Like the idea of Intel's Compute Stick turning your TV into a full-fledged Linux or Windows PC? You can finally plunk down some cash to get one. Online stores (including Amazon and Newegg) have started taking pre-orders for the HDMI dongle, which is now expected to ship by late April rather than the originally planned March release. Be careful about jumping in with both feet, though. While Newegg is selling the Windows 8.1 version of the Compute Stick for the expected $150, some retailers are charging over $100 for the Linux model instead of the official $89 -- you'll want to do some comparison shopping first.
Your Chromecast may be able to play Netflix, but can it play Crysis? Intel's HDMI Compute Stick probably can't either, but the tiny device does have enough power to run Windows 8.1 apps on your TV. Intel has rather impressively crammed in a quad-core Atom CPU, 32GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, along with a USB port, WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 support and a mini-USB connector for power (HDMI power will come later). "But why?" you might ask. Intel sees it as a low-priced computer or (pricey) media stick, or even a thin-client device for companies. To up the crazy factor, it may eventually launch a much zippier Core M version. The Windows version will run $149, and if that seems a bit much, a 1GB RAM/8GB memory Linux version is priced at $89. Both will arrive in March.