We’ve been seeing more and more devices to make your TV “smarter”, including Chromecast, Roku, and Amazon’s Fire TV Stick. But Intel is upping the ante with its Compute Stick, a device which will allow you to run Windows or Linux on your TV.

The Compute Stick is one of many innovative products being launched at this week’s CES 2015 in Las Vegas. Based on the early reports, this looks like it should prove to be a very cool product. While there are no shortage of products to allow us to stream media through our TVs, Compute Stick will offer a more complete computing experience.

It will connect to your TV via an HDMI 1.4a port, much like the other streaming stick tools, and can certainly do a similar job of sending media content to your TV. Compute Stick appears to be a bit bigger than the other sticks, and with good reason: it packs much more wallop. It starts with an Atom Z3735F processor – Intel’s own quad-core CPU which is used to power a number of tablets and laptops.

The remaining specs vary somewhat depending on which OS you’d like to run. The Windows version will include 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of flash storage, and runs Windows 8.1. The Linux Compute Stick will be scaled down to 1 GB of RAM and only 8 GB of storage, but it will also have a scaled-down price tag: $89, as opposed to $149 for the Windows version. It’s expected to come loaded with Ubuntu, though it should be easy enough to install another distribution.

The Compute Stick also has room for more storage by way of a micro SD slot, and a micro USB port for power (The HDMI port currently doesn’t supply power, though Intel has plans for it to do so in a future iteration). Additional connectivity comes through WiFi (802.11b/g/n) and Bluetooth 4.0.

It looks like Intel is marketing the Compute Stick as a low-priced device, so I wouldn’t count on being able to use this for video editing or heavy gaming. But they are suggesting a variety of potential uses. For consumers, it should pack enough power to use lightweight productivity tools, social networking, and streaming media. For businesses, it can be a portable plug-and-play tool for thin client solutions and Windows Remote Desktop access.

Another potential application for the Compute Stick is in embedded solutions, like digital kiosks, as well as streaming media content almost anywhere.

Intel will be selling the Compute Stick directly themselves, and it’s expected to start shipping in March. I’ll be eager to see just what it can do and will let you know as I learn more. And stay tuned for more updates from CES 2015.

Website: Intel Compute Stick
Twitter: Intel

About the author

Fred Scholl

I'm an unabashed enthusiast of all things Android, open-source, and technology in general. I'm also an avid music lover and musician, playing guitar, bass, keyboards, and a host of other stringed instruments.