A computer that fits in your pocket? Yes, and with a 1.2-GHz ARM processor to boot. Norwegian company FXI Technologies wowed techies the world over when it unveiled its tiny, 21-gram USB-powered PC in late 2011. The mini-computer is expected to hit the market in the second half of 2012 at a price less than $200. With a USB 2.0 port on one end and an HDMI jack on the other, the Cotton Candy connects to a keyboard, mouse or tablet, bringing the Android Ice Cream Sandwich and Ubuntu operating systems with it. Essentially, this device makes any peripheral–from an iPad to an HD monitor–computer complete with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and support for most audio and video formats.
FXI Technologies is one of the first startups to bring a mini-computer to market, but other bite-size solutions are ready to give the Cotton Candy a run for its money. The similarly sweetly-named Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-size computer that plugs into a TV and keyboard, and it went on sale in February 2012, starting at just $25, and sold out after only one day on the market. But the Pi holds up to just 256MB of RAM to Cotton Candy’s 1GB and offers 32GB of memory via a memory card slot compared with the Cotton Candy’s 64GB. Plus, the Pi doesn’t include Wi-Fi.
Cotton Candy was one of the most hyped products on display at CES 2012, and FXI Technologies has already begun sending units to developers. Given its low price and novelty factor, the mini-computer will certainly attract a wave of curious techies, but it remains to be seen if the average PC user will be equally intrigued.
Headquarters: Trondheim, Norway