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Intel introduced the NUC line of mini computers a few years ago, with systems measuring around 4.5″ x 4.4″. Then the company went smaller, with the Intel Compute Stick, with models measuring about 4″ x 1.5″.
Now the company is going even smaller, with the introduction of the Intel Compute Card. It’s a PC that’s just a bit larger than a credit card, measuring about about 3.7″ x 2.2″. It’s also Intel’s thinnest PC to date, at just 5mm (0.2 inches) thick.
But Intel isn’t really positioning the Compute Card as a consumer PC. Instead, it’s aimed at developers looking to integrate a computer with an Intel processor into smart home products, security systems, or other Internet of Things devices.
One nifty thing about this approach is that it opens the door for upgradable gadgets. Buy a smart refrigerator with a Compute Card in it and you may be able to repair or replace the card with another model down the road.
If the idea sounds familiar, it’s because Intel isn’t the first to come up with it… but Intel probably has a better chance of bringing its modular PC card to market in a big way than other efforts in this space.
Intel says it’s working with partners including Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Sharp.
The Intel Compute Card is expected to be available in mid-2017. For now, the company hasn’t revealed detailed specs yet, but it’s expected to feature low-power 7th-gen Intel Core “Kaby Lake” processor options, WiFi, Bluetooth, and “flexible I/O options.”