FXI Technologies, a hardware and software startup based in Norway has just demonstrated the world’s first “any screen, connected computing USB device.” Codenamed Cotton Candy, this USB stick allows users to run Android or Linux on just about any screen. It features a USB connector and an HDMI connector (one on each side) which simply plugs into a computer/tablet, Set top box, game console or TV.
The little device features a Samsung Exynos 1.2GHz processor, an ARM Mali-400 MP GPU (the same combo found in the Galaxy S2), WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI output and the Android operating system. It decodes MPEG-4, H.264, and other video formats, and can display HD graphics on any HDMI equipped screen. Content is accessed through a secure FXI web portal and can be controlled via smartphones, keyboards, mice and other USB, or Bluetooth, peripherals.
FIX’s Cotton Candy is designed to provide consumer-friendly access to the Cloud, accelerate the adoption of “smart screens”, extend the life of consumer hardware, create a single point of content storage, consolidation and organization of personal digital content, sharing media from mobile devices onto large screens, and drive down the cost of computing (the Cotton Candy is essentially a computer that just needs a screen).
Because this is not an Android device that Google officially supports, it won’t have access to the Android Market. However, it is expected that various OEMs will have their own app stores. Also, because this device doesn’t typically run on a touch display, the “plain-vanilla” Android experience may not translate properly anyway.
There are various use-case scenarios, but the most plausible may be that OEMs use this as an upgradable computer in appliances that normally don’t get purchased often: Smart TV, Fridge, Smart Table… you name it. What would *you* do with it?
No word on pricing yet (although we’ve been told “well below $200”), but FXI Technologies expects to put up the Cotton Candy for sale in the second half of 2012. [FXI Technologies website | Cotton Candy product page]