The tech industry never ceases to amaze me. With all the amazing innovations floating around there are always a few that stand out in your mind even a week later. FXI Technologies product code-named Cotton Candy is easily one of the coolest devices I have seen to date. In the most simplest terms, it is a mini computer house inside a USB stick that can run either full on Ubuntu or Android 4.0 on anything. By anything I do mean anything.
At Showstoppers they demoed the device plugged into a TV. On one end of the device you will find a HDMI plug to connect it to a HDMI input on almost all HD TV’s. In that instance you need an external power source. Using Bluetooth you can connect up a keyboard and mouse, alternatively you can utilize your Android device as the input controls if you wanted to. Giving you full Android access on any TV you come across.
The second use of the device is to plug it directly into your laptop or PC. They previewed the device connected to a Windows 7 laptop. Launching ICS and running it perfectly I might add. Your keyboard and touch mouse then become your input methods and gives you full Android functionality.
The final and coolest instance of the device, in my opinion, was when it was connected to a Macbook Pro. Again, simply plugging the unit in gave you full Android access and usability.
So what is packed inside this mini computer that can offer the user of it so much versatility? The prototype stick at time of demonstration was housing a dual-core 1.2GHz Samsung Exynos processor, an ARM Mali 400 MP (quad-core) GPU, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI output and micro SD slot. It can decode MPEG-4, H.264 along with various other popular video formats.
We still have some time before these little units go mainstream though. They should start shipping to OEMs and developers in the coming months and hopefully be ready to launch to the public in Q3. Retail is a bit of a mystery, but as you heard in the video of the unit, it should be under $200.
I’m not sure what you guys think of this, but I am excited to get my hands on one. How amazing would it be for traveling or just heading to a buddy’s house and plug-in a PC to anything they have? I think it has a lot of potential to be the next big thing in mobile computing and entertainment in a super small package.
Full press release for those of you that are interested is below –
FXI DEMOS TWO NEW FLAVORS OF COTTON CANDY ANY SCREEN CONNECTED USB DEVICE – UBUNTU AND ANDROID 4.0
Leverages Open Source Tools from Linaro for Rapid Development
LAS VEGAS, Nevada and TRONDHEIM, Norway ”“ CES 2012 – January 10, 2012 – FXI Technologies, innovator of the world”™s first any screen, connected computing USB device, demonstrated today Ubuntu/Linux and Android Ice Cream Sandwich for the first time at the Showstoppers Media Event at CES 2012. Codenamed “Cotton Candyâ„¢”, this sweet little device will serve as a technology bridge between any display, the Cloud, and any input peripheral.
“One of the major benefits of the Cotton Candy device is its versatility”, said Borgar Ljosland, CEO and founder of FXI Technologies. “By demonstrating two new operating systems on a variety of screens from PCs, to Macs to TVs, we further show the flexibility of the world”™s smallest computer.”
Cotton Candy will 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 through its USB and HDMI connections. The device will serve as a companion to smartphones, tablets, notebook PC and Macs, as well as add smart capabilities to existing displays, TVs, set top boxes and game consoles.
Ubuntu on Cotton Candy Ubuntu is a popular Linux operating system used for a variety of desktop applications, media and enterprise applications and is widely adopted by global hobbyists and software developers. In fact, FXI recently chose to move to Ubuntu as its main development environment and is transitioning to using Cotton Candy as its main desktop computing platform. In order to do this, FXI leveraged the Linaro for ARM open software and tools and leveraged its access to the ARM Mali Graphics software development ecosystem.
“FXI engineers used the pre-integrated and tested Android ICS and Ubuntu images from the Linaro platform team as a base in developing support for two new operating systems on Cotton Candy. They also got support from the platform team on the #linaro and #linaro-android IRC channels on Freenode,” said Alexander Sack, Platform Technical Director at Linaro. “FXI has demonstrated how Linaro’s work can be leveraged effectively to develop real products rapidly and reliably.”
Android Ice Cream Sandwich on Cotton Candy Operating system software can be a moving target, and the Cotton Candy product will serve as a host to many popular technologies. One of the popular OS developers are looking at today is Android 4.0 (AKA Ice Cream Sandwich).
About Cotton Candy Cotton Candy is a prototype USB stick equipped with an ARM® Cortexâ„¢-A9 (1GHz) CPU from Samsung, an ARM Maliâ„¢-400 MP (Quad-core, 1.2GHz) GPU, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, HDMI output and the Android operating system. It decodes MPEG-4, H.264 and other video formats and display HD graphics on any HDMI equipped screen. Content can be controlled via smartphones, keyboards, mice and other USB peripherals.
About FXI FXI Technologies (www.fxitech.com) is a Norway-based hardware and software startup dedicated to making the world of digital screens smart and personal.
FXI Technologies and Cotton Candy are trademarks or registered trademarks of FXI Technologies. All other trademarks or trade names are the property of their respective owners