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PC-On-Stick: Another Looming Threat to Desktop Computers

23 Feb 2013

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PC-on-stick

By Ogunleye George

The fast-approaching desktopolypse is further geared up with the recent launch of miniaturized computing devices sized into a USB disc from whence they coined the name PC-On-Stick.

Various vendors are buying into this new phenomenon of pocket computers as the traditional desktop computer continues to fade dues to the growing trendy transition from laptop, netbook to tablet PCs born from the demand for flexibility, light weight and speed.

These personal computers on stick devices contain enough internal computing hardware to handle high-definition video encoding and decoding, enough to run an operating system for internal tasks, but the majority of the work are offloaded to cloud-based servers including the operating system (for earlier versions).

Although the whole process for earlier versions was being remotely handled, thus making the PC-On-stick look more like a portal process than a proper on-site computer. The devices power up when plugged in to a display or computer via its HDMI or USB ports and immediately connect to any open Wi-Fi networks to begin processing activities.

With these devices users can simply plug their stick pc into the HDMI port of any large screen TV and work with it as they would with a normal computer.

More advance features are present on recent models of the Stick-PCs, with more advance support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth connectivity, on-device operating system and also equipped with microSD card slot for extra storage, full-sized USB 2.0 port that can be used to connect a mouse or keyboard, and HDMI port for plugging into any HDMI capable monitor, including a large-screen TV.

The growing trendy for small form-factor computers has led to a competitive edge, with products such as Ophelia from Dell, Android Mini PC RK3066, Raspberry Pi and Cotton Candy USB PC.

These new portable PC-On stick are equipped with hardware configuration that can provides powerful performance needed for productivity, serious gaming and video chats.

Their Bluetooth radio allows users to pair with more peripherals devices such as wireless mouse, keyboards and speakers. Most vendors are seizing the Android market for freedom and app base as most of these device run the latest Android 4.1 jelly bean operating system. However, some can run additional operating systems by installing them on a microSD card and booting off of that.

The Android Mini PC RK3066 runs Android 4.11 Jelly Bean, including the Google Now app and its voice actions feature. Using Bluetooth headset and a wired headset, users will be able to activate Google Voice actions such as taking voice notes, getting directions or navigating to a Web site. It also comes preloaded with many of the major Google apps, including Gmail, Google Voice Search, Google Maps and the Google Play Store.

These devices could be a workstation in your pocket or a credible set-top box or gaming console. They work with certain webcams and allow users to make video calls or shoot photos or video, provided they have the right software such as Skype.

PC-On-Stick devices are versatile and cheap set-top box which fits into the current trend for cheap, flexible, light-weight and space conserving devices.

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