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?