Occasionally a product presents itself that seems to be so logical you're left stunned that no one thought of this before. So it is with the Cotton Candy, the codename of what's described as an "any screen, connected computing USB device" from newcomer FXI Technologies. The premise is simple; take the processing guts from a current smartphone (say the Samsung Galaxy S II) and fit them neatly in a USB stick shaped device. With USB on one side for connectivity and power, HDMI on the opposite side and you have an Android device that can be plugged in just about anywhere.

We've taken a look at some "headless" ARM devices in the past, but these modeled themselves after slim PC's, this device tries to take ful advantage of the unique possibilities that exist from using smartphone innards. And while FXI could have made it to market faster using lesser internals, they are opting to use a SoC that closely mirrors the Exynos 4210, with a 1.2 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 design, and the impressive ARM Mali-400 GPU. Capable of outputting 1080p from its HDMI port, and equipped with Bluetooth and WiFi this "companion device" could do decent duty as a media player/streamer, gaming device and writing platform. FXI doesn't expect the device to connect to TV's only, virtualization software enables the device to stream its frame buffer to and accept inputs from any PC or tablet, giving users versatility to have a continuous client in the shape of a USB stick. As with most new technologies, the cloud is everpresent and all-important, though a microSD slot lends the Cotton Candy up to 32 GB of storage. 

Anand has been talking for a long time about just enough computing, and with mobile computing progressing at a faster than Moore's law pace it was only a matter of time for the two to meet and new and interesting products to take shape. The devil's in the details though, and in this case the mystery is what will the Android experience really be like on the big screen, or VM'd on a PC. We won't know for certain for sometime, too. Earliest release is expected to be during the 2012 holiday season, the pricing is expected to be below the $200 mark. Color us intrigued. 

Source: FXI

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  • PhatoseAlpha - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    That's a rather important detail. Not much point in an ultra portable anything if you also have to lug around a keyboard or whatever to actually be able to use it. Reply
  • phoenix_rizzen - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link

    When plugged directly into a TV or monitor via the HDMI port, you connect Bluetooth peripherals to it (keyboard, mouse, etc).

    When plugged into a computer via the USB port, you use the peripherals of the computer to connect. When plugged in via USB, it launches something similar to rdesktop, where you access the Cotton Candy computer remotely in a window on the computer.
    Reply
  • ablelouis - Saturday, January 07, 2012 - link

    we also develop this item which named U HOST by us.

    Specification:
    CPU: Cotex A9 Renenas Dual Core 1.06Ghz
    RAM: 512M(optional 1G)
    ROM: 4G nandflash
    OS: android 2.3 (support 4.0 upgrade)
    3D: powerVG SGX530
    TF: Max.64G
    Flash: support 11.0 flash
    Office: word, excel, pdf, ppt
    I/O ports: 1*USB 2.0 port, 1*Mini USB port, 1*HDMI, TF card port
    Network: wireless LAN 802.11 b/n/g
    Accessories: USB cable,optional (2.4G Air mouse with/without keyboard, 2.4G wireless mouse, USB hub)

    Louis Wang
    Smallart Technology Co.,Ltd
    Tel:0086 13717102979
    Email: ablelouis@gmail.com
    Skype: dedao.louis
    MSN: louis_wj@163.com
    Website: www.smallart.com.cn
    Add: Room 803, 8F, Incubator Building China Academy of Science & Tech Development High-tech South No.1 Road, High-tech St, Shenzhen, China
    Reply
  • gomakeit - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link

    This would make a great content streamer in my opinion. Imagine just plug one of these into your home theater and you got yourself an HTPC! If it can hit the price target and a decent user interface it might really carve out a niche. Reply
  • SleepyFE - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link

    LOL. If you have a decent home theater you can just plug the USB (key or disc) in the television and play the movie, no need for extra processing power from the USB. Reply
  • gomakeit - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link

    Well this is way more versatile than your USB solution. First of all you plug this into an HDMI port which works with/without USB reading capability from your amp or TV. Second this can theoretically stream content from you PC or YouTube/Hulu. Reply
  • ablelouis - Saturday, January 07, 2012 - link

    we also develop this item which named U HOST by us.

    Specification:
    CPU: Cotex A9 Renenas Dual Core 1.06Ghz
    RAM: 512M(optional 1G)
    ROM: 4G nandflash
    OS: android 2.3 (support 4.0 upgrade)
    3D: powerVG SGX530
    TF: Max.64G
    Flash: support 11.0 flash
    Office: word, excel, pdf, ppt
    I/O ports: 1*USB 2.0 port, 1*Mini USB port, 1*HDMI, TF card port
    Network: wireless LAN 802.11 b/n/g
    Accessories: USB cable,optional (2.4G Air mouse with/without keyboard, 2.4G wireless mouse, USB hub)

    Louis Wang
    Smallart Technology Co.,Ltd
    Tel:0086 13717102979
    Email: ablelouis@gmail.com
    Skype: dedao.louis
    MSN: louis_wj@163.com
    Website: www.smallart.com.cn
    Add: Room 803, 8F, Incubator Building China Academy of Science & Tech Development High-tech South No.1 Road, High-tech St, Shenzhen, China
    Reply
  • ablelouis - Saturday, January 07, 2012 - link

    we also develop this item which named U HOST by us.

    Specification:
    CPU: Cotex A9 Renenas Dual Core 1.06Ghz
    RAM: 512M(optional 1G)
    ROM: 4G nandflash
    OS: android 2.3 (support 4.0 upgrade)
    3D: powerVG SGX530
    TF: Max.64G
    Flash: support 11.0 flash
    Office: word, excel, pdf, ppt
    I/O ports: 1*USB 2.0 port, 1*Mini USB port, 1*HDMI, TF card port
    Network: wireless LAN 802.11 b/n/g
    Accessories: USB cable,optional (2.4G Air mouse with/without keyboard, 2.4G wireless mouse, USB hub)

    Louis Wang
    Smallart Technology Co.,Ltd
    Tel:0086 13717102979
    Email: ablelouis@gmail.com
    Skype: dedao.louis
    MSN: louis_wj@163.com
    Website: www.smallart.com.cn
    Add: Room 803, 8F, Incubator Building China Academy of Science & Tech Development High-tech South No.1 Road, High-tech St, Shenzhen, China
    Reply
  • ablelouis - Saturday, January 07, 2012 - link

    we also develop this item which named U HOST by us.

    Specification:
    CPU: Cotex A9 Renenas Dual Core 1.06Ghz
    RAM: 512M(optional 1G)
    ROM: 4G nandflash
    OS: android 2.3 (support 4.0 upgrade)
    3D: powerVG SGX530
    TF: Max.64G
    Flash: support 11.0 flash
    Office: word, excel, pdf, ppt
    I/O ports: 1*USB 2.0 port, 1*Mini USB port, 1*HDMI, TF card port
    Network: wireless LAN 802.11 b/n/g
    Accessories: USB cable,optional (2.4G Air mouse with/without keyboard, 2.4G wireless mouse, USB hub)

    Louis Wang
    Smallart Technology Co.,Ltd
    Tel:0086 13717102979
    Email: ablelouis@gmail.com
    Skype: dedao.louis
    MSN: louis_wj@163.com
    Website: www.smallart.com.cn
    Add: Room 803, 8F, Incubator Building China Academy of Science & Tech Development High-tech South No.1 Road, High-tech St, Shenzhen, China
    Reply
  • zsero - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link

    Windows on a stick would finally get a different meaning when this device and Windows 8 would be paired.

    It just needs the connectivity sorted out, but if they implement Bluetooth and Wifi than it's a non-issue.

    BTW, I always thought that it's the screen what makes a device so expensive, so why is this not cheaper than 200?
    Reply

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