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Honey, I've shrunk the PC! Intel's Compute Stick PC. Inset Dell Wyse Cloud & Kingston Data Traveler Workspace
 
 
PC-on-a-stick is here!

Now, you can carry a full-function Windows PC on a USB-like stick
By Anand Parthasarathy
Bangalore, July 20, 2015: Was it only a fortnight ago that  we were hailing, in this space,  a  DIY PC that fitted in the palm of your hand? Consider that history. Say hello to the Compute Stick -- a full-function  PC,  pre-installed with Windows 8.1, fuelled  by a Quad-Core Intel Atom processor,  with  32 GB of   storage and 2 GB of  memory -- only a bit larger than a  Flash storage  dongle.   
Only, the  connector is not USB -- you  need to stick it into  the HDMI or MHL of your TV or any computer display.  There is a USB port which you can use to connect  your own keyboard and mouse ( you will need a USB hub), or alternately,   or to a Bluetooth receiver  that mates with wireless keyboard and mouse.  The stick  needs a power source so there is another connection to make to an AC power socket.
This is a Windows PC ( which, come July 29, you can upgrade for free, to Windows 10)  so it takes a good half hour to get started.  But once you have undergone  the Microsoft agni pareeksha   of Windows    updates and the mandatory email account sign in, your monitor is a Windows  PC and your TV has gotten  'smart'.   It comes with WiFI antenna so you can  latch on to your home or office Internet hotspot to  go online. The stick supports  full HD --  you can  play  HD movies ( there is a  microSD card slot to carry them)  or stream them  from YouTube. It costs Rs 9999   at FlipKart.
Intel's   basic  reference design   has been tweaked by other makers  so  you have a small choice today between the Intel-branded Compute Stick and   a few others:  The   Panache   Air PC   sells at Infibeam for around the same price  but with  16GB and 32 GB options  with a Logitech wireless keyboard-mouse combo bundled  for an extra Rs 1292. Another option is  the iBall Splendo  for Rs 8999.
Globally,  Lenovo  has launched the IdeaCenter Stick 300  with similar specs for $129.

There are small differences in the  software loads accounting  for  minor price differences. Intel has also launched a cheaper version loaded with Open Source Ubuntu 4.04  --  but that is not yet offered in India. Such differences aside, PC-on-a-stick is  2015's first  big innovation in personal computing.  Recalling Oliver Goldsmith's Village Schoolmaster, we can only wonder how one small stick could carry all it knew.

Stick PC variants
The Compute Stick is not exactly  the first pocket-sized  PC.  Last year saw two variants for  different  use cases:

Office-on-the-go
Flash memory leader, Kingston  has added  the' Windows To Go'  version of Win 8  to its Flash storage  sticks of  32, 64 and 128 GB to create the  Kingston Data Traveler  Workspace.  You can plug this  USB 3.0 drive into any  public or hotel PC  and  it will boot up  with your own  Windows  version  -- and your Office suite if you have stored  it on your stick. This  lets you  work in your home environment where ever you go -- and it stores all your work on the Workspace drive and not on the host machine.  It costs Rs 5800, Rs 9000 or  Rs 15,000 depending on  the on-board storage.

Pocket Android PC
With corporate users in mind, the Dell Wyse Cloud Connect  is an Android-based   USB-stick computer, which  can be connected to any TV, display -- even your phone -- to take you to your secure office work space.  It can also work with  virtual PC software like Citrix or VMWare, providing all the native security while you are on the move. It costs Rs 10,000 in India.




    


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PC-on-a-stick is here!
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