FXI Cotton Candy $199 PC-on-a-stick finally starts shipping

The FXI Cotton Candy is a USB thumb drive-sized computer with an ARM Cortex-A9 processor, ARM Mali 400 graphics, WiFi, Bluetooth, 1GB of RAM, and a microSD card slot for up to 64GB of storage. It can run Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and should also support other Linux-based operating systems.

FXI introduced the Cotton Candy almost a year ago, promised to start shipping it in May, and finally followed through on that promise this month.

FXI Cotton Candy

The company is notifying customers who had placed pre-orders that the Cotton Candy is now available for purchase. But I don’t see anything that would stop just about anyone from ordering the device from the FXI website, whether you signed up to pre-order or not.

The pre-order period ends on October 1st, and FXI will open an official store, but supplies are reportedly limited.

Unfortunately the $199 price is a bit deceptive. When I added a stick to my cart, FXI automatically added almost $50 in “tax” to the total.

Right now FXI is describing the Cotton Candy as a developer device. A build of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is available, but it doesn’t include access to the Google Play Store, not all video formats are supported, power management isn’t implemented which could prevent some USB peripherals from working, and the OS isn’t altogether stable.

The Cotton Candy has a USB port at one end and an HDMI port at the other end. It also has a micro USB port. You can plug it into a monitor or TV and hook up a keyboard and mouse to use the stick like a desktop computer. You can also plug it into a PC to launch an Android environment.

When FXI first introduced the Cotton Candy last year, there was nothing else like it on the market. But in late 2012, it looks like an expensive alternative to the MK802, UG802, and a range of other ARM-based mini computers coming out of China.

The Cotton Candy does still have a few things that those devices lack, including built-in Bluetooth and a commitment from the device maker to support open source software development.

One of the Cotton Candy’s coolest features is the way it works with normal computers. You can connect the USB port to a Mac, Windows, or Linux computer to launch the Cotton Candy Any Screen software which lets you run Android apps on your PC. That’s something you don’t get from any generic Chinese pc-on-a-stick devices that I’m aware of.

But at $199 plus tax, and with pre-release software, the Cotton Candy is clearly aimed at developers and hobbyists rather than end users, at least for now.

thanks Anonymous tipster!

  • http://www.facebook.com/fowldogg Jason Fowler

    Bit pricey

  • funkt33

    Way to expensive, even before tax… Mk802 may still be under developed but at its price thats ok…
    Pity: it looked more promising.

  • jrjrjr

    Far too expensive compared with the new MK808 with dual core 1.6GHz

  • clkeagle

    With the cheap Chinese ones going for around $70, these guys are out of their minds. Even if a name brand like Acer, Asus, or Samsung produced something like this, I couldn’t see it selling for more than $129-149.

  • oop

    I’m holding out for the Infinitec Pocket TV.

  • http://rationaldreaming.com/ Mike

    There’s something wrong here. That 25% tax is VAT (Value Added Tax) which is added to all sales of goods and services that occur *within* Norway, where FXI is located.

    Exports (i.e. overseas sales) are exempt from VAT, so FXI should not be charging any tax when selling their products to overseas buyers. Given that their store is selling in dollars, it is very strange that they’re adding VAT to the sales price in the first place.

    The other strange thing about this is that VAT is typically already included in the sale price (it’s the law in many countries, though I don’t know about Norway).

    The whole store web site looks a little amateurish, and given the high price (even without the VAT) I would suggest people hold off unless and until FXI gets its act together.

  • nards barley

    “One of the Cotton Candy’s coolest features is the way it works with
    normal computers. You can connect the USB port to a Mac, Windows, or
    Linux computer to launch the Cotton Candy Any Screen software which lets
    you run Android apps on your PC.”

    That is a feature I could use, if performance is good, plus bluetooth is handy. If it cost about $50 more than the Mk808, I might regret having purchased the MK808.

    Does ARM Cortex-A9 processor always mean it is dual core or are their single core models? Anyone, Buhler?

    • CyberGusa

      Cortex A9 is scalable 1-4 cores, it’s usually dual core though as a balance between performance and power consumption.