Lost amid the hoopla of Intel's other CES announcements -- the official launch of Broadwell processors, the microscopic Curie wearable PC -- the chip giant has also provided details about its forthcoming Compute Stick, a PC-on-a-stick that will ship with either Windows 8.1 or Linux pre-installed.
More than just a media stick like the Amazon Fire TV Stick, the Compute Stick essentially squeezes the power of a tablet into the size of a pack of gum. While it can handle media streaming duties via its HDMI 1.4a port, its other specs let you do much more. It is based around the Atom Z3735F Bay Trail processor, but other components depend on which OS you're running. (Intel has apparently hinted that future iterations of the Compute Stick will use newer processors, including Broadwell Core M CPUs.)
If you have the Windows version, it will include 2GB of RAM and 32GB of flash storage, but the Linux Computer Stick only has half the RAM and 8GB of built-in storage owing to the operating system's smaller footprint. It does comes with a microSD card slot if you want to squeeze more capacity into the device. Other connectivity includes full-sized and micro USB ports, Bluetooth 4.0, and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. Unlike other sticks, Intel's can't currently be powered through HDMI, relying instead on the micro USB port to charge it.
The Windows 8.1 Compute Stick will cost $149 and the Linux version just $89 when they ship in a couple of months.