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Intel unveils ultra-small 5×5 board at IDF 2015

This week, Intel has been sharing some of its plans for the future at the 2015 edition of the Intel Developer Forum. The company offered up some more details on its much-anticipated line of Skylake processors, and now it’s unveiled a completely new product that’s currently in development.

The 5×5 is being billed as the smallest board with a socketed CPU. At just 5.5 inches by 5.8 inches, it’s some 29% smaller in terms of area that the Mini-ITX standard.

Intel exhibited a prototype of the device alongside the NUC systems it brought to the CES 2015 back in January. However, back then it was without a name, suggesting that the project is reaching completion. The 5×5 likely won’t be a consumer product, instead being offered to device manufacturers to build systems around.

Related: Pint-sized PCs are about to turn desktops into dinosaurs

Offering Intel Core processors, M.2 or 2.5-inch SATA storage and support for wired or wireless connectivity, this board could take on a host of uses. The key to a product like this is flexibility, and that seems to be Intel’s priority in the design process.

We’re seeing an influx of small devices that need to built upon a fully-featured platform. It’s clear that Intel sees the value of micro devices based on projects like the Compute Stick, but a component like the 5×5 demonstrates that the company expects the industry to move in that direction also.

There’s no longer any one type of computer that seems like the norm — desktops, laptops and tablets all enjoy their own share of the market, and the lines between each are becoming increasingly blurred.

However, it seems that something even bigger — and yet, smaller — is on the way. Tech like this is a pre-requisite for such micro-devices to become a reality, and it will be very interesting indeed to see what sort of projects come to pass thanks to Intel’s 5×5.