Norwegian company FXI showed off a prototype device with a dual-core 1.2 GHz Exynos processor, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, microSD slot, and HDMI-out all wrapped up in a USB thumb drive that will enable “Any Screen Computing” on devices like HDTVs, set-top boxes, laptops, tablets, and even smartphones. The prototype is codenamed Cotton Candy because it weighs 21 grams, the same as a bag of cotton candy.
The USB stick can be connected to an HDTV via the HDMI-out port, and powered by the USB port. Once connected, a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse can be used to navigate the running Android installation. The Cotton Candy device can drive up to a 1080p display, and its dual-core processor is beefy enough to playback 1080p HD video stored locally or streamed from the web.
Windows or OS X laptops are compatible with the Cotton Candy as well. The Android installation (currently version 2.3) runs in a separate window within Windows or OS X. Users can even copy files between the Android and Windows or OS X environments. A suggested scenario is for developers to be able to code Android apps on their laptop or desktop, then test out the app on the Cotton Candy device without having to switch to a separate Android device.
The Cotton Candy prototype can also run Ubuntu Linux currently, and should be compatible with future versions of Windows 8 for ARM architecture, opening up the portable computing device to many different options. FXI CEO Borgar Ljosland said that he also envisions the Cotton Candy USB drive to be able to connect to tablets and smartphones via Bluetooth. Being able to run Android on anor does sound quite intriguing!
Unfortunately, the FXI Cotton Candy device isn’t going on sale directly to consumers any time soon. FXI would like to sell it to developers, or license the technology to OEMs to produce their own devices that will have a wider, mainstream appeal. All told, the Cotton Candy USB drive is expected to cost less than $200.
There are many geeks who have loaded USB-key versions of Linux or other lightweight OSes or standalone apps onto USB flash drives as an addition to their geek tool box. This way if their computer crashes, they can use the USB key to help diagnose the problem or copy off important data before wiping the machine. Also, it’s useful when stopping at an internet cafe or public library to keep your data private even when using shared computers. Something like the FXI Cotton Candy would be an even cooler and more useful addition. We hope it goes out into mass-production soon!
Via Laptop Mag