The concept of Pen Stick for personal computing is gaining momentum and there are several computer hardware manufacturers who are focusing on this niche segment. Google launched Chromecast that streams live data from your phone, tablet or laptop on to the LED displays; then there is Asus Chromebit that moves a step ahead and converts any LED monitor into a computer by directly connecting to the internet and now these Pen PCs are available for Windows too.
iBall has launched a stick for around US$140 that can be plugged directly into the HDMI port of an LED display. The stick has been named Splendo. Currently the device comes loaded with Windows 8.1 and there is not confirmation yet, either from iBall or Microsoft that whether the operating system on this device will be upgraded to Windows 10. However, since Microsoft has announced that all the devices running genuine copies of Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 will be given a free upgrade to Windows 10, it is more than likely for the iBall stick to get the update to Windows 10. The device similar to a USB drive and has in HDMI port. It comes bundled with a mouse and a keyboard. It runs on Intel Atom quad-core processor, has 32 GB inbuilt memory and has 2GB of RAM. It has an in-built Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi. The device also has a micro and regular USB slots and a micro SDXC slot.
Another major computer hardware manufacturer that has entered the pen stick segment is ASUS. The ASUS Pen Stick comes loaded with Windows 10 and is aimed at replacing desktop computers and laptops. It is small in size, light in weight and can be carried in the pocket. The device has an HDMI connector for it to be connected to any regular LED display, thereby converting it into a computer. The stick computer has a microSD card reader, a microUSB port, two USB 2.0 ports, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi 802.11 and an audio jack for a headphone and microphone. The device has a Cherry Trail processor with 32 GB of storage and 2 GB RAM. It is expected to be released later this year and is expected to be priced at US$150.
Devices like these pen sticks are touted to be the technology of the future taking personal computing to the next level. These devices are portable due to their weight and small sizes and can be carried in the pocket. All they need is an LED display where they can be plugged into the HDMI port and users can access the data and the internet through such devices. However, exponentially increasing computing power of smartphones will always pose a tough challenge to such devices. Smartphones are portable, can fit into the pockets and do not require any other external display. Also, pen sticks require keyboards and mouse whereas smartphones don’t. Despite this, these pen sticks are expected to capture some market share and with Windows 10 loaded on them, they are expected to get regular updates and will help Microsoft capture some part of the market share of Android by launching these pen sticks.