CompuLab’s Trim Slice puts ARM on the desktop

In 2009, I posted a review of the Fit-PC2, the smallest desktop computer available at the time. Since then, CompuLab has released an updated “i” version, and recently the Fit-PC3. That new version is based on a faster AMD chipset, but it’s still an evolutionary update to earlier models. Their latest product however, is something entirely new. An ARM-based desktop computer.

The fast majority of smartphones, tablets and other portable devices out there use ARM processors. Unlike x86 processors like Intel’s Core and Atom series, there chips can’t run Windows (yet, Microsoft is working on this). Intel has recently introduced x86 chips for use in phones, and now CompuLab does the opposite. The “Trim Slice” puts an ARM CPU in a “desktop” computer. I put the word desktop in quotes there because like all CompuLab products, the Trim Slice is tiny. It would easily fit in your shirt’s pocket.

No word yet on which operating systems will work on the Trim Slice, except that there will be more than one option. This makes it hard to think of a use case for this small little box. It has great hardware specs, including HD video playback, and uses almost no power at all (3 watt). It could be a really good media streamer, an Android development system, or even a lightweight Ubuntu desktop. But all that depends on the software.

I have no idea whether Android supports a 24″ non-touchscreen monitor, a USB keyboard and mouse, and if it does, how the resulting setup would “feel”. I’d love to find out, but the current lack of software specifics makes it hard to place this product. It’s a first, but of what exactly?

7 Comments

  1. This looks amazing. I’m blown out of the water here. Hope this comes to Denmark!

    Comment by Emil BB — February 1, 2011 @ 9:23 pm

  2. Wow, do you guys do any research at all? Android is probably going to be the SECONDARY operating system for this beast, after a regular GNU/Linux distribution. Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu, Slackware, Gentoo, and FreeBSD all have ARM ports – and I would bet a great deal that it’ll be either Debian or Ubuntu given that their x86 models come with Linux Mint.

    Comment by Anonymous — February 17, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

  3. What research is there to do? CompuLab simply haven’t disclosed which software options they’re going to be shipping with the Trim Slice. They talk about it being an open ARM development platform, and may other blogs have speculated about it’s ability to run Android. That could be one of its many potential uses. Just like running Debian or Ubuntu is.

    Comment by Roy — February 17, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

  4. Link: Tweets that mention CompuLab’s Trim Slice puts ARM on the desktop | Roy Tanck's weblog -- Topsy.com
  5. Link: Most Efficient Desktop
  6. Can I install Windows 8 there?

    Comment by fsfs — September 19, 2011 @ 4:05 am

    • Not sure. Windows 8 will become available for ARM, so if this little box meets the minimum requirements… :).

      Comment by Roy — September 20, 2011 @ 12:05 pm