Intel teams with StarHub to offer the Intel Compute Stick as a freebie with the telco’s 1Gbps Fibre Home Broadband service, and other select broadband or HomeHub plans, for the coming PC Show 2015.
From past offerings of gaming consoles, laptops, phones, the Intel Compute Stick is a first among telco broadband subscription freebies. The Compute Stick is a relatively geeky device – a low-cost, pocket-sized computer that can transform any HDMI display into a PC, capable of multimedia demands, simple games, and even full productivity suites. But a full fledged PC for entertainment? Only if you are a geek at heart and prepared to work around constraints such as the lack of USB ports, (there’s only one), and enjoy fiddling and troubleshooting new gadgets.
From May 29, 2015, customers who sign up to selected StarHub broadband plans at any StarHub Shop, authorised dealer or at StarHub roadshow will receive an Intel Compute Stick at no additional cost (usual price: S$229). Price per month would be $49.90, which is $10 higher than the corresponding M1 1 Gbps plan. Tip: You can get the M1 plan (which comes with a free Dect phone, saving $11 per month ~ $264, which you can then choose whether to buy the Compute stick or not.
Would the Intel Compute Stick be useful for Starhub users?
“More and more Singapore households are connecting to the Nationwide Broadband Network, leading to higher expectations in home entertainment and productivity,” said Ms Wang Li-Na, Head of Marketing, StarHub. “StarHub’s collaboration with Intel to provide the Compute Stick will open up a whole new world of entertainment for our customers, enabling them to take full advantage of StarHub’s reliable broadband and TV experiences.”
My take? The Intel Compute Stick is a unique gadget that would excel in certain use cases. For example, it would make a great little HTPC, which can be powered by Kodi (XBMC) or Plex. Or run media apps like Netflix, Starhub TVAnywhere, etc but setup of all these on a PC isn’t entirely easy, compared to other alternatives such as media streaming boxes, Android clients, Smart TVs etc. On the business front, it would also be great as a thin-client, or to power IoT devices such as digital or smart signages. I just don’t think the Intel Compute stick would be that useful or appealing to mass consumers, which would be the primary target for the Starhub promotion.
I can imagine the number of average-joe users calling into the hotlines to ask how to use the Stick or what is it for. If Starhub or other telcos are listening, I would much prefer lower subscription fees, or freebies such as Notebooks or Gaming consoles which has better second resale value would be better received. On that note, Starhub does offer an option to top up $35 per month for an ASUS R455LJ notebook worth $1,298. This particular notebook is rather average.