The world of technology never seems to sleep, as existing devices are being put into smaller form factors on a regular basis. Several ongoing Indiegogo crowdfunding campaigns offer pocket-sized computers that all pack quite a punch. Rather than just using these devices to run a Bitcoin Node – which is certainly possible – they can be used as full-fledged PC’s as well.
MagicStick: PC Stick With 8GB RAM & SSD Storage
It is important to keep in mind these types of projects are not intended for gamers, although the hardware specs are certainly powerful enough to support Steam in-home streaming or similar services. The main goal of these pocket-sized PC’s is turning any monitor into a full-fledged workstation, which can also act as an alternative way to run a Bitcoin Node.
MagicStick is one of the many technology-oriented crowdfunding campaigns on IndieGogo, yet it is slightly different from most traditional offerings. Even though people often warn crowdfunding website users about how these platforms are not shopping malls for new products, the MagicStick team is actively advertising the campaign as “last days, last chance” to obtain a MagicStick.
Pocket-sized computers are nothing new under the sun, yet the MagicStick is packing a lot of punch is a very small form factor. A quad-core Intel Cherry Trail processor, combined with 8GB RAM and 256GB of onboard storage is a potent combination. Also, the device is capable of 4K playback and comes pre-loaded with Android Lollipop and pre-activated Windows 10 operating systems.
Due to its small form factor, the MagicStick is perfectly suited to turn any monitor into a [temporary] workstation. Adding a keyboard and mouse can be done through the device’s USB ports. Regardless of whether the user is at home or the office, any screen with an HDMI connection can be used to connect this powerful pocket-sized PC.
As a Bitcoin user, the use cases for the MagicStick are quite apparent. Not only can this device easily run a full Bitcoin Node due to its powerful hardware and plentiful storage, but it can also act as a portable workstation for developers. Even for speakers at conferences or work, the MagicStick will let you take that trusted Windows, Linux, or Android environment with you wherever you go.
Note from the Author: For a limited time, the MagicStick Wave can be pre-ordered on IndieGogo for US$269 + shipping. The expected retail price for this device is US$399.
Sirius B: Pocket PC with Desktop Performance
The Sirius B campaign on Indiegogo is similar to the MagicStick offering, but there are subtle differences as well. For starters, the Sirius B device is still fairly small, but larger than the MagicStick. However, some people might find this form factor more appealing, as it is of similar shape to a smartphone, rather than being an HDMI stick.
However, the Sirius B is more aimed towards budget consumers, as it is using slightly less top-notch hardware. The lack of HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.1 connectivity make the Sirius B less appealing to media server enthusiasts, although the content will still be displayed in high quality without issues. However, USB 3.0 connectivity is available as well, depending on which model you choose.
Onboard storage of the Sirius B is limited to 64 GB, but it can be extended by up to 128GB if the user inserts a microSD-card. Regarding the operating system, the Sirius B runs on Windows 10, which can either be pre-installed, or it can be done by the end user if they prefer to do so; choosing to install the OS yourself will slightly lower the price of the device, though.
The latest model in the Sirius B product line is the Black Cherry, featuring a quad-core Cherry Trail Intel processor and 4GB of RAM. Such a pocket-sized workstation is great for writers, keynote speakers, students, and even developers looking to keep working wherever they go.
Similar to the MagicStick, the Sirius B Black Cherry is more than capable of running a full Bitcoin Node, although a micro SD-card is a must due to smaller internal storage. If everything goes according to plan, the Sirius B Black Cherry will start shipping in April 2016.
Note from the Author: Pre-ordering the Sirius B Black Cherry will cost US$289 + shipping (Windows 10 installed) or US$249 + shipping (no OS installed). Both options are available in combination with a MicroSD card as well, which will increase the price by US$25 for either model.
Plenty of Benefits for Bitcoin Users
As previously mentioned, both the MagicStick and Sirius B Black Cherry are quite appealing to Bitcoin users all over the world. Not only can these devices be used for running a Bitcoin Node or creating portable workstations for developers, but they can also act as a server to showcase existing projects, or to share ideas and presentations with like-minded people.
Although neither of these devices are as powerful as desktop PC’s or powerful laptops, their small form factor makes them appealing to a mainstream audience. Educational efforts could make use of these devices to show Bitcoin services in action, such as making payments online, or be used for a live coding/hackathon session.
What are your thoughts on these pocket-sized computers? Do you feel they are appealing to Bitcoin users, and why? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Sirius B, MagicStick, Shutterstock