Microsoft shows off PC integrated into power plug

By Scorpus
Jun 4, 2015
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  1. microsoft foxconn quanta power plug compute plug

    Microsoft showed off a whole range of new PCs and devices running Windows 10 at Computex 2015, but one that really caught the eye is the Quanta Compute Plug, an entire PC integrated into a power plug the size of a phone charger.

    The Compute Plug comes with two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port, allowing you to easily connect the device to a TV or monitor and use it as a HTPC. Microsoft says the Compute Plug can be controlled using Cortana and a Bluetooth remote or headset, and presumably it will run any Windows home theater software that you like.

    Quanta hasn't stated what hardware is inside the Compute Plug, although considering its form factor and power constraints, we imagine it's pretty low-power, probably using something like Intel's Bay Trail SoC found in cheap Windows tablets or Intel's own Compute Stick.

    Another interesting device Microsoft showed off was the Foxconn Kangaroo, a very small form factor PC that packs an Intel Cherry Trail processor and a "six-hour battery", allowing you to easily turn a TV into a fully-fledged Windows 10 PC. It also comes with a fingerprint scanner, which supports Windows Hello, Microsoft's new biometric authentication system in Windows 10.

    With PC hardware becoming smaller and smaller, new form factors such as the Compute Plug are becoming increasingly viable. Performance mightn't be overly amazing from these tiny PCs, but connected to a TV and you'll get the full power of Windows 10 from a device that can be easily hidden.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,341   +1,939

    They may be handy to a lot and even have very reasonable prices but I can't imagine myself ever wanting any of these.
    Pomf~ likes this.
  3. nazartp

    nazartp TS Enthusiast Posts: 178   +12

    I am, actually, excited about this. I found it that any combination of smart TV, BluRay, xBox, etc. is still relatively restrictive. For example, I have a decent number of TV shows and movies on iTunes, my wife watches certain channels not easily available in the US over the Internet, I like watching European ice hockey and soccer. All said and done the only answer is an HTPC. It is needed only for streaming/playback, so, in theory, it can be built relatively cheaply, but the moment you take into account the form factor, the costs rise significantly. The system that is close to optimal for my needs set me back $500. It is tiny and works well. If any of those devices is below $300 in price, I'd be willing to buy one for the basement.
    agb81 likes this.
  4. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Maniac Posts: 797   +217

    If that little plug had an ethernet port (I like wired) it would be perfect for an HTPC that streamed from a NAS. Have the in wall ethernet next to the electrical outlet so all you need is one cable to the TV and run Kodi on it and that is all.
  5. yukka

    yukka TechSpot Paladin Posts: 824   +52

    Scary. But cool. Scary cool.
  6. Nakedpotato

    Nakedpotato TS Rookie

    How about powerline ;) Almost no extra setup required.
  7. Capaill

    Capaill TS Addict Posts: 279   +86

    Or get a USB3 to Ethernet adaptor.
  8. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Maniac Posts: 797   +217

    Last time I looked at powerline networking it was horrible but that was years ago, I have no clue how good it is now.
  9. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Maniac Posts: 797   +217

    I guess that would work but I would still like a built in option, it would make it look a bit cleaner.
  10. It doesn't say, but possibly it has wifi for getting on the internet?
  11. Umm....Raspberry Pi running Raspbmc (media center) anyone?
  12. Tanstar

    Tanstar TS Guru Posts: 392   +81

    The plug model would be Awesome for traveling. Transfer some shows from my Tivo to a USB3 drive and plug this in by the hotel TV, hook it up via HDMI and you are good to go!
  13. Satish Mallya

    Satish Mallya TS Addict Posts: 124   +92

    ....or just use an android smartphone's MHL and OTG capabilities to hook it up with a massive portable hard drive and output to TV. Add in a bluetooth keyboard/mouse set, and it's quite capable, at least media-wise.
  14. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Maniac Posts: 797   +217

    That sounds more complicated since most phones only have one port meaning you need an adapter that does the HDMI and a USB port to get it working. This has it all built in so you just plug it in and it works, also since most will already have a phone you install Teamviewer (or VNC) on the plug and the phone and no need for a keyboard or mouse. While just the phone works it ends up taking up more overall space than with this plug and a phone.
  15. jameslr

    jameslr TS Rookie

    I recently setup a small TV with a FireTV stick running Kodi. It runs very smooth and does everything I need on the HTPC front. I can stream 1080p video wirelessly from my Synology NAS through a Windows file share. The great part about this is there are no additional wires other than a USB cable that I plugged into the existing USB port on my new TV to provide additional power to the FireTV stick. A little extra setup was required in order to get the Kodi icon in a convenient location on the FireTV home screen, but it wasn't too bad.
  16. Tanstar

    Tanstar TS Guru Posts: 392   +81

    All of that, plus I can still use my phone while watching tv.
  17. Been running five poweline adapters in my house for over a year. No issues at all, nice bandwidth.

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