INTEL HAS MADE AVAILABLE a new version of its Compute Stick pocket PC running Canonical's Ubuntu operating system.
Intel officially announced the new flavour of the pocket PC today, priced at $110 (about £70) with a stated sale date of "next week".
However, the Ubuntu falls short when compared with the Windows version. The Ubuntu model has half the RAM at 1GB, and a quarter of the on-board storage at 8GB.
The Ubuntu model also lacks bundled McAfee Antivirus Plus for protection from malware, but this is much less of a worry as Ubuntu is far less prone to viruses than Windows.
Nevertheless, both devices come with WiFi and Bluetooth for connectivity, a USB port to connect peripherals and a micro SD card slot for additional storage.
The Intel Compute Stick is powered by an Intel Atom quad-core processor and comes with 64-bit Ubuntu OS embedded, and has "all the performance needed for running thin client, embedded, collaboration or cloud applications".
"Consumers are looking for a more personal, flexible and cost-effective computing experience, and also looking for a choice of OS," said Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical Group.
"It's great to see Ubuntu become part of the Compute Stick family. This is another example of how we're working with Intel to bring a wide range of devices to market to give as many people as possible the chance to discover Ubuntu."
The Intel Compute Stick is almost a halfway house between the likes of the Raspberry Pi, with its 'roll your own' credentials, and something that offers more flexibility than a streaming stick by having a complete operating system in a tiny form factor.
However, it will face stiff competition in this area from Google Chromecast, Roku's Streaming Stick, Amazon's Fire TV Stick, Microsoft's Wireless Display Adapter, the Raspberry Pi, the Asus Chromebit, the new BBC education box, and something called the Beelink, which appears to have similar innards to the Compute Stick and is already on sale for slightly less money.
The announcement of a new Compute Stick version comes just weeks after Lenovo revealed its ideacentre Stick 300, which is also powered by Intel.
The Stick 300 is very similar to Intel's Compute Stick in that it can connect to any display, and can become a cheap alternative to an all-in-one machine or the hub of a home entertainment system running Windows Media Centre.
The dongle-sized HDMI stick is just 15mm thick and contains an Intel Atom Z3735F processor alongside 2GB of RAM, 32GB of solid state storage and Wireless N WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity so that accessories such as a mouse and keyboard can be added. µ
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