Sharks Cove: Pre-orders open for Microsoft's single-board Windows 8.1 PC

Microsoft's single-board Sharks Cove computer is now available to pre-order for 192.99, paving the way for tech enthusiasts to create new software for ATOM-based Windows and Android devices.

The 4x6in development board was first showcased by the vendor at its Build conference in April, and is the result of joint enterprise between Microsoft, Intel and CircuitCo.

It's powered by the Intel ATOM Processor Z3735G, boasts 1GB of memory, 16GB of eMMC flash storage and comes equipped with a Windows 8.1 image.

In a blog post, announcing the fact the product is now available to pre-order, Michael Fourre, a member of Microsoft's Driver Developer Experience Team, said software giant has been busy creating a host of web-based resources for users of the device to refer to.

"Our goal is to ensure information is easily found and we have multiple ways to interact with our community," he wrote.

"This is a board we believe will find a home with Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs) and hardware enthusiasts alike.

"When you consider the Windows Driver Kit 8.1 can pair with Visual Studio Express and are both free with a valid MSDN account, the initial outlay for Windows driver developers is a lot less cost prohibitive that it once was," Fourre added.

According to the website, which is one of the web resources launched in support of the device, it's currently only available to buy from worldwide distribution firm Mouser Electronics.

The device is likely to draw comparisons with the 26 credit card-sized Raspberry Pi computer, which features a choice of Linux-based operating systems for users, and has been widely credited with helping young children get into coding.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.