Windows 10 Shoehorned Into Quanta Compute Plug

A mini PC could give the Raspberry Pi a Windows 10 challenge as Quanta’s Compute plug is designed to plug into a humble wall socket.

The development came at the Computex conference in Taiwan, where Microsoft and its original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners announced a bevy of new devices designed to run the company’s next generation operating system.

Compute Plug

Microsoft has been working hard with its OEM partners to push the Windows 10 message, and a number of firms have so far offered sneak peeks of their Windows 10 gear, including Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Asus, among others.

But perhaps one of the most interesting computers to be running Windows 10 is the Compute plug from Taiwanese firm Quanta. Essentially, the Quanta Compute Plug is a mini-PC in a power adapter instead of a stick.

When it is plugged into an HDMI port, it turns a TV into a smart computer and enables users to control their TV using Cortana via Bluetooth remote or headset. Or alternative the small black box can be simply plugged into a power socket. The unit itself boasts an HDMI port for TV connections and two USB sockets.

“The new Compute plug from Quanta is a mini PC and power adapter in one that can be plugged into any outlet and connected to a TV to turn it into a smart computer that can be controlled using Cortana via a Bluetooth remote or headset,” said Microsoft in a blog posting on the new device.

Redmond also revealed another small Windows 10 computer from Foxconn. The Kangaroo looks like a portable hard disk drive but like the Quanta Compute Plug, it also boasts the Windows 10 operating system. It has a battery capable of lasting six hours between charges.

Microsoft has experimented for a while now getting its operating systems onto cutdown and tiny computers. Last July for example, Redmond teamed up with Intel to produce the Shark’s Cove – a more upmarket Windows-based board that was prices at $326 (or £193). Intel meanwhile has also released its own Compute Stick.

Windows 10

Windows 10 is expected to be released to the world on 29 July and will be free of charge as an upgrade to those users currently running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1.

The new operating system will deliver a major overhaul in terms of several functions, not least in the return of the familiar Start menu, which comes with a new customisable space for a user’s favourite apps and Live Tiles (from Windows Phone), where users can place their favourite apps, people and websites.

Redmond is also seeking to give users a more traditional Windows experience that incorporates both touch, keyboard, and mouse inputs. Other new features include a search option on the taskbar and Start menu; a new quadrant app layout; and a new task-view button on the taskbar.

Windows 10 also marked a break in naming tradition for Microsoft, as it skipped the expected ‘Windows 9’ name in a move widely seen at signifying a break with the past. However it has also been rumoured that the name change could be down to coding systems from Windows 95 and 98 still being in use.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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