I remember years ago somebody or other talking about how one day PCs were going to be the same form factor as smartphones.
We are apparently there (though arguably we’re past that with stick PCs). The Hong Kong manufacturer Zotac is marketing a super thin and light PC that’s somewhere between a portable hard drive and smartphone in dimension. It is billed as the world’s smallest and thinnest mini PC, and recently won a big industrial design award.
The P1225 has Intel inside, is solid state with a 2.5-inch drive, and uses an external power supply. You could buy it on Amazon for $200.
Would I, for digital signage? Nope. For a little bigger and a little more you could get something proven to work 24/7, like from Logic Supply, Seneca or Now Micro. Or a properly-kitted Raspberry Pi 3.
As noted in the past, the form factor thing – being able to easily tuck a player behind a screen – was a mountain conquered several years ago. Getting even smaller doesn’t really accomplish anything, except in some super-confined and tight installs where this would just … slip … in.
But what about air flow?
Anyway … It IS interesting to see where R&D is at, however. But BrightSign boxes, IAdea devices and System on Chip displays all have marketplace momentum. I’m not sure there is that much of a long-term, high-volume future for external media players.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.