A PC The Size Of A USB Stick

By March 1, 2012

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Could a lightweight but fully-fledged PC fit in your pocket? Yestheoretically, at leastbut one company wants to release such a device to the consumer market this year, and in the price range of a mid-featured smartphone.

Norway-based developer FXI Technologies is now taking preorders for Cotton Candy, a mobile computer that packs most of the trappings of a desktop or laptop form factor PC into a case the size of a large USB drive.

The first generation of Cotton Candy will ship with an 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex processor, an ARM Mali GPU and 1GB of RAM, and will weigh 21 grams, according to company materials, and will support the Ubuntu and Android operating systems. It will support up to 64GB of storage.

Cotton Candy is expected to have onboard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as well as USB, MicroUSB and HDMI ports. It is not clear if there are plans to include mobile broadband connectivity in the first generation or future models.

The device will support 1080p playback, according to the company.

A product page emphasizes a focus on ease-of-use for multiple operating systems, with the device providing in-screen access to Android or Ubuntu when it is plugged into a Mac or PC computer.

“The device will serve as a companion to smartphones, tablets, and notebook PC and Macs, as well add smart capabilities to existing displays, TVs, set top boxes and other media that supports USB mass storage,” reads the page.

The device will sell for less than $200, according to FXI materials.

FXI has partnered with Exent to support GameTanium, a service for playing smartphone-based games on large displays, on the Cotton Candy platform. Available materials suggest that cloud connectivity, and especially streaming audiovisual output from a variety of platforms to the display Cotton Candy is connected to, will be a pivotal functionality.

“The world is anxiously awaiting Cotton Candy’s release,” said Borgar Ljosland, FXI CEO and founder, in a press release. “We’ve had interest in the any screen computer for everything from portable set top box gaming and entertainment to mobile any screen computing, in addition to a host of specialized medical, automotive and other applications. The size, raw horsepower and combined HDMI, USB and MicroUSB connectivity bring unprecedented flexibility to the portable market.”

Cotton Candy is expected to be available by the third quarter of 2012. The company plans to release a developer model within the next few months.

FXI did not respond to a request for comment by press time.