What is Stick Computing?
Often referred to as an Android Mini PC, Android-on-a-Stick or Stick PC, Stick Computers burst onto the scene in the second half of 2012. Early units suffered from spotty performance and lackluster reviews. Since that time the diminutive devices have rapidly gained in both power and acceptance. Today there are dozens of models to chose from.
Generally, Stick Computers are characterized by a small form factor, low energy usage, portable convenience and low prices. Hardware-wise they are typified by ARM processors, 1080p Graphics, HDMI and USB connections, WiFi/Bluetooth and SSD memory expansion.
From its origins as a simple Smart TV device, they now support the latest versions of Android and popular applications such as XBMC. They offer a full range of audio, video and general purpose applications on both Android and in some cases the Linux Operating System.
Combined with a variety of displays, keyboards and other accessories, these little sticks are creating a new paradigm in personal computing.
What Can I do with a Stick Computer?
The original intention of the Android Stick was to turn your TV or monitor into a smart TV. Because it’s based on the same Operating System as many of today’s most popular tablet devices, a Stick PC is also ready to be used for web browsing, social networking, audio streaming, games and assorted other general purpose tasks.
As these devices have evolved, they’ve grown to incorporate additional features such as XBMC media center applications, Skype Live Chat, two-way video and 3D gaming.
With a simple connection to the HDMI input of your TV or monitor, you can have a media center or secondary PC up and running in minutes. It also frees you from being tied to any one screen in a single location. Want to move your computer to the bedroom? No problem, just unplug it and take it with you.
Because the typical Stick Computer supports 1080p streaming video, you can use it as the centerpiece of a home entertainment system. Android supports most of the popular applications and formats for video playback as well as audio. Also, you’ll have access to the Google Store for thousands of Android applications.
As you’ll discover in our reviews, many of these devices can be upgraded to support the Linux Operating System. That opens up an even wider variety of productivity applications. Many enthusiasts dual-boot Linux and Android to maintain the widest and most flexible operation.
If you’re looking for a gaming machine, a Stick Computer can perform nicely there as well. 3D performance is quite surprising. You can add a plethora of joysticks and control pads to complete the experience.
Where to go from here
For the latest information check out our Blog section. There you’ll find a growing list of reviews and comparisons of all the latest in Stick Computing.