is no release date for the Compute Stick as of yet, but it will have a retail price of RM599 for the Windows 8.1 version and RM499 for the Ubuntu stick.