In January of this year, Intel announced the Compute Stick (see our review here), a small computing device that can plug directly into a TV to bring PC functionality to the living room at a very low price point. The device runs a version of Windows and allows users to do rudimentary tasks, like web browsing, chatting on Skype or watching streaming content.
Fast forward to today and we've got a few competitors on the horizon. At Computex 2015 during the Microsoft keynote on Windows 10 and what the future holds for the new OS, several products were shown, including two that are exploring brand new form factors.
FoxConn has a new product called Kangaroo in the works. Billed as an ultra-portable desktop, it features one of Intel's latest Cherry Trail processors (the same one found in 7- to 10-inch tablets), and runs off of internal battery power. From the above image, the Kangaroo looks to be a similar size to a typical portable battery for smartphones. The battery life is said to offer six hours on a single charge.
Perhaps the most interesting feature about FoxConn's Kangaroo is the inclusion of a fingerprint scanner to support Windows Hello, Microsoft's biometric sign-in system for the newest version of Windows. With this feature, signing in with a username and password is no longer necessary.
Quanta also showcased a new form factor at Computex. The Compute Plug takes the idea of a portable desktop in a slightly different direction. While Intel's Compute Plug uses the TV as a power source, and FoxConn relies on a battery to power the Kangaroo, the Compute Plug is built right into a power adapter. It closely resembles a power adapter for something like a router or switch, except without any hardwired cables. Instead, there are two USB ports (no word yet if they are 3.0 or 3.1) and an HDMI port to plug into a display.
The Compute Plug uses Bluetooth to connect to a remote or headset, and Cortana is used to control the system. It's unclear if USB input will work or not, though with USB ports shown in the image above it's hard to believe that it wouldn't.
There was no indication as to when these two unique computing devices will be made available, and pricing has not been revealed at this time.