Got an HDMI port handy? Sure, you could plug in a Chromecast, Fire TV Stick or Roku Streaming Stick to get your Netflix fix. Or you could pay $150 to get a full Windows 8.1 PC in the same form factor.

This is the Intel Compute Stick, a humble HDMI dongle that houses a full desktop computer experience. It's not a particularly powerful one—you get a quad-core 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of solid state storage—but it does have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and both a full-size USB port and a microSD card slot for expandability. As long as you're not gaming and find yourself a decent couch controller, you could probably do quite a bit from this tiny PC! Here's the spec sheet.

More likely, it'll find a home in small businesses, schools, and the like who want to roll out super cheap computers to their employees, since all you need is this stick, an HDMI monitor and a couple peripherals to get things cranking. Remember when the tiniest PC was a nettop that hooked onto the back of your monitor? Now they come in dongle-form.

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If you're feeling brave, you can actually already buy one of these tiny dongle-PCs from Chinese resellers, but it probably won't come with Windows on board. I'd wait for the official Intel version to arrive. The Wall Street Journal says it'll hit by the end of Q1, with a Linux version also available for $90. [Intel via WSJ]


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