'Cotton Candy'--Android computer on a stick

USB-powered thumbdrive comes with MicroSD slot, Android Gingerbread OS, and HDMI-out so you can turn just about any screen into an Android computer.

This Cotton Candy can be more easily secured in a pocket while riding the Tilt-a-Whirl. FXI Technologies

At last--a sweet stick of Cotton Candy that won't rot your teeth. Instead, it aims to put an Android-based computer on just about any screen you can find.

Norwegian company FXI Technologies calls it "the world's first any-screen, connected-computing USB device," code-named Cotton Candy. The tiny system is basically a USB thumbdrive with an HDMI output on the other end and a microSD slot added to complete the package. According to a release from FXI:

The vision for Cotton Candy is to allow users a single, secure point of access to all personal Cloud services and apps through their favorite operating system, while delivering a consistent experience on any screen. The device will serve as a companion to smartphones, tablets, notebook PCs, and Macs, as well as add smart capabilities to existing displays, TVs, set-top boxes, and game consoles.

The Cotton Candy prototype's specs aren't too shabby, either--especially for a system the size of a pack of gum:

  • An ARM Cortex-A9 1.2GHz CPU
  • An ARM Mali-400 MP quad-core GPU
  • 1GB DRAM
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Decodes MPEG-4 and H.264 and is HD-capable

"The concept of a 'screenless PC' is a natural evolution in the form factor of computing devices," the company's release quotes Jon Peddie, president of market research firm Jon Peddie and Associates, as saying. "The connectivity, flexibility and multiscreen compatibility of FXI's Cotton Candy makes it like a computer built specifically for the Cloud."

The Verge got to play with one of these, and notes that it's not approved for the Android Market, so apps need to be side-loaded for now. They report that Cotton Candy's planned launch date is the second half of 2012, with a price point expected "well below $200," although the pitch person in the video below says something about availability through FXI's Web site much sooner.

To demonstrate the potential of Cotton Candy, FXI hooked one up to a 42-inch display and showed it switching back and forth between productive apps like a word processor and more leisurely pursuits like--what else--Angry Birds. Because if there's one thing we need it's Angry Birds on more screens. Check out the elevator pitch in the video below:

 

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