It’s not much to look at, but Intel’s ‘Compute Card’ could revolutionize consumer technology by making your old — but still functional — tech feel ‘new’ again.
What is it?
The Compute Card is essentially a full computer — SoC, memory, storage, various input/output options, and wireless connectivity. Rather than playing games and checking email, Intel’s newest offering offers a seamless upgrade path to items in a connected home.
Device makers choosing to use the card simply need to create a standard slot in the device to house it. Once manufacturers select the appropriate card for their performance and pricing needs, the consumer has an item able to withstand short term obsolescence by simply replacing a card within the device. For example, a new 4k television with HDR could easily last you a decade, but the processing hardware inside might begin to feel dated just a few years in. Now, you can simply drop in a new card and enjoy that 4k goodness until you feel it’s time to upgrade.
And it’s not just for televisions. Intel’s tiny computer has a wide range of use cases ranging from appliances to commercial equipment.
Why does it matter?
We’re on the verge — and have been for the past several years — of replacing all of our ‘dumb’ devices with those that connect every aspect of our lives. Unlike a decade ago, processing upgrades are happening at a much slower pace — leading most of us to keep devices longer. The ability to make older devices that still work well feel ‘new’ again with a hardware upgrade that comes from a credit card-sized computer could reduce waste, spending, and lead to consumers happily keeping their devices longer.
When is it coming?
Intel plans to release the card in ‘mid-2017’ through a series of partnerships with Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Sharp.