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Exclusive: Taking an in-depth look at Intel’s Compute Stick

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Intel Compute Stick
Intel Compute Stick. (Image Credit: Darryl Linington)

At the Intel Solutions Summit 2015 (ISS 2015), which was held at the Yas Marina Formula One Circuit in Abu Dhabi, Intel gave IT News Africa an exclusive first look at its latest innovation – the Intel Compute Stick.

During the preview session, John Deatherage, Director of Marketing for Intel’s Channel, Innovation, and Solutions division stated that: “The idea behind the Intel Compute Stick was to turn the modern day TV into an entry level computer, which allows the user to access email, browse the internet, watch YouTube videos, stream video, edit images, and utilise word processing software.”

Deatherage noted that, for best performance, the Intel Compute Stick would require a wireless keyboard and mouse combo in order to operate the device at full functionality. This is due to the Intel Compute Stick only shipping with one USB slot.

According to Deatherage: “The Intel Compute Stick is not just a device that can be used at home, but it can also be used to run digital signage, Kiosks as well as be used in call centres and schools that may lack computing facilities.”

When discussing the future of the Intel Compute Stick, Deatheage revealed that the device could potentially feature an Android-based operating system. He added that the device is not entirely limited to just Windows and Linux, and Intel could essentially support any operating system in the near future; however, this would depend on customer feedback received as well as the current processor that the device features.

The current version of the Intel Compute Stick will also have the processing power to run Windows 10. Deatheage noted that: “Once Microsoft moves over to Windows 10, Intel will pre-install Windows 10 onto the device. For those looking to upgrade from Windows 8.1 with Bing to Windows 10, on their current device, there will be upgrade options available from Microsoft.”

When it comes to security, Deatheage revealed that Intel has partnered with McAfee in order to protect users. The security software is limited to a 6-month trial period; however, users can opt to purchase the software, or move over to an alternative.

In terms of the specifications of the Intel Compute Stick, we found that it features Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth, as well as 32GB of internal storage – which can be expanded up to 128GB with a MicroSD card. The device also features a Quad-Core Intel Atom Processor, 2GB of RAM as well as the option of one of two operating systems – including Windows 8.1 and Linux Ubuntu.

Considering these specs, the Intel Compute Stick shows a lot of potential for the educational and start-up sector in South Africa as well as across Africa. The Intel Compute Stick also shows a great deal of potential for the African SME sector. It is a fully functional Windows 8.1 device, and is small enough to fit into a shirt pocket – which makes it ideal for travel, home/remote working, presentations or on-site visits.

The release date for the Intel Compute Stick in Africa has not been confirmed as of yet; however, the Intel Compute Stick is set to retail at $149 USD ( R1770 at the current exchange rate), although this is likely to change once the device is launched in Africa. IT News Africa has spent an extensive amount of time with the Intel Compute Stick, and will provide a review of the device shortly.

Darryl Linington

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