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Intel Hardware

Intel's Super Portable Compute Card Could Be Your Real Pocket PC (techcrunch.com) 61

An anonymous reader writes (edited and condensed for length): Smartphones are already computers in our pockets, but Intel's new Compute Card turns an actual PC into something you can take with you wherever you go. Equipped with a range of processor options -- including an ultra-efficient Celeron, and notebook-class Core i5s, this slap that looks like a USB backup battery is attracting a range of interest from Intel OEM partners hoping to use it for everything from smart signage to modular notebooks. The Intel Compute Card, which was originally revealed at CES earlier this year, will come in a range of configurations that include up to 4GB of RAM and 128GB of flash storage, as well as built-in AC 8265 wireless networking and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, the company said today at Computex. Intel also announced availability of the Compute Card Device Design Kit today, which will let OEM partners create devices that work with the modular computing core. LG Display, Sharp, Dell, HP and Lenovo are already working on accessory solutions for Compute Card, Intel said.
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Intel's Super Portable Compute Card Could Be Your Real Pocket PC

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I fail to see how this is truly pocket-sized. I have a "Vensmile Win10 Mini PC [gearbest.com] that isn't much bigger and is already on the market. This one still needs the dock to handle the I/O. I also have USB stick PC's that are powered by my TV USB port. Yes, Intel's is slightly faster, but the Vensmile one is fully capable of streaming HD video and of course, internet stuffs.

    • I fail to see how this is truly pocket-sized. I have a "Vensmile Win10 Mini PC [gearbest.com] that isn't much bigger and is already on the market. This one still needs the dock to handle the I/O. I also have USB stick PC's that are powered by my TV USB port. Yes, Intel's is slightly faster, but the Vensmile one is fully capable of streaming HD video and of course, internet stuffs.

      Yes, it's definitely pocketable: 95 x 55 x 5 mm. So: 5 mm thick and slightly longer than a credit card. I don't see how it matters because both seem like solutions in search of problems, but Intel's is much smaller than the one you linked (slightly less than one third the volume).

      • Intel's is much smaller than the one you linked (slightly less than one third the volume).

        Intel's one is only smaller if you ignore the dock that it must plug into. That was the point of the original post; it never even claimed that the Vensmile PC was smaller than Intel's Computer Card. If you ignore the dock then you might as well say that your desktop PC is smaller as well, because you can pull out the CPU and carry it around in your pocket too.

        That said, the two products don't really compete with each other, despite what the /. headline says. Intel's solution is made to slot in to become the

      • I don't see how it matters because both seem like solutions in search of problems

        That's the key point. No-one's really interested if Company A's gimmick is 5mm slimmer than Company B's gimmick if there's no obvious use for them. The original article is notably missing any real applications, just two suggestions, smart signage which can be done with some generic Android box from China (God knows Intel can't make anything cheap, who knows what their solution will end up costing), and modular notebooks, which no-one needs since we've already got an infinite variety of non-modular ones th

    • It's more pocket-sized than most smartphones nowadays.
  • by Compuser ( 14899 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2017 @05:17PM (#54514093)

    I am personally not excited. The RAM and storage capacities are about 8X lower than required for modern computing. But the biggest issue arises when looking at the pictures: the card seems to have a slot interface of some sort. Why not just give this card a thunderbolt 3 port or two. There are already docking stations fort those. Why does Intel want to reinvent its own wheel?

    • Came here to comment similarly. My Cell phone has more RAM.

    • This is not designed to be a high-end desktop replacement - it is meant to give you portable/small footprint computing power. And to be fair - you can't compute w/ less than 32GB of RAM and 512GB of storage? Really?
      • by Compuser ( 14899 )

        I do scientific computing. Yes, RAM and storage are good things for me. It would be nice to take my entire work volume home and work in the evenings without ever exposing my computer or data to the network. And that is doable. But having it pocketable still seems like a dream.

        • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2017 @06:35PM (#54514473)

          That's because for the moment it is a dream. This device was not designed with you in mind. It was designed to replace devices that have historically been serial controlled such that a full-featured computer can be used in their stead. HVAC controllers, lighting controllers, digital signboards, point of sale registers, kiosks, etc. Raw computing power is not the goal, having a computer at all is; expanding the Internet of Things.

          My concern is that after-the-sale support will be scant to nonexistent, and we will have even more unpatched IoT things live in the wild, but now we're adding more and more computing power to the mix. I could see these being co-opted for illcit cryptocurrency mining, or as part of botnets set up as parallel-distributed computing to try to break crypto passwords from stolen hashes in a brute-force technique, or any number of other nefarious uses where computing power would help.

          • by green1 ( 322787 )

            If computing power isn't the goal, simply having a computer at all. What application would pick this over a Raspberry Pi that's likely to be less than 1/4 the cost?

            • by TWX ( 665546 )

              Basically any application where the primary user is not an IT hobbyist, and where it is expected to work right out of the box and presumably in somewhat harsh environments.

            • by tepples ( 727027 )

              What application would pick this over a Raspberry Pi that's likely to be less than 1/4 the cost?

              One whose publisher refuses to rewrite it for an API other than Win32 or recompile it for ARM.

              • by green1 ( 322787 )

                If this is for embedded applications, it's probably already on Linux anyway, not Windows, and even if it isn't, the cost to rewrite will be made up quickly on the cost difference.

    • The PC Appliance (Score:5, Informative)

      by WheezyJoe ( 1168567 ) <.moc.eticxe. .ta. .ggef.> on Tuesday May 30, 2017 @06:01PM (#54514331)

      I am personally not excited.

      Me neither. The Stick [engadget.com] is much more like your own personal pocket-carried PC, as at least it comes with an HDMI plug and a power supply. This thing [theverge.com] doesn't appear to be able even to power up without help from a dock or some new wave of appliance, which appers to be what Intel's after [intel.com].

      Seems like insane overkill to slap in whole PC's just for kiosks, window signage, grocery-store displays, door-openers and soap-dispensers, but if Intel keeps making PC's smaller then I guess that's where we're headed. It's just sick to think this might mean a complete copy of copy of Windows 10 on damn near everything because... it can. Perhaps Red Hat can package and market a Linux for tiny business PC's, packaged with signage or kiosk application software, and break this potential Microsoft stranglehold, please?

      • by Mkkby ( 4973999 )
        A raspberry pi is a better fit for apps like this. For some reason, intel can only think in terms of windows. Windows is huge overhead and security leak, and should only be used if a critical app requires it. The world is turning to android/linux and arm processors. Intel is looking desperately for relevancy.
      • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

        It's a lot easier for developers to throw together a web app that runs in full screen touch mode than finding someone who does systems level C stuff. A compute stick is $99 and has access to the full modern build chain of everything. A raspberry Pi is $40 but needs $60 worth of accessories and is still under-powered at the end of the day. Better to just go with what's easiest. $5 here or $20 there savings for a platform you're paying a developer between $50 and $200 an hour to work on just isn't worth it.

      • but if Intel keeps making PC's smaller then I guess that's where we're headed

        Fortunately there's an onslaught coming from the bottom up as well. While a lot of basic things (you mentioned coffee machines) are starting to ship with full on ARM SOCs running a small embedded OS because consumers want displays and touch screens, a few of the microcontroller manufacturers are starting to take note.

        Microchip just released the PIC32MZ DA with built in graphics processor to try and stop all of its sales from going to overpowered ARM chips. Unfortunately as yet they may have a pricing proble

  • I can envision serious growth for this type of thing if the US bans all laptops on planes. Take one of these & a USB stick with your OS, Apps & data on it. Than on a plane or anywhere really, just plug this in with the USB data stick & you should have your 'OS, Apps & data' for immediate use.

    Of course a person might be concerned with the security of the device you have to plug in to but I don't see that being much different than using someone else's network today. It still starts with having

    • by jonwil ( 467024 )

      You cant trust ANY Intel processor made in the last decade not to have all kinds of backdoors and hidden code you cant look at.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Downsides:

      1) Major - what do you use for a display on an airplane (not so much an issue for hotels).
      2) Minor - no keyboard/mouse (minor because it should not be a problem to find portable kbd/mouse that would be allowed on an airplane)
      3) Unknown impact - all of these devices are going to be power/thermal limited due to packaging limitations. In fact, I think that it won't matter which processor it has, as the faster processors will all quickly throttle down to the performance of the Celeron part.

    • For Windows - Search for "Windows to go" and get Windows Enterprise 8/8.1/10 along with a high speed usb device / hard drive. Just plug in and boot up, all your portable programs will be on it.

      For Mac - Search "Installing OS X on an external volume" and get a high speed usb device / hard drive. This only works on mac device but select usb device and it will boot up with all your programs.

      For Linux - Search for "linux usb persistent" and create a usb for that.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        For Windows - Search for "Windows to go" and get Windows Enterprise 8/8.1/10 along with a high speed usb device / hard drive.

        But then how does an individual lawfully acquire a copy of Windows Enterprise?

        This only works on mac device

        In other words, it's probably more practical to just carry a Mac mini.

  • by Wowsers ( 1151731 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2017 @05:33PM (#54514177) Journal

    I'm not interested in another "black box" you can't disassemble or look into / improve for your own needs.

    • Yes, and they will also be good for clackers on your on your bicycle spokes!
    • Guess you don't own a cell phone or laptop then.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        I get the impression from others' comments that a lot of people use desktop computers exclusively, and they get away with it because they drive instead of riding public transit. Many also carry a flip phone instead of a smartphone because a flip phone has less potential for privacy leaks.

    • You may not be, but the majority of companies have no such restriction.

  • It's Microsoft. This ComputeCard itself is just a typical Intel Techdemo: mostly useless and overpriced.
    The real job is for Microsoft alone: it's possible to build a Windows Phone which is a Windows Phone when mobile and an actual real, 100% Wintel
    Desktop PC with Office, Active Directory, legacy programs from the 90s, etc. when in a dock. Of course they have to kick useless bullshit like "windows store only" concepts to the curb. This is tech which would allow Microsoft to build a real Surfacephone

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      I think it's about the licensing revenue for MS. A dockable phone that becomes a PC means that some non-trivial number of people who buy phones would stop buying PCs with Windows, costing MS a Windows license sale and shrinking the installed base.

      The problem is, if they don't do it someone else will, and they may not even get the phone sale let alone another desktop license.

  • I mean, it's not a real PC without that.
  • I'd be excited if this took off in TVs. Imagine a world where you could upgrade your TV's CPU every year or two, and install an upgraded OS. Or even have custom OSes in your TV, just like the Pi has now.

  • My Pi tastes better.
  • if they added a touchscreen! Oh wait...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Intel only announced these after EOMA68 went public.

  • We were just talking about similar ideas few days ago...

    But without a battery to power it and depending on a huge dock to have functional ports, I'm not sure about how useful something like that really is.
    Lots of people including me talked about Kangaroo PC, but the same brand already has a product like the one on the post - Kangaroo Notebook:

    http://www.kangaroo.cc/kangaro... [kangaroo.cc]

    Oddly similar to Intel's version.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The problem with Intel/AMD is they're locking you into their tech. EOMA68 is a lot better in that it isn't. There is a 2GB dual-core card coming soon and 4GB one that should be available shortly thereafter. EOMA68 got to the punch first and Intel's just reacting now. There is already a EOMA68 laptop design and a desktop and a router design is in the works. ThinkPenguin's been funding this project for years now. It's no surprise Intel's several months behind and only announced this gimmick now. Previously In

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