PCs that can slide into your pocket but not burn a hole
A look at pocket-sized PCs that can used for work, developing apps, educating children
New Delhi: Imagine pulling out a computer from your pocket, plugging it into a TV screen or monitor via an HDMI cable, and using it with a Bluetooth-enabled keyboard and mouse. Voila! You now get a full-fledged portable personal computer (PC) with a much bigger screen.
Now stop imagining. In the last decade, portable PCs have transformed from big and burly laptops to ultrabooks, two-in-ones, big-screen tablets and now pocket-sized PCs, which can be used for work, developing apps, smart gadgets and educating children.
The Compute Stick STK2m3W64CC, priced at ₹ 29,249, runs on Intel’s Core m3 6Y30 processor with 4GB RAM and 64 bit Windows OS unlike its predecessor that had Intel Atom processors with 2GB RAM and 32bit Windows OS. The Core m3 chipset falls between the Atom and the Core i series in Intel’s chipset hierarchy and have been used in several mid-range ultrabooks and two-in-ones.
Intel’s Movidius Compute Stick, priced at ₹ 10,850 (Amazon.in), is a co-processor designed to run neural network calculations on single-board PCs such as Raspberry Pi or even regular PCs. It uses a USB to connect, runs on Intel’s Movidius’ Myriad 2 vision processing unit and is meant for developers who want to train and execute neural networks into their apps.
Google’s ChromeBit, priced at ₹ 9,730, is another viable option for users who are willing to look beyond Windows OS. It works on the same lines as the Intel Compute Stick- one can plug it into any TV or monitor using HDMI and connect to WiFi for internet access. However, the user experience is very different as it runs Google’s Chrome OS, which is pretty basic in terms of features and options in comparison to the Windows OS.
For users who own one of Samsung’s flagship cellphones, there is a solution called Dex Pad, priced at $99 or around ₹6,950. It works on the lines of the now obsolete Microsoft Continuum box, which allowed users to convert a Windows phone’s interface into a Windows desktop interface on a TV or a monitor. In this case, users get an Android-based custom desktop interface, which can be used for editing documents, replying to mails and for entertainment. When the smartphone is connected to the Dex Pad via a USB connector, its touchscreen can be used as the trackpad. Samsung claims the Dex Pad can run enterprise-level, virtualized Windows desktops and apps with VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) solutions along with cloud-based ecosystems from Citrix, VMware and Amazon.
Raspberry Pi 3
For something more affordable there is the Raspberry Pi 3, priced at $35, or around ₹2,460. A credit card-sized PC, it can be used as a desktop or as the brain to automate projects or build smart gadgets for personal use. It runs on a quad-core ARM A53 Cortex processor (also used in entry-level smartphones), and offers Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Ethernet as connectivity options. One can run on a Linux-based distro (OS plus some apps) or a Windows 10 IoT Core.
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