Intel’s tiny computer board makes upgrading smart devices dead easy

Intel’s latest invention is a tiny computer about the size of a credit card, and the idea is it can be plugged into connected devices like smart TVs or fridges (or indeed smart kiosks) to provide an easily upgradable brain for the gadget.

The Intel Compute Card, announced during CES 2017, has all of the components you’d expect in a full PC, including a SoC (system-on-a-chip), memory, storage, plus wireless connectivity.

Smart devices and IoT gadgets will be built with a slot designed to take the Compute Card, and if the user wants to add smart capabilities, they can simply purchase the most appropriate card for their needs – there will be different models offering varying levels of performance.

Upgrade heaven

And of course this is an easy way to upgrade your smart device in the future. When more powerful Compute Cards are made, if you want to upgrade, say, your smart TV, it’s simply a matter of buying a new card and plugging it in.

We’ve seen similar plug-and-play upgrades for smart TVs in the past from the actual manufacturers, of course, but this is a solution that aims to be universal across the smart home – or at least with those hardware makers who partner up with Intel to offer a Compute Card slot, of course.

Intel says it’s already working with hardware partners including Dell, HP, Lenovo, Sharp, InFocus and a number of others.

The first Compute Card will be launched around the middle of this year, although Intel didn’t say anything about the exact specs it will come with, save that Kaby Lake processors will be in the mix.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).