Intel might just have solved the challenge for the modular device concept with a breakthrough technology it unveiled at CES 2017. Called simply as the Compute Card, the device packs all necessary components required to run a computer or a smart device.

You can merely plug it to a monitor or even an old smartphone and it will instantly turn each into a powerful computing device. More importantly, you can use it as a module for existing hardware so you will no longer need to keep on purchasing new ones.

Tiny Full-Fledged Computer

What is so cool about this Intel technology is its size. The Compute Card has about the same size footprint of a credit card and it is only 5 mm thick. The real estate is an incredible feat considering the fact that it already houses a motherboard, memory modules, storage, and Wi-Fi radio, among others.

According to Gizmodo, this contraption could even include the latest Kaby Lake processor and it will not get any bigger at all. To top it all, Intel has promised the consistency of its form factor even after future upgrades.

As a standalone computer, it can function in the same manner a USB stick works. You can plug it to a monitor at home and bring it with you to work. The only difference is that instead of a portable file storage, you will be carrying an entire computing system with you.

No More Gadget Obsolescence

Not a few, therefore, are already expecting the Compute Card to prevent any form of tech obsolescence. To put it another way, a device only gets upgraded with modules, complementing the Compute Card running at its core.

This will be the case for devices that will have a dedicated Compute Card slot. Intel has already revealed that it is now working with several OEMs and the number is not limited to computer manufacturers.

"Device makers simply design a standard Intel Compute Card slot into their device and then utilize the best Intel Compute Card for their performance and price needs," Intel said in an official statement. "This reduces the time and resources needed to design and validate the compute block and helps speed up innovation to bring the power of intelligence into an ever wider range of devices."


The Compute Card's power seems best applied to devices that are hard to upgrade such as smart appliances, cars, smart kiosks, and other internet-of-things gateways.

When it debuts in the middle of this year, for example, the Compute Card will be found inside a Sharp television. The appliance is first in the queue since it now has Foxconn as a parent company. The Chinese manufacturer is Intel's partner in the development of the Compute Card.

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