Compute Card To Offset Tech Obsolescence

Intel Credit Card Size Computer
Credit Card Size Computer

Intel announced their “compute card” at CES2017 – basically a full computer packaged onto credit card sized form factor. This is expected to offset or even eliminate obsolescence in many consumer and industrial electronic devices.

Rather than designing hardware with an embedded motherboard, memory and peripherals, companies can include a docket socket to accept the compute card. As technology advances – faster processors, larger memory, new wireless standards, etc. – the devices can be easily updated by simply swapping the out the old card for the new one with the new features.

One industry where consumers would benefit is the television market. Instead of selling a new TV every year or two for new features (and filling landfills when tossing out the old one), the manufacturer could sell a hardware update. My TV from 5 years ago is relatively “dumb”, without built-in WiFi or apps for Netflix, Amazon Prime Streaming Video, Pandora Music, Amazon Music Unlimited or other internet services. My TV from 3 years ago doesn’t support screen casting (e.g., showing what’s on my tablet / phone on the TV) nor does it have an embedded DVR. While the screen size and resolution on both are great for where they are, there is no way to update the hardware for the new feature sets.

Another industry that could use this is automotive. Unlike a TV, most people keep their cars for 5 years, 10 years or longer. Many cars still on the road where new before Apple released the iPhone and Android devices became available. A low cost option to update the navigation, communications and entertainment systems would be welcome!

In addition to televisions and automobiles, Intel is looking at interactive refrigerators, smart kiosks, security cameras, IoT gateways, robotics, laptop / desktop computers and smart home systems to make use of the cards.

Some specifications and features on the current compute card:

  • slightly longer than a credit card at 95mm x 55mm x 5mm
  • built-in integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity
  • equipped with a range of processors, including 7th Gen Intel® Core™ vPro™ processor (Kaby Lake)
  • standardized I/O (USB-C connection) interface designed to support multiple devices
  • embedded FLASH memory up to 512 GB
  • available in mid-2017 for production

What devices or markets do think would most benefit from this technology? Please share below ….