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.
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!