For decades a business workstation was either a terminal – a computer with not too many hardware capabilities, just enough to connect to a server and use its resources to get work done – or cheap PCs with similarly limited hardware capabilities which were changed once every couple of years. This has been going on for quite some time, without too much evolution – until this year. Because this year there are several new products coming which will transform a computer capable of doing all the work and running all the slot games to play at Euro Palace from a bulky box on the table into something much smaller and easier to use. So, here are the products I am talking about.
1. Chrome OS on a stick
This April Google has unveiled a series of its new ChromeBook computers – portable computers with Chrome OS, heavily relying on cloud storage and online services to get the job done. But they have also ventured into a new direction – they have also revealed a product called Asus ChromeBit, with a low price (probably around $100) which can turn any HDMI capable display into a ChromeOS computer. The ChromeBit is based on a cheap but capable RockChip system-on-a-chip responsible for its low price.
Plug this little thing in a monitor and attach a keyboard and a mouse – and you have a ChromeOS workstation ready in no time.
2. Intel’s Compute Stick
Intel didn’t use RockChip’s solutions to build its own stick-sized system, but it built its own quad-core Atom processor into it. WiFi, Bluetooth, USB port, a MicroSD slot, 2 gigabytes of RAM and 32 gigabytes of on-board storage (8 gigabytes for the Ubuntu version) make the system complete. There will be two versions: one with Windows 8.1 (eligible for a free Windows 10 upgrade) and another with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.
The ComputeStick will be the best choice for businesses with a Windows system. The Windows version will cost around $150, while the Ubuntu version will be priced around $100.
3. Microsoft’s Continuum
Windows 10 will have so many innovations it would take hours to discuss them all. But one of them will be capable of quickly transforming any smartphone or tablet computer into a workstation, thanks to the Universal Apps introduced with Windows 10. When connected to a docking station with a monitor, the Universal Apps installed on the the device will adapt their interface to the bigger screen, allowing you to use it as a business / office / multimedia PC.
Of course, not all current Windows Phone models will be capable of doing so. But the idea of continuing to work whenever you are away from the computer is appealing, isn’t it?
Business workstations will this year transform into something that fits into your pocket. What’s the next step?